My Tiny House in Asheville

by Kent Griswold on December 21st, 2012. 78 Comments
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by Marcus Barksdale

I recently completed a tiny house for my personal residence in Asheville, North Carolina, and wanted to share a description, a few pictures, and a video of it with other tiny house enthusiasts. I include a lot of detail to help others learn from my thought processes.

I’ve wanted to build my own house since childhood, and became fascinated with tiny houses upon discovering Lester Walker’s book Tiny, Tiny Houses in the late 1980’s. At the time I owned a small, post-war house in Austin, Texas, and it always felt so huge and inefficient. The rest of life distracted me for a long time, all the while I constantly dreamed about, researched, and drew tiny houses for fun. After leaving a toxic job and traveling for awhile, I decided it was time to follow this life goal and build my little house.

Asheville small home

I chose to build a fixed house, rather than a trailer-based dwelling, for several reasons:

  • I’m an urbanite and I’d rather live in town so I can walk or ride a bicycle to get places than drive a car very far. But it’s pretty hilly here in Asheville and harder to find an in-town backyard into which you can physically move a tiny house on a trailer.
  • I didn’t want to worry about getting caught violating housing codes by living in what the local governments would consider a recreation vehicle.
  • I didn’t want to own, or need to rent or borrow, a large truck each time I needed to move a trailer-based house.
  • A fixed house provides equity, potential rental income and better resale value.
  • I wanted the creature comforts of a large shower and full-size range.
  • I wanted outdoor rooms with more permanent features, such as a porch dimension,” except kitchens.

“Each dwelling unit shall be provided with a kitchen area and every kitchen area shall be provided with a sink.”

“Every kitchen shall have not less than 50 square feet of gross floor area.”

“Every dwelling unit shall be provided with a water closet, lavatory, and a bathtub or shower.” Yes, two sinks; one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom.

small house

With this basic information, I played around with building shapes and dimensions to create a layout:

For simplicity of construction, I chose a rectangular footprint. I also chose separate rooms for the “one habitable room” and the “kitchen area.”

Then, I included a bathroom with a large (36” x 48”) shower pan and enough space to dry off without bumping into the lavatory and toilet. I wanted to include a vaulted ceiling with a small loft at one end of the building.

For simplicity, I made the kitchen and bathroom the same length which allowed the interior wall to provide support for smaller ceiling framing and create a little more headroom in the loft.

The result was a layout 12 feet wide by 20 feet long with 10 feet high walls and a steep roof (14 vertical to 12 horizontal pitch). This created a gross footprint of 240 square feet and a gross loft area of 100 feet, part of which became a closet.

living area

A legally permitted house in Asheville could be smaller than mine. Another tiny house was built in town last year with a 12 feet wide by 18 feet long (216 square feet) footprint. A design might even approach the city’s 150 square feet minimum limit by interpreting the code language to allow the “kitchen area” to be part of the “one habitable room” (and receiving concurrence from the permitting officials).

Next, I thought about how site constraints affected the construction methods with respect to the building performance goals. For example, in performance, I wanted a very energy efficient building shell. But the site is a little challenging because it slopes up steeply from the street and the house is at the back corner of the lot. I considered structural insulated panels (SIPs), but the panels can each weigh several hundred pounds or more and installation would have required a very tall and expensive crane to lift them into place. I chose to use conventional “stick-built” construction with spray-foam insulation instead because I could hand-carry all building materials up the hill, construction was by standard methods, and the spray foam could be installed up to a couple of hundred feet from the contractor’s truck.

loft area

I tried to build as much of the house myself as possible. A friend and I hand-dug the crawlspace and footer trench, installed the reinforcing steel and poured the concrete for the footer. I hired a contractor to lay the concrete block foundation and I was his helper. I installed the foundation stucco. I hired a framer to help me erect the building shell and porch and a contractor to install the roof shingles (I didn’t want the risk of falling off and getting hurt). I installed the windows and doors, miscellaneous framing and exterior siding and trim myself, with a little help from a neighbor on some siding. I hired contractors to install the electrical and plumbing systems, spay-foam insulation and conventional interior drywall. I painted the whole building and installed the wood floor, shower tile, custom storage cubbies in the bathroom, kitchen cabinets and appliances, interior trim, patio stone, etcetera. Lastly, I contracted a local artisan welder to create a beautiful custom railing for the loft, including a latchable bi-fold gate and a hinged ladder that allows access to the electrical panel.

