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Man Building DIY Off Grid Tiny Home for Less Than $2k Part 2

This $2k tiny home story (part 2) is a guest post by Winston W. Johnson

Here’s four more pictures of the progress on my $2k off grid tiny shelter. You can see the new heat shields and cathedral ceiling box that I built and painted with high temp black paint in the photos below.

You can also see my ‘shower’ setup, I purchased one of those old-fashioned galvanized round tubs and use it as my shower base. I installed eye hooks on the ceiling and hang a shower curtain from them. When I’m ready to take my shower I bring the tub in from outside, set it on the floor under where I’ve installed the eye hooks, hang the shower curtain and I’m good to go. When I’m done with my shower I empty the water in the tub, let the shower curtains dry over night, fold them up and take the tub back outside. It only takes a few minutes setting the shower up and/or taking it down so it’s no big deal. I use one of those pump up garden sprayers for the pressurized water to take my shower.

You can also see my newly completed front door, it’s one of those double Dutch barn door types, the picture shows the top door open. And there’s another photo of my new door with both top and bottom doors closed. Quite a lot of work went into making my new front door. Each door, top and bottom, had 18 pieces of wood that I had to cut, glue and screw in order to complete the build.

After the first of the new year I plan on adding a 4ft x 8ft deck on the front of my tiny shelter. I’ll probably install the new wood floating floor next. If you missed my original article you can click here to check it out. Please enjoy the updates and re-share below. Thank you.

An Update on My $2k Off-Grid Tiny Home


Images © Winston W. Johnson

2k-off-grid-diy-tiny-house-002 2k-off-grid-diy-tiny-house-003 2k-off-grid-diy-tiny-house-004

Images © Winston W. Johnson

Related: Man Building DIY Off Grid Tiny Home for Less Than $2k (Part 1)

Our big thanks to Winston W. Johnson for sharing his amazing and inspiring tiny house project with us!

If you enjoyed this $2k tiny house you’ll absolutely LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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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!
{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Cahow
    December 24, 2014, 10:37 am

    Too primitive for me, but if Winston and his cat enjoy it, then Bravo. I read in his original blog that he has a daughter and son so he’s obviously been with a partner/wife; this current house seems too small to have a S.O. live full time in there. But, maybe that’s the point. LOL

    Obviously, Winston & Cat are as happy as can be; good job!

  • Lisa E.
    December 24, 2014, 12:57 pm

    I’m with Cahow; a little bit too primitive for me, also. Along with going tiny and getting rid of tons of stuff, one of my THOW goals is also ‘nice and homey’.
    My two most favorite builds are the house that Uncle Pat built and the Sunnyside from Brevard builders; I’m thinking of combining Uncle Pat’s exterior with Brevard’s interior to get the best of both. But if this suits Winston and it works for him, then I’m all for it.

  • Winston W. Johnson
    December 24, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Here’s a link to 18 pictures of my tiny shelter:

    Three years ago I built my own 24ft diameter yurt, I’ve since sold it to my daughter and son-in-law. Even though my yurt had 450 square feet of living space I actually like my 8’x16′ tiny shelter better. It works for me and I’ve got slightly less than $2,500 invested in the materials so you can’t beat that. Other than a few minor flaws in my workmanship I’m actually quite pleased with my tiny shelter.
    I’ve chosen to live a simply lifestyle without all the normal amenities that most people have. Living this way means that I virtually have 0 expenses and complete freedom to do what I want when I want.

    • Cahow
      December 24, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Wilson: I viewed all photos (thank you!) and am especially fond of the scale model with the Army Man beside it. Reminded me of ‘Toy Story’. 😀

      And you’re right: YOU chose this lifestyle and it seems to suit you to a “t”. Wish there was a photo of your kitty cat friend; maybe next time? >^..^<

      • Winston W. Johnson
        December 24, 2014, 6:03 pm

        I built the scale model of my tiny shelter before I began construction back in December of 2013. The ‘army man’ is a unpainted 1/35th scale WWII German tank crewman. I been into war gaming with miniatures since 1978 so I’ve got literally thousands of miniatures.
        I just posted a picture of the cat that hangs out with me in my tiny shelter on the same link you viewed those 18 pictures. Tiki is a Birman, he’s four years old.
        Speaking of lifestyles, I haven’t owned a motor vehicle since 1998, I have two mountain bikes plus I built my own recumbent tadpole trike, it has the two wheels up front with a larger wheel in the rear. I did eventually add an electric assist as this 66 year old needs a little help on those steep hills. I’ll see if I can post a picture of my trike on the site with my tiny shelter pictures.

