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The Geaux Tiny House with SIP frame

This is the Geaux tiny house.

From the outside, you’ll notice a beautiful covered front porch and a shed-style roof featuring ornate windows.

This tiny home includes a structural insulated panel (SIP) frame. To find out more, scroll for the builder’s story below.

Please enjoy, learn more, share your best thoughts in the comments, and re-share below. Thank you!

Geaux Tiny House with SIP Frame


Images © RJ Hanks








Images © RJ Hanks

From the Builder:

It has taken a lifetime to get to this point. 5 years to “Geaux Tiny” in earnest. Downsizing was TOUGH and necessary. I saw first hand how hoarding erodes families when the fight against “stuff” is ever present. The disease of hoarding is real… and I want no part of it.

There are so many excellent reasons to downsize (anti-hoarding is but one) … the most beneficial to all: using minimal resources to exist! We truly do not need much more than basic food, clothing, and shelter. That’s downright Biblical. So with that in mind and a new CD set of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, the idea of living in a small home on wheels, debt free YES… my life began to change in the best possible way.

Many folks have asked why I designed a tiny home with no storage. Simple: I don’t know yet what I will need until experience reveals what is important. Storage can be added later and I’m a huge fan of ‘portable everything.’  Plus I want to breathe! Open space, movable air is SO important to a healthy state of mind. Just the thought of clutter and nausea sets in. Not going to happen.

From the beginning all of my designs had folding, expandable elements. This is the one that “took” and the one I am currently building.

Initially the plan was to build a standard 2×4 frame, wood cladding, etc. As I continued to read more about various styles of tiny homes, I found Art Cormier’s SIP panel tiny home in Lafayette, La. After several conversations with Art he convinced me that SIPS (structurally insulated panels) were the way to go. Then I really began to think about functionality, how to make my home larger and extend the living area. We Cajuns need a porch for fun & crawfish ….just sayin’

The next step, add tons of windows (I’m claustrophobic). As a photographer, light is critical in my world. The right kind of light is crucial. Spectral light, soft focus, foggy mornings waking up to coffee brewing, bacon sizzling on the stove, birds chirping, the whole ‘utopia’ enchilada. I grew up in clutter, chaos and too much frustration over the battle of it all. As an adult I chose to live clutter free and happy.

While attending the 2015 Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, I met Damon, Natalie & Ruby of Trailer Made, LLC in Denver. For over a year I had been in contact with them off and on and truly did not realize the connection when we first met at the Jam (which was EPIC!).  Then I saw and met the people from Volstrukt metal frames based out of Austin, Tx. After speaking with them and researching galvanized steel frames vs. wood… I was sold.

For many reasons I sold my home in Louisiana in June. The plan was to move back to Texas anyway. When my soul mate died in my arms on March 22nd, it was time to radically change circumstances. It was time to “pull the trigger” on Geauxing Tiny.

Writing that first check to Trailer Made was the hardest part of the journey. Once money is spent, you’re invested, you are “in” and there is no turning back. Who would want to?  The journey has at times been terrifying but only because it’s a journey into the unknown. Being the designated family maverick is sort of my calling… ha ha. It’s a little scary until you realize just how GREAT life will be when you can sleep in a home you built, with few bills, you are not harming the environment and living the tiny life! The thought of living completely debt free (almost there) for the rest of my life is SO liberating!

So ultimately the tiny house is on a Trailer Made trailer with a belly pan (metal sheets underneath), holding a gorgeous shiny silver galvanized steel frame by Volstrukt (40% lighter weight than wood) and sheathed with Huber’s ZipSystem panels, which are OSB with a waterproof membrane impregnated into the outer surface… no Tyvek needed! This has drastically cut the build time. A wood frame & SIPS would have taken several weeks. The metal frame was “rolled” or extruded in 5 hours! The Zip panels went up in 2 days. The cedar siding will go on next week, over several days and all the finishes will take a few weeks.

Because I decided to spend more up front on the trailer and frame than originally planned, I am coming in under budget on the back end. And in the process I was able to find beautiful antiques, recycled wood, Habitat materials, Craigslist & Ebay finds, to give my Geaux Tiny Home the eclectic look that I love. Even bought an old hay bale elevator lift for the loft!

