Tiny Tack House

tiny house outside night sky

by Malissa Tack

A short story of how we came to build our very own Tiny House.

It all started with a meeting at the Apple Store. My husband Chris, while at work, had a chance encounter with a very adventurous lady. She tells him about this idea she has for living small, Chris is intrigued by this and asks to know more.

tiny house outside night sky

Later that day, Chris informed me that he was going to send me a few links, info about the Tiny House Movement. He said that he was working with Candice at the Apple Store and she showed him all about the Tiny House. He didn’t go much further into details, but I was curious. The next day, while working on the computer, I remembered what he was talking about and decided to do some investigation. I searched Tiny House Movement, and was blasted into another world… a much smaller one. The houses were amazing! So small, sleek and stylish… and had all the comforts of home. I’ve lived in my fair share of apartments within the past 10 years, and I know the feeling I get when I come home to them… empty.

Chris and Malissa

You live in the space, but that space really isn’t yours, you always give it back. This has always been a challenging idea for a creative person like me, so once I broke down the door dividing me from what I could never have, and actually having the chance to feel at home, lets just say… I ran with it.


I began to obsess over the idea of living in my very own Tiny House. I would stand at my apartment living room window just thinking how trapped I felt, and this was a perfect blend of owning my own home (free of a 30+ year mortgage ) and having the luxury of moving it where and when I move. No more jumping around from apartment to apartment, but a real chance to not just have my own home, but to be able to create it from start to end. I was hooked.


Then the next amazing thing happened, Chris tells me that Candice, the lady he was helping, was actually creating her very own Tiny House! I was excited, I demanded that I meet her. I wanted to see what it took to create such a house. I would stop over and help out with design ideas and we would do some creative thinking. I was so inspired by her drive that it pushed me into really considering doing this myself. We would work right next to each other… helping out the other as we go. We even made a few trips down to Olympia to visit Dee Williams, and actually see what it’s like to live in a Tiny House.

Christopher working

I was beyond excited when I brought up the idea of building our own Tiny House to Christopher. And even more excited to hear that he was actually considering it. From that moment it was the start of our Tiny Tack House.

Seth the cat

The house took us 7 months to finish, and we had a blast the whole way through. Lots of hours spent researching each stage of the house building process, and a lot of helpful blogs to guide us in the right direction. I’m a 3D Artist, so naturally I wanted to build my house in 3D to see what it would look like, but then I took it a step further and actually started to build it step by step as if it was an actual home. I measured everything out in real life size and it just took off from there.

the kitchen

It took about 4 or 5 designs before we settled with the last plan. You really have to think about what matters to you, there is only so much room for personal items, and they all need a place to go. Christopher is a photographer, so he has a lot of camera gear, where I only need a computer to do my work, so the Computer/Entertainment area was necessary for our home. Chris stores most of his gear in the Bench/Storage/Extra Bed area, as well as the closet near the kitchen. The lower section of the cabinet is for the cat litter pan, extra cat litter and cleaning supplies. The cats can access this space from the bathroom, the front does lift open for easy access. In the loft, we decided to go with dormers, just to have that little bit more head room, as well as for clothing storage and extra windows for ventilation.

tiny house living room

The house was built with the idea that we could have it completely off grid if we were in an area that didn’t have a water and electric hook up, or on grid when parked in an RV Park if need be. So, because of this, we have a 40 Gallon Fresh Water Tank under the kitchen counter top. The drains feed out under the trailer, but has the option of draining into a grey water tank (if parked in RV Parks). We are running on only Solar Power for all our household uses, and loving it!

tiny Tack house

People still have a hard time imagining living is such a small space, but to me it’s not small at all, I still do all the same things I used to, I cook in the kitchen, shower in the bathroom, watch movies in our living room, and sleep in my bed… so, what’s really that different?

Christopher and I have made ourselves a home… and that’s where I want to be!

To continue to follow our story bookmark our blog http://www.chrisandmalissa.com/

Malissa in the tiny house

food prep

dinner table

Christopher photographing house

loft morning light
Calypso enjoying the morning sun

tack house bathroom

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Meg and Joe - May 25, 2012 Reply

Great design. Our designs are similar but I like your use of space. A lot of tiny homes I’ve seen are not nearly thought out as well as yours. This is my favorite design I’ve seen yet outside of my own (lol), great job. Free time rocks!

