Tiny Texas – Houses Essay Contest

*Brad sent me some interior photos, be sure and check them out.

Brad Kittel, of Tiny Texas Houses, is having a Essay Contest. The grand prize is a prototype of his newest sustainable home design, valued at $38,000. Brad wishes to show that there are healthy ways to build a sustainable house, to prove that building a sustainable home can be done with local resources and labor, to illustrate a sustainable home with a nearly zero carbon footprint, and to demonstrate the beauty of a sustainable home built using the highest quality woods, hardware, doors, and glass.

What you need to do is write a 300-word essay addressing “How having a Tiny House could change your life” and submit it with a $50 entry fee. The entry fee will first and foremost help pay for the house itself, but also allows us to pay our the judges, the web support, editing, advertising, and the administration costs associated with running the contest.

All who participate in the essay contest will get a set of plans for the house and be given a copy of the soon-to-be released E-book on “How to build a Tiny House with Salvaged Materials.” This book is designed to empower people to build these type of houses themselves.

To enter the Tiny Texas Houses Essay Contest Click Here and fill out the form with your entry.

94 thoughts on “Tiny Texas – Houses Essay Contest”

    • I realize not everyone can afford the $50 for a chance to get a $38,000 house, but I can not afford to give it away $38,000 for free either. The house is built by guys who got paid and with materials that cost much more than sheet rock and 4×8 sheets of siding. The idea is to open the dialogue about building with Salvaged Materials. It is about cranking up the public awareness that if $50 is too much and you want to build a house for nearly free, then we want to show people that it can be done, and how to do it. Use that unspent human energy and salvage the materials from a house. Use them to build a new house that will last the rest of your life.
      The essay contest house is going to take 500-1,000 hours of your life to build. Not bad for $50 if you win it. Not much is free, and if it says it is, there is a catch or it generally is not worth more than you are paying for it.

      • This is not an uncommon method for selling homes now, if your state allows it. It’s a raffle, and as long as a certain number of tickets are sold to cover the cost of the house, someone wins it. But in this case, you get something in return for your $50, even if you don’t win the house. So I think it’s a good investment if you would like the house or the materials that you’ll get regardless. I think it’s a good idea. And I really like the house. If you don’t want to spend the money or then have to pay $50, don’t do it. Easy enough.

        Good luck!

  1. I don’t have an issue with the entry fee but neither the blog or the contest page mentions how you’ll get the house. Is it on a property? Does it need to be transported?

      • Thanks Kent. I dug around on the other tabs. But I’m getting the impression they aren’t about to bring the house to me in NYS and I want the house not income it generates. But for Texas residents this is a great contest.

        • Quite contrar, we will indeed ship the house anywhere if the winner will pay for it. We sent three to the Badlands of North Dakota and did not break a single piece of glass on the trip. frankly, if you won the house and paid $8,000 to deliver it, you would still be getting every bit of your $50 worth out of the contest.

    • The delivery can not be anticipated as we do not know where someone might want it to go. Likewise I could not guarantee a delivery without knowing that the route is viable due to height, width and restrictions due to local ordinances that might prevent them from being placed inside city limits. We will assist in getting the delivery arranged or set it up on our site until it is possible to ship. Buyer can sell the house or have it moved to where they would like, but we can not anticipate the cost and thus can not include it. Going Eastward will be the hardest, particularly the Northeast because of the reduced heights of bridges and narrow roads.

  2. The contest website says,

    “The entry fee will only be refunded if the minimum of 1,000 entries is not received by the final Entry Closing date and the house is not given away as the Grand Prize.”

    “Within 15 days of closing the contest, we will announce the winner. If the winner chooses to move their house to their land, and they will allow it, we will then track the house to its new home to see it delivered and set it up and post it on the web site. Hopefully we will be able to follow up with the new owner as time goes by.

    The Winner’s name will be posted on our website as well as published in the local newspaper in Luling, Texas.”

    “We cannot guarantee the house can be shipped everywhere in this country due to various limitations. In the event that the winner cannot take immediate delivery, we will offer an alternative that will allow the house to stay in Texas and produce income for the winner.
    Arrangements can be made to visit their Tiny Texas House occasionally until their homestead is ready. Tiny Texas Houses will not be responsible for delivery costs. Optional delivery assistance or set up training will be available for the winner.”

