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Couple Living Tiny in 415 Sq. Ft. Koastal Cottage Tiny Home

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Guest Post: Our 415 Sq. Ft. Koastal Cottage Tiny Home with Bath and a Half!

We RVed full time in a 40′ fifth wheel for three years with our younger daughter (our elder daughter was already grown) and then moved into an apartment in Williamsburg, Virginia.

When Kaitie left for college, we moved back into the RV, placing it in a small mobile home park. Seven years later, when a tree destroyed the RV, we ordered a tiny home from Lil’ Lodges in Tallahassee, FL.

Now York County wants us to move, stating our home is an park model RV (although it is too large and an actual RV was here for SEVEN years!).

415 Sq. Ft. Koastal Cottage Tiny Home


Image © LilLodges.com

415-sq-ft-koastal-cottage-tiny-house-story-0002 415-sq-ft-koastal-cottage-tiny-house-story-0003

Images © Karen

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Images © Karen


Image © LilLodges.com

The home is engineered to withstand 130 mph winds, has a bay window in the bedroom, an attached screened porch, bamboo floors, a large loft, an electric fireplace, 220 electric, stacking washer/dryer, 4 1/2′ shower, and an awesome kitchen.

My husband and I were able to fit in our multiple collections. Everyone who sees it says, “I want one!”

Those who know about construction are amazed at its quality which exceeds that of mobile homes . . .and many standard homes.

We love it and feel it is just the right size.

We are fighting to stay here.

Our big thanks and heartfelt best wishes goes to Karen and her husband for sharing their tiny home and story with us.

We’re all rooting for you. And if there’s something we can all do that you think might help, please let us know.

Learn more about Lil’ Lodges Coastal Cottage: http://www.lillodges.com/koastalcottagephotogallery.html

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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!
{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Comet
    September 10, 2014, 12:58 pm

    I am not sure I “get” this–was this installed in an RV permitted “park” against the law? Cause–as sympathetic as I might be to the plight of the owners—I would have to say that if THEY installed it against the County or Town laws–then they need to either get an exemption==which they SHOULD have done BEFORE HAND–or they need to move it.

    Even out here in Cow Town we had a hard fight to get a donated mobile home installed on a lot when a house fire KILLED the child of the home owners—who could not afford to rebuild and a company donated a used mobile home. I am not a huge fan of zoning for certain things but if you have zoning laws—and you don’t agree with them–you have to work to change them not just ignore them.

    And the comment about “Where an ACTUAL RV was for seven years”—is this implying that this house is–better–than an RV? What kind of RV? Or?

    We need some more info on this one

    • Doris
      September 10, 2014, 2:38 pm

      “We” don’t need “more info.” You need to read what he wrote. He said he had an RV on that site for seven years. After losing the RV,he moved the park model in and now the County is deciding the legal definition of the structure being an RV or not. He did not try to “pull” something illegal, as you are implying, nor did he insult TH or RV people, as you implied. He’s caught up in bureaucratic BS about his location and his way of living, something most TH people can relate to. Calm down already. 🙂

      • Patrick
        September 10, 2014, 10:32 pm

        Hi Doris,
        Your language is also inflammatory.

        • Noreen
          September 11, 2014, 6:58 am

          Doris is not using inflammatory language. I like bathe idea of two toilets. They are seniors and may need available toilets. Get real. This is a great house!

        • Doris
          September 11, 2014, 8:31 am

          My language is English, Patrick, not inflammatory. Inflammatory people TEND to use lots of CAPS when they want to attract attention or be dramatic. 🙂

  • AIO
    September 10, 2014, 2:34 pm

    I wish them the best & I hope they are able to easily & happily stay, if that is what they wish. Happiness, Health & Wealth to them always. 🙂

  • Rich
    September 10, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Whatever the legalities, this is a good plan variation. At 12.5 ft wide it will be difficult to classify as an RV. Whether required or not, any loft should have a secondary egress.

    • Susan Stodola
      September 11, 2014, 5:59 am

      I would LOVE to see more pix of the ‘living’ area and also the loft, which, BTW, appears to be streaming with light and I’m wondering if they don’t already have a window??

  • Rich
    September 10, 2014, 2:48 pm

    PS why would such a small place require a bath and a half?

    • Gale
      September 10, 2014, 4:11 pm

      Some people just don’t want to share their personal bathroom with others that are visiting. OR perhaps one of them take way too long in the bathroom facility! LOL

    • Mame
      September 11, 2014, 12:25 am

      Rich, that was exactly my question. For a couple, surely one full bath would be sufficient — even with occasional visitors that may stay a night or two. For my purposes, I would change the powder room into a walk-in closet — but that’s just me. Otherwise, I am drooling over this unit — the finishes are really nice and, as I think the owner described the kitchen, it’s awesome 🙂 I hope they can find a piece of land in an area that will accept the home as a permanent build.