Cecile Lusby - May 25, 2012 Reply

Such a beautiful job. It looks like a house built to the dimensions of a railroad car. I love the many photos of your pets, and I also agree that a lot of planning went into this home

Kadee - May 25, 2012 Reply

What a beautiful home and family (love your cute kitties). Love your design, the layout, the decor the feel of the entire place is just absolutely gorgeous. We rent a lovely 2 bd. 1.5 bath mobile home, but I have dreamt of building and creating my own tiny home since I was about 12 years old. Your home is such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story. Someday my boyfriend and I will have a tiny home of our very own, that we design and build ourselves too.

zetterburger - May 25, 2012 Reply

Ahh I love it! Your house is absolutely gorgeous.

susan preston - May 25, 2012 Reply

Great shots, and the massive Apple display with fold down table is a stroke of genius. Wishing you much happiness in your tiny abode!

Mary - May 25, 2012 Reply

Beautiful! I love the textural quality of your choices – the baskets for shelves, the leather cupboard door pulls and the bamboo mats as window shades and atop the fridge. The photography makes it real, love the cat(s?) and the full screen computer too. Great color choices, lots to think about, thanks for sharing your lovely home with us.

steph - May 25, 2012 Reply


Bobbi K. - May 25, 2012 Reply

I love your house! We have been thinking for some time now about tiny living but have children to think of.We may end up with two tiny houses! Just wondering,what is the length and width of your house? It looks so spacious and yet tiny at the same time! Wonderful job.

The Art Of Living Deliberately - May 25, 2012 Reply

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Cathy J. - May 25, 2012 Reply

I, too have become obsessed with building my own tiny home. I am going to the Tumbleweed Workshop in DC in June and can’t wait. Your house is the nicest layout I have seen so far. Enjoy!

Makku - May 25, 2012 Reply

You mentioned that you were living entirely on solar power. Would you mind going into a little more detail about that? I’ve always wanted a house like this myself, but power has always been a concern. About how much energy would you say you generate per day/how is it stored/how are you minimizing its use?

    Douglas Cosier, Kimberley,B.C. - June 2, 2012 Reply

    May I please have more Off Grid info ?
    Solar PV area / Battery assist ?

Rebecca - May 25, 2012 Reply

I love your house! It is incredibly beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

tyler - May 25, 2012 Reply

So much I like in this design. Probably because its all workable and still looks like a home. Dormers are a must I think.

Shadlyn Wolfe - May 25, 2012 Reply

I love the little aesthetic touches you’ve made – the fresh flowers, the statues, the throws, and so forth. A lot of tiny housers don’t do much in the way of decorating and so the space seems very sparse.

Your space seems very homey, and still spacious! Very impressive!

    Deb Durham - May 27, 2012 Reply

    Agreed! It’s beautifully done with quality materials and furnishings. Just because you go tiny doesn’t mean you can’t have some style and luxe.

Francine - May 25, 2012 Reply

Question: where is your tiny house located — did you purchase land, or are you renting? I’m having a difficult time finding a suitable location and am curious how others have managed this. Also, how are you handling utilities, water, etc.?

    Rebecca - May 25, 2012 Reply

    I can’t answer for the tacks, but in our case we bought some rural land. We’re using a cistern for rainwater catchment, solar power and a composting toilet with a graywater system.

    Christopher Tack - May 28, 2012 Reply

    Our house is located on someone’s property North of Seattle WA. We pay monthly rent & have access to water to fill our tank as well as electricity (though, when it’s sunny, the solar provides all of our power:)

Francine - May 25, 2012 Reply

Realized I may need to clarify my question about utilities, since you did address them a bit in the article: where do you obtain water to refill the water tank? how do you handle septic issues? what’s your main source for heat in the winter?
Thank you for sharing, by the way. Your home is beautiful and your story is inspiring!

alice h - May 25, 2012 Reply

Every time I see another gorgeous tiny house it makes me more impatient to get on with my own project. Yours is so inspirational and helps keep my own dream on track. One step at a time, bit by bit, closer and closer. The best part of going slowly is finding so many new ideas to include in my own space. So thanks to tiny housers and all the blogs out there for sharing.

tinycottage - May 25, 2012 Reply

i too was wondering about your solar set up. that fridge alone would have quite the amp-hour draw!

i said this in a previous post about your design:

that is the best shower i’ve seen in a tiny home!

