Coffee Huts as Tiny Houses

Each time I see a coffee hut by the side of the road, I not only get a craving for caffeine, but I wonder if some of these structures can be turned into a tiny house. Many of them are already on wheels and are the perfect size for living in. Some coffee huts are not affixed to a trailer, but are still small enough to be moved to a new location for a smaller life with a much smaller price tag than many tiny homes.

There have been several coffee huts for sale on different websites including Tiny House Listings and Yakaz, including this 60 square foot hut on wheels currently selling for $5,000 and a 12×12 building in Missouri for $15,000. Seed to Cup Coffee Solutions sells new coffee huts that range in sizes and prices and include designs like trolleys and trailers.

What would it take to turn a coffee hut into a tiny house? Plumbing, water tanks and electricity are already installed in most so these structures are more complete than a prefab shed, and some larger coffee huts already have basic bathrooms and sinks installed. Many coffee huts will also already have heating and air conditioning. The main construction of these tiny spaces would be a living and sleeping area. I would love to hear from tiny house enthusiasts who have turned a coffee hut into a home or what our readers think about the idea.








Photos by Zach Hoffman Photography, Alive in Seattle, Coffee Shacks, Joel Washing, Michael Coghlan


By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

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alice h - June 3, 2013 Reply

The covered wagon one is weird, really wonky proportions, but it would make a great roof deck area up there with the canvas rolled up.

Richard - June 3, 2013 Reply

I think it’s an excellent idea to disguise a tiny home as a food-service trailer or portable construction office. You can save the money you would have spent on nonfunctional pretty-porches and spend it on road-worthiness and burglar-proofing instead. Something constructed like a vending wagon could deploy into a lovely, respectable tiny home, while being secure as a tank when folded shut and locked tight.

No-one is going to remember that u-haul truck or sandwich trailer that passed by earlier in the day. But that silly faux Craftsman cottage or twee Swiss chalet on a trailer will be remembered and talked about for weeks.

    Anthony Rizzo - December 8, 2013 Reply

    I agree whole heartedly. I’ve been trying to dig up information on converted U-Haul trucks into camper projects but I seem to find more busses turned to camper projects. But like you I happen to think that a non descript box truck could park almost anywhere and it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. It definitely would make a great tiny home.

    Sally - December 11, 2013 Reply

    Nah, definitely not an incognito dwelling as you suggest. People would be banging on the door from 6 a.m. on wanting coffee, regardless of where this was parked. I have already figured out the perfect unauthorized parking lot dwelling disguise, but I’m not telling 🙂

Kim Fortin - June 3, 2013 Reply

I am in love with this. One of the things that I’ve always wished is that there would be smaller, square-shaped tiny house designs as opposed to the rectangular, trailer park-like designs.

I’m not sure if it’s impossible to put square shaped designs that are a littler bigger than this on a trailer or if it would go beyond the regulations for traveling on our highways/freeways/interstates,etc…

    leili - June 4, 2013 Reply

    Kim, the fed gov DoT restricts vehicles to 8&1/2 feet in width on federal highways (and some states have official width limits that are even smaller – on paper at least.)

    Anything wider than that and you’d have to get an oversized permit every time you move it anywhere at all, because those permits are only good for a short time.

    So if you’re going to move it with any regularity and you really wanted a square structure, you’d be limited to the widest width as your dimension to be squared or 72 1/4 sq ft total minus the total area taken up by siding, insulation & interior walls.

    That would give you interior living space of around 60 sq ft give or take a smidge. Pretty tight, more like a child’s playhouse and not likely liveable for any length of time for adults (at least those who aren’t Munchkin-Americans.)

    That’s why you don’t see square tiny homes or recreational trailers – all of which require cooking, bathing & sleeping quarters – on wheels. Only mobile buildings dedicated to single purposes like coffee shacks can fit what needs to be accommodated into a shorter length to match the width which gives you the square shape.

    Your best bet is a permanent site-built structure if a squarer profile is your preference.

    cheryl - June 5, 2013 Reply

    As long as you’re willing to get an oversize permit from the DMV, you can build up to 12 feet wide. So… if you’re not planning to move the house very often, you could build a 12′ x12′ square and have 144 square feet, which is about the same living space as an 8′ x 18′ rectangular house. Definitely doable! And I bet the house would be cute on the outside!

      Sally - December 11, 2013 Reply

      Before investing in something 12 feet wide that you intend to move more than once, which you will have to tow with some serious power, RENT something 12 feet wide and tow it through several small towns on one way streets with traffic lights and trees, back it up, turn it around in parking lots, tow it on a windy day, etc. We moved a 12 X 26 shed ONE time, on quiet country roads, and swore never to do it again. We couldn’t believe the obstacles and hazards we’d never noticed. It was more harrowing than some of my 1970s motorcycle rides. Hooo! There’s a reason there are DMV limits.

Chris Stoltzfus - June 3, 2013 Reply

How about turning a small backyard shed into a Tiny House? Sheds Unlimited has portable two story buildings that can be delivered as modular Mini Homes. See more here… You will love the Art Studio Shed

Bob H - June 4, 2013 Reply

So refreshing to see tiny buildings without wheels.

Swabbie Robbie - June 8, 2013 Reply

Those are cute little buildings, though the covered wagon one is too contrived.

I sure like the idea of small buildings like that for businesses. It fits well with the purposes for tiny houses environmentally and lifestyle wise.

    Sally - December 11, 2013 Reply

    But dear Robbie, people apparently love contrived and amusing because this is the only one where they are lined up for coffee, and probably getting their pictures taken, too. Are you too young to remember the awesome kitschy roadside attractions before Disney sanitized family vacations? Alas! 🙂

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