  3. I’d do it if I could spare $50 and if I lived around or a state away from Texas. But I can’t and I don’t, so, good luck to anyone who enters!

  4. Doesn’t look particularly practical for Texas, unless it’s on a heavily wooded location. Needs broader eaves, porch on West and south sides. Cute, but it would cook you alive.

    • Right now and registers 107 on the outside corrugated part of the wall. There is no AC in yet, though it is built for a small wall unit, yet the interior of the hosue has a nice breeze and feels cool, though the temperature inside, with the windows open is about 93.
      The houses are built to ventilate the heat out the loft windows and benefit from the Venturri effect cooling the air as it comes through the windows on the lower level.
      The Icynene insulation blocks out 95% of the heat so the interior of the wall that is 107 on the outside is no different than any other wall an is 14 degrees below the outside wall temperature.
      Our biggest houses that are used for residences, 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, will only have an electric bill of $35 for cooling in the heat of summer. 8 months out of the year will not even require heating or cooling. I can’t imagine it could get much better.
      No, all of our houses in Texas have proven themselves to be incredibly energy efficient and good in the cold as well. The last cold spell dipped into the teens for three days and one couple who has one of our houses used a 110 volt $59 oil circulating radiator turned to medium and it kept the house so warm that they turned it off while cooking dinner because it go to hot. We build them this way because the techniques of air flow and circulation go back hundreds of years and they work.

  5. Seriously!? You want me to pay you to enter your contest? And then pay to move it to whatever state I’m in? Sounds like an idea cooked up over one too many cocktails.

    • Actually, I think there are many people out there who would love to get a house for $50 and pay a couple of grand to get it to their property. This is not intended for a solution for everyones needs but a chance to have something you might not ordinarily be able to afford otherwise. People do buy these houses for these prices and then pay to move them and set them up. What is such a scam about getting one practically for free and only paying to move it to your property? If you got it for free instead of the $50, would make a big difference. If paying for moving the house is too much, I suspect there is a problem with understanding the value of the house, what it stands for, and how it might actually be a great solution for someone else, but not a scam.

  6. $50 for A chance to win a Tiny Texas Houses, an E-BOOK, and set of plans for this house? GREAT DEAL! hmm.. Jay Shafer charges 99 for his smallest plan. I’d pay that much for the plans and the ebook itself. That’s a STEAL!!!

  7. What a SCAM. With this bad Economy you can hire a skilled Carpenter on the Cheap. You can Labor for the Carpenter and build a nice Tiny House for under 6K. You can buy your Lumber and materials on Sale at your local Lowes, Menard’s, or Home Depot. I have photos of my tiny house that I help build for less than $6,000.00. It’s a knock-off of a Tumbleweed Tiny House. If I can do it anybody can.

    • Clearly you would not be concerned with the formaldehyde from the glues in the plywood, particle board, and new wood. the outgassing from the vinyl, plastics, and sheetrock would not be a bother for you as well since you are considering using those products as well. The longevity factor which makes it possible to have this last for a century because of the quality of the materials makes it 5 times the life of your new materials house. finally, if you have any concern for the planet, these houses do not use any newly cut trees, no iron ore was mined, smelted, or cast to make hardware, tubs, or sinks, so we saved all of that energy. No glass had to be made in hot furnaces, nor were petrolium products used to make plastics, vinyl, or other components for the house except the new wiring and electrical parts.
      95% of the parts are American grown trees, American mined and made hardware, Americans harvested the Salvage and it is built 100% in America. This too is perhaps of no value if you feel comfortable buying everything from China and sending the jobs over there to make that possible.
      Yes there is a cheaper way to built a small space, but not what we do, unless you make the effort to go out and salvage a house, thus getting the material for free, and using your human energy to build a new house out of the materials. That is the point of this whole endeavor: to show people that this is a viable alternative to the Home Depot throw away built in obsolesence mentality that i believe we need to leave behind for the good old days of Pride in Craftsmanship and the desire to build things you can sign your name to and that will last a lifetime.
      Cheap is not always better.

      • With all due respect Brad my Tiny House was built by a Master Builder who takes great Pride in his workmanship. As well as I do. I will put my Tiny House up against any of your Tiny Houses. Matter of fact you can view photos of my Tiny House on this Blog and the Readers can be the Judge and Jury. That’s how confident I am of the the Master Builder workmanship.