Some of the things I learned in the building process include: When I submitted the permit application, the plan reviewer immediately informed me that any loft space accessed by a ladder could only be used as “storage” even though he anticipated it would be used to “store a bed.”

The plan reviewer also rejected my proposed use of a wood-burning stove because code does not allow an open-combustion device in a sleeping room and my design only had one habitable room which is, by default, the sleeping room.

Pouring concrete properly is very physical, very difficult and requires a lot of skill. I did a mediocre job, but next time I will hire a contractor.

The same wisdom applies to installing a concrete block foundation and stucco. At the last minute during framing, I amended the permit to include a front bay large enough to sleep in and to give the building a more attractive face. My use of knee braces as an architectural feature to support the bay, rather than piers like those used for a deck, could not be approved “proscriptively” by the building code, so I was required to submit a design certified by a professional engineer or architect. As an engineer, I designed and certified it myself.

After living in the house for a few months, I’ve also learned (and confirmed) a few things about the design process:

Passive ventilation works better than I anticipated. An open window or two near the peak of the vaulted ceiling creates a nice breeze through lower windows in the other rooms and keeps the interior temperature noticeably cooler than outside.

front of small home

Passive solar gain works nicely too. I don’t get so much sun that the house overheats, but on a chilly day I can keep the loft window open and crack a lower window for fresh air flow.

Spray-foam insulation make a very tight and energy efficient building shell. But the key is that the foam virtually eliminates air leaks, which is significantly more important than the R-value of the foam which is about the same as conventional fiberglass insulation. We’ve already had some cold weather in Asheville this fall, with a few nights around freezing, and the house heats very easily.

On the whole, the design and construction process was really fun, albeit physically demanding and included a number of head-scratching, problem-solving situations. My girlfriend, Leanna, created a nice little video with an interview about the house. I hope your readers enjoy it and find the description helpful.

78 Responses to “My Tiny House in Asheville”

  1. wyndwalkr says:

    Hallelujah for NO wheels!!!

    My hat’s off to to Asheville and this owner builder.

    • Bob H says:

      I agree NO WHEELS, and legally permitted. Best regards to the builder. You did a fantastis job.

      • Bob H says:

        * fantastic

      • molly says:

        I agree about being legally permitted. I believe being legal is important for the tiny and small house community to be taken seriously, which is needed if we are going to effect changes in perception and laws. If people can write us off as law-breakers then they can ignore, and even demonize, us. I feel we need to show communities that we are willing to work with them to help make the community better, not against them by ignoring the laws.

        • jipsi says:

          Well said! ;-)

        • Chris says:

          Trailer homes are not breaking the law. Permits are only for permanent structures, and some local codes do not allow for permanent dwellings under a certain size. Basically the laws are anti-tiny house. By building the houses on a trailer, they can have their tiny houses in these areas, since they are not permanent structures. There’s also the money aspect, and permits can be exorbitantly expensive. If your goal in owning a tiny house is to reduce expenses, then spending a large portion of your home’s cost in permit fees is counterproductive. If you later decide you want to “settle down”, you can always take the wheels off your house and put it on a foundation, if code allows for that.

          • Molly says:

            I agree that many local codes are anti-tiny house. That’s why I feel it’s important to work on changing them.

            In many, many areas it it illegal to live a tiny home on a trailer. Most stories I have read on this blog and other places have stated that the owners were living illegally by parking their tiny home on a trailer in that place. Jay Shafer referred to it as an act of civil disobedience.

