Jenna shares her top 10 list of things she wish she knew before going tiny. Here’s the cliff notes:
- You’ll be cleaning constantly. It’s easy to clean a tiny house, but it’s just as easy to mess it up.
- Composting toilets are a trick to learn. You also have to explain how to use them to guests.
- Making the bed in a loft is tough.
- Smells are intensified – the good and the bad, they are all intense.
- Tight space for guests. So it’s tricky to have a lot of people over socially and anyone overnight.
- No room to grow in size. You’re limited by the length of the tiny house trailer.
- No room to grow in weight. You’re limited by how much your trailer and tow vehicle can handle.
- Tiny closet space. Since there’s no more space, when you get something new, something else has to go.
- Parking & insurance are difficult to obtain. She has written about how to obtain parking and insurance here.
- Other people’s judgements.
You can read more at Jenna’s travel and tiny house experiences at Tiny House Giant Journey. Photo credit to Jenna.
Jenna shares what it costs to build a tiny house. This is one of the most common questions I hear… and apparently Jenna too. It’s not a question that’s easy to answer. But after interviewing so many tiny home owners, she’s found the average cost of a tiny house is $25,000. Jenna has also put together a great cost breakdown at Tiny House Giant Journey.
A lot of people buy my tiny house plans, so hear this question a lot too. I typically tell folks that the biggest areas you can save money on are:
- Windows range widely in cost, features and quality.
- Utility choices range from large off-grid solar systems, to reliance on grid power, to ultra frugal lighting only systems.
- Interior finishes range from plywood countertops to granite, and pine board interior sheathing to thin paneling.
- Appliances might range the most from choices like $1000 composting toilets to virtually free sawdust bucket toilets.
- Siding & roofing choices also have a wide range in options from lightweight off the shelf corrugated roofing and natural wood siding.
While the trailer will probably be the single most expensive item in your house, and the shell (framing & sheathing) also a big ticket item… these item categories don’t range much in total cost. In other words, you won’t find a big price difference between different brands of tiny house trailers, or in the cost of lumber.
Sure there are regional differences and the like. But you will find that your choices in other areas do offer some frugal alternatives.
So if you’re on a tight budget, think of the trailer and house shell as more or less a fixed cost and how you finish the house off being the place you can find some real savings or some costs that can be postponed.
Now go check out Tiny House Giant Journey for tons of interviews with tiny home owners.
Recently a reader asked the question, What size truck do I need to pull a Tiny House?
It’s a little tough to say since the final weight has a lot to do with how the tiny house is finished – like choice of siding, roofing, flooring, cabinets, etc. As a general rule of thumb you can estimate the rough dry weight by multiplying 450-pounds by the length.
So a 16 foot house should weigh about 7,200 pounds – which is about the limit of a base level full size truck (like a Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra or GMC Canyon). But most full size trucks often come equipped with bigger engines and towing packages – which can bump their capacity up to 10,000-12,000 pounds or more. So if you have a use for a big truck, owning a vehicle that can also tow your house might make sense.
But most folks prefer driving things like SUVs and trucks like Toyota Tacomas, which can usually tow only 2,500 – 3,500 (or with a towing package up to just about 7,000). So while these vehicles can be great for day-to-day activities, they are just a bit too small for towing a tiny house.
If you don’t need to move the house much it may be a better option to rent a moving truck to tow the house and simply keep a smaller car (or bike!) for getting around town. Many tiny house folks choose to take this route actually.
But if you’re set on buying a truck to tow your tiny house on a regular basis, I highly recommend reading about the journey’s of Jenna and Guillaume at Tiny House Giant Journey. They travel full time in their tiny house and have shared the true cost of towing a tiny house. Their house weights 10,100 pounds and they tow it with a Ford F-250 Diesel 4X4.
Photo by Jenna and Guillaume at Tiny House Giant Journey.
The Tiny House Giant Journey with Guillaume Dutilh, left, and Jenna Spesard stopped at the Eastern Promenade on Wednesday. Behind them is visitor Ainsley Luken of Kennebunk. The 135-square-foot house excluding the sleeping loft took exactly one year to build on a Tumbleweed trailer starting on Sept. 2, 2013.” – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram
See more of this Tiny house that makes big impression. Follow Guillaume & Jenna’s TINY HOUSE giant journey.
The couple of two years [Jenna & Guillaume] set off last week in their newly finished, 132-square-foot Tumbleweed Cypress home from Shelbyville, Ill., where Spesard’s parents Alan and Rebecca Spesard live… They will travel the nation and Canada indefinitely, making upcoming stops in Boston; New York; and Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada.” – daytondailynews.com
Read the story, Former Centerville student hits road with ‘tiny house’. You can learn more on the Tiny House Giant Journey blog. Photos by Nick Graham for the Dayton Daily News.