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She Built A Tiny House To Be Mortgage-Free

At 41, Ingrid was working her life away to pay for a mortgage she could hardly afford, and ended up moving in with her mom. But she kept seeing tiny houses and one day decided she’d build her very own — with absolutely no construction experience!

Determined and awesome, she succeeded! Even when suppliers would question her ability to install or build things herself, she did the entire thing in two years by herself, with just a bit of help from friends with some serious heavy lifting. She learned from YouTube and good ole trial-and-error. Just goes to show you that you shouldn’t let others put limits on you.

She shared pictures with us of her DIY build, named “Tiny Tootz” (pronounced like “tootsie”), and talked more about her experience building and going tiny below. Be sure to read her story! Follow her on Facebook here.

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Ingrid Didn’t Let Negativity Stop Her From Building Her Tiny

Here’s an in-progress picture.

I love the barn red with white trim!

Ingrid and her pups on the front step.

Her now-partner Matt helped her build this great deck.

What a great way to expand her living space.

Here’s her storage couch with tons of throw pillows.

Stairs take her up to her loft bedroom.

The whole home has awesome ranch-style decor.

Gorgeous beadboard inlays on the cabinets.

Washer/dryer unit and pull-out pantry.

Here’s her cozy loft bedroom.

A great shower to fit her needs.

While she started with this composting toilet pictured, she just upgraded!

Ingrid and Tiny Tootz:

Hi. I’m from West Australia. Six years ago I was crippled in debt by my mortgage, forced to work away in the mines to pay for a house I didn’t really want, because I thought I was supposed to.

Tiny houses kept showing up and one day I just decided “That’s me! I’m going to build myself a tiny house! A year later the trailer arrived and I started to build “tiny tootz” (pronounced like tootsie in the the movie).

I was single at the time 41yrs old and living in a rental with my mother after selling my 4/2 house. I literally borrowed tools, bought some tools, watched endless you tube vids on how to diy, read books of inspiration and just started ‘going for it’.

The process was longer than I expected (I had to get really creative with just 1 pair of hands doing the work) and double the budget I was hoping for, but that’s partly because of where I live and a lot to do with my taste for “little luxuries”….lol.

Two years later with just my two hands, two plastic trestles tables and a really good ladder, I was moving in!

It was and still is by far the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and my confidence in my abilities to achieve my dreams is unwavering because of it. A year after moving in I added the outdoor patio/deck which is free-standing and the deck is built in an old caravan chassis… all removable! I’m still making changes/improvements as I go, such as bench top dishwasher, natures head toilet, mini split etc…. but despite that, there isn’t a day go by that I’m not extremely proud and grateful for my gorgeous little piece of home!

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Our big thanks to Ingrid for sharing! πŸ™

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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 three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • jerry dycus
    December 24, 2020, 8:28 am

    Very nice job Ingrid as good as a pro. I really liked your storage bed.
    I’d suggest people volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, etc to learn basic skills in the US.
    Then design your own or buy plans with a simple flattish single plane roof and downstairs sleeping as 90% of people stop using their loft and sleep on the couch, etc instead. I did mine in $4k of new materials and 2 days to an enclosed shell..
    And a lower building is much easier, cheaper to build and tow if planning on moving it far or much.
    In building TH as in life, Keep it simple.

    • Liz
      February 19, 2023, 11:41 pm

      What a stellar idea to be involved with building a Home for Humanity! A great learning experience you can’t get in a book or from someone simply telling you how and what to do. A smart man you are!!!

  • Janet
    December 24, 2020, 2:19 pm

    Great job, Ingrid! I love the kitchen cabinets and the deck is a great addition. Way to take control of your finances and live the life you want.

  • desiree
    December 24, 2020, 6:54 pm

    yur a jack of all trades !!!!!
    love..love yur tiny home !!!

    • Liz
      February 19, 2023, 11:37 pm

      It’s Your, not yur. Close but no bananas.

  • Theresa Gayner
    December 24, 2020, 8:04 pm

    Super cute! I love all the personal touches, especially the railing for the loft bedroom. Nicely done!

