This small house is located right on the water of historic Rockport (Massachusetts) Harbor, a site so quaintly charming that it’s a well-known mecca for tourists, artists and photographers. So let’s get one thing out of the way straight off: It’s not cheap. It’s not even pricey. It’s $688,000, i.e., pretty close to fourteen hundred dollars for each of its 496 square feet. Location, location, location, right? But hey, if you can imagine it being transported to some stretch of coast where you could actually afford to live, it’s a pretty nice little place. It’s not nearly as old as the harbor, having been built in 1974, but the Yale-trained architect who designed it took pains to pay tribute to area traditions – and to the lobstermen’s shack that formerly stood on this very site. Aside from a small, chic bathroom, the interior is open-plan, with a classic (and surprisingly unpretentious) nautical style and, of course, lots of windows for those enviable harbor views. From a tiny house standpoint, it has an ample sleeping loft and, although it’s on-grid, makes use of an on-demand water heater and a cast iron stove, both powered by propane.
The granite steps lead up to Rockport’s many restaurants and boutiques.
You can see the Atlantic Ocean from here, as well as the world-famous Motif Number 1.
Premium insulated windows let the lucky owner (an artist) enjoy the view in comfort year-round.
Exposed plywood, exposed plumbing, and what looks a lot like a coffee can utensil holder keep things down-to-earth in the kitchen.
The tile-and-glass bathroom’s a different story. (Well, ship’s bathrooms aren’t generally reckoned to be the most charming part of shipboard life!)
Lovely light – and lots of space – in the sleeping loft.
We have to admit: We almost overlooked the Black Pearl, because when we first ran across photos of it we couldn’t figure out what we were looking at. Well, we’re glad we kept looking. The Pearl turns out to be something of a hidden gem, built of reclaimed materials, loaded with appliances, and featuring an intriguing split-level design made possible (and apparently successful) by its 13-foot height. It’s from TAD Homes, an Idaho outfit who may need to work on their marketing (we only learnt their name from a handwritten sign taped to the fridge in one of the photos) but seem to have their tiny house skills down pat in this, their fourth build. They’re selling it for $55,000, but before you check out the listing you might want to check out our photo guide below, where we’ve done our best to put everything in a more logical order and explain what’s going on. You’re welcome!
The 25-foot THOW is attractively finished in black and red with white accents.
This is the living room, with underfloor storage, a pellet stove, and yes, a loft kitchen behind it.
Despite its unusual location, the kitchen seems perfectly functional, holding a fridge, an oven, and a farmhouse sink.
You can see another room underneath it – and when we see that, we worry about headroom.
But it turns out this is the master bedroom, and the ceiling height seems more than adequate for that.
Now, looking over the breakfast bar to the other side of the Black Pearl.
This end holds the bathroom and a sizable closet, and there’s a washer/dryer in there somewhere as well.
Going up the ladder gets you to the nicely carpeted secondary bedroom and a great porthole view of the rest of the house.
It had to happen eventually: a THOW that misses the commonly cited 400-square-foot cutoff for true tiny house status. (Does that make it a SHOW?) The splash on the Timbercraft Tiny Homes website mentions “living large in 150 square feet”, and they did indeed start out with – and still offer – homes in that size range. Lately, though, they (or maybe their customers) have adopted a bigger is better philosophy. They did a very nice 352-square-foot luxury farmhouse earlier this year, and their new Retreat is even larger. A 33-foot gooseneck trailer, plus cantilevers on either end, give it a whopping 416 square feet of floor area. Of course they’ve been able to fit an awful lot inside, including, supposedly, three bedrooms, although as there are no photos of the third one we’re assuming it’s fairly small. Let’s take a look:
Muted colors on the board and batten siding and standing seam metal roof give belie the Retreat’s hugeness.
The rearward view from the French doors shows the living room, kitchen, and larger loft bedroom.
The interior is all pine, painted white on the walls, stained dark on the ceiling, and left yellow for the floors.
The kitchen has all the cabinets and counter space you could want, and – except for a dishwasher – all the full-size appliances you’d find in a regular house.
The stairs lead to the master bedroom; the catwalk apparently goes to the third one. Note the electric fireplace opposite the sofa.
