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480 sq. ft. Small Home on Foundation Memphis, Tennessee

Big thanks to Dwayne for sharing these awesome 480 square foot homes that were built in the community of Orange Mound in Memphis, Tennessee. According to Wikipedia, this community was the first in the United States to be built by and for African Americans.

The homes have the same layout, but different elevations, and both sold for $55,000 (so affordable!). These one-bedroom, one-bathroom homes are new construction and show that small/tiny houses can be built on foundations!

What do you think?

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$55,000 Foundation Tiny Homes in Tennessee

480 sq feet memphis house 1 3

Images via Dwayne Jones

Clean lines inside the dining area.

9480 sq feet memphis house 1 4

Images via Dwayne Jones

Simple one-bedroom with no loft!

480 sq feet memphis house 1 2

Images via Dwayne Jones

Bathroom has a tub and shower.

480 sq feet memphis house 1 1

Images via Dwayne Jones

Living room with Cathedral ceilings.

480 sq feet memphis house 1

Images via Dwayne Jones

Here’s the second house.

480 sq feet memphis house 2 6

Images via Dwayne Jones

There is a little storage loft area.

480 sq feet memphis house 2

Images via Dwayne Jones

Space for a sectional sofa

480 sq feet memphis house 2 4

Images via Dwayne Jones

First floor bedroom.

=480 sq feet memphis house 2 3

Images via Dwayne Jones

Space in the entryway.

480 sq feet memphis house 2 3

Images via Dwayne Jones

And here’s the kitchen!

480 sq feet memphis house 2 5

Images via Dwayne Jones


  • 480 square feet
  • Orange Mound, Memphis TN
  • One bedroom
  • One bath
  • Living room with vaulted ceiling
  • Laundry setup for full washer and dryer
  • 2 ton all electric HVAC system
  • Kitchen with a double sink
  • Space for a full range
  • Full size refrigerator
  • Both homes sold for $55,000.

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Ginnie Kozak
    February 22, 2021, 11:59 am

    This shows that it can be done, and should serve as a model for affordable small housing throughout the US.

  • February 22, 2021, 12:33 pm

    If it is a remodel of a storage building, shop, barn, or garage…Well done…If from scratch, I prefer my designs with 1.5 bath, W/D/, D/W, Air-to-air exchanger, on-demand H/W/, and Mini-Split A/C….Just saying if you are going to use that much material you should get all the needed parts in 400 sqft…Lofts are always an option in most of my designs.

    • Avatar Joe Stolfi
      February 22, 2021, 12:46 pm

      You have some very interesting designs .. ..

    • Avatar James D.
      February 22, 2021, 2:46 pm

      Keep in mind that on foundations it has to follow the local building codes and zoning requirements, which can put strict restrictions on design options, depending on the specific location and the rules of the municipality there…

    • Avatar Stephan of Arkansas
      February 22, 2021, 8:18 pm

      What a lovely small house! Good for the people of Orange Mound, Tenn. I applaud and agree with your description, Mr. Bill Burgess, of what a small house (like this one) should ideally contain if built from scratch. I am not a builder, but rather an old man that has decades of interest as a layman in quality designed and constructed residential architecture. I have been fortunate to build two high quality houses for myself over the past 25 years. As a suggestion, I recommend that small houses (and big houses, too) like this be built at least 2 to 2 1/2 feet off the ground. This is obviously a slab foundation. Just make the foundation taller — even if the stem wall is filled with gravel before the final floor slab is poured. So many problems with water flooding in so many places. Even if no flooding in the Orange Mound area of Memphis, do please “lift the foundation” to at least 2 feet. I was born and grew up in the Delta, in Arkansas, just across the river and slightly north of Memphis. Believe me, your clients will bless U in the long term for raising the foundation those 2 feet. These comments are respectfully submitted. Stephan of Arkansas.

    • Avatar Dwayne Andrew Jones
      February 24, 2021, 1:07 am

      I’m the builder and it was a new build. A dishwasher would have taken 24″ of needed cabinet space and most people prefer a double sink this reducing available space. I think an additional half bath is overkill for a one bedroom home but that’s just my opinion. The house is all electric and I have not found tankless electric units effective or efficient long term. Mini splits require more maintenance and typically wall mounted units that are eyesores. Lofts are always an option but are not considered in the total square footage in a livable dwelling per our local code and my demographic does not see climbing a ladder a daily option. Thanks for your feedback but I hope my response sheds light on the decisions made for these homes.

      • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
        February 24, 2021, 2:39 pm

        Thanks for taking the time to explain it all, Dwayne! I think you did an awesome job with these homes.

