This is Jason’s 800 sq. ft. Gambrel Roof Small Home. Per your request, he sent us tons of new photos of his DIY small home that you can see below. I’ll let him tell you his story below. Enjoy!
Enjoy the pictures from construction to completion, and get a list of “highlights” and build cost at the end!
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An Inexpensive Way to Build an 800-square-foot Two-Level Tiny Cabin w/ Gambrel Roof and Loft Bedroom w/ Staircase
Images via Jason
Best place to start: The foundation (and framing!)
Getting insulated inside. Look at all the space from the roof!
Drywall is up. Getting closer to “home.”
Light fixtures, bathroom, some appliances: Getting closer.
It’s done! Gorgeous modern home with all you could want.
Nice safety railings everywhere when dealing with the loft.
Front door leads you into the grand main room.
Living room has space for a comfortable couch!
Bathroom and kitchen are side-by-side but don’t share germs.
Perfect spot for your TV and other entertainment.
Nice secondary loft for display and for storage.
Here’s a closer-up view of the space.
Tons of cabinets that utilize all the ceiling height.
Looking out from the kitchen to the main living area.
Super deep sink! A large refrigerator which is cool. 😀
Lovely kitchen with modern and full-sized appliances.
Main floor bedroom includes a large walk-in closet w/ laundry space inside too!
Add a bed over here for guests (or make it an office/yoga room/whatever you want). You could also use a murphy bed.
Extra storage loft for guitars and seating in the bedroom.
The loft is extremely spacious. Tons of room. You can stand up too!
Hard to feel cramped in this awesome space.
No need to duck! This is a second story more than a loft.
Super sleek bathroom. White tiling looks sharp and clean.
Awesome, large shower stall.
A home with a view! Love seeing the sunset. (Or is it a sunrise?)
Images via Jason
Renting in Nashville is terrible and I had a dream of finding land and building my own house. I didn’t need anything large, but being 6’4″ couldn’t fit into a “tiny” space. Also, a smaller building equals a lower mortgage.
I decided on a home with a Gambrel “Barn shaped” roof. The change in pitch maximizes your ceiling height and width of the usable space. Originally, I decided to order a storage barn kit, but after researching determined that you cannot live in a Storage building in Tennessee.
So I decided to use the kit as a basis for building my home on a foundation…2×6 trusses and 2×4 walls on 16′ centers, meant my home meets all building codes and permitting was a breeze!
I did most of the work myself and all of the finishes. I decided to pay for the foundation, block, framing, and drywall. But I did everything else, including HVAC and electrical! When you are the homeowner and builder you can save so much by tackling these things yourself.
My goal was financial freedom. I want to be able to cash flow future projects and now I can. There is no need to build a large home to start. Instead, plan things out and you can build a small home then cash flow an addition. I made sure my “addition wall” is free of all pipes and wires, is near the electrical panel and lines up for easy addition to the HVAC main trunk line. This will greatly reduce the cost of adding on and when you factor in the interest savings by not needing a construction loan. Wow! It really adds up!
Tiny is the correct way, but don’t limit yourself to only thinking about an 8ft wide horse trailer. Build a small home and plan to add to it as needed! That’s my way, for what it’s worth.
Related: Barn THOW with a Rooftop Deck
- 800 sq. ft. total. 16×36 footprint
- 16×20 living room with 16-foot ceilings
- IKEA Kitchen
- Full tile shower and bath
- Wood Laminate flooring on the first floor and birch plywood flooring in the lofts
- 16×16 loft
- 4×16 music loft
- Spare bedroom with large closet and laundry
- Custom staircase and railings
- Sits on 2 acres with a 20-minute drive to downtown Nashville, TN
- $65k in total construction cost with a 10 month build while working full time
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Natalie C. McKee
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well done! Lovely, a good conservative alternative to the extreme living in some tiny homes. I could never understand the whole thow thing unless you are sure you want to drag your house all over the country. Homes like yours are the best idea yet!
gee, i find this space incredibly claustrophobic. i love the extra room with the roof, but no windows? why?
I hear you about the windows. I put in a total of 6 for my home. Price was a concern, but also utilities. The living room has four windows (2 on each side) plus the one up front that lets light into the very top of the ceiling. Back bedroom has a window per codes.
Claustrophobic is not the case here- 16 foot tall ceilings are what I call expansive. But I will admit that my camera phone isn’t the best for showing it off… but just didn’t want to pay for a professional to bring in their wide angle lenses and photoshop tools. This home is all me, even down to the basic cell phone pictures.
No window by the front door, because that’s where my Big screen goes. Can’t watch the game while staring into the setting sun.
My other big consideration is that I plan to add on to my home. Really this is just the start of a much larger home that I see completed in the next 5-7 years.
Happy to answer any questions!
I absolutely love it! Every time I try to explain to my friends that I want a sightly larger “tiny home” they don’t get it. You get it. Granted, I’m a foot shorter than you, but I still wanted that extra head space.
I love the finishes. Haven’t seen a home like that in Ga yet.
WOW, what a difference!! It’s awesome. Great job Jason.
I think what Suzanne was referring to was the lack of a window in the upper loft bedroom. It does make that space a bit claustrophobic from the pictures as it gives off a bit of a cave feeling. It is also a safety concern. In case of fire, and you are woken from sleep, there is no exit point and you are trapped up there. You can really see the darkness at the framing stage when you had to bring in power to the build as the insulation was put in. I was scratching my head looking at it thinking “It doesn’t look like he is putting a window up in there.” 🙁 Hmm… I know for sleeping, the darkness is conducive to sleep, but with no ventilation and heat rising, I myself would get a bit stuffy. But to each his own. One thing I really do like is the plywood section flooring. That is a great idea and looks really nice. What kind of finish did you use on it?
