Living in a Tiny House with Kids

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Raising kids is a serious undertaking. That might be the understatement of the year. As parents you struggle to find a quiet moment to collect yourself before heading back into the war of feeding, cleaning and transporting children. Its a constant struggle. The great moments are such that it erases all that. What if you …

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Their Radical Plan To Off-Grid, Debt-Free Living Worked. Here’s What They Did.

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Their Radical Plan To Off-Grid, Debt-Free Living Worked. Here’s What They Did.Jocelyn and Jarvis knew they would have to make some radical changes in their lifestyle if they were going to get out of debt, but they did not know that those changes would put them on a different path altogether.

In order to pay off their $96,000 debt from student loans, credit cards and the purchase of small rural property, the couple moved into a small apartment, changed jobs and switched to a strict cash-only budget. By adhering to a frugal lifestyle, they were able to pay off their debt in 20 months. Their plan was then to save to make the down-payment for their own home.

However, the lessons they had learned had changed their perspective. “We’d gone from this heavy burden of debt to feeling very free,” recalls Jocelyn, adding that they asked themselves, “Do we really want to now take on a huge mortgage?”

Their answer was no, and when a friend of Jocelyn’s was selling the framework of a tiny house on a trailer bed, the couple began a new journey. With only a two-week window to make the decision to buy the house, Jocelyn admits she talked her husband into the design and building project. “We planned to work on it for maybe four to five months,” Jocelyn says. “We started in May and we thought we would be finished by November.”

However, since neither of them had building experience, and their daughter was born in the meantime, the project ended up taking 14 months. “We spent our evenings on YouTube watching videos on how to wire an outlet or how to flash a roof,” Jarvis says.

“It was a huge sacrifice,” says Joselyn, who cared for their baby while Jarvis worked on the house. Their story is detailed in a new YouTube video (above). “I sort of hated the tiny house for a while. … But as soon as we moved in, it was totally worth it.”

Today, after two years in their new home, the family has added a fourth member, a baby son, and they are hooked on the tiny house lifestyle.

Built on a 32-foot by eight-foot trailer bed, the home has a 225-square-foot main level and a 100-square foot sleeping loft. Jarvis admits that having a separate small bedroom for the kids on the main level is an important part of the design for his family. “I’ve seen a lot of designs that only have a nook (for kids), but I think that would be very challenging,” he admits.

The home has a composting toilet, uses well water, is heated with propane and has an on-demand hot water propane tank. It operates on a standard 15-amp plug-in to the property owner’s home. They have added solar panels as part of their plan to be able to go off the grid in coming months.

“Living in a tiny house really promotes living a lot of the time outside,” says Jocelyn. “We are so much more connected with the seasons now.” Calling themselves novice gardeners, the couple is starting to grow some of their own food in terraced gardens outside their home, and they are raising chickens for eggs.

Jarvis and Jocelyn currently rent their home site but are saving to purchase their own property and to then live off-grid in the near future. “Because we don’t have debt and we don’t have a lot of possessions, we have a lot of freedom,” says Jocelyn. “We feel very much in control of our lives.”

Would you want to live in a tiny home? What advice do you have for getting out of debt? Share your thoughts in the section below: 

It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice

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After finishing school, Jocelyn and Jarvis had $96,000 of debt from student loans, credit cards, and buying a small rural property. This is the story of how they paid it off in just 20 months, and then built themselves a debt-free custom tiny house for their family of 4.

After ignoring their finances for a long time, the couple finally faced reality one night when they sat down and added up all of their debts, and compared it to the revenue they had coming in.

When they realized how much they owed, they decided to make some drastic changes so they could pay it off and stop worrying about money. To start, they moved to a smaller apartment, changed jobs, shopped second-hand, froze a credit card in a block of ice, switched to using cash only, and made a budget that allowed them to chip away at their debt.

They had a white board with a list of all their debts, which they updated every time a payment was made so they’d continue to be motivated. After 20 months, they were completely debt-free. After that, they continued with their minimalist, frugal habits and were able to save up enough money to build themselves a custom tiny house on wheels.

They’ve been living in the tiny house for over two years now, with their two children, and plan to continue living in it for as long as they can. They are currently saving money to buy a small acreage where they will build a larger off grid home and keep the tiny house as an income property.

We’re very inspired by this young family’s dedication to improve their lives by paying off their debt, by their awareness of their energy consumption, by their efforts to buy less and live a low waste lifestyle. They’re trying to make positive change in every aspect of their lives, and that’s not always an easy thing to do.

Thank you, Jocelyn and Jarvis, for sharing your story with us! And for the beautiful day we spent at your place! Thanks for watching! Mat & Danielle


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Creating A Tiny Off-Grid Cabin At The Farm – A 320 Sq. Ft. Guest House!

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It has always been a dream of ours to build a tiny, self-sufficient, off-grid cabin at the farm.  In fact, for those that have followed us for years, you might remember our original plan back in 2013 to do just

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Fantasy cottage by the sea

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Do you remember the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel? Well, if they had a house today, this would be it! Located next to the ocean in Vancouver BC, this 600 square foot cottage is so unique on the outside, the first thing you notice is the roof, high pitched and covered by custom made cedar shakes. Next are the windows and doors, all locally sourced and made.

Once you pass through the gorgeous front door, you are immediately struck with the contemporary look of the finish. It was designed to be functional as well as beautiful. The loft bedroom is spacious enough for a queen size bed, and the tall ceiling makes it easy to walk around without having to crouch.

