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4 Couples Build Their Own Tiny Cabin Micro Community

When these four couples, who are all friends, decided to purchase a piece of property on the Llano River in Texas together they originally were going to build a big house and share it, according to Small House Bliss. But instead they decided to each build their own 350 sq. ft. tiny cabin and share a common building instead. So what they’ve now done is created their own tiny cabin micro community on their own property.

Pretty cool, right? And they were able to build the tiny cabins for about $40,000 USD each with the help of Matt Garcia Design. Each unit is slightly different but they’re all very similar and in this post you’ll get to tour one of them (and see the outside of the rest). Each cabin has its own open floor plan with a combo bedroom and living room (like a studio). And yes, of course, views of the river from inside. (source)

Group Creates their own Tiny Cabin Micro Community in Texas


Images © Alex Stross Arts & Matt Garcia Design

I urge you to enjoy the rest of this amazing micro housing compound in Texas below:












Images © Alex Stross Arts & Matt Garcia Design

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YOUR Thoughts on this DIY shared cabin compound?

What are your thoughts on people creating their own micro tiny housing communities? Would you consider doing something like this? (Yes/no in comments and if you want.. why).

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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!

{ 60 comments… add one }
  • Rebecca June 25, 2014, 11:30 am

    I don’t see a kitchen, my guess is that it is in the shared building. I like the concrete floor and plywood walls. I think galvanized walls are very practical in Texas, they reflect a lot of sun and heat.

  • Dale June 25, 2014, 11:41 am

    NOT liking the corrugated aluminum outside or the bathroom in the kitchen (YUCKO). Like that it’s one story. Like the community idea. Costs too much for what looks like it’s basically made from scrounged materials (which it could be) and cost a lot less.

  • valerie June 25, 2014, 11:41 am

    It looks like there’s snack bar area, and it happens to be located at the other end of the bathroom (I’d guess for proximity of the coffee maker to the sink). I’d definitely want some type of separation between that area and the toilet.

  • Nila Ridings June 25, 2014, 11:58 am

    This does not say (or I missed it) who owns the land. The well. Septic system. Which makes me wonder what happens when something goes wrong…and it will.

    This is not a new concept it’s just an old failed concept with smaller houses. This is probably not designated as an HOA or Homeowners Association but the joint ownership of land, water, septic sytem, is the same concept of an HOA. HOAs are not working in America. They are destroying home ownership. That are full of power-hungry “rulers” that take over the board and destroy the neighbors’ lives.

    If this is land owned by one party, renting space to the others which includes the use of the well and septic system then it has a chance of survival. Although, it does leave one party with all the authority over the others.

    If one person ends up with a job transfer or illness or family change…what happens to their little house? What if one of them dies? So many unanswered questions that if they aren’t addressed in the beginning can end up in a massive nightmare and usually a big expensive legal battle at the worst of times.

    I would encourage anyone thinking of trying to live in this type of arrangement to learn about HOA living. See this website for tremendous information and resources. http://www.neighborsatwar.com

    Sorry for raining on the parade here but after living in an HOA for almost 9 years and having my life, health and financial security totally destroyed by making the mistake of buying into one…I try to warn others before they walk down my path.

    • Christopher June 25, 2014, 12:49 pm

      I feel your pain. We bought in while the developers still controlled the HOA. Once it transferred to the community it was quickly taken over by little Neapolitans. $500 fine if your trash can is at curb side an hour after pick up. $500 fine for a car parked at curb side. $500 fine for garage door open more then half an hour ….