The build downstairs is very spacious and the window placement makes it feel big, at least from the pictures. It does feel wide and looks to be much more comfortable than a THOW. This is a place that one can age into and that is a plus. Everything is easily accessible without feeling cramped. The finish work is well done also.
I had a few reasons for no window. That is the east facing wall, so didn’t want the morning sun. I built my bed with a large headboard and absolutely love my bed. Any window large enough to escape from would have been covered by the bed and any window that was wide and narrow would have been pricey and required additional framing costs.
In the end I agree that many would have wanted a window, but I get enough light from the front of the house, as it faces west, from the single window.
As far as it being stuffy, I did a closed cell spray foam on the roof and gable walls. There are two register vents running to the loft for cooling that I installed. For the house I installed a 2-ton package unit. I’m a bit weird but I keep it at 68 degrees all the time, even in the hot summer’s my electric bill is always under $80. So no not stuffy, but I knew it was possible, so I went about fixing it during the design phase.
For codes, since it is a loft space and not a bedroom, window is not required. In my eventual addition process, I will make it a bedroom and a full sized window will go in.
Hope that helps explain my thinking on it all.
Thank you for being so interested!
Jason , Really Cool ! Awesome step by step photos . One question , $ 55,000 … was that with land or just build / permit / furnish ? Inspirational
I’m looking into buying a piece of land somewhere upstate NY or even Vermont so that I can have something built like your lovely home, would you have the plans available? I really like it just as it is, no changes for me. It’s very well thought out.
I have to agree, lovely house, but why are there so few windows, I had a 50’s vintage mobile home with more windows than this. I can’t see how this would pass inspection for safety, no egress from that sleeping loft without using the stairs or a ladder to the main floor.
Was replying about the windows, when you commented…see above.
I passed inspections and everything is to code. The front loft aka my music loft is considered a storage area its only 4 ft wide. I just happen to use it for my instruments- the acoustics are amazing!
Per code if an overhead area is not used full time- it does not need permanent access or railings (think attic space with a pull down ladder). I have a telescoping ladder to access it for now, but plan to install a library style rolling ladder ( they are just so pricey).
Jason, very well done. I LOVE the plywood floors on the loft….spectacular.
with your skills, i bet you can build a library ladder with a little hardware and ingenuity long before you decide to buy one.
It looks like you have thought out your home very well to fit your needs…well done.
Just my 2 cents, but I live in a loft apartment (only 460sf) and my loft is open to the living room below just like Jason’s. There is only one window in my place, and that is by the front door (opposite the loft, again, like Jason’s). I get plenty of light in my loft from below. I get why Jason didn’t want a window. You’re supposed to sleep in the dark. Until they put up solar screens on my windows, I had terrible light pollution at night.
Suzanne there are a lot of windows downstairs. Just look at the photos again the blinds are closed in many of the shots. He gets lighting from the adjacent wall of the bedroom without it flooding into his bedroom. More privacy that way too.
I did. It looks amazing and you’re right, it’s nice and bright yet private.
I agree it need windows in the large loft. And the electrical panel box is in a very conspicuous place as well. I’d also have short windows on the same wall as the front door or on the wall where the panel box is with a large window behind the sofa. and why not pull that front lost out so that it can accommodate a twin size bed. Don’t get me wrong this is a beautiful house, they did a very good job building it. But it like so many others would need a few design changes and tweaks for my taste.
Jason, I appreciate your phone’s camera a great deal more than the ‘fish eye’ lens pictures. There is a much better sense of scale in these pictures. I assume you special ordered the barn kit to get 16″ OC or did you just use it as a guide only and have the contractors make their own plans? Glad thinking ahead for adding on. The utility room in guest bedroom could be a little awkward but looks like be changed up a bit when do add-on. Like the white verticals on outside. Lot of work around a full time job. Expect we’ll hear from you again. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you! I do see that I could have added a few angles. Maybe they’ll let me send in to be added to this post.
It was a bigger job than I could have ever imagined, but sitting in it right now feels so darn great!
I used a storage barn kit from online as the basis for a on site stuck built plan. My framing and lumber cost were actually only slightly more than buying their precut full kit that I would have had to put together myself. But in TN state law bars you from living in any home meant to be a storage building. So it’s built on site and meets all codes.
Hi Jason! Feel free to send more pictures 🙂 I can always add them after the fact.
Hey Jason, my name is Nick and I live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. I am currently and electrician’s apprentice working on my licence. My step rather and I are looking at land for sale in the area to purchase and build a tiny home for me. We always watch Tiny House Nation of FYI and that is really what inspired me to want to go tiny bit I do have to start practicing what I preach. I would like some advice, tips and tricks as far as how you did all the steps, what it was like doing the things yourself, the hiring process and going through city building codes. I know all that varies across states and that is a lot to touch on so just in a nut shell of course. Anything would be helpful, thanks in advance!
Happy to help! Funny thing though- you can learn so very much on youtube! Went over my data limit several times watching how to’s
Send me an email anytime [email protected]
I would love to know where you purchased the cabinet with the pots and pans from. And do the drawers slide out.
Kitchen is from IKEA. They have so many amazing storage options.
If U add on ….. where will it be ???
