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Jay Shafer’s Designs and Builds a $5,000 Tiny House

This is Jay Shafer’s latest tiny house that he built for only $5,000 in material cost.

His new tiny house design is aimed at taking things back to the absolute basics and simplicity in all aspects. That means a home which is simple and pleasant to live in, simple to build and also simple to afford. This new tiny house design costs a remarkably low sum of US $5000!1

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Jay Shafer Designs/Builds a Beautiful $5k Tiny Home

Jay Shafer’s newest tiny house is ultra simplified.

There’s even a desk that doubles as a night stand. You will have to sit on the floor to use it.

Storage on both ends when you walk in. Custom french door.

Jay chooses to use the bathroom outside of his tiny house.

Video Tour of Jay Shafer’s Latest $5,000 Tiny House

Jay Shafer is a man who many know as the Godfather of the modern tiny house movement. It was 20 years ago now that he build his original tiny house on wheels and that moment has since inspired thousands of people all over the world (me included) to construct their own tiny homes.

Learn More

Jay Shafer’s Stunning $5,000 Tiny House | Original Story | Living Big In A Tiny House YouTube Channel | Jay Shafer’s Book

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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!
{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Alex (CA)
    November 9, 2018, 6:16 pm

    Glad to see Jay looking so well. I know that he was having a really hard time of it not long ago.

  • Alison
    November 9, 2018, 7:59 pm

    I’m glad I took the time to look at the video. The interior design is so clean and pleasing. I could see a cluster of these tiny homes on a property with a shared kitchen and bathroom. Some of us want (and can afford) more spacious, luxurious digs, but many would be happy with a home like Jay’s. It is especially sensible for a place like coastal California, with mild climate, but exorbitant property prices.

  • D. Pedersen
    November 10, 2018, 2:35 am

    I have always liked Jay’s design. And this tiny house is yet another on the “likes” list. It is almost Japanese in it’s simplicity. I like the fact, that it is not a “kitchen” on wheels. I see no reason to build a kitchen and bathroom, if you have access to a community kitchen and bathroom. It saves the tiny house from smelling of cooked food all the time. And it saves money in the build. There should be more areas for tiny house without kitchen and bathroom – small communities with kitchen and bathroom facilities.

    • Paul
      May 14, 2020, 3:46 am

      The problem with separate kitchen and bathroom facilities is 1) it is communal which wouldn’t suit a LOT of people, and 2) travelling between your home and facility during inclement weather.

      I’ve experienced that situation while camping in a tent at camping grounds. And that’s for short periods of time… in my case only during summer. That was bad enough and I’d hate to think of what that would be like during winter, especially those areas with snowfalls.

  • Anna
    November 10, 2018, 8:47 am

    Congratulations Jay on such a beautiful use of a very tiny space! With a few accommodations for a colder climate and a minimal bathroom for night time visits–this is perfect to park in my son’s or daughter’s backyard! No more fighting with dogs or grandchildren for a sleeping spot on the sofa!
    I also applaud your consideration for the homeless…something like this can change a life! Thanks again for sharing this.

  • James D.
    November 12, 2018, 11:07 am

    Not everything has to fit everyone in the world you know!?

    But this is about as low cost as it gets for what he designed. At least not cheaper that’s still movable, made of commercially available materials that weren’t reclaimed or milled from a forest like a log cabin or isn’t smaller with less room to actually move about…

    Besides, you’re missing the point of providing something that could be a solution for housing homeless in a community set up with shared resources…

    This is very easily movable, being under 2000 lbs and on its own trailer, is insulated enough that it can be heated by just a candle, has plenty of storage for one person, is solar powered to provide power for lights and powering devices and provides the basics for a comfortable space to live…

    While the design cuts down on infrastructure costs that would be required to establish a new temporary housing area and make it much easier to move and establish in a new area as needed or simply to change the number of available units without additional infrastructure costs.

    But the design could also be added to if a more independent solution is needed…

  • Jenn
    November 12, 2018, 2:13 pm

    I really like this one. I love how it’s so tiny but it has so much storage & the right amount of space. Like everyone else said, I can definitely see using this if there is a community or shared bathroom or kitchen facilities. Great job! 🙂

  • D. Pedersen
    November 13, 2018, 6:57 am

    Whatever happened to Jay’s Four Lights Houses Company? Has he started something new?

  • Sparrow
    November 13, 2018, 9:33 am


    • Pat
      November 13, 2018, 12:42 pm

      Always take the high road. A simple “I don’t like it” or “Not my style” would suffice. 🙂 I’ve had those two feelings about a number of designs but refrained from commenting. Friends?

      • Alex
        November 13, 2018, 2:35 pm

        Thanks, Pat, well said.

