Tiny Free House

Shipping Pallet photo by Michael Janzen

Tiny Free House

I just found a cool blog, actually three cool blogs just started by another neighbor of mine. Well within a couple of hours of where I live. Michael Janzen from the Sacramento Valley is embarking on a little experiment. He is going to build a tiny house, 90 square feet, that’s a cross between Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond and a Tumbleweed-like Tiny House on wheels. But he is going to build it without spending any money. There will be some things he won’t be able to scavenge. For these items he plans to sell things he can find for free on craigslist.org. In the end he hopes to have a tiny free house. His blog Tiny Free House will be a record of the project. He also plans to write a book on his experience as well. Below are his plans.

Shipping Pallet Construction

Michael’s main source of lumber will from shipping pallets, that you can find free in many locations.

I will post updates as Michael progresses with his project. He plans to have it completed by this fall. To learn more visit two of his blogs: Tiny Free House and Tiny House Design.

6×15 Tiny Free House

Nine Tiny Feet

Michael is not stopping there in fact, I think that he will be building the smallest house out there called Nine Tiny Feet. A nine square foot home on wheels. Quoting Michael at his blog:


No I don’t intend to live in it. Building something like this will be an interesting journey and I plan to use it as a home office some or all of the time. I may also use the Tiny Free House as an office too, I just haven’t decided. The other reason is to show people how small, small can be. I’m beginning to develop a theory that nine square feet is all we really need and that every square foot after that is for added comfort, vanity, or people.

So the short version building a nine square foot house to explore the possibility to satisfy my own curiosity and explore my own values. If successful I hope it will act as a tool to help other people see that the least is the most.

View his plan below and go to his his blog at Nine Tiny Feet to follow his progress. He plans on building this after he has completed the Tiny Free House, so stay tuned.

Nine Tiny Feet Design

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14 thoughts on “Tiny Free House”

  1. When I was growing up, I would spend my summer vacations going to my dad’s work. I would usually have one of my friends go with me. This helped my dad keep and eye on me as well as my friend to make sure we did’nt get into trouble as well as let my friends and I “explore” and goof off at his work and the surrounding businesses.

    He always had shipping pallets around and each summer we would experiment and build small “indoor” treehouses/clubhouses.

    We borrowed tools from my dad and EVERYTHING we used was recycled from the pallets, including the nails as we learned how to pull them out straight and re-hammer them for building. Aside from the occasional mashed thumb, we had sooo much fun.

    Good luck with the project, if elementary and middle school teenagers can do this, just think what an educated adult could improve on!!! Cool!

  2. Hi, sorry but that plan is a lot bigger than 9 square feet. 9 square feet would be a square with each side 3 feet long. I could build a ‘house’ that small with 6 pallets and a saw to cut out a tiny door (2 ft high) and windows (1 foot high). That’s a toddler’s cubby house.

  3. I think he is using the interior dimensions 40×32 and not counting the loft or height. You can go to Michael’s site and quiz him on it.


  4. “I think he is using the interior dimensions 40×32 and not counting the loft or height. You can go to Michael’s site and quiz him on it.”

    Exactly. On “Nine Tiny Feet” I’m counting the floor space and not the bay windows or loft just like Jay Shafer or Tumbleweed Houses and any home appraiser. “Tiny Free House” is the pallet wood house project and it is 90 square feet, 10 times bigger than Nine Tiny Feet. I may use pallet wood and reclaimed building materials in the 9 square foot house but it’s not the focus of that project.

  5. Michael,

    I really hope your project works out because i’m a female who wants to build a house on wheels on a VERY cheap budget/without “money”. Hey i live in Sacramento too.

    P.S I know nothing about building a house(LOL)

  6. Grateful if you would please give me some idea and design about house on wheels for 6 people to go around the country. I need to design a vehicle with our own design with all amenities inside at a very economical way.

  7. Hi Sir
    I would like to build a tiny house. Could you tell me which size of the house can build without permition in california or Utah? Where I can find that information?
    I donnot know about building a house. What do you think whether I can do it?
    We just want to build a tiny house for our future monastery.
    Do you know which website teach me to build a house from A-Z
    Thanks very much.

  8. Reclaimed wood? If the shoe fits… Wooden Palettes reused for this tiny little eye catch. Why not?

    From Page: “I spent the last two days working in the Tiny Free House and got the other window lowered about 8 inches to clear the eaves and finished adding pallet boards to the roof. It was very slow going screwing all those boards to the trusses. I used an extension ladder from the outside for the lower boards and did the peak from the inside by coming up through the framing.

    My next step is to cover the roof with roofing felt to protect the house from the rain and start on the siding on my next trip… unless my father-in-law scores form scrap sheet metal for me. He mentioned he knew a couple guys with sheet metal shops that often have shingle size scrap pieces of metal. Seems to me some galvanized scrap sheet metal would make some very nice shingles… nicer than #10 cans and still very free.”

  9. Hi, I was just going through some web pages to find “How to Build a House on Wheels!” and saw your page, am in Islamabad, Pakistan, we cant really find that Free Shipping stuff or other Free material here, but fortunately I can manage without it 🙂
    I just wanna know if there is a Guiding Manual or anything available from you, out of your experience, which can help me build a house on wheels for myself. I am a Nature Lover, I spent my youth Hunting & Camping and Off-Roading in the Northern Area of Pakistan and now I want my 3 little kids to experience the same, without being dependent on Hotels & Resorts.
    I would really appreciate if you could guide me in this, as with some videos on Youtube etc. I have got the basic idea of HOW to do it, but I wanna know EXACTLY HOW to do it.

  10. i am looking to build a tiny house on a small plot of land. I am familiar with how to make the floors and walls from pallets, however, i have no clue as to how to attach the roof without having a space. I would love photos of the junction so i would have an idea as to how to complete the project. thanks so much in advance for any help you can give.


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