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Friends Build DIY Tiny House Community in Portland

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Birds of a feather…  these four tiny house dwellers decided to “flock” together in a small community comprised of cute tiny homes!

Tony Diethelm created the Simply Home Community in Portland, Oregon. All four tiny homeowners knew each other beforehand, and Lina, who owns the Lucky Penny house in the community, helped Tony design his own tiny home.

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Friends Build DIY Tiny House Community in Portland


Images © Tiny House Giant Journey

The property where the four houses sit was not originally for sale. Tony found a homeowner willing to sell their home and property by riding around on his bike sticking notes on doors of the homes in the neighborhood.

Tony did most of the legwork in establishing the community; getting utilities hooked up and making sure everything was code-compliant. The group of homeowners spent many months creating community association rules and agreements, mutually deciding things like, how many pets were allowed, who does what chores when, trying to address all the issues that could possibly cause problems down the road.

All four tiny homeowners share a garden and “community space”, which means they also all pitch in to maintain it. Their eventual plan for a current gazebo, which was there before the tiny homes were built, is to replace it with a hot tub.

tiny-house-family-mortgage-free-ecourse-04 tiny-house-family-mortgage-free-ecourse-02 tiny-house-family-mortgage-free-ecourse-03 tiny-house-family-mortgage-free-ecourse-07 tiny-house-family-mortgage-free-ecourse-08 tiny-house-family-mortgage-free-ecourse-05 the-lucky-penny-tiny-home-lina-menard-002

Images © Tiny House Giant Journey

All the residents have regular community dinner meetings, where they join together to break bread and discuss and resolve issues and share stories.

Surrounded by nature and fruit trees, the community is a pretty picture of “communal” living, but with individual privacy.   To see how the community residents live, check out the video here:

Video: A DIY Tiny House Community in Portland, Oregon

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Pamela is a writer and blogger and Tiny House Talk is excited to have her on our team helping us share more inspiring tiny houses and stories on simple living with you.
{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Suzanne
    May 8, 2015, 10:23 am

    What an awesome idea. I bet they have some great gatherings at the fire pit. Thanks for sharing.

  • Cynthia Taylor
    May 8, 2015, 10:49 am

    Where is the porta potty for the copper penny house?

  • Bonnie
    May 8, 2015, 11:05 am

    This is fantastic! I have no doubt that we’ll see many more such communities spring up here in Portland. There’s a real tiny house movement happening here. Thanks for the video!

  • Lisa E.
    May 8, 2015, 11:40 am

    This THC is totally awesome. This is what TH living is all about! I hope this gets showcased often so people know what the goal is. Kudos, people. Mission accomplished! 😀

  • Sgmaps
    May 8, 2015, 11:50 am

    I am curious as to what use the original white house on the property is serving?.

    • Lisa E.
      May 9, 2015, 3:28 am

      Tony tells you in the video. At the moment it is being used for showers, bathrooming and group meetings (I guess this is the THC version of a HOA.)

  • Dave
    May 8, 2015, 2:32 pm

    Wow! That looks great. It’s something for me to dream about.

  • Diana
    May 9, 2015, 1:56 am

    Does Portland allow tiny houses, or are they staying under the radar, or did they work with the city to get special permission for their community?

    • Denise R
      May 9, 2015, 6:02 am

      Watch the video. Seems like they’re still, kinda under the radar but I heard that Portland officials just look the other way as long as the houses are nice.

      • Diana
        May 9, 2015, 7:09 pm

        Denise, do you know if Portland officials look the other way if people park tiny houses on an empty lot, or just in someone’s yard with a bigger house? Thanks for the info!

  • Susanne
    May 9, 2015, 8:41 am

    Wonderful! The original house must be expensive to maintain though…will be interesting to see what they decide to do with it…
    Can’t wait to see how they progress in the community! I hope we get continuous updates….:)

  • Kelly Libert
    May 9, 2015, 9:29 am

    While it wouldn’t work for me, I am pleased that others have found a way to get what they need. Best wishes to them.

