Building Tiny Houses

« back to Home Building & Construction forum

Topic by Bill posted 02-13-2009 08:52 PM 37169 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Bill's profile


131 posts in 5295 days

02-13-2009 08:52 PM

Topic tags/keywords: house building tiny house tiny home building skills

I found a web site a few months ago for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. I found it to be very interesting, to see how someone built a home of just a few hundred square feet or less. It got me excited about building a small house, but other things got in the way at the time (as usual).

Probably the most interesting part I saw was the tiny houses on wheels. Like an RV trailer, but looks more like a home. The building costs would be less than many trailers too. Also, I liked the looks of the designs. Living in one long term would take some getting used to, but it would be interesting for awhile.

I could see a market for these houses when the housing market was skyrocketing, but I still think there is some demand for these types of houses. I could see single people (older or younger) living in such a place. There would be little maintenance, the price would be affordable, etc.

I was wondering if anyone had any experience building tiny homes on their own, or from plans. Did you build one on site, or was it mobile? I thought this would be an interesting topic for follow on Homerefurbers.com, since there are so many people with so many different experiences online.

-- Bill - Turlock, Ca. - http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View dennis's profile


90 posts in 5295 days

02-13-2009 10:49 PM

I’ll have to check out the web site. I always wanted to do a “subdivision” of tiny cottages. I figured with so many people staying single a 300 Square foot house could be perfect. My grandmother use to live in something very much like this in California years ago. Communal Gardens and garages. I’ve always hated apartment life, but I really don’t need or want a 2500 Sq foot house. I’m not fond of trailer parks because they have no yard. (and the trailers are built to fall apart) If I had the money and I was willing to fight city hall I’d love to build one. Unfornately in most cities trying anything new is just about impossible. I really believe you should be able to own a home for under $30,000.00. These tiny studios should be under $15,000.00. Part of our economic crisis is because we treat homes as investments rather than as shelter. Me and my wife live in a 750 square foot house and I built it so it feels large. It’s paid for and I figure I have less than $30,000.00 in it. I really feel shelter in America has just gone crazy….

-- http://woodsongsfurniture.com

View ShawnAllen's profile


11 posts in 4977 days

02-14-2009 04:35 PM

Dennis – I’m with you!! My brother in law wants to build a 100 SF “house”. Me, I don’t see why it’s not as simple as a little shed with clever storage. What am I missing?

View Bill's profile


131 posts in 5295 days

02-14-2009 05:24 PM

Well, maybe a shed with wiring and plumbing for kitchen, bathroom, etc. But, yes, it would seem to be much simpler to make a smaller home than a large one. Less materials, fewer items, easier to clean and maintain, and you could even make it mobile if you want. The web site has some interesting plans for both fixed and mobile types. I am sure there are other sites as well, I just have not researched them yet.

I kind of like Dennis’ idea of a community of these small houses. Add a market, a large common area and a few other amenities and you would have a complete community in a small space. Good going Dennis.

-- Bill - Turlock, Ca. - http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View PaBull's profile


694 posts in 5242 days

02-14-2009 06:05 PM

Years ago we came back from vacation and drove through the town of Victorville and there we saw acres of sheds in all different shapes and forms. My wife got exited and wanted one for our back yard to use as a library. We home school and all the books in the house was driving her crazy. So we stopped and l checked out the barns and got a flyer. On the flyer it had the specs for the barn; “walls 2×4 24” on center with t1-11” etc. The price of a 12’x18’ barn on skids was about $3000. So when I came home I made a plan and a take-off and made a material list. I got a quote from Home Depot. It came out to $1000. So we build this barn.

Originally i did not insulate the barn, but we did have electric, light and a ceiling fan in the unit. In the meanwhile we build ourselves a house on the same property and the barn on skids had to come along, so we rented a crane and used our tractor and trailer and brought it over to our new location. Now we put insulation in it and we are drywalling the walls. The foundation is raised so we can and will bring plumbing to it too, for a little kitchenette. OK it does not have toilet or shower, but we thought about it. It will be our craft barn for the kids, anything as far as painting, or anything else messy.

View Catspaw's profile


35 posts in 5278 days

02-15-2009 03:20 PM

England seems to big on these. I saw a website once that was full of what appeared to be rather expensive and artsy sheds. They really went all out on some of them (really gets your imagination going.)

The problem with these types of buildings is …. very rarely would you ever find a place that, by code, would allow full-time occupancy. Minimum around here, I think is 700 sq.ft. Utilities are more expensive because most utilities won’t provide free-of-charge hook-ups unless they know they’ll make their money back on a full size house.

The other side is economic. Developing land is expensive. You’d loose money if you didn’t put larger houses on lots. City lots would probably have sq.ft. minimums for any given neighborhood so they would be out. You go to the country….then…if you were to build a small house on say a half acre lot (minimum around here to use a septic system) fine… that may work for an individual. But to put in a neighborhood of small houses…well…the cost of the engineering and construction of the roads (even just gravel if you could get something like that passed) then drives up the cost of each lot. To recoop your expenses you have to build larger houses

I thought about this along time ago…thinking gee, you could whip these things out in no time and they would be affordable and such…then the economics of it started to become clear as I ran the numbers.

