Living in a Shed?

So what do you think it would be like to live in a shed? Would you do it?

I’ve always wondered this… Especially whenever I pass by one of those places where they sell sheds.

Some of them look like they could be a very comfortable home for myself. Really.

The one pictured below looks VERY SMALL. Enough room for a couch that turns into a comfy bed, a tiny kitchen and a desk. Oh and a place to put a composting toilet bucket I guess?!

Could YOU live in a shed?? Are you already doing it? Please, tell us about it in the comments!

Here are a couple interesting shed living resources:

What It’s Like Living in a Shed / Tiny House
Backyard Shed Living Space at Geekbooks

Photo by Steven Miric

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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!
   Living in a Shed?

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{ 52 comments }

  • David February 19, 2010, 8:49 am

    I live in a 12′ x 24′ wood frame, metal clad ( old style mobile home siding and rollout roof) storage building. At the moment it’s still mostly a hardened tent; minimal electric, haul water, bucket with toilet seat, and big canning pot for catching waste water from washing up. In East Texas it’s not a good thing during the summer and some of the winter months but it could be worse. It’s an ongoing project and I’m trying to finish it out with leftovers from handyman jobs and any castoffs that I run across. Lost my “real” job a couple of years ago, along with my dependable transportation, so all is on an extreme shoestring.

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  • admin February 23, 2010, 11:04 am

    Hey David thanks for sharing some of your story with us. If you ever need a lift check out Tiny House Lover. Take care and I’d love to hear/see more.

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  • Phill April 30, 2010, 1:51 pm

    In fact, we live in a 10×12 shed, exactly the Amish-built type pictured (it serves as the “extra room” and workspace) and a fifth-wheel RV. Perfectly comfortable. I even have my piano and a woodstove in the shed!

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  • Alex April 30, 2010, 5:53 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Phill. I went to your website and I *think* i saw that piano set up you’re talking about. Looks really nice inside there.

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  • Gloria September 2, 2010, 3:56 pm

    My house is very small now, so I could probably live in a shed! :)

    Best regards,

    Gloria

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  • sesameB October 31, 2011, 1:50 pm

    Yes, I currently and have been living in my shed (by choice), after college graduation from Henderson State University. My shed is located on back of the property away from traffic in a meadow.
    Barefootin’ in rural Arkansas, living clutter free, solo & car free by choice with very nappy hair.

    Nappy News — Mosetta publishes first eBook– Snap Backs!

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    • Ccrri November 14, 2013, 11:54 am

      just looked up your website — looks inspirational and joyful. Looking forward to reading more.

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  • Alex November 1, 2011, 9:53 am

    Yes! Nappy News! Again- so glad you came by sesameB. Enjoy your day!

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  • sesameB November 1, 2011, 1:53 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I am leaving your readers one more reason to live small and live with less in this timely article — EARTH WOMEN: Barb teaches workshops in Michigan several times a year. One of her workshops, called Earth women, is focused on getting women out into the woods. It seems men have more opportunities to go out hunting and fishing these days. I take a small group of women out and we learn about plants, how to forage, and how to track animals, she says, Pg. 51. COUNTRYSIDE & SMALL STOCK JOURNAL, NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011

    Barefootin’ in rural south central sunny Arkansas, living small, drinking spring water and bathing in hot springs waters

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    • Prof. Gabriel J. Grayling August 15, 2014, 6:40 pm

      That’s fantastic! Do you ever catch any fish?

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  • Jodyne November 2, 2011, 4:20 pm

    I lived in a small, dry cabin about 10X20 for 7 months this year in Fairbanks, AK My 20 year old daughter came and we shared it for 3 months during this time. I totally loved it! It was my retreat on the outskirts of Fairbanks, on the edge of open wilderness. Wonderful environment right at my fingertips!

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  • Alex November 4, 2011, 1:47 pm

    SesameB you are awesome. Thanks as always for stopping by and glad that you shared part of that article.

    That’s great Jodyne. Do you have any pictures you can share of the cabin (and the views)?