        • I have no doubt that there are people who can do a great job of building a Tiny house as nice as ours. the added life from wood from trees that were 300 years old when cut, or other elements that have already proven they will outlast new materials is part of the equation we are trying to have an effect on. The carbon footprint, how much energy, new resources, and shipping did it take to make the parts and get them to you. This is not a factor for many people. How healthy it is based on the outgassing of chemicals used to glue up new wood and the chemicals that come off from plastics, vinyls, and other new materials? If that is not a consideration than the playing field gets more equal for your comparison. Likewise, the durability. No sheetrock, all wood, walls, ceilings, floors, which means no outgassing from the sheetrock and you can not punch a hole in my walls with your bare hands, foot, or anything short of a hammer. It does not need paint because antique wood has all the flavor you could ask for, and very few people ever come into a house and says “oh what beautiful sheetrock you have” but they will compliment your vintage wood on the walls and ceilings nearly every time you have a guest.
          No one is trying to compete with any ouse you built. This is a specific example of a type of building intended to show people that all the parts they need, the windows, doors, floors, walls, etc. can be had without cutting down another tree. This is not put out there as an attempt to show anyone elses house up either. It is intended to demonstrate an alternative to continuing to waste resources importing wood and parts from China and overseas, to create jobs in the USA that can not be exported, to capitalize on the resources we have already harvested once that are still great to use again rather than throw them into the dump. The landfills aready have over 51% building materials. We will never get this quality of materials again, never have 300 year old trees to harvest without fear of running out.
          Please accept my apologies if you thought I was competing with anything you built. I was simply spelling out the differences that may or not be a concern to you, but certainly are for myself and many others. I am sure your house is incredible and hopefully just right for you.

          • I wish you all the best Brad. I sincerely mean no disrepect. All I’m trying to express to the Readers of this Blog there is a alternative to a $38,000.00 Tiny House. If Folks were to take a little time to do a little research they can build their own tiny house for less than $10,000.

          • You called this a scam, but say you meant no disrespect. This is a company that has been building small houses for some time and has many supporters. And you called this contest a SCAM. And that’s not disrespectful in what way?

            Weird manners where you come from…

    • Well, as it turns out, you were totally wrong! It was not a “scam” at all. Negative people such as yourself should keep your opinions to yourself. You only needed to not enter the contest. The world is full of negativity without individuals such as yourself adding to it. I found it hard to believe that such a reputable company would try to “scam” anyone as you put it. If you always feel that you are being taken advantage of, perhaps it is your attitude that is the problem. Their are many more good people in the world than there are bad ones. Try looking at life this way and perhaps you will spread less negativity.

    • There are strict rules in some states that require registration, and other procedural requirements. It is easier to simply disqualify those states. There is also one or two in which is illegal, and we have noted that this contest is not open to people entering from those states. Sorry if you are in some of those states.

  8. Brad, very nicely done, I have always been a huge fan of your Tiny Homes. I think this contest is a win-win for everyone involved…if someone dosnt like it, dont enter it…period. The design and craftsmanship of yours homes is top notch.

    I wouldnt worry to much about defending every post where someone is knocking your home or the contest, if someone is against it nothing anyone says will change that, on the other side of that, nothing they say could sway your fans. I wish you good luck in this and hope things work out for all involved.

  9. lets not get nasty people.. if nothing ealse its a new house design we get to look at for free.. if its not your thing then there will be others to look at.. i thought this site was about people sharing ideas? thanks for all your hard work Kent..

  10. I have been noticing both here and on my blog and elsewhere on facebook, that no matter what you write or do, hell you could be paying people to take free houses, and people will find something to complain about. Some people you simply cant please no matter how hard you try. Keep up the good work Brad (and Kent too)and try not to take too personaly or seriously what some of the higher maintenance people of the internet have to say.

    • Yes, I agree. Some very angry and unkind people here who really don’t add a lot to the conversation but do seem intent on tearing down the ideas of others or point out why nothing is going to work as anticipated. It’s unfortunate. But just be glad you are seeing this on a message board and not having to work with or be related to these people. That would be far worse. 🙂

  11. Not kocking it,…well maybe I am. $38,000 for that house? Someone grossly overpaid for materials then. No way that small of a house should cost that much. Why not just sell the plans at $50 a pop? ~IPTN

  12. Would you please post a layout plan of the interior either here or on the essay context site so we can see if it will work for us?

