12 X 24 Home In Nome Alaska

My Name is Brian. I have been living in this 12 x 24, 488 square feet house in Nome Alaska for two years. I became aware of the Tiny House Blog about a year ago and love it. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I took a job as a pilot out here in Bush, Alaska. I never in a million years thought that I would live in a house that is as big as most people’s garages in one of the coldest places in the United States, but less is more up here. I had been kicking around the idea of sharing this little gem with everybody and hope all of you enjoy it.

Now that most of you know where Nome, Alaska is from the Bering Sea Storm 2011 where the little house withstood Category 3 Hurricane force winds in the month of November. Also 5 blocks away from the finish line of the world famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race. And finally the Russian Fuel Tanker Renda and the Ice Breaker Healy were a mere mile and half away, off the cost of Nome to deliver fuel for the first time to a town in the middle of winter where heating fuel here is $8 bucks a gallon. Not to mention Flying Wild Alaska and Bering Sea Gold TV shows.

So with all that being said the house is 12 X 24. The main floor is 8 X 24 and with the upstairs it is 488 square feet. The porch is 8 x 24.

I have a 10 gallon water heater located under the counter next to the washing machine. Heat is provided by a Monitor 422 heater which burns heating oil which costs approx $2000 a year.

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Laura M. LaVoie - February 16, 2012 Reply

Brian – your house is great! I am originally from Detroit as well, but I moved *away* from the snow, not toward it. I love reading about the small spaces that people make comfortable and call home.

Patti - February 16, 2012 Reply

Plenty big for one person, except no walking room in the bathroom looks like the only downside (well that and the bitter cold of AK ;)) Do you do anything with the loft besides have a lamp there?

    Shea - February 17, 2012 Reply

    LOL, I thought the same thing until I spied that there is a ‘bedroom’ further back (by the window at the end). I’m guessing that lamp serves as a very necessary ‘nightlight’ of sorts, in lighting that area and the process of getting up and down that ‘ladder’ at night (and not forgetting all those dark-months-of-winter days where the sun barely, if at all, even comes up)!

William - February 16, 2012 Reply

$2000/year for heating oil? In Alaska? We spend that in North Carolina to heat over 3000 s/f. I thought oil was supposed to be inexpensive in Alaska. Maybe this house needs better insulation.

    Celia Harrison - February 16, 2012 Reply

    It would seem that gas and oil should be cheaper in Alaska, yet it is not.

    Shea - February 17, 2012 Reply

    My understanding was that the $8 per gallon price of fuel was during this past winter’s storm, when the only fuel that came in at all was via those emergency ice-breakers, etc., right? Or is it that high as the NORM?

    Pu241 - February 19, 2012 Reply

    William, fuel oil is refined product. Alaska export crude oil. It doesn’t have any refinery’s, so everything has to be shipped in from the lower 48 or Canada. I wonder how much your house would cost to heat if it got to -60°F in North Carolina, unless your walls are very thick there is a limit to how much insulation you can put in them. BTW, thats only 250 gallons of fuel oil for a longer and colder winter, I think he is doing OK.

      aspiecelia - November 10, 2012 Reply

      There are six refineries in Alaska that I am aware of. I have lived in Nome Ak and now live on the Kenai Peninsula. I would advise people to be aware of workplace bullying at the hospital if they are thinking of going there to work and community mobbing (bullying)as well. It’s really bad. There is a huge problem with alcohol there. White people selling liquor to make millions off the native people who have been traumatized by the destruction of their culture and the devastating affects of their environment due to global warming. Health care there is probably the worst in the country.

        Freddie - December 18, 2012 Reply

        Hey, anyone on this message board is free to email me at alaskapharm@yahoo.com.

        I am obtaining my Alaska Pharmacists license in the next little bit. I have been researching pharmacists jobs in the western area, i.e. Nome, Kotzebue, etc….

        I have seen a couple of posts on this thread that have made me stop and scratch my head regarding the healthcare at Norton Sound Healthcare. There has been mention of bullying in the workplace; nonexistant healthcare, white supremacy sentiment, etc…. I am not abandoning the idea of livng/working in Nome or Kotzebue, but would love more input, opinions, and places to obtain facts.

        I do love the idea of living in a tiny house. As far as living area is concerned I do not require much space and actually know how to conserve space quite well.

        Again my email is: alaskapharm@yahoo.com

        Any opinions and or facts are very welcome.


          Karen - January 31, 2014 Reply

          I have been here in Nome since Nov 2010, and it is cold, but it is beautiful! You can get use to the quietness of it quickly. You’ll see all sorts of wonderful sites that I’ll bet you’ve not seen anywhere else. Alaskapharm@yahoo.com, you can email me anytime and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. I came up here from south Florida and I wasn’t running away from anything!

