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An Extreme Tiny Home Makeover: Ugly Tiny House Potential?

Recently I was made aware of a tiny house page on Facebook called Extreme Makeover: Tiny Home Edition.

I thought the concept was interesting at first but really didn’t think much about it at that point.

Next thing I knew I noticed some horrifically hateful things on the page that made me think twice.

Several people were referring to her page as a scam, “these people think that I’m trying to commit fraud with regard to the original ABC-TV show, using the show’s name to scam people out of their money. That couldn’t be further from the truth,” the page owner told me.

I emailed Sally Schrock, the tiny homeowner, to find out more and while I am sure I don’t have the whole story I do feel as though I know enough about her tiny house situation to speak confidently.

Photo by Sally Schrock

Photo by Sally Schrock

See below to read more about her project.

“I’m profoundly deaf and have been since birth; when my mom was pregnant with me, she contracted rubella, aka German measles which destroyed most of my hearing. When my parents found out that I was deaf, my mom decided to go back to college to earn her master’s degree in audiology so she could help me achieve my potential in a hearing world and at the same time help other deaf and hard of hearing adults and children,” Sally told me of her early experience.

“After living with my baby brother in California for a few months and in a group home in Long Beach, I ended up in Illinois where I stayed until late June of 2011 in a homeless shelter. It was then I went to southern Maryland, where I’ve been staying since.”

It was then that Sally learned about an unfinished tiny house for sale nearby. “I have to admit that at first I was not impressed by it. It looks as ugly as sin on the outside to be sure, but the more I looked at the photos, especially the interior, I began to really see the potential that it has to become a truly wonderful home on wheels, one I could see myself living in, and the asking price of $1750 was close to my range. I was able to get the seller to come down to $1650, which I feel is a real steal considering the flatbed trailer alone is probably worth that much.”

Photo by Sally Schrock

Photo by Sally Schrock

Since that time Sally started an IndieGoGo campaign to raise money to finish the house and rent land on which to park. Like Sally’s inspiration for the site, ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, she says she “truly want this to be a community event where people can come together to make this a reality. What would be awesome is bringing the house to, say, Lowe’s or Home Depot where these people can get in there and make it over, just like on the popular TV show, but obviously on a much smaller scale.”

I’m not interested in the personal vendetta between her and the group who cried “scam” over her Facebook page. What I do like is the idea of crowdfunding for projects such as this. Therefore I believe it should be an individual choice to support people reaching out for help in our community. To this end I wanted to share Sally’s story and her Tiny House Home Makeover to give everyone an opportunity to see her project and decide for themselves.

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Laura LaVoie

Contributor and Tiny House Owner at 120SquareFeet.com
Laura M. LaVoie is a professional writer living in the mountains of North Carolina in a 120 Square Foot house with her partner and their hairless cat, Piglet. Laura graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Anthropology. She has been published in magazines and anthologies on the subjects of mythology and culture. She spent nearly 15 years in the temporary staffing industry before deciding to become a full time writer. Laura works closely with the Zulu Orphan Alliance volunteering her time and the skills she's learned building her own small house to build a shelter for orphans and other vulnerable children living near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Laura also enjoys simple living, brewing and drinking craft beer, and popular culture.
{ 16 comments… add one }
  • TomLeeM
    March 16, 2013, 8:29 am

    The one problem I have with Extreme Makeover; Home Edition is that they build too big. My Dad also thinks so. I really like the idea of an tiny house version of the Extreme Makeover. I think it is an excellent idea. I will look for them on Facebook.

  • Victoria
    March 16, 2013, 4:53 pm

    I agree, community help can be….well…helpful. I am building a tiny house, seriously nothing fancy, just trying to build it as clean as possible and my budget is getting smaller by the day. Some things I will have to wait on till I get more funds but that is part of life.
    As long as it is insulated, closed up and has a vent over the stove and in the bathroom, well, the flooring, shower, loft, apt size stove and fridge will have to wait. Not to mention, down the road a ways for solar and wind power.

  • Marsha Cowan
    March 16, 2013, 5:54 pm

    Intesting story. Hope she does well with her endeavor.

