Most tiny house builders have simplicity in mind but few take it to the lengths that Jenine Alexander did when she built her 128 square foot home in 2009. Using Craigslist to gather building materials, Jenine built a beautiful, cozy home for less than $3,500!
After three years of traveling on her bike, Jenine dreamed of having a place to call her own. To avoid sky-high real estate and land prices, she rolled up her sleeves and got online. Jenine built herself a cozy home with very little impact on her wallet or the environment by using determination, creativity, and a Craigslist account.
Yup, Craigslist. Other than screws, hinges and other fasteners, all materials she found free or cheap, used or salvaged, primarily through Craigslist.
Unable to find used plywood for sale, Jenine built her house frame out of fir she salvaged from an old chicken coop. Quaint double-pane windows, found used, let California sunlight stream into her charming home. Refrigerator insulation, salvaged via Craigslist, keeps the house warm. The beams in the house’s ceiling she picked up from a man who, once he heard about the project, offered her flooring as well.
The story of how she built her tiny house for only $3,500 (seriously)
Jenine enthuses about waking up in a house she’s built with her own two hands.
Every nook and cranny in this DIY tiny house has a story for her – where she got the materials, the people she met along the way, how her plans changed as she built and what she hopes to improve upon in the future.
Picking up pieces here and there, choosing used and salvaged over new, Jenine built a cozy home with simple luxuries for less than the average American spends each year on mortgage payments alone. Her tiny house boasts granite countertops; a wide wall of spices in labeled glass jars; a stove and baking oven; a roof that pops up like a big skylight; and a loft with lots of possibilities.
Though not the fanciest of tiny houses, Jenine’s creation feels both comfortable and functional on the inside. The house has comfortably fit nine people, Jenine says, and has two sleeping spaces.
Like most tiny houses made from scratch, Jenine’s home can be altered and designed further. She hopes to tuck mesh racks between the rafters so she can dry her own food and herbs. She wants to make the roof easy to prop open so on warm days she can let the sunlight fully into her home.
Jenine encourages anyone interested to take on building a tiny house, regardless of their budget or construction experience. Diving in is the first step; from there, just stay creative and flexible. All you need is confidence and Craigslist.
Video Tour of Jenine Alexander’s DIY $3500 Tiny House
This video is available thanks to Kirsten Dirksen and Nicolas Boullosa of Faircompanies and the Kirsten Dirksen YouTube Channel.
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Written by Newt Stremple for Tiny House Talk