Small Home. Big Life

By Ben Hurst

Hello, my name is Ben, a 31 year old music teacher. I live in Southeast Louisiana and in the past four years I have been on a journey to create an easier life for myself. From growing a garden, raising chickens, ducks, and rabbits, to aquaponics. I just wanted to find a better, easier, healthier way to live.

I have just started my tiny house project with my dad. We began welding the frame for the trailer and acquired the axles. It is going to be a long project, but the end result will be so amazing I just can’t wait. I have been researching extensively every single tiny house resource I can get my hands on and have almost narrowed down what the final design is going to look like.

Most people that are building tiny houses struggle with a place to put it, but I will have a spot to put mine and enough space to have my small farm. So one day I can live in my small home, on my small farm, living a very big, enjoyable, sustainable life!

You can follow Ben’s build at his blog

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Mark A - February 7, 2012 Reply

Awesome work so far… Looking forward to seeing your finished home!

Angie - February 7, 2012 Reply

Nice looking layout.
two questions
1. are there any windows other than what appear to be on the front behind the porch?
2. Is the drawing idicating a sliding door into the shower or into the toliet area?

I’m glad you already have a place to make your little farm with big living.

Annie Blair - February 7, 2012 Reply

Congrats BEN! Whoo Hoo! Good luck, we are cheering you on!

BigGoofyGuy - February 7, 2012 Reply

It will be neat to see what it looks like when it is done.

sgrin - February 7, 2012 Reply

@Angie-there will not be any windows on the side because I will be wrapping the entire house in a vinyl skin with heavy insulation underneath. South Louisiana can be brutally hot in the summer. So I am trying to maximize effeciency. Think of the house as looking kind of like a big gypsy wagon just not a curved roof. You are right about the sliding glass door to the bathroom. I got a nine foot long three panel sliding glass door(for free) and I will frost the glass. Also I plan on mounting led lights behind the frosted glass to double as a light for the kithcen.

    Angie - February 8, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for the information. And having a cool area in that LA heat – I can understand.
    Good luck on successful building.

Sharon O - February 7, 2012 Reply

My brother is a welding instructor at a local college. I’ve just hit him up to see if he can build my trailer for me. Hope he takes me up on it…it would be a good summer project, I would get a good product and he could make some mullah….. Or I can blackmail him into it! I look forward to more postings from you on your project!

    Josh - February 7, 2012 Reply

    …he could make some mullah.

    I don’t know what Islamic theology has to do with welding, but I’m pretty sure it takes another expert in Islamic traditions and Islamic law to make a Muslim man into a Mullah! 🙂

    sgrin - February 7, 2012 Reply

    Ask your brother if he knows anything about pre-stressing a frame for a trailer 🙂

Josh - February 7, 2012 Reply

Neat design. I was curious why you chose to build a frame rather than purchase one, but then saw that you addressed the price issue on your blog. What does it then take to make this legal to pull down the road? I’m sure it has to be licensed like any other trailer. Are there guidelines out there that told you what specifications had to be met? My dad’s building a Shelby Cobra kit car and once it’s finished a DOT inspector has to come inspect it and assign a VIN to it before it can be registered. I’m sure it’s a similar process with a trailer, right? Where could you get that information to insure that it’s going to be roadworthy?

    sgrin - February 7, 2012 Reply

    The state police have to inspect it and then you can get it registered as a homemade trailer. Some states post their information online so you will know the guidelines too meet. Certain trailer weights have to have brake axles, the width has to be like 8 1/2 ft., length can’t exceed 40ft I think. Some states don’t like you to use mobile home axles.

      Josh - February 7, 2012 Reply

      Cool. I’d be too afraid of having some little thing wrong that the inspector didn’t like causing the whole thing to have to be torn apart! I’m anxious to see the whole thing as it progresses.

        Abel Zimmerman Zyl - February 8, 2012 Reply

        Its not so bad. Just have to jump through the hoops for your state. All the info is online… And you can call the VIN/state patrol inspector and tell them what you are up to. Ours arent particularly chipper about unique homeblt projects, but they WILL tell you what you need (or where to look it up).

        If you do a nice job, it will be better than a typical RV frame anyday. They will like that.

        Abel Zyl Zimmerman

          sgrin - February 10, 2012 Reply

          I admire you work. Your Vardos are some of my favorite tiny house designs!

Bob H - February 8, 2012 Reply

Great story, great floor plan.

TMc - February 8, 2012 Reply


Good luck on your Tiny House project.
It is good to see that you are ‘re-learning’ your welding skills in order to improve your own way of life.
I miss NOLA terribly…haven’t been down there for over a year now.
BTW- What is this nonsense about working on your trailer during Mardi Gras???
Good luck on your project and keep us posted.

    sgrin - February 8, 2012 Reply

    My dad taught me how to weld years ago when I was in high school but I really haven’t messed with it since. Was pretty easy to relearn. You moved away from Nola? There will be some parades the week before Mardi Gras to get my fix in. Unfortunately it’s the only time I have off of work to get as much done on the house as possible. Thanks for reading!

      TMc - February 9, 2012 Reply

      I have some close friends from NOLA and have visited many times. Never thought one could fall in love with a city, but I was proven otherwise.
      I’m up in Michigan working on our own project…an abandonded 15 acre farm with overgrown fields and dilapidated buildings, still I am stoked about moving onto our land hopefully by mid summer.
      Speaking of Mardi Gras, we just got our invite for our friends annual Mardis Gras party complete with King Cake and Abita!
      Good luck!!

Gigi - February 9, 2012 Reply

Hi Ben, nice story and plan for the future. my husband and I are thinking of the same thing. We’re on the saving mode to buy 1-3 acres of land hopefully soon. Good luck and keep us posted. Nice floor plan. 🙂

Rusty Craig - September 29, 2012 Reply

Hey Ben nice project, even I couldn’t wait to get it finished. I just can feel your emotions attached with this project. All the best…

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