    Also, the R-value of the insulation will be helpful.

    Thank you!

  13. People are annoyed at this because we’re used to companies using contests as promotional tools, and funding the prizes out of their advertising budgets. Brad is using this contest as a sales tool. He’s selling a house for $50,000, or more, while taking the substantial risk that he’ll get less than 1000 entries and have to refund every entry fee.

    I’m guessing that the winner, if there is one, will have to pay at least $10,000 in taxes and moving costs. This seems like an odd way to demonstrate “how to build houses with 99% pure salvaged materials that were mostly paid for with human energy and a little bartering.”

    • It’s not odd. As you said in the beginning, it’s a promotion tool.

      I find a previous posters statement about wasted time particularly ironic on this forum. Seriously folks, how many hours have most people spent reading and commenting here?

      But I do agree there is a non-trivial chance there won’t be enough entries… but really there is only one way to find out. Brad, I hope you are exploring other advertising venues: google ad words, tinyhouselistings.com, craigslist, realtor message boards, maybe kickstarter (I think it’s artistic enough to qualify), or have a referral program were people can sell entries and keep 5%?

      It would be nice to get some clarification on tax rules. Since there is a fee and the income will clearly cover the cost of the house, does it really count as a prize you’d have to pay taxes on?

      C’mon folks, lets be the constructive tiny house community we can be!

      • Yes we are going at this with several means of getting the word out. We should be on San antonio News 4 this week and have started seeing some newspapers giving us some time and attention. Personally, I think it will take at least two rounds to get enough entries, but I feel confident it will work or I would not have tried it. I do not want to let everyone down and return their funds as I really do want someone to have this house.
        As to the tax ramifications. The capital gains is set based on the income bracket, but if it is 15% then that is not so bad for a house.
        as for the 5% referral for getting entrants, I like that, but don’t know how I would track that so as to get them paid. I should look into that for the next one if this works.


  14. I think the contest house is one of the most gorgeous tiny houses I have seen yet! And I have no problem with the contest, entry fee, or anything else. I love the whats and whys of what Brad is doing, building houses from reclaimed materials! And I’m glad to find out his company exists, as I didn’t before I saw this post. Thank you, all involved.

  15. I would love to live in a little village of these tiny houses, set on winding paths among lots of trees and gorgeous gardens, maybe with a creek in there someplace (preferably one that doesn’t flood!) Paradise! Meanwhile, lots of inspiration from the Texas Tiny Houses even if I’m not entering the contest. To those that do, best of luck and boy am I jealous (in advance)of the winner!

  16. Texas Tiny Houses are officially my favorite of all tiny houses. Absolutely gorgeous, with such amazing character. I’d love to see photos and a floorplan in order to decide whether I want this particular house enough to enter the contest.

  17. I just have to say I am really saddened by some of the negative comments. 50 bucks for a chance to win a house is a pretty generous offer if you ask me. Thank you Brad for creating this contest, I hope other small house builders are inspired by your innovation.

  18. I might be in. Everybody comes away with something of value, and one person comes away with SOMETHING of VALUE. These houses do have a bit of a premium per square foot, but they are also home-grown works of art.

  19. What would feel disappointing to me is the scenario where 700 people take the time to write what they hope will be a competitive essay only to have their money refunded with a note saying ‘sorry you wasted your time.” Brad, you talk about conservation but the possibility of a thousand (or much more) wasted man hours doesn’t seem very conservative. By the way, I really appreciate your artistry Brad and I am not meaning to put a negative light on a very positive project. I’m just hoping that you have a way to respect the very real work that will go into these essays in the event that your goal of 1,000 entries is not met. For instance I would gladly take just $40 back if you would still pick a winner and offer a lesser (but still cool) prize. The Ebook and house plans are easily worth $10 or more in my opinion.

  20. Thanks Kent for posting about this essay contest. I have the next four days off work and I am going spend part of it pondering and writing an essay.

    It would be a valuable exercise even if I didn’t send the essay to Brad, although I will. Everyone could probably discover new personal insights by writing down and organizing their thoughts about tinier living. It’s a win/win. No waste involved!