It’s unfortunate that something like this couldn’t be done a large scale. Big factories used to do it for their workers way back when. But they always turned into shanty towns and then codes follow to “protect” the average person, etc.

I personally don’t see it as being much different than apartment living. People live in small apts. all the time. why not actual tiny houses?

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View MRTRIM's profile


743 posts in 5295 days

02-18-2009 02:45 PM

when i was a kid i lived in logging camps . they were about 10×12 . not many comforts , it was a way of life where you didnt expect comforts . like dennis says it was shelter .

View Steph's profile


4 posts in 4973 days

02-19-2009 02:09 AM

In case it might help you, I have a page on my website devoted to resources on tiny homes including the Tumbleweeds: http://www.comingunmoored.com/resources-on-small-homes/

I’ve included links to several people who have either built or in the process of building them. Hope that helps!


-- http://ComingUnmoored.com

View daltxguy's profile


31 posts in 5116 days

02-20-2009 11:49 AM

You may also want to check out Sarah Susanka’s site Not so big house
She’s dedicated a good portion of her life to promoting smaller, better designed, lower maintenance houses. Personally I feel more comfortable in a smaller house.

View Steph's profile


4 posts in 4973 days

02-20-2009 05:24 PM

Another really good book is Shay Salomon’s Little House on a Small Planet. She also has a website (http://www.littlehouseonasmallplanet.com/index2.html)

I haven’t had a chance to respond to some of the emails, yet. But by way of some background, I’m in the process of renovating a 550 sq foot floating home just outside of Portland.


-- http://ComingUnmoored.com

View Bill's profile


131 posts in 5295 days

02-20-2009 07:37 PM

Very nice Steph. It is nice to hear from someone who actually has some experience with the small houses. And let’s not forget MrT’s experience either. Overall would you say these were positive experiences living in smaller houses?

-- Bill - Turlock, Ca. - http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Steph's profile


4 posts in 4973 days

02-20-2009 07:53 PM

Living in a small space has had much more benefits than downsides for me. My only real complaint is that I need to figure out how to vent my cat’s litterbox to the outside. Been checking out YouTube videos on similar projects. :)

-- http://ComingUnmoored.com

View JasmineO's profile


2 posts in 4930 days

05-05-2009 11:56 AM

Weakness in construction and consumption will likely shave 2 percentage points from real U.S. economic growth in 2008, and will likely increase the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent from the current 4.7 percent. Construction decline has been a major feature of the recession. A construction decline of new housing and the housing slump in general have set what was a thriving industry back decades, and the credit market drying up isn’t helping matters. Small businesses are also suffering, and installment loans from the bank just aren’t as available as they used to be. Hope glimmers on the horizon to some extent, as many economists highlight indicators that the recession is slowing. They say we may see a rebound by early 2010. However, while they wait, land speculators and construction companies still need debt relief as the result of the construction decline.

View Jason22's profile


5 posts in 3314 days

09-11-2013 05:00 AM

Well designing and build these houses is not just a child play because these homes need more concentration and efforts.. Anyhow thanks for sharing this stuff, I like it.

-- http://www.thepoolfactory.com/swimming-pools/above-ground-pools

View jerrysherry's profile


3 posts in 3310 days

09-14-2013 08:23 AM

i know there is someone just live in the very small house. they build it all by themself.

from sherry – http://www.melodyhome.com/

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 5294 days

09-16-2013 10:51 PM

I’ve visited the Tumbleweed folks a couple of times, they’re just up the road from me in Sebastopol. Telling is the “yeah, I used to live in one, then I got a girlfriend, and a family, and…”.

But I think there’s something to the house slightly larger that these. Our 768 square foot cottage feels pretty good; if I didn’t have a home office and we watched TV or similarly lacked big hobbies it’d be even better.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View stephenandy's profile


17 posts in 3295 days

10-14-2013 06:29 AM

If you are building a permanent house you must have a solid foundation and know the terrain for drainage. Think about the position of the house so you can maximize solar energy but provide shade for cooling…

-- Stephen Andy, USA, http://www.ServiceGarageDoors.us/

View rozaku90's profile


1 post in 2329 days

05-17-2016 07:28 AM

page that is extraordinary pleased to visit, I found your blog on google
“kanker otak”: http://obatherbalkankerotak.websiteherbal.com/
Agen Jelly gamat qnc
obat jelly gamat qnc

View DavidJune's profile


1 post in 1596 days

05-20-2018 07:29 AM

I am planning to build a tiny house myself in the following months. Suggestions from this thread is helpful. Thanks guys!

- David from Roadside Assistance

-- At your service always www.batonrougetowing.org

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: All views and comments posted by members are not necessarily those of HomeRefurbers.com or of those working on the site.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

LumberJocks.com :: woodworking showcase