I’m excited to get to show you Andrew and Gabriella Morrison’s mortgage-free modern tiny house on wheels.
They’ve recently finished building it and I think you’ll find it’s very functional, spacious, modern, and unique.
I’ve also been lucky enough to get to interview the couple for you so we can all learn more about how and why they did it.
In the interview you’ll find out how much it cost them, how long it took to design and build, find out dimensions, square footages, and more.
You’ll also get to see their completed tiny home below along with the rest of the details on it in the interview below:
Amazing Mortgage-free Modern Tiny House on Wheels
See the rest of this micro house and enjoy the interview with the couple who built it below:
Propane Fireplace with the Traditional Look
Wardrobe Closet and Storage Underneath Staircase to Main Loft
Main Loft Upstairs
Entertainment Chairs in the Loft
View of the Other Side of the Micro Home
Lots of Built In Storage Cabinets
Reading Nook and Dining Table that Double as Workstations
Reading Nook with Storage
Flexible Dining Tables Fold Down
Convenient Access to Power and USB Ports for Laptops, Phones, etc.
Bathroom with Shower
Composting Toilet with Exhaust
Bathroom Sink and Vanity
To the Kitchen (on the opposite end)
Lots of Counter Space and Storage
Cabinets and Beautiful Propane Range with Oven
Second Loft on the Other Side of the House (Above Bathroom)
Loft with TV
Great Spot to Chill and Look Outside Too
Exterior of the Morrison’s Tiny House
Images: Tiny House Build
Interview with the Couple who Built this Incredible Modern & Debt-free Tiny Home
THT: So what made you seriously want to build and live in a tiny house?
Around the time that the concept of tiny house living was introduced to us, my wife Gabriella and I were finally fulfilling our vision of the “American Dream”. By living in a beautifully appointed and spacious home in a highly sought after neighborhood, we thought that we had reached the ultimate pinnacle of success. Friends and family that came to visit called it an “entertainers dream” and congratulated us. The kids were proud to have their friends come over and there was an abundance of space for massive loads of games, toys, and entertainment areas. Trouble was, the longer we stayed in this large house, the emptier we felt.
Our “dream” home was heavy with burdens: 8-10 hours of cleaning weekly, embarrassingly high utility bills, and of course extremely high housing costs. Our dream was beginning to feel more like a nightmare that we wanted to wake up from. More and more we found ourselves needing to say “No, I’m sorry I can’t” to the kids when they would want us to join them in a game. Instead work awaited. We were unable to enjoy the house and our close knit family began to suffer.
Fortunately, right around that time we were introduced to the tiny house movement. In a very short span of time, our view on housing, living and the world transformed. To us it all made perfect sense and we became excited with the promise of a new way of living. We set out to discover what defines a home to US and cut our ties from the status quo. The kids (14 and 11 at the time) became excited about these new findings and were happy to have us be more available to them again.
The first order of business was to strip away as much as we could in order to gain perspective on what was truly necessary and what was just frivolous. This meant eliminating as much stimulation, commercial propaganda, social media, and material possessions as possible. Over the course of the next few months we sold or donated more than half of our worldly goods and put the remaining items into a storage unit. We took some very basic essentials and moved to Baja, Mexico for nearly 5 months with our 12 year old daughter (our son was now attending a college prep boarding school in Colorado, following his passion for ice hockey) and lived in a pop up tent trailer.
After 4 weeks of intense withdrawal from western culture, electronics, and social media, a transformation occurred for all of us. Beneath the layers of “busyness” that had haunted us our whole lives lay incredible joy, kindness, patience, and love. Although our living space was the tiniest we had ever had, we discovered the fullest and most rewarding life experience. Our image of what our new home would look like began to manifest and we became perfectly clear on what was essential for happiness and what actually worked against it.
THT: How long did it take you to build it? And did you do it all yourself?
I pretty much built the entire thing by myself from framing to electrical to cabinets, etc. I had Gabriella’s help on a few things, but the vast majority was built solo and it took 4 months with 8-10 hour days. I have been a professional builder for roughly 20 years, so that experience made the process easier/quicker than it would be for someone with no building experience.
THT: If you wouldn’t mind sharing, how much did it cost you to build it?
Don’t mind at all. We want to inspire others to jump into tiny living, and the financial cost of building tiny is a big part of that decision. Because we did all of the work ourselves, no labor costs are included in the following numbers. They are for materials only. To build hOMe with all the materials except appliances and cabinetry, cost us $22,744.06. The cost including all the cabinetry, appliances and everything you see in the photos (except for the mattresses and what’s in the drawers) was $33,089.72.