  • Beth
    December 24, 2014, 2:32 pm

    Maybe it’s just me, but seems men have no problem with a shower IN the kitchen.

    It’s a rustic cute place but yes, a tad to primitive for me. Is that a BIG roll top desk in photo #3???

    If the owner is happy then THAT is all that matters!

    • Cahow
      December 24, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Rest assured, Beth, you are NOT the only person who thinks that “…men have no problem with (fill in the blank)…” regarding going primitive regarding Tiny House Living!

      I’m a female architect, a rarity, so 80% of my life-long friends are men, because that’s who I basically work with. Our LONG STANDING JOKE, started by the men, themselves, is that ALL men are “feral” and women just ‘think’ that we domesticate them! LOL

      Alex recently posted about an HGTV show where people look for tiny homes to move into. I made it to episode #3 and then ditched the show; too contrived and silly for my taste. HOWEVER, 100% of the women in the show (2 as a wife, 1 solo) DEMANDED flush toilets with 0% possibility of compromise! And although the women involved wanted to go smaller, too, in the two cases where men were involved, the men kept pushing and pushing and pushing to “go more primitive,” which the wife nixed.

      I honestly think it’s what I call the “Daniel Boone Syndrome”–that buried deep within the chest of 99.9% of men, they want a “home” so tiny, that it replicates the “cave” that our ancestors first nested in. They also, if they could get away with it, would use the outdoors as their latrine and would shower only under duress or when they went ‘courtin’ and sparkin’ “. The men in the HGTV show kept asking the wife if they could move “out into the wilderness” and kept pressing for a smaller and smaller footprint to the home; ultimately, the guys were all forced to give into living near town, having running water and a flush toilet and more square footage then they originally wanted.

      If Women are from Venus, Men are from the Outback! LOL

      Viva La Difference, I guess. 😀

      • Daniel
        December 24, 2014, 5:47 pm

        I know how that is.

        If I could, I’d live on my sailboat and travel the world. But wife says, “Oh no, that’s not happening”.

        I can still dream. 🙂

    • Winston W. Johnson
      December 24, 2014, 5:53 pm

      My tiny shelter is only 8ft x 16ft, there isn’t room for a separate bathroom. Really there isn’t a ‘kitchen’ either, just a 5ft countertop with double sink. No plumbing, the sink water drains into a plastic 5 gallon bucket which gets emptied on a composting pile. No electric, no fridge, just simple livin’.
      Yes that is a roll top desk in the photo, I use it for my hobby modeling area.

  • Beth
    December 24, 2014, 3:30 pm

    Cahow I live in the California Sierra between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite so I like rustic. Can handle hauling water, modern composting toilets, hanging laundry to dry etc.

    It’s the really primitive shabby hanging shower curtain that looked messy to me. Have done my fair share of sitting in big wash tub for baths IN the kitchen.

    • Cahow
      December 24, 2014, 3:50 pm

      Hey, Beth. I was raised from birth until 16 years old on my Grandparent’s dairy farm on the Canadian border/Minnesota. NONE of the utility company’s would run lines up there because of 1) the cost and 2) the reservation. I grew up knowing nothing else but pumping water, hauling it in, milking cows by hand, taking baths in a horse trough in the mud room where the “Women Folk” took their baths first (in the same water, mind you) and then the “Men Folks” followed up. Water was heated in a giant boiler, with wood or coal, and had a tap that went right into the trough; you regulated the heat with buckets of cold water. Laundry always on the line or hanging in the parlor by the wood stove to dry; if you wanted music, you hummed or sang. Read by kerosene lamp; woke up to frost on the upper bedroom floor all Winter long.

