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79 Comments

79 thoughts on “home

  1. The progress has been coming along great and just want everyone to know that we are building these tiny homes to sell. Carrie and I have been talking a lot about design and what others may want in their tiny home. We are thinking of building the tiny home as a shell (dry-in) which is the most complex part of the building and when you buy the home you can finish out the interior/exterior the way you would like it.

    Thanks and please feel free to let us know what you would like in a tiny home. Carrie is going to be up loading a poll on here soon (when time presents itself). We enjoy all the comments and followers, please share us to friends and any others that may want a wonderful Clothesline Tiny Home.

    Shane

    • anotherkindofdrew

      Could you just come and put my roof on please? Oh, and could you bring some sunshine so I can finish the siding painting. I mean, if you want you can help on Thursday morning when we begin framing. But no pressure.

      Seriously though y’all. I am so daggum proud of y’all and so happy for y’all. I can’t wait to see a pic of the Clothesline Cruiser in her spot with maybe a few flowers or cactuses potted around her and then a big honkin’ clothesline flappin’ in the breeze!

      Congratulations, my friends.

      • thanks Drew! I wish we could come help with the roof or framing. but you’re so far away from us… thanks for your support and pride and energy!
        – Carrie

    • Sam Gee

      Hey Shane,

      I live up in Central Canada. I love to have one of those home! How much to build?

      Sam Gee

      • Hello Sam, sorry I have gotten to you sooner but we are out of town until the 9th. I will get to your message as soon as we get back. Thanks, Shane

      • Hello Sam, sorry I have not replied sooner, been out of town. Send me an email and I can get some numbers to you. Clotheslinetinyhomes@gmail.com. Shane

      • Paty & Mike

        hey Sam Gee,
        we also live in Canada with my husband and we are also looking to have one of this beautiful tiny houses. it has been difficult to find someone in Canada doing this, you wanna stay tunned so we can share whatever we find? we live in toronto, for now

    • chris

      I noticed you are using a incinerator toilet. Can you tell me how well it works? What brand is it? I am building a 8 x 16 cabin in New Mexico. Great to see what you guys have done with your space. Gives me some inspiration to get creative.

    • Robert L

      I wonder if my 32″ HDTV would work out in a tiny house, what I mean is would it be too large to fit comfortably?

      • as long as it is a flat screen, I’m sure you could make it work in a tiny house! it could easily take the place of the window next to the front door, or find a home in the bedroom too.

    • That’s a good idea.I think people all have different tastes in decor.

  2. Pat

    Can’t wait to see pictures of the interior finish!!

    • hahaha! okay, okay, I’ll post pictures of that too! I’m too heady, I wanted to make sure I got some ethics posted first… :)

  3. shanecaverly

    Once things slow a little I will be putting together the plans and cut lists for this model and future models. We also build and design custom Clothesline Tiny Homes for your living needs. I will also offer the same model that Carrie and I live in for a price coming very soon. We want to live in it to offer the best Tiny Home for all living needs.

    As to the space for two it is great and so far there is plenty of storage for the both of us.

    So feel free to contact us to build your future dept free home….

  4. S Stack

    Would you still consider living here if this business takes off and you start making a very decent living or will you go back to a traditional residence?
    Do you have a permanent parcel of land that you will put your home on?
    How about electric, gas, water, sewer? Do you have these?

    • Hi there, thanks for your comment!
      Yes, we do want to live in this for a while. It’s beautiful, and we put our blood, sweat, and tears into it. I’m attached. :)
      We are currently renting a private lot in a residential neighborhood that has a hookup for water, electric, and sewer. We have an incinerating toilet – so don’t need the sewer. We have propane tanks for heat and cooking. We’ll get solar panels to generate our own electricity in the near future.
      We’re saving to buy a piece of land debt-free, where we want to build a long-term residence that is self-sustaining; utilizing rainwater catchment and our natural electricity: solar.
      As to the business that we’re working on creating: the goal is not to make it rich. The goal is to show that living small can be done with ease. And maybe we’d all be a lot better off without our stuff weighing us down. It would be nice to make a living doing this, because it would feel really good to have an occupation that helps others have a smaller footprint on our Home.
      take care!
      Carrie (and Shane)

