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Kahla’s ‘Outdoor Enthusiast’ DIY Tiny House: Built on Nights/Weekends Over 10 Months!


This is Kahla’s DIY tiny house on wheels. She built it with the help of her parents on nights and weekends over the course of 10 months!

The tiny house was built on a 20ft Tumbleweed Trailer and was recently moved from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Fairplay, Colorado. Kahla runs a website called To Live Tiny where you can follow along and learn more about her tiny house life. Please enjoy and learn more below!

Kahla’s DIY Tiny Home on Wheels: Built on Nights/Weekends!

© Kahla McRoberts


© Kahla McRoberts

Highlights

  • Kahla built it with her parents over 10 months on nights/weekends
  • Total material costs to date are: $34,593.33 (as of January 3, 2018)
  • Number of hours building: 1248
  • Built on a 20ft Tumbleweed Trailer
  • Built in Lancaster, PA
  • 7’x9′ deck off to the side
  • Garage with actual garage door over the hitch for skis and bikes
  • Pullout sleeper sofa for guests
  • Built in stairs that also serve as storage
  • Refrigerator, wall oven, and stove top
  • Off-grid ready with holding water tank, pump, solar panels, and propane tanks
  • Composting toilet
  • Tiled bathroom floor
  • Natural-edge wood as counter-tops, shelves, floor thresholds
  • Under floor storage in living room
  • Pull down projector screen and projector
  • Cork floor in the kitchen
  • Moved to Fairplay, CO as of December 1st


“Midnight of 2017 I was sitting down with my dad drawing out plans for my tiny house.”

Midnight of 2017 I was sitting down with my dad drawing out plans for my tiny house. I was naïve to think I knew what was required to build such a thing. It didn’t take long to understand that I knew very little. From managing the daily supply runs and deliveries, to gaining the confidence to stand on the top of a ladder and swing a hammer, the tiny house quickly became the biggest endeavor I had ever taken on.

Jump forward 1 year and I am sitting in my house in Fairplay, CO. I had many moments throughout this past year that I questioned if this moment would come. Building the house took so much perseverance, patience, hard work, and acceptance of how little I knew and how much I had to learn. As soon as I felt confident that I could frame a 16 on center wall, we’d introduce 2 windows to the next! There was so much I just didn’t know, but very slowly I learned that one skill or understanding led to the next. Though no pro, I now look at things with a better understand of what went into it or what would be required to fix it.

With that learning came so much gratitude. I have a whole new appreciation for my parents after this year. For anyone who knows them, this goes without saying, but they’ve got some kind of superpowers. The two of them do more things in one day than I knew possible. They never want recognition but instead get so much out of creating things with their hands and seeing something well done. They push the idea that anything is possible and with their constant support have undoubtedly been my driving force, always.3

Midnight of 2017 I was sitting down with my dad drawing out plans for my tiny house. I was naïve to think I knew what was required to build such a thing. It didn’t take long to understand that I knew very little. From managing the daily supply runs and deliveries, to gaining the confidence to stand on the top of a ladder and swing a hammer, the tiny house quickly became the biggest endeavor I had ever taken on. Jump forward 1 year and I am sitting in my house in Fairplay, CO. I had many moments throughout this past year that I questioned if this moment would come. Building the house took so much perseverance, patience, hard work, and acceptance of how little I knew and how much I had to learn. As soon as I felt confident that I could frame a 16 on center wall, we’d introduce 2 windows to the next! There was so much I just didn’t know, but very slowly I learned that one skill or understanding led to the next. Though no pro, I now look at things with a better understand of what went into it or what would be required to fix it. With that learning came so much gratitude. I have a whole new appreciation for my parents after this year. For anyone who knows them, this goes without saying, but they’ve got some kind of superpowers. The two of them do more things in one day than I knew possible. They never want recognition but instead get so much out of creating things with their hands and seeing something well done. They push the idea that anything is possible and with their constant support have undoubtedly been my driving force, always. It’s with that support that I was able to hike this summer with Alexa and Dayna and had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. On the PCT I walked further than I had ever walked, climbed higher than I had ever been and gained so much more appreciation for the outdoors and how much good comes from them. I’m sorry for the ridiculously long post but it’s been a big year. I have had a lot of amazing and trying moments that are propelling me into 2018. Mostly, 2017 has showed me confidently that spending as much time as I can outdoors, and that being surrounded by friends and family make me most happy.

A post shared by Kahla McRoberts (@kahlanicol) on

Resources

  1. http://www.tolivetiny.com/
  2. https://www.instagram.com/kahlanicol/
  3. https://www.instagram.com/p/BddeAFnHuEe/?taken-by=kahlanicol

Our big thanks to Kahla for sharing!

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Alex

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!

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{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Bruce CG Gallagher January 3, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Well done Kahla; a very well thought out tiny house with great execution.
    Congratulations from British Columbia

  • Diana January 3, 2018, 12:12 pm

    What an inspirational story. So good to see someone in this day and time appreciating their parents. Great parents no doubt to who I say thank you for making our world a better place! The problem is so many people have children and do not know it’s their responsibility to make the world better. Your folks have created a good person in you. Someone who is supported can achieve their goals. Living tiny and sustainably is noble. I’m thankful for you and your family. And gorgeous job on the house. It is quite lovely.

