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How this Woman Built a Tiny House on Wheels: Interview with Sarah Myers

Meet Sarah Myers who built her own tiny house using Dan Louche’s Tiny Living construction plans (affiliate).


I had the chance to interview Sarah earlier this year to ask her about this project which you can listen or read the transcript below. If you’re wondering, she sold the house because she has no need for it at this time.

It’s beautifully finished and ready for an excited new owner who wants to live the simple life of freedom. I would love to get to purchase this house, it’s very well done.

Sarah Myers Small House Big Adventure Open Tiny House

To enjoy our audio interview with Sarah just hit the play button below or read the transcript:

Interview with Sarah Myers, Tiny House Builder

Transcript

Alex: I’m Alex Pino of TinyHouseTalk.com and I’m here with Sarah of SmallHouseBigAdventure.com. She just finished building her very own tiny house on a trailer. So, Sarah, tell us how this whole tiny house thing got started for you.

Sarah: Well, really, my mom sent me a YouTube video on tiny houses. I think like a year ago and I just fell in love with them from the get go. And eventually I was able to include it as a key study in my master’s thesis.

Alex: So you used it as a project for your master’s degree, right?

Sarah: Exactly.

Alex: How has the reaction been at school with the project, you know, specifically with your teachers and your classmates?

Sarah: Well it’s been pretty overwhelming, and mostly lately. I’ve completely finished my master’s and I was done with my thesis back in July but it wasn’t until just the past couple of weeks that my professors and even faculty and staff at the school have really taken notice of it. Part of it has to do with I’m posting it up at the campus for the news and media and little get-togethers but everyone seems to be really excited about it. Most of the student population is military. The American Military University so it’s not really something that you see a lot of the students do.

Alex: I’m curious, did you notice by any chance if people had already heard about them [tiny houses] before or were you someone who brought it to their attention first?

Sarah: I’d have to say I brought it to the attention first and being in the tiny house realm for a while now I also forget how many people are still unfamiliar with the whole concept so it surprised me that I’d say probably three out of the hundreds of people I’ve shown the house to already knew about tiny houses.

Alex: Wow that’s not very much I’m always curious about that because I’m always diving into this stuff everyday but in my normal everyday life outside of my work in the tiny house world hardly anyone really knows about it.

Sarah: Exactly. It still surprises me every time it happens when someone thinks, “it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!”

I’m like, “really there are hundreds of these being built right now.” (laughing)

Alex: (Laughing) So you’ve gotten to tow it around, right? Because you went to at least 3 or 4 different places to kind of show it off?

Sarah: Yeah we towed it with my dad’s F-150 which isn’t technically rated to tow the house.

Alex: With an F-150 you said? Oh wow.

Sarah: Yeah, we got it to I think a maximum of 60 MPH on the highway and that was good enough but it’s very interesting to tow. I haven’t actually got into the driver’s seat because I really didn’t want to be the one towing the house.

Alex: (Laughing)

 Sarah: Because if something happens to it. But it went a lot smoother than I expected.

Alex: That’s cool. Yeah I always wondered what it would be like to tow with a smaller truck and I know for long distances it wouldn’t be a good idea but if you can definitely pull it off for some short rides I guess.

Sarah: Yeah I think the one-way trip up there was four hours so…

Alex: Oh wow.

Sarah: Yeah. It could at least handle that. I don’t know how my dad’s truck is doing but so far… (laughing)

Alex: (Laughing) So what has it been like showing it off to people?

Sarah: It’s been great I think that’s actually my favorite part of this. The outreach and education I’ve been able to provide to everyone else because I learned a whole lot building it but people who don’t know anything about the movement are learning so much in such a small amount of time because they actually get to walk in one. And it’s just really neat to see the naysayers go inside the house and their face lights up and they admit how much bigger it feels then what they were expecting when they looked at it on the outside. I mean that’s the coolest part. I’ve only had a few people say that they could never even sleep in it for a weekend. Those people when they get in it they could use it as a camper or some kind of occasional house.

Alex: Right, right. That’s really interesting. You built this as a project for your master’s degree so you’re not going to live in it right?

Sarah: That’s right. I sadly have to part with it because part of the deal was getting a loan from “bank of dad” was that I would repay the loan complete. So I will be selling it and I have a few people interested. Ironically most people from the D.C. area who probably live in larger homes are getting really interested in it. So we’ll see how that plays out. I would love to live in it myself but I’m in a 250-square-foot apartment right now so it’s not that much bigger than the tiny house but I would still rather downsize more if I could keep it.


