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Tiny house anyone?
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obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
Modular pre-fab on 11/22/2011 17:12:47 MST Print View

These people seem to have a pretty interesting product:

Kathy A Handyside
(earlymusicus) - M

Locale: Southeastern Michigan
Tiny House Anyone? on 12/05/2011 00:05:59 MST Print View

This is my dream, too, for my retirement. I really don't want to have to move to an apartment (rents always go up)and I won't be able to affford a mortgage on a house (and I really don't want to, either). I'm hoping to find an affordable lot or couple of acres of land for a Tumbleweed house. I heard of a group that was thinking of buying an RV park that went out of business and using it for tiny house owners. Can't remember where I heard that, but I think it's a neat idea; after all, the water and electricity hookups would already be there. I wonder if there are RV parks that one can live in year-round and would allow a tiny house on wheels?

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Tiny House Anyone? on 12/05/2011 06:24:26 MST Print View

I want to build one so bad. I have the skills and a place to do it. Just that pesky problem of no funds. Someday. Soon.

James Castleberry
Tiny House anyone? on 12/05/2011 08:45:41 MST Print View

Climber Steph Davis had a recent blog post on this subject. Cool photos and good advice, comments, applicable to us hikers who want to spend more time on trail than in front of tube or in cube.
"Right now my small house project is building an octagon-shaped cabin in the desert. Since wood comes in 8 foot pieces, all 8 walls are 8-footers, and thus the square footage turned out to be about 300 sf. "

Clint Wayman

Locale: East Tennessee, US
Re: Re: Tiny House Anyone? on 12/05/2011 09:44:01 MST Print View


DO IT! It's been eight months since this thread was started-- that's time spent on saving $$ =)!

Edited by cwayman1 on 12/05/2011 10:48:09 MST.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Tiny House anyone? on 12/05/2011 09:50:50 MST Print View

The octagon shape is a very efficient shape for usable area. Truly a nice house!

A few of things things to keep in mind though in regards to the area of the house:

1. Davis keeps her gear in her vehicle or stored at other peoples houses near the areas that she plays at (I've met her and she's told me so).

2. The house has no bathroom or kitchen to speak of.

3. The house has no heat air systems.

Adding space for gear storage, kitchen / bath, and an HVAC system will add a considerable amount of square footage to a home.

All of that being said I think the shelter in Davis'article is a great example of sustainable, regional architecture that responds well to the local climate.

Peter Rodrigues

Locale: New York
Re: 90 Sq. Ft. Good Enough? on 12/05/2011 10:09:18 MST Print View

@Ben & @Craig,

That Manhattan apt is overrun with stuff. Ridiculous. Nothing about it is simplistic. And...she has a writer's space somewhere else. Weak.

Let's not get into the $700 for 90sqft.

Otherwise, loving this thread. About to fit a 2nd kid into 900sqft and having a good time getting rid of stuff and optimizing space. Not "tiny" by any stretch, the exercise in getting rid of stuff is fun.

Craig I remember reading on your blog about 1 plate, 1 cup, etc. How is that going?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
How about a "Tent" on 12/05/2011 10:34:42 MST Print View

Its not a tiny house but here was the approach to living simply in a primitive campsite in North Carolina. We had a couple of water faucets but no electricity. This was from a Wilderness Therapy camp for troubled boys. At some point I'd like to copy some of these ideas for myself. Its not tiny but its simple and its outside.


Here is an example of a "sleeping tent" one for the counselors and three for the campers with 2-4 campers in each one. You can see the bug nets (military surplus) hanging over each bed. In the winter we'd take down the bug nets and staple clear plastic over the open sides to block wind. We'd also add a hanging door. We built these tents with hand tools and local materials. If you cheated and used a chain saw it would be even easier. I visited a similar camp in PA where they put wood stoves in each tent since its colder in the winter. We never did that but we had a wood stove in the tent that served as our kitchen/school area. If I made one of these I might tack up bug netting permanantly around the ouside.

building a tent


Here's some pictures of a tent going up.

Cook Tent

Here is the "Cook Tent." You can see there is a fire but there's aslo a mud oven for baking although we mostly just cooked over the fire.


Here's how we did dishes, we'd heat water over the fire, put it in three tubs. One for scrubbing, one for sanitizing, and one for rinsing.

We could meet all our needs in this campsite with the exception of laundry and hot showers. Honestly I never felt like we were "roughing it" we had our lifestyle down to a system that was quite comfortable. I could live in a place like this forever with a couple minor changes. I'd have a way to do laundry take a hot shower and a small power source to charge my laptop and phoe (that could even come from a vehicle hookup).
Assuming I could afford the property this would be a cheap and simply way to live. It was a great envirnment to let kids be kids and also teach them some personal responsiblity. Actually teaching personal responsiblity was the point of the camp. I figure it should work just fine if I do it with my own kids someday.

Edited by Cameron on 12/05/2011 10:38:41 MST.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
"Tiny house anyone? on 12/05/2011 12:30:34 MST Print View

I got the tiny house bug after reading the book Radical Simplicity By Dan Price. Dan has lived in a teepee a 4 foot by 8 foot shack and now a house made in trench with soil roof hobbit hut. It's great and fun book to read with lots of hand drawn illustration. He work or worked for Simple shoes and Teva as illustrator.

I live in a 600 sq foot mobile home for the past 23 years I live only two blocks from the beach,I guess I am beach trailer trash. It the only way I can afford to live on the coast with moderate weather near my favorite surf spot.