Living in a small castle myself, I can appreciate the fact that people will stop and look at your house if you live in an unusual house, ours is a bit more private than this is though since it’s right on the water, passing boats have a magnificent view of this cute tiny house.

Watch and enjoy!


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Perfect little fixer-upper – $13,000

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Room with a view, a home for two

It’s an historic cottage in Wales, a listed building, that will make an ideal, tiny off-grid home for someone who is very handy with DIY.  The fixer-upper £10,000 UK pounds, about $13,000 at today’s rates, and despite its downtown location it truly has no Utility power or water. This is very rare in the UK, because the European Union has done its best to bring Utility power to every nook and cranny.

The one room building in Menai Bridge, with a view of the local Suspension Bridge, is about the size of three king-size beds. But that is plenty of room if you are clever – put your bed on a platform, and underneath it could be your well, either fed from a spring if you are lucky , or else from the roof into an underground tank you could dig easily,

Menai Bridge is a small town and community on the Isle of Anglesey in north-west Wales. It overlooks the Menai Strait and lies by the Menai Suspension Bridge, built in 1826 by Thomas Telford, just over the water from Bangor.  Guess the average price for a home in this delightful part of Wales?…..Over £230,000 ($300,000).

The white walled house actually has an electricity supply at the moment – a cable from a next door property – but that will be cut off upon sale.

No matter. You can run a few solar panels from the roof, feeding into a small car battery. A ground source heat pump will warm your cockles.  The listed building status might cause a few headaches however as the panels will have to be cunningly disguised, or placed temporarily each day.



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Huge tiny home!

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This has to be the biggest tiny home I’ve seen to date, it’s 37 feet long and 8.5 feet wide, 13.5 feet tall, it weighs in at 19,000 pounds. This is built on a goose-neck trailer base, with a triple axle setup (3000 pound each). It would take a larger truck to pull this.

This thing is a monster! A beautiful monster though, it doesn’t look for feel like a tiny home, I suspect this would be one that you would place somewhere and leave it instead of traveling around with it.

The bathroom is huge, it contains a full size tub & shower and even has a washer/dryer unit built in. I love the stairs, mainly because of the drawers built into each step, and the bottom step can accommodate a full length broom.

One area that is small is the closet, it is very small, there are built in shoe racks, but that’s the best you can say about that. I suppose if you live in a tiny home, even one this grand, you will still need to be a bit of a minimalist. 🙂

Watch the video and let me know what you think about this tiny home.


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Modern vs retro tiny home

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From ultra modern to a retro 50s look, you can have just about any look and style you wish in a tiny house.

My first thought when I looked at this tiny house is it’s inside out, though it’s really not. The outside looks like you can attach many different things to it, very modular, not sure if in fact you could do that, I can see a planter box being held in a groove, one of many on the outside.

The inside of this tiny home has very clean lines, it has an uncluttered appearance, with most parts hidden behind walls & doors. I love the sideways Murphy bed, it gives me ideas as to what we can do with an extra full size mattress that is being stored behind the couch in the living room in the SkyCastle.

Watch and enjoy

Then there is the 50s themed tiny home. With the shake shingles on the outside and the retro green color all the way through, this tiny house begs to have a housewife in pearls and a frilly apron baking cookies in the full size stove.

I LOVE the vintage refrigerator and the metal trim on the shelf & counter edges. The clever way the stairs are built into the tiny dining table. I do have to wonder how long the hydraulic pistons for the bed will last, how hard are they to replace and how hard are they to find? I’m guessing the builder has a line on those and as long as that builder is still in business, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Watch and enjoy

Which look do you prefer? The vintage retro look or the sleek, clean, ultra modern look?


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Australians realise they are overhousing themselves

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Australian tiny home on wheels in outback

Australians are freeing themselves

Over a century ago, Australia’s 1911 census registered the average household as 4.5 persons, compared to the average today of 2.6, yet Australian homes have increased a staggering 40 per cent in size since 1984. The average family home has increased from 162 square metres to a whopping 227 square metres.  Just because they can.

Now news articles call on Australia’s middle classes to imagine owning a home under $100k, living completely unplugged, and moving it to a new location in retirement … being debt free in a flexible creative community, with an abundance of leisure time.

Its a big country with a tiny population and consequently, according to the WWF Living Planet Report of 2008, the Australian ecological footprint  on the earth is 2.8. That measure in layman’s terms is that they are using 2.8 times more resources than the earth can sustain.

As well as one of the largest building footprints in the world Australians send out an average of 18 tonnes of carbon per household.

This is all a backlash from the previous century where six or seven people packed in  a 2-bedroom house.

If those stats aren’t enough, Australians are also among the longest commuters in the world, above New York and LA.

Architecturally-designed eco homes, solar-panelled, moveable, self-sufficient, are the new status symbol. Time to relax and enjoy the family, or grow vegetables, instead of being gridlocked in a traffic jam.

It’s all possible. Most baby boomers have moved on from our gas guzzling cars of the 70s and 80s, to smaller, smarter economical ones.

Why wouldn’t they do that with homes when they are not sustainable?  Anyone scrolling through social media or Instagram lately, or watching lifestyle television shows, would be aware of eco or small homes popping up all over the place.

Some look like pods from Mars and others gypsy caravans on wheels, but the trend is being dictated by an awareness of a lower carbon footprint and a foreboding sense of our finite energy reserves.

I hazard a guess here, but nobody in Australia will be selling a 400-square metre home in 10 years’ time!

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Build your tiny home like a boat

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It’s a funny thing, I had always thought people who built tiny homes, especially the portable ones did build their homes like a boat, water tight, flexible, but I suppose I was wrong about that assumption.

