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$9K DIY Mortgage-free Tiny House: Interview & Photo Tour

Let Us Interview You — Share your Tiny House Story Here!

In this post we are interviewing Marcos Ribeiro of Madame Vive.

And I’ll also be getting to show you the tiny house on a trailer that they just designed and built.

Enjoy the photos and interview and ask any other questions you might have in the comments at the bottom.


Tour inside this $9K tiny house on wheels and enjoy the interview with the designer/builder below:


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Murphy Bed in a Tiny House

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Table, Storage, and Door to Bathroom

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Bathroom with Shower

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Interview with Designer and Builder of this Tiny House

Q: What’s the story behind your tiny house?

It was built to support my wife and I.

Throughout our planning, we soon realized that there is a need for this type of thing here in New Jersey and on the east coast.

We also wanted a queen sized bed and no loft. So we decided on a murphy bed.

So, during our planning phase, we decided to infuse more of an open/modern feel to our house so that we wouldn’t feel cramped or anything.

Q: What’s the size of your tiny home?

The trailer is 21′ long and we have 8′ ceilings that pitch 10′ high.

Q: How much does it weigh?

We aren’t sure of the weight but our trailer does have 10,000 lb. axles and according to our current calculations, we aren’t very close to that number.

Q: Did you buy it, hire a builder, or do it yourselves?

We built everything ourselves.

We were lucky to have my father’s supervision and expertise since he’s a retired contractor out of New York.

We did, however, hire licensed electricians and plumbers to make sure everything was up to normal code.

Q: How much did it cost to build?

A: It cost about $9,000 to build.


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Thanks Marcos Ribeiro for sharing your tiny house with us and answering some of our questions!

If you enjoyed this mortgage-free $9,000 DIY tiny home on wheels you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with more!

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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!
{ 36 comments… add one }
  • whitney
    January 22, 2014, 1:10 pm

    I love your project! My name is Whitney, I am completing a Certificate at Yestermorrow Design Build school in Warren, VT. For my project I am researching the availability of homeowners insurance for tiny homes. If you own a tiny home please take a few moments to fill out this survey. Thank you for your time! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DXXW3X3 This project is an effort to help tiny homeowners find ways to protect their investments.

    • Alex Pino
      January 23, 2014, 10:23 am

      Thanks, Whitney, best of luck with your project/research!

  • Dominick Bundy
    January 22, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Are there other windows on the other side? Looks as it only has one window.

    • Alex Pino
      January 23, 2014, 10:23 am

      Good question, Dominick. I did see some windows on the other side in one of the photos towards the top 🙂

      • Dominick Bundy
        May 17, 2014, 1:38 pm

        I noticed that as well. But They seem to be up so high , that they probably couldn’t be used to look out of. (just windows to let in natural light in maybe??) Thus it would be a tiny home with only one window..

  • David Ridge
    January 22, 2014, 2:48 pm

    When the Murphy is in the up position the “bottom” could be used as a “theater screen”.

    • michael
      January 22, 2014, 6:57 pm

      You could do so much more with murphy bed. Storage under frame that would allow you to put in clothes. Then a small table down middle. All goes up.

    • Alex Pino
      January 23, 2014, 10:20 am

      I like the theater screen idea (looks like a projector screen in the photo, doesn’t it?)

  • Michael
    January 22, 2014, 6:08 pm

    Wow, I love it although I am not sure about the floor plan.
    I am wondering why a murphy bed isn’t used more in tiny homes.

    • Alex Pino
      January 23, 2014, 10:20 am

      I’m starting to find and see more tiny homes with murphy beds but you’re right, there’s really not that many. Most people seem to go w/ the ladder to loft option which I understand due to space.

  • Mary J
    January 23, 2014, 1:25 am

    love the look of this tiny house with more conventional style kitchen cabinets, doors, etc. there appears to be a space opposite kitchen that’s hidden from view beside pantry/curtained closet that possibly is the oven and fridge. I guess the only thing I don’t like is the weathered look of the headboard of the murphy bed. I would love to see headboard in similar finish as the floor boards.

    • Alex Pino
      January 23, 2014, 10:21 am

      Thanks Mary!

  • Renée Martinw
    January 27, 2014, 11:20 am

    I like the idea of the Murphy bed; however, this one is a little too rustic looking for me and does not blend with the modern look of the house at all.

