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Single Mom’s Big Life in a Tampa, FL Tiny Home

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Meet Alexis, and her 11-month-old daughter Nalani. Alexis bought her amazing tiny house from Cornerstone Tiny Homes, and it has everything she wanted including a built-in bookshelf for all her books and an under-the-stairs reading nook.

She found a tiny home community in Florida to park her little house and it costs just $450/month rather than the $750 she had previously been paying in rent (while living with a roommate!). Now she has a place of her own designed to meet all her needs (wait until you see the kitchen sink!) that she can share with her adorable daughter. She wants other single moms to know this a dream they can achieve!

We interviewed her so be sure to read the Q&A after the photo tour, and follow Alexis on Instagram for updates!

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Single Mom’s Tiny House With A Book Collection

This is Alexis’ living room complete with adorable pictures of her daughter hanging overhead.

Here you can see the amazing built-in bookshelf to house all her favorite books!

Here’s her kitchen with all full-sized appliances and plenty of counter space.

Just look at those butcher block counter tops! So gorgeous.

The bathroom/laundry room is just beyond the kitchen. Love the rafters here!

And I am super jealous of this copper sink! Alexis opted to go without a dishwasher and got this instead. Win!

Under the stairs you catch a glimpse of Alexis’ special reading nook. The whole tiny house design was based on it!

Here’s her beautiful bathroom with another great sink!

And her washer/dryer combo. How cool is she for cloth-diapering in a tiny house!?

And up here is her bedroom loft. She’s currently sleeping downstairs until it’s baby-proofed.

What a happy family, and happy life. Scroll to read our Q&A with Alexis!

Alexis Says Single Moms Can Totally Live Tiny!

What are your name(s)?

Alexis (Mom) & Nalini (11 months)

How many people (and animals) will are living in your tiny house?

Just me, my daughter and our dog Artemis

Where do you live?

In a tiny house community in Florida near Tampa

Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

I decided to go tiny because I was tired of paying high rent honestly. I figured I have been living in student housing and dorms for the past few years living in a tiny house really wouldn’t be that different in terms of space. By living tiny I’m hoping to just live a simpler life and find happiness! My goals are to live off the land, eventually raise some chicken and really just find a sort of independence that’s hard to find living in an apartment or living in a city or suburb.

How did you first learn about tiny life?

I actually first learned about it through the shows on HGTV. I remember watching it with my mom and thinking “why would anyone willingly choose to live that tiny?” Then fast forward a few years I’m scrolling through Facebook and see one of those “15 things on Amazon you need to buy” posts and saw a tiny house on there, starting doing serious research into them and decided “Hey, I can do this!”

How long did it take to finish your tiny home?

About 5 months

How did you build your tiny house? Did you have any help? Did you do it yourselves?

So I definitely had a builder! It was just me at the time, no space to build, no knowledge on how to build and I needed something within a few months since my lease was ending on my apartment.

Are you comfortable sharing how much you spent on your tiny home? What are utilities/costs like month to month in comparison to your former life?

So in total including tax it came up to just about $75,000 which seems like a lot but I plan on living in this thing for at least another 5-7 years. I am paying so much less in monthly costs, I only pay $450/month and that includes electricity, water and sewage. Whereas before I was paying about $750 a month in rent, another $50 in electricity and then another $20 in sewage and water and this was with a roommate.

How did you find a place to park and live in your tiny house?

So I got super lucky I googled tiny house places to park near Tampa and I found out that just south of Tampa a woman was starting a Tiny home community. So, before I even contacted the builder I called her and she told me her plan and it was going to coincide roughly with when my house would be done so it all worked out. Although I did live on a working horse farm for the first 6 months.

Before going tiny, what was life like?

Before going tiny my life was kind of in a weird spot. My last semester of undergrad my brother was killed and then a year later in my first semester of graduate school my mother died so my life was going through all these changes it was nice to have this to look forward too. I was really materialistic person, and a low-key hoarder. I ended up purging basically all of my possessions because once you lose people so close to you, you realize just how short life is and how truly unimportant material things are.

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny?

My life is just so much simpler! I look around my house and everything in it brings me joy! Because truly everything in here has survived like 3 different rounds of purging so it’s all stuff that either essential to me or stuff that truly makes me happy! It also enabled me to really be conscientious of my carbon footprint and how much trash and waste I am creating. Plus after going tiny I found out I was pregnant so it really is just great to share this space that I designed with my daughter (and it really helps that there isn’t any place in the house that she can go that I can’t see her).

What about some challenges?

So even though tiny houses are built like normal homes there’s just small things you have to get used to or learn. Like having a dehumidifier is super important to avoid mold, remembering to turn on the vent hood and maybe open up some windows when you’re cooking just small things like that. I think the biggest challenge is finding parking.

What makes your tiny house special?

Simply put it’s special to me because it’s mine. While I didn’t build it myself I designed it to perfectly suit my own needs not anyone else’s. This is my dream house come to life and I feel so grateful that I get to live in it! I also have a huge bookshelf that pretty much takes up half of a whole wall because I love books so much. I haven’t seen many other tiny houses with good book storing options.

What is your favorite part of your tiny home?

