Tiny and Awesome and Practical


Crystal and Aaron Zull got married in 2006 and bought their first house in 2008. It didn’t turn out to be very well made, and they considered themselves lucky to be able to sell it a year later. Their next home was a brand-new 1700-square-footer that saw them through the births of their children, Selah (now 5) and Simon (3). There wasn’t anything wrong with it, exactly, but after a few years the Zulls began to grow tired of the cleaning, maintenance, and mortgage payments that went with owning such a large place.

Generally, tiny houses on wheels should be no more than 13'6" high and 8'6" wide, in order to tow them without special permits or licenses. However, some states are more restrictive; some are less. Here's a handy but unofficial summary of size limitations. Please check with your local DMV for the laws in your state.

If you buy a used trailer, know that a lot of welding may be needed to tailor the trailer to your design. If you're not a welder, you might save money in the long run by buying a new trailer, customized to your design specifications. Here's a helpful video on trailers from Dan Louche of Tiny Home Builders.

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a second small dwelling on the same property as a larger single-family house. An ADU can be a tiny house (on a foundation) in the backyard, an apartment over the garage or a basement apartment. ADUs are allowed in many towns, but the rules vary as to size, permitting, and placement. In addition, some towns restrict who can live there (e.g., only family members of the main house, or only people providing long term care for someone in the main house).

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