Our Tiny Cabin

by Kent Griswold on April 3rd, 2014. 42 Comments

Michael and I knew that we wanted something smaller, but even more so, we knew that we wanted our own land. Michael was raised on cattle ranches down in Alabama and Mississippi. He has many head of cattle that he wants to bring up to where we currently live. We always talked about buying a place or building a place, but neither of us are machine inclined. So we knew that we were going to hire someone that could build our tiny cabin for us.

tiny cabin

We bought a historic hundred and four-year-old cottage in the antique district also known as Goodlettsville about 20 minutes away from downtown Nashville three years ago. Previously we were in a one bedroom apartment so when we bought this cottage we felt like it was so much bigger being that it has three bedrooms. After living in it for a while we realize that three bedrooms were not necessary for us we actually use the master bedroom as a den and media room and we sleep in a smaller bedroom and then of course the third bedroom has been used as a guestroom and catchall.

cabin delivery

Mike and I have always talked about gardening cattle and having acreage someday. I came across Tiny House websites and blogs about a year ago online. Even though we knew we wanted to downsize Mike wasn’t too keen on the small tiny houses that were 6 x 6 on trailers from the get-go. However through the past year we’ve done a lot of research and decided on the size that could work for us.


Mike and I garden extensively. The whole backyard is a working garden. We grow our own food and we know how to preserve. We also have kept hens for years. We had the Mennonites in Dickson Tennessee build us a rather nice-looking coop, and we exchange our vegetables and eggs with the neighbors in our community. What we can’t eat, freeze, or can we give to family, friends, and Church folk.

unfinished interior

We found a company up the road in Greenbrier Tennessee at the Amish general store that builds sheds and small cabins. The company is actually just over the state line in Kentucky. Their quality of work and customization options were second to none. As soon as I spotted what they call a “vinyl Quaker cabin,” I immediately talked to Mike and said I think I found the cabin we’ve been looking for! It is 288 sq ft, not including the sleeping loft. At 12 x 24 it was very easy to have it delivered.


Depending on their order load, your cabin will be delivered within 4 to 6 weeks. Ours took about five weeks, because we had fully customized it. We have windows in the sleeping loft, double glass doors on the back that could lead out to a deck, and extra height added.

Our goal is to be off grid as much as we can be. We are choosing no electricity, plumbing, etc. We will use wind, solar, rain water, propane, kerosene, composting toilet, and wood. Keep more hens and grow our own food.

tiny cabin

We are excited about our journey and we know that this is the right fit for us, it may not be for everyone, but Mike and I knew that this was coming, even before it was in front of us.

We are excited to insulate the tiny cabin, put up some sort of wall materials such as bead board, and we received leftover hardwood flooring from some friends.

Our plan: within the next 12 to 18 months to be fully off the grid on our own homestead, growing our own food, and looking for alternative fuel options.

Our next venture is finding a good used tractor! :)

Shon & Mike
Goodlettsville, TN

tiny cabin

April 3rd, 2014and filed in Your Story
Tags: Amish, cabin, Tennessee, Tiny House Articles

Tiny House Dating? Really?

by Kent Griswold on March 28th, 2014. 47 Comments

With Kai Rostcheck

This week we had a conversation with Kai Rostcheck, who recently introduced the website TinyHouseDating to our community. This concept presents an intriguing angle on the Movement in general. We’d like to hear your comments (below).

Tiny House Blog: Tiny House Dating? Really?

Kai: (Laughs) Sure, why not?

Tiny House Blog: Ok, fair enough. Maybe we should turn the question around. Why create a Tiny House Dating website?

Kai: While researching the tiny house movement, I noticed several themes. One of them was that “other people” just don’t understand our values. Tiny House Enthusiasts on several different blogs and forums commented that they are confident and fulfilled by decisions they have made on their own, but when it comes to companionship something’s missing. They were having a hard time meeting people who shared their perspective on what’s important, so first dates rarely went much further.

tiny house dating

Tiny House Blog: And a dating website will fix this how?

