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Shana, Her Two Dogs & ZERO Debt in 103 Sq Feet


How would it feel to have all your credit cards, student loans AND home paid off? Ask Shana! She sold her car and got a second job so she could make her debt-free tiny house life a reality. Now she and her two dogs live happily in a Tiny House Community in Durango, Colorado.

She had her home built by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, and spent $50,000 on the build. While the 103.5 square-foot space is tight, it has everything she wanted including hidden appliances, a wood-burning stove, and a custom couch for her and her pups. Allison at Tiny Home Tours did a fantastic video tour with Shana, so be sure to check that out!

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She Sold Her Car & Has Zero Debt in Her Micro Tiny House!

She says her home was designed as much for dogs as for herself.

She designed the home while teaching in Vienna.

The home cost her about $50,000 to have built.

There’s a convection oven and fridge hiding under that counter!

Video: Her 103 SqFt Dream Tiny House – Living Debt-Free

Highlights:

  • 103.5 square feet
  • Tiny wood stove
  • Mini-split
  • Storage couch custom-made to her size
  • Insulated doggie door
  • Designed & built by Rocky Mountain Tiny Homes
  • Apartment-size fridge/freezer behind cabinet door
  • Hidden convection oven
  • Hanging closet and shoe storage
  • Tankless hot water heater
  • Flush toilet
  • Shower stall

Learn more

Our big thanks to Allison and the Tiny Home Tours YouTube Channel for sharing!🙏🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Nita Hiltner
    June 26, 2020, 1:11 pm

    I could never live in such a small space. Ugh.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 27, 2020, 12:55 pm

      It’s definitely on the tinier side of things, no doubt!

  • Avatar Restless_n_MA
    June 26, 2020, 1:37 pm

    Adorable! Very compact, but efficient.

  • Avatar BrownLuster
    June 26, 2020, 2:58 pm

    This tiny home has everything necessary to live peacefully & comfortably even with Shana’s two cute doggies! Good job designing your mortgage free tiny HOME Shana! Personally, I cant climb a ladder to a loft however, I really like how comfortable the bedroom loft looks. I was really surprised that a queen- sized mattress could fit w/room to spare. I also LOVE the closet space, storage sofa and the Berkey (I need one in my life right now but they are sold out… thanks to the damn Ronavirus ugh). Great job Shana!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 27, 2020, 12:54 pm

      Haha COVID-19 is making so many interesting things sell out! I can’t find any hose splitters…

      • Avatar Denise
        June 29, 2020, 1:31 am

        Natalie, I am working to finish the interior of my tiny house but the pine planks I need have been out of stock for three months. The store said they were not getting deliveries because of the Coronavirus…sigh….

        • Avatar Alex
          June 29, 2020, 8:23 am

          So sorry to hear that, Denise. You know, it might be worth it to dig through several marketplaces out there and see if you can find someone who’s selling any spare/over-stock pine planks. Just do a search around your local Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, etc., and you may get lucky and find someone who’s sitting on some of it and you may even save some money too. I don’t know, may not work, but maybe it’s a worth a try?

        • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
          June 29, 2020, 1:12 pm

          Agh that’s such a huge pain!

  • Avatar Hudson
    June 26, 2020, 9:26 pm

    So the dogs go out the double doggie door and roam free (or just on the porch)? Love all the storage in such a small house.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 27, 2020, 12:52 pm

      Hmm good question! I didn’t see an answer.

  • Avatar jerry dycus
    June 27, 2020, 5:21 am

    She got ripped off. Why do people pay such stupidly high prices? I can have a 1500sq’ home built for less with solar.
    If you are going to get a TH I suggest you learn costs, etc and shop better or better learn how to build your own.
    Not a chance this should cost over $25k, And I built my 10×16 not on a trailer, a far better size you can use standard furniture in for just $4k including a helper in 3 days and I’m 75% handicapped.

    • Avatar Tom
      June 27, 2020, 8:24 am

      There is easily 25k in materials there, so the labor would match that. Also it is not clear if it includes septic, well, sewer, and land.