  • March 17, 2013, 1:39 pm

    The owner of that facebook page is opening herself up to a big fat lawsuit from the owners of Extreme Makeover. That is a trademarked name. I don’t understand why people don’t realize they can’t take popular TV or product names and use them in their own projects. I had a client who was holding a weight lose challenge for their clinic patients and of course, wanted to call it the Biggest Loser challenge. I told them it was not a good idea due to trademark and copyright infringement. I hope nothing happens to her but if I were her I’d change that name pronto.

  • March 17, 2013, 2:01 pm

    A head nod to Ms. Schrock for thinking outside the ‘tinybox.’ I’m in a similar fix: on Social Security (only) and ready and willing to live small. I would suggest she’d have more success reaching out not to the Lowe’s crowd but to those of us who are already on board with the tiny house concept, ugly or not. We are those who could empathize with her and her plight, and be more willing to assist with her ‘makeover.’ I admit Lowe’s patrons could use enlightenment, but they are, in general, a hard sell. As for the Facebook vitriolics, judge not before ye know the facts! Jeesh!

  • Stephen Davis
    March 18, 2013, 9:47 am

    Please do your research before you give this person a dime of your hard earned money. She is an internet crook…She has been scamming the internet for years. She has harassed me and my wife and my son because my wife supports a horse rescue AC4H in PA that she hates and wants to bring down……Please Google her name Sally Schrock or Sally Preston Shrock…She is a convicted animal abuser..now she is using the good name of “Extreme Makeover” and Ty Pennington to solicit funds. That is Illegal and your right she is opening herself to a lawsuit big time. Please red this about Sally Schrock… https://sites.google.com/site/voiceforhorsesexposed/libel

    • Lainie Gentry
      March 31, 2013, 9:10 am

      Hey Pammy hows it going? Still badgering Sally I see. Just how many fake names do you have? MPD anyone?

  • Mary
    March 18, 2013, 5:05 pm

    Just my own ideas without Indiegogo:
    1) re-side the tiny house and do it right. Someone didn’t take too much trouble with their detail work in the past. Check the area for houses that are slated for demolition-both due to partial fires and city/county demo-and see if you can have the siding off one of them. It’ll be more welcome at most parks once the siding is fixed, but depending on skill, it may be best to start with some of the simpler inside projects. (Or work on those while you wait for free siding opportunities.)
    2) tear out the mismatched cabinets and other storage items and either put in shelves instead (my preference), go to the lumberyard and get nice cabinets, or visit antique and thrift stores for some good finds to use as cabinets.
    3) add some extra windows.
    4) finish the walls. Bead board over the sheetrock that’s there would be simple and pretty unless you are planning to hang lots of things on the walls or are concerned about using all natural materials.
    5) get rid of the floor tile and install some nice hardwood flooring. At least some oak veneered plywood.

    Total cost estimated $3000 by prices in my area. Can’t guess at prices in MD. More if you need bath fixtures and such, and of course more as you move up in quality. Budgets can be difficult, but this sort of thing can be done a bit at a time. I’d rent a parking place for it and work on it and live in it as is, as minimalistically as possible, doing just a bit each month until it was finished. If there’s a loft, do that first and use the bath house through the summer at the park where you place it.

    The price for the current structure is great. It looks top heavy and seems to sit pretty low, but that could be the camera angle.

  • Sally Schrock
    March 19, 2013, 10:45 am

    Wow, I really appreciate all of your very positive and constructive comments about my ugly duckling tiny cabin! Mary, you and I must be on the very same wavelength as I definitely plan to take out the mismatched cabinets in the kitchen area and go with a unified color scheme.

    I may actually take those apart and repurpose them somewhere else in the cabin, or just give them away to someone who could make use of them. As for the floor tile in that area, that is going to go also and I’m seriously considering putting down bamboo flooring.

    If you’re on Facebook, you can see on my page what I did with eight bamboo flooring samples in a photo; I am going to go with one of the lighter honey colored samples in that picture. I also am going to remove the small window in the upstairs loft that’s opposite the big picture window and put in a larger one, maybe a half moon one. Being an artist, I love the fact that this house is a virtual blank slate just waiting for my creative touches and imagination. I don’t have very much background on it, unfortunately, but the seller did tell me that an artist originally built it to use as a studio. Talk about serendipity!