      • Paul June 25, 2014, 8:34 pm

        I think you meant little Napoleons rather than Neopolitans… LOL

  • Susan Stodola June 25, 2014, 12:10 pm

    I would absolutely love to live in a situation like this. While this particular ‘style’ is a little more rustic/primitive than my current style (victorian), OBVIOUSLY, it takes that much more money to have those kind of finishing touches. Ask me how I know. I am not particularly a minimalist, but I know I could pare things down quite a ways without a problem. There must be a kitchen somewhere in this plan, but for some reason it is not featured and that surprises me because people want to know about their eating/cooking options and also the bathroom facilities. I would opt for a bunker style sleeping arrangement with storage built ins to free up space for my musical instruments without altering the sf…….(Harp, keyboard, marimba). The one thing I would do that would affect the cost would be to put a full basement in with a walkout. I do LOTS of creative things……quilts, costumes, yard art, cut glass, upholstery, and would love, SOME DAY, to get a loom. That way I could have the ‘mess’ out of sight of the living area. Right now it is all stashed in a 13X15 room, wall to wall, floor to ceiling, well organized on shelves and in bins and boxes. With more shelves/totes in the dungeon of my basement. Okay, I know I could dispose of a bunch of that stuff, too……..but “I might need it some day”, haha

    • Kathryn June 25, 2014, 2:17 pm

      Susan, we do not have basements in this area of Texas because underneath the little bit of dirt is solid rock. Just building a pool is a huge, and expensive, undertaking. A lot of that land is also above an aquifer. I would love to have a basement but the cost would be as much as the house.

  • Kevin June 25, 2014, 12:11 pm

    I think building tiny house communities is a fantastic idea. Housing communities that have homes ranging from a few hundred sq. ft. to homes up to 800 sq. ft. More and more singles and couples would be able to afford the homes and live in a community where they could grow as families. Have a sense of community and know their neighbors. Have children playing on playgrounds and neighbor helping neighbor. Have your own small yard to take care of and work as a community to keep the neighborhood a fun place to live. Houses with a price tag that everyone could afford.

  • Joel June 25, 2014, 12:11 pm

    Pretty interesting picture hanging above the toilet.

  • Karen B June 25, 2014, 12:26 pm

    This is so encouraging. We have a group of women in Portland, OR that is exploring the possibility of a community of small homes. We’ve looked at a few lots and hope to meet with a developer who is supportive of our idea. Portland is “infill” friendly and already has a couple tiny home communities. I wonder about the cost of the homes pictured here also, especially with all that plywood. And as “mature” women we all want our sleeping quarters on the ground floor. Congrats to these couples for actually doing it.

    • Bonnie September 23, 2014, 9:23 pm

      I am in Portland and my husband and I are committed to building a small (~400 sf) house here. We would LOVE to talk to you about what you are doing. I have not had much luck finding tiny pocket communities in Portland so far, but this is just the sort of thing we want to do–nice piece of land, great neighbors who are into sharing resources, and all here in our home of Portland. (I’m 57 and my hubby is 61.) Can I take you to lunch and pick your brain, please??

  • Christopher June 25, 2014, 12:41 pm

    Some tough questions about the details of ownership but the basic idea is attractive. Costs are extremely high. I’m assuming the septic system and water supply was very costly. I noticed a Mitsubishi style ductless ac system which is in the $3000 range. 350 square feet could be cooled and heated for about $500 with a floor model heating and cooling unit

  • Susie M June 25, 2014, 12:48 pm

    On the concept of community living – I saw a documentary where some communities in the Netherlands have got it right. Their weather can get really bad in winter, so imagine a long apartment complex surrounding an indoor common area that includes dining, play, communal etc. lots and lots of light – tons of windows (think small indoor mall). The individual housing units were quite small – the one shown was for a single mom with 2 young kids – it was ample for their needs. Now, here comes the great part – the mix of people was carefully vetted to be able to get along, but also to create ‘a village’ – of all ages – kids, parents, youth, young couples, divorced singles – and lonely seniors or senior couples. There was a large central kitchen, as well as a mini kitchen in each apartment – each ‘unit’ signed up for the responsibility of cooking for everyone, at least once or twice per month – nothing fancy, and there was always help around if you needed it – but like this single mom said – it really took the pressure off having to think about getting dinner every night after working all day – she could spend more time with her kids. Speaking of kids – having seniors there who no longer worked, meant the kids had ‘grandparent figures’ to go to, and keep an eye on them after school – better than latch key kids – again – peace of mind for working parents – newly weds with no kids got to throw their hands in too – gave them more experience for when they had kids -it seemed that everyone was very happy and relaxed – by coming together as a village that supported one another, living as a close community, they looked out for each other, shared responsibilities and skills. I’m sure there were downs to go with the ups – there are bound to be – but I have never seen such a relaxed happy group of people – the single mother really liked it.

