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Backyard Micro Home that you Might be able to Build with No Permits

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This entire micro home including the deck is just 90 square feet. If you only include the interior, it measures just 50 square feet. This is just a bit beyond a tiny house, isn’t it? I’d definitely consider it ‘micro’.

Good news is that in many areas this would just be a simple backyard shed or accessory structure meaning there’d be a chance you won’t need a permit to build something similar. On this one, there’s a downstairs area and upstairs loft both with wonderful views through the large window. Surrounded by nature, forest and wilderness, you can relax in peace, write, or just take a nap. It can even work as an efficient, inexpensive, and handy guest suite for when you have visitors.

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Shed-style Micro Cabin with Deck

No Permit Micro Home just 50 Square Feet

Photo Credit Robin Falck

Notice how the window is angled to bring in light and provide great views of the landscape and the sky at night. The lower half is the living area and the upper half is the sleeping loft.

In total, you’ve got some storage, a deck, a bedroom, and a little living room. That it! What would you say, that’s.. 15 minutes to clean entirely?

Decked entrance to Micro Home with No Permits Tiny House just 50 Square Feet

Walk inside the little cabin and you’ll find a comfortable lounge area to hang out in (see below).

Interior of Micro Home

If you look hard enough below, you can tell that there’s a lake view from the bedroom (see below).

Upstairs sleeping loft

Photo Credits Robin Falck

The owner of the home, Robin Falck, designed it small enough so that he can avoid building permits in Finland which in that area means a structure less than either 96 or 128 square feet depending on where you end up building.

According to Robin, he was able to build the house in less than two weeks for less than $10,500.

He did it with the help of some local architects and completed the majority of the labor himself. The micro-home nicknamed “Nido” has been seen on popular websites such as Gizmag, Jets on Green, Core 77, Adventure Journal, Tree Hugger, Design Milk. I think it’s a beautiful and simple design that appeals to lots of people right now, don’t you think?


  1. adventure-journal.com/2012/05/weekend-cabin-nido-finland
  2. http://tinyhouselistings.com/robins-micro-house/
  3. http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/finland-micro-cabin-robin-falck.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 }
  • Nerida
    May 19, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Very simple, just the place to unwind after a deployment.

    I would love to see how the kitchen bathroom is set up.

  • jim sadler
    May 19, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Now we are talking! And they probably neglected to put a rule in place about having two sheds in a yard.
    The idea being that you could have a cooking or hobby or trade shed near the sleeping- living shed. You might even be able to have it arranged so that a neighbor would never really observe the second shed.
    Also keep in mind that if you buy land on some kind of water you may be able to anchor a pontoon craft without actually building on your land. That means no taxes to speak of. Check local laws but a boat with no motor may not require a license. Move the pontoon boat a few feet every day or two to keep the law at bay. If the cops knock on your door tell them you are anchored so that you step out onto a lot that you own. If a high wind storm is expected get a winch and pull the boat up onto the land for a day or two. The county may go bonkers but have no legal way to stop you on the books.

  • sesameB
    May 21, 2012, 1:53 pm

    “The county may go bonkers but have no legal way to stop you on the books.” This is a very true statement.

    “Notice how the window is angled to bring in light and provide great views of the landscape and the sky at night. The lower half is the living area and the upper half is the sleeping loft.” This is sooooo smooth. Nice. Just exceptional. I adore this.

    “Good news is that in many areas this would just be a simple backyard shed or accessory structure meaning there’d be a chance you won’t need a permit to build something similar.” This is a true statement again. People need to know this.

  • sesameB
    May 21, 2012, 2:41 pm

    We have a public health crisis and we have a political crisis, in the future, there is a need for small/tiny houses in the USA, case in point:
    The United States of Incarceration
    by Ryan Sanders|May 15, 2012
    The United States locks up too many people. Globally, the average incarceration rate is 125 prisoners per 100,000 people. The United States arrest rate is 743 per 100,000. This gives the U.S. the highest incarceration rate on Earth. A recent article in The Christian Century says America seems to enjoy locking people in prison. As the piece reveals, the U.S. has only six percent of the world’s population, but it has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

    Senator James Webb (D., Va.) has remarked:
    “Either we have the most evil people on earth living in the U.S. or we are doing something dramatically wrong in how we approach criminal justice.”

    In the 1980’s, the War on Drugs allowed congress to pass laws imposing mandatory minimum sentences for minor offenses. In the years following, many states became “tough-on-crime” with similar sentencing for minor and non-violent offenses. This “tough-on-crime” mentality has led to a spike in incarcerations. In recent years, many people have been locked behind bars—people without violent pasts have been imprisoned and sentenced to longer terms. Locking up too many people for too long ultimately costs the state too much. Some states are starting to realize we are not only wasting taxpayer money—we are not making our cities safer. States simply cannot afford to continue building and staffing prisons. We must change the way we do criminal justice. This country simply cannot afford to spend $200 billion a year to lock up over 2 million people.