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  • sesameB November 7, 2011, 3:02 pm

    I certainly hope all of you will read this very important article on housing and the future — October 21, 2011 (NYT)
    Rescued by Design
    By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN

    Ms. Smith spent a couple of years seeing what designers have been doing to improve living conditions in them. As at Bang Bua, one lesson seems strikingly obvious: the need to solicit the people living in poverty to come up with their own solutions. In so many slums — Dharavi in Mumbai, India; Corail in Bangladesh; Cape Town, South Africa; and in American cities too — the poor are left out of the process. But urban-renewal projects always work best when they’re ground up, not top down.
    Design shows may conjure up fizzy displays of Van Cleef & Arpels or stylish tributes to Helvetica and classic automobiles. Design implies for most people the beautiful things an affluent society makes for itself.

    This show is not about that kind of design. The objects here tend to look rugged and sometimes embarrassingly simple, as in “Why hadn’t anyone come up with that idea before?” Their beauty lies elsewhere: in providing economical, smart solutions to address the problems of millions of the world’s poorest people.

    Barefootin’ in rural sunny south central Arkansas

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    • steve January 15, 2012, 7:04 am

      SesameB: I’d love to talk to you privately. I’m moving from Europe to South Central Arkansas and am planning to convert a small high barn shed into a tiny house. It would be great to connect with like minded people to share ideas. Let me know if you’d like to communicate.

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      • sesameB January 18, 2012, 10:53 am

        Hi Steve, I cannot blame you for relocating (with spouse/family) to the lovely state of Arkansas. I love my south central Arkansas, where the sun shines brightly even in the winter!!!! (smiles) And, I love going to get the (free) spring water since 1993 and bring it back to my small abode. Small is beautiful, and I would NOT live any other way, with no regrets. Why did you choose the state of Arkansas???

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        • Libertymen November 15, 2013, 6:40 am

          Beautiful Arkansas.
          All that sun.
          All those REd State politicians?
          Voter Suppression.
          Right to work laws
          Bible Belters
          ANti Choice
          Poverty
          Lots of reasons not to live in Arkansas.

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      • sesameB January 18, 2012, 10:58 am

        Also, during the holiday, after a trip of hiking in Mt. Ida, Arkansas, I spoke with a salesperson with Derksen Portable Buildings 870-246-9464, and he told me that these buildings are now being purchased by couples, singles, small familes and old folks to live on in the back of a large house, or just on an acre. Years ago, these buildings were NOT purchased for living in them, but NOW due to the long downturn of the USA economy, these sheds are hot property!!! the life of these red barns are 50 years, providing the owner takes care of the outside by weatherr
        izing it.

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        • Ruth R. May 4, 2012, 7:28 am

          I like the shed-living idea, and have a yard to put it on, but without septic tank, and not wanting to use a compost toilet, how would a person manage sanitation.
          That is what has stopped me, since it is not my yard.
          Any thoughts? Also, wouldn’t zoning laws prevent most of us from doing the shed house thing?
          Thanks!
          Ruth

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        • sesameB May 7, 2012, 2:14 pm

          Ruth see my comments below. Hope this information will help you. I will never, ever live in a traditional house again in my life.

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      • Linda S November 10, 2012, 1:38 pm

        I have been working with an Amish shed company for several years now designing structures & have made several Tiny Structures. Mostly cabins for weekend stays, but a few for full time living. We also have made them on trailer beds for for those who use them in them when going on the ‘circuit’ lifestyle for craters etc. I would love to communicate with people who have converted sheds to swap ideas. I have worked around zoning & road permit issues on the east cost primary & found that there is always a way to work things out.

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  • sesameB January 18, 2012, 11:04 am

    Sure we can connect and talk or even email back and forth via facebook, too. Let me know how you want do do the communication. I do have 2 cell phones and a landline phone. If you can to talk from Europe, we can on the land line on YOUR dimes. Smiles. I am a simple gal!
    Small is beautiful, less is more. We have the fruit durian here in Arkansas, and I just ove my durians!!!!!!

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  • sesameB May 7, 2012, 2:13 pm

    You asked: not wanting to use a compost toilet, how would a person manage sanitation.
    For the past 9 years, we have 5 loads of wood chips (freely delivered) to our 3 acres and it works. Composting, composting, worm farms, we do it all here year round. the wood chips are the magic provided that you have room and the time dedicated to work with the wood chips. We use West Tree Service here in Arkansas, and have used Asplundh Expert Tree Service in the past. We own the property and it is out of the county — NOT in the city limits. In the summer, I solar shower outside, and in the winter, I use the bathroom in the big house.