Alex: I’m curious if you did want to live in it, and where you live right now, how feasible is it? Do you think you’d have a challenge parking it somewhere and living there peacefully?

Sarah: Well my specific situation no. My parents own a really big non-working farm so we have a lot of acreage. And it could be parked somewhere. I know a lot of people park it in land out of sight so they don’t get caught but if it got really cold or if I couldn’t really live in it full-time I could put my address at my parents house or what have you but if I didn’t have my parents to rely on it would be tough around here just because of the building laws.

Alex: Definitely. Can you tell us how much it cost you to build?

Sarah: You know honestly I still have some details to put into it and I haven’t calculated the cost for the last three months but we’re in the $20,000s right now so I can at least ballpark it but I’m not sure how much I put it into it because every time I think we’re done there’s another $100 here or $200 there and things just keep sneaking up on me so we’ll see hopefully not very much more.

Alex: Cool, thank you. You used some plans to kind of guide you at the beginning, what plans did you end up going with?

Sarah: Yeah I got plans from TinyHomeBuilders.com because I liked the roofline better than most of those on the Tumbleweed Houses. I loved elements about both so I sort of took one and combined parts of the other and some other cool features that other people have on their blog so I tried to incorporate as many cool ideas as I could. And really I think what most people don’t realize with plans is that unless you get a trailer that’s the exact specifications plans start to become just guidelines and you end up calculating all of the numbers and angles yourself so we ended up using it more as guideline but they were super helpful.

Alex: Yeah it’s true because a lot of the trailers are completely different, right?

Sarah: Exactly and even if you order… You tell them I want an 8 by 20 trailer it doesn’t really mean 8 by 20 it could mean 7’10” by 19’5” or whatever their specifications happen to be.

Alex: Right, that’s interesting to know, yeah. Construction experience… What kind of experience did you have with building things before you took on this project?

Sarah: I could hang a picture and (laughing) I think I could saw through some wood with a handsaw but really I hadn’t had a lot of legitimate experience. My main help was that my dad was a general contractor so it really helped. I would be wandering around on a construction site. It was all commercial so huge construction site so I wasn’t scared of these things [tools] because I saw people using these things everyday. And so I knew that it could be safe and that I could do it. It also helped having him there to make sure I didn’t screw up. But I gained a lot of experience doing this. I could do more than hang pictures now.

Alex: And how does that feel, I bet that must feel so cool to look at that [the house] and know that you did that from hardly having any experience to doing something like that?

Sarah: Yeah it’s an amazing feeling I mean I’m sure I’m going to build another tiny house in my life time probably for the next couple of years because I still want one for myself so it’s really empowering knowing that whether it’s a tiny house on a trailer or maybe it’s a stationary house I can do most of the things that are needed like framing walls and installing those and even doing some plumbing and electrical. It’s really just the muscle and then a couple of specialized items that I would need help with at some point.

Alex: So to wrap things up where can people follow what you’re doing and maybe if anyone is listening and they’re interested in buying your house or they just want to check it out where can they find all that?

Sarah: My blog is SmallHouseBigAdventure.com and I continually update it with little projects I have going on and you can contact me through comments on there my email is waywardwillow at gmail dot com where I can also be reached at.

Alex: Awesome, thank you so much Sarah I really appreciate you chatting with us here and taking the time I know you’re real busy.

Sarah: (Laughing) Yep, always. But yeah it’s been my pleasure.

Alex: Thanks!

***

Sarah Myers Tiny House on Wheels Project (2)

Sarah Myers Tiny House on Wheels Project (3)

Sarah Myers Tiny House on Wheels Project (1)

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To head on over to Sarah’s blog to learn more about her house click here.

If you want to purchase the plans she used to help build her tiny house using my affiliate link click here.

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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!




{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Jeff Larnder December 8, 2012, 1:34 pm

    what is the point of having a video that is only audio?
    I love your video tours of these tiny houses, but again, why would you make a video that is only audio recording of your interview? kind of misleading … there should be a way to add the interview to the site noting it is only audio instead of being a YouTube video.
    I know this is kind of picky but it is 1 of my pet peeves … kind of like spending a dollar to make a penny or hitting a fly with a sledgehammer

    • Alex December 8, 2012, 2:46 pm

      Hey Jeff I understand it kind of stinks not getting video but I put a lot of work into putting that together. In the future I’ll think about putting even more work into it and adding a photo slideshow, etc. I sure wish I could fly over to Sarah and do a real video but I’m not working with that kind of funding. Just remember that it’s free. Anyhow, I appreciate your support of the site, coming here and reading, and listening and hope that besides being peeved by not getting video that you enjoyed the interview..

