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450 Sq. Ft. Concrete Block Tiny Home

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This 450 sq. ft. concrete block tiny home is completely off the grid and located in Eastern Washington. Heat comes from a classic wood stove and since there is no well yet water has to be delivered by a truck.

This concrete cabin is designed by Miller Hull and it’s called the Marquand Retreat.

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450 Sq. Ft. Concrete Block Tiny Home

450 Sq. Ft. Concrete Block Tiny Home Called the Marquand Retreat 01

Images © Steven Cridland/Miller Hull

450 Sq. Ft. Tiny Home Called the Marquand Retreat 02 450 Sq. Ft. Marquand Retreat 03

Images © Steven Cridland/Miller Hull

Learn more: http://millerhull.com/projects/all/#marquand-retreat


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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!
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Cahow
    July 13, 2015, 12:21 pm

    “since there is no well yet water has to be delivered by a truck.”

    “Huh?”, thinks Cahow, scratching her head.

    Taking a tip from that man who is camping in his friend’s back yard, can’t they capture rain water…in RAINY Washington state??? Seem excessive labor and cost to truck in what falls for FREE on your land.

    Other than that puzzler, this is quite nice and fire-proof. I’ve always wondered why there weren’t more concrete block tiny homes; they were quite popular as cabins when I was a wee lass.

    • Cheryl
      July 13, 2015, 3:42 pm

      @ Cahow
      Regarding “Taking a tip from that man who is camping in his friend’s back yard, can’t they capture rain water…in RAINY Washington state???”

      The cabin is in *eastern* Washington, which is east of the Cascade Mountains and doesn’t get nearly the amount of rainfall that western Washington does. I assume they could still capture rainwater, but there’s not a lot of it, and it doesn’t fall consistently throughout the year.

      • Cahow
        July 13, 2015, 7:40 pm

        Cheryl: Good to know! I spent quite a bit of time in Washington: Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham and all that I remember was rainrainrainrain. I appreciate the clarity. 😀

        • Denise
          January 7, 2018, 10:05 pm

          For those of us who have been around for awhile, one thing I always enjoyed as much as seeing new tiny house links was Cahow’s comments on them. Cahow, where are you? You are missed!

      • Julie
        July 14, 2015, 10:45 am

        Since it has been built near a river valley with cistern in the back perhaps it is not such a long trek to water.

    • Lynnette
      July 13, 2015, 4:46 pm

      I was thinking the same exact thing… I wish there were more pics. It’s so eye catching..

      • Cahow
        July 13, 2015, 5:44 pm

        Well, maybe it’s Super Duper ‘Special’ Water? 😉

    • mike
      July 13, 2015, 5:48 pm

      Eastern Washington has a lot drier climate than Western Washington and the entire state is going to a bit of a drought.

    • Dean
      July 18, 2015, 4:41 am

      A factoid about this place not many people either remember or were ever aware of is that one of the unique features of Washington State is that its a sort of composite of the rest of the country. There’s actually a little of everything happening here! We’re actually having an incredibly nice summer here right now. I don’t think its rained here in a couple of months….reminds me of ’68 a little.

      • Dean
        July 18, 2015, 4:46 am

        …btw, I thought the landscape looked kind of familiar so I did some research.
        Yep, I used to hunt Chukar out that way when I was a kid.
        I knew I’d seen those hills before!

    • Eileen
      March 9, 2017, 6:31 pm

      I used to live in Washington. The eastern half is very dry; only the western part is rainy.

    • Trisha Schnatterly
      May 17, 2017, 9:29 pm

      I can tell by the terrain this is located in the Palouse country of Eastern WA. Notice all the trees? Uh….no. This side of Washington is considered high desert. Very little rain. So I “get” it about having to bring in water.

    • D Holm
      November 12, 2019, 2:25 pm

      Building codes. that type construction isn’t allowed in Ca due to earthquakes. Can’t say about washington

  • Mary
    July 13, 2015, 12:41 pm

    Question the use of wood in a home designed to be fire-proof;
    Window frames, roof decking, etc. Could have used metal clad or metal.

    • David
      July 14, 2015, 3:51 pm

      But wood looks soooo much better than metal ever could. Steel rusts. Aluminium corrodes. Both are heat suckers.

      And anyway, it isn’t designed to be fire proof… it was designed to be fire resistant.

  • Carolyn Vick
    July 13, 2015, 9:11 pm

    I love the look of this house. In a small town near me there is a 2 story house made of concrete blocks that I have long admired. This one is a beauty. We need to see more of it…

  • Rue
    July 14, 2015, 4:02 am

    Like the exterior, but it’s just a pretty face without interior shots.

    Concrete block structures make sense for tiny homes – especially for the mortgage-free set. Pity most building codes won’t allow foundation-built tiny homes.

  • irishgypsy
    July 14, 2015, 9:09 am

    I love block homes but was wondering about a flat roof in snow country?? Looks like he is in the mountains which get a lot of snow. I wonder how they deal with that?

  • Riich
    July 14, 2015, 9:27 am

    without researching my old notes, I think this is a retreat not used full-time so bringing in a tanker of water (the storage is above the loo) makes sense in this arid area.
    I don’t remember the provisions for “buttoning up” the smaller windows but there is a rolling metal shutter for the sliding door.
    A very climate-specific personal shelter in an awsome setting. Still one of my favorites.

