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Mother and Daughter Sharing Tiny House on Wheels

Could you share a tiny house with one of your parents? It wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s working just fine for Candice and her mother, Baoying.

Candice designed her bright, cheery little house on wheels with two separate sleeping spaces – a spacious sleeping loft for her mother, and a smaller bedroom behind the kitchen for herself.

The two of them built the house themselves so they’d have an affordable place to live, but Candice doesn’t feel like she “downsized” because she packed the house with creative design features she couldn’t have in a rented apartment.

Mother and Daughter Sharing Tiny House on Wheels

Candice and Baoying in the sleeping loft.

Candice and Baoying in the sleeping loft.

Candice's small bedroom is behind the kitchen, through the sliding door.

Candice’s small bedroom is behind the kitchen, through the sliding door.

A digital projector sits over the built-in seating area to project movies onto a retractable screen that pulls down in front of the stairs to the loft, allowing Candice to entertain in style.

The retractable projection screen

The retractable projection screen

A series of shelves connect the sleeping loft to an elevated cat door that leads to a screened-in porch that allows Candice’s beloved cat to watch birds in the forest without straying too far from the house. And inventive storage spaces hide everywhere, including inside the stairs to the loft.

Eating nook

The digital projector and cat door sit above this eating nook

Elevated cat door/roof deck

An elevated cat door opens onto the screened-in roof to keep Candice’s cat feeling free.

Here’s what Candice had to say about designing her tiny house:

Candice: I’m thinking, “Oh, I like to knit. Oh, I like my cat. So I need to find a place I can knit, and also my cat can be with me.” I’m just trying to collect everything that makes me happy. Everything! That’s how I started in my construction… I need to have a stove. I need to have a skylight. I want to have a movie screen…

When people talk about tiny houses, it’s about downsizing, it’s about getting rid of stuff. But me, it was about adding stuff, just collecting everything I like and cramming it into the house. Couple things I couldn’t cram in, I had to let it go. And the rest is what you see. So that’s how I designed this. I just made a list of everything that makes me happy, and then tried to find room for it.

And what’s it like to share a tiny house with your mother? “You have to get along very well,” Candice admits. While they’d prefer to have separate spaces, their tiny house works for them because it supports the life they want to live:

Candice: This is much more freedom, and very inexpensive, very comfortable. When I see this tiny house, I don’t really care how small it is as long as we all can be together. It’s more secure. I have a roof over me. This is great.

Learn more about my visit with Candice and Baoying, and see more of their amazing home and inspirational story in my Life in a Tiny House Ebook.

If you enjoyed Candice and Baoying’s tiny house on wheels you’ll absolutely LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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Billy Ulmer
Billy Ulmer is the author of the Life in a Tiny House Ebook, a collection of photos and in-depth interviews with people who designed and built their own tiny homes. He writes about how home shapes our lives at UnlikelyLives.com.
Billy Ulmer

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{ 64 comments… add one }
  • Jane on Whidbey January 29, 2015, 7:51 pm

    Candice is an inspiration. I met her through the Tiny House meet-up. She has such an up-beat attitude. Delightful!
    I, too, have gone about it from gathering up the things I want the most, and letting the rest go. I plan to cram the lofts in my house and decorate the way I want with no regard to what anyone else likes, because I’ve had to keep things re-salable or re-rentable forever, and this house is just for me. I’m having such fun. I’m moving in next month!

    • Amy O'Sullivan February 19, 2015, 3:57 pm

      Whidbey Island?
      Is there a place for Tiny Homes there?
      We are in Point Roberts and want to move away from the border issues, when we find the right spot.

      • Ralf February 22, 2015, 11:54 am

        People do not realize that there are places in and around western WA. that have small lots that are developed with water ,power and septic/sewer that go relativity inexpensive. You can get into a lot for as little as 10K which is phenomenal. Most of them were developed yrs. ago so they are grandfathered in as far as codes and ordinances go. I own a nice lot with everything on it and it can be lived on yr. round with no restrictions.

