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He built a tiny house for $1.5k and grows his own food too


This is the story of a man who recently built a shed tiny house for only $1,500 in Orlando, Florida. If you’re tired of seeing $20k+ tiny homes, this is a relief, isn’t it?

Rob Greenfield built his tiny house using 99% recycled/reclaimed materials. And in building his tiny house, he only created about 30 pounds worth of waste.

It gets better, too. He has a wonderful outdoor kitchen, bathroom, garden, composting system, rainwater collection system, and he’s even found a way to create energy from food scraps. He explains it all below.

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He built a $1,500 tiny house in Orlando with a micro-farm!

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Images © Rob Greenfield/YouTube

The interior is very simple… Sort of like a Thoreau Cabin!

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

There’s just a couch with built-in storage underneath.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

The couch easily turns into a comfortable bed.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Here’s a peek at the storage that’s beneath…

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Every genius needs a place to gather their thoughts…

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FLJust beside the desk… Something very important to Rob… His efficient freezer where he stores all of the food he grows and forages since this year, he’s only eating the food he grows and forages himself!

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Rob also has plenty of shelf storage for more food and some books.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

You can see some of what he’s gathered here:

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

And of course his super minimalist wardrobe.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Since Rob only plans to be here for about two years, he didn’t think it would be worth investing in a solar system, especially since he uses very little energy. So instead, he just hooks into the grid with an extension cord.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

This is Rob’s awesome outdoor kitchen for food prep and cooking.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

This cooktop is special because it converts food scraps into gas for cooking – Rob explains how it works in the video below…

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

The trick is, you put your food scraps into THIS…

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

If you’re wondering, Rob worked out a deal where he exchanges his services to a homeowner in return for getting to live there for a couple of years.

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

In the end, the homeowner gets to keep Rob’s tiny house along with just about everything else he builds on the property (especially the micro-farm)

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

The fireplace. 🙂

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Composting toilet system (one for number one and the other for number two)… Rob explains how it all works and why in the video below. Very interesting!

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Rob uses THIS plant (below) to grow his own super soft and natural TOILET PAPER! Yes! The plant is called Blue Spur Flower (or Plectranthus Barbatus)

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Could you see yourself living tiny with a setup like this?

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL 0022

In this case, it’s Florida, so you could do this all year long!

Rob Greenfields $1500 Tiny House in Orlando FL

Images © Rob Greenfield/YouTube

In this tour I show you the inside of my tiny 100 square foot house, my outdoor kitchen with greywater, my rainwater shower and rainwater collection system, my closed loop compost toilet, my garden and more!

Welcome to my tiny house in Orlando, Florida where I live simply and sustainably! I built this tiny house along with friends for under $1,500, with nearly 100% secondhand and repurposed materials and while creating near zero waste- just 30 pounds of trash!

Sources

  1. YouTube/Rob Greenfield
  2. Original story: “How I built my tiny house for under $1,500 with nearly 100% repurposed materials and near zero waste”
  3. Toilet paper plant info

The ultimate affordable tiny house? Shed-based tiny homes?

So what do you think?

Could you see yourself living tiny out of a shed-based tiny house like this?

It’s an option, right?

And it can very inexpensive, too.

Would you live out of a shed-based tiny home kind of like this?

What would you modify to make it yours?

Here are some other examples of affordable shed-based tiny homes:

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{ 29 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Jerry Dycus

    Yes these can cost a very low amount.
    I built a 10×16′ version for just $2k using 95% new materials from Lowes, HomeDepot here SE of Tampa.
    He has a lot of cool stuff like his water, outside kitchen which I do too as cooking inside in Florida
    gets hot, uses more A/C.
    Not sure why people in tiny houses don’t use other than a simple shed roof. It only leads to far more work, higher , more cost, leaks and less strength. 2 people could build these in under 2 days from new materials. KISS
    10′ wide I found better than 8′ or 12′ as room for different things on each side without too much wasted space 12′ wide does.
    16′ long lets you have kitchen, bath at 1 end and the rest open to furnish however you want with standard furniture.

    • Avatar Angela

      Great ideas, Jerry! Thanks!

  • Avatar Patricia A Freeman

    I think it great. I love it. Very doable. Going to show this to my handyman who likes living in his van. I coverted a shed in to a living place for my self. Love the outdoor kitchen.

  • Avatar Bigfoot

    Thanks for posting this! I enjoyed Robs video presentation. This is a great example of what can be done if you are so inclined. If you are patient and have the time, you can generally find a lot of free usable materials, especially in Orlando. I lived there for decades (glad to be out of there!). It’s rare to see someone addressing so many different aspects of conservation in their daily living practices. I personally wouldn’t want to live this small but it’s wonderful that Rob is sharing the possibilities with everyone. Great job!

