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Couple Living Simply in 200 Sq. Ft. Tiny House Built for $15k

I’m excited to introduce you to John Russell and Debbie Hanson. They’re a couple who’ve gone from divorces and 2,000 sq. ft. homes into a DIY 200 sq. ft. tiny house on wheels that they call their Ritz on Wheels.

It cost them only $15,000 in materials to build it themselves and just under a year in labor. Inside you’ll find all the comforts of home. A full-sized shower, kitchen, flat screen TV, Wi-Fi, and best of all… no mortgage. When asked by a local newspaper reporter what they do in the house, Hanson responded, “We sit on the couch. We eat. We sleep. We go to the bathroom. That’s about it.” To make best use of the space Russell created several multi-functional components in the house like the fold down table, wheeled furniture, and a large floor to ceiling closet/storage space. Please enjoy and re-share below.

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Couple Living Large in their 200 Sq. Ft. Ritz on Wheels

Couple Living Simply in 200 Sq. Ft. Tiny House Built for $15k

Images © RitzOnWheels

We moved around a lot the past two years and thought about buying a house and decided at our ages (49 & 50), it was not the journey we wanted to embark upon. We wanted to simplify our lives post divorce for both of us, travel, and be adventurous. Getting rid of pieces from the past and downsizing was therapeutic.
We started building in July 2013 and finished in May 2014. John had a boat trailer and we went from there. We designed it & made changes along the way. We researched tiny houses and tried to pull the best from the best. And we have no regrets. It’s a true statement that you can live a big, fulfilled life in a tiny house.  Next weekend is Chapter 2. A move to a more permanent location for the winter and possibly beyond. 40 acres about 45 miles from the RV park we have been in. John made improvements to hookups for sewer, electrical and water just tonight. Our kids (4 total – all young adults) all embrace what we are doing & we hope it teaches alternative ways to loving life. Not just living life.
– Debbie

Believe It Or Not, The Construction Started with This Boat Trailer

Couple Living Simply in 200 Sq. Ft. Tiny House Built for $15k

And later you’ll see how John was even able to add a third axle to it so it can better handle the load.

Construction Photos and Progress of the Ritz on Wheels

Couple Living Simply in 200 Sq. Ft. Tiny House Built for $15k

Foam Board Insulation

Couple Living Simply in 200 Sq. Ft. Tiny House Built for $15k


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Floor Plan






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Installing Metal Roof

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Windows and Sheathing

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House Wrap



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Building the Interior

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Related – This Couple’s DIY School Bus Conversion

Completed Tiny House Photos of the Ritz on Wheels

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Images © RitzOnWheels


  • John Russell and Debbie Hanson built a 200 sq. ft. tiny house on wheels called the Ritz on Wheels
  • The house cost them $15,000 in materials and took nearly a year to build
  • It features a full-sized shower, kitchen, flat screen TV, and Wi-Fi
  • The couple lives mortgage-free and enjoys the simplicity of their lifestyle
  • The house includes multi-functional components like a fold-down table and wheeled furniture
  • They started building in July 2013 and finished in May 2014
  • The couple downsized and simplified their lives after divorces and previous large homes
  • They are moving to a more permanent location on a 40-acre property
  • Their children support their lifestyle and they hope it teaches alternative ways to love life
  • The construction started with a boat trailer and was designed based on research of other tiny houses
  • The couple has no regrets and believes that a big, fulfilled life is possible in a tiny house
  • They also built a school bus conversion in addition to their tiny house

They also built a school bus conversion! Check it out below…

Our big thanks to Debbie & John for sharing their inspiring tiny house living story with us!

=> Read their story on the Traverse City Record Eagle local newspaper

If you enjoyed this couple’s story on how they live big in a tiny home on wheels you’ll absolutely LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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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!
{ 112 comments… add one }
  • Dominick Bundy
    September 25, 2014, 3:10 pm

    This has to be one of the very best thought out ones yet.. It’s hard for me to believe it’s only 200 sq ft. of living space , and still houses those standard size appliances. as well as ample large closets at one end. the sliding side doors and all the windows.. there is nothing here to change . You guys did a fabulous job..

    • Alex
      September 25, 2014, 3:27 pm

      Thanks Dominick. I totally agree. They did quite an incredible job. Cheers to them!

