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Nate and Jen’s Home on Wheels: Living Simply and Free in a Tiny House

My friend Nate originally bought a camper that he dismantled to build the tiny house on a trailer you’re about to see.

The trailer is 8’3″ by 24’10” and he used 2x4s instead of 2x8s for floor joists to decrease the home’s weight.

He also used a lighter option for siding. Nate kept a blog while building the house which you can check out right here.

Living Simply and Free in a Tiny Home

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Find out why Nate built it and see the rest of the photos below:

Why a Tiny Home on a Trailer?

I was going to ask Nate what drew him to building a tiny house, but then I found out why on his blog:

  • To save money
  • To be nomadic
  • To live simply
  • To be outside more
  • To be adventurous

Resonates, doesn’t it?

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The Ultimate Way to Live the Simple Life?

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How would a house like this change your life?

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Inside Nate and Jen’s Tiny House

Notice how the light shines through the ceiling in the living area of the house!

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Wall Shelf Storage in the Kitchen

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You can order steel Ikea shelves like the ones above from Amazon.

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You can also get the utility rack for towels and such that you see above right here on Amazon. If you want those hooks, too, they’re right here.

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Check out the slim ladder to access the comfortable sleeping loft above.

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Best Vacuum Cleaner for Tiny Houses

I’d give the title to the Dyson DC35 Slim Multi Floor Cordless Vacuum Cleaner.

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Notice how often Nate uses the Ikea Grundtal hooks and utility racks to keep things off the floor and countertops.

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Clear Roof in a Tiny House?

Nate used a special material which I’ve asked him about (come back later for update) for a clear roof/ceiling which is pretty awesome.

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Dickinson Marine Heater

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Dickinson Marine Heaters are a little pricey but they work great in these homes since they’re really made for marine use.

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Reclaimed Materials Put to Good Use

Nate and Jen went with plenty of used materials for this house including:

  • the trailer (used to be an RV),
  • appliances,
  • building materials,
  • and more!

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“Mud Room” in a Tiny Home

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Nate and Jen’s Tiny House Floor Plan

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If you enjoyed this post you’ll love our free Tiny House Newsletter!

To learn more about Nate and Jen head on over to their blog.

Get Any Creative Design Ideas from this House? Please Share!

If you liked this post please “Like” and share using the buttons below then share your best thoughts in the comments! Thanks a million!

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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!
{ 61 comments… add one }
  • Jay Creighton March 20, 2013, 9:43 am

    Beautiful place you have there. The gas stove right up close to the wood wall finish makes me just a little nervous though. Might I suggest bringing the tile back-splash around the corner and being certain that there is a fire extinguisher handy? Forgive me if this was already discussed (I didn’t have time to read the text portion).

    • Mary March 20, 2013, 1:29 pm

      That was what made me Very nervous as well. At the very least some scorched wood.
      However, everything else was beyond perfect!

      • Paul August 13, 2014, 5:59 am

        Dickinson heaters are propane fueled. As such there is not a lot of heat at the back of the heater, and anyway, there is an insulating panel at the back on the wall.

    • David White August 12, 2014, 9:14 pm

      These are marine stoves and are typically mounted on wooden bulkheads.

      • David Whited August 12, 2014, 9:16 pm

        Never mind. I see now that you are referring to the cook stove not the marine heating unit.

  • hunter March 20, 2013, 10:37 am

    Nate said on the blog they are greenhouse poly panels that people use in their green houses.

  • et March 20, 2013, 10:44 am

    Mud room is a really good idea that most tiny houses omit.
    Nice home.

    I’d be concerned about heat loss thru the roof and noise when it rains.

  • alice h March 20, 2013, 12:31 pm

    Big fan of side entries, really frees up more design possibilities inside, though I prefer a foldable awning rather than being set-in. Not as big a fan of lining things up like a travel trailer with a narrow walkway between. Love that loooooong window! Not sure what I think of the roof, but with all the pine cone and needle dropping, heavy rain and constant bird and squirrel activity on my roof it might not work at my place. The storage looks well thought out and the “mud room” is brilliant. Best of all? It’s built!

    • di May 30, 2014, 5:12 pm

      To make the most out of a small space, old habits may need to change. Try storing everything in pull-out baskets beneath furniture. This may eliminate the need for shelving, closets and cupboards.

  • laughingbirdfarm March 20, 2013, 1:44 pm

    That is such a pretty house! And I love those racks. I may have to use them in our house.

