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Couple Build 176 Sq. Ft. Sustainable Tiny House

This 176 sq. ft. sustainable tiny house is a guest post by Kristen Edge – share yours!

This is the tiny house my husband, and somewhat myself, built. We used a 32′ trailer we bought from someone who was tearing down a mobile home park and put our house on it. The house is about 22′ x 8′, the deck is 9′ (still on the trailer), and the rest of the length is the tongue and our little shed in the back.

We used primarily reused materials including redwood from an old deck (which we sanded and refinished to become our deck) that we got off Craigslist. Some free old barn wood from Craigslist, the engineered, maple hardwood floor was project leftovers that we got on Craigslist, an old cedar fence from Phoenix as our siding, and most of our fixtures and other odds and ends from Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Please enjoy, learn more and re-share below. Thank you!

Couple Build 176 Sq. Ft. Sustainable Tiny House

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Images © Kristen Edge

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We also tried to limit our use of chemicals. So the only chemical in the house is Polyurethane which we put on the wood in the shower, the counter tops, and the cabinet doors. Other than that, we have natural stain on the deck and outside of the house and everything else is chemical free. We even had to get a doctor’s note to get an organic futon mattress for the living area (because it doesn’t have flame retardants in it).

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The house has R23 insulation in the floor and walls and R25 in the ceiling. We used rock wool in the walls, cellulose in the floor, and a mixture of rock wool and foam board in the ceiling.

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We will also be using passive solar to heat the house during the winter, while the mounted solar panels function as awnings to keep the sun out of the house during the summer.

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We started work on the house in August of 2014 and are just now almost finished a year later. It took much longer than we thought it would because my husband, with little to no experience, did everything from drafting and framing, to carpentry, electric and plumbing as well as our solar array.

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And the entire house was built with our solar. We started the house using battery-operated tools but ended with more power tools, all run off our solar grid.

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We are completely off-grid regarding electricity; we have 4 panels with 1120 watts of solar, which can last us 3 days without any sun, and 8 batteries that provide 10.8 kilowatt hours. For the bathroom, we have a sun-mar excel non-electric composting toilet, which has probably had the biggest learning curve, but it is worth it because we use zero water. Especially in Northern Arizona, that is a big deal.

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We run on a typical 120 volt AC. For water, we hook up every couple of days and store the water in our Well-Trol tank that pressurizes our water supply and holds about 10-15 gallons when we aren’t plugged in.

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Images © Kristen Edge

VIDEO: The Edges’ Sustainable Tiny House Video

VIDEO: The Edges’ Sustainable Tiny House Video: Part II

Learn more: https://edgeofgreencasitas.wordpress.com/


Our big thanks to Kristen for sharing with us!

You can share this amazing tiny house story with your friends and family for free using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Thanks.

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Andrea is a contributor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the Tiny House Newsletter! She has a passion for sharing tiny and small house stories and introducing you to new people, ideas, and homes.
{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Kelly
    July 28, 2015, 6:26 pm

    Cute place! Can you share about your slatted shower floor? That’s what I want to do. Where does it drain?

    • Dave Edge
      July 28, 2015, 8:45 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      We did our shower the difficult (an now I think dumb) way. I made a shower pan from scratch with aluminum flashing and caulk because the size is custom and custom-made shower pans aren’t cheap. You can buy a used shower pan from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a good price and build up around it. Our redwood slats rest on 1x material. I just ran some scrap wood down the length of the shower and cut the boards such that they rest on that.

      Good luck with your house,


  • Oliver Spankypants
    July 28, 2015, 9:44 pm

    I love this place!! GO FLAGSTAFF!!

  • Dixie Whitley
    July 28, 2015, 10:22 pm

    Kristen, I LOVE your home!!!
    You and your hubby did a wonderful job designing this and what a good job of reclaiming used materials.
    He may have been an amateur, but we can tell this is WELL built and done with love.
    Such a smart couple–you will do well in life!!

  • Marsha Cowan
    July 28, 2015, 10:58 pm

    I have seen this house before and really liked it. Clever design and beautifully done.

    • Marsha Cowan
      September 1, 2015, 1:00 pm

      Okay…so I am seeing this house for the third time, and I am still blown away by the interior organization, structure, and beauty. Really well done tiny house!

  • Porcsha S.
    July 28, 2015, 11:22 pm

    What a fantastic job! Your home is truly a labor of love. Well done keeping the build eco-friendly.

  • Patty
    July 29, 2015, 12:25 am

    Very nice job! I love all the wood and how you used it. My favorite, however, is your mosaic window. Very beautiful!

  • Nanny M
    July 29, 2015, 8:29 am

    What a wonderful, sensible space. You seem to have considered every aspect. Intelligent.

  • Liz
    July 29, 2015, 10:10 am

    I like this little house. I love how the wood walls make it look so cozy. I would love to know, however, how anyone makes a bed with no room on the sides to move around. I’ve made a bed in a camper that was that way but found it so inconvenient. Is there a different, easier way to do that?

    • Kristen Edge
      July 29, 2015, 10:57 am

      Hello Liz,
      The bed not having room on the sides was a compromise because dave really wanted the tall shower which necessitated a smaller loft width. I used to be obsessed about having a made bed before I got in but have long since gotten used to only making it for company so it looks nice. There is definitely some maneuvering when we I do make it; I just stay on the bed to get the covers on, then straighten it while sitting at the base of the bed. Thank you for your kind words,

  • Tom Zollinger
    July 29, 2015, 11:24 am

    First. My email is all lower case.

