Building A Custom "tiny" Home

Answered the financing fell thru for my I stepped back and regrouped...and I sarted thinking about building a "small" home on the back of my mothers property..I think I like this idea . But where to start??
I like the custom part, and the building part. But I have never built a house. Any ideas?
q building a custom tiny home, architecture, home decor, home improvement
  16 answers
  • Molly Evans Molly Evans on Dec 01, 2013
    Start with a concept of what you like . . . look at lots and lots of pictures and plans and then think long and hard about what you want. Here are a few links I found:
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Dec 01, 2013
    Beat me to it, @Molly Evans
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Dec 02, 2013
    Keep in mind that no matter how small the home, you want everything a big house has to offer. And one thing to keep in mind with everything you plan think storage. A bed that is built instead of bought can be a platform with storage underneath. Or roll-out storage bins can be made for under an existing bed. Trunks for coffee table can store bedding, out of season clothes. Careful placement of windows will allow you room to use bookcases for shelving units that can hold baskets with sweaters, scarves, seldom used items and not just trinkets. A small house means few people so less "stuff' is needed. Good luck and this can be lots of fun to design!
    • Tanya Peterson Felsheim Tanya Peterson Felsheim on Dec 03, 2013
      @Jeanette S How I know even a larger house can be a hassle when no storage is planned! I'd rather a smaller house planned well than a large house unplanned when it comes to storage!
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    • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Dec 02, 2013
      @Julie Farmer great! Wish I could go, too. Hey, you could have acquired a second ticket for only $99... But the r/t plane ticket would have been a bit prohibitive... Oh, well. Enjoy and I hope you find a perfect floor plan. I lived in a 12x16 with 4' second floor walls for over a year with a 16-year old son. Definitely not as cool as the tumbleweeds castles, but it was still doable. Enjoy!
  • Bonnie Kirschner Bonnie Kirschner on Dec 02, 2013
    I live in a small house (864 square feet). I second what Jeanette said ... think storage. I never liked captain's beds until I moved into my house. Then one day a hotel was giving away credenzas & I cut off the legs & put a sheet of plywood on top & my mattress is on top of that. Lots of valuable drawer storage on the sides & long storage in between.
  • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Dec 02, 2013
    BEFORE YOU BUILD.... Are there other siblings? What happens if... Protect your investment and get everything in writing!!! Then check the local codes. Can you build? Once you've gotten the proper permissions THEN figure out what you want. Talk to a professional architect or home designer. You'll be better off.
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    • Debbie Harris Debbie Harris on Dec 03, 2013
      @Julie Farmer I agree about the Social Security thing... Here is the best home designer there is.... He is all about protecting the homeowner from making any mistakes and still getting what they want. And the good news is he's not too far from you.
  • Shirley Shirley on Dec 02, 2013
    Be willing to part with things that you would not have room for. Instead of building, maybe you could convert A small storage barn or shed, heck they would even deliver it, such as from Lowe`s etc. , and there is A wide variety to choose from.
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Dec 03, 2013
      @Shirley You are so right! Home Depot has one that is a little wider and deeper than the average garage. It has a door at the back that could be the main entrance with the front closed could be the main entrance. It has a stairway to an attic large enough for a bedroom! Sit it sideways on the lot, build in a front porch and insulate it really good. It is adorable!
  • Stephanie Carlan Stephanie Carlan on Dec 02, 2013
    Exactly what I'm doing. I bought a storage building to start, Like a 14x20.Big enough for living/sleeping area. Kitchenette of sorts, tiny bathroom. But I went ahead and built a nice screened porch on it. Now I have the basics for around 3,ooo.oo and can sit back and really look at what I need as well as what I want. And can do most of it myself. You do have to have a place to store your stuff until you can decide what you need and most important what you have room for. I am really enjoying it though, it is like a hobby project almost for me.
  • Margaret Barclay Margaret Barclay on Dec 03, 2013
    My local building code is 800sq ft for a home that you live in - most sheds don't meet that requirement. I also built an 864 sq ft home - it took 7 years - did most of it ourselves on weekends and vacations from work. There is a book called "Creating the not so big house" and it was our bible. Wishing you the best of luck and happiness both in the project and finished abode.
    • Bonnie Kirschner Bonnie Kirschner on Dec 03, 2013
      @Margaret Barclay 800sf is minimum for a home to live in here. That's been a code since before my house was built in 1907. Hard to imagine when I looked up the history of this house that 5 children & their parents lived here... except when I'm digging up the yard for gardens & sidewalks. Found tons of buried kids treasures.
  • James Bryan C James Bryan C on Dec 03, 2013
    "Storage" shed is the way to go... Most places have no "Codes" or requirement for permits... but check.. DO NOT TELL THEM YOU ARE PLANNING ON CONVERTING IT TO A LIVING SPACE... The Best Advice for anyone having to deal with the unelected power hungry government loving red-tape idiots is the less you tell them the better. After all why should you have to ask permission to live within your means... Permits are a form of permission and I say go for it however you can afford and never tell any one from the government who claims they are there to help you what you are doing...
  • Patti Patti on Dec 03, 2013
    after checking codes those 700 sq ft houses on wheels or bigger is appealing. cozy, moveable , but remember codes do not allow campers in many areas... DIY and Hgtv have had shows on them check their sites out. You can do it... even convert a basement or garage
  • Lorraine Lorraine on Dec 03, 2013
    I did a quick search on (one of my favorite websites), and came up with quite an interesting list of articles on Tiny Homes <>; , including: The Art of Tiny House Living; Benefits of Living in a Tiny Home: Time, Money, Peace of Mind; 7 Tiny House Websites; and 5 Potential Barriers to the Tiny House Movement. Very intriguing!
  • Margaret Barclay Margaret Barclay on Dec 04, 2013
    @Bonnie Kirschner - around here we call those 'yard-a-facts' instead of artifacts. By the way, my father was born in Niagara WI and always spoke fondly of going to the big city of Escanaba! He lived in a three bedroom house with his 9 siblings. Maybe that is where I get my love of small spaces
  • Letty Letty on Dec 05, 2013
    I am a part-time RVer. I love looking at the smallest ones out there and seeing how creative they got with design, storage, and multi-purposing. You might be able to get ideas from them as well. Some show pictures online. I like going through the dealers websites and on Craigslist. Also check out Rv parts websites for small appliances and furniture ideas.
  • Candy Yllt Candy Yllt on Mar 24, 2015
    Here's a link to a post that shows creative ideas for small kitchens!
  • Catherine Ballard Catherine Ballard on Oct 14, 2020

    There are a lot of great tutorials out there! I would say give yourself twice as much time as you think you'll need, and double the budget. If you have a place to stay while you're building it, I'd say go for it!

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