I truly love the high ceiling upstairs and the extra room downstairs. The overall layout is very nice. You did a great job.
Yea having high ceilings in the loft really adds so much!
Nice job with fit, finishes DOUBLE HANDRAIL and safety railings. The music loft should have the same. More tile, going halfway up the walls, and sliding glass doors in the bathroom would finish up the look and better contain the splashes from the shower, while allowing light to pass through. The lack of a window in the bedroom loft could be made up for with a skylight, with its own shade, that opens up for ventilation. Great to see a real bed and furniture up there, with room to walk around. Considering the cost of labor and materials, in today’s housing market, yours is a bargain. Many cars cost more.
What’s important is that he made it to what he needed and wanted 🙂
where can you get the plans for building this?
Maybe Jason has some sketched up he could offer. He has been responding to comments, so hopefully he can answer 🙂
There doesn’t seem to be any attic space or soffit to roof vent air flow. Is it necessary?
You are correct. Traditionally you would have vents going from under the eaves to the ridge vent on top of the roof to push out hot air trapped under the roof sheathing.
But I had the whole 2nd floor and roof spray foamed. So it is closed cell and air tight, so no hot air to build up. Nothing to vent.
It was actually cheaper for me, considering the labor of adding vents every 2 feet and running the foam chases behind batt insulation.
Thanks for asking!
Amazing! I love it!
Beautifully done. The loft is an actual bedroom! No crawling around. Everything you need to live a comfortable, small foot print life.
Thank you very much! Natalie- thank you for adding the new pictures!
Really appreciate all the compliments! It was the biggest thing I’ve ever tackled and I got lots of crazy stares and your kidding mes from friends and family.
But now they all love it and are proud of what I was able to accomplish!
This is a great build! Love the dark floors with the light colored windows, the kitchen cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling, the oversized subway tiles in the bathroom, the fact that the washer/dryer is where the clothes go, all the headroom throughout the 1st and 2nd floors, the light fixture in the living room….and oh that headboard is gorgeous! Very well done Jason.
great looking home. Did you experience any code issues when installing sheetrock over the sprayed insulation? You noted in an earlier post/reply no issues, does that mean there is no wiring in the ceiling or walls in the loft areas?
Great house! But I’d have to flip the lofts around. I’d need the bigger loft for 15 guitars, 6 amplifiers (including a Marshall), one Fender Rhodes 88 suitcase piano with bench seat, a violin, a viola, and one drum kit 😀 😀 😀
It is beautiful, but I think I would have spiraled the staircase for more room.
Electrical was run for wall plugs and lights in the roof, then spray foamed in. Rough in electrical was passed before insulation was started, per code.
But, I know that codes for different areas of the country are all over the place. Would suck if I ever need to rewire anything, but the efficiency of the foam made it worth it to me.
As for my music loft. I am a bassist at heart- so need for the collections that guitarists seem to acquire.
While I love looking at all the wonderful tiny houses, especially Goosenecks and and Park size. I was thinking for me, why would I need a house on wheels. I don’t plan to travel with my house in tow. I’d rather travel the country in my car and stay in motels/hotels, B & Bs or a Class C RV and stay in RV parks for a few days at a time on my travels. For actual living I like a more permanent but smaller house. Having a bit larger house as this on built on a foundation might be the better way to go for me. This house reminds me of the Park size, but wider and with a loft you can stand up right. Really like this house. Of course there would be a few tweets just for my taste, but you got me thinking what I want to do in the near future.
Really, really nicely done. Love they way you finished the ceiling, keeping every lofty inch. Agree with all the window comments, but it’s yours. What did you use for the loft railing? Is that galvanized piping that you assembled or is it a stock product? Would love to know your estimated cost to build, if you care to share.
I used EMT conduit pipe with connectors from keep klamp. The grid part is metal racking.
I spent 65k total. But saved a lot with the work I did. Put a lot of the savings into the finishes, bath and kitchen.
Thank you sincerely for the share! This is nothing shy of AMAZING! I love the style, and the footprint is minimal at best! Love it, LOVE IT!
I was wondering if you roughed in the wiring for media (audio and video) and internet (residential gateways and wi-fi) before insulating and closing up the walls. Just curious.
No didn’t add any ports to the upstairs. With limited walls, wifi travels well throughout the house. I did purchase Singled bulb kit. They are really cool. LED bulbs with speakers inside. They chain together and run off of blue tooth. So I have sound throughout my home!
I hear everyone’s comments about the lack of window light upstairs and probably would have added one on the back wall even a longer more narrow one to bring in light. I like every thing about it except one thing…. I would have moved the staircase and framed it in so that the underside of it would have been used for storage. Positioned as it is in the middle compromises the use of space on the right side
, but I love the back laundry room and ability to hang the clothing up as soon as it is finished in the W/D!
Great home! The downstairs bedroom would be perfect for our disabled son.
I tend to agree with Trisha about moving the staircase over to the wall, but remember that Jason is 6’4″! I’m 5’8″ and I honestly think I’d hit my head on the ceiling if the stairs were over by the wall.
Jason, Cahow (an architect) doesn’t seem to hang around the comments forum like she used to, so I’ll say it for her: sell the plans! People like your home, and making blueprints available for sale (at market price, of course) would definitely help your cash flow.
Do you have any handicap accessible? I have never seen any that are! Someone needs to! Any for rent
This is so pretty. This is the one I’love to have..Well done.