            People all the time comment on the fact they can not find some place to legally park a tiny home. That seems to be the most often cited reason people have for not getting one.

          • Carla says:

            I agree with you 100% Chris. As I read the blogs, I was glad to see someone who was thinking and reasoning the same as me. I think also alot has to do with what your OWN state and county laws say. For us, wheels are perfectly legal and make owning a tiny home convenient.

  2. GLENN says:

    Marcus : where is the link to the video ??????

  3. B.Kennedy says:

    I love your little house.Having the custom railing made for the loft is a nice touch that really brings something elegant to the space.Where can I view the video? I would love to see that as well.

  4. molly says:

    Thank you Marcus for sharing your story with us! I too would love to watch your video. I hope you are both very, very happy in your new home!

  5. molly says:

    Okay, I found the video. I didn’t know there was another post here on the blog about this house. Here’s the link to the post with the video:

    http://tinyhouseblog.com/small-house-feature/take-a-tiny-house-tour/

  6. Colin says:

    I love these posts as i too am obsessed with tiny homes! Thanks for putting this information out into the world. My wife and I just started a blog covering some similar topics. Please come visit http://www.wildbluebus.com . I hope you don’t mind me linking to this blog as well. Thanks again!

  7. Aric says:

    What a wonderful post! Congratulations on your tiny house and adventure as builder.

    I am sorry to hear they nixed the wood burning stove. To think that we (humans) existed for thousands of years with an open hearth providing the foundation of home life (heat, fire for cooking, conversation), it is just a shame to have a lovely home without one.

  8. Yay Asheville! Marcus, my husband and I are also in Asheville and built our own tiny house on a foundation in the mountains just outside of town. I would love to talk with you more about your tiny house. Perhaps after the holidays.

  9. Ruby Ann Caseres says:

    Wow! You are such an inspiration!

  10. Brook says:

    Excellent job and a great example. Thanks for showing that the regulations are usually not much of an obstacle. Your project is a wondeful example of sustainable development. You have respected the land and the community.

  11. This is really cute. I’m so glad there are some places where you can actually build a house this small that isn’t on wheels. I love the outside trim and color. Nice job!

  12. Paulette says:

    Loved your thought process and the high standard you set in building. Really inspiring!

  13. Ellen says:

    Lester Walker’s book also started my obsession with tiny houses back in the 1980′s. :) And Asheville is a GREAT town to live in. I’m so glad you were able to build legally there.

  14. stpauligirl says:

    A beautiful home! Thanks for sharing that with us.

  15. Vicky says:

    It looks like you have a large crawlspace/basement. How are you using it?

  16. Debra says:

    I love your house, so beautiful. I love that it is fixed, with no wheels also. It is interesting that we ended up WITH wheels on our house for a couple of the very reasons mentioned that PREVENTED this house from having wheels. It really depends on your state, county, and city building codes. Our county would not permit us to build a fixed, small, house. I tried, believe me :) It is very hard to find a small piece of land in our area as the ‘cow pastures’ were all purchased by developers in the early 2000′s, and consequently subdivided into little lots for future McMansions here in Walmart country.

    No need to defend my tiny house with wheels, just explaining why some may still choose (need) to build it this way.

    • alice h says:

      I’m building on wheels in order to comply with local bylaws as well. If I build fixed I’m limited to 100 square feet but if I go with wheels I can build whatever size I can manage. There are some quirky local rules out there. Some people may also choose to build on wheels in the interests of leaving a less permanent footprint on the land.

  17. Hugh Wolfe says:

    Beautiful

    What I like…

    (1) No wheels.
    (2) It doesn’t look cramped.
    (3) Love the color scheme… non beige.
    (4) Larger than the typical tiny house… I could turn around without bumping into myself.