  • Karen Blackburn
    November 13, 2018, 1:26 pm

    Would be easy to add a porta potty in a cupboard for use when needed plus a couple of gas rings for hot water (washing clothes, you, dishes, hot drinks) and cooking simple meals. This to me is what a tiny house should be like – families obviously need more space – and would be very similar to designs I have drawn up for myself. Everyone has different needs and wants, some find this size and style perfect for their life but others want a smaller version of a bricks and mortar building complete with bathroom, kitchen/living area and storage plus extras. I tend to go more for the above type of tiny home but I realise many want more. However I don’t feel the need to make obnoxious comments about their choice of tiny home even when I think that they have missed the whole point of the concept. Besides all of this, many people would find this to be luxury compared to what they are used to, just ask many of those in California who are homeless after the fires, a tiny home like this beats an impersonal hotel room or splitting up the family because your house has gone belly up in flames.

  • Kurt
    December 17, 2018, 2:34 am

    I saw the video on a YouTube channel. This isn’t a real home. This is more of a place to get away for awhile.

    • Eric
      May 8, 2019, 6:40 pm

      According to a Pommie singer some years ago, wherever you hang your hat, that’s your home.

      So, its not for you. That’s fine. Its definitely not for me either but there’s plenty of people in the world, the States even, who would think its the cats whiskers if someone gave them one of these. Diff’rent strokes fer diff’rent folks I say.

    • e.a.f.
      November 9, 2019, 11:51 pm

      every one has a different view of what a home is. this latest project, is a lovely home. Now some may want more to their homes, but others, this is perfect. For many a home such as this in a rural or community setting, is perfect.

      for me a tiny home is just that, tiny and for some one else, it will be larger. for those of us who do not like cooking, beyond making coffee, this house is about enough.

      This is a very lovely peaceful home!

  • Jauna
    June 22, 2019, 6:39 pm

    It is great if all you need is a bedroom. This is just personally but I don’t like the sharing of bathrooms or kitchens with any other than my family, and I sure don’t want to have to go outside to a different room to use either a kitchen or bathroom, especially in the winter months! Who has time to bundle all up to use either?

    • RW
      January 11, 2020, 6:06 pm

      This is where history is your friend. The Victorians had covered porcelain or metal chamber-pots with lids with about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom beneath their beds so they didn’t have to leave the warm bedroom for the outhouse when it was raining. The water was to make cleaning the chamber pot next day easier. Many porcelain chamber pots were elaborately decorated, and there were sets which included a basin & pitcher and chamber-pot all in the same pattern; in England where even in WW II not every house had a private bathroom, someone with a sense of humour manufactured chamber pots for bomb shelters with Hitler’s face on the bottom of the pot. . . . 🙂

      • Carolyn Overcash
        February 26, 2020, 10:04 pm

        Chamber pots were in use in North Carolina, USA, at least until 1980. My grandmother’s home didn’t have running water or electricity. Her neighbor let her get water from an outside spigot for household use. She had a wood cookstove for heat and cooking. Dad bought her a kerosene two-or-three-burner one that she used in the summertime. The chamber pot was under her iron-rail full bed. She’d take it to empty at the outhouse.

  • maria
    August 6, 2019, 6:45 am

    I love Jay! I have been a fan of his work since 2004. I would love to get a hold of some of his old building plans. Great job Jay! You are a true craftsman.

  • Sabrina
    November 9, 2019, 6:42 pm

    I love the beauty, “simplicity” and design of this. So it has no kitchen or bathroom… For $5000 build another and join them with a porch. So many “tiny” houses are over the top in terms of price and size. Less is more.

  • ken leigh
    November 9, 2019, 8:37 pm

    Beautiful home, really like the fact it is light weight and the details.
    If you were to sell this home, what’s the price?

  • Darsha StuartDarsha
    November 9, 2019, 10:57 pm

    I love the tiny house movement. I was hoping to see a community in the Ft. Walton Beach, Florida area sometime in the next 3 years. I want to rent or lease something like that for the rest of my days. I don’t want to live with my daughters but I will live close to one. If anyone knows of something like that, please let me know. Thank you.

  • Marsha Cowan
    January 12, 2020, 10:57 am

    Hello, Jay! You were my inspiration to build tiny 8years ago, and I have never regretted it. Thanks so much! I am currently living in a tiny house a little smaller than this one right now, also no bathroom, going on 2 1/2 years, so yes, this could be a full time home placed where there are facilities like a shower house. I am finding that living this small really frees up time and money to invest in other people’s lives or other projects. It’s great! Again, thank you, Jay, and God bless you!

