Moss Tiny Houses

From the earliest time man has needed shelter from the elements. From the early explores to the brave American pioneers in their canvas covered wagons, in search of a better life, to today where many face uncertain economic times. With the housing bubble popped and foreclosures on the rise, many are looking for a simpler life and freedom from heavy financial burdens of a large mortgage, property taxes and ever increasing insurance premiums.

My name is Kitty Moss and I’m very excited to introduce you to our new company Moss Tiny Houses. We are located in North Central Florida and we will be the first builders in the Southeastern United States to provide a high quality, affordable, alternative, product that is not only beautiful but also very environmentally friendly.

We are a small family owned and operated business. For the past few years we’ve been talking abut building a tiny house on a trailer and our dream is finally coming true. My husband Jeremy, his father David (a licensed contractor) and his brothers Scott, Terry and brother-in-law Adam, have been building houses in Florida for many years. We have built large scale custom homes, and now we are turning our efforts and talents into building “Tiny Houses”. Our houses are built with the higher standards that you would find in larger square footage homes. We endeavor to put the comforts of a modern home into our tiny houses. We use high quality materials that will stand up to the elements and can handle moving your tiny houses.

Our new Model “The Leony” is almost ready. We are asking $28,900. and here is a Specification list:

  • House Dimensions: 7′ x 16′ Road Height: 13.5′ Sq. Ft.: 112
  • The house sits on a brand new custom built double axle tandem trailer on a heavy duty frame with brake system (including battery).
  • Conventionally framed
  • 26 gag. Metal roof
  • R14 reclaimed insulation
  • The exterior is Hardie Board Siding and Cedar siding.
  • The windows are low E-double pane glazed windows and custom designed and fixed windows for the gables.
  • The full size bathroom includes a stand in shower, dark wood vanity with white sink and low flush toilet. There is also a nice size closet in the bathroom.
  • The kitchen has low maintenance white cabinets, with dark laminate counter-top, full size sink and Energy Start 3.1 cu. ft. refrigerator with separate freezer door. A fold down table for two will be across from the counter area.
  • The interior is Cape Cod Beadboard painted with low fume paint.
  • Designer Light Fixtures with LED bulbs.
  • Laminate wood floor.
  • The plumbing has an RV hose connection for waste removal and an RV water connection.
  • And the best part is the Solar lights, a 45 watt Solar System for the LED bulbs.
  • The loft sleeps two adults comfortably.

We tried to use reclaimed materials or those made from recycled compounds in order to leave a lower carbon footprint.

We will be coming up with different floor plans and can also custom build to the client’s wishes and needs. We are already talking with a couple of clients that want us to customize their floor plans to have a lower loft and another one with no loft, just a bedroom towards the back. Our goal is to be able to provide a secured building with alternative energy sources and a wide range of choices for its uses, whether you need a full time residence, vacation home, an art studio, mother-in-law suite, care takers cottage, guest house, college student housing, temporary housing after natural disasters, mobile office or shop, hunter’s cabin, mobile bakery, etc. the possibilities are endless. With these Tiny Houses you have the comfort and look of a conventional home but also the ability to go anywhere, measuring only eight ft. wide you don’t need any special type of permit to pull it down the road.

You can follow along on our progress at mosstinyhouses.blogspot.com or if you have any questions please contact us at mosstinyhouses@gmail.com

36 Comments Moss Tiny Houses

  1. matt

    are there any finished photos? interior photos? they look pretty nice, but i like to see at least one built to completion (interior shots, exterior trim, etc.)

    Reply
    1. Kitty Moss

      Hi Matt,

      The interior should be finished by the end of next week, we will be posting more pictures with more detail on our site: mosstinyhouses.blogspot.com
      Just it keep checking it. Thanks for your inquiry.

      Reply
  2. David

    A few questions and comments that I hope you may find helpful: Why seven feet wide, when eight feet is legal on the roads in all 50 states? In my opinion, the bathroom is too large–a tiny house can easily use the kitchen sink for all purposes including hand-washing and such, allowing more room in the main room. The first plan shown eliminates most useful space in the main room because of the door position; the second one shows a closet with an inward-swinging door–which I presume to be an error, since it would be unusable.
    This might also give reasonable space in the primary room for two or more people to be able to sit.
    Finally, I would put in a small storage loft above the entry–perhaps two or three feet wide at most but the width of the interior.

