≡ Menu

DIY Tiny House on a Trailer for $5,500

This post contains affiliate links.

Yesterday Newt showcased Jenine Alexander’s $3,500 DIY tiny house on a trailer.

So today I wanted to introduce you to Matthew Wolpe’s humble abode.

So far it has run him approximately $5,500 in material costs and he seems to be near completion.

He designed and built it himself and it has everything you can ask for in a 120 square foot home:

  • Insulation
  • Full sized bed in a loft
  • Complete kitchen
  • Hot water heater
  • Outdoor shower
  • Composting toilet

On the exterior you might notice the beautiful reclaimed redwood siding which came from fencing and ended up running him just $1 per piece.

Please don’t miss other exciting tiny homesjoin our FREE Tiny House Newsletter!

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project
Photos Courtesy of Matthew Wolpe via Oakland Tiny House and Just Fine Design

In addition he’s hooked it up with 120V electrical outlets and a greywater system to take care of used water. If you like what you see, I encourage you to check out the rest:

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Inside you’ll find beautiful maple flooring and a pricey propane boat heater that Jay Shafer likes using in his designs.

One of the home’s multifunctional features is the staircase which also serves as a closet with drawers.

Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project: Frame Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project Bed Matthew Wolpe's DIY Tiny House on a Trailer Project

Matt also builds chicken coops, tiny campers, bicycle trailers, and unique furniture over at Just Fine Design where you can view his full portfolio.


  • justfinedesignbuild.com/portfolio/show/32
  • oaklandtinyhouse.blogspot.com


If you enjoyed this $5k tiny home on wheels you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more!

You can also join our Small House Newsletter!

Also, try our Tiny Houses For Sale Newsletter! Thank you!

This post contains affiliate links.

The following two tabs change content below.


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!
{ 32 comments… add one }
  • January 4, 2012, 4:38 pm

    Great post Alex. It’s impressive how this entire things was built with such a minimal cost.

    • January 4, 2012, 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Steven. Happy new year to you and your family!

  • January 4, 2012, 4:59 pm

    The photos and descriptions are terrific! I acquired enough materials through craigslist over a month period to build a 700′ cabin, a 500′ deck including all fixtures, windows (retail value over $4,000.) , skylights and much more AND have materials left over for under $3,000. Just have to look. If you go to craigslist.org, look for the section entitled “materials” for building supplies. Also, a lot of people give away small quantities of building materials, windows, etc. under the FREE section.

    • January 4, 2012, 6:06 pm

      Glad that you liked it John, thanks so much for leaving your advice on getting reclaimed materials too- very helpful!

  • dana pallessen
    January 4, 2012, 6:30 pm

    my husband and i recently purchased an acre on which is a 100 foot square building. we have fixed it up to spend our weekends with the stove, fridge, sink from a former camper, a folding ikea bed and shelving, etc. we started looking around for a slightly larger park model house to place on our property. they are on trailers and we thought to have it green and self sufficient with solar, propane, a compost toilet and propane. we have been told that the park model are not allowed on private proerty by the recreational vehicle association and the county we live in. the rec people because of many lurid reasons dealing with them not wanting to have to finght endlessly with hud over such small houses and they told us, because counties do not want such small houses because they do not bring in enough tax revenue and because they both assume that people who want such a small house are poor, and would end up using the local resources in their food, hospitals -just be a drag on the locals. disgusted in more ways than one with these and other answers from the rec people, with this response, we have decided to just build a rv shed with wall and attach a screened covered porch and live in it. our 23 foot rv we already have. if i had known any of what the recreational vehicle association and the county were to say, i would never have purchased property. naive was i that i thought i could build the home of my dreams on my own property. we are by no means poverty stricken, we just want a small house. we wanted the breckenridge copperridge park model on our property. now we will have a 1978 23′ rv on our property, and our 100 square foot, what will now be our guest house.

    • January 4, 2012, 7:11 pm

      Hi Dana- sorry to hear about your struggles with getting what you wanted on your land. I hope that you find a creative way to make it work for yourselves and thanks so much for sharing your experience. These restrictions sure are frustrating. Wishing you the best.