  • Dyanaru March 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

    Looked at a gazillion tiny houses and this is tops! I love the clever design for storage and the terrific pictures. You more than satisfied my curiosity. Most tiny house tours are not so well done! Great job on everything!

    • Hans Honegger March 20, 2013, 5:04 pm

      I too would like to compliment the photos. Good job.
      I’m curious about the snap in insulation though. It is a solution but could be more respectful of the curve. Could the exterior door be out-swing? Also what about bumping up the mezzo by a foot or two like a caboose?
      Lastly, I’m presuming that the bottom is a used swimming pool liner. Every spring these become available for free from maintenance companies.

      • Pam March 21, 2013, 10:13 am

        sorry I found comment : “I’m presuming that the bottom is a used swimming pool liner.” unclear – bottom of what?
        Pam

  • Christina March 20, 2013, 2:19 pm

    What a great place! I love all the photos you were able to post. It looks so much larger on the inside than you would expect.

  • Doug March 20, 2013, 2:26 pm

    This looks great.My question is weight? The roof great Idea I’am thinking the same.How does it stand up to rain and snow?Thanks the last Question is your arches.How did you figure out the arch degree and bending the roof was that a problem? Thanks again great looking house you did a fantastic job.Doug

  • NewOldBuilder March 20, 2013, 2:37 pm

    Why build on trailers? Aside from driving it around your yard, there a code or setback advantages?
    NOB

    • NewOldBuilder March 20, 2013, 3:25 pm

      Opps, sorry make that:
      “Is” there a code or setback advantage?

    • cheryl March 20, 2013, 3:53 pm

      If it’s on a trailer it’s considered an RV, not a house – so it’s an entirely different set of codes. Depending on your area, and your property, that can be a real advantage – or not.

      If you own the property, and are allowed to build small, that probably makes the most sense. But if local regulations prevent small houses – or you don’t own the land – or you want to move around a lot – then building on a trailer may be a better solution.

    • Bruce Grecke March 20, 2013, 5:07 pm

      There are many reasons for Tiny Houses, but within the context of your question, it has to do with skirting the issue of minimum house size in most municipal codes. To avoid the conflict, by building on a trailer these Tiny Houses are legally considered recreational vehicles. There will be a time, when governmental entities will approach the issue of Tiny Houses, in an attempt to glean more taxes, and the battle will have to be waged. Until that time, keeping a low profile is the best strategy, by not placing the Tiny Home where adjacent property owners might object.

      Zoning defines setbacks, for each individual property, in terms of location, building footprint, and purpose. The key here is how the structure is attached to the ground. If a structure is not attached by way of a foundation, and it is within the setback lines, only the rules surrounding R.V. storage apply. The only other issue is how particular zoning regulations handle the issue of habitation of a space.

      • Anthony March 20, 2013, 7:31 pm

        If a structure is “fixed” to the property, it becomes a taxable improvement. If it is “portable”, it is not an improvement to the property and does not become a part of the real estate tax base.

        • Paul August 13, 2014, 5:55 am

          Unfortunately for me, in my home town in New Zealand, I was flabbergasted to find that if you have a caravan, which a tiny home is deemed to be, on your property and no other building then you will have to pay rates (property tax) as if a normal building structure is on it.

          I think we’ve gone one worse than the Yanks on this… (NOTE: outside of the US a Yank is a term to denote a citizen of the USA, not to be confused with Yankee, which is a Southerner from the USA. It is not derogatory unless used in the context of “that damned Yank” or similar)

          Peace be to all.

        • Dee September 13, 2014, 1:04 pm

          You better not come to the Southern US and call anyone a Yank! LMAO That is what people from the northern US are called NOT the south. And its not what I would consider derogatory no matter how you use it.

  • Tiny Houses Hankerings March 20, 2013, 2:58 pm

    What a cute house. I am really starting to like the tiny houses on trailers. Before I had not liked the idea of a house-on-trailer-bed but the more I see what others are doing with theirs I am starting to see possibilities for what mine could look like. very nicely done.

  • Robert Eddins March 20, 2013, 3:26 pm

    Very Creative. I like it alot. Thanks.

  • David March 20, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Really nice, so they show the house. But fail to tell us the high points on things like “what was used on the siding” or “what the roofing material is”…

  • Robert Mitchell March 20, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Wow great post kinda gives me an idea for a flip up awning so I can have a side door…thanks for sharing this

  • Brandon Blake March 20, 2013, 4:12 pm

    Cute, but don’t like the pipe near the entrance like that.

