DIY Tiny House on a Trailer for $5,500

Yesterday Newt showcased Jenine Alexander’s $3,500 DIY tiny house on a trailer.

So today I wanted to introduce you to Matthew Wolpe’s humble abode.

So far it has run him approximately $5,500 in material costs and he seems to be near completion.

He designed and built it himself and it has everything you can ask for in a 120 square foot home:

  • Insulation
  • Full sized bed in a loft
  • Complete kitchen
  • Hot water heater
  • Outdoor shower
  • Composting toilet

On the exterior you might notice the beautiful reclaimed redwood siding which came from fencing and ended up running him just $1 per piece.

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project
Photos Courtesy of Matthew Wolpe via Oakland Tiny House and Just Fine Design

In addition he’s hooked it up with 120V electrical outlets and a greywater system to take care of used water. If you like what you see, I encourage you to check out the rest:

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Inside you’ll find beautiful maple flooring and a pricey propane boat heater that Jay Shafer likes using in his designs.

One of the home’s multifunctional features is the staircase which also serves as a closet with drawers.

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matt also builds chicken coops, tiny campers, bicycle trailers, and unique furniture over at Just Fine Design where you can view his full portfolio. He also blogs about his house project over at oaklandtinyhouse.blogspot.com so be sure to follow his progress right there.

If you enjoyed this $5k tiny home on wheels you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more!

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Alex

Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 23 comments }

  • Steven January 4, 2012, 4:38 pm

    Great post Alex. It’s impressive how this entire things was built with such a minimal cost.

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 4, 2012, 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Steven. Happy new year to you and your family!

      Reply Link
  • John Mauldin January 4, 2012, 4:59 pm

    The photos and descriptions are terrific! I acquired enough materials through craigslist over a month period to build a 700′ cabin, a 500′ deck including all fixtures, windows (retail value over $4,000.) , skylights and much more AND have materials left over for under $3,000. Just have to look. If you go to craigslist.org, look for the section entitled “materials” for building supplies. Also, a lot of people give away small quantities of building materials, windows, etc. under the FREE section.

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 4, 2012, 6:06 pm

      Glad that you liked it John, thanks so much for leaving your advice on getting reclaimed materials too- very helpful!

      Reply Link
  • dana pallessen January 4, 2012, 6:30 pm

    my husband and i recently purchased an acre on which is a 100 foot square building. we have fixed it up to spend our weekends with the stove, fridge, sink from a former camper, a folding ikea bed and shelving, etc. we started looking around for a slightly larger park model house to place on our property. they are on trailers and we thought to have it green and self sufficient with solar, propane, a compost toilet and propane. we have been told that the park model are not allowed on private proerty by the recreational vehicle association and the county we live in. the rec people because of many lurid reasons dealing with them not wanting to have to finght endlessly with hud over such small houses and they told us, because counties do not want such small houses because they do not bring in enough tax revenue and because they both assume that people who want such a small house are poor, and would end up using the local resources in their food, hospitals -just be a drag on the locals. disgusted in more ways than one with these and other answers from the rec people, with this response, we have decided to just build a rv shed with wall and attach a screened covered porch and live in it. our 23 foot rv we already have. if i had known any of what the recreational vehicle association and the county were to say, i would never have purchased property. naive was i that i thought i could build the home of my dreams on my own property. we are by no means poverty stricken, we just want a small house. we wanted the breckenridge copperridge park model on our property. now we will have a 1978 23′ rv on our property, and our 100 square foot, what will now be our guest house.

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 4, 2012, 7:11 pm

      Hi Dana- sorry to hear about your struggles with getting what you wanted on your land. I hope that you find a creative way to make it work for yourselves and thanks so much for sharing your experience. These restrictions sure are frustrating. Wishing you the best.

      Reply Link
  • Pam January 5, 2012, 8:53 am

    Hey Alex, I loved Matt’s little house, and the drawings were terrific but I’m puzzled, as some of the photos show the one side with the heater and the bump out thing, whatever that is, and other photos show the finished home without the bumpout – what’s the deal?

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 7, 2012, 10:24 am

      Hey Pam, great question- I don’t think it’s finished yet so I’m guessing that’s why. Thanks for pointing it out!

      Reply Link
  • Chris January 5, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Awesome! I like the slant-roof design; always seems less crowded to me.

    Do you accept visitors? I’m in the Bay Area too. Would love to have a peek, ask you how things are going for you on this.

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 7, 2012, 10:25 am

      Hey Chris- you might want to head over to one of Matt’s sites so you can contact him directly.

      Reply Link
  • Danielle January 5, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Very nice use of recycled materials. Always alot of good ideas here!

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 6, 2012, 9:46 am

      Glad you found it inspiring, Danielle. Thanks!

      Reply Link
  • Deek January 6, 2012, 9:14 am

    I like the interior layout with the storage-stairs. Congrats Matthew
    -Deek

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 6, 2012, 9:47 am

      I love the storage-stairs too. I’m pretty sure he’s adding drawers to them too, in addition to the built in closet. Great use of space. Thanks for coming by Deek!

      Reply Link
  • Dave B. January 6, 2012, 9:58 pm

    Very Cool!! I have a yard full of pallets and this is giving me the inspiration to get started on my own tiny house..Thank you for this great website ;Tinyhousetalk]
    Dave B.

    Reply Link
    • Alex January 7, 2012, 9:59 am

      Hey Dave, have you seen Michael Janzen’s pallet house before? You should also look into a guy named David Reed.

      Reply Link
  • Clint February 3, 2014, 2:19 pm

    Are there any lists out there for places where one could buy trailers at reasonable prices? Tinyhomebuilders.com has some of the most reasonable but the shipping is killer since I live in NM.

    Reply Link
    • Jerry February 7, 2014, 1:16 pm

      Most large cities have at least one trailer manufacturer who will do custom builds. Pricing is always the big issue when going outside of what they consider their standard builds, so you may be able to go cheaper by modifying what they have available after the purchase.

      Reply Link
  • Harper February 6, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Excellent post Alex! Would you happen to know what the dimensions are of the footprint of the house? I’m in the design stages of my house and would like to get a feel of just how small I can go for myself.

    Thanks!

    Reply Link
  • Rich February 6, 2014, 11:56 pm

    Now this has integrity! Tx for posting again. Refreshing after those two previous mcmansions on wheels :)

    Reply Link

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