Tiny home like a boat
There are different approaches to building, it’s like the old saying, everything looks like a nail if you are a hammer… so if you are a carpenter, you will build as a carpenter does, which is not the same way you would build for a marine environment.

Building a home that is also your vehicle, you need something that will flex without cracking or breaking, no nails were used, it is all mortised, glued and screwed. This tiny home built on a truck is a one of a kind, it’s filled with unique beautiful and useful items, I really love their stove! It does seem tight and cramped, maybe it’s the table that sticks out in the middle, I think I’d shrink that down or make it where it folds out of the way, just my personal observation, obviously they live with it just fine.

He mentions gypsies, this does have a gypsy feel and look to it. Watch and enjoy, let me know what you think below 🙂


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Ten Tiny House Companies you NEED to know about

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Tiny House, off-grid, build your own, retirees, retirement, small, mini, houses, homes, self sustaining

Good things come in tiny packages

There’s no doubt about it, the tiny house movement has well and truly taken off. Please let us know your favorites ( Extreme downsizing has become very popular, with a smaller space offering easier upkeep and lower utility bills. The average tiny house is 186 square feet – truly tiny! With prices of building your own tiny home being around $23,000 on average (remember Joseph’s upcycled shipping container home?) it’s not hard to see why it’s so popular. Even having someone else build you a tiny house, prices start around the $45,000 mark. This is a great deal cheaper than the price of the average American home which runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Therefore, a good many tiny house owners do not have a mortgage, giving financial peace of mind.

A survey conducted in 2015 by found that retirees are becoming a large proportion of tiny house owners. The results showed that 30% of just 2,000 respondents were aged between 51-70 years. Of course this makes sense, as people reach retirement age downsizing is common practice – and you can’t downsize much more than a tiny home! When looking for a tiny house when you’re not as young and nimble as you used to be, it is important to look out for certain features. These include: easy to reach storage to reduce awkward stooping and stretching; a single storey tiny house, or a main floor bedroom – avoid loft sleeping areas with ladders! Accessibility is also important; whether this be wide doorways, walk in showers, ramp access or building low to the ground.

Here are ten tiny house companies, offering retiree appropriate (and non-retiree) products which could very well seal the deal for you!


Zyl Vardos Inc – Washington State

Based out of the Squirrel Hut mini-office in Olympia, Washington, Zyl Vardos builds unique and customisable small structures. The tiny house products offered vary in price from $45,000 to above $96,000. Currently their website showcases 10 of the tiny houses offered, but if you fancy having one designed to your own specification, that is also possible.

Their “Little Bird” Basic option is one of build options available. Coming in at $68,000, with a  22 ft x 8 ft floor space, this home has a copper roof and cedar exterior. With a single French door, 6 windows and a kitchenette, this tiny house has everything you would need. The bed nook happily fits a queen mattress, with room to spare, and a flush or compost toilet can be fitted.

If you would like to upgrade to the “Advanced” option of the Little Bird you can – for an extra $10,000. This upgraded model includes a tiled bathroom floor, oak floors, double French doors, expanded kitchen storage amongst other features. Custom options for a retiree such as wider doorways and a raised toilet can be included at an additional feel.

Zyl Vardos have a building slot available in June 2017, so if this has piqued your interest or you want to let your imagination run free with your own design – contact them. Their YouTube Channel, also gives some great insights into their range of tiny houses!

Tumbleweed Houses – Colorado State

A variety of options await you with the ability to design your perfect tiny house in less than 10 minutes! Base model prices begin at $62,950, with the Cypress and its recess porch being the most popular. Each model can either be 20ft or 26ft in length, offering 188 square feet and 269 square feet of space respectively.  The floor plan options can be customised to your needs, so you can truly put your stamp on the build.

Designing your own tiny house involves you choosing everything from roof colour and window style to interior walls and extra features. Oak, Bamboo or Walnut flooring – the choice is yours! Cabinet colour? Which stairs to get to the loft? Warranty length? All of these choices and many more are placed directly in your hands, giving you a quote for the exact tiny house of your dreams. Off-grid options are also available.

Check out their gallery for some images of what some people have done with their amazing tiny spaces.


Escape Home – Wisconsin

This company offers a variety of RV model and park model RVs, which come with basic and custom packages. One of the larger park model options, the Getaway has 400 square foot of space. It comes with a full size bathroom, kitchen with all appliances and private bedroom with queen size bed. The beauty of this home is it is all on one floor, so no pesky stairs or ladders to bother with. Panoramic windows offer breath-taking views to the great outdoors, with the option of an open deck, screened porch or even a sun-room for that extra oomph. Retailing at $88,700, this is a more expensive option, but offers a larger space with plenty of storage and all the comforts of home.

Off-grid options like solar panels and composting toilets can also be added into the designs offered. Depending on the model and customisation options, your Escape can be built in as little as two months and can be delivered to you (charges variable).

To find out more, visit the FAQ section on the Escape website to get into the nitty gritty of these tiny houses.


Little House on the Trailer – California

Offering compact moveable, customisable housing and home care cottages from $49,500 what’s not to like? Although, technically Little House on the Trailer is not a tiny house company, the models they build are still on the small side at 400 square feet. The home care cottages are aimed at retirees, allowing parents to live in the backyards of their kids, whilst still having their independence and own space. The selling point of this company is the heavy involvement of the client with the design of the homes. The time it takes from design to delivery is on average 2-3 months. If you fancy seeing one of the models, their display yard is open Saturdays 10 am to 4 pm.