  • Avatar Angela

    Thanks so much for posting a video of someone actually living in the tiny he built. A little extreme for most of us, who would need an indoor kitchen (the bugs in Florida, OMG, NO!) and bathroom.
    Interestingly, there is interest in tinies like these from organizations working with indigent or homeless people. They form several of these into a small community, around a community kitchen and washroom. Many of them are working well, and removing some of the homeless population from the streets

  • Avatar Irène Guérin

    Very interresting,

    Nice but too small for me but really effective, and for the “natural” toilet paper, interresting…
    Thank you for the sharring

  • Avatar D. Pedersen

    Would cost a bit more here, since the climate is colder and more insulation is need – and some kind of heating system – either passive or an oven or so. An indoor kitchen is also required. So the cost would be significantly higher. One would also need to make some kind of insulated shell for the Homebiogas system or else it would stop working in winter. It could be an insulated shell with polycarbonate plates, towards the sun, to get the suns rays to heat up the inside during winter – and ability to stay open during the sommer months. I would also opt for a solar system.

  • Avatar Lee Ann

    He seems like a really happy person. I’m envious, though happy for him. As someone mentioned above, it would be a bit more of a challenge in a colder climate…though the hot humid Summer nights aren’t so easy, either. 🙂 This reminds me of how easy it is to live, really, when you get down to basics.

  • Love it.
    I would love to live this way one day. It’s a lot of work… And I currently live in Florida so I don’t think I could do it without screens fans and some kind of air conditioning. It can get brutal here.

    however, for the zoning comment, I have a shed almost twice the size on my property, 12×24. My intention was to either turn it into some kind of a tiny house to airbnb or a she shed with an office. I haven’t done that yet, but it is hand built for it by an amazing Amish shed co… And I could absolutely let someone come in here, finish it, and live without a problem. Esp if there is no plumbing involved, which is a work around in my city…it’s not allowed. However, it’s already set up for electricity and the garden is planted. 🙂

    Awesome job he did.

  • Avatar april hunter

    Ps.
    If he wants to come to Tampa Bay next and do the same thing HERE, he is cordially invited!

  • Avatar Eric

    Why don’t people use shed roofs? One reason could simply be aesthetics. Yup, more work, and expense, but for some people the trade off is worth it. Diff’rent Strokes and all that.

    • Avatar James D.

      Yes, but there’s also functional differences.

      Since roof shape effects how it handles winds, how well it can handle snow loads, how it effects solar gain, it can effect the placement and size of windows, can determine whether or not it’s ideal for options like solar panels, how effective the roof can be used for rain catchment, it effects how much space you have in the loft or attic, it effects how strong the roof is and whether it can have other uses like a flat roof can be used as a roof deck, it effects how the house is structured because how the roof is supported can be very different from one roof shape to the next, etc.

      Shed roofs are simple but they can be vulnerable to high winds and a steep pitch can mean the ceiling can be too low on one side… Among other trade offs like the roof shape means all the water from rain will run off in one direction, which means you need a larger gutter system to handle the runoff or have to deal with increased erosion on the ground on one side of the house…

      • Avatar Eric

        Totally agree… I’d say, and I’m no expert on this, that having a shed roof would be more problematic with snow loads. Having a 2 pitch roof would (should?) mean that snow would be easier to shed.

        Shedding water on a shed roof would mean less guttering and hence, in heavy downpours, more chance of overflow. Personally I’d over engineer and go for a large profile gutter. And have it feed into a water barrel or two. If a twin pitched roof then probably a standard gutter on each side and down pipes to either separate water barrels or a more complex joining to a single water barrel. Which, depending on house design might not be the most practical solution.

        As my old man used to say, for every good idea/solution there’s an equally good idea/solution waiting to kick you in the bum. In my case, that other idea/solution tends to be the better one. Meaning often times my wallet was lightened somewhat.

  • Avatar Phil H

    So he built a shed for $1500 and set up a campsite in it. Good for him. Not a complete house by any but the broadest concept, but if it suits his needs that’s great. Wouldn’t be viable for the vast majority of people’s lifestyles.

    • Avatar Brian Ansorge

      Fair enough. On the other hand, what frequently passes for a so-called “tiny home” wouldn’t be viable for the vast majority of people who actually believe in the “tiny” part of the (unfortunately) trendy, chic popularized version of was at one time a meaningful term—TINY houses.

      Just saying. It’s refreshing to see a tiny house that is not only tiny, but eminently affordable. Good job, Rob Greenfield!