      • Hi Carrie,
        How did you go about finding a lot to rent with hook ups? Is that common?
        Kelly, a tiny house dreamer in Crested Butte Colorado

      • hi Kelly!
        we happened upon our first lot on Craigslist. just search for land for rent or RV sites/spaces for rent. hookups for an RV will work for a tiny house too.
        good luck!
        Carrie

  5. I saw your spot on ABC15 and really admire you guys. I think more people should take note and realize that they don’t need giant homes or really expensive things and are living outside their means. I lived in a 150 square foot “apartment” in San Francisco a few years ago (for a year and a half), and since then I’ve still been trying to keep my possessions/required space to a minimum. Very innovative and I hope others take note and buy more tiny houses! :)

    • thanks for your comment!
      I agree – seeing people’s reaction to the news interview has made me realize how entitled we are in our culture anymore. We really don’t need as much as we’re using! And construction is responsible for the majority of materials in landfills, in addition to contributing to global warming in a huge way. So anything smaller is better. Good for you for living small too!
      take care,
      Carrie

  6. Hi, my husband has been researching tiny homes and many different types of cabins and such, he is planning to buy some land up in New Mexico Forest and so I will show him this and also keep an eye on the site for more pics and details. This is a wonderful option to have here in AZ and nearby as the others are far and out of state. Congrats!

    • hi Sonya!
      thanks for your comment. yes, we haven’t seen many other tiny housers in this region either. there was one small adobe tiny house I saw in New Mexico – but it was slab on grade – not on wheels.

      take care,
      Carrie

  7. I am curious about the possibility of a design for those with different sorts of special needs? Adapting the design to fit their needs without forfeiting any valuable space? I have been going over this type of design for about 4 months in my head and just found you so thought I would ask if maybe you all had thought about it and can possibly accomodate or if you possibly have heard of someone who can help with the design…thanks so much lol.

    • hi Tonia!
      thanks for the comment. yes, we have thought about designs for special needs. are you looking for a design that would accommodate a wheel chair? I think it could be done, but the hardest part would be getting the bed down on the main level. ours isn’t a loft, but it is still elevated enough to limit a person bound in a wheelchair from getting into it. I think a longer trailer could make it work.

      we’ll work on an “accessible” design and see what we come up with. but let us know specifically what special needs you’re referring to, and we could work on that too.

      take care,
      Carrie

      • Alyce Johnson

        Hi – I am interested in a special needs design also. I am not (yet) in a wheelchair but have serious mobility issues & could easily end up in one some day. (I have already had periods of time when I was in a wheelchair.) I already can’t use a loft. Stairs are difficult – a ramp would be better for me than stairs, even now. Having spent some time with these issues (20 years, already) and having spent significant periods of time in a wheel chair, I can offer some general suggestions for people with mobility issues.

        Suggestions:
        One exterior door which is wheelchair accessible & has a ramp which can be flipped down would make the entire residence accessible (provided all interior doorways were wide enough for a smaller wheelchair). This can benefit anyone with mobility issues (including the elderly).

        Murphy bed would solve the sleeping issue. It would be necessary to be able to get to the bathroom (and ideally the kitchen as well) with ease while the bed was down.

        Consider toilet transfer & shower bench needs, when designing bath. (I do think a larger unit would be necessary.) Also for bath, consider the need for studs in walls which will hold weight – we need to be able to put in “grab bars” which really do support a lot of our weight for transfer & stability purposes, in all 3 key bathroom locations (toilet, sink & shower). Most disabled people have no need for a tub – typically we use a hand held shower head & sit to shower. IIt would be helpful to include 2 heights for anchoring the shower head – one higher up so people who stand to shower can put it there, but one lower down so disabled person can get to the shower head w/out assistance.) Tub sides are just a nuisance. Waterproof bathroom with a floor drain & open shower area (or partially open) would be the easiest solution in terms of ease of use. Perhaps there is a way to design this?

