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Andrea’s Mt. Kilimanjaro Tiny House Becomes Home

This is Andrea’s Mt. Kilimanjaro Tiny House that she turned into a home sweet home.

We posted this house in its “out of the factory” state a couple of weeks ago, and Andrea saw it on Facebook and told us it was her house! So now you can see how she made it home. This transformation just goes to show how personal touches really make a house, a home! She added railings, a storage staircase, and her favorite books. Enjoy!

Related: Mt. Kilimanjaro Tiny House (Before Move In)

Teacher’s Mt. Kilimanjaro Tiny Home in California

Images via Andrea

Related: Little Tahoma Peak Tiny House by Tiny Mountain Houses


Images via Andrea

From Andrea: 

I’m a teacher in an area of California where houses are ridiculously expensive (Santa Cruz and Santa Clara County). A tiny house was my best option for a house of my own. I have it on my cousin’s property, which used to belong to my grandma. I love that my rent helps them keep the family farm and keeps me close to family.

The house was delivered in June, and I had the summer to build and add storage and get properly moved in. I had the builder keep it simple inside and not add any storage or railings so that I could do that myself.

I opened up the loft pass-through and added a longer beam so that I could build the stairs and not hit my head when going up them (I’m glad I tackled this before moving in, because in a tiny space sawdust goes everywhere!). I welded the brackets for a railing/book shelf along the loft, which also hides the bed from downstairs, and welded the posts for a matching railing around the stairs opening. I also built a storage bin on the wheel well near the stairs so that I had a place to stash shoes and jackets, and so the cats could look out the windows.

I know most people in tiny houses just get e-readers, but I’m stubborn and I like the feeling of turning the pages, so I wanted to make as much room for books as possible. The stairs I built to double as a bookcase and my kitchen pantry. The stamped metal doors are supposed to be like an old pie safe. They also let my dog go up to the loft at night to sleep.

The deck doubles the amount of living space, and after my dad and I built it over the summer that ended up being my main living room. I decided that I would rather have a large kitchen than a large living room. The living room seems small, but since I only use it for working on the computer or watching tv, it really only needs to hold a sofa, my electronics, and not much else.

I have a 40ft shipping container with 2 roll up doors as my garage and shop. I keep the tools, welder, outdoor gear, bicycles and motorcycles in it, as well as a little bit of storage for the house. Yes, the garage is technically larger than my house, but I like building things and always have a few projects going on, so it works perfectly.

I have a rule that anything in the house has to have 2 functions. The ottoman in the living room opens for storing my electronics, the train luggage rack under the tv holds tv electronics but also has hooks for coats and bags, and the kitchen stool at the breakfast bar is also the stepping stool. If it takes up space but is only good for 1 thing, I swap it out for something else more functional.


Related: Castle Peak Tiny House by Tiny Mountain Houses

Our big thanks to Andrea for sharing!

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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 three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Annette
    December 21, 2016, 11:47 am

    So, is it technically legal to park on the family farm?
    Great call on that deck.

    • Natalie
      December 22, 2016, 7:42 am

      Good question. It would depend on the town, I’m sure. In some places, yes it is. — Tiny House Talk Team

      • Kathy
        May 16, 2017, 8:46 pm

        Natalie, I believe Gov Jerry Brown here in CA enacted in late 2016(?) legislation allowing ADUs on most properties in the state. you might wasnt to research it — it would make a great story for all to know about!!

        • Natalie C. McKee
          May 17, 2017, 11:27 am

          Oh thank you Kathy! I will do some research.

        • Kathy
          May 17, 2017, 2:47 pm

          Natalie, I have some info sent to me via an email by a Sonoma County THOW builder that will save you a LOT of research time. What email should I forward this to? You can reply to my personal email and I will forward to you that way….

  • Janne Zack
    December 21, 2016, 4:28 pm

    Great job! I think the shape, though simple is really the best shape for maximum cubic inches inside. The loft is fantastic especially if you have pets.

    Things I like:
    HUGE kitchen
    Spacious bathroom
    Washer/dryer (A+)
    Stairs with storage that varies and the punched tin is cute!