    • Avatar Phil H

      I suppose, but as someone who lives in a tiny house (one that’s actually a house with a kitchen, bathroom, and all the other things people who live in houses want and need) that’s a kid’s fort a grown man is living in. He’s basically a homeless person living in a backyard shed. I know that sounds harsh. That’s fair. Life isn’t. If he’s happy, I’m totally cool with that. I’m all about people living their truth. Just be honest about it. Saying “he built a house for $1500” is beyond a stretch of the truth, it’s clickbait. My house was very inexpensive. I have about $15k in it. Built it from scratch. I also have hot water, power, HVAC, a fridge, real kitchen, and living spaces…

      Does a person need everything I put in my THOW? Of course not. I do however think to call it a house it should have power, water, and a functional bathroom. The rest is optional based on lifestyle and climate.

      YMMV…

  • Avatar craig

    This is nearly perfectly designed. If I built this: make 4 foot taller ( for a sleeping loft), add a overhang (for the kitchen), and build a small wet room (type of shower, sink, toilet combination used in Europe) on the main floor.

  • Avatar dave

    Rob has been doing this for years, backyard in a very tiny house in San Diego, minimalist living in an apartment, bike touring across the country. Point being: There are lots of ways to do the same thing. He is probably living illegally in that backyard, hopefully he can get away with it for the two years he plans on being there. But…if he gets caught, 1500 is not much to loose, compared to spending 50K on one of those luxury tiny houses and finding out its completely illegal to live in one.

  • Avatar Al

    This is completely illegal in Florida. Habitable dwellings require heat, a kitchen and bath and minimum room sizes. It’s a disservice to the tiny house movement to promote illegal structures, IMO. I wish you would stick with legal and permitted dwellings.

    • Avatar HJ

      Yep sure your HMO would be proud in your effort to promote protection of property values. We have seen how well it works to outlaw being poor. Do you prefer people living in cardboard boxes on the sidewalk? Or living out of a car? Does that improve your property values?

      Either you set a minimum wage in a community so the person can afford a minimal available apartment in that community or you make safe spaces for them create their own affordable shelter. Otherwise you just make the poor into transient bums cause all livable space is reserved for the wealthy. Wealthy want their cheap labor during the day, but then just want them to conveniently disappear at closing time. Out of sight, out of mind. Heavily subsidized govt apartments really arent the answer. They just pump taxpayer dollars into pockets of those developing such. Also very long waiting list. No doubt probably cheaper just to give everybody a free “approved” modest house than play that subsidized apartment game.

  • As a Florida resident of nearly 20 years and a tiny house dweller for many more, I appreciate the clever design, recycling of materials, use of indoor / outdoor space, and his craftsmanship. I do know that both Rob and his squash will mold and rot in the FL heat and humidity. As others have noted, this is minimalism with bare bones benefits.

  • Avatar Cg

    The American Revolution was completely illegal, but it changed the course of our nation. Just a thought!

    • Yes, at least 50,000 died in the American Revolution. They died for our freedom, but I
      don’t believe it was for the freedom to squat in a backyard!

  • Avatar maria

    Our first settlers lived in tiny homes. Who made the law that says it has to be a certain size to live in? If I bought a lot,why can’t I put a tiny house on it with a detached garage? I don’t feel that it would bring down the value of the other homes. As long as I keep the property nice and clean. Oh! that right the county couldn’t get alot of money out of me for taxes. I live here in Florida and it is illegal to live in a tiny house in someones back yard, and to collect rain water. Sure right now the home owners neighbors have not complained,but if they do he will have to move because code enforcement will fine the home owner every day that he is living there. What freedom do we have to live how we want? I plan to live tiny when I retire. I am 63 now. I have no chose but to live in a mobile home park and pay outrages price for a space. Right now a space coat 500.00 a month and you get nothing. Laws need to be changed.

  • Avatar Deb

    I grew up outside of Tampa. The bugs,, mosquitoes, ticks, cockroaches, spiders, ants, snakes, varmints,
    squirrels, etc.. are in ridiculous abundance. The heat and humidity are killing. The winter cold snaps…are freezing…Uh..no thank you. I would never have any visitors or company.

    • Avatar Alex

      Hey Deb, just curious, where do you live now?

      • Avatar Deb

        SW CT…in a commutable distance to nyc where I work..but I grew up in the country on an 80 acre farm. Yes we have deer ticks , lyme disease and mosquitoes but nothing like Florida…no snakes where I live beyond a garden garter. This young man is dealing with a lot of the outdoors…I have no interest in roughing it like that. Lol.

        • Avatar Alex

          Interesting, thanks for sharing!

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