        Perhaps a porch large enough to “park” and secure the motorized scooter many disabled folks use when out & about? (Porch would need ramp not stairs, also – or that option, for future.)

        Consider putting all electrical outlets a couple feet up the wall instead of down low. Same for switches – lower is better. A standing person can always reach a switch that is at hand height (below waist) whereas it is often hard for disabled people to reach upwards.

        Kitchen design is tricky – height of counters etc – would vary by the preference of the person (and whether they are truly wheel chair bound or can sit at a stool, etc.). Old fashioned pull out boards (like my granny had in her kitchen, to roll out pie crust, for example) those could work as cutting boards & food prep surfaces for a person in a wheel chair. They could be placed lower down, in between regular kitchen drawers. Putting a microwave and/or toaster oven on a lower shelf (under the conventional counter) could work too. (Toaster oven would require a heat proof space.) Perhaps a sturdy pull out shelf could hold a propane cook top (like a Coleman stove)? Sink height is the most difficult issue especially if the disabled person shares space with someone who stands to do dishes & is on the taller side. Perhaps a small dishwasher could fix this issue? I was able to load & unload the dishwasher (due to the low height of the pull out racks) even when I was in a wheelchair.

      • thanks for all the great universal design tips! you’ve pointed out a lot of really important design details.
        we do have a preliminary plan for someone in a wheelchair or with mobility issues. contact us if you’re interested!
        best to you!
        Carrie

  8. Roscoe

    Wow, this is really impressive. I’m saving full time for building my tinyhouse and hoping to start construction around this time next year. In the meanwhile I’m checking out as many designs as possible, and drawing up some of my own. I have to say, yours is one of the best, if not the best, that I have seen. It has everything, the lay out is very clever, and it’s beautiful.
    I have a feeling that my design is going to be mutating to mimic yours over the next year.
    Congrats on your house! I can only hope that mine turns out as perfectly.

    • Roscoe,
      wow, thank you so much for your positive feedback! that’s really great to hear that you’ve done so much research and like our plan. the layout is actually working really well. it feels so nice inside the house. surprisingly roomy!
      best wishes to you on your design / build adventure! would love to see your progress as you get closer to starting.
      take care,
      Carrie

  9. Heather

    These would make great summer homes up north to escape the Phoenix heat. Even in the winter time would be nice to head to the snow. The possibilities are endless … Best of luck in your new home.

  10. Mike Greenall Baron

    Hey guys good idea i live in the UK in the town of Oswaldtwistle and read all the news yours is one of the best I have and a brill idea nice work your doing I’m coming to see family in Arizona in November Gilbert are you any were near there like to meet you guys ……all the best Mike ps my website is

    http://oswaldtwistle.shutterfly.com/

    • hi Mike! good to hear from you!
      we are near Gilbert – about 2 / 2-1/2 hours away. would be cool to meet up!
      – Carrie

      • Mike

        Hi Carrie.
        I will arrive in gilbert on the 23th of november till the 16th of Jan i will ask if we can sort a visit out and to meet you guys don’t know if you got my email i can send it you ? Mike.

      • hey Mike!
        we do have your email through your comments on the blog. if we’re around when you’re here, we’d love to show you our house.
        – Carrie

      • Mike Greenall Baron

        Oh wow that would be brill Carrie thank you I can’t wait to see family I know I talk to them every but it not the same as being there hope to meet you both soon mike

  11. shane brion

    I am glad to see more people are interested in tiny homes. Now that my kid are grown up i to would love to live in one of these just to take alot of stress of life off. Not to mention saving our planet with all the junk people think they have to have. I do not have a clue how to build one and i have been reading anything and everything i can to build a small one that i could pull with my truck and live off the grid. How does one get info and instructions to build one? I to am on a small budget and just want to get away from lifes crazyness. Your place looks great you two did a great job. Seeing this and other has really given me the drive. Thank you and best wishes to the both of you. Shane.

  12. shane brion

    Sorry please keep me updated with or ideas on things that work and that do not.