  • Kelly Libert
    September 10, 2014, 2:56 pm

    I think your first step is to discover what their official definition of “park model RV” is and then write your appeal directly addressing the areas where your house differs from their definition. Where in York County is that? I live in Norfolk and my sister lives in Yorktown so I am over there often. It looks very close to the water. I wish you luck in your fight. You have a very beautiful small house.

  • Marsha Cowan
    September 10, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Universal code does not recognize any room of less than 7’3″ ceiling height for 70% of the roof space (you can have a sloped roof), or something along those lines, as a room, so no egress is required. Most lofts are not designed for a person to stand up, so not being considered a room, no egress is required. However, I understand what you are saying, that for safety sake there should be some way to get down from the loft without using the stairs. From the pics, it looks like they have plenty of room for a window at least 32″ tall and 24″ wide on the back over the bay window, which in most places suffices for an egress window. Otherwise, I think this is the cleverest floor design for a tiny house that I have seen yet, and I wish I could see it in person. It’s gorgeous!!

  • Rebecca B. A. R.
    September 10, 2014, 7:46 pm

    You could always start a petition on Change.org so you could show that other people support your living arrangement. It might also embarrass the zoning board enough with bad PR that they might reconsider their decision, especially since it sounds like they are being a little hypocritical. Anyway, having a large number of people standing behind you with a petition can only help your case. You may even want to petition those in your town surrounding you.

  • Bill Burgess
    September 10, 2014, 9:47 pm

    I am confused. A park model by definition is an RV and follows other specifications that Mobile Homes do not. It follows that RV dealers would not be allowed to sell them for RV parks if they would be remotely illegal anywhere in the state where sold. Somebody needs some good Real Estate Attorney representation in a court. Probably an average Real Estate Attorney would be more than enough.

    • Bill Burgess
      September 10, 2014, 9:52 pm

      Why I pointed that issue out was there is a statute in most states that pertain to past use and accepted privilege. Access and use are tied together over time and it sounds like there is very good grounds to get this reversed.

  • Cyn Coleman
    September 11, 2014, 1:24 am

    I’ve gone to Lil’ Lodge site and can’t seem to find any numbers on pricing on any model.
    Does anyone know how much the model in the above story cost or any of the models on Lil’ Lodge site, or how to get that information?

    • Doris
      September 11, 2014, 8:23 pm

      They are builders. Liability wise, they would be insane to post their prices, because someone always wants to tweak or change or upgrade for the same price. Call them and tell them exactly what it is you want: roofing, siding, French doors, front or side entry, appliances, etcetera. They can’t give you a quote without knowing. They also need to know if you’re “just asking” or if you’re serious, because while they want your business, they don’t generally have time to waste. I’ve seen this exact model offered elsewhere in Florida, without the half-bath, and the price was in the mid-thirties. If you can find one used or repo’d, it should be in the twenties. They are very well-made, often better than a “real house,” with better standards of lumber.
      This is the first I’ve heard of someone having zoning issues. Most RV parks have park models. Maybe it looks too much like a “real house.” It’s adorable.

      • Cyn Coleman
        September 11, 2014, 10:01 pm

        Thank you, Doris, for a ballpark price.

        There ARE many small/tiny house companies that post ballpark prices AND since it’s been said this particular model is well built, I just wondered if the price was under $50K or something like $150K.
        But I must say this: no company should be ever too busy to market their product, even if posting a base price* that is subject to *change. To not do so is poor PR and marketing. They don’t need to know anything about me; I need to know about them.

        And, Doris, you DO you inflammatory language in such a way that is totally unnecessary.
        “TAKE A XANAX!”

        • Charlotte Mo
          September 12, 2014, 1:17 pm

          You are rude. You thank this lady and then slap her in the face for taking the time to answer your question just coz you don’t like the way she said it? Maybe she thought from your question you don’t know how to use a phone or a web site. Thats how it looks. Now you’re a pro and take offence. Just rude.

        • SC
          October 6, 2014, 10:57 am

          Charlotte Mo is right! YOU are the rude one! She took the time to give a nice, detailed answer and you respond like a jerk! Do better!

  • Stan Forcier
    September 11, 2014, 10:53 pm

    I believe legally speaking a park model RV has to be no more than 400 sq. ft. This is 415 sq. ft. so technically is not a park model.

