The Week Magazine Features Tiny Homes

Normally, the “Best properties on the market” section of The Week magazine features French chateaus and Italian villas, mansions with endless pools or the best Beacon Hill townhouses. However, for the week of August 3, the featured properties were all tiny homes under 1,000 square feet.

The homes featured were the Aktiv by Ideabox and IKEA which is 745 square feet and costs $86,500, the Solo 36 Bunkie modular home from Sustain Design Studio which is 475 square feet and costs $87,500 and the Kit_01 from Zamore Homes. The Kit_01 is a two-bedroom, 992 square foot kit home that features a living room with a fireplace, a laundry room and a large attic loft. Plans for this home cost around $2,500.

The other homes featured were the 172 square foot Popomo for $20,000, as well as the 89 square foot Epu, both from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Rounding out the list was the KC 544, a 544 square foot cottage by Cusato Cottages and the 400 square foot Northwest Modern home by Ideabox. This home has one bedroom and costs about $75,500.

The IKEA Aktiv

The Kit_01 by Zamora Homes

The KC (Katrina Cottage) 544 by Cusato Cottages

The Popomo by Tumbleweed

The Epu by Tumbleweed

The Northwest Modern by Ideabox

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Sean - August 6, 2012 Reply

Of all of these listed, the offerings from Cusato cottages remain the best in my opinion. From floor plan to aesthetics they nail it and the owner/builder still has many options to keep costs down.
It is a good list though, always interesting to see what small houses get dreamed up.
I’ve been living in my 859 sq ft for twelve years.

cozygirl - August 6, 2012 Reply

Have you posted or know of any communities where tiny houses are already set up and ready to go where you just purchase and move in?

    Melody - August 6, 2012 Reply

    I too would love to know about tiny house communities! If you have any info please share!!

    Patty Lynn - August 6, 2012 Reply

    I am living in a 10 X 55 mobile home on its own land – it’s in Federal Heights CO – there are several places here in Colorado where you can have smaller mobile homes and also own the land. I am also working with the City to try to get zoning laws changed to accept tiny or cozy homes and maybe get some of the aging mobile home parks here to also set aside areas for the tiny or cozy homes.

    Devin - August 6, 2012 Reply

    They’re called mobile home parks.

    Will Kingrey - December 29, 2014 Reply

    Here’s a link to The Cottage Company – they ave been building cottage communities in the NW for at least 10 years now

    http://www.cottagecompany.com/

Pat in Texas - August 6, 2012 Reply

Wonder why they cost so much?

    Matt - August 6, 2012 Reply

    Tiny Houses are for people with Big Bank Accounts. I’m guessing you didn’t get the memo.

      Mike - August 7, 2012 Reply

      Not true. You can build yourself and manage the cost process economically. But the minute you have the overhead of a production facility, fabricators, materials cost, handling and processing, engineering and design, administration and benefits, delivery and miscellaneous expenses, not to mention they’re in business to make money,it adds up. The most telling aspect is the ratio of square footage to cost. The mean here is a little north of 100/Sq. Ft. Which is pretty consistent across the construction industry, if you want a solid and long-lived dwelling.

      Shoop - August 7, 2012 Reply

      $86,000 for a house sounds like a lot but thats what a lot of starter homes around here (Kansas City suburb) went for in 1989. Now they are going for $200,000 for the same size. If you built it yourself it would cost maybe 60-80% as much.

Victor - August 6, 2012 Reply

I love the the Solo 36 Bunkie modular home from Sustain Design Studio, its so modern and simple, but its over $85,000 but if your handy you can build a tiny home your self for as little as $6,000 dollars you just have to do all the work and find great deals on building supplies on craigslist and salvage places, Its all possible if you really want nice low cost home.