    What I don’t like…

    Well that was quick :)

    Driving a Mini Cooper I do not have the option of pulling a house around behind me and I’m not about to purchase a truck just for that purpose, so this is a great move “upscale” in the world of tiny houses… Now how about a garage for a tiny car, or two :)

  18. Holllis Hale says:

    Hey what is the total cost of this project? Land and all. Did you have to have services connected…i.e. water, sewer, power and what sort of amp panel did they make you install? Are there any solar hook ups? What sort of water heater do you use? Gas or electric? thanks:) I love the small living idea, but if building something stationary makes this a 65k project then you may as well build a conventional 1200 sq ft home for the same cost which you can do if you build it yourself.

    thanks

    • Mary says:

      Why would you build a 1200′ft house when you really want a small house? People build huge dream homes and don’t spare cost; why should a person settle for something less than what they want on the other end of the scale-unless it costs considerably LESS to build or buy something larger?

    • Brian says:

      In the video linked in comments above, he estimated that between material and labor (not including his own) he spent $32,000.

  19. jason says:

    My question is how much did it cost.

  20. Monique says:

    Great job! What is in the cute little building adjacent? Love the offset windows on it!

  21. Kathryn says:

    Absolutely beautiful home. But there was no video; unless I missed it.
    Kathryn

  22. Mary says:

    Love-Love-Love your beautiful home. Thanks very much for sharing your reasoning. I, too, would be more comfortable with a larger bathroom and full-size stove. Your home is truly beautiful, inside and out!

  23. Lisa says:

    What a lovely home! Look spacious. Love the kitchen.

  24. This is my favorite tiny house….. the colors are fabulous, the design brilliant!

  25. I LOVE what you accomplished! May I ask the cost???? I’m creating my second professional life. My mission and vision is to create small, sustainable, and mortgage-free housing in well-designed pocket neighborhoods. I’m doing my research now and I’d like to add you to my list of resources.

    Thanks:-)

    • Terri says:

      Renee, I have the same vision. I have a dream of building small pocket communities where everyone lives in a tiny house and maybe there is a common area or gazebo in the center. My son lives outside of Asheville in a community where they each have their own property but a community building. They are off grid and I want to be closer in where cell phones work and I can have wireless internet. I think there is a great need in areas like Asheville for affordable, echo conscious housing. What area are you in?

      • Mikki says:

        Terri,

        I am also having the same vision and the Ashville area is where I’d like to be (I’m currently in Michigan, north of Detroit). Where is your son living? is there a website, contact? Please email me with more info if you have it.

        thanks so much,
        Mikki
        maproksch@aol.com

  26. Cassy says:

    Congrats to you. Any recommendations on how to find property in Asheville to build a tiny house? Many blessings and joy to you and your new home.

  27. Hi Marcus,
    My name is Jason Sandford and I’m a reporter with the Asheville Citizen-Times. I would like to write a story for the newspaper about your experience with building your house here. Would you be up for it? You can email me at jsandford@citizen-times.com.
    Thank you,
    Jason

  28. liat says:

    I’ve been doing research and thinking about building a similar structure; AND I live in Asheville. Any chance you want to give a stranger a tour?

  29. Henry says:

    Congrats and jolly well done. I’m chuffed to see this being done in my area without the usual stigmas!! 100 % legal yippee !

  30. I am planing on doing this as well next year and will film the process . I will also hold builders work shops during the build.

  31. Donna Sugar says:

    Love your house. I am so interested in one myself, and a full bath and small kitchen are very important. Each night when I go to bed, I look at my bedroom and bath and imagine how I could really live in just the space i have in this one room. I do so much away from home and just need a comfortable place to sleep. I hope to build a home similar to yours and like what you have done. I like a stationary home also. What is your out building? Can you give approx cost per sq foot? In Asheville what type of land cost. Any feed back would be greatly appreciated. Love Love Love what you have done. I also did not see a video, but if you have one, sure would love to see it.
    Thanks,
    Donna