Before that I use to rent out Guest house on avocado ranches that were on average about 300 sq. foot. The best one I live at was like log cabin and had really cool fireplace and I could walk 8 foot out my front door to dive in to swimming pool.

I would really like to get some property in New Mexico or other state someday that allowed alternative building. Build a 300 to 400 sq foot rammed earth construction house made out of old tires so the walls would be 24 " thick. Using some of the construction techniques of Dennis Weavers earth ship design house. It would be solar and wind power with a outside shack for for the battery bank storage so I would be totally off the grid.It would be cool if could dig a well also,But I could live with a water bill if I have to.
I have always been a firm believer in getting cheap enough rent for a place you live in to eat, sleep,create at.

Edited by socal-nomad on 12/05/2011 12:33:04 MST.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Tiny on 12/06/2011 12:10:48 MST Print View

I think this stuff is really interesting. I think the Tiny house is the extreme end of the movement and I don't think a lot of people can go this extreme but it's really more about the lesson learned.

I live in a 2800sf 4/3 house on 3.5 acres. I read these stories and am very impressed. We are contemplating a move closer to town so that we can put our son in a specific school and this makes me think a lot about what we REALLY need. Maybe stepping down to a 1,800 sf house is a 'Tiny' house for me. Most people move up in size every time they move, this makes me think hard about moving down in size.

One problem I have is that houses today have so much space that is literally worthless. Like dinning rooms and formal living rooms. I HATE that. A dining room is the worst. Who eats in there? Maybe once a year for the holidays. So I am paying per sf, taxes, insurance, heating and cooling a room for once a year use?

I am also thinking the same way about guest rooms. We have them, we furnish them, and barely ever use them. Maybe forgo the guest rooms and stick a pull out couch somewhere.

All things to think about. I just know right now I have too much house, maintenance, payment, bills. I want to get down to a leaner fighting weight.

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: NoCo
Re: Tiny on 12/07/2011 10:49:29 MST Print View

I still dream of a big house someday. Although, I am thinking smaller than I was once. I would rather use the money for experiences, a vacation home, and land.

But those tiny homes seem like a nightmare to me. I couldn't fit all my books in there, much less my tv.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Want a small house . . . . on 12/07/2011 11:36:26 MST Print View

For a fee around 4-6% (varies by location) of your total construction cost/budget you can have an architect design a house that will fit needs quite well. You'll get what you want and nothing you don't. ;)

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Small house/large basecamp on 12/07/2011 12:56:08 MST Print View

Outsideonline (Outside magazine) had a neat little write up about thinking of a pad as a basecamp for launching various outdoor adventures that I really liked (think it was in their 2011 healthiest cities article). Of course that's easy to say being divorced; imagine many future wife candidates will think of it more as a potpourri-infused launch pad for my own various chores.

A small house would be less of a hassle in many respects but my own thinking is to have a living room area large enough for friends and family to come over. Of course furnishings back probably didn't have to deal with the "wide loads" of most modern Americans.

ADD: It's out of print but the yestermorrow architect / build school had a pretty neat book on the subject of dream homes.

Edited by hknewman on 10/22/2014 15:57:52 MDT.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Tiny house anyone? on 12/07/2011 17:02:58 MST Print View

I was thinking today you could have a tiny house now if buy house that are 80 plus years old in old parts of communities that have been around for 125 plus years. Because building house only between 400 to 800 sq.ft. was the norm back then. Most of those home can be bought for pretty cheap because of the small size.
Then you can keep it the way it is or gut it and redo the floor plan to your liking if you have money to invest and invest and invest. Because old home remodels become money pits because you keep finding something wrong with it during the remodel.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 12/07/2011 17:24:24 MST Print View

I like the small house idea. I really wouldn't want a big house, not unless I had a big family to fill it. A bigger house just means more time and expense cleaning, furnishing, cooling and heating it. I want to own a house. I don't want it to own me.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 12/08/2011 07:45:24 MST Print View

Also buying an existing house recycles even more because a an old house is re-purposed.

I think an even easier way to go if you are after simplicity is rent a small or studio apartment or buy a small 1 bedroom condo. No yard, no exterior maintenance.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Re: Tiny house anyone? on 12/08/2011 14:11:28 MST Print View

Tyler D wrote:
"Also buying an existing house recycles even more because a an old house is re-purposed."

Not necessarily so.

If you renovate / remodel the 'old' house you can easily create just as much construction waste as if you build new. In addition it's very easy to use enough new building material in the renovation of an old home to exceed the materials savings you had by purchasing and old home.

In addition it can be more expensive to renovate an old structure as it is to build new.

All of that being said you CAN save on building materials and construction waste if you buy the right older home. It's been my professional experience however that this happens only about 20% of the time.

Ty Ty

Locale: SE US
Renovation on 12/09/2011 07:42:43 MST Print View

Chad I stand corrected. I guess I was thinking more of just buying a small old house and fixing it up a little.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Re: Re: Tiny house anyone? on 12/09/2011 10:31:48 MST Print View

"I think an even easier way to go if you are after simplicity is rent a small or studio apartment or buy a small 1 bedroom condo."

I use to sale major appliances to the apartment house trade what's funny here in San Diego. Over the years they have let some apartment owners covert them in to condos.I have seen Condo's converted to apartments because they could not sell the the units.

San Diego county has gone kinda of nuts with condo conversion laws they have mobile home park
outdoor condo conversion were you can buy the land the trailer is on. Small industrial complex condo conversion so you can own your space in the building with monthly building grounds keeping fees.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Tiny house anyone? on 12/09/2011 19:32:58 MST Print View

I am interested in building one. More as a holiday place and/or proof of concept for building a larger off grid house.