Tiny homes are a growing movement in the housing industry. While you might be able to find a very small home for sale, most tiny homes are built by their owners. Some are on wheels due to zoning regulations, but others are permanent. It is possible to build your own home for as little as $2,000.
Before embarking on this tiny home project that was published in Mother Earth News, you’ll need to check the zoning regulations. The cabin featured in the article is 14 ft. by 14 ft. That is a whopping 196 square feet of space. Some municipalities will not allow residential structures that small. If that is the case, you may have to change the dimensions and put the cabin on a trailer.
Another zoning issue to consider is whether you plan to have a non-traditional toilet. Composting toilets are very common in tiny homes. Another option is an incinerator style commode. Either one might be banned by zoning.
Whether you need to tie into the city sewer system or if you can use a septic tank and well is another issue. If city water is available, you may have to access it. A septic system and well may not be an option in more populated areas.
Building a tiny home
Check the site you plan to build on. Be sure that it is not in an area that is prone to high water. You want to build a home, not an ark. A level building site is preferable.
You may have to submit plans to zoning. Be prepared to have the home inspected for plumbing and electric if required. Some areas will require you to have a certificate of occupancy before you can live in your tiny home.
Once you know that you have the all-clear from zoning, you can start building your home. SolarCabin has a step by step tutorial that is a great help to first-time cabin builders.
Gather your materials. Look for deals at local big box home improvement stores. Other places to find great deal are Habitat for Humanity’s Restores and local salvage yards. Volunteer to clean out attics and garages with the condition that you get to keep any unwanted items. This is a great way to finish off the interior of the house. You may get windows, doors, trim, sinks, plumbing and electrical parts at no cost.
While you are building your tiny home—start thinking about downsizing your life. With only 196 square feet of living space, there is very little room for storage.
Lynda Altman lives with her husband, two college age kids, and a teenager in a small home on a fifth of an acre. She is turning the tiny lot into a homestead that will produce most of the family’s food. Her goal is to build a tiny home on a lot she owns in a nearby town. You can read about her homesteading adventures at The City Chick goes Country blog.