        • Tia February 23, 2015, 5:38 pm

          Ralf, would you mind sharing where, exactly? I’m a Seattleitte of 20 years, from the Southeast. I’m at a cross-roads because it’s become so expensive and I really can’t do city life anymore. I want to build a TH and I want to stay in WA state…

        • Dee March 20, 2015, 8:26 am

          Ralf, where in WA? I bought some land in Oregon with the intention of building a home on it. My requirements is that I can’t have any less than 900 sq feet. Which is not bad. However, since then I’ve fallen in love with the tiny homes. I’m not sure if there is any way around that. Maybe, I’ll sell the land and look to put up a tiny house somewhere. I believe that’s the hard part. Finding a place to park your house with no restrictions. Thank you,
          Dee.

        • Ralf March 20, 2015, 11:26 am

          OK. First of all , you have to do some research, look to the counties that have areas setup for recreation sites. there are quite a few in Washington you just have to find them. Where I live in Maple Falls, in Whatcom County , there are areas in Skagit county, on the Olympic Peninsula near the town of forks, Mason county has an area. These are what I know of, I would bet there are more. the only caveat to SOME of these places is the time factor. They are set up like a club, and allow only 180 days out of a yr, not really a problem, if you get two places maybe in two different parts of the state, and do the seasonal thing you know, go to eastern WA. in the summer and Fall, and western WA, in the winter and spring. These places are out in the county, a half hr ride to a larger town in some cases. Just do the research, realtors will know. That’s exactly what we asked the realtor who sold us our land. Do you know of any areas designated for camping/recreational use? We found what we where looking for and have not been disappointed.

        • Ralf March 20, 2015, 11:40 am
      • Dean April 10, 2015, 2:04 am

        Amy, why move? Not that I’ve been there, but from what I’ve seen, Point Roberts is a very nice place to live! Otherwise, check properties / homes for sale around Belfair, Wa. This is in Mason county and surrounds itself around the south end of the Hood Canal. Alex did a number of features over the last couple of years concerning small / tiny homes in that area. Check with Redfin and/or Trulia.

      • Dean April 10, 2015, 2:17 am

        Here’s an article Alex did last summer on a place in Hoodsport (not far from Belfair). While its likely this place has already sold, it just shows that places like this are all over there.
        http://tinyhousetalk.com/384-sq-ft-tiny-cabin-for-sale/

      • Jane on Whidbey December 10, 2015, 9:28 pm

        I’m sorry, I missed this email, because I was in a car accident, had a fall, surgery, etc. I’m just sitting around, cleaning out my mail boxes. lol
        Whidbey Island has an odd attitude toward tiny houses on wheels. I am renting a space on a property with electricity, water, and a residence. I can’t have my own address, but the nice man who came out to ‘check on a concern from a neighbor,’ said that there are zero laws against it. I use a composting toilet, and have no real grey water, exactly, since I don’t use soap or cleaning products other than vinegar and baking soda. I seldom cook, and have a sand and gravel filter planned for when I actually start washing dishes indoors. I have an outdoor sink now. It’s easy to wipe or rinse things out most of the time. Bath water goes directly to ground this year, garden next year, with another filter. I keep it very simple, since I have multiple chemical sensitivity. You’d be surprised how little you need, especially cleaning products.
        Send another message if you’d like to email.
        Sorry it took so long. lol
        jane

        • Ann May 29, 2016, 2:11 pm

          Jane on Whidbey, how can I contact you to email? I’d like to ask you some questions about your cleaning solutions. Thanks.

        • Jane on Whidbey July 10, 2016, 1:10 pm

          You can reach me at fms as my user name at myway.com. I’ve been away from this site, and forgot to answer. Sorry. Try again. I can tell you that I mostly use baking soda, vinegar, and ecover dish soap for just about everything. Lemon and salt are useful for wood. Hot water is more useful than most people recognize. Email me for specific questions.