    Thanks for this opportunity Brad. The houses you and your crew build are unique and the dialogue you are contributing to the tiny house movement will resonate into the next generation and beyond.

    • I hadn’t thought about writing the essay even if I wasn’t able to enter (no land yet).

      You are right; there is something about putting pen to paper. I have found many times writing something out helps me to clarify and I sometimes discover things I wasn’t aware of!

  21. I think we are all aware that you can build a tiny house for less than $38,000. Conversely, we have all seen examples of much pricier designs. Bottom line is ….can you win any of those for $50.00?

    I love this house. It reminds me of the ghost towns in South Dakota and a little of the Gold Rush towns in Alaska. I like reclaimed materials. They possess a character that cannot be bought in a box store.

    Thank you for the post.

    • Well said.

      Nice little house… I’m not a contest sort of person and that particular house wouldn’t get an okay around my neck of the woods… But good luck on the contest, Brad.

  22. Wow. I guess it’s true, no good deed goes unpunished. Fifty bucks to enter a contest to win a one-of-a-kind house? I enter juried art exhibitions all the time and the entry fees are at least as much. Brad’s houses are incredible, and built with the best recycled materials, and with the best intentions. Do you really think he can afford to just give it away? Who pays the workers? How does the company continue? Everyone one wants something for nothing these days. How disheartening to read these replies…

  23. The bottom line for me is: committing hours writing an essay & $50 for a 1 in 1,000 (at best) chance to win is not something I would want to waste my time and money on. Also, I would be shocked if 1,000 people actually shell out the $50; some will, but I seriously doubt that 1,000 people will…

  24. Brad—-

    You have one thick skin, my man, my hat is off to you!

    I think the house is great, you seem totally honest and up front about what you are doing here, and this seems like a possibility for at least some people. Yet once again you get, “its a scam”, “I can build it for half”, yadda, yadda, yadda….

    Fellow posters, can we cut Brad a bit of slack? Do you really think he is a disciple of Bernie Madoff?

    If its not for you, fine, don’t enter, but there is no need to go after him like a pit bull, either about the house itself or especially his integrity.

    • Thanks for the support. I have to admit I am a bit surprised that so many people thought the entry fee was too high, but I did not want to push the number of enties required by lowering the cost and I do really need to pull that many to pay for the contest. I personally think this is a viable way to grow something that will be good for everyone.
      Oh yes, if it were to fail to get enough people, we would still send out a set of plans to everyone. If I can afford it, I may ultimately give it away with less entries if we are close, but I could not commit to that in advance and it would confuse things. we will see how it goes and hopefully, if it gets the dialogue shifting to talking about building with Salvaged Materials, then it will have served its purpose.

      Thanks again for your support.

  25. Brad, don’t listen to the haters out there. I think this is a fantastic little place, constructed with thought and craftsmanship…. something that is all but lost in today’s society (and apparently several of the individuals above). I’d pay the $50 just to support what you’re doing and hey, if i get some plans out of it… well that’s just frosting on the pudding, my man. Both my girlfriend and I will be entering – I’ve got my fingers crossed! That thing is coming back to Seattle 🙂

    Keep up the good work.

  26. Come on y’all, $50 bucks? Really, if your really interested in owning this, bet you spent lots more losing on lotto! I Like the House, but, I’m already building my own, And, if you want to be REALLY selfless, send $50 bucks, an Essay, and DONATE the House to a tornado victim! Brad, you ROCK! Just sayin…

  27. I think it’s an awesome way for someone to get a house and a great way to help Tiny Texas Houses transition into helping others do what they are so good at! Our culture needs to remember how and get more creative in reusing at the same time as inventing. The building industry is a great place to show this attitude and I whole-heartedly support this creative way in raising the money to keep this company going! We raffle off things for kids fundraising efforts all the time, he is giving to everyone who enters and we can help support his dream in the same way we support other causes.

    • Yes, i do not believe there are any laws that prevent anyone from winning that is in this country and in a state that it is legal in. If anyone knows otherwise, please let me know, but I am operating under the assumption that i will not even check to see if they are citizens but there still may be a tax hit, perhaps bigger than regular, because the government won’t want you to leave without paying them their ounce of blood. If my memory serves me correct, evenin Vegas they collect taxes on wins over $1,500 from foreigners. someone please correct me if I am wrong.

