It’s almost impossible that such a huge personality could fit into such a small home, but, thanks to savvy design and a “scorched-earth policy” regarding her personal effects, Trans-Siberian Orchestra string director and soloist Asha Mevlana is living large in a house that takes up just 560 square feet.
“Being a musician and touring quite a bit, I wanted a place to come home to, but I didn’t need something huge,” says Mevlana. “I love the idea of living with just what is necessary. At one point, I had storage units in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and it was getting hard to keep up with all of it. One day, I simply decided to get rid of all the things I didn’t need, which left my music equipment, instruments, books, and clothes. Everything else went to Goodwill or the trash.”
A true warrior by any definition, Mevlana was stricken by breast cancer in 1999. During her treatment, she ramped up her music projects, ultimately playing electric violin with Roger Daltrey, Enrique Iglesias, Alanis Morissette, the Jonas Brothers, and others before landing the Trans-Siberian Orchestra gig in 2011. She also works with cancer-survivor and wellness communities, and, as a result, she was bestowed with the Gilda Radner Award in 2004. In 2016, Mevlana decided to put down some tiny roots in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and she worked with Tiny House Nation host Zack Giffin and the show’s architect Brian Crabb to manifest her dream home.
“I had been a fan of the Tiny House shows, and I was always interested in building one—although the extremely small ones seemed a bit too small,” she explains. “I wanted to create a space that had a living area and a separate structure for working on my music. Zack and Brian came up with the idea of the gigantic amp I could play through, and they also recommended two separate structures, which would make the house feel bigger. The main house is 400 square feet and rests on a foundation, while the 160 square-foot music studio is built on a trailer. The idea behind this was that I could take the trailer on the road, and give concerts around the country. I also knew I needed lots of windows and light coming in, so I didn’t feel too claustrophobic. The garage doors leading out to the porch help make the house feel larger than it is, as well as adding a design element.”
Not surprisingly, Mevlana’s “Amplified Tiny House” was profiled on Tiny House Nation on March 4, 2017, and, since then, scores of articles have been written about the musical mini abode. But while the experience upped her media profile on network television, her main focus appears to revolve around her local music community.
“I wanted a large deck where I could hold outdoor concerts and jam sessions,” says Mevlana. “A popular Arkansas band actually recorded their music video on my deck! I am also planning a Fayetteville Amplified Festival—as well as a Porchfest, or a Tiny Deck Concert Series—because there are a ton of talented musicians in the neighborhood.”