April 7th, 2023

The Boutique Retreat brings tiny home experience to McMinnville

A wood and metal gate holds a sign that reads 'The Boutique Retreat'.  Behind it, you can see three tiny houses and a courtyard.
Which tiny house would you choose? Photos courtesy of The Boutique Retreat.

Sarita Springer and Kevin Kump had stayed in tiny house hotels and binged on HGTV for years before deciding to create their own tiny house accommodations in McMinnville. They toured tiny house production facilities, stayed in tiny vacation cottages in Portland, and explored space efficiency of vintage trailers, all the while marveling about how much joy can be designed into tiny spaces. We spoke to Sarita about the Boutique Retreat, the nine new tiny houses they just opened on Alpine Avenue. 

Talk to us about the location…

Sarita: The #1 thing that we love about the location is its proximity to the local tasting rooms, breweries and restaurants (Mac Market, Eyrie Vineyards, Domaine de Broglie, Heater Allen, Flag & Wire Coffee Roasters, and the Grain Station Brew Works, just to name a few), as well as the abundant wine tasting rooms and restaurants along Third Street. It is also relatively quiet because Alpine Avenue does not get a high volume of traffic.  

Each of the houses has a theme and a vibe. How did you translate the theme through the design choices? 

Sarita: The Boutique Retreat has 9 distinct design themes (Urban Loft, Ohana Bungalow, Mod Cottage, Glam Cottage, Bohemian Bungalow, Surf Shack, Farmhouse, Lodge and Coastal Cottage). Every cottage is totally unique and distinct starting with the architecture of the cottages.  We used four different architectural styles to construct the cottages and then customized the exteriors and interiors. There were literally hundreds of design choices to be made and, as a result, the cottages are totally unique inside and out with no similarities other than the general floorplan. All of the interior furnishings, art and décor were curated over many years and selected for each cottage to complement its design theme.  

The inside of a tiny house shows white walls and a wood plank ceiling.  Blue curtains are open across french doors looking out onto a patio.
The Ohana Bungalow

What are some of the more ingenious tiny house design elements in the houses themselves? 

Sarita: Every single inch counts in the design and construction of tiny house cottages.  One of the biggest challenges were how to design the custom kitchenettes and add enough space for a closet.  A tiny house is about the size of a standard hotel room but unlike a hotel room, we added the comforts and conveniences of home by carving out space for a well-stocked kitchenette with a sink, mini-fridge, coffee maker, microwave and toaster or toaster oven. Our guests have everything they need to prepare a light breakfast, lunch, or appetizers, including glasses and dishes.  

The closets were designed on a small but efficient scale to provide enough space for a suitcase, some limited storage, and a place to hang your clothes. We looked for every possible opportunity to add hooks on the walls for coats & jackets. We also used platform beds in all of the cottages to eliminate the extra space needed for a headboard and footboard.  The smart screen flat TVs were installed in recessed nooks in the walls so that they didn’t take up any additional space.  

What would you tell someone who has never stayed in a tiny house before?

Sarita: One of the number one comments that we get from people that visit is how spacious the cottages feel on the inside. Staying in a tiny house does not mean staying in a cramped space. It’s really about how you utilize the space that you have so that the layout is functional, and the design is stylish, comfortable, and convenient.  

It's dusk, and a courtyard is lit with gold lights and a fire pit.  5 tiny houses are in the background.
It doesn’t get much cozier than this.

How does being able to stay in a tiny home change the experience of travel in McMinnville? 

Sarita: It was important for us to create a beautiful outdoor space for guests to enjoy after a day of exploration. The grounds of The Boutique Retreat include meandering pathways, a spacious courtyard with a communal firepit, Adirondack chairs, a gorgeous Buddha head water feature imported from Indonesia, and wine barrels with Edison lights. The landscaping is still growing but as it matures, it will create a beautiful urban paradise all within walking distance of wineries, breweries, restaurants, and coffee shops.  

Illustration of writer, Emily Grosvenor

Emily Grosvenor is the author of Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life