Wow A Perfect and Affordable Tiny Home
My interest in alternative housing sparked years ago, and I fell in love with tiny homes the moment I discovered them. My work in furniture-making, cabinet-making, and residential-remodeling fueled an appreciation for the creative, detailed, and unique ways we express ourselves. Even if just in small ways, like the feeling we get from of a space, or the integrity of a piece of furniture, the things we build deserve our attention.
While building our own personal tiny house, I realized that I have a passion for the creative opportunities (and challenges!) that building in such a small space requires. I want my knowledge of building and my spatial instincts to work together to make beautiful tiny homes that people can really LIVE in.
If you're blessed with more time and skill than money, building from salvage is a great choice. Not only can you get beautiful, sturdy materials, you also can avoid the excessive chemicals present in many new materials. Here's an example of a beautiful wood floor built from pallets. Old windows, doors, and panelling can be found at salvage stores, dumps, curbside on trash pick up day and through Craigslist and Freecycle. Keep in mind, however, that you may need to modify your design to work in the materials you're able to find. In addition, if you're trying to meet building codes, you'll want to document and take pictures of your materials, and perhaps even ask your building inspector to come out and take a look to be sure they're acceptable.
It takes about 120 hours for a professional to build a tiny home. For the average DIYer, building a tiny house takes about 480 hours, either concentrated (3 months of fulltime work) or spread out over a year or more, fitting construction into spare hours on weekends. Here's a more detailed discussion from a professional.
Cost varies greatly from a low of zero (if you can get all your materials donated or find free salvage) to $40,000 or more, but in general, the average tiny house on wheels will cost $20,000 to $25,000 in materials. Be sure to create a budget. Many folks do the carpentry work themselves but budget for hiring an electrician and plumber. It's important to consider security during your build and even after you're living in it. You can make it difficult for a thief to tow away your tiny house by installing a hitch lock (Megahitch Lock Coupler Vault or TriMax Universal Unattended Coupler) or by using a wheel lock. GPS devices can help you track your house if it does get stolen. However, most require frequent charging of a battery and so will be useful only if you go to the build site frequently. Here's a helpful article with additional tips on securing your tiny house.
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