Jay Shafer's Tiny Houses, An Efficiency Evolution - Tiny House Blog

Jay Shafer’s Tiny Houses, An Efficiency Evolution

Tiny house pioneer, Jay Shafer is widely credited with jumpstarting the modern movement. His last two tiny houses showcase an evolution of simplicity. As he puts it, simple pared-down living reflects nature—thriving through efficiency— the original “green” term. Moreover, meaningful living is key to Jay’s design approach. Everything in his tiny homes has to be beautiful and functional—he is a self-described “addict of meaning”. Beautifully represented in his use of sacred geometry in all his designs.

When we first visited Jay in 2016, he was living in his beautiful American Craftsman Style 119 sq. ft. tiny house. It cost less than $25,000. The design is featured in his 2013 book, Jay Shafer’s DIY Book of Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses. Fast forward to present day, he’s now living in a tiny home less than half the size. From stylistic fortress feel to a light and airy, Japanese-style micro adobe.

In his latest creation, Jay poses the question, how can you pair down materials and still achieve a high-quality, aesthetically pleasing home?

Though only 51 sq. ft. and under $4,000, fire-resistant and is “telescoping”, as Jay put it. The core design can easily be expanded with a detachable bathroom and kitchen, which would raise the cost to approximately $6,000. It is equal parts personal solution, tiny house design experiment and an opportunity to help others. For example, Jay envisions a kind of tiny house village with homes clustered around a common house with shared amenities.

While his tiny houses are intended for anyone who wants to live more efficiently, his latest design works well for those who can’t afford housing. Most importantly, Jay’s enduring legacy is that simple, high-quality living is accessible by all.

Thanks for all the inspiration, Jay!


by Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Blog contributor


My partner, Christian and I are traveling tiny house dwellers. Together we’ve been on the road three and a half years for our documentary and community education project, Tiny House Expedition. We live, breathe, dream the tiny home community every day. This is our life and our true passion. We are very grateful to be able to experience this inspiring movement in such an intimate way and to be able to share our exploration with all of you.

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