      • Jane Thompson December 10, 2015, 9:31 pm

        Amy, I’ve looked at Point Roberts, too. What are the border problems? I might be up for ‘moving out’ if Trump gets in! lol
        Jane

    • C. February 23, 2015, 3:06 pm

      Jane,

      Good for you! I am sooo waiting for when I can do whatever I want, with decor, or anything else, for that matter. I am SO OVER renting and landlords. Now I just need to get my pocketbook to line up with my plans!

      • M April 17, 2015, 1:28 am

        Hear that about renting and landlords and mold issues and noise etc. I’m going to start with a retro trailer first to work out some kinks and then will have some appliances to use later for a TH until can upgrade as have the same pocketbook issues. You can pick up a retro trailer 10-20 ft with lovely dated decor a la 70’s 80’s and redo pretty inexpensively.

    • KAREN March 18, 2015, 5:41 pm

      So excited to find tiny bus ideas. Just got short bus myself, Can’t wait to get started.Want to fix it up for 2 to travel, need water,shelving,sleeping area, storage. Traveling is my goal,am 63 and widow. would like to think of some items to sell. Are there campgrounds for or that welcome tiny campers?

      • M April 17, 2015, 5:38 pm

        I was just going to ask if there were any other “senior discounters” on the blog that were thinking like me lol.

      • Dean April 17, 2015, 9:51 pm

        M – replying here, since your post has reply icon on it.
        I often see a lot of the Tiny Home’s as elaborate travel trailers, custom built to suit the tastes of the individual.
        No harm, no foul. Anyone can live in a travel trailer indefinitely.
        If you ever decide you need a tad more room, or just decide to plant something more permanent, you’ve still got a heck of a nice RV to vacation in.
        As for travel trailers, of recent vintage, I think an Airstream is pretty hard to beat, but if you ever run across something called a “Casita”, they’re marvy!
        The current US version of a Canadian product once known as a “Boler”, they’re pretty nice little fiberglass trailers that pull easily and are quite well thought out ergonomically.
        They come in 13′, 16′ and 17′ versions.
        Back in the 70’s, my dad was keen to converting a 25 passenger bus.
        In the 90’s, I worked as a mechanic for a well known moving company and found their Diesel carrier with 16′ box to be a highly intriguing candidate for a mobile home.

      • Lynnette April 18, 2015, 2:41 am

        Dean..Carista got my attention. Wow. Yes they are just luxurious motorhomes! Wow zee! !!

      • Dean April 18, 2015, 1:16 pm

        Lynette – The company’s name is CASITA. Yes, they’re very nice.
        Here’s the link – http://casitatraveltrailers.com/
        They’ve recently updated the website. I think I liked the old one better. Showed more. JMHO. Too much information? =D

  • Karen January 29, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Nice creative ideas. Pretty colors and lovely front window. Really enjoyed reading her philosophy of building/living. Thank you.

  • Daisy Crawley January 29, 2015, 10:02 pm

    I love it! I could be very happy with my mom too. Adorable!!!

  • Karen R January 29, 2015, 11:46 pm

    Exactly! The trick is to decide what you need to be content and design/size accordingly. Some can live in less than 100 square feet (although many in the micro houses seem to tire of them quickly); others need 500 or more square feet. We all need to live as tiny and responsibly as we can and still be happy.

    I think it is great that this works for a mother and daughter team!

  • Pat Dunham January 30, 2015, 12:01 am

    The very thing I love the best and the way I would do it, is to plan your design around the things you love and the way you want to live. There is no need to leave behind things very important to you if you design this way. If you like more clothes, you make a bigger closet and give something else up that is not as important. These ladies have the right idea.

  • Sandi B January 30, 2015, 12:04 am

    I think what they have done and are doing is absolutely great — They are following their dreams and needs and that is what is important — does not matter if you are living large, living small or living small while living large as long as you are being true to yourself. I love the cat “condo” and it has given me the idea to do this myself for my three cats (the dogs will have to fend for themselves LOL). It is heartening to see people making things happen and doing for themselves. Seattle is my home town even though I am currently in California — one day I hope to return to my home state. I love the stairs to the loft and the opening sky window (how very lovely). May their futures be bright and their dreams fullfilled! Such good examples for the rest of us.