    The Christian Century points out, “The current criminal justice system is certainly an absolute scandal—and a catastrophe for millions of Americans, their families and their communities.”

    • May 22, 2012, 10:44 am

      Great comment, excellent points, so true, thank you!

    • Rebecca
      February 18, 2014, 2:48 pm

      Is your “normal” self always so angry? I hope you find a tiny home and relax a bit. I now have 5 glorious acres of forest in NM and am working toward paying it off and building a small home. I love the angled window… what a great view up the mountain from my site.

    • Darcy
      February 18, 2014, 10:43 pm

      Sesame, what and the hell are you talking about. I have read many of your comments in the past, I think you like the sound of your own voice. Please stick to the topic on hand which as a reminder is tiny house talk.

      • February 19, 2014, 7:04 am

        Perhaps the ‘incarceration’ statement went further than you like but I see the ‘lesser side’ of her point. Many communities makes law for various reasons. They claim to protect the majority but many actually are written to bring in money. You may have neighbors or ‘enemies’ that disapprove of what you are doing, so they make a ‘complaint’ and you find yourself feeling ‘harassed’ over something really minor. ‘Fines’ or threat of ‘jail time’ may follow.
        This country has gotten further away from ‘being a good neighbor’ and is less likely to ‘live in peace or harmony’. Such a shame. If we could get back to our Christian beliefs and follow God’s instructions about ‘living in harmony and taking care of this earth’, we would generally be happier folk.
        May each of you find that peace and harmony as you plan/build for you little place in this country. I have some peace just dreaming of it.

  • Adina Hirschmann
    May 22, 2012, 7:20 am

    It would have been a more complete article if floor plans were included, as well as details on the kitchen, bathroom, plumbing and wiring. Also heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Without those basic necessities, it wouldn’t be practical for permanent residency.

  • Brenda
    July 29, 2012, 1:27 am

    I keep coming back to this one again and again. It is so beautiful and sleek. I could probably get away with building this one in my own back yard. You could put an incinerating toilet in it and a tankless water heater. You would have to have sewer lines or gray water collection here in Austin. I also would absolutely love to get the plans for this, should they become available. Alex, is there any chance that you could ask the owner if the plans could be made available? Even for a small fee?

    • Pat
      July 29, 2012, 5:38 pm

      I too am smitten by this design…..so clean and the window idea makes it so inviting! I’d love to put one of these up in my yard.

    • Mia
      April 8, 2014, 2:32 pm

      http://robinfalck.com/nido/ There’s some sort of floor plan at bottom of the page.

      • Alex
        April 8, 2014, 3:27 pm

        Thanks Mia

  • October 17, 2012, 8:53 am

    I too really like the elegance of form here. How about a pretty door opening right onto the side deck?

    As for the angled wall/window. It would likely need to be special siding AND a specially constructed window for it not to leak. For all practical considerations, that is a high pitch roof. Just sayin, rain is persistent…

  • jim
    May 28, 2013, 2:54 pm

    Alex, trying to find others who have interest in or have built Z-Glass House, any info appreciated. Thanks

  • Glema
    February 19, 2014, 7:20 pm

    I too love the simplicity of this little place. In all three aspects, the tiny cabin, the great deck, and the little walkway. Ty for sharing it Alex. I have seen it before but enjoy it none the less each time brings a smile to my face.
    I believe Sesame shared the statement to show the idea of smaller housing “communities” would be less expensive than the current “incarceration” problems made on tax payers. I could be wrong. Anyway, I am glad she felt free to share. Perhaps next time a “general statement would do.” Thanks Sesame for sharing. Feel free to correct me if I’ve understood you incorrectly. We could all use more of God and loving behaviors in our lives. Happy Trails! God bless one and all!

  • brandy
    February 25, 2014, 10:06 pm

    Alex, I really like your ideas. I am looking for something as small as possible with 3 bedrooms. Maybe a 1 1/2 bath. Do you have any ideas?

  • Dean
    April 8, 2014, 12:59 am

    Get real. We need some basic definitions of what makes a home. First, toilet and bathing provisions plus cooking provisions with something arranged for sleeping. Nothing fancy, just basic human needs. Stop wasting web space with anything less.

    • Paul
      April 8, 2014, 1:17 am

      My oh my, petulant Dean. There’s many a person on earth who would consider that a MANSION. Do their definitions count? Or only those from the USofA?