  32. Jean says:

    Thank you so much for the post.
    I love that your home is “stick built” style. I have a current home that is around 1250 square feet and I have only started to study tiny homes. I really feel that this is a style of living that I would like to learn more about. My husband and I really want to sell our current home and a tiny house would really fit our life now. I also live in NC and wondered if you could share the ballpark price of a tiny home such as yours. I have viewed several post for tiny homes that are built on trailers and the cost for some seem very high. I know a lot of the cost has to do with upgrades and such. My husband and I have completed a lot of home improvement on our current home but unlike you we are not engineers and this is all new for us.
    I also loved the fact that you wanted more of a full size range and large shower. If you have any pictures that you could post of those areas I would love to see them. I do love your style of finish in your home. Thank you so for the post.
    If you know of any good places that I could find info please let me know.
    Thank you,
    Jean G.

  33. John says:

    WOW, I too have wanted to build since I was a teenager, at 48 I am about to build my first home (Tiny House) in St Marys, Tasmania (Australia) and I have just received all my permits. So many of the issues you have raised are the same here, sizes, ladder access to my ‘storage’ loft and several other things you have mentioned. Thank you to all the ‘Tiny House Builders’ you have all been an inspiration to my project.

  34. Holly says:

    This is wheels. But a great trailer for those wanting to be more mobile such as college students or maybe a moveable cabin.

    Posting this for a friend I know how much work they have already put into just the trailer.

    Their plans have changed it is for sale on craiglist Washington State.

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/for/3504829718.html

  35. Charles E A Johnson+ says:

    Marcus,

    Kudos for a job not only well done, but well presented.
    Our 232′ effort in the southern Black Hills, is rough next to yours, but I have learned watching your labors.

    We will do better in our next iteration, I promise!

    Fr. Chip

  36. Shayna says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful vision and fruit (or pictures of) your labor. I am hoping someday to see my doodles of small homes on paper leap to 3D (and not on sketchup, lol). I, too, live in NC but in a smaller more rural area where building inspectors still have no vision. Ahhh, maybe someday… Keep up the great work!

  37. Marcus says:

    Happy New Year! I’m excited that so many others appreciate my tiny house. Thank you for your kind words.

    The holidays have been busy and I just saw the blog post and comments/questions. I will try to respond in my own replies to this comment.

    Marcus

  38. Marcus says:

    First, it appears that some text between the first and second pictures was accidentally omitted from the original post. That text should read:

    I chose to build a fixed house, rather than a trailer-based dwelling, for several reasons:

    * I’m an urbanite and I’d rather live in town so I can walk or ride a bicycle to get places than drive a car very far. But it’s pretty hilly here in Asheville and harder to find an in-town backyard into which you can physically move a tiny house on a trailer.

    * I didn’t want to worry about getting caught violating housing codes by living in what the local governments would consider a recreation vehicle.

    * I didn’t want to own, or need to rent or borrow, a large truck each time I needed to move a trailer-based house.

    * A fixed house provides equity, potential rental income and better resale value.

    * I wanted the creature comforts of a large shower and full-size range.

    * I wanted outdoor rooms with more permanent features, such as a porch and a patio with landscaping and a garden.

    * The rebel in me wanted to push the bounds of how small of a house the building codes would allow, and I enjoy learning the associated complexities.

    I started the design process by really thinking about how I live my life, such as:

    * how I use and share space
    * how much time I spend indoors and outside
    * what makes a space comfortable
    * room size and dimensions
    * room height
    * window and door locations
    * furniture placement
    * traffic patterns and elbow room
    * what features are important
    * how much I want to cook
    * shower versus bathtub
    * what are my needs versus my wants versus society’s expectations.

    In conjunction, I researched the size constraints and other relevant factors in the local and state building codes:

    * The City of Asheville, for example, requires that:

    - “Every dwelling shall contain at least 150 square feet of floor space for the first occupant thereof and at least 100 additional square feet of floor area per additional occupant.” That’s pretty small by conventional standards.

    * The State of North Carolina specifies, among other requirements, that:

    - “Every dwelling unit shall have at least one habitable room that shall have not less than 120 square feet of gross floor area.”

    - “Habitable rooms shall not be less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension”, except kitchens.

