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Family of 3 Living in a Tiny House to Save Money – VIDEO

Micah, Jana, and their son Silas moved from Birmingham, Alabama to the San Francisco Bay Area for a work opportunity but they weren’t prepared to pay the high price tag to rent an apartment.


Instead, they contracted a tiny house building company, American Tiny House, to build their tiny house and the family has been vlogging about their experience on YouTube.

Family of Three’s Tiny House Life

Image © Exploring Alternatives

The house is 237 square feet (30 feet long by approx. 8 feet wide) and they currently have it parked on an RV pad in a residential backyard. They share the backyard with the family living in the main house so Silas has friends to play with and access to a playground.

Image © Exploring Alternatives


They say that living in a tiny house has brought them closer together as a family, although there are definitely some challenges to living in a tiny house with a toddler. They spend much more time outdoors in the yard or going on micro adventures, and they’ve had to add railings to the lofts and a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep their son safe.

Image © Exploring Alternatives

For power they’ve got 2 solar panels in the yard, and they’re also hooked up to the main house with a 10-gauge extension cord. They’re hooked up to water with a hose, and they have a generator for the times when they need to power the air conditioning unit, or the combo washer dryer.

VIDEO: Family of 3 Living in a Tiny House to Save Money

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Danielle Chabassol
Danielle is a digital nomad who is passionate about tiny spaces, living with less, reducing waste and eating plant-based food. Danielle is half of the Exploring Alternatives blog & video project. You can find more of her at www.ExploringAlternatives.ca and her Exploring Alternatives YouTube Channel.




{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Pat Dunham July 31, 2017, 8:12 am

    I love this clean white look keeping it look more spacious and less cluttered.

  • Dawn Hanthorn July 31, 2017, 2:06 pm

    Love the set up. Great video. House is very spacious. Mine is 28 ft but looks so much smaller.

  • Suzanne July 31, 2017, 6:42 pm

    What a great set-up for this lovely family. I think it’s fantastic.

  • NORRIS720 July 31, 2017, 8:31 pm

    What part of San Francisco is this Tiny House parked in? It looks more East Bay? South Bay?

    • James D. July 31, 2017, 10:54 pm

      NORRIS720, they’ve never really specified… Only that it’s in the “Bay area”…

  • Jerie Fitzpatrick July 31, 2017, 9:00 pm

    Is that legal? To park a tiny home on an RV pad of a residential property?? Both of my parents have more than 2 lots in Oklahoma that I could put a tiny home if so… (?). I would be able to access Theo utility hook ups for free ( Thank you parents) … I just thought that wasn’t legal (?).

    • James D. July 31, 2017, 10:49 pm

      Jerie Fitzpatrick, it depends as not everywhere has the same rules and it can even vary county to county… So you’d have to check with the local planning department for the relevant codes and ordinance for you area…

      Mind, it’s also not always a simple yes or no… Some places may allow parking but not for you to actually live in it full time, for example…

      You also have to watch out for things like Home Owners Associations, and neighbors who may complain if they think it’s an eye sore or think it will hurt their property values…

      The two main categories to check for THOWs are for Accessory Dwelling Units and RV parking, or some combination of the two to see if it’s legal in your area…

      • Eric August 8, 2017, 6:18 am

        So, technically, if you leave the property boundary for any period of time, say 5 minutes, then you aren’t living on the property full time. Technically.

        • James D. August 8, 2017, 8:42 am

          No, they don’t count every single minute. Most zoning regulations weren’t drafted with a stop watch in mind. They just go by where you are most of the time and whether you’re there for an average exceeding a certain number of days out of the year…

          Some of it is up for interpretation, if you’re living there only say a few days out of the month then there’s a chance it may not violate the rules, depending on the judgement of the local authorities but generally they go by the number of days out of the year you stay there in total…

          The limit may also vary… Some places may say you can’t stay someplace at all… Others may set a 15 to 30 day limit and others may set up to 120 day limit for out of the whole year… But generally, if you’re there for most of the year then it’s your residence and means it falls under whatever local zoning rules and regulations they have in the area…

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