    The only things I don’t like:
    I wish there were just a couple more feet for the “living room” It would be ample for one person, but there’s really no walk-around room, but still, I could live with this, so it’s just a “i wish it were bigger”
    The sink in the bathroom. Personally, I’m not a fanatic about having a separate sink in the bathroom since there is a perfectly great sink 2 steps away, but trying to brush your teeth in that cubby hole of a sink has GOT to be difficult. Better use of space would have been closet or linen space.

    BUT, overall, this is an A+ unit! The deck is absolutely gorgeous. I hope you live somewhere that has mild weather so that you can use it all year long!

    Way to go!

    • Natalie
      December 22, 2016, 7:38 am

      It really is an awesome house 🙂 Funny you like the idea of using the kitchen sink! There was a house that did that and we got so many responses about how much they hated it! — Tiny House Talk Team

      • Janne Zack
        December 23, 2016, 10:16 am

        I know, most people are creeped out about the need for another sink in the bathroom, when literally 3′ away is a sink. In a commercial bathroom (think theater) the sinks are often 20′ away from the stalls. Does that creep out anyone? I once knew a lady who would FREAK out if you used the kitchen sink (in a big house) as a mop rinsing place. She was apparently unaware that the sink CAN be de-germ-ified.

        As a home designer with regards to tiny houses, you literally need to account for every cubic inch of space. Adding a tiny IKEA sink into the tiny bathroom is fine, but why go through that expense is all I’m saying. I LOVED your house! Really! You did a fantastic job. I’m actually a LOT envious!


        • Natalie
          December 23, 2016, 10:30 am

          Oh it wasn’t me who was grossed out! I think it’s completely reasonable to go without in a small space. I just remember a couple weeks ago seeing a stream of comments from people upset about no bathroom sink haha, so I liked seeing your different opinion 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

        • Donna
          January 27, 2017, 11:57 pm

          I don’t get the big deal about a sink either!

        • Sondra
          May 16, 2017, 2:29 pm

          Agreed on the sink, makes no difference to me if I use the kitchen sink, I guess I rather have my toothbrush in the kitchen then next to the toilet right ?

    • Andrea
      January 27, 2017, 9:56 am

      Ok, I secretly do hate the bathroom sink… I have an evil plan to build a little Bay window out over the tongue of the trailer for the sink, and make the current spot a linen closet and possible spot for a tank less water heater. Someday.

      • Donna
        January 27, 2017, 11:53 pm

        That’s sounds like a great plan, sure beats taking clothes you wear the most back up to the loft when the washer is right there.

  • Claude
    December 21, 2016, 5:53 pm

    Nice tiny home, like the way to the loft, discreet with a nice stair arrangement.

    • Natalie
      December 22, 2016, 7:32 am

      I agree — very nice! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Bruce CG Gallagher
    December 21, 2016, 8:32 pm

    I like your 2 uses per item rule….does the toilet comply? lol

    • Natalie
      December 22, 2016, 7:24 am

      Haha 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Patty
    December 21, 2016, 11:33 pm

    A very homey place! I love the bookcases and the large open loft. Nicely done!

    • Natalie
      December 22, 2016, 7:24 am

      Agreed! Loved her loft. — Tiny House Talk Team

  • December 22, 2016, 8:21 am

    This is a clever and beautiful house. I love the high storage over the couch and the washer as well as the elevated bookcase. They are useful without looking makeshift as in some inhabited tinies. Headroom looks great and the loft is huge. I love the use of the counter to separate living room from kitchen and provide an eating space. I would change locations of toilet and sink so that sink counter could extend over washer. I’d add a door to the blind corner kitchen cabinet under the bar for better access. The couch is a perfect fit and looks like it might sleep a guest (maybe two!) and have storage underneath. Wonderful kitchen too. A great, though tiny, house.