To the left is the laundry room…
…which is also a full bathroom complete with tiled tub, toilet and vanity.
The master bedroom had good headroom and additional storage in the front cantilever.
Here’s a breath of fresh air and a ray of sunshine from Alabama builder Clayton Tiny Homes. It’s a 450-square-foot cottage called the Saltbox, and while the 270-degree view from its living room practically begs for a Gulf Coast beach placement, Clayton will build you one anywhere you’d like in select Southeast and Midwest states (see their website for scheduled availability). They’ll even work with your local zoning authorities to make sure all the paperwork’s in order. They don’t have any exterior photos up yet, but with a standing seam metal roof topping vertical ship lap siding over a horizontal board and batten skirt the Saltbox should look every bit as good outside as it does inside. If you like what you see below, you can also take a 3D tour here.
With top-to-bottom windows on three sides, the large living room makes a lovely place to sit and soak in the sun and scenery.
Beyond the kitchen peninsula, there’s room for a six-seat dining table.
Cabinet and counter space galore!
The bathroom continues the clean, white color scheme and holds a full size vanity sink, flush toilet, and tub.
We’ve seen some wonderful cabins from Washington’s San Juan Islands, and now we’ll have to add this 610-square-footer on Orcas to our list of favorites. Constructed from hand-milled, 100% local lumber and insulated with (presumably nonlocal) denim, it’s located on the highest point of a secluded forested hill but is only a block away from town and the beach.
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.
During his NFL career, Deion Sanders won two Super Bowls and set the record for non-offensive touchdowns. Now he’s probably set some kind of record for downsizing, going from 29,000 square feet to just 600 in this Texas luxury cabin built by John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin of Tiny House Nation. “Prime Time” and his longtime girlfriend Tracey Edmonds designed it together with the Tiny House Nation crew and plan to use it as a private retreat for getting away from it all.
The porch offers another 600 square feet of covered space.
The living room, decorated in the couple’s favorite colors of red, black and grey, focuses on a chimney holding a huge flat screen TV above the fireplace.
Neither Deion nor Tracey does much cooking, so they asked John & Zack to deprioritize the kitchen. (Personally, we’d love to have our kitchen deprioritized like this!)
“Skimping” on kitchen space did leave room for a big bathroom with dual sinks and an open shower stall with multiple shower heads.
The bedroom is simple, sophisticated and spacious.
The roof deck gives Tracey a beautiful place to practice yoga, and it’s also an outdoor movie theater: The awning folds down to become a screen for a projector hidden in the chimney.
Wind River Tiny Homes are best known for their highly individualized THOW designs, such as the Rook and the Chimera, but they also do foundation houses for those lucky enough to live in the Chattanooga area. They call this one the Urban Micro Home (at 650 square feet, we’d normally call it ‘small’). If you like it, there are two ways to get one even if you aren’t near Chattanooga: have Wind River build you a 396-square-foot mini version on a skid, or order soon-to-be-available plans.
On the bright and sunny main floor, a full kitchen with bar-style seating and a stylish range hood shares space with an open living area.
There’s a private home office off to one side.
The bedroom at the top of the stairs looks out through huge windows over a covered porch.
Aneides Tiny Homes is a new Asheville, North Carolina, company founded by Greg Sours, a second-generation homebuilder from the Shenandoah Valley. This is their first build, the 192-square-foot Carolina.
The floor plan emphasizes storage space over leg room – there are two large closets, plus storage in the stairs and under the couch – and the dark stained wood contributes to the cozy feeling. If you’d prefer things a little lighter, Aneides has also done a similarly laid out but slightly smaller house called the Shaker using blonde wood to brighten up the interior.
The kitchen has a big U-shaped counter and appliances built into an impressive bank of cabinets.
Beyond it is the surprisingly large bathroom, which has a full-sized bathtub and (again) lots of cabinet space.
Greg even managed to fit in a perfectly respectable home office!
At the top of the stairs there’s a sleeping loft with a queen bed; it’s kept semi-private by a low wall that holds a 32-inch flat screen TV. In the ceiling above the bed is a hatch that can be opened for ventilation or stargazing.