  • Lisa E.
    September 25, 2014, 3:15 pm

    These folks are to be congratulated on their perseverance in a big project!
    They did a great job and it paid off in a comfy cozy living space. Looks wonderful!!!

    • Alex
      September 25, 2014, 3:26 pm

      Thanks Lisa! I agree!

  • Dominick Bundy
    September 25, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Since I’m a stickler for adequate closet space. the idea of putting a closet at one of the ends of the complete wall. with the side entrance door in stead makes more sense to me.. I wonder why it hasn’t been done more. Hope this will catch on and see more layouts like this..

    • Alex
      September 25, 2014, 3:44 pm

      I’d never seen it done like this before either. Great solution for couples.

  • Harry
    September 25, 2014, 3:43 pm

    Great job love it

    • Alex
      September 25, 2014, 3:43 pm

      Me too! Thanks Harry

  • James
    September 25, 2014, 4:48 pm

    Absolute awesome build, all that creativity. Wonderful.

  • Comet
    September 25, 2014, 6:12 pm

    This is really nicely done but—I wonder how long they will love that vessel sink and the electric range—Vessels look real ourdy but can be a PITA to try and manouver around–washing more than a flat plate held–flat–or filling up a pot–might be hard. And those elec ranges pull a LOT of power.

    I would like to see if they decide to hang something on the brilliant closet door set up—pretty but a bit overwhelming.

    • Doris
      September 25, 2014, 9:54 pm

      Per your comment about the vessel sink, what is ‘ourdy’??? I would hate to see anything cover up the wood on the closet doors, and its nice to have an uncluttered blank place to rest the eyes. I would go with a weaving or some natural textile to enhance the natural look, if at all. I love this place as is.

      • Dave
        November 18, 2014, 4:20 pm

        Doris… I think Comet might be afflicted with fat finger syndrome, just like me. Think it should have been 1 key over and read purdy!

  • September 25, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Wow this is really cute!

  • Debbie&John
    September 25, 2014, 8:59 pm

    Thank you all so much for the comments! It has truly been a labor of love and here are some quick thoughts:

    The vessel sink was a sacrifice to a big sink, but that’s what happens in a tiny house. Our solution is a faucet that disengages with a sprayer and swings to either side, allowing easy washing of dishes. I do love to cook and there is much depth to the sink and big diameter. We studied a lot about sinks before we got this one. We wanted a design element too. Form & Function. A recessed sink, would have meant eliminating a spot for our hot water heater, which is under the kitchen sink. If the sink cracks, we replace it. I’ve been banging around in it pretty good with no noticeable scratches or blemishes as of yet. Consider that washing dishes consumes about 1% or less of my day. That’s how you need to think of things. I can deal with dishes. And we offset it to the left, so that we still have ample space to work on. And we are using a drying rack off the counter from Ikea which is brilliant. I also dry big pieces and put away right away too.

    The closet was really a necessity for me. While we eliminated a lot of extra things (lots of shoes for me – over 100 pair!) from our wardrobe, we do have to dress for work everyday. As for the sliding doors, I don’t like clutter and the blank “wall” is a clean slate. A multitude of sins can hide behind it, but I wanted a clean line. Having said that, I might cover the sliding doors someday with a cool removable wallpaper to add some dimension, but for now, it’s great for the two of us. Our original design was for mirrored doors to give the space an illusion of being bigger, but let’s face it, we don’t need to see ourselves that much!!!

    The range I absolutely love and that was a definite “want” in our design. I do love to cook. We have not once used the oven since May. We have opted for outside grilling and using the stove top. We do not go hungry. Quite the contrary. We even opted not to have a microwave. There’s space on top of the frig & power for one, but we are satisfied with what we have. And that space on top of the frig is for A/C when & if we choose to install it. We were blessed with cool summer nights in Northern Michigan, so no need for one.

    We do love to capture the outdoors and we tried to bring as much of that into our space as possible. Hence the patio doors. And windows.

    As for kids in our design, you could easily use our design and build a loft above the closet for sleeping too. We will be getting a new sectional couch from Ikea soon that has storage and pulls out to a bed. That will give us more options for sleeping too. Or if there’s a night we do not want to traverse the ladder ourselves! We have entertained 10 people in our space by moving the couch and bringing out our foldable bar stools that stow easily in the closet.

