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Family of 3 Downsizes into 117 Sq. Ft. Tiny Home

In this video interview you’ll get to meet a family of three (husband, wife, and daughter) who have downsized to a 117 sq. ft. tiny home on wheels.

They built it the house from scratch by hand in the mornings while later working nights. It took only 3 months to have it move in ready.

They went from paying $400 a month in utilities with their big house to paying only about $20 a month today in their tiny house. Now the family lives simply with no television.

And for them the decision to go tiny wasn’t just about money. It’s about living a better life for everybody. The house cost about $6-$8k to build thanks to being able to use recycled materials.

They spent an extra $12,000 to put up solar panels to power the house without having to completely rely on the grid. Please enjoy the video tour below.

Family of 3 Downsizes into 117 Sq. Ft. Tiny Home


Image © Jimmy Marlow V

Video Tour and Interview with the Family

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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!
{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Cahow
    December 24, 2014, 3:40 pm

    When I read that they didn’t own a TV but had a daughter, my 1st thought was, “Well, I wonder how SHE feels about that!?” But, after watching the video, their daughter is all of 2 years old so what does she know or miss, if she’s never had one? Myself, being raised completely off grid for the 1st 18 years of my life on my Grandparent’s dairy farm, it was an interesting early life but I’d never go do it, again. It was all I and our neighbor’s knew: now all that land has on it vacation homes and sport bars. All the farms are gone.

    Interesting that the arrival of their daughter also launched the arrival of electricity and being partially on the grid; kid’s can do that to you! Air conditioning, microwave, food processor…they may be tiny, but they sure like their comfort, as I do too, so I’m not tossing stones. If my Grandparent’s could have gotten the utility company’s to run lines up to extreme Northern Minnesota, they would have LOVED to not chop wood and haul coal so Gram could cook, bake and wash!

    Sweet family, they appear happy, daughter is adorable…what’s not to appreciate with them? 😀 Good luck to you all and those radishes look delish!

    • Lantz
      February 12, 2017, 5:38 pm

      My wife and I each had 2 children from previous marriages when we met. Hers were 8 and 12, mine 5 and 7. We decided not to have tv accept for playing rented videos. They hohumed for a few days but after a month or so it was completely forgotten. We did so until the youngest at 18 was the last to leave. None of the kids have ever said they thought it was a bad decision and they are all in their 30s.

  • Mike
    December 27, 2014, 11:19 pm

    Love the house, love the action people take. I was somewhat surprised that with no tv $12k solar system wasn’t enough. The guy seems a little outspoken in his environmental beliefs and I hope his friends and coworkers don’t conspire against him. I think living tiny can offend people in numerous ways.

    • Jay
      December 28, 2014, 12:11 pm

      Mike, People will be and are offended by everything and anything anybody does. You can never please people no matter what you do so in my humble opinion I believe we should do what we damn well please as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of our fellow man , and not be concerned at all about whether they like it or not! Personally I support the tiny house movement 100%. Also, as far as having a TV, what is there worth watching anyway? TV today is pure garbage, and a waste of precious life as it has always been right from the start.

      • Mike
        December 29, 2014, 1:46 am

        Hi Jay, I don’t necessarily disagree with you. And tv is garbage. But to spend $12k on solar and still need to hook up to the grid just seemed a shame. $12k equates to a hundred a month for ten years in electricity, paid up front! My elect. doesn’t even run a hundred for a regular house. Obviously, one might hope to achieve better for only a hundred sq. ft. I don’t know what it’s needed for, if heat or hot water there are cheaper ways than electricity. Obviously we should have the freedom you speak, but because of societal expectations we might not, and I’m simply acknowledging that.

    • Two Crows
      December 28, 2014, 5:59 pm

      Yep. Some folks can get defensive – – and then it’s only a small step to resentful/offended.
      When I told my sister about my plans she immediately began making excuses. Hey! I wasn’t expecting HER to do anything different from what she’s doing! But that’s immediately where she went. Go figure.

  • Ellen A.
    December 28, 2014, 11:31 am

    What a beautiful family! I admire them very much. I do predict that they will wind up building a small playhouse for their daughter too. No matter how minimalist you want to be as an adult, you usually just don’t want to deny your little one a collection of toys, and even if they are mostly non-plastic and small, they have to go somewhere!

