The year was 2017. I was living in an apartment by the beach in Santa Cruz, CA. It was a studio apartment and the landlord was charging $1350 a month plus utilities. Needless to say, I was getting fed up with all of it. Living in Santa Cruz has been really rough for all of the people growing up here with the “rent-rise”. A combination of UCSC students and yuppies moving here from over the hill has destroyed what used to be a somewhat livable place.
Anyways, I met an old man from Texas who was living in a cab over camper and he got me thinking about building a shack and throwing it on the back of a pickup truck. I have some construction experience and used to work in a lumber yard so I knew a little bit about what I was doing, but I’m definitely no master carpenter.
I framed out the entire structure with 2×2 pine pieces. I then added 3/8″ plywood to seal the shell. The home was insulated with R13 housing insulation. I then added pine interior walls and ceiling for a cabin kind of feel. I built a bathroom with a slide-in-to-wall door. The bathroom has a compost toilet I built as well as a shower. There is a kitchen area with a sink and 1 burner electric hotplate. The entire tony house is solar powered and runs off of three 100watt panels and charges a 300 amp hr battery bank that is stored under my bed.
It’s a nice rent-free life – now living in it. My only bill is adding water and buying gas for the truck. It has made a world of difference in my life. The house truck is small enough to fit in normal parking space. So I just park it on friends and family properties or in a parking lot If I have to.