We think that’s a very reasonable price to pay for a home. If someone wanted to save money on this build there would be plenty of opportunity to bring that cost way down. The finishes and cabinetry we chose were medium/high end and we did not use any salvaged materials at all.
THT: What are the dimensions of the house including estimated interior square footage?
The house measures 8’6” wide and 28’6” long on the exterior. The interior square footage is roughly 221 SF plus an additional 120 SF of sleeping lofts. Our main loft is roughly 80 SF and our secondary loft, which we call the “Tiny House Lounge” (yes, we have a lounge in our tiny house!) is roughly 40 SF.
The headroom is great on both the lower floor and the lofts. We have roughly 6’3” of headroom under the lofts, 10’10” of vaulted ceiling in the main area, and 4’ 3” at the highest point of the lofts. I’ve gotta say that as a 6’ tall guy, I have not found any place in the house that feels cramped or uncomfortable. That was something I was worried about when designing the house and I’m very happy with the end result.
THT: How much does it weigh, do you know?
We have not weighed hOMe as we don’t have immediate plans to take it onto public roads. That said, we estimate the weight to be roughly 12,000 pounds. With two 8,000 pound drop axles, we are in the comfort range for that trailer.
THT: Did you create your own plans for it? How did you go about that?
We designed hOMe ourselves using Google SketchUp. I had never used the program before, so there was a bit of a learning curve. That said, the 3D aspect of the program allowed us to “walk through” the space and get a sense of how it would all come together. The time investment I made into learning the basics (roughly 4-6 hours) early on totally paid off. Gabriella and I went back and forth on the design and there were a few times that we had to start from scratch all over again because we were running into dead ends in terms of being able to combine everything we wanted in the design.
The primary strategy we adopted when designing hOMe was to enter the process with a blank slate. We did our best to empty our minds of preconceived ideas that we had learned over years of creating house designs. Rather, we approached the tiny house design from a “needs” stand point. We made a list of all the necessities that hOMe would need to fulfill in order to really feel like a permanent residence. On top of the obvious necessities (bathroom, eating area, etc.) this list also included stairs to our bedroom, ample space to have a functional home office, a full sized kitchen complete with full sized appliances, space for privacy and separation, a space that could easily accommodate our 30 pound terrier mix, and copious storage.
Finding space for all of these necessities was a challenge to say the least. Just when we thought we had managed to put the puzzle all together, we would realize that we had left something out. In those instances it was easier to just start the whole design process from scratch. A funny example of this was when I was so happy with the layout and when I showed Gabriella she asked “where’s the fridge?” I had completely forgotten to put the fridge into the kitchen…and THAT’s why there was ample room for other details that had not fit in the last rendition. So, back to the blank slate and then, one day, it finally all came together and the concept of hOMe was born.
THT: Where do you plan on parking it?
We have a spot on our property where we are currently parking it. The hope is that we have chosen the perfect spot; however, if we decide there is a better place, we will move it. We are big believers in not building a home permanently on the ground until we have spent at least a year on the property observing the cycles: wind, solar, storms, etc. That way, we can choose the best spot for complete connection to the land. This helps make a home as energy efficient and in harmony with the land as possible.
THT: Do you ever plan on traveling with it in tow?
We don’t have any plans of traveling with it at this point. We still have our pop tent trailer which is much easier to travel around with. Plus, we absolutely love our land so we have no desire to move hOMe anywhere.
THT: Where else can we find you and follow your progress online?
We have a website that documents our entire journey from before our time in Mexico, to our homesteading process, all the way to the actual hOMe build process. That site is www.TinyHouseBuild.com. We also have a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/
One of our biggest passions in life is empowering the average person to build their own shelter. We have seen again, and again, and again that with the right information, resources, and a little encouragement that even those with no previous building experience can hand craft their dream home. Having been engaged in offering those resources since 2004 via 7-day, hands-on construction workshops and instructional DVDs, we felt it only natural to film hOMe’s entire build. We are in the process of editing that footage and will offer the full series in the coming months as well as the full set of construction drawings. We hope you’ll come by and visit our website!
Thank you so much to Andrew and Gabriella for taking the time for this interview and for sharing their simple living plans with us.
- Andrew & Gabriella’s Straw Bale Workshops
- Their DVDs, eBooks and other products
- Their small/tiny house plans
- About the couple
- Video Interviews w/ them
Related: Andrew’s TEDTalk on Tiny Living
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