Emi - May 25, 2012 Reply

Simply Great work & Beautiful House. Nice use of space.I love the Decoration and color of everything.

Emma Grimes - May 25, 2012 Reply

Oh my In my next life if I have one I will build a little house like this … I just love the tiny houses and look at some every day smart to do this i think but Im to old now hugs have a lovely life

Mark A - May 25, 2012 Reply

Gorgeous home.

Thanks for sharing it with us.

Shawn & Jamie - May 25, 2012 Reply

Good job! And with a working kitchen to boot…now THAT is what makes a house of any size! Thanks for sharing : )

Joni - May 25, 2012 Reply

Great house! What do you do for internet? I’m having a hard time finding unlimited or at least 50GB/month data packages while living mobile. I’d love your feedback.

    Anthony - May 26, 2012 Reply

    I’ve got unlimited internet through Verizon, but it’s actually an Alltel usb modem. Not sure if it’s on their website, but they’ve got them in the stores (or did a few months ago when I was last in a cell phone store). It’s 60 bucks a month and fast enough so I can still play online games and watch streaming video unless the weather is terrible. Living on a houseboat, it’s one of my only options, and it works for me.

    Christopher Tack - May 28, 2012 Reply

    We are close enough to the house on the property that we are able to pick up their wi-fi. We did need to install a 10,000 sq ft wi-fi booster to make the signal strong enough though.

Howie - May 25, 2012 Reply

Beautiful house and great pictures.

jeanne - May 26, 2012 Reply

Fantastic design ~~ really beautiful~~ wish I lived there!

Phil Taccetta - May 26, 2012 Reply

Sweet! I’ve been off grid for 31 years and can’t imagine living in town. Enjoy!

John - May 26, 2012 Reply

Hi! What, if anything, would you do differently design-wise, now that you’ve been living in your house? We are especially worried ourselves about a mini fridge since we cook a lot, and about heating while leaving our cat home alone–how do you heat?

    Christopher Tack - May 28, 2012 Reply


    Thankfully, Malissa & I spent quite a bit of time on the planning phase before we started building. Overall, we are are very happy with the design.

    If we were to change anything, we may have gone with a slightly smaller couch/bench/storage area & smaller cabinet. Not to say we couldn’t still change this as we installed both the couch and clothing cabinet in a way so they can be removed if desired. We installed the bamboo flooring beneath both as well as put the pine t&g siding inside.

    I also wish I would have thought a bit more about the places to plug things in. It would be nice to have plugs inside the cabinets for items that need to be plugged in, but aren’t necessarily aesthetically pleasing (i.e. battery chargers for my camera equipment, wi-fi router, etc.). It would also have been nice to have run an ethernet directly from my solar inverter to the computer for monitoring purposes.

Jannine - May 26, 2012 Reply

Thank you so much for sharing. I am mesmerized, almost obsessed. My daughter is 11 and I want her to understand living within your means doesn’t limit the possibility of exploring and having adventures.

carrie - May 26, 2012 Reply

1 word…..BRAVO !!!!!

Edwaard Thompson - May 26, 2012 Reply

A friend and I,She has the money< are planing a Small house community But they are bigger then a tiny house.
She is buying 24 12'x20' "Storage sheds" with the floors already insulated, and a loft already installed. Some of these are to be used as housing for Vets,and other low/no income peoples. Will record the progress after we actually start building. Myself I would love to find a trashed 5th wheel Trailer to tear into and make a 8'x20' tiny house. As long as my 79 s10 extra cab can pull it. It has the power having a diesel and 5 speed but needs the 5th wheel setup to give it stopping and centering power.

Michael - May 26, 2012 Reply

How about a run-down on your solar/batteries setup for your electricity. I think all of us would enjoy hearing about it.

BenBrown - May 26, 2012 Reply

Hands down, this is the best finishing I’ve seen of a tiny house ever.

Gary Ledford - May 27, 2012 Reply

I agree with all the other folks who offered high praise for your job well done. I guarantee when I get around to building my tiny home I will borrow a few of your ideas.Lots of good comments asking for details I would love to see you reply to on your web site.Already been there and you have a good start.I encourage you to keep it up.Thank you

Darrell Shoub - May 27, 2012 Reply

that is the most beautiful thing I have seen since Angkor Wat. I am so choked up with unashamed envy I only wish there was like a “we can build you one too, for $____ and you can live off the grid in aesthetic perfection too!!!” Kudos! best Ive seen.