  • Liz
    July 14, 2015, 9:45 am

    Too bad there are no bedroom(s) or a bathroom. It looks like an awesome place from the outside. Why, why, why do people not show the entire house? Unless, of course, it’s trashed or unfinished.

  • Gil Aguilar
    July 14, 2015, 10:01 am

    I saw this house many years ago (at least 10) featured in, I beleive, Sunset magazine. It’s the first time I saw a “tiny house” and it was a revelation! I still have the original article torn out of the magazine in its own binder because I fell in love with the concept.

  • Gil Aguilar
    July 14, 2015, 10:05 am

    What isn’t shown is the block structure tower behind the main building that houses the water tank (at the top) and the bathroom below (I’m recalling this from memory).

  • Lisa
    July 14, 2015, 10:50 am

    Interior shots should be a requirement for posting.

    • David J
      July 14, 2015, 3:54 pm

      Then click on the link given. Then you see more shots and bigger pictures too 90% of the time.

  • Jeremy
    July 14, 2015, 11:37 am

    Some pretty stunning scenery. And the inside looks quite nice too from what they show.

  • Sondra
    July 14, 2015, 12:20 pm

    At 450 sqft I am sure it’s amazing inside, love the pics you have shown too ! Eastern Washington is beautiful also, I’ve been to Thurston County ! I live in So Cal, we’re having a bit of a drought too, the land I am looking at has no amenities so I am thinking we will be trucking in water as well, and then solar panels. A well would be fab, but pricey here, $20k plus !

  • Susan
    July 14, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I like the idea of a concrete home, but the water issue would be a problem for me, but I’m sure the same structure can be built with the needed “luxuries” in a different area, and still be off the grid. I’m sure it can be modified to include solar energy, as well.

  • Sandra
    July 14, 2015, 1:32 pm

    A lot of people live in homes with delivered water. Both my real home and my tiny house on wheels are on a delivery system. No big deal. My house is 3000 square feet and water comes once a week. (More when I had a big family here)

  • Glema
    July 14, 2015, 5:03 pm

    My daughter had a weekly water supply coming to us for awhile. (She wanted her parents to try it 🙂 ) The machine had one side cool the other hot so you could have soup or cocoa or quick oats in the am and rush out the door if need be. If we lived “out” somewhere I wouldn’t be rushing out the door and wouldn’t need that kind of thing. I was thinking for added water storage they might get some under bench style water containers like in RV’s and have more “in between” times of water delivery at least? Just a thought. Thanks for sharing and God bless!

  • Catherine
    July 14, 2015, 9:12 pm

    Concrete block houses are common in the rest of the world. I haven’t lived in a wood frame house for years. When in the US, my British husband (then boyfriend) went to hang a dartboard on my livingroom wall he didn’t realise the need to search for studs. His first attempt failed.

  • Catherine
    July 15, 2015, 12:12 am

    Awesome view!!!

  • Nanny M
    July 15, 2015, 5:25 am

    Yes , east of the Cascades is desertlike and we can see how stunning the site is. Kind of like on Hawaii, the eastern side of the state is ignored by tourist traffic.

  • Gil Aguilar
    July 15, 2015, 5:24 pm

    I have the original article from the magazine 2o years ago. There are interior shots in the article. It’s very cool.

  • Summer
    October 26, 2016, 10:59 pm

    My husband is planning to build me a house like this, except it will be about 700 sq ft, with 3 bedrooms, since we have 3 kids. I love that it will be fire resistant because our daughter was severely injured in a house fire last year. We currently live in a 300 sq ft camper.

  • Elle
    March 9, 2017, 5:17 pm

    Love, love, love the Asian doors. Warm and beautifully executed..

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 10, 2017, 6:37 am

      Yes! Super cozy spot.

    March 9, 2017, 6:21 pm

    This concrete, off grid house is exceptional to say the least.. The Shoji Sliding Doors are especially a nice touch, as is what looks to be western red ceder rafters which line the ceiling as well as what makes up those doors, and trim within, and out side in the portico roof….! Beautiful with out a doubt…

  • Natalie C. McKee
    March 10, 2017, 6:22 am

    We post what we have 🙂

  • Silver Gypsy
    March 12, 2017, 6:03 am

    @Teresa: Why is it not legal to collect rain water in Washington state?

  • CJ
    March 20, 2017, 12:09 pm

    Since 2009, it is no longer illegal to harvest rainwater for personal use. I don’t like that oversized support post for the patio cover smack in the middle. Hurts the wonderful view.

  • artforall
    January 5, 2018, 5:31 pm

    I saw this in a Sunset Magazine maybe 20 years ago! Clipped it out and saved it. Good to know it has finally come into its own.

  • rachel
    November 12, 2019, 2:02 pm

    Well some people like it. To me it looks like a garage, not attractive, but it is functional fireproof.
    I helped build a straw bale house 2 years ago. They are energy efficient, earth-friendly, and fun
    to build but very physical labor is required. I would build my own with some land and some hired
    help and add a composting toilet. To each their own. Most people are not aware that concrete
    is NOT earth friendly at all, but blocks are certainly convenient to stack.

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