  13. You have built a very nice little house! I love it. We are just finishing ours, which is sort of a mantion. It is 540 sq. feet, built on sort of a pole barn foundation/crawl space. It sits on 1 1/2 acres with a small pond. All that is left to finish is the bathroom. We are debating about a well and septic, which is a huge expense. We might start out with a composting toilet and rain water collection. Good luck with your adventure…..keep up the great work in promoting the movement!
    Check out our blog at: littlehouseonthehill.weebly.com

    Tim and Leslie

    • Hello Tim!
      what a beautiful home you’ve built! it looks so great. I love that you painted the interior white – I know that really helps our Tiny House feel more spacious inside.

      I would highly recommend the composting toilet route if you have a spot to start a humanure pile (and if you’re willing to learn how to compost – The Humanure Handbook is a good resource). We have an incinerating toilet for ours (no water, only 120v electricity and ashes to dump) and it’s great, but I like the simplicity of a bucket and sawdust. so natural! I’ve also heard Nature’s Head composting toilets are great.

      Best wishes!
      Carrie

      • Carrie,
        Thanks for the reply and comments!. We have actually been using the bucket/sawdust system durring construction. My wife says, “I’m just not sure I can do that permanently”. lol…I just don’t see the difference. I WILL say, I just can’t believe how odor free it has been. Absolutely no problem what-so-ever just sitting there in the bathroom. I sometimes forget it is even there. And….up until now, there sure has been plenty of saw dust around to maintain it! lol

      • Susan

        My husband and I are thinking about down sizing. We would like to do it before retirement. I think it may take him a little longer than me to visualize the dream…but who knows? We would love to sell our house and be debt free. We have moved a lot over our 40 years of marriage…27 times to be exact. Still the adventure goes on and I must admit I love sharing life with him.
        What is the approximate cost to operate electric incinterating toilets? I believe you can purchase a propane version? Is that correct?

      • Hi there! best wishes to you as you look to downsize.
        I wish I knew the cost to operate an incinerating toilet, but our electricity is included in our rent, so I’m not sure. and yes there are propane versions. check out I would highly recommend the propane version, or a standard RV toilet.

  14. grant shealy

    I would like to know about heating. As I live in a more northernly climate, this is an important concern in both living space and water temp. I would also like to know about water and fuel storage. BTW The step storage in the bedroom is a fantastic idea.

    • Hello Grant,
      Well as to our tiny home we built it so we can at some point head back north since we are both from Colorado. Were lived for many year it would be the coldest place in the nation. So when I build that is always on my mind. As to your heat if your search back through our post we have the write up in there somewhere.
      When it comes to holding tanks for water we have a grey water holding tank and I have a build-in site if we decided to install a water holding tank. what Carrie a I do is design and build to suite your needs and were the Tiny Home will be located in the winter time. If your in AZ then some of the water lines can be out side the insulated walls, if your in Maine the all water line needed to be within the heated areas.

      Your friends at Clothesline Tiny Homes,
      Shane and Carrie

  15. Debbie

    I have been following the Tiny House movement for some time now. I am definitely interested! I would love to see a floor plan that doesn’t have the bathroom or at least the toilet so close to the kitchen. Have you seen anything like that?

    • Well most tiny homes do have the bathroom next to the kitchen. The reason we do is so that most all the weight of of the home is near center of the trailer were the axles are and centrally located plumbing lines . But that does not mean you can not have it located else were. If your looking for a custom designed and/or built then feel free to contact us.

      Clothesline Tiny Homes,
      Shane and Carrie

  16. My partner and I are considering the purchase of a five acre property in Prescott and we were thinking of building a structure like this as a “base of operations” as we begin to build a main house. We were thinking a structure on pylons as opposed to trailer. The tiny home would then become a guest house or work studio once the main house is complete. We are curious as to what the Yavapai County codes are and if they view these structures as modular or site build. If we could get the County to sign off on this, we’d be interested to see if you have ever done one of these on pylons on a homesite and do you have any insight as to the County code issues. Also, are you folks experienced with SIP builds? (By the way, if our plans come through, our entire property will be built on the principals of permaculture).

