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Couple Builds Tiny Home to Live in their Portland Backyard

That’s right, “couple builds tiny home to live in their Portland backyard while they rent out their main house for income.”

Mike and Laura were recently featured in the Sustainable Business Oregon by the Portland Business Journal.

They’re a couple who have built a 160 square feet tiny house on a utility trailer to avoid zoning restrictions on tiny housing.

According to the article they use the micro home to supplement their income. But here’s the twist.

They’re moving into the tiny house and renting out there big house to live simply.

RELATED: 224 Sq. Ft. Cider Box Tiny House on Wheels by ShelterWise

One Path to Freedom: Tiny House Living in your Backyard

RELATED: Couple Design & Build Mortgage-free Micro House

All the Comforts of Home in 160 Sq. Ft.

Inside you’ll find a kitchen with full size range, sink, storage, and even a washer/dryer and full size refrigerator.

So you won’t miss any of the comforts of home. It’s all there, just in a smaller package.

RELATED: Tiny House Couple Living Mortgage-free and car-free

Laura – Your Tiny House Design is Amazing!

If you’re interested in Laura’s tiny house design and plans let us know in the comments below. I honestly think she’s designed one of my favorite micro housing designs I’ve seen yet. (See more photos of the house here to see what I mean).

15 Minutes to Clean a Tiny Home

It’s said that most micro homes take only 10-15 minutes to clean completely. Can you imagine that?

$13 per Month Utility Bills

In addition, most utility related bills for homes 200 sq. ft. or less are in the $12-$23 per month range.

RELATED: Another Couple Living Simply in a DIY Tiny Home: Meet Shaye & Tom

The Perfect House For Busy People?

And for busy people who spend a lot of time outside of home, it’s a great housing solution with incredible benefits.

Sets You Up for Better Future (Or Simple Retirement)

Especially financially so it’s a great way for someone to get ahead for a while until the time is right for them to upsize again later on if they wanted.

But they’re also a great option for anyone who might want to live very simply during their retirement years.

See more photos of their house over at Sustainable Business Oregon.

Read the entire original article (and interview with Mike and Laura).

RELATED: 224 Sq. Ft. Cider Box Tiny House on Wheels by ShelterWise

If you enjoyed this discussion on tiny housing and vacation rentals you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with much 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!
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • David
    April 15, 2014, 2:44 pm

    I would love to get plans for this house! My wife and I have been considering building our own. We have a 3yo daughter and would need a small second loft. Think it would work?

    • Alex
      April 15, 2014, 3:02 pm

      I think they’d be great plans too David. I’ll see what I can find and let you know.

    • Alex
      April 15, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Just my thoughts David but personally and from seeing others experiences if I were in your shoes I’d look for something slightly larger (in the 600-800 sf+ range) just because it would be better long term (moving is costly and stressful) and I’m afraid you guys would probably want more space as she grows or if you have another one.

    • Alex
      April 15, 2014, 3:06 pm

      Or even to look for a small home with land where you might be able to build tiny in the backyard and supplement your income that way, etc.

  • Erica Breuer
    April 15, 2014, 3:08 pm

    What a gorgeous house! This is a new favorite for me.

    • Alex
      April 15, 2014, 6:22 pm

      Glad you like Erica!

  • Megan
    April 15, 2014, 3:10 pm

    I love the wood used inside and out!!! Please tell me what wood is used outside, on the floors inside, on the walls inside, and for the cabinets, couch, etc. Thanks!!

    • Brian
      June 7, 2014, 4:26 pm

      Thanks Megan, just the question I would like answered too. A lot of the great appearance of the interior is down to the timber used. Would love to know more about this.

  • Cahow
    April 15, 2014, 4:49 pm

    Cute house and good for them with the role reversal of switching out the homes to earn an income.

    I had to have a good laugh at this comment: “15 Minutes to Clean a Tiny Home! It’s said that most micro homes take only 10-15 minutes to clean completely. Can you imagine that?”

