Tiny Living: Tiny Homes in North Carolina

North Carolinians find freedom in the smallest homes.

Our State | December 2014

Laura LaVoie and her partner, Matt, were living in a 2,700-square-foot house in Atlanta, complete with a movie theater, a library, and a bedroom exclusively for their cat, when they decided they needed a change. LaVoie was tired of working in an office nine hours a day to afford their mortgage, tired of the long commute, tired of arriving home at night with only enough energy to watch television. “We needed something different,” she says. “The idea of doing something to allow us to completely change our lifestyles was really important.”

JJ Jiang Brings Artistic Vision to Cary

A Chinese-American artist finds inspiration where the waters converge.

Our State | January 2015

“This is my hometown,” says JJ Jiang, indicating a watercolor of a town in southeast China at Cary’s Village Art Circle gallery and studio. In the painting, small wooden boats with blue awnings fill a canal edged by thatched-roof buildings. In the distance, trees peek over garden walls. The palette is warm but muted, the mood quiet and calm.
Although Jiang hasn’t lived in Suzhou since he left for college, the town’s spirit — embodied for him by its water — has infused his life and art ever since.

“We speak cow language here,” says Mildred Green, also known as Mrs. Moo, sitting on a cow-patterned chair in front of a black-spotted freezer containing buckets of ice cream with names like Moonilla, Peanut Udder Cup and Gooey Cowphooey.

After long careers in dairy, Mildred and her husband Jim, 63 and 70 respectively, opened Cow Café on Middle Street in downtown New Bern in 2004. The shop offers 20 flavors of ice cream made in five gallon batches on the premises, plus an array of food items like “gourmoo wraps,” “cowsadillas” and “chicken cordon moo.”