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Frank’s DIY Micro Cabin on Wheels: Interview and Tour

Here’s a DIY tiny house on a trailer built by one of our readers, Frank, in western NC and he was kind enough to share it with us.


He just finished it a few days prior to me writing this after working on it for about two months.

Frank did all of the work himself, used sustainable materials from his area and went with nothing that was pressure treated or finished with chemicals.

He’s a traveling carpenter who spends a lot of time on the road so this is going to be something he tows with him for jobs so he doesn’t have to stay at hotels.

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I was able to catch a quick interview with Frank which you can enjoy below while you tour his tiny cabin on wheels:

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Interview with Owner/Builder/Dweller

THT: How long have you had it?

I just finished it a few days ago.

THT: How much did it cost you to build it? How long did it take you?

The cost was around $10,000. $2,500 of it was the trailer and another $1,800 on windows that I spoiled myself with.

It took about 2 months to build as I did everything myself including the utilities.

THT: Where do you end up parking it?

I park and stay in it on my brother’s property and while on the road I’ll be keeping it at job sites or campgrounds.

THT: How do you handle toilet/shower?

As for a toilet while I’m on the road there is never a problem finding one.

Other than that I use my brother’s house and if I was parked somewhere remote for a while I would set up an outdoor composting toilet.

The house also has an EccoTemp instant water heater that I can hook a shower head up to so depending on where I am that works.

THT: Thank you so much Frank! Looks great, excellent job and hope you enjoy it for years to come!

Thanks for the interest!

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If you enjoyed Frank’s DIY micro cabin on wheels you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with more!

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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!




{ 59 comments… add one }
  • 2BarA January 31, 2014, 1:55 pm

    Let me be the first to comment on your clever design and beautiful job. Love
    your use of wood! This is far better than staying in a motel. Enjoy!

  • Kim January 31, 2014, 2:08 pm

    LOVE! I really like that he has a bed that someone like me would not mind sleeping on. As for the toilet, I would get a porta potty and put it in a space under the bed area. I would add a small kitchen area and it would be perfect. I really like the outside design of the home, very, very pretty.

    • Kim January 31, 2014, 2:10 pm

      Guess I missed the kitchen the first time as this is more than adequate πŸ™‚ Overall a great design!

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar January 31, 2014, 2:16 pm

    Looks like a good use of scrap wood and nice carpentry work!
    I would use a porta potty and maybe install a small bathroom but if you use it on job sites there is usually a portajohnny somewhere.

  • Hamish January 31, 2014, 2:25 pm

    One of the very best looking small homes I`ve seen. I`d need a portapot however. But the very best part is that great looking Dog. The Dog makes it complete.

  • jerryd January 31, 2014, 3:03 pm

    As a carpenter I say very nice job!! I like you didn’t do a high roof an left off the loft so many put in yet few use.

    One can just have a RV toilet and a plastic cement mixing pan or a floor space with a drain with a shower curtain around it means the bath takes almost no room.

    Another is it’s an advertisement for his work. I’m doing something similar building a clear finished mahogany ply wood/epoxy body/chassis EV 3 wheel sportwagon to bring attention to my future businesses and EV’s.

  • Dominick Bundy January 31, 2014, 3:48 pm

    Nicely done , good layout for the size. very handsome and lovable looking dog. …

  • Justin January 31, 2014, 4:08 pm

    Great business card you have there! Thanks for sharing!

  • Roy H. Drinkwater January 31, 2014, 4:29 pm

    That’ also a great advertisement for your work!

  • Sammie January 31, 2014, 4:52 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful. It has a very warm and open feel to it. I love it!

  • Tom Chiarello January 31, 2014, 5:44 pm

    What are the dimensions and size of the trailer? Also, does he have building plans for this house?

    • Frank Belo January 9, 2015, 12:34 am

      Hey! It is a 7′ x 10′ trailer. I designed it myself and drew plans, could possibly get them onto a computer if need be. Hope all is well

  • Linda January 31, 2014, 6:10 pm

    Cool! If you make the bench into a bed at night, you can use the room that’s taken up by the bed for other space… a composting toilet and shower, maybe?

    • Mary J April 25, 2015, 6:39 am

      that’s a great idea. couch into bed and then space for bathroom

  • Saint Phlip January 31, 2014, 6:44 pm

    I really like that- it’s exactly what I’d want in a small house that size πŸ˜‰

  • kim January 31, 2014, 7:01 pm

    Beautiful! How Long? How much does it weigh?

  • Julie January 31, 2014, 8:32 pm

    A work of art!!!