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 6:56 pm

      Thanks Diana, I am most definitely fortunate for the parents I have!

  • colin January 3, 2018, 12:17 pm

    Well done! Awesome little house! I am definitely interested in the way the roof/loft was handled and have seen this used similarly in a few other designs. This is a definite possibility for my first project. Oh, and not to nit-pick, but you meant midnight of 2016… ; )

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 6:58 pm

      Thanks Colin, I fixed that date mistake! I really wanted a 1 plane roof, and the slope helped give a lot of space in the loft area.

  • e. scott January 3, 2018, 3:14 pm

    Kayla, it would seem that you share my, recently, late husband’s mantra:
    THE IMPOSSIBLE JUST TAKES A LITTLE LONGER.
    It served him very well and I’d just bet that you “feel the mantra!”
    You have done an excellent job. Yours is one of my favorites of all the Tiny Houses that I’ve viewed in the last 2 years. Kudos to you.

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 7:00 pm

      I do! There were times during the build that it did feel a bit impossible. That’s when you step back and focus on something easier for your brain to handle at the moment. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words!

  • Theresa Perdue January 3, 2018, 3:29 pm

    I love it. I have seen at least 100 and probably more tiny homes since I discovered them and I like this one better than any of them. If I ever get around to getting one this is exactly what I want.

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 6:59 pm

      Aw, thanks Theresa! I have the blueprints on my website if you’re interested!

      • Alex May 3, 2018, 10:46 am

        Hi Kahla! That’s awesome you have blueprints now, I’ll update the post and add a link to that! Thanks for the responses and hope you’re doing great!

  • Mary McGuirk January 3, 2018, 3:34 pm

    Congratulations…I love your kitchen use of vertical space without feeling claustrophobic…the eye level oven with a dishwasher below is BRILLIANT!

    I am a senior who doesn’t want anything to do with a LOFT, but the pantry type storage from the stairs works just fine even without a loft…my one and only issue is whether you have bonked your legs on the right angle corner at the bottom of the staircase? 😉

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 7:02 pm

      Thanks Mary! The oven actually has a washer/dryer below it. You could definitely make this a one story house, maybe a bit longer with a broken off bedroom area.

      I have yet to bonk my leg on the stair, but I’m sure it’ll happen at some point. 🙂

  • Joanna Chanin January 4, 2018, 3:21 am

    Lovely design and colors.

  • Jay casey January 4, 2018, 3:57 am

    Kahla,
    Bravo, what an impressive accomplishment. Your tiny home is well thought out and beautifully designed. (I’m a professional Decorator, and have honestly not seen a tremendous amount of well designed tiny homes.) All of the beauty and function aside. I just wanted to say, good for you that you built this with the help of your mom and dad. It is a rare gift you have received for you to recognize what you might never have seen otherwise in your parents. My mother passed away several years ago after suffering a long battle with Alzheimer’s. I hope my mother knew how much I admired her and appreciated all she did for me in my life. I did all I could to “pay her back,” caring for her for 8 years. I will never know for sure that she knew how much I admired about her. It’s such a grand statement for you to acknowledge your parents help with your tiny home build. Even more wonderful is your enlightment into their ability to accomplish so much in what you described as a small time frame. They sound like they are people we all should strive to be! Congrats on your new home and congrats on finding out how blessed you are for having two loving parents. I wish you much success in life. If you ever make it to Alabama, look me up and say hello.

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 7:05 pm

      Hi Jay, thanks for the meaningful post. My parents are certainly people to strive to be!

  • Theresa January 4, 2018, 10:03 am

    Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your build with us.

  • Bob January 5, 2018, 3:18 pm

    Most of what I was going to write has already been written. A couple of things, however, weren’t mentioned in any of the comments. For example, the value of her labor would be about $40,000 for those 1,200 plus hours assuming a wage rate of $40 per hour. If she wanted to sell it and cover all costs including overhead and taxes on the sale, she could add an additional 15% to 30% for that overhead on top of her labor costs and material costs. That would put this absolutely marvelous home at a value of around $104,000 using the 30% markup (overhead) formula. Labor plus Materials plus Overhead.

    Essentially, by doing it all herself with assistance from her parents, she got one of the best educations for a do-it-yourself project as well a far better understanding of what and how stuff needs to be maintained. Something that if you buy this kind of home built by a professional organization, you would not be able to achieve that learning curve nor the savings.

    Well done Kahla. You may have found a new career or one which will work well beside the one you might be thinking of pursuing or doing right now.

    By the way, I love the way you created the window shelf/sill for both the loft bedroom and the bath. The way you have the lamp situated in the loft bedroom is very nice as well as balancing the entire area.

    • Kahla McRoberts May 2, 2018, 7:07 pm

      Wow, thanks Bob! It was quite the endeavor but worth every minutes of it. One of my favorite parts as well ended up being the nature edge shelves and sills.

  • rachel January 14, 2018, 3:36 pm

    Perseverance and determination are omnipotent! you did it and grew in the process. Thats’ the way to learn, stretch yourself and believe. Congrats!
    namaste’, rachel

  • Marsha Cowan May 19, 2018, 10:23 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Really love the colors, and especially love that bathroom sink! Wow! Great job! Lovely home.

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