    I realize that this is not “off the grid living”. That was a conscious choice on our end. Our design could be scalable someday if we choose to go that route. Just living tiny and living in a smaller footprint does help the environment.

    We know that everyone’s preferences are different and we can appreciate that. That’s why we designed it to our specifications. We can only hope that you all do that and give it that much consideration as you embark on your own tiny adventure.

    Again – thank you for looking & please continue to follow our journey on Facebook at The Ritz On Wheels.

    • Tiana
      December 23, 2014, 5:56 pm

      Where DID you get the stacking rainbow mug set?! Love the stainless column rail frame to it too.

    • jane
      December 24, 2014, 8:18 pm

      Congratulations on coming up with a design just for you. I’ve seen too many cookie-cutter houses, built to a plan for someone other than myself. Knowing that cooking and comfort and a larger wardrobe are important, and finding a way to incorporate them into a personalized floorplan is so much better. It’s lovely!
      It’s not the plan for me, but I don’t feel it polite to say how I would do it differently. It amazes me how many people are so rude. Pay them no mind, and enjoy your sweet, sweet home.

  • rusty
    September 25, 2014, 9:01 pm

    Nicely done .do you see how happy they look that’s even more important than any of this .thanks for the article

    • September 25, 2014, 9:19 pm

      Absolutely Rusty! I think that is the most important thing; being happy and living the life you want. 🙂

  • September 25, 2014, 9:18 pm

    Awesome! Absolutely love it! I am linking this in my blog post tonight!

  • Doris
    September 25, 2014, 9:47 pm

    You would not be able to pry me off that couch. How restful!! I agree about the side doors making better floor plans possible, not to mention reducing the tunnel effect too common in THs. Love the wood and the clever fold-downs. Great house, congratulations.

  • Mike
    September 25, 2014, 10:07 pm

    I guess I have to be the only one who doesn’t like it :(. I couldn’t stand having a couch facing a wall only a few feet away, it looks really claustrophobic. For such a big place, it looks really cramped. Too much stuff going on there for me!

    • Tiana
      December 23, 2014, 5:59 pm

      It’s facing out the glass double door? Like a floor to ceiling picture window, if you will.

  • Comet
    September 25, 2014, 11:25 pm


    LOL—These fingers ain’t made for typing!

    “Ourdy” was meant to be “Purdy” as in—Pretty

    I like the looks of those style sinks but having used a few–you can’t get close to the sink to wash your face or brush teeth and I would think that getting a pot under there would cause a space issue–to fill drain and wash.

    Just a few things I was thinking while looking.

    And I would not cover up the whole closet wall–I might add something like you said tho for interest and color—the wood was a bit monolithic and I LIKE wood! I also like things hanging on walls so—-

  • hemi
    September 26, 2014, 1:31 am

    Onya! luvvit. Aroha!

  • Julie
    September 26, 2014, 8:42 am

    I love the side door entrance and closet space too! Nice job!!! Glad you both are living your dream!

  • Beekay
    September 26, 2014, 10:01 am

    Love love love…..two things I love the most- the thought of having a Timy House and living in Northern Michigan. Without a doubt will be following on FB and living vicariously 🙂

  • Annette
    September 26, 2014, 11:06 am

    Very nice! – does the porch fold up against the house when you move, or do you detach it and carry it in the truck?

  • alice h
    September 26, 2014, 11:14 am

    You are not restricted to washing dishes in a sink. Larger items can be washed by putting soap and hot water inside and scrubbing, using the dishcloth to wash the outside. You can use large pots, a freestanding tub or basin to wash other dishes and use the sink as just a drain. A large sink takes up a lot of space all the time but a tub or basin can be used for more things in more ways and be tucked away when not in use. You can take basins outside and wash dishes in the sunshine on nice days.

  • Lady
    September 26, 2014, 11:24 am

    To me, the big drawback with tiny houses is the bathrooms. The smell after a number Two would be enough to discourage most people – and often, the bathroom is right next to the kitchen! Gross!!!!

    AND there’s the ladder-to-the-loft meme – forget it. Stairs is the only sensible way to go.

    Here’s what I would require: a decent-sized bathroom with a TUB and shower, and the toilet in a separate room altogether, with deodorizer and fan. And stairs, WITH A RAILING, if you please. Otherwise you might as well live in a kid’s playhouse.