Nice Job Jason! I like your house. It’s built well and has loads of potential left for future generational concerns. 🙂 Just what you need. I do have a question: In the foundation were you able to make a tiny basement ? Just for storage or a root cellar? It’s an idea. May God richly bless you and your little house. Thank you for sharing with us, made my day!
Wow nice but get some Windows and skylights in there. It’s so dark it’s like a tomb! I couldn’t live without light.
Thanks for the comment. Many have agreed that more light would be better. I had a budget to stick too and windows are pricey. Also, I find windows limit the placement of items, like couches, bed and tv’s. Laid it out just so, just for me. I enjoy my “cave”. But when the blinds are open i get tons of light, although i understand that other would enjoy even more light.
O M G!!! This just replaced my 2 year favorite home by jewel!! I LOVE, ❤️❤️❤️ It! Ok Jason, where do we get the plans? Lol. I just thought of adding a slider and raised balcony off the sleeper loft :). Plus, this would add some light to the sleeper loft. Or ,can add it over the frond door to provide a covered front and replace the window with a slider. OMG! Even hubby is liking this house 🙂
SO WELL DONE! I just might email you privately! I can’t believe how this one replaced my 1-2 year favorite!!
So glad you loved it so much, Victoria! Thanks!
Hey Jason, it looks amazing!! What a big difference from the first post. Well done!
Love it! What a great idea, and layout.
Love this house maybe I wouldn’t need 800 sq feet but the price is right. Love the lg rooms, the head space especially. Living in Texas I could maybe even try solar for utilities perhaps panels in the yard instead of rooftop. Nicely done Jason!!!!
I like what you have done. Small is my favorite over tiny, so I like this a lot. Thanks for sharing.
Jason, I just LOVE your house as it is! I’m not one to have tons of windows letting in loads of light–I’ve been a night owl for my entire 64 1/2 years (according to what my parents told me)–and I think the number of windows you have is just perfect. I like that there’s a room downstairs that can be a bedroom, an absolute must for me. That wonderful loft upstairs would be where my art studio and office would be–I don’t do the kind of art that needs a north window, so not having a window isn’t even a consideration, other than that I’d have loads of privacy from outside. As a woman who lives alone, privacy is huge for me.
Seriously great home, and I’d love to see the floor plans someday, too. Kudos to you, young man–you’re a credit to DIY men everywhere!
Very good job. In my opinion 800 sq ft is a great size. I think I would have put that staircase against the wall and maybe have moved the window to keep the space of the room more open. I like this home very much.
What an awesome house. I love the gambrel roof and the fact that your bathroom doesn’t open into the kitchen. I also like that it’s built on a foundation, so it will build equity, unlike a THOW.
Since I’m old, I would use the downstairs room as my bedroom & the upstairs as an office/guest room. If I had the budget, I’d put a large window upstairs and some skylights, switch to a spiral staircase and add a porch/deck to the front of the house.
Love this plan, but would love to be albe to see the floor plans.
Jason, I have been pouring through designs when I found yours and I am totally dead set on it. I would really like to set up an email with you to pick your brain about a few of the stages of the process as you experienced. Any chance that could happen? Thanks for submitting this its a total win!
Happy to help.
Nicely done and this is something that I want to do when I move to the TN area. My question would be how much did you pay for the property and in what area. Thank you
I paid 17.5K for my 2 acres 15 miles west of Downtown Nashville. It was a great deal for sure.
I am IMPRESSED!
I for one like the idea of no windows in a bedroom. I have one window in my bedroom. Because of health issues so I can sleep during the day if needed I have a blackout curtain on the one window. I also agree about utility bills. I live where it can top out at 110-120 15-25 days each year. I have five windows and one slider in a 1400 square foot house. I use a lot less electricity for A.C. than my neighbor’s who have more windows. Some use almost 200% more electricity than I do. I keep the house one constant temperature all year. Day and night. Remember, I have health reasons so do not chastise me for not regulating the temperature. My wife and I found about a 2 degree happy medium for her and myself. I would keep it warmer. She would keep it cooler.
IF I had a great view I would want more windows, looking at the side of my neighbors stucco is not worth it.
My husband and I really love your house!! We keep coming back to it and stare at all of your photos. We’re wanting to build a 16×20 gambrel roof structure, with a loft as high as yours, in our backyard for our family of four to possibly live in while we rent our house out so that we can make financial ends meet and actually have time to spend together as a family. (Or we might rent it out to a nice couple.) I’m talking with the city about this idea and they’re telling me that we’d need a foundation, along with other information. They need to look at our plan, yet we’re getting stuck with how to go about that, as it looks like structural engineers would charge so much that we wouldn’t be able to go forward with the project. I see that you used plans from a shed kit. Would you be able to share what kit that was? If you have other information that would help us, as far as providing blue prints/plans for this beautiful structure, we would be eternally grateful, as it seems like a big step to getting us closer to having a better quality of life together as a little family! Thank you so much! My email is [email protected] and you are also free to send me an email there as well. We really appreciate it, Jason!
Beautiful job Jason! Is the foundation a crawl space or an actual basement?
Great job. I love the setup. Although I agree with Suzanne, I would add a ceiling window on each side of the bed. Great plan.