  • Paula January 30, 2015, 3:23 am

    More pictures! We need to see how she fit it all in. : )

  • Cindy January 30, 2015, 5:07 am

    The fact that these two ladies built this charming tiny home themselves is quite an accomplishment. I say congratulations on a job well done!

  • Lou B. January 30, 2015, 7:10 am

    Refreshing design for stairs… Appears to be a double-step height which makes for less steps and a smaller stairwell footprint. Also allows inside step storage areas larger than a shoe box sized area). The hanging rope over the stairs with knots eliminates need for mounted hand/grab rails… its so simple an idea and functional, I wish I though of that.

    These ladies really have a great sense of style and design. Wish there were more pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  • Norma January 30, 2015, 11:06 am

    I would like to know what the dimensions of this house are. Is this her own design or did she buy blueprints and make her own changes? Is it on wheels? I am guessing the bathroom is to the left of the downstairs bedroom? What type of heat is she using? Sorry for all the questions, but I REALLY like this house and am planning on building one of my own in the spring.

    • donald March 23, 2015, 3:52 pm

      Hi Norma,I love this idea as well. I think it is the future and some are slightly ahead .Your questions I share.
      Also I am wishing to get into a chat group on this subject. If you are a builder or contract opportunities in two cites that I know of have passed bylaws allowing folks to subdivide the house lot and build. On small lots maxim foot print is 500 square feet on the small 33 foot lots, Their are many of these small lots in older town.
      Another key liniment of this approach is more people will be able to own their own home.

  • Running Doe January 30, 2015, 11:16 am

    some of these houses are so cute,

  • jenna January 30, 2015, 12:41 pm

    i would love to know the square footage of this mini house

  • Cahow January 30, 2015, 2:53 pm

    From the linked article, above: Candice–“When people talk about tiny houses, it’s about downsizing, it’s about getting rid of stuff. But me, it was about adding stuff, just collecting everything I like and cramming it into the house. Couple things I couldn’t cram in, I had to let it go. And the rest is what you see. So that’s how I designed this. I just made a list of everything that makes me happy, and then tried to find room for it.”

    BEST SENSE, EVER!!!!! I’ve always joked with my family that I could “…live in a kitchen if it had a bed in it…” and I’m serious. (of course, I would have to be single, so this is only happening my my head. LOVE you, sweet husband!!!) In my fantasy tiny house, it would be a fully equipped kitchen with 2 stoves, an upright freezer, full fridge and a “million square feet of cabinet space”, which mirrors what my kitchen is like currently. My Gran’s 100 year old Hoosier cabinet and her dining room table; a simple bathroom and a place for a twin bed which would double as a sofa in the day time.

    That’s MY idea of a perfect house! LOL

  • Maria January 31, 2015, 7:43 am

    OK how big is this house? It does not tell you. Next where is the bathroom? Wish there were more inside pictures. It is a cute house.

  • Donna February 1, 2015, 11:39 am

    Nice house. What is the general location?

  • Denise February 12, 2015, 4:54 am

    I absolutely love the outdoor cat enclosure on this tiny house! Since I am building a tiny house on my property and have a lot of cats I have mused over this often and it has given me a new idea. Excellent!

    • C. February 23, 2015, 3:08 pm

      I also loved the cat enclosure. Such a good idea. I have cats, and I think they’d love it.

      • M April 17, 2015, 1:34 am

        cats another issue and ever growing expense when renting, some now requiring up to $500 deposits!

  • Nerida February 14, 2015, 10:29 pm

    Fabulous job. My favourite thing is the cat deck, that is just a brilliant way of allowing your cat outdoors and keeping the wildlife safe. I think they must have a wonderful bond which is one of lifes great gifts. I hope they have many happy years together in their tiny home.

    Just curious as to where it is, as in, is it in a trailer park, private land or do they have a share in a piece of land.

