This weeks Tiny House in a Landscape I found while searching for cabins in the woods. All I could find out about this one is that it is from somewhere in Southern Finland. I can’t seem to find out anything more.
So you photo detectives please go find out for me as I am probably posting someone’s copyrighted photo. I would like to at the least give the photographer’s name and credit his/her work with a link if possible.
I love the setting and the little cottage. I could live there quite peacefully. How about you?
by Cheryl Preston
I am new to the world of living “small” and just joined your group last night. In the next four months, I will be downsizing from a 2000 sq foot farmhouse I’m renting into a 440-sq foot 2-room cottage that I call the Cowboy Cottage.
This little cottage started out as a shed built by its original owner who had a small vineyard and needed a place to make the wine. The second owner decided to build out from the shed and add a living/sleeping space for his visiting grandkids as a playhouse.
I purchased the property (a total of 10 acres with the main house I keep rented out) with my husband in 2005. After he died the following year, I decided to rent the main house out and turn the playhouse into another cabin to rent out. I used the original 1940′s stove (a castoff from the main house) as the inspiration piece and created a vintage western theme and named the guest cottage “The Cowboy Cottage.”
I have some success renting out this little cottage as a vacation getaway, but have now decided to downsize and move into the charming Cowboy Cottage. The drive will be an additional 30 minutes to work, but at last I will be able to enjoy the fruits of my labor.
I took out the closet and had a full-size Murphy bed installed. I had the plywood countertop taken off and had a nice piece of molded countertop added; updated the fixtures, laid down 5″ T&G yellow pine flooring throughout, added a wood stove, and western touches including a 5′ longhorn rack I picked up in Texas. I put in a hot water tank, small septic tank and insulated and sealed off the attic crawlspace over the living area. I also had 2 stables built under the part of the shed that originally housed a tractor.
Unfortunately, I cannot get a CO from the county to put in a separate electric meter because the shed does not have a 3′ required crawlspace so the power and water come through lines connected directly to the main house, 125′ feet away. Since I will be moving out there full time, I’m looking at having a new well drilled and looking into solar power as an option.
I was out there today taking measurements and trying to figure out how I am going to “fit” into it, but I’ve stayed in it many nights while out there for a weekend retreat; very different than actually moving in. But I am bound and determined to be out at my property at last.
Here is what it looked like when I first moved in, before the deck and stables were added (circa 2007) and a couple of before and afters the inside remodel in kitchen. Reduced the double bifold doors that lead into the bathroom down to 1 bifold door and added a new wall where the other bifold door was.
I’ve had our tiny backyard cottage as a rental on Airbnb now since June and we’ve had over 20 visitors who’ve been both charmed and confused by the size of the cottage, awed by the location and inspired by the space planning and design. Airbnb is a social website that connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay. Our cottage (which we remodeled last year) has been enjoyed by people from all over the world as a quiet place to stay while in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area.
If things continue to go as well as they do, about 20 percent of our income could come from this rental and this great service, allowing me to not have to work full time anymore. However, it has not been without its ups and downs. Several people have felt that the cottage is too small, the water tank is limited in hot water and the location a little out of the way. Albeit, some visitors have found it perfect for their needs. It can be difficult to include every need and want, but I’ve come up with five tips that could help you rent out your own tiny house on Airbnb.
1. Location, location, location…but not how you think
Our cottage is centrally located to many places: Reno, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco and Yosemite. It’s also out of the city, which allows our visitors to have a quiet getaway while still being about 15 minutes away from groceries and town. However, the majority of our visitors happen to be coming across the country — coming to or from San Francisco. If you market your tiny house as a way station to another location, you could bring in more visitors.
2. Offer a unique experience
A lot of visitors to the cottage were intrigued first by the name of our property and the bright colors of the house. Then they saw that we offered access to wilderness areas (complete with wild horses), a trampoline, plenty of parking, a giant vegetable garden they could peruse and their own kitchen and bathroom.
3. Be an expert in your area
Some of our visitors have been very happy with the advice I’ve given them about our area. I’ve told them the best places to go hiking, the best restaurants in the area and tips on how to avoid crowds. Be an expert in your own area and make yourself available for questions.
4. Check with your insurance and put it in writing
If you list your tiny house with Airbnb, your property is covered for loss or damage due to theft or vandalism caused by an Airbnb guest for up to $1,000,000 (in eligible countries). I also called our insurance company to make sure that we would not be liable for any injury to a guest as long as they were on our property. It turns out that bodily injury is covered under our insurance with any structure on the property. I have a small information packet in the cottage that outlines the rules of the property and for visitors to use our trampoline or swing at their own risk.
5. Be ready for last minute requests
Several of our Airbnb requests have been for that night or the next night. I’ve had to scramble at the last minute to clean the cottage and make it available for the next person. Be prepared for last minute requests and have extras of everything including bedding, towels and bottles of water and make sure the tiny house is heated or cooled depending on the weather.
Many portable building manufacturers are extending their services by designing and building tiny affordable houses with their current equipment and experienced carpenters. One such company is actually a broker and dealer of the largest selection of portable buildings in the NW Arkansas, SW Missouri and NE Oklahoma area. Showcase Sheds & More sells portable storage buildings, portable storage sheds, cabins, greenhouses and now tiny houses like the Irish inspired Dara.
The Dara is a 200 square foot, plus sleeping loft, tiny house on skids. It comes with a full size bathroom, an on-demand water heater and a full kitchen with built in storage, aluminum brushed counters, microwave and stainless steel appliances. There is room for a two burner gas stove/oven that is not included with the house. The living room has a wall of windows, pine tongue and groove flooring and painted bead board. The exterior of the house is sided in western cedar with a galvanized metal roof, and the entire house is wired and plumbed with Pex tubing. Each Dara can be customized per the customer’s requests. Prices range from $16,000 to $26,950 and the company offers a few rent-to-own options. Each of their tiny homes can be build on-site, on a trailer or prebuilt and delivered to its final location.
Showcase also has a few cabin models and a darling Story Book Chalet which can be used as an office or a tiny house. The Story Book includes a 4 foot detachable deck and a custom storybook door. The cabins are also affordable like the 12×24 foot Lakeside Cabin that retails for just under $5,000 for the basic model.
Photos by Showcase Sheds & More