    –sipping spring water, sprouting, using my food dehydrator, gardening and making kimchi in my tiny home with a loft in rural Arkansas

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    • Ruth R. May 8, 2012, 11:59 am

      Thanks for this post SesameB…you sound like a hearty
      soul! If I could have my own place it would be best, but right now, at this time in my life, that is not possible. I sure enjoy dreaming about it and the Tiny House movement though. Thanks for your input here.
      Best to you!
      Ruth

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      • Alex May 8, 2012, 5:17 pm

        Hey Ruth- thanks. Glad you two can connect here. Wishing you the best and if you keep dreaming enough it’ll someday be real. Alex

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      • sesameB May 9, 2012, 2:59 pm

        Ruth, No problem, I have the desire and time to reply to you. Keep dreaming and one day whoa—it will happen, your own dream will come true. This lifestyle suits me just fine. Less is truly more. Sorry about the delayed reply. I have been with my ‘freegan’ friends all day yesterday. Lots of free fruits and veggies. I have attended 2 freegan potlucks a week for a year now in the city. I walk everywhere and, is now known as the ‘walking lady’.
        I have a large Stainless Steel Water Trough sitting next to my dwelling outside. I use it extensively for sitting outside day and at night near the woods. I have over the past 25 years purchased and maintained an Excalibur Food Dehydrator, solar oven, Sprouts and Sprouters: Trays, Jars & Sprouting Sacks, seed storage, etc. I now have a worm bin, composting, of course ,yes, composting is for ever. I make my very own Kimchi, and have done so since 1988. I own a pair of Binoculars, and take them everywhere with me. Plus, a decade ago, I had made especially for me a pine box, which is beautifully and masterfully crafted in Black Walnut with multiple raised panels, a split lid, and full-length, wood handrails. My pine box is used for many things, especially for seed storage at this time. Just remember, Ruth, the song ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’, Sam Cooke, 1963. In reference to our tiny house movement, I’ve listen to this song by Same Cooke, over and over and I know that a change is gonna come!!!

        I still wear hemp fabric clothing, wool, burlap, cotton, and yes – silk—no high heel shoes for me. I have a solar oven, food dehydrator. I have always used my PORTABLE STEAM SAUNA with ‘aromatic oils’ for many, many years. Actress Kate Hudson who is reported, “Instead of slaving away at the gym, Kate, 33, found a way to incorporate exercise into her lifestyle. “She bikes everywhere!” To change up her workout, Kate also dances in her home studio….
        Kate has nothing over me, I walk everywhere and I, too, dance in my own home studio! (smiles), and it was reported that actress Johansson, like her homemade turkey chili, and she boxes for a knockout bod. I have been boxing for years at the local gym and now in my own abode. I, also had a Ringside canvas boxing bag and gloves, delivered to my small abode 10 years ago. I had the boxing bag suspended from the ceiling with heavy duty chains. Who says living small has to be sad and unhealthy????) NOT ME. (I store quinoa and wild rice as well.)

        May I suggest Bronnie Ware’s book to you. She recently released a full-length book titled ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying – A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing’. It is a memoir of her own life and how it was transformed through the regrets of the dying people she cared for.

        I have always wanted to visit the state of Alaska, and I did back in the early 1990s. The state of Alaska rocks!!! I was able to travel to Chena Hot Springs, which is a hot spring, resort, and community in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States, 56.5 miles northeast of Fairbanks near the Chena River State Recreation Area. The resort makes use of the first low-temperature binary geothermal power plant built in Alaska, and is working on several alternative energy projects, including production and use of hydrogen and vegetable oil for fuel. Plus, I wanted to visit Latin America, and my dream came true also in the late 1990s.

        Also, there are no Paula Deen books/products, and NO Martha Stewart books/products in my tiny nest! No apologies. I go forest bathing, especially in the summers here in Arkansas both day and at night.

        I am a flat belly woman of color, slowing sipping real spring water, barefootin’ living small, (gardening, sprouting, eating the durian fruit, making kimchi) close to nature in an imperfect world in rural south central sunny Arkansas, with no apologies.

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        • abner December 1, 2012, 8:47 pm

          Awesome…I am an older man, live in a 16×80 mobile home and have been considering ‘downsizing and increasing my self-sustainability.I make custom writing pens, lathework, small wood proects and play music.
          A van, camper, pickup truck, shed, or self made home seems to be my goal. I want to keep my ranger pickup and small util trailer and then go for it.
          I am so tired of $450 electic bills and all the hoopla of a mobile home…taxes, insurance and etc
          I am intrigued by your personna, the clor of your skin is immaterial your soul..spirit…lifestyle is important

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          • libertymen November 15, 2013, 6:45 am

            Why do you have a $450, electric bill? AC?
            Heat? Get a pellet stove.