To see more of the beautiful small spaces Little House on the Trailer builds, take a look at their gallery!


Home Care Suites – Florida

Tiny House, tiny home, self sustaining, small, mini, retirees, retirement, off-grid

Surprisingly spacious – tiny homes offer a lot for their money.

Like Little House on the Trailer, this company specialises in building small cottages in the backyards of existing residents. Therefore, they are built on permanent foundations and the utilities are tied to the main residence. Aimed mostly at retirees, these tiny houses are also marketed as potential home offices or man caves! Ranging in size from 256 square foot to 588 square foot, there can be ample room inside these tiny houses.

Aiming for the middle ground, the single storey Floridian model comes in at a nicely sized 448 square feet. With a spacious living area, private bedroom with walk in closet, accessible bathroom with walk-in shower, this has everything you could possibly need. It is also fully customisable, so added extras are also possible. The price for this model is $85,000 – $100,000 depending on options chosen. The minimum price for their smallest tiny house is $55,000. These tiny homes typically take between 5 – 6 months to build.

Check out Home Care Suites’ floor plans to see if any are right for you, or even just for a bit of inspiration!


Minim Homes – Washington

Not as flexible as some of the other companies mentioned, the Minim House comes as a standard basic home unit. It does however have a few options for customisation. The 12 foot by 24 foot space has an aluminium clad door, six windows and a solid walnut floor. The kitchen area has a stainless sink with foot pedals for hot and cold water, whilst the 4 foot by 6 foot bathroom has a separate walk in shower. A low flush toilet comes as part of the build, or the customer can install a compost toilet at a reduced price. There are plenty of handy storage areas, for instance, the 5 foot sofa opens up to reveal hidden storage space.

Options to add on to the home include a trailer, extra windows and an off –grid package of solar system and refrigerator. The price for this mini home is $71,000 and can be delivered to you for an extra cost.

Check out this pdf document for more on what’s included in the Minim House and prices for optional extras.


Shopdog – New Mexico

This company builds tiny houses to suit any design and need and are fully customisable. However, there is one condition – it has to be fully off-grid and self-sustaining. Plus, they aim to build the whole thing out of recycled materials (or as much of it as they can). This is what they achieved with the “Steely Cottage”, a 200 square foot space built on a 24 foot by 8.5 foot trailer. With a self-contained solar system, a composting toilet and grey water drainage system, this tiny house can go absolutely anywhere. As long as there’s sunshine and water to fill the tank of course! Plus, with its full size shower and queen size mattress bed, who says good things don’t come in small packages! The Steely Cottage costs $50,000 and can be shipped for a fee.


Nelson Tiny Houses – British Columbia, Canada

This company offers two main styles of tiny house, the V House and the Acorn. From these the company can build something customised entirely by you. V is for versatile and that certainly suits the V House down to a T! A 120 square foot (8 foot by 15 foot) V House comes in at $35,000. However, this can be made larger – up to 250 square foot – double the size! Typically, each additional square foot is around $200.

Built to your specific needs, your tiny house can be furnished with custom built furniture. Alternatively, you can adapt the original floor plan to add rooms or multiple lofts for more storage. Really very versatile! Plus, the tiny house can be built to be fully off-grid. However the price tag does increase up to $10,000 for this. Typical building time for one of these projects is between 12 and 24 months depending on the specification.  Currently, the company only delivers to certain states in the US – Washington, Idaho and Montana.

Check out a tour of the V House, plus check out the Nelson Tiny House YouTube Channel!

Tiny Home Builders – Florida

Another company with a variety of models, which can be delivered nationwide! One model is even named “Tiny Retirement”. Designed specifically for retirees it is based on a single level – no stairs in sight! Plus, with the entryway located at one end of the building, this allows space for a bathroom at the other. This leaves plenty of room  in the rest of the space for a full size bed!

However, if you don’t want to buy a model with “retirement” in the title, the Tiny Studio model can be customised to your needs instead. Options such as slip resistant flooring and a ramp are available! This tiny house has 160 square foot of space with kitchen and dining space on a slightly raised level. Underneath this platform there is a roll-away bed which becomes seating space when put away. Plus, being built on a mobile trailer, the tiny studio can go anywhere – just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stay in one place!


Creative Cottages – Maine

Last but by no means least is Creative Cottages, which create custom energy efficient homes using environmentally sensitive building practices. Their Oceanside Retreat is a beautifully crafted 422 square feet which is liveable all year round. A single storey layout, with bedroom, kitchen and bathroom facilities, whilst the sliding glass doors ensure there is lots of natural light, making it bright and airy. Custom built on foundations, this is a more expensive option compared to the other choices outlined above, coming in at $238,000.

Creative Cottages also only services the Mid-coast Maine area. However, there is the option to buy plans from them (at a cost of between £1,850 and $2,300) and hire a contractor to build your very own creative cottage elsewhere.


These are just some of the tiny house building companies out there. It is clear there is a wide range of scope and creativity when it comes to building these mini homes. But it is easy to understand why so many people have fallen in love with them.

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Upcycling: Keep the old & turn it into something new

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Off-grid, Upcycling, reusing, green,

Upcycling refashions the old into something new!

We live in a throw-away society. A culture based on how much “stuff” we have. The media gears our life towards replacing things because it’s fashionable rather than because we actually need to. It is also causing us to rush headlong into a lack of natural resources.

Recycling is of course an option to help combat the use of natural resources. But that requires more energy and water to break down a product into its base materials before remaking it into something else, normally of lower quality.

Upcycling however is completely green.