  • Judy February 23, 2015, 5:50 pm

    I love this house so many nice touches may your mother and you have many happy years in this wonderful tiny home would love to see more pictures and info on size I live in WA state and have kids and kitties am in planning stages right now

  • Lynnette February 23, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Oh how lovely. Having lost my mom just 10 short months ago WAY too early 🙁 I absolutely adore the idea of sharing a tiny house with my momma. So b li Essex she us for having her with her. The hone is just darling and I couldn’t be happier for them both 🙂

    • Lynnette February 23, 2015, 6:02 pm

      *so blessed she is for having her with her rather lol

  • Karen R February 24, 2015, 12:18 pm

    See the rope she is hanging onto? If I had to live in that space with my mother, I would use it to hang myself!

    • Cahow February 24, 2015, 12:28 pm

      Too funny! Bwhahahahahaaaa!

      Yes, not all Mum’s are worthy of sharing one’s “anything”.

  • adrienne February 24, 2015, 1:34 pm

    Alex,
    Do you know the name of the builder or how much this TH cost? I like it.
    TY

  • Karen R February 24, 2015, 2:32 pm

    I visit my mother daily and I and my husband take care of EVERYTHING for her in addition to taking her wherever we travel, but she is very proud of being totally self absorbed as well as helpless (actually used a butcher knife to get toothpaste out of the tube yesterday – it had dried up because she refuses to put the lid on). One needs a break from that! She does, however, have a sense of humor and thinks it is funny when we say we would jump off a bridge or take another drastic action to avoid living with her. So we do laugh with her . . .everything is fine as long as she gets her way!

    • M April 20, 2015, 7:51 pm

      Blessed are you for taking care of your mother regardless of her foibles. Which we all have if we look closely. Not many do these days. I have worked in the medical field talking care of those whose children would rather not. And I had many a little old one who forgot to cap something, or turn off something, or flush something. But they had other endearing qualities that made up for it as well as great stories to listen to. Sometimes it is helpful to put oneself in another pair of shoes and realize that those who forget to put caps on toothpaste may be those who smell the roses, cry at the beauty of sunsets, paint pictures, write poems, or just things in a different light than those who cap the tube all the time.

  • Nance March 11, 2015, 10:19 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin! I want to buy a tiny house but I am confused where to even put it. I live in Oregon and the nearest place that has tiny house activity is in Portland. A company called PAD wants to sell you a workshop for 350.00 to learn to build your own. Or you can rent a tiny house by the night for an outrageous $125 at a place called Caravan. The only thing I have been able to do in take virtual tours. So where to begin? How can I actually view a tiny house to buy and where can I put it? Anyone out there with any information that is not going to cost me hundreds of dollars?

    • Suzie April 19, 2015, 11:26 am

      That is what is holding me back too! Where do I put one in a safe area, and also an area, where I can walk or take public transportation, as I would love to eliminate my car as well as downsizing my home.

    • Dean April 20, 2015, 1:28 pm

      Nance, I’m just north of you and I feel your pain.
      Prices are I-n-s-a-n-e!
      One thing I can tell you – While I’ve never built one, tiny or otherwise, ITS STILL A HOUSE (unless you put on wheels, then its a trailer).
      Go to your local CC and take some carpentry classes. Should be cheaper than the workshop and the same technique applies.
      Studs are still going to be on 16″ centers.
      Windows and doors are still going to be installed in jambs.
      …etc., etc.
      Its all just going to apply to a smaller space.
      As to where to put one….”where ever the heck you want” is really the only answer.
      Build your home, Nance, and live your dream.
      Good luck.

  • Jean April 16, 2015, 11:43 pm

    I love this TH and the 2 lovely builders. It is important to include what you love in your design. From the cozy place to knit to the creative safe kitty deck…. this is one is one of the top designs I have seen.
    Not interested in grabbing a rope to make it up the stairs…but would be happy in the small bedroom behind the kitchen.
    I like your philosophy too. 🙂

  • Faith Hazelwood April 27, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Do you have a metal roof?