Kai: Here’s the thing, Tiny House Dating isn’t about Tiny Houses. Those are objects. Our site (and the movement in general) is about a shift in values. All we are doing is creating a deal-breaker filter, someone who can’t get his head around Tiny House living isn’t going to join the site. This means that everyone who does opt-in, does so with a similar intentions. Their specific choices around friendship, dating or life partnership will vary, but the unifying theme is connection and understanding.

Tiny House Blog: So it’s like a non-smoker knowing she wouldn’t want to date a smoker? She wants to know his preference up front so she doesn’t waste her time, right?

Kai: Exactly. But instead of smoking, our filter is lifestyle choice. Tiny House Dating is for people who place higher value on freedom, flexibility and even sustainability than on “stuff.”

Tiny House Blog: Do you have to live in a Tiny House to join?

Kai: No. We hope that members of other communities (like Minimalism, Simple Living and Homesteading) will join, too. In fact, our profile questions are specifically designed to help people talk about who they are and how they want to live, rather than focusing on where they are living right now.

Tiny House Blog: Has the community really grown large enough to support our own dating site?

Kai: One thing that really blows me away was a statistic I discovered while creating I Love Tiny Houses. Tiny House videos have been watched nearly 27 million times! I know that far fewer Tiny Houses have actually been sold, but this number leads me to believe that there are many, many people wanting to change the way they’ve been living. And again, we don’t expect everyone who joins to end up living in a Tiny House. They might simply be choosing how to purposefully “right-size” their lives. It’s not a bad place to start.

Tiny House Blog: But there are all of those other (massive) dating sites out there already, with so many people to choose from…

Kai: It’s about alignment. Tiny House people know what we are looking for. Our very interest in Tiny Houses defines us as being outside of the status quo. Could we go on a hundred dates through Match.com or OkCupid and find the right person? Sure…anything is possible. But wouldn’t we rather opt for one high-quality connection and a better chance that it will work out? I think so.

Tiny House Blog: We know that your site is brand new, but there is already some activity. Can you tell us what you are noticing, and how people are describing themselves?

Kai: Members of our community definitely crave connection. Their personal profiles and stories reinforce what I mentioned earlier; many Tiny House people want to find friends and partners who share their values. I’ve noticed other important contexts, too. For example, we can see clearly that Tiny House partnership is not just about the house itself. Our friend Andrew Odom says it best, I think, when he advises potential Tiny Housemates to, “Hold your relationship up above all other things.” Then, there is the reality that building/buying a Tiny House together can be very stressful and/or incredibly bonding. Finally, I frequently hear things along the lines of, “The world still thinks we’re nuts. But being ‘nuts’ together makes us stronger.”

Tiny House Blog: Do you worry that people will perceive this website as an opportunity for you to capitalize on the Movement?

Kai: I really do. But I think of it this way: I have seen tons of Facebook posts where a reader chides a builder for the total cost of his or her home. And I read Macy Miller’s recent rebuttal (to her detractors) with a heavy heart. It’s easy for people to misinterpret things or filter through their own experience. The bottom line is that we want to bring people together. If we are able to do so, it’s going to be worth any misconceptions.

Tiny House Blog: What’s the cost of membership?

Kai: Right now membership is free. We are building this community from the ground up. The first people to join have been absolutely fantastic about sharing their enthusiasm and feedback. We are learning from them, and we know that we need to reach critical mass in order to create an exciting platform that gives lots of people many choices. Down the road we’ll consider a nominal fee to cover operating expenses.

Tiny House Blog: How can people sign up?

Kai: Just go to www.tinyhousedating.com and register with coupon code “free2join” for complimentary gold membership.

The Revival

by Kent Griswold on March 26th, 2014. 37 Comments

by Jonathan Morningstar

Let me introduce myself: My name is Jonathan Morningstar. I am an itinerant United Methodist pastor, which means that I can be moved to a new parish at any time. My wife Amanda and I are always one phone call from the bishop away from moving to a new town, which honestly can cause a little anxiety. The parishes that I serve provide my wife and I with a more than adequate parsonage, but we have always wanted a place to call our own!