    • John Russell
      December 27, 2014, 12:02 pm

      Hi Lady
      It obvious you are not a tiny house type person.
      What you just suggested, your bathroom would be larger than 200 sq feet!
      Perhaps you stumbled along this blog by error.
      Thank you for your comments.
      John Russell

      • Paul Larsen
        October 11, 2019, 9:22 pm

        My thoughts on this . Bathroom and Kitchen are next to each other as it makes running water pipes ans drain hook ups easier. Next you dont live in your bathroom ( at least I dont ) Smell issues Our travel trailer I built years ago has a batroom and kitchen next to each other . My wife and I have never noticed any smell issues and besides that’s why opening windows and powered roof vent were invented. This house is really nice only thing i would whine about is the loft and ladder , but would be easy to have a main floor bed in this design! but you built it for yourself , not the masses! one of the beauties of tiny houses!

    • Jane
      December 27, 2014, 4:18 pm

      It seems you’ve been misnamed, Lady.

    • Karen Blackburn
      July 23, 2018, 3:34 pm

      There are designs out there with a tub, also with a separate toilet. Each to their own though I agree that moist seem to be off the kitchen which to me would be a health issue. I would need stairs though, ladders are now beyond me. But each design is the choice of the occupants so that is why there are so many options out there. I am playing around with a 17′ x 8′ design (probably will never be built) and one level, but that would be my design and not for anyone else. This design is for the occupants and they like it, that is all that matters.

  • TB
    September 27, 2014, 8:36 am

    Nicely done. As with any home, I like some things and others I would do differently. It is nice to see the process though.
    Is this house debt free? I keep reading about “mortgage free” homes that cost xx amount, but not anything about how they are financed or if they are financed at all. I realize many materials can be gotten on the cheap or free, but it’s obvious that some things are purchased.
    Isn’t “mortgage free” somewhat misleading? Please tell me more about “debt free” tiny home building.

  • Debbie
    September 28, 2014, 9:16 am

    We bought things as we went along. We budgeted items with each paycheck. We also found things on Craigslist for a fraction of the price. Oftentimes you can find leftover stuff from builders that is just the right amount for a tiny house. And we did the build ourselves, so we didn’t incur labor in that regard. We also got some items from marine industry contacts John has who donated some things. Hope this helps!

  • Cheyenne
    October 15, 2014, 2:07 pm

    A job well done! This looks beautiful. What exactly is the flooring? Vinyl? Synthetic decking?

  • Gary
    November 18, 2014, 4:22 pm

    I have been following this lifestyle for about 6 months now. My wife and I have spoken about living a minimalistic life. While we wait for our home to sell, we are trying to decided if this is the next course our life will take. I can say this, however: of all the tiny houses that I have viewed, this one I thoroughly enjoyed because of the pictures that show the project from start to finish, but also because you havemade a great home in such a small space. Best wishes on this chapter of your life!

    • Natalie
      November 16, 2016, 7:44 am

      So glad you are possibly going tiny 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Cassie
    November 18, 2014, 5:05 pm

    I love this home. It would be perfect for me to save for a log home. My only concern is how do you insure these beauties? If someone out there can tell me how to legally do that I’d build one of these in a heartbeat. Congrats to the couple they have done an excellent job.

    • Cat
      December 20, 2014, 12:28 am

      If the home is stationary, i.e., set up in one place and not traveling regularly, I believe it could qualify for mobile home insurance through a company such as American Modern. I lived in a travel trailer in one place for 8 years (in California) and they insured me as a mobile home for $242.00 per year.

  • kimberly oberhammer
    November 18, 2014, 7:31 pm

    amazing project…….and SUPER AMAZING photo-essay!!
    i KNOW i can build a tiny house now. you ought to make a big picture book with a step by step guide to build that house, little sub-texts and notes here and there. i would buy it!!
    thanks for the inspiration.

    December 6, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Love your build. What is the deck and where did you get it? Aluminum? Nice.

    • John Russell
      December 25, 2014, 1:45 pm

      Hi Blake
      The deck is aluminum dock sections 4’x10′ bolted together with adjustable legs, not sure where I bought them, I purchased them years ago .
      The sections are bolted to the tiny house right now the plan is to get some heavy duty hinges and have the deck fold up against the hose for traveling.
      Thanks for your questions and comments
      John Russell

      • NANCY L PARK
        August 26, 2016, 7:17 am

        Where did you get the dock material. How do you have it attached to siding. Seems a great easy light weight idea.