  • Renee Washington
    December 28, 2014, 1:04 pm

    I live in a 363 sq ft tiny house which was converted from a detatched storage unit in the town area of a small southern city.I absolutly love it! I have a fullsize bed directly across from my loveseat and a katycorner chair. A dresser seperates this area from my “dining room” with a drop leaf table and 2 chairs. Next to it is an eye level fridge (almost full size)and across from it is the kitchen with ample upper and lower cabinets on 2 walls, a double sink, and a 4 burner apartment stove w oven and full size microwave. My fav feature is the stack washer/ dryer in the bathroom along with 3 ample closets thruout. My least, always having to shower having no tub but it is acceptable. Although my cat and I have to step aside to let one another pass I wouldnt have it any other way. 😉

  • Dominick Bundy
    December 28, 2014, 1:08 pm

    I wished they showed more of the house and explained in greater detail of where their “living space was” I just saw their sleeping areas , kitchen space a quick sweep of the bathroom. Where and what do they do the rest of the time when in such closed quarters. (especially with out any TV or place to read etc.) Having said all that I do admire how they are living and philosophy of it all. This small family is truly a inspiration..

  • Marsha Cowan
    December 29, 2014, 2:22 pm

    I grew up on a farm with a three room house, if you include the lean to kitchen, and an attic space in which all of us kids slept, sometimes as many as 6 or 8 at a time. There was one big bed in the main room where my uncle and aunt slept, and we sometimes had to take turns eating at the table the first time around. Yet I don’t remember a happier time in my life. We worked together, played together, laughed and cried together. No one stopped to ask ” is this enough space for all of us?” It was great for the 18 years before I went to college. My only regret is that some of the winter, I had to live somewhere else in a two or three bedroom house wih a separate living room and kitchen and had only one other person with which to share my large bedroom. Everybody was in their own world, and it was very lonely. I really looked forward to every Spring when I could go back to the farm.

  • Marsha Cowan
    December 29, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Sorry! Forgot to add my comment…i think this is great! Happy family equals just the right setting for them. Good for you!

  • Katie
    December 29, 2014, 11:57 pm

    I was following Mike and Jay’s conversation above….. and…. All I kept thinking was YOUR ELECTRIC IS ONLY 100 A MONTH! lol…. whaaaat? A hundred?

    February 10, 2017, 6:19 pm

    I just got thru saying how it most be hard for two people to live under a 118 sq. ft. of house space, and now we are looking at three people living under the roof of a house with even less square footage …!It is a true wonder how some can do it…!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 13, 2017, 9:01 am

      They are pretty amazing! I don’t think I could haha.

    February 11, 2017, 5:43 pm

    My parents lived off-grid for most of their lives and at that time I was young and didn’t appreciate the value of their hard work. Now that I am in my late 60’s, each day I miss what I had back then. I would most definitely go off grid if I had the chance and the money to go with it.
    Whatever size of a TH one builds, it’s what makes them happy with it and a home regardless of the family size. I praise anyone who makes the effort of trying to succeed. More power to everyone!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      February 13, 2017, 8:40 am

      Absolutely Rosee!!

  • Megan
    March 3, 2017, 8:04 am

    Great clip, I like the fact that they used recycled materials, and I agree with his philosophy of downsizing 100%. Why pay exorbitant utility bills just because you can afford it?! I have solar panels on my regular home, but it feeds into the grid. In hindsight, I wish I was a little more educated when I made that decision as I would have invested in a battery to be more self-reliant rather than ship my energy off to the grid for a pittance (they’ve since reduced the rate dramatically after dangling an attractive carrot to sign people up, and now it’s not really worthwhile even having them!) Personally, I will be having a TV in my tiny house, my son and I watch a lot of sport, it’s our thing, but each to their own.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 6, 2017, 9:25 am

      Yes recycled materials are the best 🙂

  • Jody Mead
    March 7, 2017, 1:03 am

    Nice job guys! You daughter will be making memories that she wouldn’t have other wise had. Amazing way to raise a child. Great that you used recycled materiel’s for your build. 😀 Thanks for sharing!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 7, 2017, 7:16 am

      Yes it’s super awesome!

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