    Reply
    1. Kitty Moss

      Hi David,

      Thank you for your comments and questions. Since Tiny Houses are new to our region we didn’t add a front storage loft to give it a more spacious feeling in the main area, if the buyer would like one we will be happy to add it. The second plan does have a storage loft over the door, although I don’t see it on the floor plan, or the closet door that you mentioned with inward swinging door, must be a couple of errors. After doing a lot of research in our area, we noticed that people complained about the crampness of an all in one bathroom and that most people wanted a full bath. As far as why we built it 7 ft. wide we consulted with three different professional trailer builders and they all suggested that we didn’t build over the wheel wells or past the frame, but we are going to research it further to distinguish if what they told us was correct or not for now with Our company being in its infancy we decided the smart thing to do was listen to the professionals.

      Reply
    2. bruce

      what you call a closet with inward door actually appears to be an outward swinging entry door built under a small covered entry porch.

      Reply
  3. Sherri

    Nice little house and all, but is it just me, or why on earth is the price for these little houses so outta whack with the rest of the world in building? I mean, this little house is $258 a square foot and doesn’t include land! From all the research and experience I’ve had you can build a beautiful $200,000 dollar home on a $30,000 lot and it can be 2,000 square feet with lots of fancy upgrades and it’s only $115 a square foot.

    The average cost per square foot of a new house in California is $128 in 2009. In Florida its $85 a square foot. (By the way, I used the website http://www.home-cost.com/ for my lookup.. and checked several others and well, just did the math too…)

    A 112 square foot house should really be around 10-14 grand and that’s at the highest cost from California. You can’t tell me that just because it’s on a trailer it should be 2 times the highest national average. Heck, mobile homes are on a trailer… and they are about oh, $25 a square foot.

    So many of these little houses are just really too expensive, at least in my mind’s eye. Just saying. Am I the only one that thinks this?

    Reply
    1. Drue

      I don’t have a complete answer for you, but in general the micro houses are disproportionately high relative to the averge 4/2/2 house.

      With the exception of “green” house features, it isn’t typically the materials cost.

      And compared to the cost of a travel trailer, still a bit of a premium, although much less so. You do have a fairly costly trailer chassis to factor in.

      I suspect the real difference is that micro homes are still a low volume item, which means what a builder needs per house is a higher margin to make a livable wage.

      If the critical mass of society decided to shift to micro homes, you’d likely see an initial increase of prices due to demand vs supply, and then as market opportunists entered the market, the prices would likely decline sharply.

      Just a theory.

      Reply
      1. Sherri

        Yeah, but $258 a square foot? No one thinks this is high? Without land?

        It didn’t seem that anything in particular of these homes is anything more fantastic than what a high end builder would be putting into a fancy bigger home. They have 2 or 3 bathrooms and just as many mechanicals as a small house does. There is SO much less materials going into a smaller house than a bigger house. And I’m quite certain that if you had a labor force of 5 or 6 builders that they could put together a tiny house in a very short amount of time and it would be built to spec and to standards just like a big house.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love the tiny houses, and I wish everyone could find them more accessible and easy to own and such. And I like the design, although the bath does seem kinda huge, for such a small space… It just struck me when the article talks about owning your own space and helping the less fortunate to escape mortgages and taxes and such. Do people really have nearly 30 grand for a little trailer house to plunk down? Can you get a loan for these things? Oh, but then you have a mortgage, again, and then there is the whole thing about no land for them to be on.

        Well, hey, that’s what open communication can get you, not everyone is going to be on the same page, all the time. I just think a lot of these houses seem rather pricey to me.

        Reply
        1. Bob H

          I agree Sherri, price is way to high for what you get. Seems a park model for less cost, with more space, would be a better option. People that need to live this way are not going to be able to afford $30,000. Where do you park it? Who empties the waste tank? Where do you get fresh water. If you move around you need a car or truck to move it. I feel that in some cases you pay a premium to live tiny.

          Reply
          1. gregor

            All awesome questions! Why not come and discuss it in real time telepresence at the VirtualTinyHouseCon #4 this saturday, 8 pm at my blog… You can find more detailed breakdowns of the price of house construction on the net. Also, just on example I pulled off the top of my head for what the materials costs are is the mobilecottage.wordpress.com project. They built a fencle for ~$15,000 (left hand side, scroll down) so unfortunately $24,000 seems about right for a built tinyhouse like this.

            Essentially it is just an error to assume the cost scales linearly with sq footage, too.

