Build notes for a tiny house

Caleb says: "I blogged almost every detail of building a small green tiny-ish house to rent out in our backyard where our garage once was. It even includes a public Google spreadsheet of our costs."


    1. Hmmm….your faux-quirky handle kartwaffles, use of the word hackerspace and your implied denial of being hipster makes me think you be one.
      /not a hipster

    1. If this is a double post – sorry…malfunction somewhere. Anyway…I just viewed all of your steps…very inspiring. Many-thanks for sharing!

  1. i admit i haven’t rtfa closely, but i wasn’t nearly as chummy and deferential with my contractor as these people seem to have been.  the lessons learned section reads like something a contractors association would write.

    it is possible for your crew to bring their own donuts *and* get a quality job done on time and budget.

  2. I built this little one 10 years ago for a client.  Imagining 15 year old kids still living in it smoking joints.

  3. Love it. Really admire the work you’ve done, know you’ll recoup the outlay, and hope someone is very happy in your tiny addition. Wish we had one of these for our grown but still living with us kid.

  4. It’s cute, and functional for its purpose.  They say it’s to rent out, but I see through their little ruse:  it’s really for keeping the annoying mother-in-law out of their hair.

  5. We have a couple of these tiny houses in our neighborhood, probably built 5o years ago for mother-in-laws, as someone else mentioned. The problem is when the properties move on to other hands- the bigger house turns into rental property also because few people want to buy both.  Then you have saddled your neighbors with 2 rental houses instead of just one.

        1. That’s pretty funny, I think as a band name it works either way, but I do prefer “Dukes of Earl” – it sounds more indie than “Duke of Earls”, somehow.

  6. This is an excellent tutorial on how to build a small house using economies of scale designed for larger ones. As a result they dropped $45K on 400 square feet. It’s fine, but cheap and cheerful is where it’s at.

    1. I have to agree… This does seem painfully expensive for a very simplistic 400 sq foot guest house that the owner did much of the work on themselves. Then again, I’ve bought my homes in already-built (pre-enjoyed) status so perhaps I’m not up-to-date on what a proper code-conforming 400 sq foot home costs to build. 

      Hard to fathom 50k though. 125$ a sq foot for a building (JUST the building) on land you already own and the end result is using recycled materials, used bits and pieces, and a kitchen that was effectively free. At that kind of $ per sq foot I’d expect more. 

      Side-note question. Was the garage in such bad shape that it couldn’t have been renovated/rebuilt into an effective guest house on a much more effective and reasonable budget? Around here getting permits to convert a garage into a living space are much cheaper and easier to procure than anything involving building something from the ground up. Even if it required almost a bones-up makeover it seems that it would have been the far and away better dollars-and-cents option. Whats more, based on the pictures, I actually liked the look of the garage far better. It fit the style of the home in a way the new house absolutely does-not. 

      1. it pays the entire mortgage, plus insurance and part of taxes…that’s why.
        2)inspector said no to ‘saving” the garage .   foundation totally gone.  
        3) this tinyish house is almost a net-zero house, so the costs to insulate even the foundation make it more expensive.  why not let the tenant  pay the heat?   that’s what too many landlords do.

  7. Too big to be a tiny house. anything 999 square feet or smaller is a tiny house; 1000-1200 is a small house. price is well above reasonable.

    1. I know you’re joking, but I would like to believe that the type of person who would pay extra to rent a former carriage house (er… count me among them, if I had that kind of money) would realize this isn’t a carriage house :)

  8. I love the design. I’d like to live someplace like this, it’s perfect – the small size (and costs) of an apartment, but all the benefits of having your own separate building.

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