  • Kyla & Amber
    May 9, 2015, 3:37 pm

    Looks great, y’all! So glad to see it’s working – and glad to hear the hot tub idea finally won out as far as what to do with that gazebo (a.k.a ‘This Thing’)

  • Peter Piper
    May 9, 2015, 4:10 pm

    In discussing community rules, he said they discussed who did the dishes. Huh? How does THAT work? I would assume that each person does his own dishes in his own tiny house. Not understanding how a tiny house community works I guess. All I know is I’d NOT like to be part of a community a though it were a commune. I value my freedom too much.

  • michele d
    May 9, 2015, 8:01 pm

    So, is it legal? What are they calling each house -are they bedroom units or do they have full kitchens? In Hawaii, only 5 unrelated people can live on one lot, is it the same in Portland? It would be nice of the planning departments would do specified zoning for communal living villages, otherwise there seems to be a perpetual threat of legal hassles.

  • John Burke
    May 9, 2015, 8:43 pm

    This is a great idea.

  • Gill Heriz
    May 9, 2015, 10:42 pm

    So inspiring! Candidates for my new book on Women’s Huts and Hideaways? Following A Woman’s Shed. Or know of others [email protected]

  • gmh
    May 10, 2015, 1:34 am

    I would love to do this sort of thing.
    They never said how the land is owned- do they all own it and pay part of the mortgage? Or, is there one owner and they pay him rent?
    For me, tiny house living is about saving money, so I wouldn’t want to own the land and have a mortgage- I would hope to pay rent.
    (Also, if I ever did this, I would hope they wouldn’t put me in charge of gardening. I’m just letting you all know now- if I were the gardener, you’d starve. Fair warning.)

  • Kelli Smith
    May 10, 2015, 4:13 am

    This is so fantastic and looks like an ideal for a community. I have the same questions I think many previous posters do though as to how it’s set up for the tiny house owners. Part of the allure of tiny house living for me is to get out from under the weight of a mortgage and the larger cost of living assoc. with owning a large dwelling. Does one person in this scenario still maintain ownership of the larger dwelling and the others pay rent to that property owner, or do they all have ownership of the property. I know that’s a highly “nosey” question but does speak to the style of TH living in terms of having that larger dwelling as part of the property, I think. Still has to be maintained/owned by someone or all. I know lots of community plans do account for a larger community center with showers, large kitchen, guest accommodation, recreation, meeting center though… so this isn’t out of the norm. Theirs is just a smaller version with a house as the “center.” Very cool!!

  • carla
    May 10, 2015, 3:03 pm

    hi pamela!
    i am so enthralled with the tiny house movement! but in my neck of the woods the municipalities seem dead set against them. have you come up against this and are there any ways around it? besides jumping thru the hoops of creating an rv park?

  • carla
    May 10, 2015, 3:05 pm

    Ps: i’m in ontario canada………

  • william britt
    May 10, 2015, 5:20 pm


  • Dean Grudzinski
    May 10, 2015, 11:14 pm

    I have an acre on the west side zoned for three house for sale!


    • Lynda
      June 5, 2015, 1:08 am

      Hi Dean,

      Where exactly are these lots?


  • amy
    May 14, 2015, 12:36 am

    hi tony, can you help me start another one in portland? the money wont be a problem.

  • louise gray
    May 16, 2017, 1:49 pm

    I love this idea and have often thought of it myself!!!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      May 16, 2017, 2:45 pm

      It’s definitely awesome 🙂

  • Brenda Taylor
    May 16, 2017, 4:52 pm

    Hi I am trying to setup a community in Utah …….. Any one have any ideas on FIGHTING CITY HALL!!!!!

  • Susanne
    May 17, 2017, 7:04 am

    This was established ages ago- anyone know how well they are doing?

  • Cheryl Lowery
    May 17, 2017, 7:49 pm

    I wanted to see the insides.

  • Lisa
    November 6, 2019, 11:14 am

    If I own a piece of land in a neighborhood in Portland, OR, can I put a Tiny house there – not on wheels but as a permanent structure hooked up to sewer, water and electricity?

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