      • Avatar James D.
        June 27, 2020, 2:38 pm

        Yes, typically the labor cost as much or more than the materials for a commercial build and that’s how most people will do it because not everyone can or even wants to build their own. Especially, if they want to be able to do things like get it insured, meet code if it needs to be IRC on a foundation, need it built within a strict time frame or be homeless if it takes too long, want it to be built to a level only a experienced craftsman can achieve, have no means of doing a DIY, want a home that’s beyond their means to build themselves, among other reasons people go with commercial builders…

        Some materials will also cost more than others, like custom tripled pane windows can cost thousands each vs Low-E single pane windows that you can do the whole house for less than a thousand but building to extreme climates and/or high energy efficiency means that higher cost materials are often what’s required…

        While you will not always be able to get away with avoiding having either a foundation or a trailer as there are many situations where they become required by the local authorities.

        There are places where this is less of a issue but across the nation all situations have to be taken into account when comparing…

        Older people and people with physical limitations it’s also generally going to be a no go to DIY as it will either be too dangerous or they simply can’t do the work themselves no matter how much they may want to… So have to keep in mind what’s actually practical for most people… 25% enabled is more than some people have or will necessarily want to push… There are certainly lots of options but that doesn’t mean everyone can do it the same way.

        Besides, there’s lots that are a lot more costly for what you get… Like an Airstream Basecamp is around $42,000 but it can’t handle winters and is only meant for recreational usage, with less usable space than this home…

        While this home can be moved anywhere in the country but 10′ x 16′ DIY homes are pretty much limited to the local area unless you break them down and ship them in pieces at fairly high cost and time it’ll take… Say, someone is living in a place where there can be a forest fire… This home can be quickly moved to safety but a 10′ x 16′ home may need to be abandoned to the fire… among many other examples that costs have more meaning than just whether it’s livable…

        There are always Trade Off and reasons people do it differently from each other…

        • Avatar Debbie
          June 28, 2020, 2:43 pm

          One would have to be a nudist to live in that. — no place to put clothes!!!

        • Avatar James D.
          July 1, 2020, 11:59 pm

          @Debbie – Don’t be silly, it has a hanging closet and other storage spaces… People manage with less van dwelling and other examples of people living in even smaller spaces…

  • Avatar Maria Kentala
    June 27, 2020, 6:58 am

    LOVE IT! I want one but without the wood stove. Perfect size for me.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 27, 2020, 12:50 pm

      Definitely a great size for one person (and some pups!)

  • Avatar Betty Whitehead
    June 27, 2020, 10:27 am

    Absolutely love your tiny house. I am 72 and can imagine myself living in this space. My only thing is I would need a bedroom downstairs but would still love a loft bedroom for visitors. Love love you home.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 27, 2020, 12:47 pm

      So glad you loved it!

  • Avatar Theresa
    June 27, 2020, 7:30 pm

    Would you mind telling what other 3 places were in the running? I too am thinking of tiny house living, but do not love the heat

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 29, 2020, 1:20 pm

      I wish I knew! She didn’t mention and isn’t on social media to contact.

  • Avatar ALLISON CLARK
    June 27, 2020, 10:49 pm

    She is not totally free of costs because someone has to pay for the cost of the space the “tiny home” sits on. The owner can raise the rent at their own discretion .

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 29, 2020, 1:19 pm

      Of course not. No one is free of costs, but she is free of debt (as in student loans, mortgage, car payments, credit card debt). We all have to pay for food and most need to pay electricity.

  • Avatar BrownLuster
    June 28, 2020, 1:05 am

    WOW NATALIE.

    Hose splitters…sold out huh?!?
    Interesting indeed.

    How do hose splitters combat the spread or protect anyone from corona-19? You would think hardware shops, lawn & garden shops or big box stores everywhere would have hose splitters abound but hey…we here in Michigan were forbidden to buy paint for 2 months during our “Stay Home, Stay Safe” emergency order so go figure. Lol!!😏

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 29, 2020, 1:18 pm

      Such an odd thing, indeed! I guess more people are gardening due to the food shortage? I went to Lowes, Home Depot and Aubuchon. Not a single one in stock!