  • Karen Anderson
    December 24, 2020, 11:04 pm

    I wish I could afford a tiny house I would love to have my own tiny house

  • John P Miller
    December 25, 2020, 6:57 am

    I am considering building a 640 ft square metal container home on 1.25 acres of property i own 18 miles north of downtown Tucson AZ. I would appreciate thots about how to to apply for building permits from Pinal County . Thanks, jpm

  • Amanda
    December 25, 2020, 12:11 pm

    Ingrid, you did a wonderful job! I’m so happy for you! Your home is beautiful, as well as truly your own. You are one of the whose home I’ve seen who had the sense to use 4 or 4+ inch-plus foam for your couch! Much more comfortable and supportive. Plus the foam will last longer.
    Love that your couch doubles as a window seat: I’m a lifetime fan.
    Ingrid and Matt, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas in this lovely home and stellar deck!
    Natalie-Merry Christmas to you and your family! πŸŽ„Thanks for showing us Ingrid’s wonderful home-and achievement!πŸŽ€πŸŽ

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 28, 2020, 9:39 am

      Thank you Amanda! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! And will have a happy New Year!

  • Gemma
    December 25, 2020, 1:01 pm

    This us great. But what land is the tiny home on? I thought no cities let you build as primary building on a site, so is it built on a shared site?

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 28, 2020, 9:39 am

      I believe it’s on her mom’s land right now.

      • Ingrid
        December 29, 2020, 3:23 am

        Hi. Thank you for such wonderful comments…. we are currently leasing 5 acres. My mum lives in the main house and TT is at the other end close to the horse stables. Our little paradise!

  • Cynthia K Quaile
    December 26, 2020, 1:10 pm

    I love what you have done. Amazingly beautiful. Your decorating ideas are really pretty. I am a country girl at heart. My Dad was a carpenter and I helped build our upstairs bedrooms.There were ten children in the family. So we had to do things on a budget. I applaud you for your hard work and all the strength it took to build your own home. Good luck in the coming years.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 28, 2020, 9:29 am

      Wow that’s amazing! 10 kids!

  • Chanel
    December 27, 2020, 11:13 am

    The contributor did a great job writing this. I really enjoyed the upbeat read. I loved the comment ” Because she is determined and Awesome!” πŸ˜„

    • Natalie C. McKee
      December 28, 2020, 9:22 am

      Thank you! She is awesome!

      • Ingrid
        December 29, 2020, 3:29 am

        Thank you Natalie. This was a great representation! And I loved your enthusiasm in it!

  • Ingrid
    December 29, 2020, 3:16 am

    Lol….so funny you say that, it was my old hat rack which I just had to re-purpose

  • Amanda
    December 29, 2020, 6:48 am

    Ingrid, it sounds like a paradise indeed. Best wishes for the new year!

  • Kristie
    January 7, 2021, 1:57 pm

    Awesome!!! Woman after my own heat with the built in wine storage!!!! Great Job- very inspiring.

  • Donna Rae
    January 7, 2021, 3:42 pm

    This is fabulous! Great finishes, attention to finishing details and loads of counter in the kitchen. Plenty of storage and that added deck makes a huge difference! Well done and inspirational! Just one change…I’d want to install a regular toilet so it was easy to keep really clean. Just a personal preference.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      January 11, 2021, 5:07 pm

      Makes perfect sense!

    • Donna Rae
      March 23, 2022, 5:00 pm

      Having seen this post again, I wanted to say how wonderful it is to see the twin bed with storage drawers underneath being used as the sofa! Not only is the storage great but the twin mattress would be much more comfortable to sit on than some of the too-thin pads on built-in sofas keep seeing. A daybed with plenty of pillows to lean against and extra sleeping space without the pillows. Bravo!

    January 7, 2021, 3:49 pm

    Hi, I love what you’ve done. I’m planning my own tiny build. I have a trailer but I’m looking for casement windows like yours. Are you in Australia? I can’t start framing till I get my windows… where did you find them?

  • Kathy
    February 25, 2021, 6:08 pm

    Congratulations on both your brilliant decision to let go of β€œwhat you thought you were supposed to do”, and your superb building and planning skills for this great tiny house!! I have been looking at tiny houses for about 7 years now, and this is as professional as any I have seen. Really really great house!

  • DH
    February 23, 2023, 6:31 pm

    Looks good with the exception of the stairs to the loft. The stairs need another guard rail to prevent someone from falling from the steps. This is not safe and violates many building codes.

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