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Single dad turns shed into cheap/DIY/debt-free tiny home

This is the story of a single father who wanted to simplify his life after divorce by living in a tiny house with zero debt so that he wouldn’t have to stress about money and be able to spend more quality time with his daughter.

So he converted a shed into his very own debt-free tiny home and has been living in it for over three years. He was even featured on HGTV! You can enjoy a video tour of his tiny home plus enjoy an interview with him below thanks to the folks at Our Journey to Bliss.

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Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Family Tiny Home

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

Images © Our Journey to Bliss via YouTube

The kitchen is nicely organized with open-shelving.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

 A miniature refrigerator to keep the groceries fresh.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

Wall storage is a life-saver in tiny spaces.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

The more you can hang, the better!

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

It’s a 12′ x 20′ shed with a bathroom and kitchen.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

The living area doubles as a walk-in closet, and even triples as bicycle storage.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

It all started with a $4,000 shed.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

And he built from there. An additional $6,500 was spent (not including elbow grease) to make it home.

Single Dad Turns a Shed into his Debt-free Tiny Home

Images © Our Journey to Bliss via YouTube

Video Tour and Interview… He Turned a $4,000 Shed Into A Tiny Home


  • 12 x 20
  • Approx 360 sq. ft. including loft space
  • Started with a $4,000 shed
  • Materials to build/convert approximately $6,500
  • Something similar to this can be replicated for $10,000-$12,000 if you do it yourself
  • His motivation was to spend more quality time with daughter, travel together, and be able to pay cash for their home
  • The tiny house features a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and two lofts

Please learn more using the links below. Thanks!


  1. YouTube
  2. Our Journey to Bliss

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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!
{ 23 comments… add one }
  • LaMar Alexander LaMar Alexander
    September 11, 2018, 1:06 pm

    Good job! You can buy a prebuilt shed or build one even cheaper. Make great off grid cabins.

    • Avatar e.a.f.
      January 24, 2020, 8:53 pm

      the pre cut sheds are a great way to start especially if you’re not world’s handiest person or want to get the build done faster. I’ve seen a number of sheds turned into tiny homes and its a great way to go. Get the shed up and have a roof over your head while you finish. Makes sense, spend less money, have more time.

      • Avatar Terrym
        April 28, 2020, 4:33 pm

        Shipping containers are also an excellent way to accomplish an inexpensive tiny house and quickly expandable

  • Avatar Patty
    September 11, 2018, 10:41 pm

    My congratulations to Jim for a well thought-out home. Living mortgage free would be a great deal. It’s nice to see someone changing their lifestyle to be better. I hope Jim & his daughter have some memory making times together. Blessings!

  • Avatar Alison
    September 12, 2018, 6:38 pm

    I loved the interview and tour. And I am delighted by this man’s joy and enthusiasm. His tiny house has virtually no “style,” but it is just right for him. It is very encouraging–people who have only basic carpentry skills and not much cash can create a really liveable space. You could always fancy it up later, if you’re into that.

  • Avatar Dave
    September 19, 2018, 6:10 pm

    Looks great Dad! Wonderful job teaching your daughter that material things are not what life is about.

  • Avatar Elva
    September 19, 2018, 8:28 pm

    I would love a basic home to get started. Something like this would be ideal.

  • Avatar Dominick
    November 6, 2018, 4:51 pm

    Nice layout, But the place needs WINDOWS ! Badly.. that’s all

  • Avatar Kurt
    December 17, 2018, 3:14 am

    Sure beats living in a tent.

  • Avatar Angela
    February 26, 2019, 7:47 pm

    Exactly the kind of thing people want to see. You can tell from the comments it’s a little rough for some, some would want more windows, as for me, I’d need a Murphy bed or convertible sofa rather than a sleeping loft. But it’s doable. You have a sense of where to start. You have the basics, and you can put in your own details!

  • Avatar JC
    June 21, 2020, 12:58 pm

    Nothing like being debt free, the best thing I have ever done for myself.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 23, 2020, 6:29 am

      That’s so awesome JC! Congratulations!

  • Avatar David Michael
    June 21, 2020, 1:50 pm

    Great tiny house, especially for the cost! And, allowing you to spend more time with your daughter. I’d also miss the lack of washer and dryer…or a washer and dry clothes on a line. The big problem nationwide is that the states and counties have not caught up with the Tiny House Movement. I suspect with a huge increase in homeless over the next few years, that the subject of housing is going to change big time. Government needs to change to the realities of today’s living.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 23, 2020, 6:28 am

      Totally agree, David.

    • Avatar Lantz
      June 29, 2020, 4:30 am

      In 1950 the average size home was 750 sq.ft. A 1500 sf home was huge. Families were larger back then, yet they all managed. The McMansions started showing up in the 70s/80s. So today you live your whole life on average buying 3 homes, the starter, the family and the dream home. On average refinancing every 7-10 years, paying off the majority of interest in the first half of a 30 year loan, so that you pay more interest then principle on all these loans.

      I’m now 60 and have asked my son, his wife and child to take over the house because I’m sick of stuff and would like to put a tiny house on our 2 acres. Then I could spend my retirement playing with my grandson and traveling with my wife.

  • Avatar David Harriman
    June 21, 2020, 3:08 pm

    Typical bloke space; a bike hanging up with his shirts which to my mind is both practical and space-saving! I love it, and would do the same with my bike if I could get away with it.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 23, 2020, 6:21 am

      Definitely creative haha

  • Avatar Melissa
    June 23, 2020, 3:27 am

    I have been contemplating this journey myself. I have taken many screenshots of different types of sheds. I love the idea!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 23, 2020, 6:07 am

      Me too! Very clever.

  • Avatar peter t petrali
    June 23, 2020, 3:58 am

    Hi, Great video. My question is always where can you locate these things?
    Zoning? Size limitations?

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee
      June 23, 2020, 6:07 am

      Hi Peter — that’s a great question, but quite complicated. You would have to ask our local town offices what is permitted where you live. The more rural you are, the better chances this would be allowed.

    • Avatar Lantz
      June 29, 2020, 4:39 am

      Many of the counties are now allowing “granny or mother-in-law” cottages as second dwellings on properties. Great for retired family members and when they pass away you have yourself a rental or airBnB.

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

        Yes our town just approved that, in fact!

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