  • Avatar JOE STOLFI
    February 22, 2021, 12:35 pm

    Like Ginny stated: This shows that it can be done…
    BUT you have to consider the Location .
    I don’t know anybody that would live in, or consider living in, Memphis .. .. It’s not a safe town to live in .. Please don’t misunderstand me, I like Memphis, but the statistics there frighten me ..
    For the record, I live in a 3 room, 420SF foundation home ..
    This is just MY opinion, your thoughts and opinion might be different ..
    I’m all in favor of Tiny / Small homes, but lets present then in an honest way ..

  • Avatar Patricia
    February 22, 2021, 12:59 pm

    OH MY, how perfect for an older or younger single person or couple. And not a butt ugly cheap looking job. I would buy one of these in my area in a heart beat if I had the land to put it on.

  • Avatar Sandi
    February 22, 2021, 3:32 pm

    Does the first house have a kitchen? I went back and looked three times, no picture of the kitchen. Sure would’ve liked to have seen that.

    • Avatar Alison
      February 22, 2021, 6:55 pm

      It says the houses have the same layout, so the kitchens probably look pretty much the same.

      • Avatar James D.
        February 22, 2021, 7:21 pm

        Yes, budget housing projects typically take one design and replicate it for all the lots involved in the housing project as a way to easily keep costs low. Essentially turning the building process into an assembly line process that maximizes efficiency. It’s what is generally referred to as Tract housing…

        Though, they can still differentiate the houses with different paints and other finishing touches…

  • Avatar Amber
    February 22, 2021, 4:11 pm

    Those are lovely and are well-priced! I’d like to see communities of these little homes popping up all over!

  • Avatar Cynthia
    February 22, 2021, 10:56 pm

    Are these beautiful tiny houses for sale now? Very interested in more information.

  • Avatar Linda Baker
    February 22, 2021, 11:44 pm

    Wonderful small homes – in Detroit there is a community of tiny homes built by Cass Community Services to build homes for homeless and transform lives in doing so – homes are all different and many are sponsored by non-profits and many materials/services are donated – sq footage varies but many similarities – Rev Faith Fowler has written a book “Tiny Homes in a Big City” about this

  • Avatar Halimah Muhammad
    February 22, 2021, 11:50 pm

    Where is a model in Memphis, TN to see and make an appointment? Can model be used for a place to worship?

  • Avatar William Jones
    February 23, 2021, 3:22 am

    Are any one of those homes available for rent sir. I am a single parent and a great tentant. 9012755396 William

  • Avatar Bob H.
    February 23, 2021, 6:19 am

    Land, foundation & a real house with kitchen and bath for a realistic price of $55,000, great job. Shows what can be done with proper planning.

  • Avatar Donna Rae
    February 23, 2021, 12:05 pm

    As many have said, these small homes need to be built throughout America to provide more affordable housing. It would also satisfy the desire for smaller housing for those who want to downsize just for the sake of downsizing. I also agree with putting it on a raised foundation instead of a slab. My experience with slabs is that it is hugely costly if something goes wrong with plumbing because you have to jackhammer the floor out to make repairs or changes. An insulated floor on a raised foundation is also warmer. As far as these two models, the one with a covered front door makes more sense than an uncovered one. Being protected from bad weather when trying to open your door is really nice! To be honest, I’d like it if the indentation for the door didn’t exist. Just build the house square and add a covered porch onto the front. The added interior space would be so useful. People might say it would be a boring shape but a variety of paint colors and landscaping can solve that. Overall, these are fabulous little homes and the changes I suggest are just personal preferences. More need to be approved for all communities and I have suggested that in my city in Southern California, too. Here the problem is affordability and smaller homes on smaller lots would go a long way to providing homes for middle class and lower income families who provide essential services.

    • Avatar Alison
      February 23, 2021, 2:10 pm

      I agree with Donna Rae, but in my city in Southern California, the smaller houses keep being made larger. So many of the modest two-bedroom houses of 1,000 square feet or less have been expanded, either with a second floor, or by building over what used to be a back yard. And now people with single-family lots are being encouraged to build a second unit, which usually means converting a detached garage. It’s getting much more congested, and yet the roads aren’t expanding and there’s nowhere to park. I don’t have the answers, but I do hope that affordable housing can be built with an eye to the future, with planning for the additional support services that are needed as populations grow. We tend to be short-sighted in the USA.

  • Avatar Diana
    February 23, 2021, 12:20 pm

    I was stuck in Memphis 9 years. These are nice but Memphis isn’t. Worst place I ever lived and almost died before getting out. Good to see they are improving things in Orange Mound. I lived in a very nice burb and still the place is full of hatred.

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