            More importantly, once you start talking about this as a *substitute* to an ordinary house, rather than a vacation getaway, you realize that it is the absolute cost that is most important, not the per sq foot. And $28k is just an off teh charts bargain for an actual home, even if it was used as a sort for replacement for a bachelor’s studio or something.

        2. Abraham B

          Sheri, I agree with you. After over a year of looking at Tumbleweed houses (and their competitors’), I finally contacted the builders listed on the site for a middle-road B53 2-bedroom (777 sf). Yes, this is one of the largest “tiny houses,” but without land, and beyond the purchase of materials, they still sent me back a quote of over $330,000 to build and finish (plus the $51K for the B53 materials, plus the purchase price of land). That’s nearly half-a-million! Not a solution to today’s housing fiasco to me. I was so shocked I immediately went back to Craig’s List to look for real estate… Even in the exorbitant Seattle, WA region, I can buy a well maintained 600-800sf home with land and upgrade green for less than it would cost to build the B53.

          Then I looked at the Fencl and thought I could live frugally in it. But a look at real estate costs around the US quickly divulged that condos and even single dwelling units could be had for less than $40K–and in many cases even less than $20K. Yes, these are extraordinary times, but as I’ve posted before, the costs of tiny houses remain beyond the reach of many who’d like to get into them. I get that there isn’t a per-square-foot proportional drop in price, but still, it’s hard enough for many Americans to come up with 20% down on a traditional house. I’m guessing most don’t have $30,000+ lying around to spend on a trailer–albeit a handsome one.

          Sorry to seem bitter, but I’m very frustrated. Every housing option just seems so out of reach for many of us. How can I think about saving money and benefitting the environment before I can actually afford the structure? At these costs many have to continue renting and, after paying back school loans and after ubiquitous taxes, count ourselves lucky if in 10 years we could afford a tiny house. There’s gotta be a better way.

          Reply
    2. Zero

      I understand the need to make it around 100 feet to dodge those pesky laws, but I think I’ll need at least 2-300 feet to live in.

      I agree with some of the above comments. The bathroom is too big. I’d want the toilet to be in its own mini-room and I’d also want an incinerating toilet to avoid the need for a storage tank. I hope they can do custom orders.

      Reply
    3. Kitty Moss

      Thank you for your comment, but the materials alone are more than the price you are suggesting that they should sell for. Especially if you try to use high quality materials, build green and use solar. This is one of our midsize floor plans, we are also working on a couple of smaller ones and they will be less. Yes, mobile homes are larger and cheaper, but you need to buy land, pay to put in improvements (including impact fees), pay property taxes and you can’t move it around with you whenever you get tire of your view. The whole point of tiny houses is living simpler, not having a large mortgage, or having to maintain a traditional home.

      Reply
      1. gregor

        Personally I try to avoid the assumption there is a “whole point”. Tinyhouses are just a tool and and ideas. They mean and are good for many different things for different people.

        Reply
  4. Anne

    While apparently very well constructed, the width is a serious issue… Not only for the usability of the bathroom as shown, but also for the option of a daybed/couch space (especially in the model with the centered front door). Lofts are fine when one is young and/or well, but no option of a downstairs rest space with the flu, etc. is a problem no matter what the age.

    Nice start… but like many tiny house designs created with this new-found popularity, they need some tweeking before final product.

    Reply
  5. David B. Stewart

    I am always delighted to see more people perusing their dreams and in particular when small foot print homes are concerned. I must disclose I own a window, door and mill work company in Florida. I think the cost per square foot is a tricky balance that builders face when deciding what materials and finishes are selected. I’ll use the windows as an example. The windows shown appear to be all vinyl or all aluminum with the grills in the insulated air space not terribly expensive but serviceable. I have seen high end aluminum clad wood windows with various hard wood interiors, with fancy divided lites finished in matching wood on interior and and aluminum muttons on the exterior and oil rubbed bronze hardware. A rather significant upgrade. The question then becomes will the consumer recognize the difference’s between the two and of course be willing to pay more to get a richer looking Finnish. A small home also does not have the economy’s of scale that large custom homes have so its understandable they should slightly more expensive per square foot. The builder has to build to his markets expectations but can also create those expectations in the consumers mind by building in the richer details and up grades and demonstrating the difference’s. I am admittedly a window snob and would want the nicer windows but recognize some people don’t even notice such things. I Think there is a market for both modest and high end small houses and beleive each builder will have to decide where to add bells and whistles based on feed back and most importantly sales of the end product. I have seen everything from embarrassingly shoddy to the finest craftsmanship in tiny houses but remain delighted that people are embracing the concept and admire Kitty for her families effort in being a part of this movement.