  • Harriette Jensen March 20, 2013, 4:33 pm

    Really cute. Just wondering about food storage (I’m big into cooking). Didn’t see a fridge.

  • Bruce Grecke March 20, 2013, 4:51 pm

    I’ve contacted Nate and Jen via email, with a ton of questions that I did not want to clog up the blogs with, but I, like a growing number of people like the space Nate and Jen have crafted, for both it’s eye appeal, and livability quotent, proving a good idea and hard work, make for a beautiful end result.

  • James Carmack March 20, 2013, 6:38 pm

    I don’t know if anyone’s ever heard of this company but they offer amazing space saving and functional furniture ideas for the home as well as storage solutions. These products would greatly increase the functionality of a small home and make the best usage of the available space. The companies website is: http://www.resourcefurniture.com/

    • DT May 2, 2013, 10:08 am

      Very cool but no prices and a mid-town Manhattan showroom, so I’m sure these fantastically designed systems are expensive (though deservedly so).

    • di May 30, 2014, 5:22 pm

      A daybed or futon couch may be all that is needed. Sit on the bed to dine, study, or entertain. Eat with a plate in your lap and study with a clipboard and handheld computer. Store outfits, kitchenware, linens and dry goods in pull-out baskets beneath the bed. Sit on floor cushions.

      Special furniture may not be needed if you change old habits. Just be more creative.

  • susan March 20, 2013, 8:19 pm

    why have the bump in for the door? such precious space needed for the inside. you have very good use of space throughout the house. i prob wouldnt have the sink in the bathroom. just wash hands by sticking hands in the shower. or in the kitchen. the bar shelves in the kitchen could even dry clothes on overnite. great window placement. best have a tarp in storage for that roof in a hail storm. love the light.

    • Jerry March 21, 2013, 2:16 am

      I imagine the bump in is for the mud room. Kinda hard to build a side door on a tiny house on a trailer, and not have it intrude on the interior a bit. The limit of 8.5′ on the road means even a fold down awning could be out of the question without moving the door in a bit. With the layout, it doesn’t look like it’s an issue, they basically made that area a walkway, giving the entire home a separated and therefor larger feel.

  • B J Fisher March 20, 2013, 9:44 pm

    Beautiful! Love the exterior and the floor plan. Also the roof, but I doubt it
    would be serviceable up here in Canada. You are smart people to build this house now and avoid paying a lot of rent. I hope your plans work out well.

  • Mark Gibson March 20, 2013, 9:49 pm

    So cool. I think the idea of using a dismantled motor home to build on is ingenious. So all your plumbing and what-not are all in place and the little stove too! Brilliant !!!!

    Many thanks for sharing.

  • Darcy March 21, 2013, 12:25 am

    Nice design, great use of space. Side entrance is good but although design wise looks appealing however in such a small area you lost some valuable living space. I do not see a fridge but there is a dishwasher. Is that a freezer opposite the stove? I live in Canada and that roof will not hold up to the elements here, snow, wind, rain, rodents and a great source of heat loss. My quests this little gem will cost more to heat, eventually leak water thru the roof but at least you have the dog to cuddle up too…. Thanks for the photos.

    • Melanie August 12, 2014, 9:52 pm

      Hi I’m from Canada too. Also have that question about heating

  • Angela March 21, 2013, 8:27 am

    I like your tiny house very much! The shoe space under the entry door is unexspected and well thought out, also the “see through” ceiling. Thanks for sharing will us.

  • Cahow March 21, 2013, 9:12 am

    Alex: MANY thanks for including a floor plan on this home!!!! As an architect, being able to read the plan along with the photos is perfection! I realize that you don’t have access to a plan many times so when you do…it makes for happy, happy readers. 🙂

    • Alex March 21, 2013, 9:16 am

      Thanks for letting me know and I’m glad I could provide it too! I’ll continue trying to include that. 🙂

    • Pam March 21, 2013, 10:17 am

      agree! – I’m not an architect but as I visual person I love floor plans

  • Donna F. March 21, 2013, 4:56 pm

    I wonder about condensation forming and dripping from the roof…is that a plastic rug in the living room I see? I’m all for it if it doesn’t drip and loose heat/cooling. I notice Reflectix between the rafter above the ceiling…that should help w/the heat a good bit…at least over that part of it, but I don’t know how effective it is since it is not air-tight. Would like to hear how it’s working out for them, and how much it costs heat and cool this neat little cabin!