I find this house really interesting. It seems that you have created a home in a space yet tiny and yet accomodating a music loft and a spare bedroom.. Well the genius lies in making the most when one has the minimum space and you have done it well. Someday I want to make a tiny house for myself. Though being tiny myself, I prefer to have a tiny house and make a career out of it. I am an architect by profession completing my Masters in Sustainable Architecture. As a matter of fact, after going through this course I came to a conclusion that having a tiny house on a trailer is a fantastic way to be sustainable as it is self reliant and less footprint and plus I just have to hook it behind the car and carry it wherever I want it to be. Yes it is going to be an expensive affair though but nonetheless I like your house and thanks for sharing it with me online. With this signing off, Chaula from India.
Jason, It looks great! I hope you continue to keep us up dated when you do the addition. Everyone has their ideas about windows and safety which are good points also but I really like your set up.
Since my wife and I have become empty nesters I’ve been bouncing ideas off her about down sizing.
I also applaud your forward thinking about a blank wall in reference to an addition.
Love your home!! Can you tell me what you used to construct your steps to the loft? Thanks!!!
Faststairs.com super fast and super easy
I think it’s https://www.fast-stairs.com/ am i right Jason?
Yes! That’s there place.
Lisa, I’m with you on the thow, but I think the reason most people go that route is because many towns have a minimum sq/ft for a house on a permanent foundations. By putting it on wheels it allows them to get around the codes for minimum sizes
I love this, Jason! My loft apartment is only 460sf. Your floorplan is similar to mine, but a LOT more room. I would live in this in a heartbeat. Looking forward to seeing the addition(s) in the future. You did a great job.
Jason, i just love your house. My husband & I live close to murfreesboro tn and would love to come see your house in person.
This is an awesome layout and just enough square feet! I too am very tall (6’3″) and love the idea of a loft bedroom where I can stand straight! I don’t know if someone asked already, but are there plans I could purchase? I would like to build in the next couple years and I’m gathering ideas. This little house is the best I’ve seen! 🙂
Hey Sarah, well, I can ask Jason if he has plans!
Hey Jason. Great design. Any chance of getting a copy of the plans?
Love this layout. I have been trying to figure out what and how to do this same thing for my son who is visually impaired. This would be perfect for him. I would love to get some more information on the process of how you went about building this and who you used for the contractors to me permitting requirements. We also live here in TN Clarksville TN. Thank you Traci
Wow! So happy I found this, Jason! Im currently looking to build a gambrel style roofed house here in upstate NY. I was currently designing a 28×32 floor plan, but this seems to have pretty ample space! My main thing was having that 2nd guest room on the first floor. What size if that room if you don’t mind me asking. Will be looking forward to learning from your build.
@sam, since the LR is 16×20, the rest of the house (kitchen, bath, downstairs bedroom) would be 16×16. My guess for the kitchen is that it’s somewhere around 8′ long, which would make the bedroom and closet 8×16.
Does anyone know what that box structure behind the stairs is? I wonder if it’s the HVAC.
Beautiful job. Love it.
The gambrel roof sure makes the loft space more useable since you can actually stand up! At least a short person could! I like this tiny house, which has a nice closet and washer/dryer space, too. It doesn’t feel so tiny! 🙂
This is what I have been dreaming of 500-900 sq feet but I’m told this could happen in TN because there are no building codes
Unfortunately in MD it would start at twice that price and that doesn’t even include the land
Jason I think sometimes people forget that you did this based on YOUR needs and wants and what works best for you. I am currently living in my tiny house and we are definitely talking tiny and honestly it is VERY eclectic, not everyone’s cup of tea but it works for me. I like having a home that people find interesting things all over when they walk in and ask what I was thinking when I did certain things. I personally like to look at other peoples tiny places, or in this case, small places and it gives me ideas for things I might like to try for my next place. I have things in the one I am currently living in that I ended up settling because of money and time constraints but have helped me get a better idea of things to change in the way I do the next one. The fact you pitched in and did things yourself is pretty great and you should be proud of the fact you did that and be proud of your home. You created something that works for you, something that you are comfortable in. Congratulations on your new home 🙂
Nice work on the house Jason. I actually saw it in person. It was quite impressive. I actually made an offer on it, but you did too good of a job with it. Competition was very stiff. I actually found this article looking for similar plans and remembered I had read this article a year ago (I knew the house looked familiar). Anyway, my agent told me that the final buyer could also get the plans for the home included with contract finalization. I’m wondering if you’d be willing to sell your plans separately to someone else (me). I’m trying to build on a small lot in East Nashville. Right now, the plan was to build an approximately 20×30 2 story lofted tiny home. I spent a lot of time in Revit negotiating the second floor bedroom/bathroom space versus loft space. After checking out your design though, I think it’s simpler, cheaper, and a better use of space. It completely changed my interior space usage philosophy. I still have a lot of questions though. I wish I could by you coffee and pick your brain for about 45 mins one day, but instead I’ll just ask here:
1.) So you went with a Gambrel roof instead of a regular Gable Roof. I assume this was because it was more cost effective material-wise: More drywall I assume but probably less lumber and other material for wasted attic space, more roof shingles but less exterior siding, etc. . . Do you think that construction savings is offset by the added cost of heating and cooling with vaulted ceilings? I know you said you minimized windows to help with that, but how does the house perform Energy-wise?
2.) I don’t know if you would know this, but are their code regulations for using Gambrel Roofs in Davidson County for primary residences (versus other kinds of roofs)? I see people with them, but primarily with detached garages.
3.) For your construction costs, did that involve utilities already available at the site or did you have to have new lines run?
I’ll stop there with the questions. That’s plenty. Either way, good luck with your newer, bigger build.
