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New Tour of Elizabeth’s Tiny House That’s at Yestermorrow in Vermont

I still can’t get over the incredible time I had with all of the amazing people I got to meet in Vermont this weekend.


I’ll be sharing more photos and videos soon but I wanted to talk about this article and the video you can watch below that was featured on the New England Cable News.

It features the tiny house built by Yale student Elizabeth Turnbull Henry that I had the pleasure of touring on my visit to the Tiny House Fair at Yestermorrow where I got to speak this weekend.

Kate Stevenson, the executive director of Yestermorrow, explains in the video below how more and more people are interested in living mortgage-free.

Then below that video, I actually had the chance to get Kate to tell us more about the house while giving you a tour of the house in its most recent condition.

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Photos by Alex Pino

Come inside to see the video below:

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Photos by Alex Pino


A news station video clip that includes Elizabeth’s tiny house

New Video of Elizabeth’s Tiny House in Vermont (Shot by me 6/15/13)

I also wanted to point out an interesting statistic recorded by the National Association of Realtors. It states that properties of 100 square feet or less made up just 1% of sales in the U.S. last year.

I think it’s kind of misleading though because of the strict building codes enforced in the majority of places in the U.S.

Also most people that build a tiny house construct it for themselves and end up keeping it and when they do sell it they do so without a broker or real estate agent.

What other reasons do you see for the low percentage of sales in tiny houses? Do you also agree that it is at least slightly inaccurate? Do you even think it matters?

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!




{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Mary June 19, 2013, 5:16 pm

    What other reasons do I see for the low percentage of sales in tiny/small houses? People who have them simply don’t sell them. If they have them they love them and won’t let them go. If they move into something larger, they keep the smaller house for a rental.

    • mary June 19, 2013, 5:17 pm

      Also, my guess is that many truly tiny houses aren’t sold by a licensed realtor or go through procedures that would make them count in the statistics.

  • Cahow June 19, 2013, 8:37 pm

    Wow. Um-m-m-m, I’m trying to find a nice word here but when the people in the 2nd video are finding severe structural and mold problems with it…what can you say? One word: Bleak, comes to mind.

    Obviously, the owner lived in her head (being a grad student) and didn’t need/care for even the most basic of finished details. Hopefully, the place her husband and baby-t0-be are now living have a bit more “creature comforts” like finished walls, sanded down corners, mold-resistant paint, flashing and a bathroom. Made me sad to look at it. 🙁

    • ElTee June 20, 2013, 8:30 am

      Yeah, the one thing that really struck me is that it didn’t look ‘cared for’. I expect she knew she was only going to live in it for 3 years so didn’t think there was a reason to bother doing it. Which is a false economy because if you invest in the structure then it will ‘give back’. I understand that she’s given it too them for the time being, then she reserves the right to request it back (which seems a bit wrong to me, especially if she takes it back after the team at yestermorrow do all the work it needs (even the minimum needed for preservation).

      I can kinda understand how the bathroom didn’t get done, if she was in a friend’s backyard then she probably didn’t need to (necessity is usually a driving force, after all) and I expect she saw it was better putting her time & efforts into her studies. I also kinda understand how things went wrong with the mold due to wanting to use non-toxic paint, but again, surely when she realised that mold was starting to gather, she should have done something about it before it can get worse.

      The ladder would worry me lol. Yes, it looks nice and rustic, but it doesn’t actually ‘fit’ the original style of the house imho. I’d be wary about using it. I do like the side window configuration, though I would have had the two outer windows at the same height, obviously the righthand one has been made lower so it can be looked out of while at the desk, but why then didn’t they make the other one lower to match? Curious.

      It could have been such a cute and cosy home and it’s so sad to see it unloved and needing in attention. That said, it doesn’t say quite out old it is, so maybe we’re doing the owner a disservice here (especially as it has been used by someone else since she lived in it too). Perhaps it can serve as an example to others coming through their ‘school’ that sometimes it’s better to use materials you’d rather not in order to create something that will last so much longer (and therefore require less materials & input in the future).