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        • Rosalyn November 15, 2013, 3:31 pm

          Dear Sis. Sesame B I love tiny homes, also all of what you is stating in your writings. I would love to live like this, off the land. On God wonderful, and beautiful land. I’m a woman of color also. I want to learn as much as I can about this life style. Please give me some advice on how I can start. Thank you sooo very much Rosalyn

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        • Linda D. November 18, 2013, 11:48 pm

          I’ve been lurking and reading here for a while. I’m in NE Arkansas, but have a lot just inside the Fordyce city limits. It had services at one time. The city said they didn’t have a minimum building size. I’m planning to get one of those little barn / shed buildings next spring and put it on some pier posts there. I have to be sure they’ll let me do it first.

          Mostly though, I just wanted to say that I’ve always loved Sam Cooke and “A Change is Gonna Come” is one of my favorite songs of all time. I remember 1963, too, and the Otis Redding cover of that song as well. So, your comment made me smile. Great thought. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only person that’s thinking I could go live in a shed. Peace!

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  • sesameB May 9, 2012, 4:06 pm

    This is a recent case in point, we should live and make our dreams come true before our life ends. I knew Prof. Davis well:

    Life Legacy

    National Park College professor, Dr. Van Melvin Davis passed away on April 29, 2012, in the arms of his wife and the hearts of his daughter, his sister and so many others. He was 68. Van’s proudest achievement was teaching history and political science at National Park Community College for nearly 38 years. He was an inspiring professor with a passion for all of the subjects he taught, most especially the Civil War and Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. He challenged his students daily and never hesitated to share his true feelings on the subject at hand. He also cared for his students deeply and shared joy in their successes as scholars and human beings. With his familiar beard and long, lanky legs, many Hot Springs residents will remember seeing him running around Whittington Park and other Hot Springs roadways. He tackled over 60 marathons, including five times finishing the Boston Marathon and eight times defeating Pikes Peak. Van was also a dear friend to animals, often taking in strays, caring for the pets of sick friends and rescuing puppies from mills. He was a diehard Dodgers fan (even though they brought him much heartbreak!) and a lover of trains, bluegrass and rock music, good books, Cool Whip, jelly beans and (last but not least) frosty mugs of beer.

    More than anything, though, Van was a thoughtful, loving, funny and proud husband and father. Along with Charlotte, he was a shockingly good dancer, and the once-titleholder for Polka at Hot Springs Oktoberfest.

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    • Asante October 13, 2012, 12:13 pm

      SesameB, I’m also in the south, and I’d love to connect with you. It’s great converse with other revolutionaries. You can learn a little bit about my and my current project at http://www.AsanteGeorge.com.

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  • bob July 27, 2012, 6:34 am

    Luv flat belly women of color who wear hemp live in microhouses! :)

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    • sesameB December 3, 2012, 4:47 pm

      Thanks for the repll. I love ruralsouth central Arkansas! Linen, burlap, cotton, hemp YES and silk, also.

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  • Asante October 13, 2012, 12:11 pm

    This thread is so inspiring! I don’t live in a shed, but I am recycling a small 100-year-old house in Jacksonville Fl. My daughter and I plan to turn it into an off-grid homestead. It’s great to read the experiences of like-minded people.

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    • Alex October 13, 2012, 12:28 pm

      Glad you liked it Asante. Looking forward to more updates on your conversion in Jacksonville. See you around!

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    • sesameB December 3, 2012, 4:54 pm

      I was born and raised in the state of Florida, and do not have any plans to return to visit or live in Florida, with no apology, Asante.
      There is a short essay, titled “The New Rich,” about living carfree. It’s a decent depiction of life without a car, focusing on the money saved. People living without cars are described as “economic miracles” and “rich in terms of lifestyle.”
      Living tiny, carfree in south central sunny Arkansas

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  • Ruth R. October 13, 2012, 12:55 pm

