Who's Ready for a Tiny Retirement? Plans Are Available to Build This Tiny Beauty


The 'Tiny Retirement' design is a single level home perfect for those who would prefer to not climbing a ladder to go to bed. It is unique in that its entryway is situated on the long side of the house, allowing for a bathroom to be located on one end of the house while still leaving room for a full size bed or pull-out couch on the other end. The bathroom includes a 36 inch standing shower and a toilet, with a small storage loft located overhead. The total length of the house is 20 feet making it large enough to live comfortably yet small enough to easily tow.

Smaller homes are less expensive than larger ones in terms of taxes and building, heating, maintenance, and repair costs. In addition to costing less, small houses may encourage a less cluttered and simpler lifestyle and reduce ecological impacts for their residents. The typical size of a small home seldom exceeds 500 square feet. The typical tiny house on wheels is usually less than 8 ft by 20 ft, with livable space totaling 120 square feet or less, for ease of towing and to exempt it from the need for a building permit.

Small houses may emphasize design over size, utilize dual purpose features and multi-functional furniture, and incorporate technological advances of space saving equipment and appliances. Vertical space optimization is also a common feature of small houses and apartments.

As small houses may be attractive as second homes, their increased utilization may lead to development of more land. People interested in building a small home can encounter institutional “discrimination” when building codes require minimum size well above the size of a small home. Also, neighbors may be hostile because they fear negative impacts on their property values. There has also been opposition based on this fact, due to concerns about increased taxes.

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).

Before purchasing plans, you might want to take a look at the Small House Catalog. They offer free plans for a tiny house on wheels and for small houses on foundations.

What should you expect in plans that you purchase? Some, but rarely all, of the below items will be included. In particular, numbers 9, the Bill of Materials, is often absent or incomplete. Number 10, Step by Step Instructions, and Number 11, Consultation Services, are rarely included, although they may be provided at an additional charge.


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