Anyone who’s worked on a serious construction project knows how important it is to have the right tools. It can mean the difference between endless swearing and frustration – and sitting back with a beer and admiring your handiwork in the evening. We spent some time rounding up the best tools for the job – tools that will save you time, frustration, and most importantly, help you build a better home.
Another fairly straightforward – and straightforwardly beautiful – tiny house from Zyl Vardos! Huge French doors and windows just about everywhere else make Belinda’s Little Bird look like the best dollhouse ever as it sits in this snowy Pennsylvania field.
All those windows really open things up once you cross the threshold, too, so it still feels spacious even though there’s a lot crammed into one level and not many square feet.
The bed will go atop this platform at the end, under a picture window and above some seriously deep storage drawers.
An oven, farmhouse-style sink, and mini-fridge under the near countertop take up most of the space in the kitchen. The lack of overhead cabinetry might get a little annoying, but given the very small area, leaving it out was probably the best option.
All that snow would put you in the mood for a nice long soak in the ofuro style bathtub! There’s a composting toilet across from it.
And, of course, a Zyl Vardos house would hardly be complete without a little stained glass.
The Tiny House Nation guys built this house for a couple who, like so many other tiny house couples, wanted freedom from debt and freedom to travel. But this couple also had a special fondness for flying, and that introduced a few additional challenges for John and Zack. Most were simply aesthetic: the airplane-style aluminum skin, for example, or the ceiling fan that looks like a propeller. But there also had to be a place for a flight simulator. There wasn’t room to do that on the lower level and still have a functional space there, so the setup found its home in the loft, in front of a bed that converts into a couch when it’s time to practice.
A house divided against itself? Despite appearances, this Oregon structure is composed of two trailers joined together, not one split apart, and it’s standing just fine. Credit for the build goes to Tiny House Nation and Canadian firm Sunspace Sunrooms, who were responsible for the covered porch in the middle. It’s an interesting idea that effectively fits a courtyard-like area, semi-outdoors but still private, into a very small house. The trailers themselves hold the more conventional spaces – living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – and will be home to a family of four.
Here’s an interesting Tiny House Nation project: a faux stone sided home built for a Tennessee family of three in collaboration with local outfit Triple B Construction. The couple was going for a gothic castle look, but as it turned out that didn’t entirely fit into 480 square feet – or their budget – so what they got ended up looking more like an old country church. Still kind of goth, if not gothic, with a nicely atmospheric interior highlighted by a central staircase going up to one of the loft bedrooms.
The last MitchCraft related item we brought you concerned new employee Ken Leigh, whose very attractive fifth wheel 32-footer had sort of followed him to work one day… (It’s still for sale, by the way.) Back then we wondered if Ken’s hiring meant we’d be seeing more in that vein from MitchCraft, but now Mitch has come out with something exactly half that size. (Well, anyone who remembers the adobe THOW he unveiled at the 2016 Tiny House Jamboree will agree that the man has a certain flair for the unexpected.) It’s a 16-foot model sold for $39,000 to a client named Jessica, and it’s a testament to Mitch’s design genius that the only time it actually looks that small is when you’re admiring the charmingly birdhouse-like blue exterior.
It has way more counter space (oak butcher block, no less) than a house this size has any business with, plus a three-burner propane range and a 4.5-cubic-foot refrigerator/freezer. The white seats on the sides slide back into the end cabinet when not in use; when it’s time to eat, the wooden board in the middle slides out to become a dining table. The broad shelf at the end could serve as a reading nook, but it’s also large enough to hold an extra bed.
Looking in the other direction, the kitchen ends in the pine bead board wall enclosing the bathroom. Above it is a 16-square-foot sleeping loft.
Inside the bathroom a Nature’s Head composting toilet faces a 36-inch fiberglass shower stall supplied by either a 30-gallon tank or an RV-style hookup. A propane-powered PrecisionTemp tankless unit heats the water.
Seeing the beautiful Creative Animal Foundation Tiny House recently reminded us that it’s been nearly a year since 84 Lumber started building tiny houses. We profiled their first build, the Roving, when it came out; now let’s take a look at what they’ve come up with since then. We’ll start with the Countryside, which is what the Creative Animal Foundation house was based on.
84 has definitely taken tiny to heart; while it’s their largest model, at 203 square feet the Countryside is still a relatively compact THOW. Nevertheless, a high cathedral ceiling and the placement of all the functional areas – kitchen, storage couch, dining table, bathroom – along the walls has left the main room feeling pleasantly roomy.
While the first floor manages to look it, the loft actually is bigger than many, with room for a queen bed and clothes storage. Like 84’s other models, the Countryside can be had as a trailer + plans combo, a shell, or a finished house; prices are from $7,000 / $32,000 / $80,000 respectively.
