Erika and Ray’s tiny house on wheels helped them move to their dream mountain town and into a dreamy tiny home community. Their journey began by building their exceptional DIY home in the Denver area over a few years. Mostly they paid for it paycheck-to-paycheck and through a small personal loan. In the end, it cost about $50,000. Impressively, it’s now all paid off!
The financial freedom they gained by reducing their bills and mobility allowed them to move to their dream mountain town, Durango, Colorado. Additioanlly, they scored a lot near downtown at Tiny Town, part of the enchanting Island Cove mobile & tiny home park. Being legally parked is a significant relief for them. Their first parking spot was under the radar. While the neighbors didn’t have a problem with them, the risk of the dreaded knock on the door from code enforcement still existed.
In addition to the added security, lot rent at Island Cove is pretty affordable at around $500-$700. Renting a studio apartment in downtown Durango, on the other hand, goes for $1650! Erika and Ray love spending time on the island, hanging out by or in the river. Monthly rent also gives them access to all the amenities of the tiny home community, including on-site laundry, a community garden, and a private island! Daily, Ray goes fly fishing out there to decompress after a day of work at a local brewery.
Their DIY Tiny House
Erika and Ray’s DIY tiny house is called Das Kleine Haus, which is German for “The Little House.” It’s 26.5 feet long with 290 square feet. And thanks to its lightweight steel framing, sourced from Volkstrukt, it only weighs about 14,000 pounds. Their home features a saltbox roof—a gable roof with asymmetrical planes, one long and one short side. This provides an intriguing look and spacious feeling inside. Combined with the skylight in the living room, they enjoy lots of light. Importantly, this helps them not feel couped up on snowy days.
Another real hero of Erika and Ray’s DIY tiny house is impressive amounts of practical, easy-to-access storage. For example, they have a mechanical room at the back of the home that serves as a tool shed. They can access inside through a door in their bathroom, which is handy if they ever need to grab their fire extinguisher or just extra toilet paper.
“Being of the Millenial generation and knowing we would never be able to afford a (traditional) home, we like the idea of having something small that we would eventually own, and we do. And just not have all that excess space. Excess is kind of a theme in our American culture.
We have everything we want, and need inside this house, or underneath the house, or hanging off the house. But it’s all right here! And we don’t have the room you just throw all your junk in. It’s kind of perfect for us.
And being on wheels is good too. I mean, we like being able to take our home wherever we go.”
—Erika, Das Kleine Haus