      • Cahow June 20, 2013, 7:49 pm

        ElTee: What a well-thought out and insightful comment you made. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, so much so, that I reread it again because so much wisdom was contained within.

        I’m glad that I’m not the sole person who was struck with the almost cavalier attitude the original owner had towards the place. Isn’t one of the LARGEST issues that many Tiny House owners strive to decrease is one’s Carbon Footprint on the Planet? Yeah, so what if she thought, “Well, I’m only going to need this for 3 years so I really don’t have to do ANYTHING to it to make it last beyond that point.” WHAT A MAJOR FRICKIN’ WASTE OF RESOURCES, if the mold has become SO bad in this house that it has to be scrapped!!! So many people make mention of the Disposable Nature of our society but the way this poor house has been treated, it’s right up there on the list of Bic Pens/Bic Razors and Styrofoam containers in regards to short-term use.

        Mind you, I’m not talking about someone’s aesthetics of Victorian vs. Minimal; I’m talking about basic care of what you own, whether it’s your clothing, car, or your appearance. If the vibe you give off is one of a homeless person because you just don’t give a crap about what anyone else thinks, then be prepared to not go far in life. Let’s face it: WE ALL JUDGE ON APPEARANCES! If you saw someone walking down the street with pajama bottoms and worn out flip-flops and a stained t-shirt, you wouldn’t automatically think “Success walks before me!” Same goes for this wee house: the current state of affairs just screams “Used & Abused”. The yestermorrow team needs to get a contract in writing about a time limit before Miss Too Busy pulls the string attached to it, yanking it back into her ownership.

        And I agree wholeheartedly with you, ElTee, on the utter silliness of that ladder, which is more a prop than useful.

        I.Know.Wood., and even if that ladder was made of Hickory, Osage Orange or Ironwood, those rungs couldn’t support anyone over 60 pounds. No doubt, it’s in the house for show.

        I look forward to reading more of your comments, ElTee. 🙂

      • Kay June 21, 2013, 10:22 am

        I think they said it has been gutted. I’m guessing it looked nicer when she lived in it.

        • Kate Stephenson June 21, 2013, 2:23 pm

          Dear Kay,
          Just to be clear, the tiny house was never fully finished on the inside. It has not been gutted. It certainly had more furniture and a “lived in” feel when Elizabeth was living there full time, and since it just arrived at Yestermorrow two weeks ago we have not yet had time to really get it fully set up.

  • jim sadler June 19, 2013, 9:36 pm

    There are many ways of thinking about building tiny homes. Inexpensive and easy to build do have a very great place within the community of creators. More artistic homes also have a place. But consider the wild fires in Colorado right now. Many people would love a tiny home that they could easily repair or replace rather than having a ton of cash in a very fancy tiny home. People simply have different needs. Frankly i like a lot of the less expensive builds.

  • alice h June 19, 2013, 9:42 pm

    The only reason it could possibly matter is if you need to impress officialdom with the number of people that want a tiny home in hopes that some kind of large number might sway them. Otherwise who cares? The real number of sales is unlikely to be reflected in regular real estate statistics for the reasons you stated, and the actual number of tiny houses out there is unlikely to be reflected accurately either. Some people are in stealth mode, some pass their houses on to friends or family, some may even be abandoned. A lot of the smaller houses exist outside of the regular real estate market so it doesn’t make much sense to look for their numbers there. It’s also quite likely that they just don’t turn over ownership as often. If your house can move with you why would you sell it?

  • ElTee June 20, 2013, 8:33 am

    With regards to the statistics. As they say, you can make statistics tell people whatever you want them too. They’re not very reliable for exactly the reasons you highlight:
    *the TH’s are not necessarily legal in many places therefore they’re not gonna register in the market (because of the ways people have used to get around the restrictions, eg using trailers);
    *people who own one usually love them so much they rarely leave them; if they do sell them, they do so privately (as no one would get a mortgage for one, and half of the point is not needing to get one);
    *alternatively, they’ll pass them on to friends/family or rent them out.