    • Hello,
      Thanks for your question, as you bring up a huge problem that we have in this country. Here in Yavapai county minimum living space is 1400sq’. So building a living space under that will not be allowed. But there is a grey area. And that is what Carrie and I are all about. So if you put a set of wheels under it like what we did then you’re good. As to building it on pylons what I would do is build the Tiny Home on a trailer frame and once your complete and finished with all inspections I would pour some concrete pylons and set the home right on it. Very easy to do, and it would not raise eyebrows at the county level.

      As to the SIPs panels Carrie and I did think about building ours out of them. But after pricing them out for just a few walls we were better off building it with more conventional methods. But that is something that I would like to do in the future. SO yes were are experienced with SIPs. I have built out of many methods of building from Straw bale, poured pumice, ICF, AIRblock, and many more.

      So I hope this helps and it sounds like you have some up coming great things here in Prescott and it is nice to see in the area. If your looking for a Designer and/or a builder please feel free to contact us and we would love to meet you.

      Your friends at Clothesline Tiny Homes,
      Shane and Carrie

      • Shane, Carrie,

        Please shoot us an email so we may keep in touch. You mention the minimum living space to be 1400, but can’t a guest quarters be smaller according to county regs?

      • Hello,
        Well that would be something to look into and worth researching. Our email is clotheslinetinyhomes@gmail.com. Thanks and looking forward to further conversations.
        Shane

  17. Wonderful you two….you’ve taken a not so enjoyable situation and turned it into a globally positive and uplifiting solution that I hope is able to sustain you both financially. I’ve been slowing converting my life to “green” and “self-sustaining” living and applaud your efforts!

    • Thanks for the comment, we loving here from others and it makes this all worth while. It’s good to here that there are many out there making a true effort on changing the way we all live. Self-Sustaining is were it’s at.

  18. donna marie haukaas

    Yikes! I reaaaaaly need to have a garage sale or walk all my stuff I do not need to the thrift store next to my place. So great and inspiring to read this blog as the earth needs a big giant break to live on!

  19. Linda

    Hey Carrie, your Mom wrote me about your blog… You probably don’t remember me, I stitched a picture for you when you were a baby. :) I’ve heard of Tiny Homes… do you get claustrophobic?

    • hi Linda! so cool to hear from you! I do remember you and the embroidered picture you made!

      Claustrophobic… that’s a good question. I haven’t felt claustrophobic yet, the high white ceilings help the house feel bigger than it is. We do have to communicate a lot more when moving throughout the house doing daily tasks though… But I am loving living in it!
      – Carrie

  20. Marj

    Hi Shane and Carrie, I applaud your efforts. I sold my big house (1800SF), and bought a 700 SF bungalow, it’s a big project as the man who lived here did no maintenance except for tying things up with rope, we are 3/4 the way through renovating it, I love my little house, and so does everyone who comes here. and we don’t even have walls at the moment. There is something to be said about downsizing, I’m not getting any younger and I have no need for material things, just the basics, when you think about utilities, maintenance, taxes, it is a lot cheaper to live in a tiny house, and less harmful to the environment. Back in the days when people had big families, they didn’t have huge houses, kids shared rooms, I grew up in a 3 bedroom, 1200 sf house with 5 siblings and my parents, it was tight at times, but we are a close family. Thanks Shane and Carrie for joining the small house movement, and encouraging others to change their ways.

  21. Leslie

    I have been browsing online more than 3 hours nowadays, yet I never discovered any fascinating article like yours.
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  22. george

    Hi: Now you’ve got me thinking. I’m 58 years old and building a fully self contained home of a small trailer is beginning to look good to me when I retire. Just think I can travel with my home and park in my kid’s driveway. No taxes. Less expenses. What a way to go.

  23. Erinn

    Coziness aside, it will be worth it to be able to afford more travel and leisure. Prague, here I come! I could bring along a picture of my tiny house and maybe make some new friends. It’s the good life for those of us who cannot (or will not) afford it all.