          It is quite expensive up here, but the pay scale is higher. Unfortunately, since Bering Sea Gold has come to town, the rent has gone sky high! It is nothing to pay $1500/mo plus utilities (except for heat) for an efficient apartment.

          As far as bullying at the hospital, I’ve worked there since I arrived in Nome in Nov. 2010 and I can’t agree that there is bullying there.

          I will say that there is a problem with alcoholism and DV here. As far as white supremacy, I don’t know what they are talking about. At the hospital, as well as most business or corporations in Nome, there is a Native preference in their hiring practices.

Marla Solorzano - February 16, 2012 Reply

2,000 a year is about what I paid. That was about 100 miles out of Fairbanks. No roads to the area and that make it cost more too.

dave - February 16, 2012 Reply

I used to live on the coast, 120 road miles south of Anchorage and have been paying nearly $5/gal for propane and $4/gal for #1 heating oil for the last 3-5 yearsl. Electric is $0.24 per KWH. A cord of unseasoned, green firewood will set up back nearly $400.

Gas is $4.10 today up there.

No heat source in Alaska is cheap. I was thinking of heading back north for the summer, but I’m not too sure now.

    SteveR - February 18, 2012 Reply

    These prices are pretty much in line with current fuel/electricity/wood prices in New Zealand, where I live. Of course we don’t need to heat as much here but when I do heat, it is mostly with wood which seems the best value.
    Gasoline, however, is about $8 gallon for regular unleaded. Makes you think twice about what you use it for.

http://kevinsmicrohomestead.wordpress.com/ - February 16, 2012 Reply

Eight bucks a gallon ! OUCH! Thats a good reason to build small right there.I see a bed at the far end of the upstairs

Gene Wallen - February 16, 2012 Reply

After watching the Bering Sea Gold show, I know one guy lives in Nome to keep from paying child support,another [who lives in one of those cool school buses] is crazy. Why does anyone else live there?

    alice h - February 16, 2012 Reply

    In the Yukon we used to say that if you had to ask why people live there you’d never understand the explanation. You can get a vague sense of the North from books or TV but to truly ‘get it’ you have to get there and it would either baffle or enchant you. Depends on your attitudes, aptitudes and a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. It can be a very unforgiving place and tends to weed out a lot of the less determined.

    Celia Harrison - February 16, 2012 Reply

    I had the unfortunate experience of living in Nome and have written about the horror I experienced there.I liked Nome and the lifestyle, but there are huge issues there. Half the population is white and half is native. There is a white supremacy problem, huge unbelievable alcoholism and just like many other places in Alaska a subset of hateful people.There are also some wonderful people, beautiful beaches and great fishing. I also love the native people. Many people run from the lower 48 due to problems and go to the bush here to hide out. There are others who are bullies and destroy others. Then the health care and counseling is very poor to non-existent. There is much more and I could go on forever about this.

      alice h - February 16, 2012 Reply

      Sad but true for some. There are a lot of different “Alaskas”, quite a varied climate and lifestyle. Huge differences between panhandle coastal, northern coastal, interior, Anchorage, Fairbanks etc. Matanuska Valley is the place for giant vegetables http://www.alaskastatefair.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/2010-Giant-Vegetable-List.pdf The Yukon is a bit more homogenous though some communities are easier to live in than others. Alcohol and other abuse is a huge issue all over the North. People hoping to escape their problems may just end up intensifying them.

Hazel - February 16, 2012 Reply

I loved seeing the photos of your tiny home in both seasons!

Andy H - February 16, 2012 Reply

Only one thing missing in the pictures — a really big pile of books.

Mary - February 16, 2012 Reply

Hi Brian–Your house is just perfect! My husband and I will be visiting Nome next month. My brother and his family live there and we will hopefully catch the finish of the Iditarod. My brother loves Nome and says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. Thanks for sharing your space. 🙂 Mary

Dave - February 16, 2012 Reply

Hey Brian, looks pretty snug! Its funny, “North” and “cold” all depend on your frame of reference, I’m from northern Ontario, and currently live in Toronto… People here think that Where I am from is “crazy far north”. And figure it must be like living in the arctic.. I have family that lived on James Bay who love “northern” ontario because its so much nicer than being on James bay or in the Northwest Territories…. And compared to Nome, I am sure a winter on James Bay in a fly in community might seem cozy!!

I doubt i will ever get my girl to agree to that far north, or that small a living space, but. It seems pretty great to me!

P.s. my family who moved to Kansas City MO think that Toronto is “Crazy cold” hahaha

Jim - February 16, 2012 Reply

Looks a little like Charley’s house on the outside which I’ve been in but inside is different. When I first came up to Nome I lived in an 8′ x 12′ house for a couple years.. a girl friend moved in with me during that time so figured we better upgrade.
It had a cold attached porch you can see so was a bit bigger.