Lisa - May 27, 2012 Reply

Wow! Great use of space. This is an amazing house.

Jessica Drennan - May 27, 2012 Reply

This is my first encounter with even the concept of a “tiny house.”. It really evokes an optional response that is surprising. The arrangement of furnishings and the lines of the interior spaces give an expansive feel –it invites you in–I can’t imagine one of the persons responding not wanting to spend some time in your exquisite tiny house!

Kenise - May 29, 2012 Reply

Beautiful! I love all the wood.

Nicole Marie - May 29, 2012 Reply

I LOVE LOVE LOVE your kitchen storage wall!!! What a great and attractive use of space! You guys did a great job and have a wonderful house. Just lovely! All the best to you in your new home.

Dee Williams - May 30, 2012 Reply

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Cris and Malissa’s house and it is even more beautiful in person, than it appears in the photos. They did an great job. THEY ROCK!!!!

Lexie - May 30, 2012 Reply

Very nice!! We live on 43 acres and have more than we will ever need and use. Built our house in 1983. If I had it to do over, this would be my option and choice. Before we found our place we traveled with three kids and one cat in a used RV for a year. So the possibilities of this being for family are there too. I will see how life goes for you following your blog. Thanks for sharing.

April - May 31, 2012 Reply

This is by far my favorite tiny house I have seen yet! Love it!

kyle - May 31, 2012 Reply

wow amazing tiny house guys!! any advice for a guy looking to build one?? I appreciate any help or advice! cheers 🙂

militaryfam - June 11, 2012 Reply

It is so inviting! Not only with the design.. you guys did an amazing job with the decorating, to incorporate homey elements and textures. Excellent job!

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joanne - June 17, 2012 Reply

We live in a small space, have gotten rid of everything we can think of, and share our space with others. We also often have visitors, so we pitch a tent outside or squish inside if it’s too cold. It’s a blessing to be close to others. I never did understand the desire for bigger houses where you can go hide in a room somewhere and not see another person most of the day (or all day if you want to).

My second thought when I saw your little house was: no room for more than one child. You might need to add on a little some day.

joanne - June 17, 2012 Reply

Forgot to say: beautiful photography.

Jens - December 19, 2012 Reply

the house is great, but the photos are incredible!

Erick - December 22, 2012 Reply

Style for miles. I bet alot of people are like me and thought wow, I would love to own a place like this. So much style. So much personality.

Jon R - January 9, 2013 Reply

Where do you poop?

LJ - February 5, 2013 Reply

Hello, I think we can all agree that this is one of the best tiny houses we have ever seen; its perfect! I would love to know a few more details that would be super helpful in planning our own tiny house. For example what is the the length/width/height of your tiny home, it looks so much more spacious than some of the others I’ve seen…. or is that simply a trick of the awesome photography? 🙂

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Shane - May 6, 2013 Reply

I am interested in doing my part in setting an example for the over-built world. Please tell me how I can get started. Please indicate, “TINY HOUSES” in the subject bar. Thank you.

Cherryl - August 17, 2013 Reply

Thank you for publishing your story and the fantastic pictures of your home. I believe in the tiny home movement. It forces one to live simply and to really be conscious of what they are collecting materially through life as important. Please keep me informed with any updates if you assist anyone else in their tiny home design or building with pictures and the story. Thanks so much again.

Michelle - May 7, 2014 Reply

Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen a more beautiful tiny home. You can tell a designer designed it and lives in it 🙂 Gorgeous absolutely gorgeous. And, yes, I’d love to live in a house like that.

Sara - August 26, 2014 Reply

I’m interested in your shower. I want to put one in my cabin just like that. Any suggestions would be most helpful!

Westin - February 7, 2015 Reply

Its funny I have been designing my own tiny house and it looks almost identical to this one! However, I am wanting to add a wood stove to my tiny house which leads me to wonder… how do you heat your house? Especially, if it is an off grid unit??

Cricket - August 26, 2015 Reply

This little place is adorable! Hubby and I are older so not sure we could build our own but definitely think this is the future in homes. Do you use a composting toilet by chance? Where do you store clothes? Thanks for sharing your home sweet tiny home. <3

Sally Boek - November 4, 2015 Reply

I saw a model of the tack house without the steeper roof all the way across. DO you have the building plans for that one and how long is the trailer? Thank you,

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