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The Small House Book

Updated on December 31, 2014

Nowadays many people already know about the "Tiny House" movement (although I'm not sure where it started I see the Tumblewood Tiny Houses as the major online representatives). I myself hadn't even heard of one of these until I came upon "The Small House Book" (Thanks Angela!). What started out as fantasizing over the pages (aw, how cute!) and pages (look at this one!) became a want and then a need so fierce it was unstoppable. Without knowing it was even happening, I was swept into this magical world where tiny kingdoms on wheels can be a fourteen-by-seven foot reality!

You see, we were looking for something cheap to put on a piece of property for my fiancé and I to live in. We had considered yurts, recreational vehicles, and the like but there was always some problem or another that made the move seem impossible! Too small, too expensive, not sustainable enough. We live in a coastal town in California so purchasing a house was beyond our financial capacity - or was it?

Wielding this book and the instructions within we eagerly built our home based on one of the properties in this book. The tips were helpful and the pictures were great for picking out the basic design we wanted to go with. What a brilliant man, Jay Shafer.

We had our doubters (seemingly, ideas you're most excited about in your own life seem wrought with other peoples negative opinions) but guess what? We did it! Now we live mortgage free in the middle of a redwood forest, share a tiny house and couldn't be happier with the results, all because of this simple book. It's everything we hoped it would be. Want to know more? Read this book and fall in love with small houses!

There's so much to say it can't all be said here - want to see more?

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My Tiny House
My Tiny House

The cute exteriors were enough to rope me in to the idea of Tiny Houses, but the interior designs with the wood grains and the personalized floor plans were what kept me. As an added bonus, our house is road-ready and we don't owe money to a bank!

We hammered every nail and even added our names into the walls (in several places) with little hearts and dates. To say this was a labor of love is an understatement - there was so much sweat and blood put into building our "Utopia" that there aren't enough words in the world to say how important our home became to us.

Living here has been a wonderful experience, but until you've allowed yourself to "live tiny", you can't quite grasp what it's like. Suddenly, the want for "stuff" begins to vanish and you instead want to dedicate yourself to more important things - like gardening or reading in the sunshine.

The plan was simple; we bought a piece of land in the hills and a trailer to start. Once we had the trailer, we sat together around a coffee table and decided what was important. While in town (before moving off-grid) we watched youtube videos wherein other people had moved into the same kind of living ideals. We talked about what we needed most - a few shelves for books, for example; a place to hang just a few clothes, like a jacket and dress; etc.

We left room for a shower but did not put the water into the cabin (yet) because we live in California and have enough sunshine year-round for the outdoor shower we installed. We knew we wanted a tiny office for doing exactly this so we drew in a space for a desk and surrounded it with windows to look out into the redwoods.

Also something that has been nice: We have had two earthquakes (somewhat minor) since we moved here and it's amazing how well it feels to go through one of these on wheels. Our pod bounces a bit but quickly settles into itself once more, hardly noticeable from inside.

We have weathered a few storms, but for anyone that lives in coastal California, you know there aren't enough of those here to be a real problem (40+mph winds but never a snowflake!).

Could you live "Tiny" (For the sake of argument we will call it 200sq ft or less)?

See results

Photo Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size

So what about cabin fever?

I am asked often about what it's like to live in such cramped spaces in regards to cabin fever. Sadly, I can't really answer the question with any sort of conviction because I don't live in a place where I am trapped.

What I can say is in between running around outside and smelling the flowers, my husband and I are happy to be tightly snuggled up together listening to the rain pounding the tin roof. We have been in fights out here (when the loft becomes one room and the under loft becomes a second...) but we are perhaps more inclined to resolve them quickly as there is nowhere to run and only one door to slam (it's heavy, lovely oak and has never been slammed), and definitely nowhere to do any foot stomping.

We also have a Tiny Dog that lives with us inside, but we recommend getting one like ours that doesn't shed unless you have an affinity for swirling pet fur.

As far as an expansion of our family goes...well, check back soon (and I mean *really* soon).

Here is one of the videos that inspired us on our way! We just love Ella Jenkins house!