So moved into a place twice or more the size while I build a 16′ x 24′ house, which served me many years.

There’s a few more photos in those sets. Actually the very first place was this one:
I had a male friend room mate in that one. Tiny.

Kathleen Storaska - February 17, 2012 Reply

I read “tiny house blog” on a daily basis and had to laugh when I saw this tiny house in Alaska posted by Brian. Years ago, (ok many moons) I dated a Brian who got stationed in Alaska in the US Airforce –was just kind of ironic. :)Cute house!!

V - February 17, 2012 Reply

I like that these images show REAL life and not just what people stage for us as a not yet lived in tiny. No matter what we think about downsizing, we all still have junk. stuff. things we hold dear. It is nice to see that even to many like the image of sterility, we know, deep in our hearts that we cant live in sterility. We need the stuff of life and if we get ride of inside stuff, the outside stuff will prevail and even grow. I will use a woodpile as an example. I might bive up my furnace and attachment to gas, but in lieu of this and a woodburner, i have piles of wood, a sore back and shoulder for the cutting, dragging, cutting again, splitting, stacking, unstacking for the house, stacking again inside the house (or near to the door) and a move again to inside the stove/fireplace. Like i said, different stuff. I’d expect that this size is great for the cold nights in alaska.
Good for you!

Montana Mobile Cabins - February 17, 2012 Reply

Thanks for sharing, great house! Love the use of the interior space.

cj - February 17, 2012 Reply

I’ve heard many tourists say that only people running from something would want to live in AK because there is nothing here! They don’t know how correct they are…running from that kind of mindset. They simply can’t see the magnificence because they want to know where the mall is located.
There is no finer place to be than in pitch black watching the lights or just any starry night. To spend an evening watching the bears feed on salmon instead of tv.

I’ve heard just as many state that they believe people get paid to live in AK. They also believe gas is cheap.

Hats off to you Brian. Be safe. I know that you have a very dangerous job.

Hank Hill - February 17, 2012 Reply


My name is Hank Hill, I sell propane and propane accessories. What your home needs is a propane stove, BBQ, and propane heaters. I have a son named bobby and a wife named peggy. They also agree you need propane in your life.

Propane Propane Propane.

Hank Hill

    Patti - February 21, 2012 Reply

    LOL, nice King of the Hill reference 🙂

Nate - February 19, 2012 Reply

Hey bro, glad to see your house finally got posted. Bet the people viewing and posting would be surprised that when the wife and I came up from Detroit to visit Brian last August we had 4 people living in that house. It was tight but we made it work!

And for any doubters in the crowd I say go visit Alaska. I did and can’t wait to go back. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast you will get hooked the first day.

Walt Howard - February 19, 2012 Reply

That is a nice little hose, but with my wife, two Basset Hounds, two cats we would need a wee bit more space. Others have mentioned you could do well with propane and I have used propane in a mobile home when I was in the navy many years ago and later in a 1973 Chevrolet station wagon operated dual fuele [gasoline 23 gal tank/propane 32 gal tank] which gave me a quite a cruising range. Of course I have no idea what the availability is in Nome and I suspect the price would be fairly equivalent on equivalent btu output. It is a cleaner burning fuel however. Wife and I have sort of a dream home plan 1600 to 2000 sq.ft. with and identical bedrom suite in each end and with the rest inbetween [kitchen, utility, dining, living space utilizing an open space plan with furnishings providinf most to all the deliniations for each. We would have pocket doors in the bedroom suites for maximum utilization of floor space.

Wish you our Irish luck and succrss. I admire bush pilots by the way. I have a cousin and her husband who have ownd a home on Kodiak for many years and their children and gfrand children are just about all still residing in Alaska. Jerry is a retired nanal officer and many of the offspring have pilots licenses and many are in the hunting fishing industry.

Lois - February 22, 2012 Reply

My son is looking to relocate to Nome, AK in a few weeks and he is taking a job paying approx. $50,000 per year. Can you give me an idea what his cost of living would be per month? He is single and not a needy person. We are trying to decide if this is a good move for him financially.

Austin - September 4, 2012 Reply

Hi there my name is Austin and thanking of moving up to Alaska as long if there is beer lol.
But I thank that it would be cool to live up there and livening off the land. I don’t really know what to do with my life but I thank that I would really love to live up there. The only ? I have is how mic money do you need to live up there and how much does a home coust up there thank you and have a great day.

Michael Johnson - May 5, 2013 Reply

I am relocating to Nome. I built my own tiny home in a 7 x 14′ enclosed trailer. Are they any small lots of land you can buy ? Just enough for a truck and trailer.

Donnell - January 2, 2014 Reply

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