    @Tiny Houses Hankerings, I have created a note on my Facebook page disclaiming any association or affiliation with the original TV show. As far as lawsuits go, I’ll cross that bridge if and when I come to it. One of my Facebook friends just embarked on her own tiny house build and she’s one of those who liked my page and visits it often. We’ve had quite a few discussions about our tiny house passions and not once did she bring up the subject of trademark/copyright infringement; she happens to be a lawyer who prosecutes criminal cases.

    Speaking of which, I’ve captured a screenshot of “Stephen Davis” ‘s comment above and am sending it on to my aforementioned friend. “Mister” Davis’s comment is very similar to those that Laura L. saw on my Facebook page and alluded to in her piece here at the very beginning.

    I’ve thanked Laura publicly on my Facebook page for writing such a wonderful article, and want to do so again here. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Laura for taking the time to do this. You ROCK!

  • Stephen Davis
    March 19, 2013, 11:32 am

    Laura I have read your blog last night I admire what you are trying to do…. Do you know anyone in NJ that has affiliation with the Tiny House movement? Hurricane Sandy has left so much destruction here.. People in the shore communities still living in tent cities and people have lost everything.

  • JT
    March 29, 2013, 12:30 am

    This may not be a popular thing to say/do, but I’ve never chosen my words based on that criteria.

    You want people to give you money, Sally Schrock or Sally Preston Shrock? Why? Because you were born “profoundly” deaf? When I was a kid, I had a deaf couple babysitting me. (Both of their children had full hearing.) They owned a home. He worked, she stayed at that home, did babysitting, sewing, etc. to help make ends meet. I have limited hearing myself. I’ve a friend who has crippling arthritis in both hands and feet. All four are so gnarled she can barely walk, can’t open certain doors without innovative gymnastics… Neither of us was born with a silver spoon, and neither of us is asking for one red cent to build a home with. Where are you broken, that you can’t get the money together on your own? You already got a killer deal on the place. So scrimp and save, dumpster dive, get deals on materials from Craigslist and Habitat for Humanity outlet stores. It’s mini-house, for crud’s sake. It’s not like you need materials for a 3,000 ft. place!

    I guess that means I’m joining the ranks of the unimpressed. It’s not that I lack compassion. It’s that I save that compassion for those truly in need, and you aren’t any special case. “Give me money because I’m asking for it and hitting on some key words” doesn’t fly anywhere with me. Seems I’m not the only one seeing through the story… ma’am.

    So roll up your sleeves, get to work and get busy. You’re not disabled.

    • Lainie Gentry
      March 31, 2013, 9:08 am

      JT…. who are you really? I suspect you are one of the ac$h followers who has been hounding Sally for years. Really bad behavior for a so called equine rescue. Get a new story. Sally is most likely mentally ill. I would think if it’s not illegal to harass a mentally ill person online… it should be! Grow up and find something else to do with your life. You could… oh I don’t know… go shovel some manure or something 😉

      • JT
        March 31, 2013, 1:29 pm

        If you bothered to click, you’d have the URL of one of my companies. I’m REALLY J.T., and what I said REALLY stands on its own merits. Whatever interpersonal drama may be going on with some horse rescue is irrelevant.

        Who are YOU really, and what do you have to contribute to the discussion at hand? What refutation do you offer against the points I raised?

      • JT
        March 31, 2013, 10:25 pm

        I’d also add this, which is at the bottom of an email I received from Tiny House:
        P.S. We also have peer-to-peer Tiny House Loans if you’re interested in borrowing or investing in other people’s tiny house projects: http://tinyhouseloans.com

        • Pam Davis
          April 3, 2013, 7:11 am

          JT, we are volunteering for Habitat for Humanity currently in Seaside Heights and Ortley Beach NJ. Many bungalow communities were completely destroyed. Thank you for sharing this link out. I am going to share this with others.

  • Cahow
    May 11, 2013, 2:50 pm

    Wow. So many “snarky” comments. “We shouldn’t be so quick to judge others. We all have unique needs/preferences. Take what you like, leave what you don’t. Please.”

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