    Glad I found this thread again…since I wrote on here, I have developed Electrichypersensitivity to the extent that I can not be near WiFi, most cell phones, and other wireless devices for any length of time without extreme dizziness. Needless to say, I do not belong in this environment I’m in presently…need to find a safer place to live…willing to relocate from Wisconsin. Don’t have the funds to buy a country home, no matter how humble! ha Any thoughts from anyone will be greatly appreciated. Incidentally, this is not a rare condition nowadays…the smart meters in my apt. building is what started it all…then the WiFi affect kicked in…so it is progressive…how many of us must there be before our gov’t steps in and recognizes how we are affecting ourselves with EMF?
    Anyway, at 68 and widowed, still have life I want to live and wonder where it will lead…living with an older sister now, but it is temporary. Senior apts. are all being WiFi’d now, as is every place else!
    thanks for listening,
    Ruth R.

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  • Ruth R. December 1, 2012, 11:21 pm

    Still looking for a small place that is safe and
    comfortable…no land to build on, but would love to
    connect with someone who would like to find a place,
    or who has one and would like some help building
    a tiny house…not necessarily mobile. Am in southeastern Wisconsin at present.
    Anyone out there?

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    • sesameB December 3, 2012, 5:09 pm

      yes, I wish I was in a position to help you.

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    • ruth November 15, 2013, 9:01 am

      Thanks for your comment, SesameB. When health issues prevent us from moving forward with our dreams, it feels like the kid pressing his nose against the bakery window, never being able to get inside. (sigh)
      Here I am nearly a year later and still hoping…still looking at Tiny House site. Still electric sensitive, so dreaming of an off-grid place I can afford.
      I will be 70 next month, so eventually I will just give up on it. Sorry to sound so dismal…but that is how it feels. What are other disabled people doing to achieve Tiny House dreams? Appreciate some feedback.

      Reply Link
      • Alex Pino November 15, 2013, 9:58 am

        Hey Ruth please don’t give up, see it through, it’s always good to be a dreamer no matter the age. Age doesn’t matter. Keep believing and opportunities will begin to appear with a little faith and patience.

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      • Patriz February 2, 2014, 5:10 pm

        Stay positive! My 95 year-old dad lives in a converted shed, 12 x 20, nothing fancy, and he loves it. I keep an eye on him, as it’s on my property. We put in a composting toilet, pricey, but worth it. He has his tv, radio, windows for bird watching, phone, heat, electric. The shed was Amish built; we finished the interior.

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        • Alex Pino February 3, 2014, 8:50 am

          That’s so cool! Thanks for sharing. If you wouldn’t mind, we’d all love to see more of it (if you have photos you’d be willing to share w/ us). You can submit them here: http://tinyhousetalk.com/submit-content Wish you the best! Alex

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  • Jeff January 13, 2013, 12:22 pm

    Hi guys,

    I am living in a shed, with my wife and three kids.. we are doing this on a very tight budget so its a work in progress , but you can check out all out photos and videos here if you like

    http://www.thistinyhome.com

    we are using a derksen portable shed as a starting point.

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  • Myerstown Sheds & Fencing April 2, 2013, 1:07 pm

    Interesting idea, Alex. Some of the sheds I end up selling people are almost as big as a small home!

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  • Jay November 14, 2013, 11:53 am

    I could totally do it. I have thought about building a shed house many times before. I have even though as far as to buying one of those little small steel shed buildings you could buy for $10,000 and retro fitting it into a house. Think about it you could have a really nice 30×30 donor to start with and have several bedrooms.

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    • Alex Pino November 14, 2013, 12:25 pm

      Cool idea Jay, I like that!

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  • Freddie peak April 13, 2014, 10:07 pm

    My one bedroom house was hit by lightning on March 29th and it burned to the ground. It had a total of 450 sq. ft. and cost about $16,500 to build. I bought a 10 X 12 metal building for $1,350.00 and I am going to turn it into a small house and live in it. Will post a before and after picture on here if anyone wants to see it…I love the page…

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    • Alex April 14, 2014, 12:14 pm

      Hey Freddie, so sad to hear about your 450 sf $16k house going down like that. What a shame. But I’m excited for you on the 10×12 metal building conversion. Can’t wait to see it. Thanks and best wishes, Alex

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  • Jackie August 22, 2014, 8:24 am

    I am single with a son, these types of houses are looking better and better for home ownership for me and my son~! Love the comments.

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    • Alex August 22, 2014, 10:15 am

      Thanks Jackie glad you are enjoying the ideas here :)

      Reply Link

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