Guestbook

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    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Pam Irie: :) Thank you!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Rosetta Slone: That's wonderful! People ask all the time how I'll enjoy it once we have children... I think it'll be exciting to find out!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Rhonda Lytle: Oh, thank you!

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 

      4 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      I really enjoyed the photo galleries here. Congrats on the house! It looks awesome :)

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 

      4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      We're building our own tiny house this year on our farm, actually for myself, my husband and our toddler. I love how dynamic this movement has become and how many people are trying to simplify their lives.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      YAY you two! I LOVE tiny houses. Congratulations!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @DebMartin: It has been a blast! Thank you :)

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: It's wonderful; I would recommend it to anyone and everyone (I did!).

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @fullofshoes: My worries are all out the window! Life is amazing with a tiny house. It is a possible dream for anyone, too! Thank you!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @AcornOakForest: It's not wrong at all! Cleaning is a breeze - except I have a *lot* of windows for washing!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @sjdq209: Thank you!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @delia-delia: It's still possible! It really is amazing to do! Thank you!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Dressage Husband: The simple life is so wonderful! Have your horses and mini houses too! I wouldn't mind a 34 acre farm either!!

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 

      4 years ago from Kentucky

      Love this idea, great lens.

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Heidi Vincent: Thank you so much!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Seasons Greetings: I kept all of mine :D

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @SofyBelle: Thanks! It has worked out well!

    • profile image

      DebMartin 

      4 years ago

      Tiny houses rock! And I'm eager to hear more about your transition. And looking forward to your reading suggestions.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'd love to try living in a tiny house.

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 

      4 years ago

      I am envious of your little house :) The smaller things are and the less we have to worry about, the happier I am. Good for you :) :)

    • AcornOakForest profile image

      Monica Lobenstein 

      4 years ago from Western Wisconsin

      These houses are so cute. I would love to experience something like this some day. Is it wrong that one of the things that excites me about the idea of tiny houses is how much less I might need to clean? ;)

    • profile image

      sjdq209 

      4 years ago

      Very cool..tks

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 

      4 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! Great lens! When we go to Germany/Austria you see a lot of these little houses. I told my husband years ago I wanted to live in a small house like this after he retired (1999) and we are still in a huge house...I want this to simplify my life, and just maybe this will come about before I meet my maker ;-)

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I think this is a really cool idea especially in this day of career uncertainty. If I were starting out today this is definitely something I would look into. Right now we have 4 horses a dog and a cat so our 34 acre farm shared with the bank is more suitable, but it has made me wonder.I think the simple life has its attractions. A thought provoking LOTD Well done!

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      4 years ago from GRENADA

      Congratulations on winning the LOTD!!! Great review and congrtulations on actually building your own home from this book you reviewed. Who needs a more convincing review?

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 

      4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I started reading and seeing the tiny houses online a long time ago. But, as much as it appeals to me, I can't see myself not keeping all my books. Nothing else I have takes up as much space but it's hard to let them go.

    • SofyBelle profile image

      SofyBelle 

      4 years ago

      This is an amazing lens, thank you so much for sharing! I've been looking into this myself & I love the idea of it. Congrats on LotD!!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @ecogranny: I will do various updates over the next few weeks - I'm just now getting to a point where I can start talking about it because I'm not busy building it. I promise more pictures - I have hundreds! Thank you :)

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @inkedwriter lm: It's extremely relaxing. Instead of feeling like we can't escape one another, my partner and I feel closer and spend a lot of time doing things like playing card games and chit-chatting when we're inside our tiny space. There's nowhere to go when you're at home, after all! It's lovely. I'm surprised, I have to admit. I was skeptical.

