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DIY Tiny House Couple Now Saving More Than Half Their Income! (Interview and Tiny House Tour)

This is Sean & Angie Johnson’s Tiny House: The Casa Paspin.

The couple spent 8 months building the self-designed creation, and just moved in this January. They are already loving their tiny life and are saving 60% of their income by not renting anymore. Good for them! Read our interview with them below the photo tour.

Related: Interview with Neha about her Tranquil Taos Tiny House

Tour Sean & Angie’s Amazing Tiny House!

Images via Sean and Angie Johnson

The rooftop patio/balcony is amazing, isn’t it?

This tiny house even has a slide-out!

The staircase to the loft has built-in storage andย hand rails!

The kitchen leads you to the relatively large bathroom

Bath tub shower ๐Ÿ™‚

I really like how there’s a door in the bathroom too!

Perfectly positioned window (I love looking getting to look outside while doing dishes)

Extra ladder for the second loft ๐Ÿ™‚

I love all the plants in the cozy sleeping loft!

Here’s what the second loft looks like

Notice the outdoor shower and bathroom door below

Heading up to the rooftop deck (I love this!)

French door main entrance and outdoor deck

Sean and Angie ๐Ÿ™‚

Images via Sean and Angie Johnson

Interview with Sean & Angie about their Casa Paspin THOW

What are your names?
Sean + Angie Johnson

How many people will be living in your tiny house?
It will be us, our large Weimaraner dog (chip), our 2 cats (chef and cow) and 4 chickens (in a coop)

Where do you live?
We live in Oceanside, CA

Why did you decide to go tiny?
We decided to go tiny for a few reasons. We had been renting a house for over 4 years and realized how we were throwing our money away. We have no regrets from renting but it was exciting to see that there were other options instead of going house poor. We saw the opportunity to build a tiny house to live in and jumped on it after careful planning. I studied architecture before becoming a firefighter, so I had some experience in design and building. We also wanted to build a custom home that we could own and be able to save money for things we like to do (surfing and traveling). We plan to save enough money to buy land and eventually build a full size house and keep our tiny house as a rental or a home for our family or friends if they ever needed a place to stay.

What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?
We are hoping to finally get ahead of our finances and achieve our goals at a faster rate. It is also exciting to have our dream home that we can call ours!

How did you first learn about tiny houses?
I actually have my own business shaping surfboards and built a tiny surfboard shaping shack on wheels over 5 years ago. We then got the idea to build one and live in one when a coworker told us that he and his family lived in a boat full time. At that moment I saw the opportunity and started my research.

When did you officially start your tiny house?
We officially started building our tiny house in May 2016 and finished in January 2017.

Is your house completed? How long did it take to finish it?
Our house is completed. We only have landscape things to finish around the property we are staying at. It took approximately 8 months to build.

How did you build your tiny house?
I drew very detailed building plans for every aspect of the build. Everything was build like a regular house with normal building materials!

Did you have any help? Did you do it yourselves?
We built and designed 95% of the house by ourselves. We did have a professional plumber and electrician do the rough in work – to save time and make sure it was done correctly. The house has a fire protection system (fire sprinklers, propane/Carbon monoxide/ smoke detectors) that is integrated into the house. I built that because a tiny house has all the same fire hazards as a full size house.

How did you find a place to park and live in your tiny house?
We have arranged to keep it in the same location it was built. We built the house on Angie’s parents property. We plan on living in it for 3-5 years until we find a piece of land that we want to purchase.

Before going tiny, what was life like?
Life was great. We rented a small cottage style house a few blocks from the beach. However, we were throwing money away at rent and not really putting it towards something that we owned.

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?
The benefits we see are amazing. The house really has a lot of space. We are proud of the quality and the design and how everything flows. We are able to save over 60% of our income and able to put that into savings and do things that we like to do.