It’s not about breaking things down, but simply refashioning it into something new and of the same or perhaps even better quality. The conversion process means nothing gets sent to land fill, requires no extra energy (other than a little elbow grease on your part) and allows you to be creative. By reusing and upcycling products to perform different purposes to what they were intended, you are also saving money. Instead of going out and buying a brand new product, find something you are not using and use your creativity. Voila! Upcycling magic has occurred!

The complete opposite of consumer culture, more or less anything can be upcycled, from furniture to clothing to electronics – the only thing stopping you is your imagination. The same thing doesn’t have to be upcycled in the same way. Take a plastic bottle for instance; this could become a planter for the garden, a bird feeder, a lamp or anything else you can think of.

Old electronics, something that often gives us grief when trying to dispose of, can also be upcycled. Old smartphones can become alarm clocks, or if you’re tech savvy a smartwatch! An old school computer monitor can be cleared of internal wiring and become a fish tank! Or if you remove the screen itself, how about a cat bed? The fan in your old computer can be converted into a regular desk fan with a bit of know-how. Plus, if you’re a fashion fanatic how about some quirky keyboard letter cufflinks or earrings?

Upcycling also encompasses larger projects too.

How about wood pallets becoming a stylish piece of decking or front porch? Or how about going for the ultimate upcycle – a whole home!

Shipping containers are becoming a popular option to upcycle into a tiny home. Although you’re unlikely to come across these 8ft wide by 8ft tall containers for free (expect to pay around the $3000 mark for each one), they offer a good opportunity for an upcycle project! Rylan and Brook Naylor, took two of these containers and have converted them into a home. Although not completely off-grid they are hoping that in the coming years they will be.

Canadian Joseph Dupuis bought three shipping containers and did succeed in turning them into a 355 square foot off-grid home. Located 35 miles west of Ottawa Canada, Joseph’s off-grid container cabin is powered by a two kilowatt solar system and heated by a wood fire stove. The space is completely open plan and is designed to be dismantled, so it can be moved and erected in a new location. The whole project (excluding the solar system) cost Joseph $20,000. Having lived in his container cabin for two years, Joseph is looking to sell to give someone else a taste of upcycled off-grid living.

To have a guided tour by Joseph himself, visit:

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Tiny house build in Alaska

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I’ve never been to Alaska, I live in what most would consider a challenging place to live, on an undisclosed mountainside in the high desert of far west Texas… but I have to give props to those who live year round in Alaska, those are some really tough people 🙂

The people have to be tough, and their homes have to be equally as tough, this tiny house is built very to withstand the wilds of Alaska and honestly has most (if not all) of the amenities I would want to have. I thought that having an elevator bed, one that would go up and down would be a great idea, apparently someone else had the same thought and actually did it. This works and works great!

I really love the amount of open space as well as the storage space. Each space has been well thought out and is multi-functional, most components have at least 2 to 3 functions each, I’d say that this tiny home is the pinnacle of all the tiny homes I’ve seen to date.


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Tiny house in BC

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This tiny house has a rustic beauty that I like, the wood and corrugated metal makes me smile, it reminds me of the old barns and homes out here in far west Texas. The warm look is mirrored by the tight envelope created by a soy based foam insulation, allowing the home to be heated by an equally tiny marine style heater.

This tiny house is designed to be self sufficient with solar power, 12 volt goodies to run fully off grid, or you can hook up to regular 110v power. I might have changed the tiny sitting area and made it more of a wider bench so that it can seat more people and be used as a guest bed.

I do like the mudroom entrance, giving you some separate space before you enter the main space. I also like the ladder design. The closet is great, it’s large, often that is lacking in the tiny homes, but not in this one.

The wet bathroom is something I would like in my home, it creates more space for taking a shower, another thing that is usually lacking in a tiny home, this is designed very well.

Enjoy the video tour


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Ford Ranger tiny house

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I love YouTube for the plethora of entertainment as well as the educational value, just about anything you would want to learn can be found there. Today I found 2 tiny home videos, one of which really hits home for me. That would be the tiny home build on a Ford Ranger pickup truck. For those of you who aren’t familiar, a Ford Ranger is a small, very small pickup truck, there is nothing full sized about it. The reason it really tugged at me was I got my mother’s Ford Ranger after she passed away, she didn’t have many possessions, but had told my sister and I that when she passed away, which ever of the two of us needed it worse would get it, that fell to me as my vehicle had just bit the dust and I was in real need of a reliable vehicle. Several years later when we were moving to our off grid home, we traded it for a classic VW Beetle (bug) knowing it would last longer on our rough roads out here, I do miss driving that little truck.

The second video about tiny homes features a small trailer build, it’s 60 square feet, but contains everything you would need in an aerodynamic and tasty package. I like the corrugated metal siding, it’s my kind of style, he even calls it “the outhouse” LOL. It contains a couch/bed, a kitchen, a shower and composting toilet, and a big screen TV, there is lots of room in this very small space. I don’t know if I could LIVE in such a small space, but it would be great for traveling around, living part time.

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Return of the Scottish Hut

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Hut, Scotland, Building Regulations, Bothies, Off Grid

Huts or bothies were part of Scotland’s culture since early C20th.

If you fancy buying an inexpensive off-grid getaway in Europe – try Scotland.

The government announced changes to their building regulations early this year. This will include huts of up to 30m² becoming exempt from regulations, specifically aimed at making it simple for people to achieve a life off the grid.

In a few months, you could be gazing out from a building like the one in the picture for less than $25,000 inclusive.