    I had planned on all gas lights, gas range. Solar, I thought, was too d—— expensive. Now, reconsidering. I am old, a bit disabled, but have a huge forest that I call my farm. I won’t live there long — only until I pass on, but your ideas might make it more comfortable.

    Flag is now a tempting drive.


    • David Edge
      August 2, 2015, 5:39 pm

      Hi Tom,

      The line where you filled in your email address is for the use of the ‘tinyhousetalk’ web hosts; we don’t have access to it. I would be happy to give you a tour of our home and explain our off-grid setup. Feel free to contact me using the following link: https://edgeofgreencasitas.wordpress.com/contact-us/

  • August 2, 2015, 10:20 am

    This house is an inspiration to me. I want something a bit bigger but I might be able to adjust to the smaller size. If you don’t mind me asking in all told, how much did you spend.
    And lucky, lucky you for getting a free trailer!

    • David Edge
      August 2, 2015, 5:34 pm

      Hi Beth,

      I’m glad you were encouraged by our experience; that’s been our goal in sharing this with everyone. The trailer wasn’t actually free. I’m sorry that was unclear. I believe our total came in at roughly $17k including the solar setup. It’s really all of the little things that add up. Sustainable products, such as insulation that is nontoxic, cost a bit more overall, and the off-grid utilities were a significant cost as well.

      We lived in a travel trailer for several months while building and absolutely hated it. Having large windows, high ceilings, and lot of natural wood make the house feel very comfortable and open. I would suggest renting a tiny house on vacation or walking through some houses near you to experience it for yourself firsthand.

      Best of luck,

      Dave & Kristen

  • August 4, 2015, 7:03 pm

    They did a great job! I really like how they used solar panels as awnings.
    A big thumbs-up from me!

  • Liz
    September 1, 2015, 1:39 pm

    The inside looks considerably nicer than the outside. I LOVE the blue tiles on the window.

  • Sharee
    September 1, 2015, 3:00 pm

    After seeing so many McMansions, houseboats, yurts, and other homes that I don’t consider belong in the Tiny House list, it is good to see this one. This epitomizes the movement. Beautiful. I also love the use of solar panels as awnings. Thank you.

  • Marcy
    September 1, 2015, 7:02 pm

    I am always impressed when I see a house that inexperienced people built themselves. And with reclaimed materials?! Your place in charming and I hope, should I ever get the courage up to build myself, that my place turns out as well as yours.

  • Grace
    September 2, 2015, 1:44 pm

    I loooove the house! I am quite young but I would like to start building a tiny house for myself. I love the placement of the solar panels and if you don’t mind, I may use that idea in my tiny house. I would like to know how you designed your tiny house. Did you use Sketchup by any chance?

    • David Edge
      September 2, 2015, 9:33 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Grace. We simply sketched our scaled designs on graph paper. Please take all you can from our experience – that’s why we’ve shared it. If your interested in building sustainably read up on passive solar design. I’d also recommend being flexible so that you can incorporate materials as you find them. Also, you can learn everything from carpentry to plumbing on YouTube. Best of luck and feel free to ask questions through our blog: https://edgeofgreencasitas.wordpress.com/

  • Catherine
    October 13, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Congratulations on a job well done! It’s great to see someone with the initiative and confidence to start from zero experience and learn as they go. I’m glad to see that you also invested in adequate insulation. So many of the tiny homes that I see shown on this site are under-insulated.

  • Diana
    October 13, 2015, 9:57 pm

    I have to say it reminds me of how homes used to be built long ago. Its so lovely. You have great ideas and it just seems more spacious than most the way you did everything. I really like the kitchen layout and the loft with closet. Seems very spacious in the living area and the bathroom as well. Well done!

  • October 14, 2015, 12:31 pm

    Hi Kristin & Dave,

    You guys are ingenious, I love all of your tiny home. You have a lot of creativity!! What a great idea to take solar panels and use them for your awinings & roof over your deck. Who would have thought of that. Not only are you collecting the sun to warm your home for the winter, but your using them for shade in the summer. What a great idea to have a shed attached to your home to house all of your outdoor equipment. I love your floor on your deck, you had a clever idea to make stools, and use them for a place to hold your solar equipment and a table that not only serves to use to sit at but you came up with a great idea to house your freezer in. Awesome flower box to hold your plants, you did a nice job!! I just love how you have the shelves set up for your books and one for your plants!! I like how you have a place for everything in your loft area. You don’t normally see a closet and shelves with baskets to hold your clothes in other tiny homes. I also love the mosaic in your bathroom window, it’s really quite nice. Hats off to both of you great job on building your lovely tiny home!!

    Thank you so much for sharing and inspiring me with all of these great ideas!! Enjoy your beautiful home!! Carol Perry

  • Bruce CG Gallagher
    November 10, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Hi Kristin and Dave
    Congratulations on your wonderful tiny home and for providing the great resource of these two videos.
    I was just wondering what arrangement and at what cost did you work
    out for a place to park your home.
    Thanks again

    • Kristen Edge
      November 12, 2015, 11:14 am

      Hello Bruce,
      We have moved since these pictures were taken, but we are currently parked on someone’s land next to their house. We have our own electricity so the only thing we need from them is water, so every couple of days we plug in to their hose. We are currently paying $400 per month, not including anything but the occasional water, which is kind of steep, but we didn’t have many other options, and we like the people, so it has worked out well so far.
      Thank you,

      Kristen and Dave

  • Thomas Delaney
    May 4, 2016, 5:13 pm

    Are you still trying to sell this?

  • May 11, 2016, 2:58 pm

    I totally love it. Excellently designed, awesome workmanship….. wonderful for two people. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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