Tiny Houses - Part 5 of Fantasy Homes series

A tiny home on wheels
A tiny home on wheels
A tiny country home
A tiny country home
A tiny straw bale home
A tiny straw bale home

Build a tiny home for less than $5,000

I’m still doing research on possible “Fantasy Homes” I would love to live in, given the money and place to build them. You may have heard about the new trend toward “tiny houses” which use very little land, energy, or materials and provide the bare essentials for green living. Some are really charming and look very comfortable.

The concept of living in a “tiny house” - under 100 square feet - is not new to me. When I lived in Colorado in the late 1960s many people were building tiny homes, only then they were called "hippy cabins" or "country cabins" and this followed a long tradition of "mountain huts". The main difference was that now people were living in these tiny houses year-round. A friend had the most beautiful little house with lovely windows looking out across the mountain ranges. Everyone hauled their own water and heated with little wood stoves. Some people shared property and built several little homes together, creating their own community. People who live in the country have always built small structures - easier to heat, easier to build, easier to maintain in harsh conditions.

In the 1970’s I lived in a small U.S. Pacific coastal village where a water moratorium effectively stopped all building permits (except for lots that already had their water meters) and all new housing was pretty much stopped. The only way around this was for people to build what we called “10 by 10” structures, which were permitted, as long as they were not "improved". You could build these tiny 100 square foot buildings because it was assumed they would be for storage or garden sheds.

Instead, people started living in them with some success. People who couldn’t get permits to expand their existing houses built a 10 by 10 room for their teenager. Or they made a little office or sauna. Then, when some people had the lots, but not the water meters, they started living in a couple 10 by 10 structures and bootlegged some water and electricity from next door, with their neighbors’ permission. I think this is still going on, even though that community’s land prices have increased to the point that buying a lot with a water meter there is probably impossible. I slept in a couple of those tiny guest houses and visited several others so it is not hard for me to imagine living in a more adequately designed tiny house.

Now some revolutionary builders are making these tiny houses to order for people to use for guest houses, or homes. They have all the essentials and comforts and would suit a single person very well. Combine a tiny home with the trend toward less possessions and eliminating the consumer oriented life-style, and you have a very pleasing and responsible way to live.

Some tiny houses are built on wheels, towed to your space, and left on the wheels so you can move them around. It would be fun to have one of these and tow it around according to the season to get the best climate, best light - under a shade tree in summer, or in the sun for winter.

You can add a very moderate solar system and generate your own energy, easily. You can add a deck and a hot tub and a pool, and have people over for summer parties! I visualize my tiny house with a deck large enough to make a kind of outdoor “kitchen” for summer and I would do all my cooking out there. All it would entail is putting an “island” with electrical outlets on the deck and a small convection oven and range-top for cooking. Or even just a nice-sized Weber for grilling - a delicious and healthy way to eat! Add a cabinet for storing your pots and pans and kitchen supplies and you’re set!

A grassy dining area
A grassy dining area
A more formal dining patio
A more formal dining patio
An example of an outdoor kitchen island
An example of an outdoor kitchen island

Combine a tiny home with gardens and other structures

I also absolutely love to make gardens, so I would place my tiny house in my enormous garden with one of those “outdoor rooms” I’ve seen that are made as part of a garden. These outdoor living spaces are enclosed by hedges or large planter boxes or beautiful fences covered with climbing, flowering vines. A central flag-stone patio with chairs and a table and loungers is surrounded by plantings of grassy areas and your favorite perennials. With some nice large umbrellas, some reclining lawn chairs, a bed on a platform with a canopy, or a three-sided hot house type structure you can have shelter and still be outside. Maybe put the hot-tub in one corner, instead of on the deck. The variations are endless! How about a small pool for cooling off!

What you are creating would be an extension of your living space, so you would spend most of your time at home living and sleeping outside. The tiny house would mainly be used during bad weather and storage for your very few possessions - the things you couldn’t part with - maybe a few books, your clothing and toiletries.  This would be a good time to consider the "75 things" movement - encouraging you to own only 75 things.  I know I'm not there yet, but its the direction I'm going.

