Small House Society

If you are serious about downsizing, than you need to stay connected through the Small House Society. The Small House Society was founded by Jay Shafer, Shay Salomon, Nigel Valdez, and Gregory Johnson.

The Small House Society is a voice for the Small House Movement. That movement includes movie stars who have downsized into 3000 square feet, families of five happy in an arts and crafts bungalow, multifamily housing in a variety of forms, and more extreme examples, such as people on houseboats and in trailers with just a few hundred square feet around them.


The Hermitage

Size is relative, and mainly we promote discussion about the ecological, economic and psychological toll that excessive housing takes on our lives, and what some of us are doing to live better. It’s not a movement about people claiming to be tinier than thought but rather people making their own choices toward simpler and smaller living however they feel best fits their life.

You can become a member for a mere $5 per year. By becoming a member you help support the distributorship of the monthly newsletter (now online) Small House Society Newsletter. Designers, maintenance of website, display booths, producing videos, online discussion moderation, research and much more.

Gregory Johnson lives in one of Jay Shafers Tumbleweed homes called the Hermitage, which is 140 sq ft. I have put a few pictures in this post and there are many more at the website Small House Society website.

Gregory Johnson at work


38 thoughts on “Small House Society”

  1. Hi!
    I am really interested (have been for years) in alternative living styles that suit the environment and don’t cost an exhorbitant amount of money. I love your utilitarian style but, have reservations as far as raising a family.
    I could easily live in your smallest “mansion” by myself but, I am married and have a family. We live in a double wide which is about the most inefficient habitat. S’all electric. Bummer!
    Do you have any designs which deal with family? Or is it that I just “don’t get it?”


    Ps. I am also looking into strawbale.

  2. Hi Janelle,

    Great name by the way! My wife’s name is Janelle also. Tiny House Blog is not directly connected with the Tiny House Society. You need to go to their site at and communicate with Gregory Johnson. He can guide you to designs that would fit with your family situation. Also check out the gallery here on this site. You may find some ideas that would fit your needs.


  3. I was forced to move into a 30-foot fifth wheel two years ago. Before this, I was raised in a large house and had always lived in at least 1,000 square feet. When I needed to move closer to work (which was out in the country) the only place available that didn’t cost over $1,500 to rent was a 30-foot fifth wheel. I was devastated, but through necessity forced myself to move into it. At first, I didn’t like the reduced space, but only two weeks later, I found myself having more fun and more time to myself than ever before. I lived in that place for over a year.

    It is now two years later and I have purchase my own used, but still very habitable, fifth wheel. It will be paid off in less than a year. After that, we plan on redoing the whole thing, tearing it down and rebuilding it one section at a time, including such luxuries in our plans as a wood burning stove and hardwood flooring. It is a 40-footer, so we plan on shaving off quite a bit of living area to turn into an extra large porch to reduce overall weight and the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the living spaces.

    We are very happy. I never thought I would ever have to live in an RV, now I can’t imagine not.

    • investigate steel stud framing. it will be lighter than wood and fire resistant. the materials are used in commercial construction.

  4. The last posting I saw was in 2008. Are you guys still around? Is there anything to join? Let me know about more current signs of life. I’m downsizing and need support. But I want to know if you are still out there.



    • Olá Carla,

      É difícil comprar tiny house no Brasil. O que podes fazer é comprar as plantas e construir uma.

      Sobre a resposta em português. Foi um pedido exagerado, já que o blog é em inglês.

      Um abraço

  6. Here is a link to a NY Times editorial about a family that sold their house to buy a smaller one and then gave the profit from the sale to charity. Now, living in a smaller space, they are a closer family than they were before.

  7. Would you kindly translate your blog into German because I’m not that comfortable reading it in English? I’m getting tired of using Google Translate all the time, there is a handy WP plugin called like global translator which will render all your articles automatically- this would make reading articleson your awesome blog even more enjoyable. Cheers mate, Darby Kaldas!

  8. Awesome!

    I’ve always wanted a tiny house because I love the idea of not having to clean much or having loads of materials that I don’t really need. I’m 21 and I’ve been living in apartments for the past 3 years because I’m in college, but once I get a house, I want it to be tiny and cute (or masculine 😉 ) just like these! I’ve always been one for living simple and I often get laughed at because of it. For example: I own only one towel, one pair of tennis shoes, one pillow, one blanket, and so on. Who needs more, really?

    Anyway, awesome job on promoting goodness!

  9. I’m a school teacher and I bring up your site when I talk about Thoreau and his life on Waldon Pond. I’m not sure I’m ready for such a move myself, but it serves as a good lesson in conservation and necessity!

  10. So thankful others are going for “just enough” like we did five years ago when my husband retired after 31 years with the USPS;
    went from 6 bedroom/2 bath with mother-in-love apartment in Sitka, Alaska, to 900 sq. ft. hand-built, one-room cabin 90 miles north (Hoonah near Glacier Bay) and haven’t looked back. Took us a year to design and a year to build along with our adult children coming along for the “ride.”
    Smaller fotprint and simplicity is what we sensed and what we did.
    Come on up and see, if you like fishing, kayaking, sailing and quiet;
    living with about 800 Tlingit natives and approx. 3500 grizzly (brown bear) and loving our reFirement!
    You guys rock!

  11. Jay, Shay, Nigel, Greg & company,

    Good day. Like many who have posted messages, I’ve been intrigued by the tumbleweed houses in particular for some time.

    Reasons being your product is of good quality. A rarity in this cookie cutter neighborhoods whereas the wiring, foundation and a myriad of other reasons are VERY suspect.

    My wife and I are frugal as it is. Due to our location we don’t possess a car, ride the trains, buses, bikes and unicycles weather permitting. This bohemian-like lifestyle enables us to vacation twice a year to any locale we please with ‘skies the limit’ type of amenities.

    The 1 house in particular we have most interest in is the Sebastarosa model.

    I notice tumbleweed owner’s testimonials, as well as Jay Schafer’s hone in on the EPU, Weebee and such models.

    Is there any way you can describe or a poster who has such a model or know of someone put me in touch with said owner(s)?

    Suffice to say, thank you for your time and wonderful ingenuity.

    Take care and Merry Christmas to all.

    Kind regards,


  12. This is not as new a movement as some would like to believe. We had family that lived in homes they made and pulled around back in the late 20’s and most of the 30’s. I found a YouTube video you all may like. My family and I still have a Motor Home (26′ Class A) that we use as our home on wheels, but I think a 5th wheel is in our future. I do however want to build a tiny house or 2 on some land in New Mexico! Love the site!

  13. I really love this trend toward small homes. I designed and built my own 530 sq.ft. home for under $20,000. Because the home is small, I was able to build the home entirely by myself and pay cash for all the supplies. Today, I have no mortgage and never will make another house payment. I am now passionate about the subject of small homes and have designed more small homes that I would like to build in the future. jmarple

  14. I moved into a 10×48 two bedroom mobile home 3 years ago and live there with my three boys. It is just perfect for us and we are a much closer family. I own it free and clear and only have to pay a little for the land it sits on and a small ammount for property taxes. This is the way to live. Who really needs a 3000 or more square foot home. That just lets us lose touch with our own family that is right under the same roof.


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