    • thanks for the comment and I think it’s SO important to look at the amazing opportunities for more that come with downsizing to less. like travel and leisure and time with friends and family and hobbies and whatever it may be. living in a tiny house does come at a cost. but there are amazing gains too.
      – Carrie

  24. Jan 2, 2012 I saw for the second time a Tumbleweed tiny house. The first time was many years ago and a local news station in central Iowa (where I live) did a short news spot on it. Then, last Jan, I was surfing the web and came across it again and pursued the links to find all sorts of info on tiny houses and SHS. I was intrigued and very infatuated with the Tumbleweed house plans. The style of the homes as well as the efficiency. I’ve been “right sizing” since and have reduced my collection of stuff a lot. My wife thinks I’m nuts for being even interested in tiny houses and simplifying that much. She likes her space. She also likes her stuff. She is starting to show a slight glimmer of desire to reduce out of frustration of not finding things she knows she put somewhere but is having a hard time letting go of things. I knew the only way I could possibly pursue a tiny lifestyle is if she was convinced (long way to go yet) AND if I were to find a plan that two could live in comfortably without climbing a ladder to bed. That last point is the only thing that I eventually didn’t like about the Tumbleweed styles. I like it in that it reminds me of the fun I had in a tree house when I was a kid. Everyone imagines being like Peter Pan and never growing up. But I’m getting older and climbing ladders everyday will someday become very difficult. Also, I really wasn’t a fan of any plan that I’ve found with a bed on the main level. The styles usually aren’t as quaint as a Tumbleweed home, or the layout inside didn’t flow for me. I came across your web site a few months ago and, at first, wasn’t so sure this plan was for me. BUT, I have come to like it a lot now. The more I think on it the more I like it. I feel your plan is the best I’ve found where there is plenty of space and also with a bed on the main level (sort of). I’ve decided that the bed in this plan is really not on the main floor but is still easy to get to using the storage stairs. I also really like what you’ve done with those and the closet under the bed as well as the built in storage couch/bed in your living room (right down to the space most designers seem to waste behind the couch back). I am a ways from being ready to build one but am still looking foward to seeing what you will offer for plans. I am very much a DIY’r and have done all kinds of construction in every home I’ve owned and would love to build a tiny home on my own. I will be keeping up with your blog/posts. I am not on facebook but I am on google+ and added a post about your web site there.

  25. Devon Greer

    Hi, I am just a browser right now and I have a design of a tiny house I wanted to build and it is from tumbleweed tiny homes and I was wondering if I were to give you the design how much it cost to build it, the design is called the Fencl model. Just curious and looking for better financial ways to own a tiny house.

  26. Kerry

    I love all the natural light you get from the doors and windows. Some tiny homes are just a weeeee bit too tiny for me. This one is perfect because you can even get on three sides of the bed to make it and I love the kitchen. If I make the move to a tiny home, which I may when my apartment lease it up, (looking for land seems the hardest part) this is the kind of home I want. Thank you so much for sharing.

  27. Hey Carrie and Shane,

    Love the minimalist approach! My wife and I are founders of DINKlife.com, the first and only site for couples without kids, Dual Income No Kids. The tiny home concept is perfect for the lifestyle of DINKs and empty-nesters with low space requirements and with travel and work keeping them away from home often. We’re experiencing it first hand, moving from big Texas home to downtown San Francisco apartment. We posted your news story on our DINKlife Facebook page and got some great feedback.

    Keep spreading the good work and best of luck with your business.
    Cheers!

    • Thanks Cory! The tiny house concept is perfect for those who want to have a small footprint on the environment and who don’t want to dump all their hard-earned cash into a house payment. Tiny house = tiny rent = tiny investment = disposable income for traveling and just living!

  28. You guys are amazing…I love the home and would love to do the same thing in the future, when the three kids are on their own of course (5yrs). This is an awesome way to cut cost of living and travel.

  29. I love your tiny house and will contact you when I am ready for one, looking for land here in s.w. Arizona.
    thank you!