  • Charlotte Mo
    September 12, 2014, 1:25 pm

    Good call Stan. Nice little house, seems like they could get zoning exception.
    Per Champion Bldrs, “Park Model RVs are built to the ANSI code for recreational vehicles. The materials and systems we use to build them are very similar to our HUD code manufactured homes. One key difference is the size restriction which limits park models to a maximum of 399.9 sq. ft. of living space. However, the limit does not apply to covered porches and many of our customers add a 6’ or 8’ porch on the front of their park model and some add a second one on the back end off of the bedroom.”

  • Kristy
    September 14, 2014, 5:18 pm

    This one is super cute and I love the floorplan!

    More information is needed on the zoning issue and I don’t know about other areas but in my area a park model is considered a mobile home and not an RV. Depending on zoning, one could have an RV parked but as soon as they moved a park model in, there would be problems (if they were prohibited). If may also have to do with the size of this one. It’s wider than an RV and larger sq ft so some counties may even be considering it a house which might not meet the minimum sq ft. Personally I think a lot of the zoning laws are bunk and a person should have the right to have whatever house they want so long as they aren’t harming anyone else. I hope they get it worked out so they don’t have to move.

  • Karen Rogers
    October 17, 2014, 12:33 pm

    I apologise for the delay in responding to these posts, but I have been busy with both the “battle” and a family situation . . .ah, retirement is grand!

    To clarify, our fifth wheel was in a mobile home park. I verified that this was okay prior to moving it here in 2007. They now deny both their response and their approval of the electrical hookup. Of course, we assumed a home in excess of 400 square feet (therefore not a park model or RV) and with residential appliances and 220 electric would be appropriate. NOTE: We had been told a permit was not needed but decided to check with the county when the home was ready to ship. They didn’t even know where the park was located and agreed they would never have known about it if we hadn’t told them, but they decided to go after us. The saga continues . . .but their concerns are that it is an RV park model (again, too large) and it doesn’t have a HUD “sticker.” HUD stickers (actually plaques purchased, numbered and attached by the builder) mean only that HUD – which has no inspectors – rubber stamped the specs. A Clayton Homes salesman told the plaque “means nothing, “we could build a house with toothpicks and Playdoh and put a plaque on it.” We have not only our specs, which exceed HUD’s, but construction photos which show the hurricane/wind (up to 130 mph) straps and double and triple framing.

    Although the inside photos are of our home, the outside is similar – I didn’t have one available on my Kindle. It is the same color, but our skirting is solid wood, the porch entry is on the side, and we have celestial windows in the living room. So, call for a tour! (757-771-2452)

    As to the half bath: We wanted another bath. I don’t like clothes and detest shoes, so that is my reply to the suggestion that a walk in closet would be a better use of space. We all have our own preferences, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing. We recently had our daughters and grandson here for three nights, and the half bath was great. We also had a group of 11 for dinner . . .love that porch!

    Contact Steve at Lil’ Lodges. You will be (happily!) surprised at their prices as well as their willingness to customize.

    • Bill Burgess
      June 4, 2015, 12:50 pm

      1/2 bath is a must in every Park Model I design at 4Fathoms Designs Karen and your home is exceptional and unique in function. I am sure the extras boosted the price well past $75 per foot but as your home fits EXACTLY your needs well worth the investment. The base price should fall in the $50 per square foot and that should include appliances. A shame the whole industry can not see that with minor changes they could sell 35000 units a year instead of the 2800 they sell now. We are only talking 400 sq ft so why not stack it more ergonomic as well as use a better grade of materials?

  • Lloyd Wiggins
    April 11, 2015, 5:03 pm

    I went to Lil’ Lodges website and my immediate thought was that these structures look a lot like the structures found on houseboats. How about putting it on a barge and making it a houseboat. Then the county would have no jurisdiction. And if you get tired of an area, it is easy to move to a new location.

  • Karen R
    June 4, 2015, 1:41 pm

    In response to Bill today. . .because we were told the RV was okay and our home is hurricane resistant, we were granted a variance. However, the supervisors decided to appeal the variance, something they hadn’t done in over a dozen years. People are angry (this area needs affordable housing)! The codes department did some things that were questionable, probably against the Fourth Amendment, including vandalism of our electric hookup, so the county attorney stated they would not pursue the appeal . . .

  • Tonya
    August 7, 2015, 11:33 am

    How much do these cost? I am very interested in buying one. I can’t find pricing on their website.

  • jeff
    June 2, 2016, 9:10 pm

    Karen, I was wondering if you could comment on your experiences doing business with lil lodges. I am thinking about buying a unit from them but came across some negative comments on the web. It seems like you had a positive experience.

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