    - “Each dwelling unit shall be provided with a kitchen area and every kitchen area shall be provided with a sink.”

    - “Every kitchen shall have not less than 50 square feet of gross floor area.”

    - “Every dwelling unit shall be provided with a water closet, lavatory, and a bathtub or shower.” Yes, two sinks; one in the kitchen, one in the bathroom.

    • Marcus says:

      Chris said (December 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm):

      “Basically the laws are anti-tiny house.”

      Reply:

      I think that statement is partly true, but note the Asheville and North Carolina laws that allow legally permitted, fixed, habitable structures as small as 150 square feet. (see my comment with the missing text). I believe the bigger culprits are the banking/mortgage industries that will not issue a loan for less than, say, $100,000; as well as the appraisal industry that needs “comparables” to to establish a fair market value.

    • Marcus says:

      Aric said (December 21, 2012 at 9:53 am):

      “I am sorry to hear they nixed the wood burning stove.”

      Reply:

      I had missed that code detail during design. However, one day I may build a small bedroom on the back, which will then allow me to legally install the wood-burning stove if I still want it. The electric radiant baseboard heaters I installed have had no problems heating the house during the 20-degree weather we’ve had recently.

    • Marcus says:

      Vicky said (December 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm):

      “It looks like you have a large crawlspace/basement. How are you using it?”

      Reply:

      The site slopes down toward the street, which created a high foundation at the front of the house. Beneath the house is just a crawlspace, where I placed the water heater and store some unused lumber and trim materials to keep them out of the weather.

    • Marcus says:

      Several people asked about the costs. In round numbers:

      I bought the lot almost 10 years ago, so property costs are different now. There are many vacant lots in town (most priced too high in my opinion).

      Water and wastewater tap fees typically range between $7,000 to $10,000 depending on various factors.

      The total cost for the house was about $33,000, which consisted of materials, some subcontracted labor, some expensive splurges (spray foam insulation, custom loft railing & ladder, cast iron shower pan, nice fixtures, etc.), and my “free” labor.

      FYI, my total costs for property taxes, insurance and utilities (electric, water, sewer, garbage, recycle) are less than $150 per month.

    • Marcus says:

      Oh, I also wanted to say that, while I wanted a fixed tiny house, I totally dig the tiny house on a trailer concept. (Years ago I lived in an Airstream trailer in the Texas hill county.) There’s room for both in the tiny house community. In fact, I think “community” is the more important concept. I am currently working on ideas to develop a tiny house pocket neighborhood in the Asheville area.

  39. br says:

    Nice!

    I have 50 acres in the mountains of NC and am looking for people interested in building a small community of tiny houses on the property. i provide the funds…need the leader/builder/tribe of committed people. is anybody interested in this sort of idea?

    • Mikki says:

      me,me! I have been dreaming about this idea for many years. My mother is also interested and NC is where we would like to be. Please email me with more info–like, location, cost for the lots, etc.

      Thanks much,
      Mikki
      maproksch@aol.com

    • NHansard says:

      I am ExTrEmElY interested in this community project! Please email me with lot cost info, nearest town proximity, etc. Thank you in advance! My email address is: hansardian@yahoo.com

    • Marcus says:

      I am seriously interested to learn more and participate. I have the knowledge and experience to teach and assist with all aspects of such a project including concept, design (buildings and site work), cost estimates, permits, building codes and other regulations, and construction. Can you share an email by which I can contact you? Or, can Kent put us in touch?

    • Hi br,
      I build timber frames here in NC and really want to build small timber frames. Everything I have scheduled is over 2000 sq. ft. I also have a portable sawmill. I would like to get info on your possible community.

    • karen says:

      Add me to your list of interested parties! Retired Community Organizer with some gardening, carpentry and plumbing. Not good at electrical work. Currently train dogs for service and protection work. And hope to finish my “Great American Novel”

    • Jordan says:

      Hi!

      Has your idea of a tiny house community in NC Mountains progressed?