      Nice memories but I leave that lifestyle to other folks who enjoy the novelty of it. Being raised in it, it’s the LAST choice I’d take, again. And I echo your thoughts on the shower curtain and tub, but hey!, it works for Wilson and if he wants to Put Up/Tear Down with each shower, I guess the fellow has the time to do so. Me, I lost my taste for Put Up/Tear Down a million years ago when I was at Uni and had a 12′ x 12′ studio where I had to go outdoors to change my mind. 😀

    • Winston W. Johnson
      December 24, 2014, 5:47 pm

      The shower curtain is only hanging up while I’m taking a shower, it’s then taken down, folded and put away. I don’t set in the tub, I take a standing shower. To me it’s about being functional, I understand that for most people, especially women this setup wouldn’t work. However for me it works just fine.

      • tinyhousetrisha
        December 25, 2014, 4:25 pm

        What! Been female for nearly 69 years! I have been trying to come up with something like this…it will be perfect for me and I have running water in my kitchen. I came up with the tub idea, but couldn’t figure out a good way to keep the water in the tub with the shower curtain, hooks are perfect!
        What is wrong with this ladies? It is put and taken down fight away (must or can’t use the kitchen).
        Thanks for the rest of the idea–you are a genius!

        • Winston W. Johnson
          December 26, 2014, 12:33 pm

          @ trisha, exactly my point! My tub is something like 27″ in diameter but I drew a 32″ circle on the ceiling and then placed the hooks 6″ apart on that line. All it takes for me to setup my shower is maybe 2-3 minutes. I go outside and get the tub, place a 18″ (about 3/4″ thick) piece of foam on the floor where the tub goes, set the tub down, pull out the shower curtains and I’m good to go. The reason I put a piece of foam down is because on the bottom of the tub there is a 3/4″ rim and I don’t want to stress the seam where the side meets the bottom piece of the tub. I use a pump up garden sprayer for my water supply, I only use approximately one gallon per shower. I also can use the hooks in the ceiling to hang my wet wash on if it’s raining outside and I’m not able to hang it up on the clothes line.
          Someone posted something about not wanting to take the time to set up and take down the shower like I do, but how about all the time people waste in traffic, waiting in line at Starbucks, at the bank, etc.?
          I believe in the KISS principle, keep it simple stupid.

  • Daniel
    December 24, 2014, 5:49 pm


    Nice little home there. It looks very nice like it could have cost much more. Good way to be resourceful.
    Nice job on it. Looks good.

    • Winston W. Johnson
      December 24, 2014, 6:26 pm

      Thanks Daniel, it’s been a work in progress since December of 2013. I just can’t see spending 10’s of thousands of dollars on a tiny house, my being able to build this for slightly under $2,500.00 was indeed being quite resourceful. I’ve been living in my tiny shelter since March 1, 2014 and I really do like the compactness of it. Thanks again.

  • Winston W. Johnson
    December 24, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Here’s a link with pictures of my yurt, the walkout basement the yurt is getting moved onto, my son’s 32ft diameter, two-story yurt, my recumbent trike:

  • Shirley Pray
    December 25, 2014, 2:11 pm

    Love your tiny house talk. Hoe about some information on the bathrooms ( like choices of commodes and hoe they worl), appliances such as stackable wash and dry, stoves for heat and cooking. Where do you shop for these and what is the estimated costs. I guess to say it better, I love the designs, pictures, and views but how about the ” guts” and furnishings? Thanks for all you do.

  • Ynot
    December 28, 2014, 9:40 am

    Winston, you, sir, are a genius!! You’re the perfect example of how someone can live so primitively, yet so far ahead of the times. I think your house is almost perfect, I would prefer an extra window or two, but that’s just me. I wish you peace and happiness.

  • Paul
    November 18, 2015, 9:07 pm

    I think what Winston says about the time we spend in traffic only scratches the surface in regard to how much of our time and effort us spent maintaining our lifestyle to… maintain our lifestyle. Good job Winston.

  • November 19, 2015, 6:11 am

    Is this house still available? If it is, please consider it sold. My phone number is 714-222-4596. I hope it’s not too late.please call as soon as possible. Best wishes, Teri Royal

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