  • Tana February 1, 2014, 1:37 pm

    Smart move, neat and will save you money over the long run :]

  • Sudie February 2, 2014, 7:57 am

    Great job Frank! I’ve been looking for ideas for this size TH and i love your lay out. The decor is totally awesome! I especially like the deck and covered porch but how is it going down the road. Do you get a lot of wind resistance from the roof overhang?

    • Doc February 3, 2014, 10:48 am

      Susie,
      I don’t think the wind will be a problem ad this, and most of the tiny porches, is on the back of the trailer when pulling. It will fill with snow if you pull it here in a Michigan winter!
      Very nice work here. And affordable as a DIY job, even with a new trailer and the good windows!

  • curt February 2, 2014, 10:29 am

    nice- Like the idea of it not having a toilet inside- I am guessing that your tools you will keep secured on your truck or van you are pulling this with. You could always make a toolshed by hanging it on the other side of the wall with the reclaimed pallet wood. Access it from the outside- or Just have a outside shower As a customer I would like the idea of having the carpenter live on the worksite with a dog – like having a security guy. I notice the bench is hinged interesting touch. I am wondering about how you might be heating this- would a electric blanket be enough to keep this at a warm enough temp. or electric radiant floor film? With the sink are you draining into a holding tank- as a kid with our truck camper we drained it into a five gallon bucket . looks comfy and very well made-

  • Jeff February 3, 2014, 12:09 pm

    Really nice job. How long is the trailer?

  • JP February 3, 2014, 12:16 pm

    I noticed that your trailer is just a single axel. What is the weight max. and how long is the trailer? Also, where can I buy one so I can build a tiny home for myself? You did a very nice and professional job. It looks great!!

  • Byron February 3, 2014, 2:53 pm

    For the size trailer, I don’t see how he could have made it any better. Love the woodwork and finishing touches. Definitely one of my all around favorites.

  • Edith February 3, 2014, 5:01 pm

    I’m happy of so many levels.
    First, I’m happy for this very gifted carpenter.
    He now gets to enjoy the fruit of his labor.
    Secondly, I truly love this home.
    This little gem is my “pick-of-the-litter.”
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Alex Pino February 4, 2014, 12:08 pm

      Thanks Edith I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      • Linda September 6, 2014, 10:53 pm

        Hi, What are the dimensions of this tiny tiny house? How long and how wide? What is the weight? Does it have brakes?

  • Dennis the bus dweller February 4, 2014, 6:02 pm

    Great job

    Peace along the way };o)

  • Paul February 22, 2014, 4:15 am

    No disrespect to all the homebuilders, but it is palpably evident that they are not in the same league as this gifted tradesman is.

    This house exudes quality, quality, quality. Most. Excellent. Construction.

  • di May 30, 2014, 6:50 pm

    Other ideas:

    Skylights for ventilation and an arched window over the bed would be nice.

    If the bed were lower, you could sit on the bed and eliminate the bench. Then install a shower pan, curtain and camping shower bag behind the door.

    Try washing dishes in a portable basin with a camping shower bag. Kitchen cupboards may not be needed if there was more access to store everything beneath the bed. A portable stovetop can be stored away when not in use.

  • julie March 10, 2015, 9:01 pm

    Love it!!! Did notice one thing… but I see it in a lot of tiny houses… plain wood. My father was a carpenter and I sorted wood everyday after school… used every saw known to man and a few my father created. But back to plain wood… I love the grains and the beauty of raw wood just as much as the next guy or gal but tabletops and anywhere that gets touched needs a sealer or oil, otherwise 12 months down the road you start noticing grimey looking prints and smudges on wood around door handles and surfaces….. and don’t try to fool yourself ….. you’ll never sand it off πŸ™‚

  • Lisa E. April 23, 2015, 12:52 pm

    This is an extremely handsome build; very impressive. Just add a toilet option (composting or Incinolet) and a shower and then offer to build for the public. I have no doubt you would have clients from the Tiny House Movement who are looking for this type of quality build. (In fact, I’d be one of them.) Great job! Very well done!

  • nancy chisholm April 23, 2015, 1:01 pm

    I love this design .perfect for a couple or single person..but an added small bathroom would even make it better..

  • pam April 23, 2015, 1:09 pm

    Beautiful craftsmanship.

  • Cathy April 23, 2015, 1:09 pm

    This is a very nice travel home! I would have a compost potty in the corner though. Thanks for sharing~

  • Kathy April 23, 2015, 1:20 pm

    So beautiful….you have awesome skills.

  • Kathy April 23, 2015, 1:22 pm

    β™‘ the dog …. I’m sure he’s a great companion.

