The Columbia Missourian recently ran a story about university student Alicia Harris and the tiny house she built with her father, Paul. The 180-square foot house was built for only $22,000 over the course of two months and Alicia lived in it while interning in Amarillo, Texas last summer.
Her tiny home was built on a 7 1/2 foot-by-18-foot flatbed trailer and contains a small kitchen, bathroom with a shower, a loft bedroom and living space with a full closet. The minimalist interior is full of wood accents. The trailer is currently parked in an RV park in Columbia, Missouri while she finishes school. Alicia shares the tiny space with her large Great Dane, Roscoe.
Alicia’s house was based on a blueprint from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and her desire to be mobile and not tied down to high housing costs was the catalyst for this type of home. She also appreciates the low utility costs.
“A perfect example: My first month’s electricity bill was $4, and the second one was $10,” she told the Missourian, “and that was living in Texas in the middle of summer.”
Photos by the Columbia Missourian
Sunset magazine, a home and lifestyle magazine about the American West, has embraced the tiny and small house movement with several features on tiny houses and trailers. Tiny house dwellers who enter their Small Space, Big Dreams Home Awards could win a $250 Container Store shopping spree and could also be featured in a future issue of the magazine.
Until January 31, 2014, Sunset is accepting photos and descriptions of small and tiny homes and how you use the space. They are looking for space-savvy ideas as well as alternative ways of living including floating homes and homes on wheels. The award categories are:
- Whole House: If your entire home is space-savvy, show it off. There’s no square-footage limit—it’s how you use the space that matters.
- One-Room Wonder: A single space filled with ideas for maxing out the available room. Kitchen, bath, kid’s room, or multiuse? You decide.
- Outdoors: Show us photos of how you make your compact yard, tree- house, patio, deck, or shed seem roomier than it is.
- On Wheels or On Water: If your home floats or rolls, we want to see how you’ve kitted out the unconventional space.
- Satellite Space: Guest cottages, writing sheds, the party barn—we’re looking for outbuildings that live large.
To enter, upload 2-6 photos and descriptions (100 words or less) on the use of your space. Entries will be judged on quality of photographs; creativity in the use of space; use of language to describe the small space functionality; and appropriateness to award category. The magazine will not accept photos depicting people. Winners in each category will be notified by April 15, 2014.
Photos by Sunset magazine
One of my favorite tiny house pre-fab design companies, Cabin Fever, is having a Black Friday sale on their stylish Zip Classic cabin. The Zip is a 120 square foot one-room structure that normally costs $12,500, but is being sold November 23-29, 2013 for only $9,900. The Zip building package comes delivered complete with everything required to build a tiny space.
The insulated wall sections of this cabin come assembled and are easy to bolt together with a few helpers. The building includes a raised foundation with steel brackets and 3/4 inch plywood floors, a 8 foot wide glass sliding door and two windows, 3 inch insulated roof panels with trim and solid wood beams on metal columns, wood paneled interior walls and vinyl tile floors and all the hardware necessary to put the house together. The Zip also has a 12×16 ft front porch made with 1×6 inch planks.
The Zip falls into the category of tiny homes that are permit exempt in most localities and this tiny building can be turned into a guest house, artist studio, yoga room or full-time tiny home. Multiple Zips can also be placed next to each other to create a larger dwelling.
Photos by Cabin Fever
You wouldn’t normally think of a 5th wheel trailer as a tiny house, but when I was invited over to Matt and Kathleen’s Forest River Cardinal trailer which is parked behind a friend’s home, I was astounded at how cozy and “house-like” it felt. The couple, who downsized from their home in Seattle to this 30-foot trailer about a year ago, have turned it into a little mobile retreat.
A few years ago, a trip to India opened the couple’s eyes to an alternative way of life and they decided to sell their home in Seattle and most of their belongings. Kathleen said they were both “ready for wheels on a house” and wanted more time for themselves and each other. Matt works as a freelance multimedia designer and Kathleen is an acupuncturist, so their jobs can go on the road with them. Their cats, Mojo and Chloe, also travel along with them and seem to love their new, sunny home.
The couple’s travels have taken them to several RV parks and campgrounds in the West and they spent last winter on a relative’s ranch in Arizona. They currently live in the large acreage behind a friend’s home and pay $500 a month which includes their utilities and Internet access. Since this winter will be colder than the one in Arizona, the 10,500 lb trailer has currently been fitted with a plywood skirt to protect the tanks and pumps. Matt mentioned that the skirting keeps the bay and bottom of the trailer about 4 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air.
The reason the couple chose a fifth wheel rather than a wooden tiny house on wheels is simple: Matt is 6’2″ and needed the headroom. This particular trailer was also rated one of the highest in insulation value. The couple purchased the fifth wheel from Fife RV in Washington for $14,500 and it contains a slider for the living room, a cozy kitchen and dining area, a stand-up work station for Matt, a shower and separate toilet, full bedroom, and they keep it warm with the propane/electric furnace and small space heaters. Gray and black water is first sent through a grinding pump before being pumped into the home’s septic system.
Kathleen said that while it can be difficult to keep the trailer warm and that cleaning out the tanks is not fun, she loves the freedom of the trailer.
“I love the mobility and the idea of being totally self contained,” she said. Matt added that he also loves that there’s no wasted space and he totally digs the trailer’s “Command Center” where they can keep an eye on the level of the tanks, the lighting and battery system.
“We were a bit worried about what people would think of us,” Matt said. “But the response to our decision to move into the trailer has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Photos by Harry Thomas