If you daydream about living the tiny house lifestyle but think that building your own tiny house would be either too difficult or too expensive, then you need to hear the story we found.
In a new video, a young father of three shares how he designed and built a tiny house for his family of five, with little to no building experience – all for under $5,000.
First, he did all the work himself over the course of a year. Then, he also saved money by repurposing free or low-cost items, such as returned wood at his local Lowe’s store, which he purchased at a deep discount, and free solid oak kitchen cabinets he found advertised on Craigslist.
This tiny house builder started with the flatbed of a 1960s Layton camper that he purchased for $200. Hoping to get back his purchase price in scrap metal, he dismantled and destroyed the camper in order to get down to its bed.
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He did recoup his $200, but he admits, “For the labor, it definitely wasn’t worth it. It was a lot of work.”
The tiny homebuilder bought all his framing materials at Lowe’s, explaining that after befriending the store manager, he was able to score great deals on returned or slightly damaged wood. As a result, the entire framing of the house, including the siding and the roof, cost only about $500.
He next tackled all the electric wiring himself, calling the job “very messy” but “pretty easy.”
The family began their tiny home project in August 2012, and by August 2013, they decided to move the under-construction house to a new location 30 miles away by towing it with their Dodge Ram pickup truck. “It handled it with no problem,” says the builder.
In the new location, they set back to work, staining the home’s exterior red, putting in cedar paneling and window molding, installing hardwood and slate flooring, creating walk-in lofts for sleeping and creating bannisters.
The finishing details were time consuming, the father admits, but his photos show how much character they add to the home.
He made a second video several months after the completion of the home, and those photos reveal a warm and attractive – albeit small — family home both inside and out.
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“We use every single inch of space,” he says. “We have lots of storage nooks and places to hang things like our three guitars, our four guns, our four bows and all our books.”
He says organization is the key to living in a tiny house, but that “after two months, you enjoy the things you like even more than you did previously.
“You get rid of the things that clutter your life and keep the things you want the most.”
The young family is not without modern conveniences. For instance, they have a 42-inch high-definition TV, Internet and a PlayStation for video games. In order to play board games with friends, a table made from reclaimed church pews can slide out from its tucked away location inside a kitchen cabinet.
The couple has enough clothes for one week. “If you get something new, you get rid of something else,” he explains. Out-of-season, clothing and bedding are stored in space bags in cabinets under the couch. Homeschooling books for the kids are under a multi-purpose desk.
“You don’t sacrifice the quality of life (in a tiny house),” he says. “Our quality of life has improved. We have more money, more time and more freedom.
“It has been an awesome journey.”
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