We started looking at our options, and found the Tiny House Blog! It has been such a helpful resource in this process. We decided to locate our little cottage in a campground that my family has been attending for years. It is a century old revival type camp-meeting in central Pennsylvania. At this campground, there are many small cabins owned by families that have attended the meeting, often for generations.


My grandfather was a minister too, and his small cottage is just down the way from mine, now owned by my uncle. Through the bat and board siding, the sound of hymns and spiritual songs and spirited preaching comes wafting through the cabin in the humid late summer heat.

The Susquehanna river is just down the hill from the campground, where we often swim and fish. It’s a perfect place to relax. We lease a small tent pad, which our 10X16 cottage occupies. We had the cabin shell built by a local shed company, and delivered to the site. We then finished the interior. Four of the 16 feet is porch, but we decided to maximize space by locating a sleeping loft above the porch. This puts the interior at around 120 square feet, 160 if you count the loft. We’ve kept an open floor plan, having a corner for the “kitchen” and “office,” a sitting area, as well as a centrally located pot-bellied stove that provides heat. The stove is quite small, I found it at a local antique shop. The bolt holes on the legs have always left me wondering if it in fact started life in a railroad caboose.


A small secretary desk provides a valuable workspace; much of what I do as a pastor involves writing and reflecting, and this quiet location is a great place to focus on this task. Most of the furniture is reclaimed, or heirloom. The heavy oak love seat, rocking chair, and chair are from my great aunt, and were used at the campground 50 years ago. My mother has had them for as long as I can remember, but a few years ago gave them to me. They are now back home!


The antique brass lamp was my grandmothers. We’ve decided not to insulate the cabin, and instead have left the walls open, you can see the inside of the bat and board siding from the interior. Only being a three season cabin, we didn’t feel the need to insulate, the little wood stove easily heats the place during cooler spring and fall days.

desk and light

The other reason we left the interior unfinished, other than to save a little money, is because leaving it “breathable” just feels more like the mood of the camp. Not too long ago, the campground was full of canvas tents, I slept in one as a kid. The canvas tents have been gone for a while now, and I believe the loss of the old wall tents takes a great deal away from the rustic feel of the camp. Our goal with our cabin was to make a space that was faithful to this “feel.”


Hope you enjoy our little cabin, which we’ve nicknamed “the revival.”

the cabin

Flatpack House

by Kent Griswold on March 21st, 2014. 28 Comments

A flatpack house costing 6,500 pounds ($10,728) was given to a brave dad and he was given a week to assemble it. Is it as easy as an IKEA book case?

At £6,500, they don’t come cheap, but the company which produces the wooden cabins — tinyhouseuk.co.uk — says that homeowners have been snapping them up.

Mark Burton, the company’s founder, says the traditional wooden buildings are being bought by people desperate to acquire more space without moving house. Indeed, it seems there’s a growing market for ingenious ways to expand your home — without inflicting fatal damage on your wallet.

flatpak 1

Many of these involve creating separate, fully furnished buildings that include everything from sinks to beds, and are big enough to provide accommodation for a teenager or two, but small enough to fit in a garden without the need for planning permission.

With three daughters aged four, eight and 11, space in my family’s Kent home is certainly at a premium.

construction 1

As we live in a traditional farm cottage, I eschew the modern mini-houses, and plump for a classic wooden design — I’m setting myself the challenge of whipping up a mini-home in just seven days.

Read how his seven day build went here at Mail Online. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2548375/Could-YOU-build-flatpack-house-Home-box-costs-just-6-500-But-really-easy-build-IKEA-bookcase-We-gave-one-brave-dad-week-try.html

construction 2

interior flatpak

March 21st, 2014and filed in Stick Built
Tags: flatpack, IKEA, Tiny House Articles