  • Pam
    January 5, 2012, 8:53 am

    Hey Alex, I loved Matt’s little house, and the drawings were terrific but I’m puzzled, as some of the photos show the one side with the heater and the bump out thing, whatever that is, and other photos show the finished home without the bumpout – what’s the deal?

    • January 7, 2012, 10:24 am

      Hey Pam, great question- I don’t think it’s finished yet so I’m guessing that’s why. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • Chris
    January 5, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Awesome! I like the slant-roof design; always seems less crowded to me.

    Do you accept visitors? I’m in the Bay Area too. Would love to have a peek, ask you how things are going for you on this.

    • January 7, 2012, 10:25 am

      Hey Chris- you might want to head over to one of Matt’s sites so you can contact him directly.

  • Danielle
    January 5, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Very nice use of recycled materials. Always alot of good ideas here!

    • January 6, 2012, 9:46 am

      Glad you found it inspiring, Danielle. Thanks!

  • January 6, 2012, 9:14 am

    I like the interior layout with the storage-stairs. Congrats Matthew

    • January 6, 2012, 9:47 am

      I love the storage-stairs too. I’m pretty sure he’s adding drawers to them too, in addition to the built in closet. Great use of space. Thanks for coming by Deek!

  • Dave B.
    January 6, 2012, 9:58 pm

    Very Cool!! I have a yard full of pallets and this is giving me the inspiration to get started on my own tiny house..Thank you for this great website ;Tinyhousetalk]
    Dave B.

    • January 7, 2012, 9:59 am

      Hey Dave, have you seen Michael Janzen’s pallet house before? You should also look into a guy named David Reed.

  • Clint
    February 3, 2014, 2:19 pm

    Are there any lists out there for places where one could buy trailers at reasonable prices? Tinyhomebuilders.com has some of the most reasonable but the shipping is killer since I live in NM.

    • Jerry
      February 7, 2014, 1:16 pm

      Most large cities have at least one trailer manufacturer who will do custom builds. Pricing is always the big issue when going outside of what they consider their standard builds, so you may be able to go cheaper by modifying what they have available after the purchase.

  • Harper
    February 6, 2014, 12:17 pm

    Excellent post Alex! Would you happen to know what the dimensions are of the footprint of the house? I’m in the design stages of my house and would like to get a feel of just how small I can go for myself.


  • Rich
    February 6, 2014, 11:56 pm

    Now this has integrity! Tx for posting again. Refreshing after those two previous mcmansions on wheels 🙂

  • Jason johnson
    March 5, 2015, 12:36 am

    Does this have to be DOT inspected in order to transport them

  • October 16, 2015, 7:24 pm

    Hi, i am curious where the water and electricity comes from? Does it use a gen set or solar electricity? Where is the water stocked?

  • Joe
    December 5, 2016, 4:00 pm

    I would like to know if you would be able to give me a couple of your old blueprints in order for me to build one of these much faster and I would like to start doing this for some financial gain I own a roofing company here in Connecticut and this seems like a good way for the days that I am not on a job site I can be busy building these because I am a carpenter at heart so I would like to fill my passion with carpentry and make money at the same time . please get in contact with me if you find this to be within reason of what you do to maybe we can make some money together LOL I will get in touch with me.

  • Kwame Duodu Amponsah
    September 2, 2017, 2:26 am

    Good and very interesting information
    Thanks a lot

  • george wu
    December 12, 2017, 1:36 pm

    I like the excellent DIY Tiny House on a Trailer very much.
    George Wu, ARCHITECT, AIA, NCARB 2017-12-12

  • george wu
    December 12, 2017, 1:48 pm

    $2,000 container is cheap. stack them up into multiple walk-up housing for the homeless is my way of providing a home address for the homeless people to find a job. Employers do not hire people with no home address is a realty. Without a job. how can anyone to be on the feet again ?! You can live in a tiny home, far away from where the jobs are, but you cannot live that way for long ! [email protected]

  • Sheila Plourde
    July 2, 2018, 3:23 pm

    This is clever. I like it and the style that it is. Would want a big kitchen… I do like this.

  • Emil Pryo
    November 8, 2022, 10:27 pm

    Hi, I was wanting to build something similar within a utility box trailer. I am located in Australia and was wondering how you would approach the legalities of sucha build?


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.