    Reply
  6. James

    This Tiny House Rocks!! Seeing it built right here around where I live is pretty cool. I’ll have to go look at it when I get a chance. Solar-powered is awesome too, Anybody who buys this can go off the grid. Is this the first Tiny house built in the SouthEast?

    Reply
  7. Nick S

    @David: I think in the second floorplan (the one in black) what you are identifying as a closet is actually a covered entryway. The rectangle on the front left is a window. I definitely agree about the bathroom being oversized and the sink being unnecessary though.

    Also, I knew before I even got to the comments that somebody would want interior photos. These types of stories ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have commenters clamoring for interior shots :-)

    Anyway, I am glad to see somebody in Central Florida building tiny houses commercially. This seems like a great place for the market considering our climate!

    Reply
  8. Gene Wallen

    One of the reasons small houses cost more per square foot is the mechanicals.That is the kitchen, bathroom,heating,plumbing and electrical.Divide their cost by 100 and is much more per square foot than if you divide it by 1000 or 1500.

    Reply
    1. Sherri

      Isn’t the cost per square foot, the same regardless? Why would you change the accepted measurement of determining house square footage that is the national accepted manner just because it’s a little house? If you consider that the houses being built is California, for example, are an average of the houses built, then you know that there are MANY of that average which are super high end, including green materials, and other cutting edge mechanicals and such. And it’s only $128 on average in California.

      Hey, love tiny homes, love the blog, love the idea of simple living, heck I’m totally embracing it, and yes, I understand that the first of a movement/product/ideas can be pricy. (cellphones, computers, all that) I’m just wishing that they weren’t so outta whack and more and more people could embrace them.

      Reply
      1. Anne

        Sherri, be assured that eventually they will be more affordable… just as personal computers are today compared to 20 years ago.

        We are just experienceing the first step in a 20 year (finally viable) movement. Construction companies who once built only conventional homes are forced by the economy to innovate…

        As the generation who implimented the restrictive zoning codes dies out, the next can make them more sensible for small and sustainable housing. Fight to make it happen in your local communities and it will be sooner. Grassroots efforts are the best hope for change.

        Reply
      2. Josh

        I think what he’s trying to say is that the price of the fixtures and what is necessary to make those fixtures work is largely a fixed cost. The cost of a toilet, a shower, and a sink do not change depending on whether the house is 300 square feet or 1,200. Things like flooring cost, drywall, roofing, etc. are variable costs, in that they are related to the size of the home. With that in mind, you would expect the cost per square foot to be more for a 300 foot square house with one bathroom than a 1,200 square foot house with the same fixtures. If you’ve got a larger house, the higher cost of things like the bathroom and kitchen are spread out over the rest of the square footage.

        Reply
        1. Susie

          If you want to make it as expensive as you can, with brand new materials, and top of the line appliances, then, yes, It will be expensive.

          On the other hand, if like many others, according to their blogs, you are resourceful, you network, dumpster dive, follow plumbers and electricians around, barter, and scour craigslist, then things can be done very efficiently.

          I believe it’s all in your approach, if you look for the good, that’s what you will find.

          Reply
  9. Andyroo

    As Jay Shafer says in his book, the most expensive part of a house is the “core” — the kitchen, bath, and mechanicals; it is relatively inexpensive (and thus makes additional profit for homebuilders) to add as much “cheap” square footage as possible. I like the effort.

    Reply
  10. wyndwalkr

    Please don’t think I am saying this about Moss Tiny Houses specifically (cute, and good luck to you!) but I am sick of tiny houses on trailers. Prices designed for the builder to “make a living” on these units will not result in very many sales. Someone who thinks they can live in one of these should be a do-it-yourselfer. Maybe then they can get their cost out of it when they go to sell it after growing tired of climbing a ladder and crawling on their hands and knees into bed. Is there room to sit and work and eat at a table? Must you choose a table and chairs over a compfy chair and footstool? Can you squeeze in both? Have a guest over? Can you and a guest even walk past one another if there is a table and chair and a compfy chair?

    I got very interested in tiny homes when I saw a contest several years ago for houses around 200 sq. ft. because that was a common building maximum that could be done without a permit and inspection in many states/counties and towns in this country. The ideas sent in were very creative, with full height second stories or cantilevered sleeping/dining/sitting areas beyond the 200 sq. ft.