  • Ida
    January 30, 2014, 12:19 am

    The bullseye molding, six-panel door, and the raised panel cabinets are second only to the fine job you did on the design of the headboard for the bed. Congratulations on a total surprise package. It’s lovely, and I hope you spend many happy times there. Persevere through the others.

  • March 19, 2014, 9:09 pm

    They did that for $9000?

    They did that for $9000?????

    THEY DID THAT FOR $9000????????


    • Eric
      April 27, 2016, 3:58 pm

      How? Apart from the electricals and plumbing they did it all themselves. That’s how. Don’t have to pay for your own labour now do you? Also, although it doesn’t say, they could have bought materials at discount, or seconds. Scavenged reclaimed materials etc.

  • Maria
    May 17, 2014, 3:44 pm

    I was wondering where the frig is . they don’t show a cook top either.

    • Luci
      May 17, 2014, 8:13 pm

      I wondered the same thing: where is the fridge, stove , toilet, washing machine etc? These essentials are the trickiest parts of planning of tiny house or affordable house.

      • Sgmaps
        April 27, 2016, 10:28 pm

        It seems reasonable that the toilet would be in the same location as the vanity & shower, don’t you think?

  • Diana
    April 27, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Its awesome! The only thing I would do differently is I would go with a longer trailer like 28 foot and add a step up bed area instead of the murphy. I like the open concept and no loft. I wouldn’t buy one with a loft without a real staircase. But personally I don’t like closed in space where I sleep so the step up bedroom with high ceiling on the main floor would be awesome and you can always build some storage beneath that too. I would probably not care to have much furniture in living area anyway. Maybe a comfy small chair….I rarely sit at my kitchen table and spend most of my time in my bedroom now and I have a regular home.

    • Karen Blackburn
      May 31, 2018, 5:11 am

      Diana, I couldn’t agree with you more about the bed. It would be easy yo make a raised one at one end with storage below, cargo style, and you could use either a curtain or a half wall/shelving unit to screen it from the rest of the house while still keeping the open layout (because Murphy’s law states the the one day you sleep in and don’t have time to put everything away/make the bed is the one day you are expecting visitors who arrive early and with an unexpected/extra guest.

  • Theo
    April 27, 2016, 3:51 pm

    That’s a kitchen? Murphy bed is a good idea, but that ‘headboard’ looks like it was just cobbled together with found wood. The outside looks like it must be unpainted, because I sure don’t care for the look.

    Yeah, I could see $9K. But I could also see for less.

    • Sgmaps
      April 27, 2016, 10:33 pm

      I think that the headboard is made from repurposed barn board which is fashionable these days & is used a fair amount in tiny houses. By all means, let’s see what you can accomplish with $9K, it would be interesting.

      • Theo
        April 28, 2016, 12:48 am

        Sure, probably is. But that’s not enough to make it look good. It needed a trip thru a planer, then it at least would have looked presentable. The floor of the medical center I go to has all the floors made out of recycled tobacco barn wood. It was planed before being put down, and it is lovely. You’ll have to look long and hard before you see me making one of those little thingies for $9K. Mostly because I don’t want one, so am certainly not going to make one. I wouldn’t be using recycled barn wood either, prices on that are way higher now then I’d ever pay, I’d rather buy new than pay for that. However, if I were going to do one, a load of the finish work would probably be pallet wood – and every inch of it would go thru my planer first.

  • Michael
    April 27, 2016, 6:57 pm

    A great example how you can get a THOW with little money and it doesn’t look like that. However, you need expertise and some luck to find material bargains.
    I like no loft design and a murphy bed is one way to do this..
    Well done.

  • Phil
    April 27, 2016, 9:41 pm

    Meh. I don’t even see $9k here. Again, poor floorplan with roof sloped towards the door instead of the back. Aside from that it’s a liveable setup. Needs some more built-ins for storage and maybe seating in front of the bed while it’s up…

    • Sgmaps
      April 27, 2016, 10:36 pm

      Let’s see what you can do with $9K, I am sure a lot of us would be interested to see the finished product.

      • Phil
        April 27, 2016, 11:27 pm

        Lol… Ok. No bluff here… Are you the owner or something? You seem awfully sensitive to people who critique the house.