      • Dean
        April 8, 2014, 3:20 am

        Don’t get me wrong, there are many many positive things about going small. From less materials, less energy, less time required to maintain, and, not the least, less money required. However it can not be denied that sanitation and cleanliness has been the single largest factor in improving health and leading to longer more rewarding lives the world over. Small designs that creatively address real human needs, not just backyard toys of the rich in the western world would be a nobler objective.

        • Alex
          April 8, 2014, 7:58 am

          Thanks Dean

  • Paul
    April 8, 2014, 1:26 am

    For those wanting to know, there is no loo, and no cooking facilities.

    And… designed and built in Finland.

    Floor plan can be seen at: http://twistedsifter.com/2013/12/cabin-so-small-doesnt-need-permit-nido-by-robin-falck/

    • April 8, 2014, 6:52 am

      I have lived for almost 30 years now on boats (small boats) and had neither bathroom, nor cooking, facilities on board for much of that time. I am a writer by choice, but a ‘handyman’ for income, and love this little place. I have always been able to leave the boat and walk 1/4 mile to the marina facilities for the head and shower, and using a compact double burner camping stove, with a little experience, will provide healthy, tasty meals. I had no refrigeration for the first 25 years. I did not suffer for lack of these things, but admit, now that I have them all, enjoy them. At 66 years old, I am now moving from boat to trailer. Not a typical House Trailer, or conventional Travel Trailer, but will convert a new enclosed car hauler/work trailer into a Tiny House style. I am not a brilliant man, but hope to be smart enough to select and employ the perfect features I find in Tiny House, designed and constructed by others, to incorporate in my own project. As it progresses, I may submit pictures and text to Tiny House, to get feedback and maybe ideas as to how I might improve marginal ideas or get over a roadblock or two.

      • Alex
        April 8, 2014, 7:57 am

        Hey Ben thanks for sharing. Best of luck with your new project. And definitely let us know how we can help

      • Dean
        April 8, 2014, 10:23 pm

        I too am 66 and for several years lived on a small boat. You had the camp stove for cooking and probably a dish pan for doing the dishes. You used the marina head and probably shower. So that meets the minimum criteria of basic human needs. Boat life and marinas are a life unto themselves and are an appropriate analogy to tiny house concepts. The house in question can only exist appended as a bedroom to another already existing set of facilities. So why not say it. Must be close to facilities or have a separate loo and an outside shower and always go out to eat (which kind of defeats the entire concept of saving money on a home, going out costs much more than just having something at home).

        • Ben 'Hawkeye' Lunt
          April 8, 2014, 11:10 pm

          Of course, living in a Marina costs money, and it does seem to negate the cost savings of living in a tiny house, but it rings out a little different for different people. In my case, by working as the Dockmaster, I not only got free dockage, but collected a weekly salary. I also was right there to do jobs on other peoples boat for cash. This allowed me to spend $4000 on high-end deep cycle AGM batteries, 920 watts of solar panels, an Outback solar charger, an Aims inverter, a $1400 Adler barbour refrigeration system, a hot water heater and fresh water system, a head and holding tank, an autohelm 6000 autopilot, and depth sounder, a Balmar 165 amp alternator and 3 stage regulator, and on and on. These things took a long time and a lot of money, so, for a while, I did what I had to do, just like all the folks building these awesome little Tiny Houses. I am not saying it’s easy to go without certain conveniences, but I will say, not having them doesn’t make life a drag when you’re loving what you’re doing. I have been out here doing this alone, without much money, for a long time, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

        • Dean
          April 8, 2014, 11:58 pm

          Ben, sounds like you dream of going cruising. We went in the 1980s on that small boat, not as well equipped as you are now. It is an adventure of a lifetime. Go for it. You don’t want to be on your death bed and saying “I wish I would have ….”
          Thank you for making my point better than I did. I too support those going for the DIY small or tiny house. We built our own home and it took 20 years. Best thing we ever did other than sailing the South Pacific. I would not change any of it other than go smaller, I don’t think tiny but definitely smaller.

  • Anthony McCarthy
    April 8, 2014, 10:03 am

    Nice, but calling it a home is rather an exaggeration. Maybe for a breathitarian who doesn’t eat or eliminate. But it is suggestive of what might be possible. I’d also hate to be relying on that window in a bad hail storm.

  • Maja Kricker
    April 8, 2014, 10:51 am

    Well, maybe not a home but would make a beautiful art studio. I like the idea of a tiny home with bed, bathroom and cooking facilities, and then a second small building that could be used as work and entertainment space. As a matter of fact, wouldn’t it be cool to have tiny home communities with only very minimal cooking spaces in individual homes and have a central building for community cooking, entertaining, and a few rooms for overnight guests.

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