  28. So awesome looking you did a great job at designing this Brad.

    I would love to have this as my first home.

    I would love to enter the contest, however there is no telling how much the price for delivery would be as I live in Florida.

    Which is full of ancient tiny houses built and being restored.

    We happen to have a 200 something year old house in the city.

    This house reminds me of the old houses here in
    Florida, also strangely of new yorks brownstones.

      • Ooh really now, maybe I can get $5,000 at the least hopefully as a birthday present.

        I would have thought that would have been $10,000 as the though of that had scared me.

        Wow I did think you’ve never shipped my way before.

        My dad has a good sized lot around if not a little more than .75 acres and there is a spot of grass with that houses name on it.

        Does this little jewel have electric, and insulation?

        How could you ship it on it’s side?, it’s huge!!

        I’ll email you Brad.

        This is so exciting!!

  29. Hi Brad – The new photos look great and I’m very interested in entering, but there is one small detail in the terms and conditions that really turns me off. It states:

    “Winner agrees to use of their name, address, likeness, and/or prize information for promotional purposes in any medium without additional compensation to the extent permitted by law.”

    Please consider taking out the address part. I would never want anyone sharing my name AND address “in any medium”. I generally don’t even enter contests that publish my full name, and I know many other people that are the same way.

    I understand and support your desire to promote your amazing houses, but please consider changing your publicity release to give some consideration to your participants privacy.

    Other than that, a very creative endeavor. All the best!

    • I agree and did not think i had the Winners address in there. Please know that I will remove that part. the part about the winners name is required by Texas Law for any game of skill, in fact i have to publish it. Otherwise, it will really be up to the winner if they want any spash at all about their success or not.
      I will change that this weekend.
      Let me know if that helps, but we have to comply with the law and publish the name in Texas.

  30. I’m in if I can get the ole spouse to write it, somethings are just done better by my other half.

    Love it! Would wonder though if just the materials were shipped and the winner was willing to assemble themselves along with having the set of plans, could that be an option?

    The shipping to NC would be even more than Fla. Just a thought, it might be more resonsable if unassembled?


    Great job and I love the house!

  31. Opening the contest up to Canada would help you reach the 1000 mark much quicker. I think you mentioned somewhere that you delivered a house to N. Dakota – practically at the border already. Or would there be too much red tape involved t make it worth while?

    These houses are oozing with charm, character and warmth!

  32. The updates are some interior pictures of one of the possible layouts with shelves and a small cabinet. That is now gone and we will have another layout, (done by someone other than me, with taste but on a tight budget. It will have different shelves, no bulky cabinet by the bath door, and more to post this next week, I already like it much better.

    • I thought the cabinet would be very practical, if I were to live there full-time. There would be a need for some type of shelving to put kitchen-ware, etc. What type of shelving could take many forms though.

      My initial thoughts when seeing this would be to get a nice, old full-size sink(or largest that would fit with a little extra room below the window. Then, the fridge would need a different place. I imagined putting it on casters, then put a wood/cutting board type top on it and drop down leaves on 3 sides that could be raised for extra work space and then put down when not in use. One of the sides could be tapered and used as an ironing board. The fridge could be unplugged when moving it around and then plugged in when not in use by the wall (I’m not sure where it would work the best, by the door, or in the kitchenette area.) I’m not a very big person, so impinging on the kitchenette space a bit wouldn’t bother me, but others might differ. I’m sure my reflections are really about personal needs and desires in thinking of my everyday use of a kitchen.

      It’s a very cute place though. I could imagine many different set-ups that would work (A sweet antique chaise lounge; a couple of parson’s chairs with a small table and foot stools for kicking back and reading, etc….; a vertical shoe shelf behind the door with a few coat hooks; need I go on…..It’s a great little space and I haven’t even gotten to the loft.. 🙂 Great job! I would love to have your skills.

      • Now that my mind has thought about it overnight. If the sink is standard size, one could get an extra dishpan for washing when the sink is needed for cleaning vegetables at the same time as soapy water is needed for cleaning. And then the fridge and counter could remain in place. I still think more counter space would be helpful to actually cook in the kitchen. Perhaps something that folds up on the wall to the right and folds down when in use. The Fridge could still be accessed regardless.

        • Or…a large cutting board that slides out from above the fridge. Just some thoughts.