What about some challenges?
Our biggest challenge was finding the land to build and keep it. The build was also challenging. It is no joke building a tiny house. Utility connections are also a major factor in building a tiny house. The obvious challenges were downsizing our possessions and learning to keep and live with less. It is actually a very mentally freeing concept and makes you happier.

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?
Do your research and consult with professionals if your not sure. It will not only save you time and a headache but also money in the long run. It was a serious build. I worked almost full time on it and it still took 8 months.

Do you have a website, blog, or social media page where we can follow along?
Our Instagram page is casa_paspin.

Related: For Sale, Cassie Model THOW by NJ Tiny House

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributing writer for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She is a coffee-loving wannabe homesteader who dreams of becoming self-sufficient in her own tiny home someday. Natalie currently resides in a tiny apartment with her husband, Casey, in Massachusetts.
{ 32 comments… add one }
  • oxide February 1, 2017, 3:44 pm

    We have arranged to keep it in the same location it was built. We built the house on Angieโ€™s parents property.

    Not too hard to save 60% of your income when someone gives you the land.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee February 3, 2017, 6:29 am

      It’s great that they are choosing to live on that land instead of going into huge debt buying a home in California. Kudos to them ๐Ÿ™‚ And he said they are paying rent to live there, so there you go! I mean, Thoreau did the same thing when he went to the woods ๐Ÿ™‚ Borrowed Emerson’s land.

  • Otessa Regina Compton February 1, 2017, 5:00 pm

    I DO NOT LIKE THE COLOR OF THE RAILS AND STOVE, BUT LOVE THE COLOR OF THE REFRIGERATOR. I MUST GIVE CREDIT FOR THE IMAGINATION, AND THE OVER THE TOP LITTLE PATIO. THE BEDROOM LOFT DOES LOOK ROMANTIC. I AM IN TOTAL FAVOR (1000%) OF HAVING SAFETY RAILS EVERYWHERE NEEDED. AGAIN ALEX, KEEP THOSE INTERIOR PHOTOS COMING, WE NEED TO SEE INSIDE AND OUT. THANKS AGAIN!!!

  • Janice February 1, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Oh, I love, love, love this! How wonderful to have that opportunity. Now, if I could talk my husband and 2 teenagers into something like this…

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee February 3, 2017, 6:24 am

      Hehe that’s always the problem! Convincing others we aren’t crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Lisa E. February 1, 2017, 5:39 pm

    Wow. There are a boat-load of goodies with this THOW. I am *totally* loving that master bedroom with the ambient light from the skylights. The storage staircase is fabulous, and I am adoring that aquamarine refrigerator (I want one!) All of the plants certainly make a difference and take the place from industrial to homey-cozy in the most attractive ways. The bathroom is nothing to pass up, either; spacious and well appointed. This THOW is family friendly inside and out with the super sun deck on top for catching a few rays or lounging in the moonlight with the one you love! Top to bottom, end to end, and inside and out this THOW gets the Good Tiny House on Wheels Seal of Approval! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee February 3, 2017, 6:23 am

      Agh the fridge! I love it so much. I showed my husband and said, “Someday I need one!!!” hehe. He was skeptical ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Lisa E. February 3, 2017, 2:57 pm

        I think Aqua is the new “black”. Just love it. I have a set of new fry pans from “Greenlife” in aqua hanging from a pot rack and I admire them as I walk past them all the time. A nice new aqua fridge would be just the thing to add to my THOW (I’m planning on light aqua walls trimmed with cream.) I think aqua looks very “spring garden” and you can accessorize with pink, lavender, light greens, or sunny yellow, and give yourself a garden bouquet all winter long! Happy, happy ๐Ÿ˜€

        • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee February 6, 2017, 7:55 am

          Ah that sounds dreamy, Lisa ๐Ÿ™‚ Send us pictures!