  30. debbie castro

    Carrie, I would love to be able to buy one of the smallpox houses and put it in Prescott. I have two sisters that live there. I have been looking for people that have set up villages. I have seen them drawn up and they look good on paper. Does anyone you talk to know of real villages to put your tiny or small home on. Thanks for the idea of looking on craigs list for a lot. Good luck to you guys for getting to start your dream.

    • there is a neighborhood in prescott that seems to have really loose zoning laws that has a lot of tiny dwellings, it’s off of Dameron Dr. just east of Grove / Miller Valley… there are also several RV parks in Prescott, including one in the Granite Dells. good luck!

  31. I’ve been looking at a lot of these for several months now. I really like this one. II 2007, after 35 yrs of working and doing my best to save, I was in a pretty good financial situation and looking forward to stepping back working part time or retiring one day. Then came 2008, a divorce after 25 yrs of marriage, and like so many others, job loss, and financial meltdown. These houses could be a blessing for me (and many others) for my future. very nice. I really enjoy looking at these and dreaming/planning. thanks..

    • I’m sorry to hear about your struggles. You are so right, these houses are a blessing for those who were hit hard by the housing and financial crisis – a home of your own that you can move with you – for less than $50k – about 4 years of $1,000 mortgage payments. Less than 3 years return on investment if your living costs were in the $1,500 a month range. And the home still has value and could be sold, unlike rent or mortgage principal. It’s a modest front-end investment that pays off within a few years and provides living expenses in the $400 a month range (land rent and utilities). Only $4,800 a year! Amazing.
      Best wishes to you!
      – Carrie

  32. I Love your house!
    I have some questions on the 5th wheel, tow weight & other towing concerns & questions on house size.

    Does a 5th wheel tow more securely than a standard hook up?
    I once witnessed a very bad accident with a truck using a standard hook up to tow a large mobile home. The mobile home began to “fish tail” on a downhill stretch of highway (they were going too fast, also) and the weight of it threw the truck right off the road. Very bad! I have been a bit nervous about that aspect ever since.

    Qs concerning tow weights: When you build out of conventional materials (2×4 etc) how do you calculate weight? What is the max weight range you can expect to tow with a large American truck or an SUV?

    What is a sane length to tow safely, do you think? Would that vary, according to the type of hook up (conventional versus 5th wheel)? Assuming I might have to live in RV parks & campgrounds for awhile until I located the right spot to rent, I would like to have something I could actually tow (for at least short distances) without huge stress.

    But at the same time, I am not aiming to “downsize” so far – I have numerous pets, for starters. Also mobility issues, so I need a more roomy floor plan, to live in comfortably. (This would also be a retirement home for me.) I am looking to build the biggest “small house” (not “tiny”) that can be reasonably put on a trailer and moved as needed, if absolutely necessary. (But I want to go this route, rather than an RV, because these buildings can be properly maintained to hold their long term value and can be moved onto a foundation later on.)

    Concerning house size: Do you have any experience designing “slide out” type structures into these houses? Someone on another forum once suggested old fashioned “tip out” features as better than slide outs. Do you know anything about these types of things? I want to have a wider home, when parked, than 8.5 feet. I can live in a 14 to 16 foot wide structure for the rest of my life, but the 8 foot width would make me feel claustrophobic pretty quickly.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    • Hello and thanks for all your comments!

      re: 5th wheels, yes, they are safer to tow and will not fish tail like a bumper pull trailer.

      re: weight. there are a few tiny housers who have weighed their homes and/or calculated the combined weights of all their materials. (minimotives.com, tiny revolution, etc.) so you might check their websites out. weights vary but trailers (and tires) can be purchased with higher load ranges. check with truck manufacturers re: towing capabilities. A 1 ton truck would be important.

      re: length. conventional 5th wheel trailers come very long! but I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a tiny house longer than 28-30 feet. ours is 24 feet long. I think you could tow a longer house safer with a 5th wheel / gooseneck hitch vs. a bumper pull.