    There is another place in central LA that is run in a different way, but that same close communityliving exists. In this case,their apartments are around communal gardens and ‘garages’ that have been converted to tool shops, wood working shops, even a welding bay. The tools are communally owned – cuts way back on environmental pollution and costs – the whole place is car free – people use bicycles – there is even a bicycle repair workshop

    The point is – that communities can work – these two mentioned have not been started with profit or return on investment being the driving force – rather quality of life – what can these people offer to the group as a whole – and what can the group offer them?

    As a single person over 50, whose health is not the greatest – community living sounds really good – I still have a heck of a lot to offer other than manual labor – yet how can I manage my property without it? I’m going under ‘cos of failing health – between a rock and a hard place – which will come first? disability benefits, or foreclosure? Maybe if we can get community living up and going like the Danes – then people like me won’t have to lose their entire life’s work and savings – we can be useful still – ‘cos the alternative really sucks – we are heading towards a nation of lonely people with abandoned seniors and out of control youth -much of the traditional skills and knowledge is being lost instead of passed down through the generations. Is that really the world we want to live in?

    • Lindy June 25, 2014, 3:29 pm

      Susie I too would love to live in a community like this. I just lost my 98 year old mother in law, and have really been considering what my own future looks like. Abandoned is right. In a community like this, we could be Grandmas and babysitters and oh it just sounds lovely. Of course there would be problems but I can dream. 😉 I love the tiny house idea, less upkeep and cleaning and minimal possessions.. I have a long way to go with that one, LOL, but I’m making progress.

      • Diane June 25, 2014, 5:45 pm

        I’m with you on this one!

        • Rimaderchi July 3, 2014, 10:47 am

          Walden Two anyone?

      • Jackie September 23, 2014, 5:20 pm

        I would love to start a community like this in Texas, I think it would be great people helping people. Need to do more research to see what I could set up on the 21 acres I have. Just not able at this time to finance something like this.

    • Tami July 19, 2014, 7:04 am

      You all should check us out at Granite Springs Farm Community in rural NC (but close to SO much culture, universities, etc.) We are forming around an organic farm (already running, land already owned) and are CAREFULLY planning agreements, covenants, membership plans to avoid many of the problems cited by other posters. Non-violent communication, equal voices in governance, sustainability, commitment to ALL aspects of diversity (except maybe greed-focused people 😮 !! ) are our foundational priniciples. Google us. Contact us to come any time. We are close to finalizing the legal framework. We need more like-minded folks to make the whole $ for infrastructure equation work (HUGE community house already there, but need more road, another well, some septic) … come on out!

    • Pam July 25, 2014, 5:00 pm

      Wow Suzi, did you hit the Nail on the Tiny Head!!!! I agree with every sad, but true word! Tell it like it is Sista! 😉

      • HUNTER March 31, 2015, 8:24 pm

        Has any one thought about using empty enclosed shopping malls for this kind of housing. each empty store could be made into a tiny home or apartment. with an enclosed mall, an indoor pool for year round use would work, since so many malls have or had fountains and pools. all the black top could be removed and the land used as gardens etc. with enough interest I’m sure there are people that could make these things happen. plenty of room for meetings etc. enclosed play areas if children live with in it. For older people a sense of security, with people around them and even clinics could be on premisses. Or a visiting Doctor might have an office etc. think of all the nasty weather people could avoid, living in such a place. Just a thought.

  • Kaylene June 25, 2014, 12:57 pm

    I plan to relocate closer to my work and find farmland. How could I use part to create a quaint csa net zero community? I live in the Sun belt in an ideal aquatic biosphere.

  • Shelia June 25, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Susan Stodola – no basements in Texas. If you were to do this in another area you could possibly have a basement.
    Susie – It’s called Co-housing and it’s been done successfully all over the world for 40+ years.
    I do think the price per house is too much, especially for Texas, but like the simpleness of it. I would need a little bit more of a kitchen. Even if only a breakfast / snack bar, it would need to be divided off from the bathroom for odor / privacy concerns. Otherwise, think it’s great.