  • Brent February 1, 2017, 5:47 pm

    Absolutely Fantastic. Just about every idea I have had for a tiny home in a really well thought out layout. The few tweaks that I would have added would have been more closet space in the main bedroom such as a wall to wall built in closet behind the bed as there appears to be more than enough room for it. L shaped seating which actually would be able to slide out even further to accommodate additional guests in the living room to be able to look directly at the tv. The kitchen and bathroom area is total perfection though!

  • Claude February 1, 2017, 6:04 pm

    Good for them. Very nice accomodations, love the extension for the living room, the rooftop deck and the outside shower. Nice job!

  • Sean Johnson February 1, 2017, 6:38 pm

    Just to clarify- we are renting the land. Thanks for all your great comments! They mean a lot!

  • keepyourpower February 1, 2017, 7:03 pm

    Why put it on wheels, instead of slab? If you wanted to move it, you would have to take half of it down, with the road rules!

    Did you have to dig your own septic tank?

    What is stored under the outside stairs? I can tell you are a firefighter, by the items you have, on that storage container.

    By the way, you are a beautiful couple!

    • Sean Johnson February 1, 2017, 7:24 pm

      It has standard utility connections. I figure it would take appx 4-5 to get it road ready. We realize this isn’t the most practice tiny house on wheels. We only plan on moving the house once or twice so that afforded us the ability to build up and out and still have the option take it off. The deck railing is bolted on. The slide out goes in flush, the patio folds up and the outdoor shower also easily comes off..

    • Sean Johnson February 1, 2017, 7:29 pm

      Sorry there was some typos on that last one. It takes appx 4-5 hours to get it road ready. The front storage holds the fire sprinkler riser, hot water heater, propane and electrical panel. Plus extra outlets.

  • Beverly Alonzo February 1, 2017, 7:36 pm

    I love everything about your tiny house. I wish I had the knowledge and savy to build one for myself. I could live so comfortably during my retirement years. Much happiness to you.

  • Marsha Cowan February 1, 2017, 8:06 pm

    Really beautiful and unique. Lovely design and decorating details.

  • Patricia Chang February 2, 2017, 2:38 am

    Stair rails and railings for the lofts should become standard features where there are stairs. As for ladders, any ideas about safety features that could make them safer? This is particularly essential, if children live in the Tiny House. This house is very nice. I love the plants. In a Tiny House, they help keep the air clean.

  • jm February 2, 2017, 5:32 am

    Yeah, can’t fault them for having a place for it. That was part of the basis for their plan, and they worked for it. Good for them. In time, they will build a normal size house. Call it up-sizing.

  • Jeff Glanfield February 2, 2017, 6:47 am

    Nice bright interior makes for a good feeling in the house. I love it

  • Susanne February 2, 2017, 6:06 pm

    Love it! Especially the balcony! I agree can’t fault them for knowing people with land, where they can place it… Rent or not. Oxide don’t forget how outrageous the cost of living is in California! Every penny they save right now- they’re gonna need it for a tiny piece if land in a decent location! Good luck with that….:)

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee February 3, 2017, 5:53 am

      Yes exactly! Certainly makes their situation unique, but it’s great that they are saving up instead of going into debt!

  • ROSEE February 5, 2017, 7:35 am

    This TH is sure different, from the outside. A huge contrast to what the inside looks like. I bet the couple had a lot of comments from their guest. I say, WELL DONE for being different and unique!

  • ZACHARY E MOHRMANN February 7, 2017, 7:36 am

    It is a lovely tiny house, with out any doubts. what so ever… It’s interior is quit vast, and filled with plant life bring mother nature in from the cold, and bringing nature in all it’s wonder indoors to remind us how fragile or ecosystem really is… The house is slightly painted more than what I would prefer, but it is not my house and I would have to deal with it in other ways.. I probably had missed it but I did not see a price tag for this thow, and I wouldn’t be shocked if they were in search for some insane amount of money as it has become the growing trend because the buyers don’t know any better, and are ill advised when in search of a new tiny house….!

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