alice h - August 7, 2012 Reply

Unfortunately having to pay for land scuttles a lot of tiny house plans, assuming you can find a piece of land in a place and at a price that works for you. Some of us can afford the land or the house, but not both. I bought the only piece of land I could afford that was close enough to where I wanted to be but it was cheap for a reason. Due to the heavily forested steep hillside there are lots of extra costs to get a regular house built make that option beyond my means. No possiblity of driveway access complicates the mobile tiny house and the 100 sq ft limit on a stationary building makes for something a bit smaller than what I’d like. Once I get the money saved (man, that is a slooooooowwww process!) I’m going to get a bare trailer placed (complicated but possible) and build in place. Technically an RV, so under slightly different rules and I get closer to 200 sq ft. I’ll worry about getting it out of there later if I need to. I just hope I can get it done and grandfathered before any decisions to prevent this kind of house come about. There is an interesting project on a neighbouring island to provide leasable lots for people to build their houses http://galianoaffordablehousing.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/proposal-for-affordable-housing.pdf This proposal has been approved, not sure if all of it is on the final agreement but this makes a good start. http://tinyhousecommunity.com/ has a bit of info on tiny house communities.

Abel Zyl Zimmerman - August 7, 2012 Reply

Curious, what is a doable price for a small house?

Do these $80-90k houses get any more bank favor (loans) than little houses on wheels? I get that they are for a somewhat different market than the tinier ones.

Though mobile homes are not what many have in mind, I wonder if the house-on-wheels community can get them certified as such… to aid the insurance, loan availability, and municipal acceptability concerns.

Just to add to the latter statement: Quite a few folks are living in the smaller houses with no adverse issues (except apparently lack of insurance) in the Pacific Northwest.

A community can take many forms, and usually I’ve seen them sited as an ‘auxilary structure’ to a conventional house. This isn’t quite the ‘tiny house community’ that many are envisioning… yet… but it is going in the right direction.

Here’s to the spirit of invention…

Plumbing Phoenix - August 7, 2012 Reply

Wow, very interesting with these tiny houses. The pricing on these homes are quite a bit but I guess I too missed the memo on why. Some are very cute and well built like the first 2 and the last one.

poorplayer - August 11, 2012 Reply

I would like to suggest a new feature on Tiny House Blog called “Tiny House for under $20K.” I suspect there are a substantial number of readers that are interested in the concept of a tiny house as part of a larger vision of simple living and reducing their economic footprint. I think such a feature would help those people find solutions, and prevent this blog from becoming just another trendy fashion for people with greater economic resources. I do not think the particular dollar figure (20K might be too low) is as important as the idea of featuring well-built and well-planned houses that can be reasonably built on a smaller budget. I have no particular beef with people who want to build $90K tiny homes, but I fear that the drift on this blog, as evidenced by this kind of feature, will turn the tiny house concept into another white, upper-middle-class phenomenon. The less fortunate among us need housing as well, and the tiny house movement offers the potential for providing quality housing for this sector of our society. My apologies for the rant.

    Liz - August 11, 2012 Reply

    I don’t think the high prices are the norm for this blog, but simply reporting what the news is. It’s just more frequent to see news of a larger company making more homes than the individuals building their own. I think it’s heartening that this is becoming so mainstream, and that there are now so many people building their own tiny home s that it’s impossible to keep track.

    A friend of mine just announced that her 18yo son has bought a trailer and is going to build his own tiny house! This is such a great way for younger people to empower themselves financially, when it’s clear that opportunities through education and such are becoming out of reach.

    D Whit - August 11, 2012 Reply

    That statement goes directly to the heart of the difference in mentality about downsizing your housing needs to meet your needs and resources. There are some that “just don’t get it.”
    >You have limited resources.
    >The less resources spent on shelter will enable an individual to spend more on things they need and enjoy.
    >Housing should keep you and your family dry, comfortable, and protected and allow you to get on with other activities.

    Everything else is a drain on limited resources.
    Rave on Poor Player… you know the score !