  • Bruce
    December 14, 2014, 10:43 pm

    I like the natural color of the wood and the drop tables… and the reclining sofa! (I feel a nap coming on!)

  • Jean
    December 16, 2014, 1:20 am

    They mentioned a fireplace to my understanding that was shown in the plans to be beneath the flat screen TV, I could not see it in the finished home. There was a table in that area, that folded flat against the wall and could be pulled up into place when needed. Was there still an enclosed fireplace underneath the table, and if so was it electric like a heater and for looks or was it to be propane for actual heat? Did the plans change and this was moved or left out for some reason, just curious? You have created a very beautiful home, just needs a few more tweaks, you can see now that it finished. Overall, wonderful for a first time builder.

    • Trinna
      December 30, 2014, 11:53 am

      Jean we have a small electric/fireplace heater in our 400 sq foot living room, and not only is it pretty, the heat it puts out will run you out of there.

  • Gary J.
    December 23, 2014, 5:38 pm

    Hi, John. Is the beige siding, vinyl? That is what I would like to use. How is the siding holding up. When you move your house, are there any problems? Great looking home.

    • John Russell
      December 25, 2014, 1:38 pm

      Hi Gary
      The siding has not been an issue at all, when building our tiny house, everything is screwed together everything
      The siding is screwed into place I also used stainless flat washers behind the screws preventing the screw heads from being pulled through the siding fastener slots .
      Thank you for questions and comments
      John Russell

      • Toni
        February 19, 2018, 6:03 pm

        John, are you a carpenter by trade? That’s exactly what my man would do! LOL! Awesome job and a wonderful use of space and lighting. Hope you and your lady enjoy it for many years to come.

  • gale
    December 23, 2014, 6:31 pm

    Absolutely awesome. Plenty of storage and can sleep downstairs. Great job.

  • Veronica
    December 24, 2014, 11:34 am

    Excellent design and and well finished home. I would like a door on the bathroom, maybe a sliding or pocket door. I had assumed there would be an extracter fan in the bathroom.

    • John Russell
      December 25, 2014, 1:32 pm

      Hi Veronica
      Yes there is a slider door for the bathroom for privacy.
      There is also a 12×24 opening window in the bathroom above the toilet for quick fresh air if needed.
      Because of the bedroom being directly above the bathroom and complex routing of exhaust fan hoses , and wanting natural light in the bathroom we chose to have a opening window .
      Thank you for your questions and comments.
      John Russell

  • Stewart
    December 24, 2014, 6:47 pm

    Great layout! I’m in the process of designing my small (not tiny) house and got valuable info. from all the pics.One question: What toys do you have for all those outlets? Thanks for you’re story! Stewart

    • John Russell
      December 25, 2014, 1:23 pm

      Merry Christmas
      The reason for all the outlets is, there is nothing worse than not having an outlet close by when you need one, Deb and I thought through every aspect of where we thought we might want power and neither of us like extension cords, we installed 22 outlets inside and there are 4 outside, the outlets are very inexpensive to install when building so we planned out every place where we thought we may use power.
      So far the location of every outlet had been perfect for our use.
      Thanks for sharing your questions.
      We enjoy everyone’s comments!
      John Russell

      • Alex
        December 26, 2014, 11:25 am

        Thanks John! Merry Christmas! 🙂

  • Debbie
    December 25, 2014, 1:17 pm

    Thanks for featuring us again Alex and Merry Christmas. We love to share our story and we have appreciated all the comments – good and bad. We learned all we did from reading and researching on forums like Tiny House Talk. We are now almost 8 months living in our tiny house. The transition into winter has been smooth. It is so cozy. We bought a new sectional sleeper sofa, so we can have overnight guests. We use our large closet to its fullest. It can also hide a multitude of sins! I haven’t seen another design with a large closet like ours plus full size appliances, a real couch and a patio door. We are heating with an Edenpure electric heater and it’s perfect. Anyway -like The Ritz On Wheels for up to date ideas for everyday tiny life. Enjoy!!!

    • Alex
      December 26, 2014, 11:26 am

      Thanks for the update Debbie!

      • Wendy Werb
        August 25, 2016, 10:18 pm

        Very curious which sofa from IKEA did you get? I definitely want to have a “real” couch in my tiny/small house.