Scotland has a strong hutting culture dating back to the early 20th century; it was only 60 years ago that this began to dwindle. The largest remaining hut community in Carbeth, near Glasgow, managed to weather this decline. The community bought the land on which their 140 huts stand in 2013. But now resurgence is happening, thanks mainly to the campaign A Thousand Huts championed by the environment organisation Reforesting Scotland.

This organisation recognises the benefits of hut life, offering a retreat for rest, recreation, enjoying nature and making memories with family. Alongside use as a base for outdoor activities, huts contribute to sustainable development and encourage learning new skills. Reforesting Scotland have been lobbying for changes to the law for some time and are keen to encourage more people to adopt the hut lifestyle. Now changes to building regulations are being finalised this year, more people can benefit from having their own off-grid getaway.

Scottish planning (zoning) policy requires all developments to get planning permission for a new build from their local authority. This involves providing a description of plans on the chosen location. This part of the process will not change and will still have to take place.

However, single storey huts will no longer need a building warrant or have to comply with strict building regulations. This gives hut builders more freedom in how they build their huts and can significantly reduce building costs. There are still some rules which will have to be met.

Firstly, the build must fit the description of a hut as given in Scottish Planning Policy documents, which is as follows:

“A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation, having an internal floor area of no more than 30m²; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life.”

By restricting size, the risk of structural instability of the hut is reduced but its energy efficiency is maximised.

Secondly, some health and safety regulations will have to be met, for example relating to fire risk and spread. A guidance document outlining these will be published by Reforesting Scotland later this year.

The Scottish Government has also allowed provision for a sleeping platform and amenities such as composting toilets within the hut. In terms of energy use and production, off-grid solutions such as solar panels and micro wind turbines are most desirable, however these are location dependent.

There are hutting cultures in other locations, such as the Scandinavian countries. However, these seem to be growing in size and elaborateness. The aim of this policy development in Scotland is to take people back to basics and off the grid.



More information can be found here:

A Guide to the Planning System in Scotland can be found here:

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Creating A Tiny Cabin In A Garage – A 264 Square Foot Guest House

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Although it may not have a trailer base, wheels, or the ability to move – the 250 foot square foot tiny cabin we are creating in the extra space of our garage certainly would qualify as tiny house living. We  wanted to create a private space at the

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Tiny Houses And The People Who Live In Them Infographic

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Tiny Houses And The People Who Live In Them Infographic


Today’s infographic Monday  I have one from The Tiny Life Blog on tiny houses. They spent several hundred hours crunching data on tiny houses to come up with an infographic. 


More Tiny House People Are Mortgage Free

I want to break out a few numbers to discuss. 68% of tiny house people over 29.3 % of all us homeowners have no mortgage. More than half of us tiny house dwellers do not pay rent or a mortgage. That is a huge difference. More than double. The freedom you gain without paying a mortgage is amazing. For many, it can free you up to not work a job you hate. You can work a job you love or work fewer hours so you can spend more time with your loved ones. 


No Debt

I love this statistic. 89% of those that live in a tiny house have less credit card debt than average American’s. 65% of us, myself included, have zero credit card debt. If you believe like me that debt is slavery then this should give you hope. Many are realizing they have been fed a lie and escaping. The trend of getting a bigger and bigger house all the while drowning in debt is dying. 

Not Just The Young

If you think that just us youngsters are building tiny houses the giving the system the finger you are wrong. 2 out of 5 tiny house owners are over 50 years old. That comes out to 38% of tiny house people. The 40~50-year-old group has the lowest percentage with only 18%. So it would seem the older and wiser you get the more you realize the need to beat the system with a tiny house. 







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How to Make a Trailer into a Suitable Camper

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How many times have you seen a travel trailer zooming by on the interstate and thought, “Boy, I wish I could travel in one of those?” It may not be as unreachable a dream as you think. Even though most of the ‘silver palaces’ of the 1940s–1960s are gone, and modern RVs are prohibitively expensive, there is another option.

Cargo trailers, like the Endura Cargo Trailer by Hillsboro Industries, can be easily converted and customized into a comfortable tiny home on wheels.

Advantages of Cargo Trailer Conversion

  • Fully-customizable – Classic travel trailers were designed to serve a different lifestyle, and may not be suitable for modern living. Many feel like dark, claustrophobic spaces. Cargo trailers are an empty, open space, just waiting to be built to your specific needs. Straight-hitch trailers can run from fourteen to twenty-eight feet in length. Fifth-wheel models vary between fourteen and thirty-four feet. Cargo trailers come in a variety of widths and heights, unlike pre-built travel trailers, and include many options for the numbers and types of doors and windows.
  • Less expensive – Starting costs for a customized cargo trailer are considerably less than an RV.
  • New – With a brand-new cargo trailer, there are no concerns over the condition of the frame, exterior, or electrical systems. When you buy a used travel trailer, you’re never sure of the condition it’s in.
  • Lighter – Aluminum, double-wall construction is light, stronger and more durable than steel. You can control how much weight you want to add to your mobile home-away-from-home.
  • Unobtrusive – Many people prefer using a cargo trailer because it attracts less attention. Traditional RVs may be subject to restrictions on where they can be parked, but those restrictions do not apply to cargo trailers.

Things to Consider First

] The first decision that must be made is, how will the trailer be used? Do you want to live in it full-time year round, or only as an alternative to a tent when camping in the great outdoors? How much do you want to spend? How much time and effort do you want to invest in the project? What climate zones do you plan to visit in your customized RV? What functional areas are most important to have in your trailer? What conveniences do you require?