    • Natalie
      December 23, 2016, 11:59 am

      Yes she did such an amazing job with the home! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Susanne
    December 25, 2016, 5:11 pm

    Very nice! And it was pure genius using the shipping container as inexpensive storage….:)

    • Natalie
      December 27, 2016, 11:54 am

      Yes it was 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Sarah
    January 7, 2017, 1:56 pm

    Couple’a things stood out to me right away, maybe different from others. LOVED the use of yellow as accent color, yellow and gray are terrific. Also loved the punched tin you used in the doors for storage under the stairs. I don’t really get into the arrangement of the THOW as much as the way that people personalize it, that’s what’s the most fun, to me anyway.

  • david
    February 2, 2017, 3:29 pm

    One of the most beautiful tiny homes ever!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 3, 2017, 6:00 am

      It’s fantastic 🙂

  • Michael Hsu
    February 10, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Love the unit. Would like to buy one.
    I live in Santa Clara county. Is it legal to park at residential area?
    Any suggestion about the hook ups?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 13, 2017, 9:09 am

      Hi Michael, You’d have to ask the zoning board in Santa Clara 🙂 I recommend either RV or off-grid 🙂

  • Suzanne
    May 16, 2017, 5:33 pm

    This is a very nice home. I couldn’t live without my animals and books either and both of these have been accommodated for very nicely. I’m sure everyone living there is very happy.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 17, 2017, 11:30 am

      People always do a great job finding space for what they love!

  • Kathy
    May 16, 2017, 9:01 pm

    Love it, love it, love it. Congratulations onan excellent design!

  • Mary. Jones
    May 16, 2017, 9:50 pm

    I have found my house plan for the right price and a park community that is just fantastic. I have been worrying about restrictions on dogs and this place even has a doggie park!! The last few days I have been so excited! Then after a few days of phone tag I finally get ahold of the manager of this community park. A new home brought in their community will cost me $30,000…..$15,000 for hook ups to sewer, water and tie downs etc and $15,000 for infrastructure costs….landscaping, keeping roads paved nicely etc etc. that sure kills it for me!! Have you, Natalie, or anyone else heard of this before? I knew I had to pay something, but $15,000??? Do any of you know of a ballpark figure? This place is going thru an auction in August and has not been kept up at all, but they have been working on it. I guess they can work on it more with all my money. My dreams smashed in front of me….man oh man, my house is only going to cost $40,000!!! These are all Park Model Homes in The Wildflowers Village in Flat Roxk , N. Carolina. Mine is almost 37′ x 12′, no loft. Great size for two people. Since I am a bit older and a single retiree, it meets all my needs and then some. If you have any suggestions as to other park communities, I would appreciate the ideas. I prefer Tennessee, since I live here now, and Florida as no state income taxes. Texas as well but a long ways away. Thank you all very very much for any help you can give me. Mary

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 17, 2017, 11:26 am

      Hi Mary! To be honest, there are not many tiny house communities out there, so I’m not sure what a “ballpark” figure would be. Will you own the land after giving them the money? Or is it simply to rent the lot? I know that Vintage Grace in Texas has a similar business plan where you purchase a park model and live in the community, so you might want to contact them and compare the business style: http://www.vintagegracetexas.com/life-style-new.html I’m so sorry that it’s so expensive! I am so sad that your dreams were crushed 🙁 Because they are going through auction in August, it might be wise to wait on The Wildflowers Village until after you see what happens to it — I’d hate you to give them money before you know what will become of the park. Feel free to email me at [email protected] to talk about this more!

  • Michael L
    May 17, 2017, 3:40 pm

    This turned out so beautiful. Just goes to show all the opinionated folks from the first posting, when it was just from the factory, what a tiny can look like when it becomes a home!

    I’m so happy for you.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 18, 2017, 4:26 pm

      Precisely! “Home” comes with your personal touches 🙂

  • Donna Rae
    February 19, 2022, 8:51 pm

    Though I would make a few changes, I wanted to give huge kudos to all of the great storage, especially using the stairs and privacy divider for book shelves! We hear all the time about people who choose just a few books, if any, to have in their tiny home and it’s a terrible shame because books add so much to the positive feel of a home. I love tiny houses but I think I’d like to add to the length in order to have just a bit more breathing room. This is the perfect way to save money for terribly underpaid and under appreciated teachers. Thank you for your service to America’s children!

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