  • December 29, 2014, 2:15 am

    Wow,Nice work!.Why the first picture have just two axle and then when they finished has triple axle?.Is a different trailer ?.

    • Alex
      December 29, 2014, 9:58 am

      He added a third axle later on 🙂

  • S. R. Singletary
    December 29, 2014, 2:37 pm

    Great job! It always bring me joy to see folks build on their own. I understand it’s not possible for everyone, but it’s definitely something that you can be extremely proud of if you can. It looks great….cheers!

  • AliD
    December 31, 2014, 1:10 am

    Love love love all the thought that went into the design, with a full-sized stove/oven, a nice closet, and all the natural wood. And I am a huge fan of pocket doors wherever possible! Great job!

    One idea (not a criticism, just an idea) would be to install windows and slider doors with built-in mini-blinds. This would eliminate the need for shades and drapes, which can create a closed-in feel, and which also require laundering.

    Speaking of laundering, I’d also want to squeeze in a small washing machine somewhere. The wash could hang-dry outside when weather permitted, or inside in front of the fireplace heater during cold months.

    As others have all noted, we all have our own ideas of what makes for good living space. Thanks for sharing yours so we can all benefit!

    • AliD
      December 31, 2014, 8:20 pm

      I forgot to mention one thing. One of the remarks above expressed a concern about bathroom smells. An easy fix for that very real issue is to buy or make some “poo-pouri.” It’s basically a blend of essential oils that is sprayed onto the toilet water before going #2. Sounds weird, but works very, very well. The store-bought brands are pricey, but you can find tons of DIY spray recipes online. This could make all the difference between being able to share a tiny (or not so tiny!) living space with another person.

  • Heather
    January 3, 2015, 3:43 pm

    Using a boat trailer seems like a good idea because they have a built in channel down the center for plumbing and electrical. BUT, does the running of the boards over the sides to the maximum street width make the structure unstable? It looks like probably not because more than 2/3 are are in the middle, but pulling it don the road might be a little tricky if windy, since the long struts are “skinny.” Of course, they pull boats down the road on those trailers, so it might work.

    I wonder if the spray foam installation would be better than the white styprfoam or rolled pink stuff – for weight, water, and R factor – I know it’s more expensive.

    • Heather
      January 3, 2015, 3:46 pm

      I also wanted to add – what a great use of storage space for the stemware glasses and the spices. I like the triangle door for the loft. I also like that the ladder goes up to the loft when not in use and pulled down when in use. I might thane missed it, but I wonder how is this heated and is the fan the only cooling?

  • Wanda
    January 4, 2015, 12:43 pm

    This is probably one of my favorites! The only thing i saw that i would have a hard time with is the small sink ! Since you put in such large kitchen appliances. Other than that ” Great Job” . Love the way you made sure there was room for being so comfortable in a small space. The table next to the stove ! You had some great ideas for this . I hope you do not mind if you see one that looks a lot like yours 😉

    • John Russell
      January 5, 2015, 6:11 pm

      Hi Wanda
      We get a lot of comments with concerns about the sink , Debbie and I spent many hours going over the sink and we found that this sink works very well for us , we have the flex head faucet that can be out to the side to wash larger pans and plates are really not an issue. When living tiny there are areas where you need to determine what is more important counter space or large sink, also we like a design element to our living, so Deb and I thought this was the best solution for us.
      I wanted to keep the plumbing simple with ease of service, so we located the water heater directly under the sink, that the other reason for the top mounted sink.
      If you would like to use some of our design ideas no problem.
      I will give you dimensions or other information.
      Thanks and keep the comments coming!
      John Russell

  • Nerida
    January 5, 2015, 8:05 pm

    Only problem with this house is you made it look easy :). Thank you for the detailed peak into your life. Its lovely and has a wonderful feel about it. New love, new life. Good luck to you both.

  • Dianna
    January 6, 2015, 3:38 pm

    I have a question…in the first pictures, the trailer is shown with 2 axles in the last few pictures, it shows 3 axles. Did they add another axle? I am confused…otherwise, this is the perfect tiny home.

    • Alex
      January 6, 2015, 3:46 pm

      Yes he added an extra axle 🙂

  • Ed Costello
    January 28, 2015, 8:40 am

    I didn’t realize that in building a small shelter for my two Harley Davidsons
    I’d joined the tiny house movement. Yep, they’ve got light, power, and heat!
    The boat trailer tiny home is a hoot and I’d love to build one some day!

