Architect’s big idea: Tiny, $11,000 house

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    Dec 19, 2013 12:12 AM GMT
    Architect Macy Miller had a big idea: Build a tiny house.

    After dealing with a messy foreclosure, the 30-year-old sought a way to have a place of her own while avoiding the mortgage trap. Her solution: Build a micro home.

    "I wanted a way to escape dependency on banks without being a 'renter,'" the Idaho resident told Yahoo in an email. "I like having my own space to make my own, which is difficult to do without taking out a large mortgage."

    Miller began to build a 196-square-foot house in 2011, right on a flatbed truck. The cost: $11,400. The handy Miller did most of the work herself, with advice from her friends and father as needed.

    Miller did need some extra help last August: While working on her roof, she fell and broke her foot and her back in two places. She says she has since recovered from her injuries.

    The house, finally finished this summer, is parked in an empty lot in a downtown Boise neighborhood. It is connected to the power grid and has potable water. Miller keeps warm with radiant-heat floors. When nature calls, she has an environmentally friendly composting toilet, which requires sawdust instead of water. No need to hook into a septic system.

    Miller is settling in for her first winter in the cozy home with her 100-pound Great Dane, Denver, and her baby-to-be: She is pregnant and due in March.

    Although she and her boyfriend live separately, she said, "We spend most of our time together in the house cooking dinners or hanging out and it accommodates two people and a dog very well." She adds that she plans to stay in her mini house even after her baby is born.

    "The fact is that babies (and big people) don't need a lot of 'things,'" Miller told Yahoo. "The tiny house has everything we need, nothing less, nothing more."

    The space itself has a surprising number of amenities. There's a king-size bed, an oversize shower, a fully-functioning kitchen, including a double-basin sink, oven, and stove, plus a living room area with seating for two, a washer and dryer — and plenty of storage.

    There's another upside: cheap living. Noting that expenses amount to only about $250 a month, Miller said she is able to live — and save — in her tiny home until she builds her next, slightly bigger, small home.

    "It will afford me a way to work much less and spend more time with my daughter," Miller said. In a few years, Miller hopes to build a 600-square-foot cabin in the woods. "I have a plan in the works for a different kind of sustainable small home."

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    17 pic Slideshow

    http://homes.yahoo.com/photos/architect-s-big-idea-tiny-11-000-house-slideshow/
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    Dec 19, 2013 1:33 AM GMT
    Very interesting. I had questions BUT Michael asked them and they were answered via Yahoo Members:

    Michael
    The curious part for me is that she placed the home on "a vacant lot". I would gather someone owns the lot and since there was no mention of solar, there is an electric connection as well as domestic water. While the toilet is of the composting variety, the "gray water" from the sinks and washing machine has to go somewhere. As an architect myself, I applaud her creativity, but I think there are some things not being told, i.e., how is she allowed to be on this vacant lot, how did she get electric, gas (assuming the stove is not propane) and water on a lot she does not own? Generally there are hook up fees for utilities. Just not sure how she pulled this off...

    Speed Demon
    Looks like she is in someone's yard even though it's listed as a vacant lot. She might be plugged into someone else's house (my guess would be her father's house, since he helped build it), and paying them for the use of the utilities. A couple of garden hoses would suffice for water in and water out if she's careful, or an RV waste hose tapping the other house's exterior cleanout. It wouldn't cost more than a couple hundred to have an electrician run the power from the house to the trailer. Might not quite be legal, but

    Macy (Featured)
    It is on a vacant lot belonging to a friend, there is water and electric to the site, the stove and water heater are propane. The grey water is collected and stored for use in my garden in summer and pumped into an overflow in winter. Great questions and thank you for staying kind about it!

    Troy W
    Where are the power tools stored? If she built it, what did she build it WITH? Most homes I've seen have a shed for external storage. I don't see one here. I don't even see a lawnmower or Christmas ornaments. To be honest, it's less a home and more of a single-wide. The lack of hurricane straps would put it out of code.

    Aizzi (Featured)
    to all of you, no, the point of the story is she built a small simple economical home that meets all of her needs, she made the best of what she had, obviously made a deal with a friend (the property) and shes making it work... good job Macy =)
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    Dec 19, 2013 1:46 AM GMT
    Ha, ha Big Idea? How is it any different than a mobile home, minus the white trash and shag rug.
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    Dec 19, 2013 2:00 AM GMT
    Alpha13 saidHa, ha Big Idea? How is it any different than a mobile home, minus the white trash and shag rug.


    My question as well. Mobile homes have a negative stigma, but they are ultimately a pretty inexpensive abode. This isn't too different, minus the generic, manufactured nature.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    Dec 19, 2013 2:04 AM GMT
    Google Tumbleweed Houses and see lots of these.
  • TannerMasseur

    Posts: 7893

    Dec 19, 2013 4:24 AM GMT
    In today's economy, it's very economical to do with much less. Very Thoreau icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 19, 2013 8:46 AM GMT


    This is an incredibly a compact marvelous design. As long a good simplicity design incorporated with it then it speaks brilliancy
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    Dec 19, 2013 9:04 AM GMT
    I wonder if the interior design is from IKEA.... icon_biggrin.gif
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    Dec 19, 2013 9:18 AM GMT
    I think it looks great. And not many people can say that they built their own home with a straight face.
  • MarvelClimber

    Posts: 511

    Dec 19, 2013 3:59 PM GMT
    MileHighYo said
    Alpha13 saidHa, ha Big Idea? How is it any different than a mobile home, minus the white trash and shag rug.