    • Paul June 25, 2014, 8:32 pm

      Maybe a chunk of the cost was in its isolation. If they are 50 – 75 miles from a town/city that could increase the costs due to transportation plus builders needing to live on site during construction.

      Concrete slabs don’t come cheap either… not sure if the $40k average cost included the share in the communal kitchen or not.

      And, why no basements in Texas? I have a niece who lives in Texas and their house has a basement.

      • Darleen June 27, 2014, 11:49 am

        Texas is a big state. I am sure that coastal areas (for example) have different land concerns, than say the northern areas and mountains.
        Blasting solid rock instead of being able to dig out a nice basement could be just an area-of-the-state issue

  • Lisa June 25, 2014, 1:46 pm

    The $40,000 price for building each cabin seems pretty high considering the materials that were used. Here in north Florida I could have a 400 sf ICF home built for that price.

  • Bill Burgess June 25, 2014, 2:37 pm

    I am hoping the $40K included the cost of the land as I do not see the facilities matching costs if they do not include land and impact improvements. Not when they could buy a Park Model the same size at the local Diamond Industries for about the same money. If it were me I think I would have visited Brad Kittel at Tiny Texas Houses for a four unit bid.

  • Mike June 25, 2014, 3:40 pm

    “no basements in Texas” Wrong. Just as with any other area, the ability to have a basement depends upon several things – the water table and geology, even extreme weather cycles. Most of these things can be dealt with, but that adds a lot of cost to the build. Most people who build homes here in Tornado Alley prefer the much cheaper option of a storm cellar separate from the house. We had a 100 sq. ft. concrete shelter where I grew up that’s over 50 yrs. old (my dad started building it the very next day after a tornado passed within a quarter mile of the house) and has suffered no structural damage, but after my folks retired and moved just 20 miles away, they opted for a fiberglass storm cellar with their new build b/c of shifting soils in the area. The main concern with it was, if not done properly, it could possibly float out of the hole dug for it. (and it was done properly, b/c it is 20 + yrs. old and still there w/ no problems)

    I don’t have any stats to back me up on it (nor do I care to research it to prove it), but I always figured the reason for so many basements in the northern part of the U.S. was because they had to go down so far with the foundation b/c of the frost line, they go ahead and build a basement.

    FYI, there’s a basement under the Alamo. You probably think Texas is all desert, too, huh? BTW, I’m a native Texan and own (shares /royalties) some oil wells. They’re in Oklahoma.

  • Candi Ramer June 25, 2014, 4:31 pm

    I’ve been trying to convince a few friends and family members to do the exact same thing on my rural property…but so far no takers… and I am sure it can be done for wayyyy less than $40 grand per unit…I think it is a fabulous idea. I would like to put up four units on trailers and use the main house as community space, kitchen and rooms for our businesses…Massage, IET, cooking classes, etc… Sort of an artists/holistic/music center… But as I say, what seems fabulous to me is not YET enticing to others I know. As to the floor plan in this article, as a former restaurateur and a chef…I can assure you that having the commode in the kitchen with no wall in between is not only aesthetically unpleasant but absolutely unhealthy…In the right circumstances…could even create potentially life threatening illness. Microscopic “splash” can travel great distances.. PUT UP AN INTERIOR WALL AND DOOR PEOPLE!! Really amazing to see such a faux pas in 2014…But… I do like the one floor concept.

    • Rimaderchi July 3, 2014, 10:54 am

      I too am interested in a micro/tiny home building/community. I want to help some people build theirs before I build mine. However I want mine to be mobile. I do not stay put very well for very long.

    • linda August 2, 2014, 8:52 pm

      Say Candi where do u live? Can’t believe that someone would’t take you up your offer. I would love to have a tiny home but land will be the prob when time comes . I kinda thought that I needed the land before the house. well just asking linda

  • Lesliee Antonette June 25, 2014, 7:05 pm

    I like the design of the homes. I really like the idea of community. As a retired English professor, I would love to be a tutor for tiny home schoolers, or use my experience working in non/for-profit industries to help communities set up tiny home, business communities. I am in offload mode in preparation of the purchase of my first tiny home. It would be awesome to serve as an itinerant member of many communities!