    Of all of these, I imagine the legality issue drives much of it – people will sell privately because real estate agents won’t handle them due to them being either not necessarily 100% legal or not technically ‘houses’ but trailers (to get around zoning laws), added to that, there’s simply little profit in them for them.

    • sunshineandrain June 26, 2013, 4:54 pm

      ElTee, “there’s simply little profit in them (TH) for them (real estate agent)” I agree. And though it goes against our American capitalism model, I think we need to approach TH secondary sales as “no profit” transactions. This allows people to buy new or used somewhere in the neighborhood of $20K to $50K, whatever the original cost was. (If the house were land-based, then the cost would include the cost of the land, which could have increased in value.)

      This keeps the entry to the market within the reach of lower income people, which is some, IMHO, of the point that building/living tiny is all about. Making housing affordable. Making living economical and easier on the planet.

      Just my ‘still-learning’ still-listening’ opinion.

      • Ralph Sly July 4, 2013, 4:03 pm

        “Just my ‘still-learning’ still-listening’ opinion”. Cute phrase, but I suspect you learn fast. 1% is a off the knee statistic many use when they actually don’t know. To me that is dam high. In British Columbia, a realtor cannot sell one of these if it is not tied to land; they can sell in registered Manufactured Mobile Home Parks with leases but could not sell it if it was in your back yard and movable as an independent home. But they can sell the land and if the home stays, then so be it but it is the land they sold. That is what Manufactured Home Brokers are for and RV dealers.

        My information is from the 90s so if that has changed then I stands corrected but doubt it. The real-estate board, Home owners associations and brokers associations try to protect their market. You are right in the attitude most realtors share that the product shows too little in remuneration. They specialize in higher yield products but in my case, I owned a Manufactured Home Sales company prior to licensing in real-estate so had the marked largely in my hands. On many occasions have sold 3 in a day, do the math and that is what kept me in the 20% higher earners.

        Again, you are right about entry level. The reason I licensed real-estate was simply because of realtor greed. I share the wealth but many do not. I have sold homes and sent the previous owners to realtors and never even received a thank you, in most cases. (Now to cover my assets, to my friends still in the business, who did show ethics and appreciation, you have not been forgotten or compared, you know how I operate and I know you. I am grateful for what we did together and it was very profitable for both of us).

        One deal that sealed the decision was when the money could not come in to play for the buyer, so I bought the trailer, the realtor completed the deal. I later heard one of the team laughs and call me a fool that they love to come across. (I had good hearing in those days) What they didn’t know is I had previously taken the course and licensed a couple of weeks later, closing out my brokerage. This allowed me to sell the homes in parks and take the many up-steppers into the housing market and reap the double end. Was I generous to Rob by purchasing his home, not really, a few dollars invested in it and I made more than twice what the realtors did on his house deal. Rob also became my client when he decided to sell the one he had purchased and was not impressed with Ms & Ms greed, he didn’t care how much I made on his trailer, he knew why I did it and was grateful he could get the money in time to buy a house.

  • Anonymous July 4, 2013, 4:06 pm

    I think there’s a typo in the above article: it states that houses of 100 square feet or less make up less than 1 percent of the real estate market. However, I listened to the video twice, and both times the news broadcaster mentioned homes of 1000 sq ft or less, *not* 100. I’m assuming it’s just a typo?

  • Esther July 28, 2013, 1:03 pm

    Is the mold on the outside caused by the paint, or by the fact that this house has almost no eaves? Since this house is in such bad shape after just three years, it would be great to hear something about design flaws etc. that could have contributed to it. (I see Dan Louche is off screen in the video– I bet he’d have some suggestions!) Maybe learn from others’ mistakes.

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