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Son Builds Tiny House for his Mother

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I’m excited to share our first interview here on Tiny House Talk with Dan Louche who designed and built a tiny house from scratch for a special someone in his life.


Alex: Can you tell us a little bit about the tiny house you’ve been constructing and why you decided to build it?

Dan: The tiny house that I built was for my mom.

A little over a year ago I received a call from her where she told me that she was having some respiratory problems associated with mold in the trailer home she was living in.

I knew I had to do something, but neither she nor I could afford to buy her a new home. So I began to research my options and came across the tiny house movement.

I had always been interested in smaller spaces and after seeing what others were doing, I was inspired to design and build her a tiny house.

The house is 8×20. I wanted it to be as large as possible but still be reasonable to tow and move around.

The living space is on a single level since my mother is older and a sleeping loft is not an option for her. I also wanted it to appear as roomy as possible inside, so I included large dormers on the front and back of the house.

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He Built a Tiny House for his Mom (Interview)

Dan Louche's Tiny House
Photos Courtesy of Dan Louche

Alex: What was her reaction like when she heard the idea? How is she liking it so far?

Dan: I took a chance and actually started the whole process without her knowledge. I wanted to surprise her, and I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t be able to convince her to move into a tiny house over the phone (she lives in Florida while I live in Georgia).

I only told her after she came up for a visit which was after I had already made the plans and bought the trailer. When she pulled up and saw the trailer for the first time she asked me if I was building a school float, I told her “not exactly”. Later that evening I showed her the 3D plans along with some videos that I found online of others who are living in tiny houses. She was ecstatic!

So far she loves her house. She is still not moved in but she’s almost there. I had to deliver the house to her incomplete (no flooring or cabinets) because of some issues I had with my homeowners association. She is relying on the help of a neighbor to finish it up and I expect that she will be moved in by the end of this month. You can see her progress at http://tinyhouseandgarden.wordpress.com.

Alex: So tell us about your newly released tiny house plans and what inspired you to document the process of designing and building the house?

Dan Louche's Tiny House Design

Dan: When I first started researching tiny houses I was looking for any information I could find. Since there wasn’t that much in the way of books, the best source I found ended up being the blogs of people who were building tiny houses themselves.

Since these were so useful to me, I decided that I would start my own blog to document my progress. However, when I started I found that I was taking more pictures and jotting more notes than I had time to write about and post.

So early on I decided that I would post as much as I could and document everything else in more detail when I had more time after the house was complete.

After a few months of work, I’ve finally compiled all that information into a package that includes everything someone would need to build a tiny house. Learn more about Dan’s tiny house building plans and books here.

On a side note: I would highly recommend anyone who is considering building a tiny house to start a blog. Knowing that there are people out in the world reading about and tracking your progress is a tremendous motivator.

Tiny house on trailer foundation

Alex: What would you say to a person with little to no building experience about to embark on the journey of constructing their own tiny house on a trailer?

Dan: First off, I think if you are considering a project like this and you’re doubtful because you don’t have any building experience, I would say that it is definitely still within reach.

While it may be more difficult, if you have enough time and a little help, I think anyone can be successful at this.

So now for a little more practical advice; I would try to get some exposure to building before I started. One of the best ways to do that is to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Not only will you be helping someone else, but it is a great way to get some hands-on learning.

There are very few other ways that someone with no experience can find themselves working on a job-site. While you are there pay attention and take in as much as you can. Things like how the corners of the walls come together, how the rafters are put up, the types of tools and screws used, etc.

My other advice is to tell everyone you know what you are doing and solicit help. When I was building my tiny house, I told a coworker about my project, and she got so excited about the idea that she took a day off and came out to help.

So you are likely not going to be alone. The idea of tiny houses and tiny living excites people.

Dan Louche and son

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More Like This: Tiny Houses | Amazing Handmade Wooden House-truck Built by Father and Son | THOW

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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!
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • parrotwhisperer
    September 11, 2010, 6:59 am

    Those damn HOAs. What on earth are those people thinking? The problem is, most municipalities end up being too much like HOAs, there's just no way to do anything different or new anymore.

    • tinyhousetalk
      September 11, 2010, 1:51 pm

      What I love is that he still did it

  • Aaron
    September 11, 2010, 6:18 pm

    Those HOAs and municipalities have the same motivation to dissuade people from taking control. Where will the money that the bureaucracies run on come from if people take charge of their living arrangements. Bravo for getting the shell done, and giving her and her friend the control to make it her custom home.

  • Sectional Garage
    December 3, 2010, 4:04 am

    i do not like trailer homes because it is not sturdy enough specially when the weather goes bad -`,

  • Jeannie
    September 21, 2011, 11:36 am

    I just LOVE this story…I saw the video on youtube & Dan’s Mom is a real doll! She decorated her tiny house so nicely…One of the sweetest videos I’ve seen of a family in a long time…the whole family was so happy & excited, even the dogs were happy too! It’s amazing when you see videos & pics of tiny houses, how much the personality(ies) of the person(s) living there shines through!

    Someday, I hope to be expressing myself that way, until then, I am working on “downsizing”!!!
    XOX to tiny houses!!!

  • September 21, 2011, 6:48 pm

    Thanks Jeannie!! I think she decorated it so great too. It was such a great time being there. And it’s true, all of us were pretty happy there, haha. Keep coming back and talk to you later 🙂

  • Deb
    May 15, 2018, 9:17 pm

    Dan….you are so clever!! Several months ago, I saw (online) the inside of the house you built. In the kitchen, you installed roll up cabinet doors?? Where did you ever find those!! I want them for a small closet in my hallway!! PLEASE tell me where you found them or what they’re called. Thanks….you’re a good son 🙂 deb

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