    Devon - August 11, 2012 Reply

    poorplayer, you are not ranting, and it’s a great idea. Why not have a feature on low-cost (truly low cost) tiny houses? The recent post of the $5600(6500?) tiny home made me smile…
    The prices in this article made my grump! I am reminded of The Queen of France playing milkmaid with her court…. a fancy for the young and hip. Well, I’m not young, and I don’t care to look hip, I’m just interested in ingenuity and design, accomplished with not much money! Whenever I mention to anyone that homes shouldn’t be called affordable when they are over $20K, I get weird looks. And I’d like to add that it would be nice to know of any and all places where tiny homes are being welcomed, and
    communities are being formed. Affordable communities, that is.

      alice h - August 11, 2012 Reply

      “young and hip” makes me laugh, most of my friends are “old and hipless”. I find a good range of tiny houses here and elsewhere. The expensive ones can still serve as inspiration for do-it-yourselfers. I’m still hoping to get my place built for under $10,000 (not a lot of choice, be lucky to get that much money together)but I’ll have to do all the work myself, with a little help from my friends. Maybe instead of having a separate feature for various price levels there could be a rating system like restaurants, with $, $$, $$$ etc indicating a predetermined price range right in the posting’s title.

newenglander - August 11, 2012 Reply

Though I love small homes. Some of these are extreemly inflated in price. We have a 1300 sqft home with 4bed, 2bath that fits a family of 6 very nicely with 1/3 arce and was only in the low 100’s. There are lots of tiny homes already in existence. My guess is they are selling the ‘idea’ of small and the popularity of modern. (I’m not including Tumbleweed in this…they are completely different). I think listing what you really need, and getting rid of what you don’t need is the first step. It shouldn’t be about consuming a small home, but a true committment to a simpler less consumeristic lifestyle that is focused on less inpact on the environment and frees you to live free of the committment a big home takes both in time and money.

Athena - August 11, 2012 Reply

@Poorplayer:
Are you my brother from a different mother? I thoroughly agree with your “rant”; I am one of those less fortunate folk….and very, very tired of how absolutely clueless most upper-middle-class or even ANY middle-class folks in this tiny house movement are. Any time I even mention on any of the blogs how:
A)$200.00 per square foot is absolutely insane,
-and-
B)$4,000.00 for a little trailer is also
pretty nuts,
…the booming sound as a great big bunch of people start jumping on me for being poor but honest is amazingly loud!
My stubborn 53yr old feminine Irish genes are proving to be my saviour; I found a trashed, moldy 1970 12’x 8′ aluminum trailer on sale for $50.00, and spent the whole of last summer, 1 hour a day, demolishing it and saving any reusable bits. Selling the aluminum skin to the local scrap shop added $17.82 to my “budget”. This summer it’s been more challenging to get the time,(I work full time and take care of my 83 yr old mother who’s had 3 strokes, and my older brother whom I rescued from a men’s shelter) much less the small monies; but I will, even if it’s three 2×4’s a payday. I’m already in negotiations with the electrician across the street to wire up my trailer for electricity, in exchange for which I’m going to help he and his wife paint their small house…$200.00 a square foot for a tiny house on wheels? HAH!!! Using a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: “I fart in their general direction!”
So thank you for having the courage
to speak up, Poorplayer.
*Bows deeply*

mary - August 13, 2012 Reply

I love seeing all price points. If you are a diy-er than use these as inspiration. Having built my own big house I can say the cost of some materials is downright alarming. Sometimes, one has to spend more for the things that will save you money down the line too. People have varying amounts of money and just as important time and energy for building.
I would love to see someone take one of these house plans and build or mock up what you get if you spend $50 sq or less , $75 sq ft, $100 sq ft etc….or pick some different numbers…

Kate - August 13, 2012 Reply

Just a note from a diy-er…..i built a tiny off-grid cabin for about $10k, but had the land already. I kept it low by buying a simple plan from a company I’ve never seen on the THBlog – the plan cost $25. and I researched what I needed to know to actually build it; asked lots of questions at the local big box retailer! BTW, the Katrina Cottages plan was (is?) available at Lowe’s and if you buy the materials to build from them, they reimburse you the plans cost of approx $1500.

Mona - August 22, 2014 Reply

Anything over 40 thousand is ridiculous…. I wouldn’t even spend that on a container home…and I love to have a container home…..Well, .might as well buy me a fixer upper house for $30 thousand and make it work….( Texas has them fixer uppers cheap lol)

Katie - June 29, 2015 Reply

I’m trying to build a backyard cottage for age in place parents. Any ideas how to do it for under $65K. I’m getting a lot of ridiculous quotes at 80-120.

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