  • M April 27, 2015, 11:00 pm

    Dean,

    Thank you for sending such a lengthy and informative reply. You only have a ‘link’ icon so had to reply this way. I did check out the Casitas and Bolers. Couldn’t find any used ones that were in this poor girl’s range. They do look luxurious. Not sure if that is my style or not. I’m not especially lusty. (root word of luxurious) More of a lover. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind what the eventual purchase looks like knowing I can make it comfortable, homey, and quietly stylish on a shoestring. everywhere I have lived people have stated what a calm and peaceful environment I provide in my home. My whole point is to buy something no longer wanted and redeem it in some way, thus cutting my own expenses so that I have more available funds with which to help others. If I can successfully do one, then I may use it for a short time to enjoy it then let a charity raffle it off using a small portion to do another one possibly growing the idea into where I can provide homes for someone who doesn’t have one (meeting some criteria such as willing to work for lot space and to assist in the refurbishment).

    I did think your idea of checking with the local community college for classes on building was very good advice and I thank you. I’m fairly handy, but could always use the expertise of those who who know more than I.

    Thanks again.

    • Dean April 28, 2015, 2:43 am

      Hey, if you’re into used/vintage, there was an old travel trailer for sale near me. Really stubby little “canned ham” type, but more square.
      Very much like this one – https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/88/d4/ef/88d4ef04160189c70f5cc0d8f6bb17e4.jpg
      Had more of a “brow” up front, but it can’t be more than 10-12′ long.
      If you like, I can go ask the guy.
      I know for a fact it had a for sale sign in it a few months back.
      Mail me if you’re interested – gundorps@yahoo.com

      • Dean May 5, 2015, 7:53 pm

        M – A gentile reminder that I passed that house yesterday and he still has the trailer I aluded to in the above post.
        If you’re still interested, I’d be happy to find out if he’s still interested in selling it.
        Just write me at the email addy I posted above.

  • M April 27, 2015, 11:10 pm

    Oh Dean again,

    You must be in the Pacific NW? It’s hard for me to find used trailers that are not complete train wrecks and certainly none of the ones you mentioned here except a few Airstreams here and there but they want so much. Do you see the others you mentioned very often where you are located? I’m not familiar with Point Roberts but my folks live in Oregon and I go there when I can get away. Perhaps I should look over that way?

  • Dean April 28, 2015, 2:53 am

    Point Roberts is technically Canada, but its on a point that actually crosses back over the border, so its considered part of Washington State, where I reside (I’m farther south, though).
    All the coastal communities are wonderful.
    I see a lot of those old fiberglass trailers around here. I passed an old Burro being pulled by a VW Bug the other day. That thing looked new and I think they quit making those in the 80’s! (the car was 10 years older!). Lots of little homes and trailers around here.
    Sometimes I wish my parents had kept their ’56 Shasta. I’d be pullin’ that thing now!
    Let me know if you’re interested in that trailer I wrote you about in the other post. I’ll be happy to find out about it for you. I think its a 1960’s Scotsman, but don’t quote me.

  • Dean April 28, 2015, 2:57 am

    …btw, M, if you’re curious about Point Roberts, look up “Point Roberts Washington” on Google Maps and click on “photos”. Its a tiny little community but very picturesque. I’m sure you’ve got similar places in Oregon.

  • michelle dooley May 4, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Thrilled about building within the year, finding a “parking”spot is the only thing proving tricky. Hoping to pull from the best of several of your plans – so many awesome plans to choose from! My husband is a builder so construction isn’t an issue. We’ve lived aboard a 38′ sailboat for a year with our then 15 year-old daughter so living in a smaller space won’t be an issue either! I can’t tell you how excited my husband and I are about becoming part of this movement.

  • Dean May 5, 2015, 7:50 pm

    Michelle – Why not solve your dilemma of finding a parking spot for your new tiny home, with your obvious love for the water……and make your next home a house boat.
    …just throwin’ that one out there.

  • SaturdaySportsman June 2, 2015, 11:12 pm

    The cat door/patio sells it all.

  • Gabrielle Charest March 20, 2016, 2:43 am

    I admire people who make their dreams come true.

  • Kimberly DOWNS March 21, 2016, 5:50 am

    I sooo want a tiny home for myself and my daughter. I simply adore them. Wonder idea!

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