  • Chris Hutcheson June 25, 2014, 7:30 pm

    They seem a little expensive for what they are, IMHO, unless shared costs for land, etc. are factored in. Also, and this is just a personal thing, I’d prefer a little more distance between me and my neighbours.

  • TomLeeM June 25, 2014, 7:55 pm

    I think those are really nice. I would prefer my own kitchen; or at least a kitchenette. I think it is nice being all on one floor.

  • Juan June 25, 2014, 10:05 pm

    I can forsee a Melrose Place kind of trouble ahead…

  • Ardell June 25, 2014, 11:29 pm

    I’m in! Who wants to do this in Arizona?

  • Mimi June 26, 2014, 12:18 am

    I have found the community housing concept fascinating for a number of years. My late partner was a contractor so the building part would have been easy. However, his unexpected death ended the plan. But, if I could find a compatible group, I would be most interested in having a tiny house. Since having one built is now the option, one of the remaining questions is where to put it? As I face retirement without family, I am contemplating the community of like-minded friends – when I find them. My current circle does not include fans of the tiny houses – they favor the traditional in the ‘burbs – fine for them, but not for me much longer. All you tiny house community supporters—keep on going!

    • maggie davis September 23, 2014, 9:48 pm

      i serve at-risk animals in a variety of ways, and i love and have lived in tiny houses. years ago i built an off grid litte cabin from recycled materials collected from old barns and junkyards and off trucks –this before the TH movement began.
      my dream is that a group of tiny house animal lovers would lease land together (land trust in beautiful Downeast Maine?) and live in their THs,very small homes on the land. the common thread? benefiting old, ill, special needs, at-risk dogs and cats (and any other animal who stumbled upon us who could use our services)–plus each other– this via gentle natural means.
      those individuals who were sympathetic and able to offer support would do that. this would be a simple lifestyle, as much off grid as we could make it. we would not spend or expand beyond our means. no debt! i’ve googled, but as far as i know no animal centered TH community exists. what do you think? imagine communities like this springing up everywhere for the sake of our deserving voiceless friends.
      do be in touch!

      • Alexandra De Vos April 1, 2015, 9:37 am

        That would be my dream too Maggie – I currently have four rescued dogs and live in a suburban house (with lots of costs and upkeep) in a noisy street. Would love to live somewhere rural in a tiny chalet and take on more animals in need. Plus, the company of kind animal lovers and some solidarity while keeping the privacy of your own ‘quarters’. Only problem is , I’m in Belgium…

  • Kate June 26, 2014, 4:11 pm

    I’ve found a small house (just over 500) that I want to build. I have a younger brother that needs family now. I have a girlfriend with some health and mobility issues. Hmm. I’ve decided to keep the dream of a small house. One down stair bedroom for me and loft accommodations for anybody that may come visit…like my daughter or the grown grandkids. Yes, still take my brother and girlfriend and they can each have their small quarters off a patio so they can come in easily for meals etc. They will have their privacy and I will have mine. In a way, it will be a village of family. Should my friend die or move on, the building (perhaps a yurt) can be saved for someone else to live in as long as they chose.
    My brother is willing to assist in gardening and the friend will assist with the few chickens and some goats. Other than that, no contracts, no worries.

  • Dr.trisha July 8, 2014, 1:44 pm

    I am in as az and have a start. Any who are interested, contact me. At. [email protected]

  • Kate July 11, 2014, 6:38 pm

    Has anybody notice the picture over the toilet?? Hmmmmm……..

  • Vicki July 19, 2014, 12:04 pm

    I love these tiny houses, and love the concept of this one. I could see this working as a retirement community. A small community like this would also be great for young people starting out today, as it is an affordable way to enter into home ownership.

