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How Her Simply Tara Tiny House Was Built Legally

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This is the Simply Tara tiny house built for a client by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses out of Durango, Colorado.

They were even able to get the clients tiny home approved legally as a detached accessory dwelling unit on their property.

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It’s an 8×26 Tiny House on Wheels Built With Structurally Insulated Panels

This tiny house features two sleeping lofts. One cantilevered loft accessible by a storage staircase shown below, and a guest loft on the other side, too!

You can see the bump-out window here.

The guest loft is overhead, accessible by a removable ladder. This is where the grandchildren like to hangout.

The shower flows with the design of the house.

The other side of the bathroom with lots of storage, vanity, toilet, washer/dryer, and a window.

Sliding barn door for privacy.

This tiny house is cat-friendly. 🙂

It’s heated and cooled with a mini split air conditioner.

The loft over the bathroom is accessible by a storage staircase.

Nothing like plants in a tiny house. 🙂

The perfect spot for even more plants to help oxygenate your air.

The cantilevered sleeping loft.

What it looks like from the outside.

Would you consider a cantilevered sleeping loft for your tiny house design?


  • “Simply Tara” tiny house
  • Built by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses for a client in 2018
  • Planned and built as a detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU)
  • La Plata County happened to allow a legal pathway to this in certain situations
  • 8×26 SIP-built tiny house on wheels
  • Small bumpout in the front for a reading nook/live plant center
  • Rear loft is cantilevered 2′, which adds 2′ of length to the living space since the entire loft and stairs were shifted towards the rear thanks to the cantilevered design
  • Exterior siding is a mix of painted clapboard and pre-finished channel rustic board to mimic barn wood which matches the main house on the property
  • The burnished slate metal roof also matches the main house on the property
  • Dark wood floors inside with pine walls, beetle kill ceiling, and wood trim
  • White cabinets and salt and pepper species of granite for the kitchen counter
  • Living room with a sectional couch and corner tv
  • Movable ladder for access to the guest loft where the grandchildren like to hang out
  • Large bathroom with a full size tub, flush toilet, vanity, washer and dryer combo, and lots of storage
  • Sliding barn door to separate the space from the kitchen
  • Carpeted cat pole gives ‘Ms. Kitty’ access to various parts of the tiny house
  • “Tara” is Sanskrit for “Star” or “Light of the Soul” and the owner/client, Trish, chose this because the house is always filled with light.
  • Cost for this project was approximately $84,000 including permitting process costs

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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!
{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Maggie
    October 1, 2021, 2:00 pm

    Sure, I’d consider it…but grandmas need to be able to potty in the middle of the night on the same level where they sleep!

    • Victoria Banaszak
      October 5, 2021, 12:14 am

      I know what you mean. LOL

      • Eric
        January 30, 2022, 7:27 pm

        So do some grandpa (wannabes) often several times in the night… 8 (

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 1, 2021, 10:19 pm

    I did not like the title to this article at all. It implied that other tiny houses were illegal, and such is not the case. Be careful the words you use on a public forum because you can I advertently hurt a lot of people.

    • James D.
      October 2, 2021, 4:17 am

      Respectfully, Marsha, while tiny houses aren’t exactly illegal but for every tiny home that doesn’t have a certificate of occupancy the fact is they are not legally recognized as a residential home like traditional houses on foundations and that does matter.

      Being legal not only means it’s not illegal but also that it’s officially recognized and not in some legal limbo gray area with no official status, no guaranteed rights, etc. While not a issue for everyone, the lack of official legal status is a major hurdle towards wider acceptance of tiny houses and is preventing larger numbers of people from being able to opt to live in a tiny house and find places to put them.

      Facing hard truths may hurt some people’s feelings but it’s far worse to deny the reality and not seek to change it for those it will have an actual impact on their lives. Only by continued advocacy and pressure to change the laws will tiny houses eventually become universally accepted as a true housing option that can then have all the same legal recognition and rights as traditional houses. Instead of forcing people to work around the laws, continuing to deal with issues like having their home classified and treated as a RV, difficulty finding permanent parking, being denied home owners rights and financing options, etc…

      While pointing out progress is what can promote hope for people that are still waiting for such changes to effect where they are living or even point out the way they can achieve the same thing where they may otherwise have thought they had no options or simply did not know what they could do.

      Otherwise people could have more than their feelings hurt and become one of the growing number of people that our housing system and society are failing…

      • Marsha Cowan
        October 3, 2021, 9:52 am

        Do you think any of my tiny dwellings in the past 11 years would have met any state or federally mandated regulations for certification? Yet I have lived safely, comfortably, economically, and happily in them all these years and been able to use my money to help my family and others get settled in their choice of homes. I have lived legally in RV courts, traveled and parked legally in other states, and am now living legally on my son’s property. Government mandating will end that for me and many others. The people who can own a home now will be the same people who can own a tiny home if they become regulated and certified. The same people who can not own a home now will be the same people who will be unable to afford a tiny house then. Regulating tiny homes only helps those who don’t need the help.

        • James D.
          October 3, 2021, 11:22 am

          That’s not really true because costs are only part of the problems people are facing, Marsha. The system is broken and people from all walks of life are effected and need either help or just options that they presently don’t have…

          Without legal recognition, all those home owners of THOWs have no guaranteed rights and living in the gray limbo area of the law is not how everyone wants to live!