External Functionality

Most cargo trailers include a standard side door and double rear doors. However, if you want the option of an outdoor room, or you want to use your RV as a toy hauler, consider buying a trailer with a rear ramp door. If you arrange supports to lower your ramp door so that it is level with the floor of the trailer, you can create an instant outdoor deck. Some people prefer to live in a trailer with no windows, or small windows set high up along the walls. This design is optimal if being unobtrusive is an important feature. In this case, you might want to consider installing small skylights.

Insulation Is Key to Comfort

One-inch aluminum studs are readily available and would support both rigid and soft foam insulation in walls and ceiling. However, insulation in the floor will be the most important factor in keeping the heat in during the winter, and out during the summer, especially if you plan on living in the RV full-time. Installing studs and internal walls are also necessary if you wish to install plumbing, additional electrical features (like outlets and specific lighting), and propane lines for furnaces and ovens.

Many Design Options Available for Wall Panels and Flooring

Many people choose aluminum panels or 3/8” wood panels for walls, but pre-fabricated wall panels are available in hardboard, MDF, fiberglass and vinyl with almost any decorating style including brick, tile, bead board, wood planks, and 3-D textures. Subfloor panels should be at least 3/4” thick, or the floor will feel spongy when you walk on it. Once that is installed, almost any type of flooring would work well, including vinyl flooring, wood parquet tiles, or small ceramic tiles. Another quick, easy and attractive option is to paint the subfloor with a few coats of marine varnish and leave it bare.

Utilities Needed

If you plan on living in your camper full-time, you will probably want both a furnace and an air-conditioner. Choose appliances that are designed for use in an RV. Used appliances can often be found in good condition if you are on a budget. Plumbing will be crucial if the trailer is your main residence. Most campgrounds offer public showers, so you may not require one of those in your trailer, but at least one sink and a toilet are important. PVC works great in RVs, and supplies can be found at almost any hardware store.

The principles of gravity are simple and almost anyone can install their own plumbing lines. Tanks for fresh, gray and black water add weight and take up space. If you design the drainage lines at the correct angle of descent, you can avoid installing tanks altogether. Most campgrounds provide sewer and water hook-ups. Since you’ll never know the quality of the water before you arrive at a campsite, installing a small water filter is a good idea. Also, look for a water heater that is designed for RV use. If you do want a shower, you might want to search for a used one from an old RV. Installing gas lines to the propane tanks is a job best left to professionals, though, so keep that in mind.


Most campgrounds provide 120V and 240V electrical hook-ups, so once you’ve installed basic electrical wiring and outlets, you can fill your customized cargo trailer with whatever standard appliances you prefer. Small or medium-sized refrigerators, microwave and convection/toaster ovens make the most sense. Propane RV oven-stoves are also popular.

Off-Grid Living

If you don’t plan on berthing your new converted RV in a campground, there are a number of options like solar panels, chemical toilets, tent showers and other features you could install to save money and energy.

Interior Design

Once the basics are installed in your converted trailer, the real fun begins. Many people install customized shelving and platform or bunk beds. One unique idea is to use a pop-up trundle bed in conjunction with a daybed. During the day the daybed acts as a sofa. At night it converts into a king-sized bed. Not many RVs, even the really expensive ones, can support any bed larger than a queen-sized mattress. Multipurpose and convertible furniture ideas will also help make your new residence more livable.

No Limits

With the emergence of the tiny home movement and a robust RV industry, once you’ve decided to embark on the cargo trailer conversion adventure, there really are no limits as to the RV you can create. Visit a trailer dealer to see what brand-new, customizable cargo trailers are available and begin the journey.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

The Upside Of Downsizing, The Freedom Of Living Smaller

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I can still remember the looks of shock and disbelief on many of the faces of our friends and family when we told them we were going to build a 1000 square foot home at the farm. Where will put

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Off grid tent living

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This is interesting and unexpected, it’s a 4 season tent,  the video shows it in winter with a blanket of snow.  Unlike a yurt, this really looks like an old style tent,  it reminds me of being in Girl Scouts.

The tent is divided into 4 sections, a sleeping area,  living, kitchen and dining.  It can sleep up to 4 people, though you’d best be good friends or family, there is no privacy to speak of.

The toilet is an outhouse down the trail, one nice thing about an outhouse in winter is less to no odor and no bugs.

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Barn shaped blueberry

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Laura and Rory’s barn shaped blueberry tiny home,  they designed it themselves,  I love the little touches that makes it theirs. With clever ideas,  they have made the most out of the small space they call home.

The gambrel roof is a great idea,  it creates so much more usable space in the loft area,  and the ventilation in the roof area,  it’s something I want to incorporate into the SkyCastle.

Here is their video walk thru, enjoy.

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Breaking Ground On Our Version Of A Tiny Home

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It happened! This past week, after a few years of designing, planning and re-designing, we finally broke ground on our future “Simple House” at the farm. I have to say that for both of us, it was a pretty incredible moment

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She built this

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It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention, well this mom and her three young kids were very much in need of a place to call their own and a purpose & direction. After her divorce, Kelly Lewis decided to build her very own tiny home, she did get help with the shell and a few other things, but for the most part, she and her young children did the majority of the work. Watch and enjoy 🙂

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What is it? Look to find out…

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Kind of cabin, kind of small house, kind of cave-underground home, this house has it all. I love the color concepts and the design of the home. This truly is a man cave, but in the most tasteful way.



And the views from this tiny abode, well you just have to watch to believe.