  • Karen R April 23, 2015, 1:27 pm

    This is incredibly beautiful! Add a shower and flush toilet (just a little larger unit), and I would have to vote it my favorite ever!

  • PB April 23, 2015, 1:28 pm

    Beautiful craftmanship! I love the design!

  • Lannette April 23, 2015, 1:45 pm

    When I saw the size of the outside, though I thought it was beautiful but I’ll admit I figured that the inside wouldn’t be much more thanl a bed. You sure fooled me! I love the workmanship and the use of space. You are very gifted and you have a great dog too! πŸ™‚ Love the wall behind the bed too. Ok so I’ll admit it. I covet your tiny house!

  • john April 23, 2015, 5:40 pm

    Always love that back wall each time I see this one πŸ™‚

  • gale April 23, 2015, 5:41 pm

    We all seem to agree on a toilet:) but as everyone else said…..What a great advertisement for you. Very very neatly done and attractive to boot! You should have no problem getting jobs once they see this. And I too love your dog. How wonderful.

  • Robin April 23, 2015, 6:18 pm

    Nice job . Excellent finish by an expert carpenter! Well done.

  • Johanna Turner April 23, 2015, 6:29 pm

    can I move in…. Loved Loved. it…. what a great job and use of wood..
    awsome

  • GABRIELE NAPIER April 23, 2015, 6:37 pm

    I just love the woodwork on this cabin! You did a wonderful job. It is so homely and inviting. The window upgrade definitely gives this cabin a special touch. Very nice layout! Love your front entrance. Everything is so neat and practical. Also, love that your dog gets to share your small home. I always took my dog with me when I had to stay at the office over night. I had a long commute and stayed two nights a week. The office was in a converted double wide trailer. Had my own bathroom, a small kitchen and a roll-a-way bed that fit right next to my desk. Only drawback, I had to get up early to get ready and have everything looking professional before the first employee arrived. I would definitely much rather live in your tiny home than in a hotel room.

  • AnnMarie Arbo April 23, 2015, 10:55 pm

    Now I feel like a 2 year old “I want one!” Beautiful work, good choice of natural wood. Love the whole concept, good plans put to good use. Would love to drive across country with one of these behind my car, but agree with others would need a toilet. Like the dog a lot.

  • Brian April 23, 2015, 11:09 pm

    Nicely built with obvious skills by the builder. Only the bathroom is not covered but there is still a need for accommodation without the inbuilt bathroom. Mind you it would only add a small amount of space to add a bathroom as several responders have mentioned above.
    Thankyou for sharing and cheers from Australia.

  • Loni April 24, 2015, 2:36 am

    Nice. As a carpenter, do you or would you consider building something similar to this, only larger, for someone out of state?

    • Frank Belo April 24, 2015, 4:29 pm

      Hey Loni! I certainly would. I can design & build a home with whatever amenities you would like, as well as any size or style.

  • Stephanie April 24, 2015, 9:52 pm

    This is so far above the rest!! I love the windows. I feel like I could pull this and with a collapsible shower and composting Tee, it would be perfect.

  • Brian November 24, 2015, 8:56 pm

    Nice build Frank, thanks for allowing Alex to share it with all of us!

  • Brian June 18, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I scored a 6.6’x10′ trailer, and Frank’s build has inspired me to do a micro cabin on wheels. Thanks Frank!, and Alex for featuring this! I plan to do a canted roof design to add upper bulkhead Windows for more light, but the craftsmanship and condensed way Frank’s build came out, is truly great and a wonderful way to take tiny home design and have it apply to more compact designs. I have several friends who work 100+ miles from their homes to job sites, and how nice would it be to have a crash shack with amenities for job sites without having the 100+ drive 4 days a week. Traditional trailer RV’s are very flimsy, and the outside noise is hardly suppressed, making micro homes more appealing to those wanting a safe secure, quiet crash pad.

  • Vivien August 25, 2017, 8:25 pm

    Do you know what it weighs? It’s the most fantastic little space.

  • carrie jacobson August 26, 2017, 7:57 am

    Hi, Frank! At first, I thought, “This is beautiful, but why bother when you could pull a Scamp, for instance, more efficiently?” Then I remembered that you’re a builder, so this is the BEST advertising.

    I’m really writing, though, to ask if you know that your doggy is at least part Carolina Dog? Look them up on line. I’d bet he’s Carolina Dog (aka American Dingo) and pitbull. A beauty, just like the house.

  • Allison August 28, 2017, 3:29 pm

    I love the natural look exterior! What type of wood siding did you use? Did you stain or use a clear sealer? Love the color!

    Allison

  • Carrie August 28, 2017, 10:38 pm

    πŸ˜‰

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