      • Avatar BJA
        July 24, 2020, 1:24 am

        Walmart had some, hose splitters)and went on clearance too. Dont know about now . But a few weeks ago.
        I love a tiny stove. I was just pricing them on Tiny Wood Stoves. That stove heat comes in electric, propane, gas and wood.
        It says that she had her couch made custom, So a little more to cost. That front entry, more. That farm sink, more. It is a lovely home.

        • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
          July 24, 2020, 3:35 pm

          I finally found one at Home Depot about a week ago. Woohoo! And yes those Tiny Wood Stoves are super neat.

  • Avatar Sophia
    June 29, 2020, 3:33 pm

    Love it and her style! And she’s very neat and clean. I didn’t catch where she is living, did anyone hear that?

  • Avatar Sophia
    June 29, 2020, 3:35 pm

    Never mind, brain fog! Just saw it written (Durango)

  • June 29, 2020, 3:46 pm

    Nice job!

  • Avatar Elizabeth Larey
    July 6, 2020, 5:33 pm

    Congratulations!!! NO debt is an awesome feeling! It’s darling, cute front porch and the loft looks super cozy!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      July 9, 2020, 12:45 pm

      I’m pretty jealous!

  • Avatar James D.
    July 8, 2020, 9:43 pm

    A bit of a reality check on costs is houses are not all equal and it’s the details of what’s put into them that really determines the costs.

    Things like build quality, craftsmanship, material choices, engineering, customization, technology, advance building options, lifestyles and needs that have to be met, etc. all can significantly effect the price of any home, no matter its size.

    Homes are also not all equal, lower cost can mean things like not being able to handle extreme climates and weather as well, requiring more maintenance and repairs, being less comfortable and functional, compromising on having needs met and being able to live the life you want, etc.

    Understand, this was built by a custom builder and custom building is one of the more expensive ways to choose to build but it allows the owner to have it optimized to their needs and have more control over what they end up with and what specifically they are paying for in the end.

    In the RV industry, you typically won’t see tiny house build quality features like well insulated walls that are over 3 inches thick in anything under $100K and they can go up as high as over $3 million! … Most of the time you’re just paying for how the RV looks and what appliances are included with an RV.

    For example, an Airstream Basecamp is just a small 16′ camper but it’s priced around $42K and can’t be used in extreme climates and weather, is just a standard model and isn’t customizable, has much less total space than this home, and will eventually require much more maintenance and repairs to keep it going than this home.

    In terms of labor, a typical RV usually requires less than 100 work hours to build, a Air Stream, with all the detailing, making use of every square inch of space, etc. usually takes over 200 work hours but your typical tiny house will be over 800 work hours to well over a 1000 work hours, especially for anything custom built and that is going to be reflected in the pricing… and yet most tiny houses are lower priced than Airstreams…

    Yes, there are cheaper tiny homes but also reasons why they’re cheaper… Like not being custom built, being more minimally built, fewer options and features, etc.

    Like an RJO from Incredible Tiny Homes can start at just $20K but it’s a more minimal build design that uses less materials, requires less labor to build than their higher priced homes, starts off with standard design that isn’t custom, and starts with fewer and more basic standard features, like no AC, stairs, etc. to help give it that lower starting price.

    There are always trade offs, every choice has a consequence and a cost but also different benefits that different people will prioritize differently…

    Besides, none of that prevented her from becoming debt free and getting what she wanted out of it… So it still worked out for her and that’s what ultimately matters…

  • Avatar Cherylann
    July 19, 2020, 4:42 am

    What are the dimensions of the house including the front porch?

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      July 20, 2020, 9:47 am

      Without it it’s 8.5 ft by 12 feet long. Not sure about the deck.

  • Avatar Maria Kentala
    September 16, 2020, 7:42 am

    I would like to know how long and wide each area is. How big are the closets? How long and wide is the bathroom? How long and wide is the kitchen? How long and wide is the living area? So many Tiny Houses don’t give you this information. I like to know how much space I have to work with.

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