  • LISA
    February 1, 2015, 11:18 pm

    my question is. what do you do about a young child living in these. is there possibly enough room for a third person?

  • Diane
    April 18, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I love your little house on wheels just love it

  • chris
    September 26, 2015, 7:25 pm

    Just a question? i see you extended the length,Did you use just lumber,IE beefed up the floor joists? or weld on more steel? Just building one myself ,using a goose neck,and need to extend another 5 FT. and wondered,if 1×8 @ 12″ centres would do the job? Nice job by the way. C

    • John
      August 25, 2016, 6:36 pm

      1x8s would be stretching it. We overhang a foot and used 2x6s. Definitely have to keep your overall weight lower to the ground.

  • Lisa
    November 1, 2015, 5:51 pm

    Can you tell me where you bought your loft ladder? I’m in search of that exact one for our boat house. Thank you

    • John
      August 25, 2016, 6:37 pm

      Attic Ladder – we took attic fill in part off. Home Depot or Lowes. Stowed away nicely. Lightweight. Around $80

  • Cheryl Brown
    July 30, 2016, 9:11 pm

    How tall is it>

    • John
      August 25, 2016, 6:38 pm


  • nancy park
    August 25, 2016, 1:44 pm

    3rd axle? I’m almost done with my Tiny House and am realizing that I have too much weight for my 2 axles. I’d like to know in what stage of production did you add the 3rd axle and how hard was it? oy

    • John
      August 25, 2016, 6:42 pm

      At the very end. We centered up the load and knew we were going to need a third. Find your center of gravity. Figure 3,500 lbs an axle. Get good bottle jacks and put on good platforms. Weld on u brackets and slide axle on – bolt up to u bolts. Jack up axle and put tires on.

  • Kathy Handyside
    August 25, 2016, 6:38 pm

    I love your beautiful house! I am planning on building a house from Tumbleweed (the Linden – i bought the plans last fall at the Ann Arbor workshop) and it will be my retirement home. I am concerned about whether Michigan allows tiny houses. I’m planning to buy a few acres of land to put it on and am looking at northern Michigan or the Upper Peninsula. If you have any information about restrictions or anything, I’d really appreciate any info you can give me. Thanks so much! Kathy Handyside [email protected]

  • Mr. Lonnie
    August 25, 2016, 7:04 pm

    I love the progressive build pics … many good ideas, good finishes, great job. The final exterior looks great, love the roofline extention off the loft. Curious, when/how was the 3rd axel added?

  • hank
    August 25, 2016, 8:17 pm

    great job, going to use some of your design, sorry got to go to join the bears in the woods to go number 2, thanks for sharing

  • Robin Hollenbeck
    August 25, 2016, 9:35 pm

    There are so many pluses to this post. The reuse of a boat trailer, to a house trailer. I have not seen this, before today. Lots of great photographs! Their use of pine gives the home a cozy and warm feel. The curved cover of the stove vent is a brilliant idea. Hard vent corners in tight quarters can be dangerous!
    Thanks for the post.

  • Phyllis
    August 25, 2016, 9:47 pm

    I have followed Tiny Houses forever, but this is one of the nicest put together and thought out I have ever seen. Kudos to you both!

  • Wendy Werb
    August 25, 2016, 10:27 pm

    What IKEA couch did you end up getting? I definitely want a full sized couch in my future tiny/small house!

  • Mary
    August 25, 2016, 10:39 pm

    Thank you for the detailed photos!

    August 26, 2016, 12:13 am

    Awesome tiny house, and built for a very reasonable price as well..! So you nay Sayers out there who say you need to pay those crazy prices of $80,000.00 and $90,000.00 to have a beautiful tiny house, sing these nice folks here that tune, and see how they respond to your outrageous prices….!

  • August 26, 2016, 4:54 am

    Wow, now that is a build. Thanks for all the pictures, that show your progress as you build. I hadn’t seen a boat trailer used before, but whatever works. Great job. Thanks again 🙂 Gene from Iowa

    • Marla
      August 26, 2016, 3:24 pm

      I live in a mountain/lake resort community and boat trailers are EVERYWHERE! Had been contemplating using one for my build but a pro told me it is not generally a good idea because building a tiny house on one could make it too top-heavy, since boats are much lighter weight and the trailers are specifically designed for that. However, it seems to work for this THOW since the builders paid close attention to center of gravity and adding a third axle to accommodate. Kudos to John and Debbie!! Job much more than beautifully well-done!!