We can chat for sure. Send me an email. [email protected]
Hey Jason I love ur tiny home I’m trying to design and. Uild one close to the one u have with a few veryations inside. I didn’t want to just email u without asking first. Becouse I’ve been running into a problem with trying to get the right kind of truss design I didn’t know if I could get a copy of urs to show the builders the kind I’m wanting. I’m willing to pay for them because I know the plans are not cheap. And also a blue print of the building would go a long way in trying to get an idea of what is needed for the county were I live in Ohio. And again I’m willing to buy a copy. My email is [email protected] if we could talk that would be great.
This is AWESOME! Perfect!! I love it!! Great job!!
Beautiful. You are a master at your craft and living my dream. Kudos, Jason!
We have 7 tiny rental homes, similar to the one in the article. 16x 48 over all. Our lay out is different. Amish built shell and we finished the interior. Very spacious. Full bath and kitchen. We received a lot of attention when we were working on them.
Fabulous! Not into tiny but small and you nailed it!!!
Hi Jason, love the tiny house. Did you have to have a set of plans approved by your county commission before starting , and if you did where would I be able to find copy’s?
Great job Jason!! By far the most efficient use of space that I’ve seen in a tiny home. LOOOOOVE the laundry room/closet!! I currently live in a 1200 sq ft house. I purchased a tiny cabin. It is mostly for me to use when it isn’t rented out on Airbnb. It is only about 276 sq. ft. If the ceiling was taller (giving me room to stand in the loft…I’m basically a hobbit and only 5′ tall) and if it has a laundry room (did I mention that I REEEALLY like the way you have yours set up?!?!?) and a bathtub (mine only has a shower), then I could truly LIVE in mine FULL TIME!! Again, GREAT JOB!!!!
It sounds adorable! Send us the link: [email protected]
To clarify, Did he use an actual kit and attach it to a foundation? If so, where was kit purchased?
Or did he use the kit plans as inspiration for his own design?
Hey there. I used a kit as the inspiration for my house. It was built on site stick by stick same as a traditional home. Proud to say that I made 60k profit when I had to sell it last year.
Very nice. FINALLY a real house on a foundation! Not a trailer that is called a home. Great job!
Being a home designer, I especially like the use of the old style drafting table as a dining room table. The house is great too.
If you investigate the sort of sun-tube (“Solatube” is one) that includes a vent-system (and also includes a light bulb for night use) it would give you both daylight AND ventilation in the loft, and it is small enough to make a cover so you have no light at all if you don’t want any. Plus a sun tube can adapt to any roof slope, and installs in half a day. Versatile.
Oh that’s a cool idea!
The solar tubes do look great. This house had two registers running air to the loft space. That along with spray foam insulation in the roof made for a very comfortable space. Also spray foam reduces the need to ventilate, unless you want an air exchanger.
I would have concerns about the vent system version you recommended. Putting holes in the roof is always scary and can be fraught with issues. A tube that allows for air flow would make me worry about it also letting in rain or moisture as the temperature difference can cause condensation on the metal surfaces.
I love this barn cabin. And being a draftsman and designer, I especially love the antique drafting table being used as a dining table.
This is disheartening. The “movement” started with the less is more ethos. It included putting a high value on mortgage free living, sustainability, individuality, creativity, livability, small footprint – physical and carbon, portability, life and people over things. The earliest examples were usually horrendous. Creativity gave way to runaway eccentricity, “tiny” succumbed to the American ideal of succeeding models ALWAYS being bigger (in fact this is why I’m writing. 800 square feet is what I grew up in with a family of four and often a fifth relative. And we were in a newer part of Chicago. ) Cozy was synonymous with overstuffed barely livable space. Portable was silly in all ways but one. Classing the THOW as an RV legally (which it is) means building coded don’t apply. That value was set against nobody wanting an RV next to their dwelling. Cheap to build; no place to put it…legally. And “legal” has MANY implications (insurance to start).
I could never have lived in most of the earliest examples. But today the “movement” has gone mainstream (which it needed to do to survive). 800 feet is not a tiny home – especially in Europe (A side issue is the lack of coverage in Japanese and European examples of tiny home living. They do it SO MUCH better than we do. At least we seem to get a good amount of New Zealand housing covered).
Houses with wet bathrooms to save space are not OK for the rest of us. Neither is a dishwasher FFS! There is a vast growth leaving the roots behind. That’s natural but unfortunate in some ways. Decide what you really want and who you really are and how you really live. Where do you sew? Make art? Record your music? Fix something? And how often do you have more than 7 pieces of flatware/dishes to do? Do you iron your clothes? Can your mom climb your stairs to the guest loft?
This site COULD continue to provide highly relevant and important information…like communities that actually got rezoned for THOWs, like the best human waste solutions, like the best heating solutions, like creating a structure that passively retains energy rather than finding fancy ways to use up more fossil fuel. Run REAL reports on the new(er) property rules in the county surrounding Colorado Springs. Update your blurb on Spur, Texas. Look into that place in Wisconsin which places their units for sale here. $90,000 isn’t mortgage free territory, but at least they have beautiful and functional designs. Look into the people working to amend the residential building codes. There are literally hundreds of groups of normal citizens and professionals working to make the code CHEAPER to follow. Virtually nobody talks about having 10′ be the default width of a THOW – you just give it surface coverage. 10′ requires a permit to move, but almost never does it have a guide truck requirement and the limitations aren’t very draconian. And that 18 inches is critical when putting together small and workable. THIS is the kind of stuff people need to learn about.