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @astevn816 lm: Thank you! I can only take so much credit - Jay had the idea!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @jr365: This is quickly becoming the norm now - setting up groups and doing shared living areas, just as you talk about! I've been watching the idea blossom quickly over the last few months, little houses popping up everywhere! I grew up in apartments and this is definitely far more .... Personal! Some people down the street from us have a community garden and community chickens in theirs! Ours? Well, let's see where our roots reach out!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you very much! Thanks for stopping by :)

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Faye Rutledge: Thank you so much!!!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Diana Wenzel: When I first started I said: "I would love to build these homes for others!". Three weeks in I was not feeling so generous and swore off tools. Now... well, I'm thinking maybe if I'm given enough time I'll want to help others again ;)

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @SheGetsCreative: This whole thing happened for me in the span of a couple months; it can be sudden, so keep an eye out for your opportunity!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @stcharlesleathe: I thought it would be terrifying. In fact, I put my stuff in storage because "well, I just can't live without..." but I have only opened storage once and I mostly put everything back in. Even the stuff I swore would go into the house is out collecting dust in boxes; silly me. You'd be surprised how much stuff you don't need. Thanks!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: Thank you so much! It's a real blessing for sure; we just couldn't be happier!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @JesseHelton: Wonderful! Thank you! Stay tuned and I will update with pictures!!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Snowsprite: It doesn't take much room to settle down; many people are now coming together with others to follow this dream! Check in your area for communities that already exist with like-minded individuals. If you want it badly enough you will find a place for it - it is Tiny, after all!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @CherylsArt: Thank you so much and thanks for stopping by!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Nancy Hardin: I absolutely love it. There are times it's almost surreal how small it is and how easy it is to live with this amount of room. What took us so long is the real question! And cleaning? Definitely a breeze!!!

    • clevergirlname profile imageAUTHOR

      clevergirlname 

      4 years ago

      @Ruthi: Thank you! I will post some pictures on here as soon as I update - which will be very soon!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      4 years ago from San Francisco

      So glad to see how this worked out for you. I'm going exploring on your bio page in hopes you have more lenses about how you did it and the finished result. We are thinking of going this route in our retirement, so I'm eager to see what you did. Congratulations on Lens of the Day. Well deserved!

    • inkedwriter lm profile image

      inkedwriter lm 

      4 years ago

      Great lens. I must confess, my wife and I have looked at these small homes and seriously considered making that move. It just looks like a relaxing way to live. Congrats on LOTD.

    • astevn816 lm profile image

      astevn816 lm 

      4 years ago

      This little house is a very handy idea

    • jr365 profile image

      jr365 

      4 years ago

      Great lens! I think tiny/small houses are awesome, and would love to own one someday! It seems like if you could build a community of tiny houses with central shared living areas, such as a community center type place or pools/fitness centers, it would be an attractive alternative to apartments. WIth the tiny house you have the ability to express yourself on the outside as well, and could even have individual gardens and outdoor living spaces. Just my thoughts!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      4 years ago

      Very cool concept. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      4 years ago from Concord VA

      Congratulations on your new tiny home and on LotD! :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      4 years ago from Colorado

      I love that you built your own tiny house. I have been yearning for one for a few years now. Jay really has been instrumental in his design work and promotion of this lifestyle. I'd love to build these homes for others. Congrats on your new home and on LotD!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I love tiny houses - there are quite a few here in the Pacific NW. Someday hopefully, one will be mine!

    • stcharlesleathe profile image

      stcharlesleathe 

      4 years ago

      It has to be hard to live in such a small space, coming from the world of excess in which we live! I would find it to be an immense challenge but yet such a unique idea! and the houses are SO adorable! Very cool (:

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Awesome! I can't think of a more personal review of anything, ever. Or at least not one so unique. I love it and wish you well in your wonderful, tiny new home! (Congratulations on your Lens of the Day today, too!)

    • JesseHelton profile image

      JesseHelton 

      4 years ago

      Great lens! I would love to see pictures of your home.

    • Snowsprite profile image

      Fay 

      4 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      I would love to do this but land here costs the earth and planning could not allow it, so not sure how to go about it.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Congrats on your mortgage free living. : )

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      How wonderful for you...I like the part about not owing money! So how do you like living in the small space? Do you find you miss having more room, or is it a blessing not to have so much to clean? I suspect it's the latter! I enjoyed this review and your use of it to build your tiny house.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      4 years ago

      I think the Tiny Houses are a grand idea! I would love to see photos of your home in the forest; how awesome that you made the dream come true.

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