  • Steve in Palm Bay
    August 26, 2016, 7:05 am

    This looks fantastic! Lots of ideas to glean here. Not much I would change, other than adding a/c. Since I live in Florida, I would rearrange my sleeping situation. Bunk downstairs and use the bedroom as a storage loft.

    Also, I think John and Debbie’s photo journal tells a great easy-to-follow story.

  • Marla
    August 26, 2016, 3:48 pm

    My only concern is that it appears to have the front wall of the tow-end too close to the hitch? Perhaps it is just the depth perception seen in the photograph. Wondering how it corners on a tight turn?

  • Wes
    November 14, 2016, 2:22 pm

    Wow! What aa awesome job you both did with this. I would love to live there. If only I could convince my wife to downsize. Maybe sis by side his and hers tiny houses to keep from driving each other crazy? Thanks for sharing your home and ideas with us. I wish you both many years of happiness and enjoyment in your home.

    • Natalie
      November 16, 2016, 7:47 am

      Haha a nice idea Wes 🙂 — Tiny House Talk Team

  • keepyourpower
    April 8, 2017, 1:12 am

    If I were capable enough to build my own THOW, I would have placed a Murphy bed, on that barren wall. Then made the loft a storage area. Or the office. The Murphy bed could have a fold down desk.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 10, 2017, 5:28 am

      Great ideas!

    April 9, 2017, 8:05 pm

    Awesome build…! And very nicely laid out….

  • Norris
    May 5, 2017, 12:38 am

    This a great build. I think the idea of a Murphy bed would suit a lot of followers who do not want to climb stairs. There is one build where the have a lowering bed platform that hides the bed above. Your thoughtful planning and research with your wife has made this a excellent build. P.S. did you intentionally not show any pic of your wife working on the house? LOL.

  • Gary Harding
    February 19, 2018, 4:00 pm

    I may have missed it, but how did you power this? thank you

  • CaroleD
    February 22, 2018, 6:45 pm

    I love your house! I think the only change I would have made would have been to somehow figured out a way to put in a bathroom sink. You have picked a beautiful place to live….I grew up in the thumb of MI and have visited the UP and LOVED it! Good luck with your lovely home.

  • Hendrik
    October 12, 2019, 12:06 pm

    “Great” building! So complete and cosey!
    Well done!

  • Brian Ansorge
    April 12, 2020, 6:17 pm

    Wow. A TRUE (in my book) tiny house that is BIG on utility.

    Had to “Google” for it (using “200 sq.-ft.” as a search term) because [coughing] … tinyhousetalk.com does NOT have a search function that I could find.

    Any way, great design, and nice “designer” touches.

    WHERE did you get those nesting coffee mugs (damn, I want coffee now)? Racks for glassware and hanging stuff above counter in kitchen?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 13, 2020, 3:12 pm

      Check out the upper right-hand corner of the site. We have a search bar there 🙂

  • Vanessa Valentine
    July 2, 2022, 1:08 pm

    I love this! What a great job. I have a question about the deck; it looks like it’s metal with just a Trex top? Could you tell me more about that? Wood is SO expensive these days (I want a 7′ x 3′ deck with stairs for my tiny and the cost would be $1,600). I was wondering how much the metal deck and stairs set you back. Thanks!

  • Susan Kim Pratt
    July 3, 2022, 12:09 am

    I like the house. The full-size kitchen appliance and the closet doors, and above the closet, the angled doors in the storage area. Love how they designed the angled doors to have the wood panels follow the on the doors. The deck is also nice. It is a nice and cozy house. Like the table under the TV, you can hook a laptop to the TV and have a nice size display. Everything in this house is awesome.

  • Nancy
    July 3, 2022, 10:53 am

    I built a 4×8 deck for my tiny using two sections of floating dock. Did use wood for stairs on side and front.

  • March 12, 2023, 9:07 pm

    How heavy is this house ? The boat trailer does not look like it is made for this much weight

    • James D.
      March 13, 2023, 12:42 pm

      They don’t state the weight but they did modify the trailer, adding a third axle, etc. So it’s stronger than it originally was…

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