Amy Randolph’s Tiny Lotus is nearly ready to bloom. The 133 square foot tiny home with a 7×7 loft is currently being completed in Bozeman, Mont. and Amy plans to complete her new home for about $30,000—much less than most of the homes in her area.
“I’d like to stress that where I live, the cost of materials are much higher than many other areas due to the fact that most stuff has to be shipped,” Amy said. “For example; I have a friend in Portland, Oregon who is building and managed to get her T&G cedar siding for half of what it cost here in Bozeman (which is an equivalent to Boulder, Colorado). So while the cost of my home may seem high considering I don’t have a shower, or plumbing hook-ups; the cost of materials are overall higher in our area and off-grid appliances are much more expensive than normal household appliances.”
Amy decided to build her tiny house after losing everything during the recession. Building the tiny house was part of rebuilding her life in an expensive ski town. After purchasing the design from an architect, she got to work.
“I chose tiny out of necessity with the hope it would give me stability, security, flexibility and freedom,” she said. “I’m now currently living in my home as I finish out the interior and it has already given me all of these things.”
Amy is a professional packaging designer who has also built her own furniture. After working for other people for years, she wanted her own creative project.
“While I never built a house before, I saw it as another packaging project except on a much larger, more complex scale,” Amy said. “I was already used to managing, designing and building smaller things I drummed up in my head. A house was really no different; just more challenging. I guess my background gave me enough skill, confidence and a gut intuition, I somehow knew I could pull it off even when others doubted.”
The Tiny Lotus is built on an 8×20 foot trailer and is built with the intent of living entirely off-grid. Everything including the “plumbing” will be self-contained and the home will have gas heating along with solar panels and a backup Honda 3000 generator. Fresh water is brought in and contained inside the house while composting and gray water are both taken out and disposed of accordingly. The “bathroom” is located in the back of the house which will contain a composting toilet and a small Finnish steam sauna.
“I will be entirely off-grid with no running water so a shower inside the house is not really feasible,” Amy added. “There is a small kitchen on the passenger side of the house which will contain a 5.5 cu Nova Kool refrigerator and induction burner. I’m not a baker so I don’t plan to have an oven. The countertop will be black PaperStone with a copper kitchen sink accompanied with a black, old-school hand pump. The pump will allow me to bypass all the complicated plumbing as well as the space it requires. I really don’t need much anyway and have already gotten used to room temperature water, which I like.”
The house will also have a pantry, a wardrobe lined with cedar, a built-in couch with storage for skis and outdoor gear, and the home will be heated with a Napoleon LP fireplace. Both the floor and the loft will be finished with cork and the loft (with its beautiful dormer windows) will have tatami mats and a shiki-butan mattress. The siding is a distinctive dark stained cedar and metal and the front door is red. The interior will be light and calming.
“Color is stimulating,” Amy said. “I’m already a high-strung crazy redhead throughout my workday. I need my home to calm and relax me after a long day. Light, warm neutrals and natural materials with lots of light do just that.”
Photos courtesy of Amy Randolph/Montana Tiny House