  • Terry March 22, 2013, 10:47 am

    Love your GORGEOUS finished product. Curious about some details:
    brand of stove? Is that a vent above stove? If yes, brand? Brand of sink? Fridge?

    • Nate March 23, 2013, 1:07 am

      Stove is a caloric (a propane model) we found on craigslist. The vent above it is a braun intended to be mounted inside a cabinet (newegg.com). The fridge is a chest freezer which we converted to be a fridge to save money on power (search youtube for conversion instructions).

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar March 23, 2013, 2:46 pm

    Interesting design. I am curious why they have the doors bumped in which seems to be a waste of space ?

    A clear roof would mean no insulation and most heat is lost through the roof so I would like to know if this is being used in winter and where ?

    The Dickinson wood heater like that appear to be only produce about 3-5K BTU and would have a tough time heating a large space comfortably.

    It has potential but I would do some things differently if that is a year round house.

    • Paul August 13, 2014, 5:48 am

      I’ve heard that Dickinson heaters keep large boats nice n toasty. Why would they have a problem with a Tiny House?

      OK, in this tiny house possibly, with the polygal type roofing, despite it’s twin walls will leak heat like a sieve in cold weather… and in warm weather I would think the interior would be unbearable.

      Add to that the dastardly (to me anyway) ladder to loft and it’s a no goer for me.

  • Mark March 24, 2013, 4:59 pm

    Clever! I, too, am planning a “re-use” of an existing trailer. I was wondering if anyone has thought of using a larger/longer trailer, everyhing I see is about 20 feet long on this site. Is there a particular reason? I ask because I see many well used, considerably larger trailers languishing in yards and fields, and since I have partial custody of 2 boys, would need the extra room. A used 32 foot trailer, needing full re-hab can be found for about 2k in my area.

  • Janne Zack February 12, 2014, 3:09 pm

    What material is on the roof? and what climate will this house be used? (Canada, north, south, california. etc.) I love the idea of the light coming in the roof, but it appears that you needed insulation up there at the loft, which hurts the look, but in time, you can finish that out better. I get that many of these are great in concept, but don’t always work out perfectly, but I love the use of space, especially shoe storage under the door! SWEET!

  • Diana March 19, 2014, 10:04 pm

    As with every ‘tiny home’ I view, I find wonderful ideas that help me when putting together my ideas for my own tiny home. I’m not surprise to see some great space saving ideas from Ikea. The first ‘tiny home’ I saw is in the Ikea right in our city. They used about 592 sq ft to create an incredibly spacious 2bdrm ‘tiny home’ that is BEAUTIFUL! Maybe next time I am in Ikea, i will take pics/videotape it and submit it here.I know it isn’t a ‘real’ tiny home, but i think even Alex will be so impressed with that he will include it here!

  • Melanie August 12, 2014, 9:42 pm

    Hi Alex

    I have been dismantling an old Prowler RV to rebuild a new tiny house on wheels. I have seen others do this and am wondering how they were able to get a license plate and insurance for their home. I would be using mine as an RV and moving quite a bit between the US and Canada each year.

    Thanks Alex

  • Elle August 13, 2014, 6:27 am

    Cozy, cozy, cozy. I look forward to more information on the material used for the glass ceiling. I like their inclusion of a distinct mud room. I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to discretely situate one into a tiny house. I think it’s more of a necessity in a tiny house than a conventional home -otherwise your whole home can become ‘the mud room’.

    Another great looking tiny house with everything one needs -and dog makes perfect. 🙂

  • Elizabeth August 13, 2014, 11:09 pm

    I was wondering if anyone has investigated or accomplished building a fold out cube on wheels. It would be great to expand the space with fold out cubes on each side with supporting posts.

  • Darian September 5, 2015, 11:35 am

    The siding is great! I was going to go with the board and batten look for my tiny house but definitely going with this design it looks really good! And light weight!

  • Theo April 27, 2016, 4:02 pm

    Am not sure about this one at all. At first look, the outside looks good. Close look tho, it looks like the wood is unfinished, and spaces between the wood. The gaps will allow rain and snow to accumulate, and set. Also invite insects to make homes there, and that would likely invite woodpeckers.

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