        I’m a private contractor. I do residential flips, commercial kitchens, bars and restaurants and the like from design to build. That pays the bills, tiny is my passion…

        I know what things cost. If they did their own construction and spent $9k it was wasteful unless there’s a lot of money in hidden material costs they aren’t disclosing. Could be… I just don’t see it for the size, finish, fixtures I see in the pictures…

        I just began construction on my THOW. 8.5’x19′ single story, Murphy designed for full-time living. Budget is $6k.

        I also just received plan approval for the 1st foundation built tiny house in my county for a custom designed 336sqft modern bungalow with a lofted bedroom complete with outdoor balcony and waterfall gable roof. Not counting the 5acres, septic and well, and driveway, the budget is under $50k. It will be a high end finish schedule. The build site is cleared. Picking up the permit set tomorrow. We break ground Monday on the driveway and foundation…

        It will of course all be documented during the build and I’ll setup a blog and get the info to Alex and update here. It’s very exciting times for tiny…

        Best regards

        • Sgmaps
          April 28, 2016, 12:24 am

          No, definitely not the owner, for whatever reason, it irritates me when people who most likely have not endeavoured to do something similiar are all of a sudden experts. Actually I would be very interested to see an article featuring both of your builds when completed. I am fascinated by tiny houses. Thanks for your reply.

        • Theo
          April 28, 2016, 12:58 am

          LOL Sigmaps. So you’re irritated about my comments. News flash, I’ve helped construct several buildings, and started helping my grandfather do woodworking way young – and I’m 75 now. He’s what people would call a master carpenter now, but in actuality the proper title would be journeyman carpenter, yes, there is a difference. Wnen I was a kid he designed a pallet hunting cabin, prefabed the whole thing, maybe 20X30 feet, we hauled the parts around 200 miles, put it up the next day. Later made a somewhat larger log cabin. Nowhere as experienced as Phil, but do have experience. How much do you have?

    • Marsha Cowan
      May 31, 2018, 2:22 am

      Phil, I sure do. All the cabinets were nice ones, and the counters and such were not cheap either. I built my tiny house which is half the size, maybe less, for about $5700 by the time I finished, and mine is very rustic and unpolished, so their price comes in at a good low price for the polished product they got. I think it is a great use of money overall. I would slope the roof towards the door for aesthetic reasons, it looks better and more natural. Some rain gutters will keep the rain off them when they come and go. Sometimes it is about style, not practicality. You have to like the look to love living in it, so they did what they liked.

  • Beth Grant DeRoos
    August 26, 2017, 4:36 pm

    Love the all white interior, but I needed widows windows windows in my tiny house that allow massive sunlight, especially in the winter months. Otherwise its unhealthy and depressing for me.

  • Dominick Bundy
    August 26, 2017, 9:42 pm

    I like the fact it has no loft and what appears to be a good size closet across from the kitchen galley, But Only ONE window???not counting the one way up high for natural light..

  • Marsha Cowan
    May 31, 2018, 2:13 am

    Very nicely done!! I like the roof line. It’s sleek and gives more headroom in the lofts. There is lots of well arranged storage and white makes the spaces seem larger. I like that you put your windows on the back up high to make room for much needed storage while really lighting up the place with natural light. It is good for privacy, too, which is a big issue with me. I like the way the windows are done. I also love the murphy bed. It is a very pretty look when pulled down. Some of that wood charm would look nice on the underside, too, if you had some left. Overall, it is a house of which you can be very proud and in which you can live very happily because it is exactly like you want it. . . and that’s all that every matters, right?

  • Laurie
    May 31, 2018, 9:38 am

    I think it’s fantastic that you built your own THOW for $9000. It’s beautiful. It’s interesting reading through these posts – I can’t imagine why anyone would give a rat’s patootie what *I* (or anybody else) likes or doesn’t like about your decor and windows. It’s YOUR home, it’s lovely, and you built it to suit yourselves, not a bunch of random strangers! Thanks for sharing your pics!

  • Kurt
    June 16, 2018, 4:37 pm

    @Laurie: Even though someone might not give a “rat’s patootie,” opinions (even negative ones) can be enlightening.

    I liked the corner storage in the shower.

    I would have safety concerns about the limited ways to get out of that home in case of a fire, especially if the fire began near the only window and door that appear to be available.

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