  • Eugenia Briscoe
    February 28, 2020, 9:53 pm

    Hi Alex
    One of the things that makes me wonder is the pricing of many tiny homes. More and more builders are popping up and their homes are incredibly expensive. The home’s prices that really surprise me are the ones that are basically built the same way. And the pattern of the house has few changes other than the outside and the interior finishes. Which begs to question why so much. Especially when a builder has a set design and they’re technically building the same house over and over again.Which means they buy their materials in bulk. And they require or offer very little if any tweaking. Seems many builders have gone overboard or they are price gouging. And to make matters worse a customer has to pay additional for delivery and this can run into the thousands in and of itself. As for delivery some do offer free delivery within a few miles of their factories. I’m sure insurance is a necessity and not free. Hook ups and etc. such as to public utilities or one may also need to already have a septic system and or a cistern tank installed. You have to get permits and you have to pay to park your house if you do not own land. As for moving many ready built homes you may have to pay each county and state you travel through to get to where you want to go. And you have to make prior arrangements with them. Moving a large structure can cause traffic problems. So much for living with out debt. The only way this can happen for MOST people is first the house has to be affordable. Its been proven people can build their own for a lot less. I feel some builders are taking advantage of those who don’t have this ability. I like the idea of living Tiny I plan to spend my last days doing so. With out going into debt. As I have more days behind me than ahead of me. I also find the stories people tell, most interesting. However they’re leaving out the part regarding the initial up front or start up costs and how much its actually costing them live this way on a daily basis. I’m betting there are many extremely interesting stories yet to be told. The advantages are great when you can pick up and go with house in tow. But I think its high time the reality of costs is addressed. I don’t think the Tiny House movement will suffer because, for me knowing is making me better prepared so that when I get out there I can stay out there. Saving money to live like this is relative.

    • Sheila Goodwin
      April 3, 2020, 12:40 pm

      I stated the same thing – NOT as nicely as you have. You can buy very well built small single wide as well as some double wide mobile homes for a whole lot less and if your not going to run the roads these home are great.
      I bought a single wide 55 ft long 12 wide fixer upper and have enjoyed immensely doing the major part of the work myself & turning it into my idea of home. Most likely one that I will be in until I die.
      I live in a 55 and older park and at 74 it’s comforting having neighbors that are more like family than just neighbors. Tiny homes are nothing new at all.Many people lived in small log cabins with a passel of kids and sometimes grand parents too! It seems to me that it has now become a preppy or mod style and the more it cost the higher the prestige. Just as you say seems to beat out the whole purpose of gong tiny!

  • Jackson
    April 2, 2020, 7:02 pm

    Are there any blueprints for this design? I want to build a tiny house and this one seems perfect!!

  • Rydaartisr
    April 3, 2020, 2:16 pm

    Like his work but the Father of the Tiny House Movement (?!?) and he build his first only 20 years ago? Gee I am confused. I have a book by Jane Lidz titled “Rolling Homes, Handmade Houses on Wheels, published 1979. Also another book, “The Craftsman Builder” authored by Art Boekicke and Barry Shapiro (authors of “Handmade Houses, A Guide to the Woodbutcher’s Art) was published in 1977. Your Researchers didn’t do their job very well did they. Please give credit to another generator guys…you didn’t invent them…someone else did.

    • Sheila
      March 1, 2021, 11:54 am

      I can’t speak to the history you cite, but I can say your assumption about Jay taking credit for being the creator of something that others have already done is mistaken. I’ve met Jay. He’s one of the most humble, unassuming, authentic, and generous human beings I’ve ever encountered. Jay didn’t assign himself that title (or any other that I’m aware of). Someone else did. He doesn’t introduce himself with it or use it in any other way I’ve heard. He’s just this nice guy, out there using his talents to promote an idea that he is passionate about – making affordable housing available to a full range of folks – and helping anyone else who wants to come along for the ride. If you met him, I think you’d probably like him, too. Best wishes in your tiny house pursuits, whatever form and direction they take!

  • Michael L
    April 9, 2020, 8:05 pm

    Thanks Jay for sharing. Glad to see you doing well and creating again. You’re a real inspiration! So many of us these days are a pay check or two away from homeless.

    I love this little house.

  • B
    August 26, 2020, 7:59 am

    Please give me the plans if you have them…. Thanks!

  • Sheila
    August 26, 2020, 11:39 am

    To small but he did a beautiful job on this. Not sure about a outside bathroom. This is very nice!

  • Mike Gaffey
    March 1, 2021, 7:19 pm

    I remember when Jay had a tiny house in Iowa City, IA … at least I think that was him … it was my “ahh ha” moment when I realized all the hours I spent at work not really enjoying my life could be redirected if I went tiny … it took me a while to get my kids to adulthood, but I structured my life at that point toward the concept, and now I have a big piece of property in the country with a lake full of fish and woods full of game and a tiny house that has everything the wife and I need for comfort … he literally changed my life! I’m glad to see he is making an appearance with a new design! God bless.

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