          It might be good to wait and see what the new owner’s needs are too.

          Keep up the great work! I wish you the best in your endeavors!

    • For tiny kitchens,especially of a certain vintage, there is nothing better than a hoosier cabinet. If you google it you’ll get lots of images.

      • The hoosier cabinets seem pretty practical too, but very expensive and you would really have to search for one small enough to not dwarf the room. I’ve always lived in small places and it really helps to keep a fair sense of floor space, so light on the furniture.

        I think it would be fairly simple to put shelves about 1/2 way down, which one could put stuff in baskets or put curtains around. For some reason a decorative iron brace comes to mind. The owner could then pick out what they want to put underneath. Perhaps a drop-leaf table that is fairly narrow could be used as a desk, table, or extra food prep space. I was lucky enough to find this one used for only $30 that even has drawers in it: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/images/products/norden-gateleg-table__66394_PE179293_S4.jpg It is not period specific, but it could be refinished to fit in as could other finds. It has been great in my small-lived-in rooms and provides enough seating for 6 at dinner.

        • I’ve never owned a ‘real’ Hoosier, but have built appropriately scaled variations inspired by them in several small places I’ve lived. Usually I get hold of some plastic totes and glass gallon jars or whatever and build to fit around them with as little wasted space as possible. The tightly sealable containers help a lot with critter-proofing. Spiders, mice, ants, moths and whatnot own most of the real estate around here, humans are only here on sufferance. Baskets and curtains are often more habitat than helpful. If you can manage to build a nice new house totally critter-proof you’re doing well but I’ve often ended up in some old shack that involves evicting several previous ‘tenants’ that are quite reluctant to leave. If your place is unheated while you’re not there having damp-proof storage is a big plus too. Luckily I now live in an area that doesn’t freeze in the winter, makes the water barrel and liquid foodstuffs a lot easier to deal with.

          • Alice,
            You have a good point there about the other earthly creatures. I totally get it and have often had to put any food stuff in the fridge to keep it out of reach.

            The more I looked at the hoosiers, the more I see how useful they would be. I even saw a tiny one on ebay for about $350, so one might become available through craigslist, etc. I live in an antique seller area, so I could have them keep an eye out if I ever needed one. I dry some of my own teas and foods, so having a place for tins and glass jars to store things is helpful, especially since I live in an area that is frozen 4-6 months of the year.

            I can see where even finding a cute hanging cupboard, on the top and a rolling cupboard on the bottom with an enamel top or wood cutting top and the pull out and drawer features of the hoosier would be very useful. In that way, if you wanted to move it for more room at any point, or to work in a little different area, it would be easy to shift. I’ve just always had to use small areas for multiple purposes and easy shifts are helpful to adapt to the situation.

            Thanks for the ideas! I’ll keep them in mind if whenever I’m able to find myself in my own tiny home.

          • Alice, I forgot to mention. I have two cats and anything that creeps, crawls, or flies has a life expectancy of about 2 minutes inside. They lose interest in the ants after the first 50 though. 🙂 Luckily I only had an ant problem in one house and tried some natural remedy that actually worked. Also, eucalyptus oil sprinkled on some baking soda in a little bowl seems to keep the black flies away.
            Happy 4th!

          • Cats would sure help but since I split my time between my place and my aging parents I can’t really have one either place. There’s a great anti moth sachet at our local farmer’s market, has “oil of neem, lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, oregano, geranium, sage and others” according to the packet. It seems to work well on moths and makes for a really marvellous scent when you come back after some time away. Critters and damp are the main problems with partially tenanted spaces but so far none of the pesky two legged critters have been a problem and there are no bears on this island.

    • Yes, it is like a giant piece of furniture, built with antique woods, windows, and all vintage parts. With more than a thousand man hours into it and the solid wood construction, nearly all American parts and labor, it is indeed a pricey little house. The great thing is, it is worth every cent of it an more.

      • Brad : it is a nice little house, good luck on your contest,but 1000 hours of labor..thats like almost 1/2 year of a person labor?

  33. So it’s been about three weeks since this contest was first posted here. Before I take all of the time necessary to write a potentially winning essay, I am wondering if you care to report on how many submissions you have received so far?

  34. This may be the most beautiful thing I have seen. I love everything about it! I could live here, very happily for the rest of my natural existence!


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