      I’m very interested. Please send me any info you can.

      Thanks!
      Jordan
      gcgseeking@gmail.com

  40. TinyPaws327 says:

    Thanks for the tiny home blog. In response to br, about the tiny home community of tiny homes in the nc mountains, would like to learn more…very interested…if it is not too far from a town…and high above flood zone of french broad river. Please write me tinypaws@charter dot net thanks!! (I spelled out the email address…just type a dot.net)

  41. silvergirl says:

    I am also very interested in the tiny house community project in NC.
    Like TinyPaws and Mikki,I am dreaming the same dream. So much inspiration on this website.

    I loved the Asheville house. :-)

  42. Vincenza says:

    WOW!?! I love it and congratulate to you. It’s a fantastic project. I am particularly interested in the sleeping solutions. They’re great and clever.
    Ciao to you and your family!
    Vincenza

  43. steve says:

    I really like your small house, and thank you for all the info about the permit office in Asheville. I went from a 3200 sq ft home to 1400 sq ft. Now I want to go even smaller, maybe 640 sq ft. Are there other small homes where you guys live? Thanks again.

  44. Chris says:

    Marcus, I’m a retired engineer gearing up to build a tiny guest house on the same lot as my residence in North Asheville, which the zoning allows. Since I’m looking at 12 x 20, 10 foot walls, steep roof etc. I’d love to have a copy of your plans if you’re willing to sell them.
    I’d also like to gaze at your creation if you can share the address. Whom did you use for the spray-in insulation?
    Chris

  45. Janet Taylor says:

    It is so great to find so many people interested in tiny houses. My boyfriend ,who is a builder,and I are seriously looking into building a tiny house. We are interested in a community of like minded folks. The NC possibility sounds interesting. I would like to know more as things progress. My email is, jtaylor@154@yahoo.com

  46. Sharon says:

    Thank you for sharing the house with us.

    A thought for people who garden and are doing something similar–You might want to make a full basement and use it as a root cellar and for canned goods.

    Sharon

  47. In the matter of portable vs. permanent, I think we have stumbled upon a conundrum.

    A portable home (aka trailer) does not need to meet building codes, but they may not meet local zoning codes. So, you can’t park it just anywhere. Some places will require that they be parked in RV parks, which can be somewhat pricey. Or you may have to go to a trailer park, which may not be the most desirable place to stay.

    Conversely, a permanent home does need to meet both building and zoning codes, but it’s not portable. I’ve never seen anybody successfully drag a permanent house down the road without breaking a lot of traffic laws in the process. Pretty bad on gas mileage as well.

    Perhaps we should pool our resources and form a team that can design the planet’s first inflatable house, complete with plumbing and electricity. Just add water and air. How big of an air pump will we need? Perhaps that’s the smallest of the obstacles to be overcome. Hmmmm. Any mad scientists out there who can keep this ball rolling?

    Or perhaps we should just crawl into our own little corners and say, “To each his own.” As long as it’s tiny. :-)

  48. Oh, by the way, my wife and I were in Asheville in October, 2011 to see the world’s biggest house. As we toured the downtown area we stumbled upon a tiny trailer house parked in a parking lot somewhere near downtown. I think it was near Patton Street and North Ann Street, but I’m not positive of that. I took a couple of pix of it for my file. Looked pretty good.

  49. Cindy Ehni says:

    Asheville has been on my radar for some time! But I cannot afford, don’t want and certainly don’t need a regular size house. I’ve been interested in the tiny house concept for several years, so was delighted to ready your story. The one you built, Marcus, is appealing for many reasons, well used space, organization, warmth, easy to maintain. I especially like a second building for an office or workshop and a small area for gardening. I’m on the other side of 60, retired but active and still have a lot I want to do. Do you have any further information about a tiny house community? I also would prefer to bike or walk when possible. I’m not an engineer, but am great at painting and general “handy-woman” work and would want to participate in building, etc. Thanks. Great story!! Cindy

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