Friday, April 19, 2024

Inside a tiny home

Tiny homes are all the rage lately. We know a business in which building tiny homes is a brand-new side project. This is the company's first completed project, custom-tailored to one customer's specific requirements:

The business was having an open house before the customer took possession (hence the paper taped to the floor), so I took advantage of a tour. I'd never been in a tiny home before, and was surprised to see how spacious it was. Per the customer's instructions, it didn't have a kitchen range, but it did have a full refrigerator (with the blue protective film still on it). (That's my purse and visor sitting on the counter.)

Lots of light, and even a nice little porch.

Full, if compact, bathroom.

Good-sized bedroom, with windows on two sides.

The builder said the price was $100,000, which seems high for such a small (and mobile) space, but then everything is more costly these days.

On the other hand, I couldn't deny it was quite a lovely little home. Does anyone have experience living in one of these types of units? What are the pros and cons, besides the obvious issue of space?


  1. If I were a single person, I could easily live in a tiny home. They do seem too expensive to me for what you get.

    1. A trailer house will cost you less and give you a lot more space.

  2. We've built two tiny homes on our property and equipped both with 40 foot shipping containers for extra storage. Total for both projects was under $20,000. People need to quit buying these new "mini mansions" and building them themselves. They really are quite simple.

  3. I've watched several interesting YouTube videos about the downsides of living in a tiny house. Very interesting, especially since the realities are definitely not sales points. Seems to be good for either living in an ecovillage or for a mobile, minimalist lifestyle. Not good for anybody whose goal is some degree of preparedness or self-sufficiency.

  4. From the ages eight through fifteen, I lived with my two sisters and parents in a 430 square foot house.

  5. In many jurisdictions, tiny homes are a zoning and permitting work around. Areas that are easier to work with you can get lots more for the same money.

  6. I know several people who live remotely and off-grid in tiny homes and promote that lifestyle. But all of them have numerous sheds, cargo containers or shops with the rest of their stuff. And they often have to be retrieving things from other buildings to use in their house. So while it's easier to heat and care for, you still have a lot of your belongings elsewhere. It'd make a great small house for an elderly relative, child living at home, or people who truly live minimallistically. Most people in my area just buy pre-made sheds or shed kits and design their own, a lot cheaper, but some cities and counties don't allow that and they have to be purchased as a tiny house.

  7. I feel like the sensationalism of this trend has the undertone of "you will own nothing and be happy". While I don't disagree with simplicity, this is an expensive way to live in a glorified camper.

  8. Don't kid yourself or others. You get what you pay for. If this is what you want I see no problem with that choice. If you can build it and trade 500 hours of your time instead of $40,000 good on you. But if you don't already own the land the cost of land isn't cheaper because the house is. In my area a lot costs well over $100,000. You still have to connect to water sewer and electric. Sure it can be a well and septic but the cost for them isn't cheaper because the house is small. Sure you can go solar but that is far from a bargain, do the math and don't believe all you hear about the costs and return on investment. When you tire of it and decide to sell you will get what it's worth not what you put into it.

  9. I think it could work for some young people starting out, but not at that price for what it provides.
    They depreciate a lot which is one reason banks tend not to want to loan $ for them.
    Weather beats them up, and it's not somewhere to be in a storm.
    Tiny homes kind of require a lifestyle of outdoor living, so a large, screened in, covered deck is almost required. By large, I mean large. Maybe even wrap around, and deep enough that rain can't blow in too much when the weather is bad. Outdoor, covered rooms can have many uses.

    Once upon a time, people didn't normally just build big homes starting out. They built what might be now considered tiny, and built on as their family and needs grew. They also seemed to do this on family land, or nearby. If planned this way in advance it could work well still today. Tiny is considered to be 500 sf or less.
    Part of why the thow movement has worked is because they can be insured as a RV because they're on wheels and size restrictions.
    Between taxes, insurance, financing, and depreciation, it might be better to just re-do a box truck. That way, if you ever need to relocate, or sell it, it can just drive away instead of paying a lot of money to have the tiny house professionally moved.
    If you re-do a shed, it might need to be a Tuff Shed. I've seen where rain blows in around the base of a lot of these sheds people are transforming.
    Also, they can be hard to keep warm in winter.
    And nowadays, every house needs a good sized basement for pantry, secure storage, and storm shelter.
    I've seen where one couple built a small guest house on their property for family when they visited, with a large basement under the guest house. Great set-up.
    It really depends on where you are in life and what your needs and goals are as to whether this is a good choice to make.

  10. Can you share the name of the builder/company?

  11. I had insulated and paneled a 12x16 storage building and put electric, AC, a tiny wood stove, (later removed, too small a space in to warm a climate) phone, fridge in it and lived in it 4 years when dad was alive. Had a overhang roof of 12' on each side I put stove, sink and cabinets in and the bathroom was about 50' away. I was fine with that.

  12. I’ve driven past there and was wondering about the tiny house. This answered all questions I had about it. It looks nice, but for that kind of money, I could build a modest, foundation built house on my property. Would take a bit to DIY, but it would be doable.

  13. For comparison, check out Recreational Resort Cottages. They have a lot of 399 sq ft models from 95k and up. Lots more bells and whistles, windows, appliances, porches, tiled showers and lofts. They use good siding, metal roofs, and have 30 year warranties.
    Another company I like a lot is Timbercraft, which is much more high end. There is a tiny model at about the same price which is too small for my taste, but there's a lot of beautiful craftmanship in their products. Worth looking at for ideas.
    There are quite a few companies trying to clone those above, in my opinion. It's always good to check out all the competition.
    Even single wide trailers are stepping up their game, but for 100 k, you could get a lot more room in a trailer than that. I notice you weren't seeming to flinch at that price tag for very little space. There was a program on HGTV years ago on million dollar trailers. Of course, where they were and real estate prices of their location figured into the value, but to see the outside of some trailer, say near a beach somewhere, then inside it's been gutted and remodeled with marble floors, expensive kitchens and bathrooms, everything beautiful, I'm sure they were worth the price tag. Location, location, location.
    I suspect you're still thinking of a guest house.