The Degsy is smaller at 160 square feet and features modern styling and oversized windows. It costs $7,000 / $25,000 / $70,000.
Since this is a single-level house that has to fit everything onto one floor, you don’t get a large amount of open space; you do get some very nice walnut flooring and high ceilings in every room. There’s a kitchenette on one end, a bedroom on the other, and a bathroom off the hallway in the middle.
Lastly (so far) is the Shonsie, a brightly colored cottage-style THOW that can be had in red or blue. Prices are $7,000 / $23,000 / $60,000.
The color choice goes for the shiny epoxy flooring as well as the metal roof. Like the Degsy, the Shonsie is a densely packed place, with the living room doubling as a dining area.
Beyond that is the kitchen, with the bathroom on the other side of the sliding barn door. Here’s how it looks in blue.
The Shonsie does have a loft, and it’s a big one, with 52 square feet of floor space and a comfortable amount of headroom.
Marcia Weber bought this beautiful Soo Line caboose with her then-husband in 1975, after which the couple had a rail bed built for it among the ponds and mountains of their 5-acre northeast Pennsylvania property. They wired it for electricity, but as they were using it as a vacation home they didn’t bother making many other improvements; altogether they only spent about $6,000 (still just $28,000 in today’s money).
The 1909 caboose proved more durable than Marcia’s marriage and career, and after she got divorced and lost her job she moved in full-time, selling almost everything she owned and downsizing from 2,500 to 337 square feet. The lack of space has never bothered her, but the lack of running water and central heating certainly did during her first winter in the caboose!
She has those now, as well as a functional bathroom, a washer and dryer, and a kitchen with a refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher. She also added a deck, but left the old-fashioned interior largely untouched; aside from the appliances, the only addition has been laminate flooring.
Past the comfortable sitting room there are a couple of bunk beds under the cupola.
Marcia says she often climbs the ladder to curl up with a good book during wintertime. (Summers, she read outside on the deck.)
Beyond that is the kitchen, with the bathroom/laundry room all the way at the end to minimize changes to the rest of the interior.
This is not National Lampoon’s Animal House from Universal Pictures – it’s the Creative Animal Foundation’s Tiny House from 84 Lumber’s Tiny Living division. The movie was more fun than a barrel of monkeys; the house is on a mission to save the monkeys, and the planet, through an educational tour that will take it through some 50 cities over the next couple of years. Creative Animal Foundation co-founders Stephanie Arne and Tim Davison will be living inside the 24-foot THOW as they travel around the country to present programs on sustainability, wildlife preservation, and ocean/waterway conservation.
Stephanie & Tim wanted their house to exemplify the ecofriendly message they’re promoting, so they asked 84’s team to emphasize sustainability in the design and materials (many of which were reclaimed or sourced from GreenEdge Supply, another division of 84 Lumber).
The old and new have blended seamlessly here as light from the low-E windows spills from the reclaimed butcher block counters onto brand-new but ecofriendly bamboo floor.
Tim, an accomplished wildlife artist, has reserved a corner for his easel, paints and brushes.
The bathroom features a Nature’s Head composting toilet and a sink made from a repurposed galvanized bucket.
Ana White’s first tiny house, the Quartz, featured a sofa/trundle bed combo. Her latest has a much more spectacular way of maximizing daytime and nighttime space: an elevator bed that the popular DIY blogger created using garage door hardware. During the day it’s out of the way, above a living room with 100 square feet of open space; at night it comes down at the touch of a button. If you have overnight guests, it comes down only halfway so they can sleep on the sofa underneath, bunk bed style. Very neat, and what’s even better is that the setup only cost about $500!
Of course, Ana didn’t stop with an elevator bed, so neither will we. Let’s take a look at the rest of the house.
With no need for stairs, there’s so much space in the middle that it’s still incredibly roomy even with a storage cabinet running all along one side.
Not only that, the cabinet doors fold up to become a dining table or a pair of desks!
Aside from over-and-under cabinets, the kitchen has shelves built into the bathroom wall and a small pantry that slides out from the wooden box to the left. There will be a washer/dryer under the counter to the left of the sink, too.
Did Ana’s penchant for dual-purpose get the better of her in the bathroom? It’s not a big space to begin with, and including a clothes closet has made it positively minuscule. (The closet is normally positioned in the shower; you slide it out over the toilet when you want to bathe.)
There are plenty more ‘Easter eggs’ hidden in this house – find some of them on Ana’s tiny houses page, or watch the 15-minute video below.
The typical American home is over 2000+ square feet in size. A tiny house? Less than 500 square feet. Tiny House for Us brings you the latest news and resources about tiny homes being built around the world, along with for sale listings to help you carve out a life that involves less stuff but more freedom.