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Couple Building Semi Trailer Tiny House


Follow a young Cincinnati, Ohio couple, Noah and Tabatha Mehl, as they embark on the adventure of building their own semi trailer tiny house. Noah, an IT Technician by trade and Tabatha, a freelance graphic designer, are leaving their 19th century urban neighborhood in search of the simple life. The couples desire for humble living stems from the agonies of living as renters, yet not wanting to be strapped down to costly homeowners expenses that many young couples get trapped in.

“The problem for us is that the perfect place (at the right price) doesn’t really exist in [our neighborhood].” stated Noah.

Their decision is no revelation as tiny homes are beginning to pop up all over the nation, but the two are delighted to be joining the small house movement.

After several thwarted ideas on the perfect functional design for the home, the twosome decided on a 53′ dry van semi trailer as their foundation. Although smaller than most apartments, the 450 square feet tiny home will boast all the modern conveniences that Noah and Tabatha will need to live and work. The couple’s design comes complete with sliding glass doors, Internet connectivity, a wardrobe closet and most surprisingly a garage.

Couple Building Semi Trailer Tiny House

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Images © Mehlfami.ly

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Images © Mehlfami.ly

To view the progress Noah and Tabatha are making on their dream home, visit their blog.

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Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn is a writer, coordinator and project manager based in beautiful New Bern, NC who served 5 years as a Sergeant in the United States Marines. Tiny House Talk is honored to have her as part of the team.
Kaitlyn

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Alberto January 22, 2015, 2:27 am

    Not the first time I see this. Many years ago (erm, decades), while living in Spain and going in summer to a campsite, a family arrived in a semi truck trailer completely fitted. Aside of the house (which of course noone was invited to see) there was a green Jeep, motocross bikes and on top of the trailer it even had a Green Zodiak ‘boat’.

  • Elle January 22, 2015, 2:50 pm

    I always wondered how much room was in one of these -lots! Great idea and thank you for sharing. Best of luck (and enjoy) creating your new home and yes, please do keep us updated on your progress. I know we’ll see something special. 🙂

  • R Boden January 23, 2015, 6:55 pm

    Great starting platform, is the galvanized steel and aluminium ok for galvanic corrosion? Does the trailer light circut need to bee isolated? I know this would be a huge problem for a boat in salt water; not sure out of water. Why 6″ of structual framing? Seems a massive overkill, loss of space is huge. I’d recomend consulting a professional bodybuilder.

    • Tabatha January 26, 2015, 5:42 pm

      R Boden, this might be helpful:

      http://mehlfami.ly/blog/noahmehl/floor-framing-and-insulation

      We are definitely over engineering but at 6″ the steel becomes structurally sound and we don’t want to get through the build only to have bad weather or some other thing do damage to the trailer.

      • Alex January 27, 2015, 8:55 am

        Thanks Tabatha!

  • Lisa E. March 31, 2015, 5:16 pm

    I will be very interested in watching this project come together. I hope you will post often as it comes along and include a ton of pics. We see a lot of truck and van builds, but not so many semi builds. Considering the husband is an IT Tech, this should be a really good build. (Be sure to tell us all the technical stuff about the utilities and building supplies and the reasons for choosing each,) as these are the things we want to become educated in and here we have a chance with a truly qualified person. I’m excited for you both. The finished living quarters should be pretty amazing! 😀

  • TJ Houston April 13, 2015, 10:24 pm

    They are going to freeze their butts off, plus have condensation problems using metal studs in a metal trailer with no thermal break to the outside of the studs. At a minimum they should have 1″ foam board between the trailer walls and the studs.
    TJ

    • Tabatha Mehl June 20, 2015, 10:59 am

      Hey TJ,

      It may not be apparent on this page, but if you check out this blog post: https://mehlfami.ly/blog/noahmehl/floor-framing-and-insulation

      It details that we are in fact using 3/4″ EPS foam as a thermal break. Also we will be installing and ERV/HRV for air exchange to solve the condensation problem.

    • Noah Mehl June 20, 2015, 12:43 pm

      TJ, it may not be apparently on this page, but we have an entire post dedicated to issues such as insulation and thermal breaks:

      https://mehlfami.ly/blog/noahmehl/floor-framing-and-insulation

      Also, we have a very oversized wood pellet furnace for heat. And we will be installing an ERV or HRV for air exchange to combat the condensation problem. Worst case scenario, we will have to also install a dehumidifier, etc.

  • Chase Wilson June 23, 2015, 11:04 am

    That is a really fun idea. So sturdy and industrial, it will probably last them forever if they take care of it properly. I would love to do that one day. I would need to find a used semi truck though. Where did they get theirs?

  • Suzanne October 17, 2015, 4:19 pm

    My husband and I own a trucking company and were thinking of doing the same thing. Its in the planning stages now but hope to begin soon.

  • John Hodgin May 15, 2016, 10:18 am

    I’ve thought of doing this but using a moving style trailer which the floor would be a lot closer to the ground and higher ceilings. Any thoughts or recamendations ? Good luck and keep us updated !!!

  • Brad July 30, 2017, 6:35 pm

    I have a 51 foot moving van 102 wide. 12’6″ inside height.
    I am seriously considering converting to a tiny house. It will be a rolling tiny house. I have the power PAC to pull it. I am looking for interested people to discuss this with. Please reply at [email protected]

    • Nikki September 27, 2018, 3:10 pm

      Brad, I’m actually interested in your semi-trailer house project. It’s been quite long but I hope you can see this message. My husband and I are planning on building a home out of a 53ft semi-trailer as well. We’re trying to address some questions and issues. I’m specifically reaching out to other people for more support and advice. Back to your comment, were you able to convert the 51ft van into a tiny house?

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