Tiny Houses, Large Dividends

by Nik on April 21, 2014 · 3 comments

in Housing

Would you like to own your own houseyet be able to take it with you, if you must move out of the city, or out of state? 

A tiny house may be a good choice for your future.

What Are They?

These small houses, built on heavy-duty trailers, range from a few hundred square feet in space to considerably more. They include kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and often lofts that stretch the space even more.

     What’s especially interesting: for most states in the U.S. (perhaps all), if they’re built on a trailer, these small houses are not considered permanent construction. So you don’t need a permit! You can also use a wider variety of building materials to cut costs, without worrying about codes or restrictions. That’s what one young couple did, with their 128-square-foot house (not including loft area). They haunted Craigslist, scavenged items from the dump (and their parents), and ended up building their home for about $10,000. (Their how-we’re-doing-it blogis fun to read, too.)

Materials, Materials 

     One point they make strongly — you can keep costs down by purchasing via Craigslist, or even better, scavenging from the dump. (What ‘greener’ way than to recycle building materials someone threw out?) They bought their trailer secondhand, and scavenged bricks for a woodstove mantel from falling-down buildings near an old railroad. Not only did wood collected this way already have an appealing patina — it was also stronger. Even pallets can be used for building construction, if you have a yen for puzzles and Lego construction. (Just take care not to choose toxic-treated ones.)

Find Out More

     If you’re feeling uneasy about all this, start out small.

      One of several blogs on this subject is called just that: the Tiny House Blog. It has first-person accounts of a growing number of people who built their own tiny homes. Tiny House Design, also known as Faircompanies, gives you more ideas to choose from, as well as several plans for sale. They, like the Tiny House Blog, often feature videos, as well.

     Amazon has a number of excellent books on the subject, including Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn (no plans, but lots of ideas), or the more practical Compact Cabins: Simple Living in 1000 Feet or Less by Gerald Rowan. Books like these not only show what’s been built in the past (Jefferson lived in a tiny house when he first married!), but what’s possible now.

Or take one of the ’Tiny House Workshops’ (from Four Lights) taught around the country.

 Don’t limit yourself to just your primary residence. Tiny home designs have been used for writing and artist studios, guesthouses, business offices, and even chicken coops. One of the things they do best: weekend and vacation cabins, like the one shown below.

A small home may be your ticket out of debt — and into your own place, debt-free. 

All houses shown in this post, with the exception of the one noted, are from the Tumbleweed Tiny HousescompanyTheir website is here. Plans are available — or purchase the buildings readymade.

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