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Veg-oil powered bus

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“Buses convert really well to motor homes…” says Jade, a builder who transformed a school bus into his beautiful home on wheels. The first thing you notice is all the warm, buttery wood, but even with that much wood, it’s not too much for the senses, he really has a magical touch for building and decorating.

Watch and enjoy

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High end tiny house

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Most of the tiny homes I have seen are built on a tight budget, this one was built with more high end features in mind, it looks fantastic, coming in at around $77,000, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

I love the stairs in this one, and the loft, it just looks very comfortable and well built. Jeff Hobbs has taken his skills a cabinet maker and boat builder to make this tiny home a masterpiece of beauty and efficiency.

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Tiny home in 40 days

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Pascal and Catherine built their tiny home in 40 days and live in it as their second home. This tiny home is very cute and has thoughtful touches to make the tiny space seem bigger, th001 I personally like the white along with the wood, it looks clean & sleek. I also love the tiny wood burning stove.


You can learn more and follow them here

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No debt

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No Debt

As I watched this video, listening to Karen and Bob describing their life in the home they built themselves, the one phrase that really jumped out at me was “no debt”. That was their main motivation. I know (from personal experience) that they did most if not all of the work themselves, which is one of the biggest money eating parts of building, you would have to buy the materials anyhow, but doing the work yourself means YOU know what is in your place, no one else has cut corners unknown to you, I think it’s great!

I love the look and style of their home, it is warm and inviting. Watch and enjoy.

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School teacher’s tiny home build

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Tiny home

When I was a little girl, my dad had converted our single car wide garage in our home into a dining room on one end and my bedroom on the other end. He built in a small closet, I remember taking everything out of the closet and pretending that space was my home, my hideaway. I would climb into the top shelf of the closet, that was the best spot, it felt safe and it was all mine.

I get that same feeling when I look at these tiny homes, of course they have lots more room than my little closet, but the sentiment is the same, it’s safe and it’s yours.

This tiny home is a real custom job, created over a period of years using about 80% recycled, repurposed material, working on weekends and summers, Ian and Jessie put together a really interesting home. I love the kitchen since they used full sized equipment, I could really cook there.

The one place where they deviated from most tiny homes is the toilet, many prefer using composting toilets, theirs is a plumbed flush toilet, I suppose you have to draw the line somewhere, and that was their line (grin).

I like the use of windows, light and the high ceiling to give the feel of more space than is actually there. Watch the video and enjoy this tiny home.

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Creating A Simple Home Design To Live With Less – Comfortably

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Today starts the first official installment of “Building The Simple House”, our 12 month series on designing, building and creating our home at the farm. Over the next year, we will publish an article every two weeks covering the entire process from start to finish. From permits to plans, construction of the foundation, walls and full exterior – right down to creating and pouring our own concrete counter tops and finishing off the interior – our hope is to document the challenges, trials, tribulations and excitement of building “The Simple House.” Our goals for the house are simple and straightforward:  Design and build – as much as possible on our own – a minimal cost, energy-efficient, low maintenance home that utilizes only the space we need. A simple home that allows us to live and enjoy the farm now and forever. There is a tremendous amount of freedom in living with less. In reality, it will allow us to live with so much more.  More freedom to travel, garden, spend time with family and future grandchildren – and not be held captive by the space, energy and expense of a larger home. When it comes right down to it – every person, every couple and every family has different […]

Tiny home documentary

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I really appreciate how tiny homes are becoming more and more mainstream as well as legal, though many still have to “get around” codes and rules by making their tiny homes on wheels, to make them mobile or portable. I worry that some more restrictive locations might catch on and create even more rules or laws against tiny homes.

Meanwhile, Kirsten Dirksen, a filmmaker has traveled around all over the world shooting videos old and new tiny homes, showing us the way different folk live. This documentary is a wonderful eye opening look into just how tiny some people have gone, one lady lives in a 90 square foot apartment and has gotten quite a lot of attention from the press, but there is a man who lives in an even smaller footprint, measuring in at 78 square feet, his apartment in Manhattan is not much more than a space for a couch and bed that folds up behind the couch, most of us have larger closets.

Watch and enjoy.

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Would you live in a parking garage?

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There is so much unused space, especially in the USA, space that was created for one purpose but with fresh eyes, can be used for living space. In many large cities, you will find parking garages, multilevel, covered enclosures meant for parking cars, how about taking the parking garages that are not being used and turn them into homes for people? That’s what this experiment is all about.

Combining tiny homes with a parking garage gives a wonderful space a new life, it lends protection from most of the weather, but it allows light and air to come in. There is space for the tiny homes as well as communal spaces for gardening, gathering, eating and the such.

Think of it as high rise apartments without the apartments, it’s much more people friendly, I think it’s a great concept, one that I hope takes off. Enjoy the 3 videos below.

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One Step Closer To The Dream – The House Building Journey Begins

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Sometimes, things just simply happen for a reason – especially when you least expect it. With a lot on our plates for the next 6 months, including the book release in January and subsequent tour in the early spring – we had made the decision to hold off breaking ground on the house until late 2016 or early 2017. We decided instead to look into building our garage over the winter or spring, and at the very least have a place to store things for the eventual house build. And then fate stepped in. As we left the farm one evening, Mary asked me to stop in to a nearby store to pick up a copy of the local paper for an article on the kid’s football team. And that little stop sent the entire house building project into full gear – all thanks to a little brochure placed at the checkout counter. As we stood in line to pay,  I noticed a Weaver Barns brochure laying on the counter – it caught my eye because the little cabin and barn on the front cover had the look and feel of our existing barn and chicken coop we had built at the farm. So as we […]