    Then a guy built a house out of pallets…Then Jay Schafer came along. Now the goal seems to be freakishly tiny.

    Tiny Texas Houses–now there are some LIVABLE tiny homes.

    The Unabomber lived in a 10′ X 12′ cabin. Look how that turned out.

    McMansions are stupid, yes. But we humans are not “The Borrowers” either.

    How about something realistic?

    Reply
    1. gregor

      Dude, if you want a bigger house you can have one. As you point out, there are builders that are happy to provide. And any contractor can build you a non trailered one you your own design, if you wish.

      What I see in your post between the lines is what seems to be the problem that leads to some of the zoning issues and hate directed towards trailers; some people just seem to want to prevent anything that they themselves do not consider ideal.

      Clearly this attitude makes no sense. you can totally have what you want even if others want or have something different.

      Reply
  11. Missy

    IMHO, making a tiny home a primary residence, one avoids the mortgage/insurance/taxes problem. Plus one isn’t tied down to one location and they say they can customize. For me, looking at a tiny house to live in till the end, a loft isn’t appealing. I can’t imagine trying to hurry down a ladder for the urgent call of nature. Maybe a half loft for an occasional visitor would suffice & a main level twin bed for me. I’m not much of a cooker so the kitchen can be pretty minimal. Still haven’t settled on the type of waste management system but I’ve got plenty of time.

    Glad to see more builders popping up!

    Reply
    1. Gene Wallen

      You won`t have a mortgage because you can`t get one,not insuring something that travels the road and costs $20000 to $40000 isn`t very smart, if you don`t keep licenses on it it will be towed, and not by you. In my area you can rent a space in a campground for $400 a month. The answer for tiny houses is not a trailer but changing zoning and building codes.

      Reply
      1. Anne

        Well said, Gene. The long term viability of a house on a trailer, which can’t be removed to a foundation, is untested (wall stability as the trailer corrodes for instance).

        This version of the tiny house movement (trailer houses) is only a few years old. The well known faces in it all lived on other’s lots (with a convention house), not on a private one. For instance, Jay’s was on his girlfriend’s (now wife’s) land. The media attention has assisted him in getting a variance now I hear… but the average dweller won’t have that. Dee’s, last I knew was on the lot of an elderly woman she assists.

        The future IS in change of the codes.

        Reply
      2. gregor

        Or both.

        Actually you can get a mortgage on a mobile home (of the double or single wide type, not an RV), which is what these things would surely fall under (right?). IIRC something like 60% of mobile homes are financed in this way. I have a post up about this: “chattel vs. real estate”

        Insurance? Well you can insure an rv, surely the insurance company would have no trouble working with a tineyhouse.

        I totally agree that we need to change the zoning laws. I should post about this on my blog soon. However you are making a mistake if you assume trailers are not covered and prohibited by zoning, they very much are.

        Reply
        1. gregor

          Well, the relevant laws and government related problems, whether they be permiting reqs or zoning or building codes, however when you start looking into the details, you realize it is zoning that really does it.

          For instance, building codes are only a problem because of zoning and permitting. It has to meet code only because you wouldn’t be able to get a permit otherwise, and the zoning requires that all buildings be permitted.

          Reply
          1. Gene Wallen

            Housetrailers or mobil homes are known as HUD homes, they are built to HUD specifications and inspected by a HUD inspector as they are being built, they have a manufacturer serial number and a HUD sticker. You can`t finance or park your home where there are codes unless you have the serial number and HUD sticker. As far as campers go they have to be certified by the RVIA.

  12. Johnny

    I believe the common consensus is that 200-400 sf is much more realistic for tiny house living for most people. Less than 1% of the population is going to be able to actually live full-time in less than 200sf.

    Therefore, the tiny house movement would be better served by having more focus on these more realistic sizes (200-400sf), thereby increasing the political clout and the likelihood of getting the zoning laws to change.

    Furthermore, there is not a substantial cost difference between building a 120 sf house and a 200 sf house (nor is there a substantial increase in energy costs), but there is a substantial increase in comfort and do-ability, and the resale value would be much higher.

    Reply
  13. Lesa

    I like the concept of the tiny house but not the huge price associated with it. However it makes no sense to pay $400-600 a month lot rent or have such a huge property for a small building. Nor is everyone healthy enough to make the trek upstairs for the loft.Maybe as codes change or prices fall, things will look up. I do agree that a 200-400 square foot home seems more long term livable than a 100-200 foot home.

    Reply

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