I am visualizing now a space somewhere in a semi-forested area with enough land area so I can build several small structures. A tree house, a “tiny house”, a gazebo, and a greenhouse. I would want to design and building them myself, with some help.  These would provide me with more than enough living space to have a marvelous life and still live with a fairly small carbon footprint. Generating my own solar energy, having a well with good water, and maybe a minimal road to the place. I would like it best if a hiking trail would be the only way in and out (except for bringing in supplies and trucking out my produce to market and in emergencies, the little road would be closed).

Any of my previous Fantasy Homes would work - treehouse, earth-home, houseboat, straw bale house - all work very well as tiny homes.

I know this isn’t the life everyone pictures as ideal. If you're retired or will be soon, maybe you would be too fearful to live that far away from a doctor and the supermarket, but I'm not!  The building and maintenance of my living spaces would be an ongoing project. Certainly the large garden I would like would mean hours and hours of hard work. You have to enjoy the country life-style the way I do to live miles away from towns and the hustle most people thrive on, but this has always been my goal. However, these tiny homes are also perfectly adaptable to cities and towns and I can see how well they will fit into suburban and urban life.

Lloyd Kahn: I would like you to know about Lloyd Kahn and his marvelous SHELTER books on unique and inventive building. He is a very good writer and I think you will also enjoy his blog. The homes in his books are carefully selected to represent creative home building. These structures are not only environmentally sound and conserve energy, but also built as true expressions of the lives of their builders. They are all created with genuine art and living in any of them would naturally change your life for the better! http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/  Lloyd has been studying, documenting and building alternative structures for many years.  I consider him THE expert!

If you want more information about how to build these tiny homes, how they might work for your needs, and how they conserve and utilize green energy, just search for “tiny houses” on Google. These have caught on fast and now there are people who will design and build for you, or help you build your own.



This video really presents the tiny house cause!

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Comments 36 comments

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 4 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Another Hub after my own heart. I have bookmarked this to go back and reference. Thank you for sharing your knowledge; Write On!

Qmarpat profile image

Qmarpat 4 years ago from Northern,California

ery nice! I've always been fascinated by tiny houses, you don't see too many everyday.

homesX profile image

homesX 5 years ago from Canada

Wow! What a nice tiny houses! Hope I could make one for myself:) I love the design though..Thanks for sharing such a nice hub topic of yours mega1!

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

This just in: Lloyd Kahn's Shelter Publications informs me their latest book on Tiny Homes is being sent off to the printer today! Can't wait to see this since all Shelter's publications are fabulous!

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

Thanks, carcro - glad you like these hubs about homes.

carcro profile image

carcro 5 years ago from Winnipeg

Great ideas for small homes, I really like outdoor patio and kitchen island pics, thanks for sharing!

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

Thank you Merbau for reading my hub and commenting. These houses really may solve a housing problem for many people, myself included.

suriya 5 years ago

I am happy to see ur blogs I like all houses are super and made very surprise to me..Great job!

Merbau Decking

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

Here's a blog on How To Live In a Tiny House - http://www.tinyrevolution.us/2010/12/27/how-to-liv...

interesting, also interesting to hear how tiny a space people think they can actually live in - I'm just one person and I know I will have to get creative in order to keep my craft supplies close by - what will I have to give up? I don't know - this may be a whole other subject!

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

A little update - and thank you all for your comments - A couple years ago when I started noticing tiny houses there wasn't much online about them - now there are hundreds of websites and thousands of tiny house pictures and plans. My favorite of course is Lloyd Kahn's facebook page @ Shelter Publications - where almost everyday he has at least one more tiny house for us. It is overwhelming, but very encouraging. I think I'd like to go live in the desert in a tiny adobe house!

fashion 5 years ago

Interesting article.Very beautiful tiny houses.