    By the way, my husband and son (apprenticing) are carpenter/contractors in London, Ontario, if anyone needs a tiny house built in Ontario. My husband, B. Hambly, has been a second generation general contractor for over 40 years and among many other things, has completely gutted and renovated an airstream trailer for an older couple. (The walls in those are curved vertically and horizontally, so it was interesting coping all of the cabinets, etc. to fit perfectly into all of the curves.) He has also built a lovely little tiny house for me in the backyard, for my artistic endeavours. (Right now all of our children have moved back home after university, so sadly, we are currently storing their furniture, etc. in it.) If you need one built in southern Ontario or someplace like the Muskokas, contact him at [email protected] or me at [email protected]. If you want one built on a trailer frame, you supply the frame and they’ll take it from there!

  • Bonnie September 23, 2014, 9:17 pm

    I want to do this in the Portland, Oregon area, but haven’t yet made a big effort to find others who would go in on the land. I wouldn’t build this house for $40k; I’d do another wedge/shed design with a loft and a kitchen. It’s nice to know that people are getting together to build tiny pocket communities. That’s a great way to live–sharing resources like tools, green spaces, and friendship.

  • Debbie Griswold September 24, 2014, 5:53 pm

    My son and I were looking to do this in northern Vermont.. But you have to be careful with the people you invite to join. they need to have the same ideas and values as you do. There are not a lot of people that really want to live off the land and be self sufficient.

  • deborah January 20, 2015, 1:19 pm

    No thanks! Looks like not much more than a high priced storage building!

    • HUNTER March 31, 2015, 8:39 pm

      deborah, I agree with you 100%. and i have seen sheds that are way more beautiful. these look like crappy, cheap junk that as kids we threw together for club houses. sorry people, sad but true. i try not to knock most tiny’s cause’ i love them so but, these people were, HAD!!

  • Jason Schmidt January 20, 2015, 4:03 pm

    I love the idea of tiny home communities. Although I think some people have turned it into this kind of religion in the sense that there is a mindset and some sort or spiritual aspect that goes along with living small and sustainably. If I were to do something like this it would be hard to be selective in who lives in my community, but I would want people who live small and sustainable for a purpose, not just to be a part of a fad. My 215 sq ft home is difficult for some to grasp as a real home, but at least my crapper isn’t where I prepare my food.

  • James February 19, 2015, 4:52 pm

    I enjoy reading articles on this subject, but am disappointed by the scarcity of articles keeping in mind those who live in generally colder states (subartctic states) like Wisconsin. I’m a college grad, without interest in going the 30, 40 year mortgage route or living in a house that is dysfunctional to the lifestyle I desire. Let me know if you have something more along those lines. That’d be sweet.

  • JamBoa March 21, 2015, 11:40 pm

    I live in Arkansas. Too bad it’s not CO. As I think a small cabin community with a community recreation gathering building would be great for Senior Stoners who have done well and saved for retirement despite smoki g tbe evil weed! I have tbe land and acreage for expansion but Arkansas would have to get 4/20 friendly. It ain’t. Oh well back to CO. To visit tbe relatives and Rocky Mtn. High Colorado! Wine anyone? U gonna die anyway you live!

  • joan March 31, 2015, 6:26 pm

    I agree with Suzie. I have been thinking of this for a long time. I will be 60 this year, and though I love where I live (north of Manhattan), I can’t afford to live here much longer. Still working full time. I have a lot to offer a tiny house community…experienced hospice RN, experienced foreign language teacher …I would love to find a community in the northeast…not too far from here, maybe a little farther south. Any suggestions?

  • HUNTER March 31, 2015, 8:44 pm

    deborah, I agree with you 100%. and i have seen sheds that are way more beautiful. these look like crappy, cheap junk that as kids we threw together for club houses. sorry people, sad but true. i try not to knock most tiny’s cause’ i love them so but, these people were, HAD!!

  • sharon smithem April 1, 2015, 8:06 am

    I have been researching tiny houses for a couple years now and I would like to find where communities are located.
    Any information would be helpful. Send to [email protected]
    Thank you!

  • Crystal Austin April 2, 2015, 12:15 am

    Sounds good. It sounds as if women who have been left with little, and are homeless (or nearly), can do something for themselves.

    In Australia there are many women who, through lower Super contributions, divorce, etc, are left without adequate housing for their retirement. This sounds as if it might be a go-er.

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