          Since, no legal recognition or means to get certification means you can’t prove your home is safe and shouldn’t be demolished or otherwise allowed, at any time they can tell you that you’re not allowed to live in it full time, at any time a municipality can choose to ban you living there. You can be forced to be a nomad, be treated like a second class citizen, or be limited to very few places to park that means only a certain number of people can ever have the option and fewer any real choice where to live…

          Really, one of the number one problems most people face with THOWs is finding a place to park it. Just because some people have managed it doesn’t change that far more, literally millions of people, haven’t and won’t under the current system, trapping them in undesirable living situations they can have no escape from…

          It’s also a problem for people who buy THOWs instead of building them themselves, as they won’t have the same rights as someone buying a legally recognized home that has to meet residential living standards. Since, RV standards are much lower and it’s not really a regulated industry, it’s easier to fraud people, giving them a lesser product, and it’ll be harder for anyone to do anything about it when it happens…

          Along with all the people who need ADU’s and other options, basically anything dealing with living on your own land, that wouldn’t be allowed or guaranteed to be allowed unless they are legally recognized.

          While part of the point for many is to change the system, which can only happen when the laws are changed as tiny houses by themselves are not a cure all or long term solution for everyone. Otherwise the broken system will only get worse over time…

          Besides, it’s a choice, this doesn’t have to change anything for you or others that are managing fine as they are, as this is an option that has to be chosen! Anything on wheels can still be outside of the housing system and only has to meet what’s road legal…

          So you don’t need to get certification if you don’t think you need it, but it’s giving options to a lot of people who do need it and changing how accepted tiny houses are, which is good for everyone’s benefits when options are more widely accepted, making it harder to ban them then, easier to fight again NIMY’ism, easier to choose where to live, etc…

        • James D.
          October 3, 2021, 12:45 pm

          Something else to consider with legal recognition is that opens the market up for mass production, which can allow per unit cost of each home to be up to a fraction of what they are now and change the housing market just like mass production has changes the affordability of other products like phones, etc.

          Even homeless people can have a phone these days, which wasn’t possible before mass production…

          Sure, there’s still problems with the system but there are ways to address them if people are only given the option to and that’s part of what’s happening…

          Like the continued changes to the building codes, the newest 2021 update is adding Appendix U is adding cob houses, and Appendix AW is adding 3D printed houses, for example. Being able to choose natural building materials and construction methods can be a game changer for many people and 3D printing can be the next big step towards mass production and lower per unit costs of construction. Along with opening the doors to other alternative methods of building that’ll give people even more options…

          The housing system is broken because we allowed it to become broken, but it can be fixed if enough of us advocated and eventually force that change versus opting out of the system and hoping for the best, which is only a stop gap measure at best that only invites chaos and division that only will ensure the system stays broken and eventually gets worse to the point of collapse. Like the housing bubble crash but far worse as then no one will be spared…

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 1, 2021, 10:21 pm

    Inadvertently hurt a lot of people. We will be entertained by autocorrect for decades to come.

  • Pam
    October 2, 2021, 9:37 am

    I really like this unit. One thing I really liked is that it has a bathtub in it. Another thing is, where did you find that awesome spice rack? Instead of the washer/dryer unit, can an apartment size stackable washer/dryer unit be put in the same space? Thanks.

    • James D.
      October 2, 2021, 12:22 pm

      That type of spice rack is fairly common, just do a search for a “4 tier chicken wire spice rack”. There’s also some similar ones available with different style/ornamentation available as well… Pier1, ebay, Amazon, Walmart, etc. have them…

      While builder is a custom builder, so they can definitely make room for a stack-able unit or multiple units but it just means trading off storage space to make room for it…

  • David Pedersen
    October 3, 2021, 4:05 am

    I like the layout. Though I would probably paint the walls, so it was not so much wood on wood. One thing I do not understand; Some of the wood looks like it has been attacked by blue fungus. I do not understand why people would use wood which has fungus even though it might look nice with the colour differences. It is like inviting problems into the living environment – with fungus spores in the air. Though I could be wrong and it is some kind of wood we can not get here, which naturally have these stains.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      October 3, 2021, 5:52 am

      It could also be beetle-kill pine, which is wood that was killed off by beetles. The look is cool!

      • James D.
        October 3, 2021, 12:25 pm

        Yes, it states beetle-kill pine on the builder’s site but that is a result of a stain from a fungus the beetle leaves behind in the wood as it burrows through it…

        However, it should be understood that fungus isn’t automatically a problem…

        First, only a few species of fungus are the type to be worries about and fungus is a natural part of the ecosystem. So trees get exposed to spores throughout their life, and will have spores in the wood just like we have micro-organisms in our bodies. Thus not something you’re really avoiding if you’re using wood…

        However, Second, problems only arise when conditions are right for fungus. So unless there’s just the right range of warmth and moisture then the fungus will be either dormant or dead. It’s only a problem if the fungus is alive and active!

        Third, there’s plenty of ways to treat wood to kill off the fungus or make the wood no longer something the fungus can feed on. Like thermally modified wood, etc.

        So people can choose to have wood that has unique appearance granted to it by fungus but not have to deal with any issues you may associate with it… Spalted woods are a common example that are being used in furniture pieces, etc.

        Though, spalting can normally weaken the wood and thus gets used mainly for aesthetics and not used for structural applications. However, examples like Beetle-Kill Pine are not weakened and once kiln dried the fungus would be dead and the wood is just stained. So that can be used structurally…

        Besides, only a few species of fungus are ones to be worried about. Some are even used in food products like Aspergillus oryzae is a fungus mostly used in Asian cuisine. For example, it is used in making sake, soy sauce and miso. While it should be remembered that mushrooms are also a fungus species…

        People tend to overreact to things like bacteria, fungus, micro-organisms in general and that runs the risk of doing things that will make you unhealthy or right off more dangerous like using toxic chemicals.

        Micro-organisms are part of everything alive on the planet, the majority of our bodies are composed of micro-organisms and there’s quite a few we depend on for our health and the natural function of the ecosystem we all depend on to work… So wholesale scorched earth treatment of them is generally not the wisest choice and should be far more selective and appropriate response…

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