      re: slide out tiny houses. I have been playing around with some designs for a tiny house with a slide-out but it’s tricky. waterproofing, insulation, roofing, overall height, and slide mechanism are just a few of the constraints / concerns. a tip out feature might be a possibility, but again, insulation and waterproofing are a concern. if you always lived in a temperate climate (i.e. SoCal) you could get away with more than if you live in a hot and/or cold climate.

      if you want to tow your home frequently and want a wider width than the legal road width limit of 8′-6″ you might be a good candidate for an actual 5th wheel camper. a tiny house could be built wider, but would need to be towed as a wide load, which I haven’t looked into, but imagine would require permits and a towing company.

      hope that helps! feel free to contact us if you’re looking for design/build services.

      – Carrie

  33. I’ve been researching this for about a year. I’ve workshopped with Jay Shaefer and visited Molecule. I like the 5th wheel idea but haven’t found a good source for a tiny house. Tumbleweed makes a trailer now that I like but not a 5th wheel. In the pics I could not tell if you built on the over hang of the gooseneck or just cantilevered? If I build it, I don’t want to move it too often but from time to time would be good enough. If you know of a 5th wheel trailor that is best, please respond. I am wondering about building on the gooseneck or if that would add too much weight or pressure to the tow vehicle. Jay

    • Hi Jay,
      We did indeed build on the gooseneck portion of the trailer – about 4′-0″ out over it. For a trailer just research the load required (14,000 lbs), get double axles and high load tires and you should be good. You can have one custom made to the right width (8′-0″) and forego the siderails and car ramp that are usually on goosenecks.

      our plan is for sale – if you are seriously interested please contact us!

      best of luck!

      Carrie

  34. Good Morning
    My name is Lynn Williams, I am the radio host of Prairie Land Pagan Radio in Coralville, IA and I am doing a series on Tiny Home Living. I am looking for anyone who has built their own home or any professional builders who make them here in Iowa to do some guest spots on my show.
    building a tiny home and living smaller is something I plan to do in the future and would also love to have someone bring their tiny home to Pagan Pride in either Des Moines or Cedar Rapis this year to show people what tiny home living is all about.
    Please email me at prairielandpaganradio@gmail.com

    Thank you

  35. felicia

    do you build tiny homes in north carolina or know of company that does…i am looking into having a tiny home of my own since i’m single with no kids…this will be perfect for me however i dont want to build it myself if i don’t have to…also does the building process include electrical and plumbing and applicance insulation….

  36. Mariah

    I know this is a long shot with this being such an old post but I hope someone could help. We are married couple with a 14 month old, a dog, and a cat. We would love to downsize and live on the road and we love love love the look and feel of tiny homes on wheels. We want travel maybe 4+ times a year at least for the first couple years before settling down. Would a tiny house be good for that or should we go for an rv or similar?
    What size, length/width/height would be good for a family of our size? And what type of vehicle to tow it easily and safely?
    How exactly DO you tow a tiny house? I am finding it extremely difficult to find information on that.
    Thank you!

    • Hi Mariah!
      great questions!

      a tiny house is towed by a truck, at least a 3/4 ton, a 1 ton might be better. Diesels tow better than gasoline trucks. a gooseneck hitch makes it safer to tow, but a bumper pull hitch is another option.

      If you’re not experienced with towing, backing, etc. you could also pay a company to move your tiny house for you.

      RV’s are amazing because they have those slide-outs which make them feel quite roomy inside. They are also designed to be moved and come with all the mobile necessities, like water and sewer tanks and hookups.

      Tiny houses are great because they look and feel like a real house, and can be built out of more natural materials than an RV. They can also have far superior insulation, making them better suited for cold climates.

      I would recommend that a Tiny House be 10′-0″ wide (legal road width is 8′-6″…). If you don’t move it much, this extra width isn’t much of an issue. It does increase your towing weight though! 20′-0″ long would give you 200 SF, 24′-0″ long (really recommend a gooseneck) would give you 240 SF.

      best of luck to you!

      Carrie

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