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Couple’s Tiny Caboose Cabin

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This is the story of a family’s tiny caboose cabin and their 1981 mobile hot tub. The chassis was bought in 1999 and the caboose cabin was built on it in 2003.

By 2005, the couple were able to move in as newlyweds and lived in it for about 12 years.

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Couple’s Tiny Railroad Caboose Cabin

Bob's Caboose Tiny House 001

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Bob's Caboose Tiny House 0011 Bob's Caboose Tiny House 0012

We had to comply with county code of 90 mph wind restraints before being allowed electric. So we needed architect, structural engineer, steel fabricators and concrete “deadman” in each corner.

We moved in with only an exterior shell in September 05. No heat, no insulation, no wiring. No one walls, kitchen, closet or plumbing other than a working toilet. We did have an alarm clock with extension cord from garage.(train station). No bank would mortgage such a “strange”home. We have built all along the way. The only job to finish is interior window trim. Kitchen walls are cherry wood, living area is mahogany with stamped tin ceiling. We wanted to move the bedroom downstairs so us old folks didn’t need to climb a ladder to cupola. It has a 4’5” ceiling to floor measurement. Now our granddaughters guest room. Malia is 6. The plan was to make the twin bed into Murphy bed on main floor. Tempurpedic claimed that if we stored it on its side, it would ruin the mattress. So it now is in the living room. We drilled our own well and installed septic system. A 30 gallon hot water tank sits hidden in the cupola.

We found chassis for sale from a private owner from Henry, Illinois in a classified section of a train magazine. We went there to truck it back so we knew how to disassemble and rebuild it.
Our big thanks to Bob Murrell for sharing with us!🙏

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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!
{ 11 comments… add one }
  • greg
    January 20, 2016, 10:41 am

    There are different models of the Tempurpedic mattresses and that warning against storing you model on edge may be valid, but we have been using a Tempur-Contour in our Murphy-bed for about two years now and have noticed no problems with it. When we bought the mattress our prior research turned up no specific warnings against it and we didn’t raise the Murphy-bed issue with the salesperson because we’ve been using it exclusively for ten years and don’t think of it as unusual, so it could just be that we’re getting by on the luck of the ignorant.

    By the way, I’m a bit of a train nut; OK a lot of a train nut; so I like what you’ve done with the place!

    • Alex
      January 20, 2016, 11:05 am

      Thanks, Greg!

  • Gmh
    January 20, 2016, 12:58 pm

    LOVE it! Everything you need and nothing you don’t.

    (Just a bit of a math edit though… if they moved in 2005, they probably haven’t lived in it 12 years yet because it isn’t 2017 yet…)

    • Eric
      January 20, 2016, 3:17 pm

      That was my initial thought too… but went back and re-read the text and the structure was built in 2003 which is when they probably moved in and then they got married in 2005.

      Text says “By 2005, the couple were able to move in as newlyweds” which if they had been living there unmarried prior to getting married makes the statement correct so yes, they would have been there about 12 years.

  • Eric
    January 20, 2016, 3:09 pm

    Ok, I give up. What’s a “No one wall”?

    • Ray Heichelbech
      January 21, 2016, 6:39 am

      I think they ment “not one wall”.

  • Lynnette
    January 29, 2016, 4:05 am

    Where’s mom and dad’s bed?

  • Lori
    February 10, 2016, 10:30 am

    I would say it’s next to the couch in the living room Lynnette. The light from the window is shining on the bedspread.

    Interesting and cute use for an old train caboose! LOVE the full size appliances in the kitchen. Saw that trivet and had to find one for myself! Now to get a tiny house of my own to hang it in….

  • Anna
    October 20, 2019, 8:14 am

    I wish it was lighter, can’t really see it that well, but it looks interesting. The outside is great.

  • e.a.f..
    October 20, 2019, 5:22 pm

    very cool. lovely home. its nice to see people who built things as the could afford them. demonstrates you can still do it, if you have the land.

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