I HIGHLY recommend living tiny, going smaller and enjoying every step of the journey to complete freedom! More to come and in the meantime God is SO good continuing to answer prayers on this tiny house journey!  Enjoy J

Blog, photos and updates plus links to free software for designing your tiny, links to products, other builders, workshops, events, etc. can be found on my website.

HUGE thank you to Damon, Natalie & Ruby of Trailer Made, LLC in Denver, Co. and to Marc, Jayson, Alex & Albert of Volstrukt in Austin, Tx. You folks ROCK and I could not have embarked on this journey of living the “ Geaux Tiny” dream without you!

Learn more: www.geauxtiny.com


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Natalie McKee is a contributing writer for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She is a coffee-loving wannabe homesteader who dreams of becoming self-sufficient in her own tiny home someday. Natalie currently resides in a tiny apartment with her husband, Casey, in Scotland.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Marcy May 9, 2016, 3:45 pm

    Happy to have been able to see pictures of the build and read your thoughts. I can’t wait to see pictures of the finished house.

  • Erik May 9, 2016, 3:58 pm

    Not to throw up an alarm here but your header over your large opening is suspect. Typically those are box headers that are a little deeper than what you have shown. I would maybe verify that to make sure it will hold up to wind and snow loads as well as the jarring that comes with moving it around.

  • Rue May 9, 2016, 4:23 pm

    Looking forward to seeing this one when it’s finished!

  • Joyce Davenport May 9, 2016, 4:47 pm

    Really like the plan for the front. I want a porch and windows with personality. Glad to see one in Michigan where I live
    Let me know the finished cost and I am anxious to see the interior.

  • Otessa Regina Compton May 9, 2016, 4:51 pm


  • Gale May 9, 2016, 5:33 pm

    Beautiful so far. Can’t wait to see the rest.

  • Gigi May 10, 2016, 12:49 am

    Blessings on you for opening your heart to tell your story. I appreciate all the research you have done and send you positive energy to complete your home.

  • Clearwing May 10, 2016, 1:40 am

    Interesting that you mention hoarding – would love to know more about how your experience influenced the design/finished house. The windows are exciting. The house will get a ton of natural light.

  • Bobbi May 10, 2016, 2:35 am

    So this is a metal frame not a SIP frame…

  • AVD May 10, 2016, 11:06 am

    Eric raises a good question about trussed headers vs a more traditional built-up header. The folks fabricating this metal frame unit look like they know what they are doing. So my guess is that their trussed-headers will “pencil-out” structurally and they may be better suited for spray-foam insulation. Some spray-foam insulation adds; some structural integrity, provides fire-resistance, and has zero to near-zero vapor transmission.

    What has me scratching my head about this article is the Headline that notes “SIP”. SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) in the US construction industry reflects a product / structural system that consists of a factory-made panel that has a rigid foam core that is bonded to a plywood skin on both sides of the foam. The photos in the article do not show SIP construction – at least not how that term is used in the US. Just wondering.

  • Regina Miller May 10, 2016, 12:51 pm

    I love this design and the ideas. Thanks for sharing. I too,look forward to seeing interior shot. I have some of the same preferences.

  • GRandall May 10, 2016, 1:21 pm

    Very misleading title for the post; this is a light gauge metal framed home not SIP. Although SIPs were discussed early in the article it states that due to time considerations the builder opted for metal framing.

    That aside the design for the house with the added porch looks good and the added outdoor living space will be welcome I’m sure. Looking at the wall framing it looks like a lot of the windows below the clerestory won’t make to final but that is probably a good thing as it will make for a more rigid house.

    Nice work so far.

  • Donna May 10, 2016, 7:16 pm

    Can’t wait to see the rest of the build. Super excited to see someone who feels the same way about the plumbing and wiring, anytime I mention it, folks look at me like I’m nutz ;)

  • David May 11, 2016, 8:37 am

    Bobby is right, the title here is misleading, I too was expecting to see a tiny house built with a SIP frame, but this article should really be titled “the geaux tiny house with steel frame”.
    Look at sing core to understand what SIP building means. With sing core in fact you don’t have any frame at all. Because the stability is integrated in the r-SIPs. Check it out.

  • Roger May 15, 2016, 6:19 pm

    A very confusing article, apart from the non-use of SIPs it then goes on to: “To find out more, scroll for the builder’s story below.”
    This was obviously written by the owner/purchaser, not the builder.
    There is a whole lot of history and philosophy, and a bit of religion but nothing about building.
    And no SIPs to be seen…

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