    My question as well. Mobile homes have a negative stigma, but they are ultimately a pretty inexpensive abode. This isn't too different, minus the generic, manufactured nature.


    The major point is that she built it herself the way she wanted. Mobile homes aren't that cheap. Even the expensive ones aren't of the best quality materials. Building it herself allowed total freedom of materials and design. Pre-manufactured homes leave a big carbon footfrint, not to mention the standard features of a home. Not only did she save by building it herself, she has on-going savings with the design. She also built up a wealth of knowledge on how to create and fix problems herself.
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    Dec 19, 2013 4:05 PM GMT
    Thankfully I grew up building my house(s) with my family. now that I'm an architecture major, as soon as my loans are gone, I plan to do the same thing. "Small" spaces are where its at, id rather be economical and use the money I save for travel.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 19, 2013 4:06 PM GMT
    I love these. I think whole communities designed with these type homes that are small, functional, but still cool and very livable would make a mint --- especially near college campuses because they could be very affordable.
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    Dec 19, 2013 11:08 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI love these. I think whole communities designed with these type homes that are small, functional, but still cool and very livable would make a mint --- especially near college campuses because they could be very affordable.

    They already exist - they're called trailer parks. But you're right, rebranded there'd be a market.
  • JArking

    Posts: 139

    Dec 19, 2013 11:19 PM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI love these. I think whole communities designed with these type homes that are small, functional, but still cool and very livable would make a mint --- especially near college campuses because they could be very affordable.

    They already exist - they're called trailer parks. But you're right, rebranded there'd be a market.
    Agreed. icon_confused.gif I'm not really in love with it though it still looks like a glorified trailer to me. It's nice to see people trying to be innovative in their designs though. I do like innovative thinking when it comes to creating new homes, I've seen a lot on using recycled materials such as pallets. As well as natural materials such as hay bales to be implemented in creating the structure of new housing. It's an evolving field!
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    Dec 19, 2013 11:40 PM GMT
    JArking said
    eagermuscle said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI love these. I think whole communities designed with these type homes that are small, functional, but still cool and very livable would make a mint --- especially near college campuses because they could be very affordable.

    They already exist - they're called trailer parks. But you're right, rebranded there'd be a market.
    Agreed. icon_confused.gif I'm not really in love with it though it still looks like a glorified trailer to me. It's nice to see people trying to be innovative in their designs though. I do like innovative thinking when it comes to creating new homes, I've seen a lot on using recycled materials such as pallets. As well as natural materials such as hay bales to be implemented in creating the structure of new housing. It's an evolving field!



    It's a growing field to Write about..... like most eco BS. It you ever tried to "recycle" a pallet to build something you would realized after you pulled the 100 th nail that it's not worth your time to take it apart and the wood has mainly decorative value. I am sure this mobile home is made from plywood and she nailed recycled wood on it rather than vinyl siding so it would be publishable . 5 years from now the decorative wood siding will be rotted out.

  • JArking

    Posts: 139

    Dec 19, 2013 11:54 PM GMT
    Alpha13 said

    It's a growing field to Write about..... like most eco BS. It you ever tried to "recycle" a pallet to build something you would realized after you pulled the 100 th nail that it's not worth your time to take it apart and the wood has mainly decorative value. I am sure this mobile home is made from plywood and she nailed recycled wood on it rather than vinyl siding so it would be publishable . 5 years from now the decorative wood siding will be rotted out.



    Aye, ok so the eco part of your comment doesn't really make sense with this article. Why? Because the concept of affordable individual homes such as this are not density friendly in any way. Spreading out and taking up more "green space" and natural land is all this model could accomplish in the long run, and as we all know destroying ecosystems for affordable housing is in no way "eco" regardless of the materials used in it's construction.

    I agree with the longevity of the pallet though, it (like all things) will degrade overtime but at a faster rate. Treatment options are not green, and the very idea of using wood at all is again not very "eco" as it requires a tree to be cut down in the first place. icon_smile.gif
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    Dec 20, 2013 12:04 AM GMT
    KJSharp saidI think it looks great. And not many people can say that they built their own home with a straight face.


    My dad can say that four times.

    An industrious man who also suffered two house fires.

    He says he finally got the fourth one right.
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    Dec 20, 2013 12:05 AM GMT
    eagermuscle said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI love these. I think whole communities designed with these type homes that are small, functional, but still cool and very livable would make a mint --- especially near college campuses because they could be very affordable.

    They already exist - they're called trailer parks. But you're right, rebranded there'd be a market.


    You could probably get young hipsters into these.
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    Dec 20, 2013 12:36 AM GMT
    I wouldn't want to live in it permanently because it's just too small, but I'd like it at a lake or the beach for long weekends.
  • metta

    Posts: 39167

    Feb 08, 2014 6:24 PM GMT
    Luxury Homes That Are Better, Not Bigger

    Some high-end homeowners are shaving square footage off of their new homes. But nobody will accuse them of skimping on amenities.



    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303973704579353263994062996?mod=djem10point
  • metta

    Posts: 39167

    May 05, 2014 10:39 PM GMT
  • metta

    Posts: 39167

    May 05, 2014 10:43 PM GMT
    I think that I would rather have a manufactured home than live in those tiny spaces. I would feel too cramped. I don't want to not be able to stand up in my bedroom.
  • metta

    Posts: 39167

    Apr 12, 2016 1:24 AM GMT
    This Amazing Tiny Home Can Transform Into A Completely New Unit Depending On What You Want To Do




    http://distractify.com/videos/2016/04/11/tiny-transforming-house