Right now, you’re just a real estate listing site. You could be SO MUCH more. And the need is there. Just look at the thousands of clueless but well intentioned good people who ask questions about tiny house living. Step up!
Hi John, thanks for reaching out. The goal here at Tiny House Talk is to show off all kinds of tiny/small/alternative dwellings to inspire others. Some of these are for sale (which is great for people looking to buy right now), some are Airbnbs (which allows you to see all kinds of ways a tiny house can be created and decorated, beyond what the THOW builders are making), and some are stories/interviews with real people living tiny. We also do like to highlight workshops, books, and other resources that are doing those last things you mention better than we could. There are lots and lots of resources for people who want to live tiny out there, created by people with tiny house experience and building experience. Our goal is to bring attention to those resources when we can, and to inspire people to live tiny by seeing other tinies.
I built this house to be just what I wanted and what I could afford. My mortgage was half of my previous rent. My electric bill was less than many tiny homes because my full depth walls were well insulated and the walls weren’t all glazing and instead built for strength, not to minimize weight for transit.
My house had 7 government required inspections. This meant the person who bought it from me had a much better assurance the house was solid and wouldn’t catch fire. They were able to buy insurance on the home for a low rate.
All these things I see as beneficial over any THOW. But I see the value in THOW, unless you are on a rented lot and have that monthly cost which can go up at any time, or there is a strong storm and it blows over, or if the roof leaks but your THOW builder has gone out of business and your warranty is worthless or if it shakes apart while on the road, or you can’t afford the cost to rent a truck to move it or if you try to sell it to realize it depreciates like a new car. I guess I really don’t see the value in a THOW. Just buy an RV from a reputable company.
This website is about some amazing people who had a dream to live a certain way. They made a plan, saved money and worked their tails of to achieve the home they wanted. This site documents these great achievements, inspires and educates those interested.
So I guess my real response to your challenge is to ask you to “put up”. What’s your dream home? Get your cell phone ready, start a blog, work your tail off and build a home you are proud of. Then post it here and you will educate thousands on what you feel is the best way forward for the tiny movement.
Get to work.
All the best.
I don’t disagree with your overall point, just want to address some misconceptions, like THOWs don’t depreciate as quickly as cars and are capable of holding value for many years… Deprecation is a function of the rate a product either wearing out and/or becomes obsolete, but homes don’t become obsolete and they’re generally not going to wear as quickly as a vehicle will…
Also, as they use the same materials and construction methods as traditional houses, maintenance and upkeep are basically the same, you can hire contractors, carpenters, handymen, electricians, plumbers, etc. just like for any house and things like roof warranty would be covered by the manufacturer of the roof product used, just like most houses.
So, even if the builder went out of business, it would be at worse the same as buying an old house… You’ll figure it out and make it work…
Builders typically don’t provide much in the way of warranty themselves anyway, maybe 1-3 years if they do, but typically they’ll refer you to the manufacturer warranty of the roof product they used or you’ll have to insure the home, like anything else you want to have some financial protection…
RV’s, on the other hand, are not built like houses, are usually built very minimally as priority for them is recreational usage and ease of mobility… Typical RV has walls less than an inch and half thick, 2×2 framing, little to no insulation, Rubber or some synthetic/plastic roof, etc. and are what actually will depreciate rapidly like cars… Most are also usually not going to be custom, RVIA doesn’t support DIY builds, and can actually cost more than THOWs when they are custom or offer an engineered product with brand loyalty like Airstreams…
While Tiny Houses have thick walls, usually around R-14 or higher insulation, 2×4 framing, and most are custom built to high standards. But they are usually very heavy and not that easy to move… In some states, THOWs can also be legal residence, ADU’s, and if they meet the 2018 IRC ICC with Appendix Q then they can even be taken off the wheels and placed on a foundation, which you basically could never do with an RV as they don’t meet any residential building code standards or even try to… It’s why options like Park Models can’t exceed 400 Sq Ft because that’s the threshold government set for them to have to start meeting residential standards. It’s just a work in progress getting government to make separate rules for THOWs, rather than defaulting to those made for RV’s or having to switch to HUD and manufactured house factory building…
So THOWs are really a very different product from an RV and it’s mainly not including land and finding a place that will recognize them as a legal residence that’s the issue with them. Nothing is for everybody, there are always trade offs, and there are lots of other options to at least consider but they’re not all going to be similar enough to be directly compared without needing to understand what’s different about them and judging them on their own unique merits…
Otherwise, good advice… A lot is possible if you can put in the work…
Great house Jason! If you were to rebuild, what would you do differently? Thank you!
I would install a regular fiberglass shower and save myself 3 weeks misery and $1500 in material lol.
But really not much, would have liked 15 grand more in my budget.
Is there insulation in this house?
Yes… 3rd photo…
R-13 under the floors and 1st floor walls. Roof and gables were spray foamed
Great job Jason! I would have made a couple of tweaks though…I would have made room in the bathroom for the washer and dryer instead of the clothes closet because they do give off humidity and can cause mold. Also for safety? Regardless of code? I would have put a large skylight that can open all the way in case of a fire. It would be cool too to watch the stars at night or the rain…. Free light for reading too during the day…but a fire escape would be my primary concern. Lastly? If you were laying in your bed looking across at your guitar loft? Why couldn’t you run a narrow walkway along the left side of the wall there and continue the railing not only along that new pathway but on the other loft as well? Then you don’t need a ladder (which could be a pain hauling amps up a ladder. .just carry your stuff up the main stairs and walk the path to the other loft. Problem solved and no taking up floorspace with a ladder. Also, ai would add a window somewhere even a small one in the bathroom, not only for fresh air but for natural light. Just my 2 cents! Lol! Looks great though 👍
Jason, This is one of the best “PRATICAL” designs I have seen and the size is what I’m planning for. Since I am designing mine to be off grid and powered by a solar, wind and battery combo, could you tell me what your average monthly and peak power usage is? Thanks, Dave
Sorry I don’t recall the electric usage, but my bills were low. However, I loved my long hot showers and dish washer.