I love it.

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

Thank you Mark!

MarkMAllen15 profile image

MarkMAllen15 5 years ago

Love it.

mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago Author

Thanks everyone, for commenting and reading - I've just added another hub you may find interesting about Tiny Homes and Lloyd Kahn's new publication about them which is coming out soon. So many people around the world are finding tiny houses just fit for them.

nagu01 5 years ago

Thanks for the information, we will add this story to our blog, as we have an audience in this sector that loves reading like this”

Merbau Decking Timber

melodyandes profile image

melodyandes 5 years ago

I really like it, Thanks for sharing.

PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 5 years ago

Love this. These homes are eco-friendly, not just cute.

Winkrez 6 years ago

Great hub mate!

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

thanks hubby7! my personal fav is the treehouse, but I can see that having both a tiny house (maybe a portable one) and a treehouse combined with the outdoor kitchen/garden would be so nice. living simple, that's the key. in that way we can have more of what our souls really need.

hubby7 profile image

hubby7 6 years ago from Chicago

Excellent hub! I enjoyed reading about the history of small house building and all of the other information you provided. I've been following Jay Schaefter and I think that I just might want to own one some day.

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Hi Ralph! Thanks for the comment. I just found out Lloyd Kahn has another book on tiny houses about to be published. It should be as mind bending as his other books, he's been previewing on Facebook some of the tiny houses he's visited and they look fantastic.

Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Interesting and well done!

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Hi skok - It wouldn't be too difficult to build your own tiny house. I think it would be fun. Thanks for reading my hub and commenting.

skok1234 profile image

skok1234 6 years ago

Great pictures! It would be great to have one of those tiny houses :)

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Thank you so much for commenting - I am so glad you like this one too.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Good information. I like this hub very much. Personally, tiny house is amazing and always fantastic like you said before. Thanks for share about this for us. I really enjoy all the pictures....beautiful, my friend. Vote up.


mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Hi peaceful - that Toronto house is so so cute! Here's another one - used as an office but it looks like I could life in it - up in the treetops!


peacefulparadox 6 years ago

Someone saw this small house


on google street view.

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

cvanthul - Glad you liked it! Thanks for reading and commenting.

cvanthul profile image

cvanthul 6 years ago from Florida

Great hub. I, too, love all things architectural.

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Hi Paradise: I think they are very affordable - I have heard of people building their own for 1,000 or $2,000! the bare essentials. That means you could spend a little more, and then add the outdoor rooms, garden and gazebo and have a beautiful little home combining the best of outside and in. Also you could have more than one - say an office and a living room. It would be very easy to heat and cool such a small space, too! I'm hoping someday I'll have the land and $$ to actually do something like this - or maybe have a treehouse and a tine house!? I don't know - its fun to imagine.

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

This looks terrific, to me. What a great alternative to apartment living, assuming they are affordable! Thanks!

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Hey Gus! Good to see you! I love to hear about architecture for homes that is different and interesting. I started out fantasizing about a home for myself and by now it has turned into an obsession to see what wonders people create to live in. I will look at those houses you mentioned.

GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

mega1 - That was a whole lot of information for such small subjects. ;-)

In Cologne, Germany, there are some tall, but very skinny houses that are right together in a short row. They are so narrow that they use rooftop hoists to get furniture into the upper floors. They have been converted into a hotel, named "Das Kleine Stapelhauschen." (That name, crudely translated, means something like "stacked little houses." The room rate was said to be from about 125 Euros down to about 75, with the rate decreasing the higher up the room was situated. Here is a link to a good photo of the place + the Cologne Cathedral behind it. http://davidrapp.org/SVAOLtrip/SVAOLentry9.html

Gus :-)))

mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago Author

Thanks Jeri for reading and commenting. Good luck with your tiny cabin!

jeri 6 years ago

Very interesting.I too am planning a tiny cabin and will be buying a piece if land next sprng to put one on.

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