    • Alex December 8, 2012, 2:50 pm

      Glad you said it, though, Jeff because gave me some ideas… In the future I can ask people I interview to make a video tour that I can possibly insert while the interview plays and I’m sure everyone would enjoy that more. Or just add a photo slideshow. Thanks.

    • Alex December 8, 2012, 2:51 pm

      Reason I used YouTube is because it’s easiest for me and it’s free to host and play the files. If I just use an audio play button on the site I have to host the files myself and pay a few pennies every time it’s played but the cost adds up because fortunately we have lots of readers/viewers/listeners.

  • Sharon December 8, 2012, 3:46 pm

    Alex, I hate to sound picky but, if Sarah was a guy in his mid-twenties, would you title your article “How This BOY Built a House…?” Show some respect!

    • Alex December 8, 2012, 4:33 pm

      Hey Sharon, no, I thought about that too after I published it but didn’t change it.. It would’ve been better if I would’ve typed Young Woman instead. I do respect Sarah very much though.

    • Alex December 8, 2012, 4:43 pm

      I added a correction to the top of the post. Thanks for pointing it out to me Sharon.

  • Mike December 8, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Hey Alex,

    I feel bad that you had to take such a raking from Sharon and Jeff. I am sure that I speak for the majority of of the fans of “Tiny House Talk”,that we are very happy that someone like you is willing to put the time and energy into providing a wonderful service for those of us who are interested in the tiny and small house movement. AND… They both said they were being “picky”.

    Keep up the good work and dont get discouraged because you are working with the public and this kind of thing is to be expected from time to time. Someone once said “You cant please everyone But if you please yourself then at least one person is happy”.

  • val December 8, 2012, 7:03 pm

    Hey Alex,

    Seems you have a few people jumping on you in reference to this interview. While I agree with Jeff’s sentiments his delivery left a little to be desired. Your patience in answering him though alerted me to the whys and thus I am a little less critical and understanding as to why you went the YouTube route for an audio only interview. And again, while I agree with Sharon that the use of “Girl” was inappropriate I feel her accusing you of “not respecting” Sarah was way over the top. Yes in today’s world calling a young woman “girl” can seem disrespectful especially when compared to the “boy” reference. However once I have my Tiny House completed, and I send you the video, you must promise (when you do the interview by phone) to call me “girl” as the older I get the more attractive the title “girl” looks to me. It’s ironic that there was a time in my life that equality and perceived equality was key. Now I find reading between the lines and observing (or in this case listening) to the actual interview fully demonstrated how respectful you were. How did Sarah feel about the title one must ask? Only critism or should I say question I have for you, is “What subject was her Masters on by the way?

    • Alex December 8, 2012, 10:56 pm

      Hey Val, I love different perspectives. It’s all good I’m just grateful to get to do all of this and have people coming through listening and reading. I have some girl friends who are in the late 20s, early 30s and they call each other “girls” in playful ways. Sometimes I find myself describing a 30-something year old man a “kid” because 30s are still young. It’s all relative, isn’t it? Anyways thank you so much for your kind thoughts and I promise to call you “girl” when we do our interview! And I’ll have to ask Sarah what her major was, can’t believe I didn’t think to ask.

  • Zanab December 9, 2012, 12:32 am

    Hey Alex!
    Very interesting content and great story! 🙂
    Thank you so much for your hard work!!!

  • Carolyn B December 12, 2012, 5:30 pm

    Alex, as you already know, I am 1 of your fans who loves to hit the audio then read along with the transcript. I thank you so much for this. I do think the idea of a slideshow is good. I always want interior shots & with humans in them to show perspective.
    Now with Jay S. doing a tiny community, I’m definitely perpetually hooked on the tiny/small house movement. If you find anyone who’s doing it with handicap access, know I’ll be your biggest fan on that post.

    • Alex December 13, 2012, 1:12 pm

      Thank you so much Carolyn! Hmm, I bet Jay can create a custom ADA accessible tiny house in his community/village.

  • Sarah M. December 13, 2012, 8:48 am

    Sarah’s take: “girl” is fine. Young woman is fine. Whatevs 🙂 Because either way I usually feel like I’m way older than I am anyway.

    Also, Val asked about my major. It was Environmental Policy & Management, and my concentration was in Environmental Sustainability.

    • Alex December 13, 2012, 1:13 pm

      Hi Sarah, thanks!! I was wondering about your major too. Once Val mentioned it I was like jeez, why didn’t I ask when we talked.

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