Can only recommend, and I know you didn’t ask, to spray foam it. The roof in a gambrel gives tons of room, but the surface area of your room almost doubles. This will increase your heat gain/loss dramatically. Also, fewer and smaller windows may not be visually appealing but will save you tons on energy. Yes natural light is great but LEDs use much less wattage than a 2ton HVAC unit.
I think I can give my thinking on a few of the items you listed. Humidity in a home, especially a small one, balances very quickly. The airflow from the hvac unit will pull and “mix” the air quickly. I did have concerns of high humidity due to tight building tolerances, spray foam insulation and limited windows. To fix this I installed an oversized exhaust fan in the bathroom to quickly turn over the air in the house.
Fire risk is real and scary. However, I didn’t want a window in the bedroom or a skylight. Never felt that I couldn’t exit. House did pass all inspections and was built to code.
The gambrel roof gives great ceiling height but you need to be 5′ from the side wall to have any chance of standing up. I would have needed a 6′ wide walkway to have a bridge to the music loft. That would have required using steel to support the 22′ run or posts underneath it. A narrower bridge would have meant I would have needed to crawl across.
Lastly, I had plans for a future addition. The bathroom exterior wall would have been new living space. Any window would have been removed in an addition, so I skipped it.
Thanks for reading about my home!
Wow, just wow. This is a beautiful home. Well done. The best part is he didn’t skimp on the appliances. He even put a dishwasher in the kitchen. Awesome. A beautiful home that I would be very happy in…
I’m all about a dishwasher!
Great home, thank you for sharing. I love how open your space is, it looks great and the fact that you did the majority of the work is inspiring. I would love to build my own home someday soon. Great idea to make it addition ready, I will steal that idea. Did you have previous experience installing electrical and plumbing?
I had very little experience with initial plumbing and electrical. I did have a “how to” book and lots of you tube videos to help me. My dad helped me with the electrical box, but running the wires, drilling holes and connecting the boxes is pretty easy stuff. You can go for more complicated things like a 3 way switch, but I kept it all simple.
This is exactly what I want !! With option to add on if needed. Looked at sheds but they don’t have the tall enough ceilings.. please share you blueprint plans with me.
Would love to know what your outsourced labor cost. I will not be outsourcing any of it so wondered what I might save off the 65k. Kuddos to you for all your hard work and awesome results👏👏👏, Shannon
Good morning from northeast Alabama!
While I do see how a window in the upper bedroom would add light, I also definitely see your point as to preference and cost efficiency. I actually showed your home to my husband as a retirement model home that we really need to consider. Good job all around as to finishes and overall layout!
I do have a few of questions. How are you finding your home in regards to storage now that you are living there? Life does tend to make one spread out. I also read that you are going to expand (?) Did I get that or imagine it? Finally, if there was something you could change, upgrade, redo, what would that be?
Hello Jason! I really like this small home. I was wondering if you sell the plans you submitted? Thanks!
Love it!!! Especially the bedroom on the main floor. As someone withe a partially paralyzed leg and 3 head surgeries with frequent dizziness and coordination issues, THIS is what I LOVE to see!!! You’ve done a super job and I marvel at your hand in MUCH of the work! A definite “10”!!!!!
Downstairs bedrooms are awesome!
Love this! You did such a good job. Considering the shape of it, where do you plan to add on?
Sold it in 2019. The add on area was between the window and bathroom door. It was free off all wires and plumbing. The HVAC main duct line ran under the floor from left to right so it was set up to go through the block and into the new space.
The new owners love the house and have made so many improvments and continued what I started. They are very private people but seem happy with the little blue barn.
I am now in a traditional home. One day I’ll build a cabin on a lake somewhere and it’ll end up looking a lot like this little house.
Perfection right there Jason! Getting ready to retire and I’m praying your story becomes mine❤️
Would love to see more windows on the front where the living room is. A wall of windows would be awesome.
I Love it but I couldn’t do a loft, After 21 years in the Army my knees just don’t work that well. I LOVE the lack of windows personally, I’ve never understood the “I gotta have wall to wall windows” thing, People don;t seem to understand that if you can see then people can see in and the less people see in your your house the better and safer you are. Windows are also less energy effecient than insulated walls and let in sunlight which heats your home in the summer time.
Didn’t he list this one for sale last year? Did it sell? Please advise?
Yes he did, and it did sell.
I have a view lot & want to build a small homee 500 to 900 sq. ft.
Any ideas, love to read your book!
Great Job! I absolutely love that you decided on the Gambrel Roof and Loft! Also loved the stable, clean foundation. Perhaps I missed it in the pictures, but what type of heat did you install….small stove? Again I commend you on a job extremely well done. It shows in every aspect of the structure.
Perfect! Love the high ceilings.
Well thought out design and solid build. Some great ideas in this house, especially the laundry in the closet. The decorating is appealing and simple. You did a really great job! Kudos. . .