Smola Croft House, Artist exchanges, retreats

Around the 18th March, I began to receive multiple messages from friends on different platforms with a link to a tiny house that was for sale in Levenwick, Shetland.  On that day, I should have already been in Shetland but I wasn’t because the hostel had finally closed on 16th and the interview on 19th that I was going for, was finally agreed to be a skype call because of the Virus which we are all now well familiar with.  I’d been looking for a little house in Shetland for some time.

This time, the little house in the sunshine-flooded image in Levenwick didn’t just speak to me, it shouted my name which appeared to be written all over it.  I called the agent who had a viewing day on Saturday 21st, the last of all viewings of properties before lock down.  I was sent, the house report and two small videos – one of inside and one of the byre. Although the tiny house is basic, it is perfectly formed and without question, it seemed ideal.  But on the Monday 23rd , one of the Saturday viewers put an offer in on the tiny house and I lost hope and duly whined about it on FB on 25th March because I felt helpless. This was not just a house to me, it had become a dream filled with ideas of sharing it, offering artist exchanges to exchange and share skills with each other and the wider community of mainland Shetland, artist retreats, workshops, air B&B to friends and artists  and most importantly, where my (art) work / and life would become without  borders – indistinguishable.

I was screaming inside, it should have been me because during the preceding developing 7 days, I had been booked to be in Shetland and could have been there, seen it, felt it, put the offer in but instead, I was in my tiny flat in Sheffield forced in to lockdown feeling helpless.  

Then, a friend messaged and said, just put an offer in. I spoke  with a man, who had rented the little house for 3 years and he told me about it. So, the house was more known to me and some questions were answered. 

Well, I  thought about nothing other than the tiny house the whole weekend, mentally composing a letter in parts to the owners of Smola to compete with the offer on the table already.  

Without seeing, smelling or touching the house, the letter flowed.  I was honest, direct, clear and shot from the hip on the financial offer. On Monday 30th, I emailed it to the agents then promptly let it go.  I went to work at the Children’s hospital where I’ve been a temp medical secretary since early Feb.  Just because of a pandemic, the children don’t stop being ill with severe neurological issues, so I didn’t stop going to answer calls from worried parents, arrange medication and type consultant letters from clinics.  I got on with my week.   The pandemic gathered steam.

On Thursday, 2nd April, I got a call from the agent.  I assumed it would just be a rejection call. But it wasn’t.  The sellers had accepted my offer on the proviso of a non refundable deposit to take it off the market and that they would wait for me to sell my flat. 

Since 2nd April until now, 18th May, two Shetland solicitors have been involved in writing the agreement for this non-refundable deposit, which I signed, in a wood in Sheffield on 8th May, honoured by my friend Deborah witnessing and co signing the document. So there you have it,  almost 9 weeks after seeing an image, both moving and still of a little house in Levenwick, I have signed a document to say that I will pay a non refundable deposit, deductible from the cost of the house, if I finalise the Scottish  missives and all the papers to purchase within 3 months.   IMPOSSIBLE task, I was asked  by a friend – what do I get for my non refundable deposit and I said TIME but my wise friend Deb added, security.   After the first 3 months, I have an option for a  further 3 months agreement with the same terms but the first non refundable deposit, which isn’t carried over – that becomes lost.  So, I have 6 months to turn everything around, still in lock down to purchase my dream.

Why would anyone donate to me and my dream?  especially in the current climate?  

This is not a passing whim. I've lived many lives and in 2016, I sold a house to downsize to enable me to go back to University to do an MA in knitting at NTU 2016/2018, graduating with a high distinction.  Knitting, Shetland, the women knitters - their tradition, skill and social history have become my life and this is my final move.  

I want to offer multiple opportunities to share this beautiful tiny house, in the form of Artist exchanges, residencies, workshops, air B&B for friends.  I want this place to become a small hub of creativity for many people to draw upon and exchange knowledge. 

To enable me to promote this dream, I need to build a website to promote the business ideas and buy a new camera as mine has stopped working. 

Donating to this dream will help me make this dream happen because I will move everything to make it work. Your donation would be helping towards Artist exchanges, residencies, community workshops and a life lived fully and available to share.

You can see my creative practice and record of work and achievements on my website  here.


  • Kelly Morrison 
    • 20 £ 
    • 9 d
  • Verity Heald  
    • 50 £ 
    • 14 d
  • Fiona Austin 
    • 15 £ 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous 
    • 100 £ 
    • 1 mo
  • Laurie Reid 
    • 100 £ 
    • 1 mo


Tracey Doxey 
Sheffield, Yorkshire and the Humber, United Kingdom
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