    I think more than ANY other commonality of Tiny House owners is their abhorrence of “cleaning”! What IS it with you folks? Bhahahahhahaaaa!!!! I love to clean my home; it’s a very relaxing and fulfilling activity to do that keeps me in touch with my roots and ancestors. I never find it a chore and neither do any of my other friends who have similar homes as we do. It’s like the guy who likes to tinker about on his car: doing the oil change, washing and waxing the bugger until it gleams. Or the person who likes to make pizza or pasta from scratch; we all find some things vexing and other things fulfilling. Apparently, “cleaning” is NOT fulfilling to tiny home owners. ~snort~

    To each their own, I guess. 😉

    • Donatella
      June 7, 2014, 3:53 pm

      What’s with the ‘snort’? No, some people don’t like cleaning. I have an aunt who is obsessive-compulsive about cleaning. She can’t relax if she sees even a speck of dust on things. Too bad she never gets around to reading a book or just enjoying the backyard, because it’s ‘too dirty’.

  • Comet
    April 15, 2014, 8:53 pm


    Any time you feel the need to clean call me I would be GLAD to have you drop on by!!!!!

    Minded cleaning before I became handicapped and between never much liking it and now not being ABLE to do things—this is a HUGE problem. And one you don’t think about until it IS your problem!

    I have a friend who had a one room cabin at the start of her marriage and she is of the same opinion. She says she misses the days when she could basically stand in the middle of the cabin and chuck whatever was out of place into it’s place! They expanded as their small family and their home based artisan business’ grew and now she has to actually clean. Maybe she will pass the place on–built on family land—to her daughter and build a new one roomer!

  • Lin
    April 15, 2014, 10:43 pm

    Definitely one of the most beautiful tiny homes I’ve seen. Love the big glass doors – I’m surprised having doors like this isn’t more common. Would love to see a video tour of this home!

  • David Ridge
    April 15, 2014, 10:44 pm

    I hope that I am beating the old dead horse as they say but the deck on this house the deck needs a railing. Code in Omaha is 42″ high.

    • Doc
      April 27, 2014, 12:50 am

      This is true if they exceed 30″ from grade. This one looks well under that threshold.
      Though I would still install one at the steps. Some of us are getting on and need a little pull!

      • David Ridge
        April 27, 2014, 2:40 am

        Ya, the getting on seems like when I stoop down it is getting longer getting up right and needing extra assistance. No fun growing older! If I do decide to build a TH with how many times I have to do a certain business in the night I could not do a loft bedroom. I would like to see a floor plan with full size appliances for a TH built in football helmet. Full bath, laundry, and kitchen.

  • Carl
    June 3, 2014, 7:09 pm

    This is by far one of the best designs I’ve seen. Any idea on getting a hold of the plans??

  • Jodie
    June 8, 2014, 7:11 pm

    love this design! would love to know if plans are available!

  • Erin Wonders
    June 24, 2014, 9:19 pm

    I really like the design! Could I be notified when/if the plans become available?

  • Sally
    June 25, 2014, 6:48 pm

    I’ve been in this Tiny and it is absolutely magnificent! I met this wonderful couple when I went to purchase a vintage filing cabinet from them and they gave me the tour. It is really very elegant and seems much larger. The reclaimed wood is warm, beautiful, substantial!

  • Leon
    July 9, 2015, 10:55 am

    I think these houses are great, but most cities across the USA ban them. I know of a person in my neighborhood who built one in their backyard and moved in a relative. The city zoning/ordnance officials shut them down.
    I myself and preparing to go to college, my idea was to build a tiny house in an area close to a good 4 year public university. However as I learn more about the laws, I can now tell this dream can’t come true living in a city. My plan was to buy a house near a school, then live in my tiny house (or rv) in the backyard, while in college and renting out the house.
    Its such irony the country that claims to be free, has more hidden restrictions than other countries. Does anybody here have any insight or solutions to zoning laws, or know of a city that allows it ?

  • Raul R
    December 25, 2015, 10:21 am

    This is a very nice and elegant design. Great job! I’m wondering what size trailer was used and how was the plumbing handled, primarily sewer. Any ideas?

  • Katrina
    April 4, 2017, 11:19 pm

    I’d really like to see the inside of this tiny house. It’s exactly what I’m looking for. Unfortunately the links are broken. Thank you!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 5, 2017, 6:52 am

      Sorry Katrina! This is a post from 2015 and it looks like the news source we got the pictures from took the post down 🙁

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