My favorite part would HAVE to be my reading nook. I am a huge bibliophile! Reading is my passion! It’s my first love! So, I had the builders carve out a little nook under the stairs where I can curl up and read and just escape into my books. My tiny house design actually started with this feature and everything else was built around it

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny?

First, don’t let people convince you that you can’t raise a baby in a tiny house. I see a lot of young people who want to go tiny and this is always a concern. It can be done!

Second, if you can, build a deck and have outdoor space it really makes tiny living easier and I so wish I had created one before.

Lastly, take notice of where you plug things in (sounds weird I know) but you don’t want to build your house, go to sit and relax and realize that the closest plug is 10 ft. away from where you put the couch

Do you have a website, blog, or social media page where we can follow along?

Yes! I have an Instagram page @thistinyjourney to share about living tiny with a baby and to show other single moms that “Hey, you can do this!” This can be a great alternative to places with high rent.

Learn More:

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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.
{ 30 comments… add one }
  • jerry dycus
    April 20, 2020, 6:59 am

    Great job Alexis.
    Just wanted to mention there is a lot of cheap land like lots with Mobile homes in bad shape or removed or torn down house lots to avoid impact fees around Tampa and likely to find one under $20k soon if not now.
    Then set up with solar, $2k, with both paid off in 4 yrs at $450/month, then near free living like I do in Riverview.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 20, 2020, 2:05 pm

      Great idea!

  • Anna Wendt
    April 20, 2020, 7:13 pm

    What a smart, young lady! I wish I had this much knowledge when I was her age!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 21, 2020, 2:24 pm

      Me too!

  • Kat
    April 20, 2020, 8:20 pm

    Truly inspiring!

  • Melissa Robinson
    April 20, 2020, 8:24 pm

    I definitely would love to get in touch with Alexis! My youngest child, my son Jake, will be attending the University of South Florida this fall. I used to live in Tampa (back in the mid-1990’s) while attending the University of Tampa so I’ve thought about moving back to the Tampa area when Jake moves for college. I’ve been looking for tiny house villages in the Tampa area but I’m not interested in buying an Escape so I don’t think that TH Village is an option since you can only park an Escape model there. Her TH Village sounds perfect to me! Great job Alexis and congratulations on designing a beautiful home for you & your baby!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 21, 2020, 2:24 pm

      Hi Melissa! You could try to DM her on Instagram 🙂 Maybe she would share where she is!

    • Kim Schult
      April 24, 2020, 8:14 am

      I know that there’s a tiny house community just south of Tampa called Circle Pond Community. She may be living there.

  • sheebe
    April 21, 2020, 12:15 pm

    This is real nice. Clean but inviting as it shows it has loving care. Beautiful lady and daughter. The tiny house looks so neat and yet a personality. I truly love this tiny home. Inside and outside. Best wishes to you, your daughter and the dog. I hope I see your progress in time.

  • BrownLuster
    April 30, 2020, 12:48 am

    Wow!! This is a beautiful Tiny HOME on Wheels with great features and lots of love to boot! The gorgeous blue exterior, the dark floors and wood accents, full sized stove, spacious loft/sleeping area, that copper sink and most importantly, the beautiful pics of of Alexis’ beautiful daughter flanking the built-in bookcase. This tiny home has everything… especially love.

    I used to NOT be a fan of lofts b/c most of the ones I saw had a ladder to access it. However, more and more tiny homes are moving toward storage or nook steps and these steps are very well done. Due to an injury that prevents me from climbing a ladder and stairs w/out sturdy handrails, having a loft in my future tiny home plans was not a consideration, however these full stair options with handrails have inspired me to seriously consider it!

    Alexis, Thank You for giving us a tour of your beautiful tiny home on wheels as well as your inspiring story. It was such a pleasure for you to introduce us to your beautiful daughter, cute puppy and wonderful tiny home!

    • BrownLuster
      April 30, 2020, 12:55 am

      and I forgot to mention how I am stanning ur wood trimmed, chalkboard painted barn door to the bathroom/laundry. Guuuurl!😍😘

  • Janne
    April 30, 2020, 9:31 am

    I LOVE Alexis’ attitude! Ownership of your life, which she has truly done, gives you happiness and joy. In spite of all those (people and possessions) she has lost/downsized recently, she has focused on what can be and she is conquering the obstacles. (If it we’re me, I might have stayed on the horse farm, though!).

    Good for you Alexis. I hope you enjoy this lifestyle for a lot more than 5-7 years. I’ve had the McMansion and it is NOT what it’s cracked up to be! Keep reading and help your precious little one learn to love it too! You have chosen wisely!!!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 30, 2020, 2:19 pm

      Totally agree!

    June 10, 2020, 5:14 pm

    I too love the copper sinks. I like many of the floor plans but the problem with parking in a tiny house community is now there are all the rules (ie: number of pets and what kind, what you can put in your yard, colors, outdoor lighting, sheds, etc.) That takes so much of our freedom away. I understand in order to get hook ups and such this helps. Also, at least everywhere else, the parking fees are very high and the rates raise at least 5% every single year. Selling your unit can be restricted by the association also. This is a very cute layout notwithstanding. The baby is adorable!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 11, 2020, 2:27 pm

      Ya it’s definitely tricky once you live in a community…

  • Cheryl Mellblom
    June 11, 2020, 10:54 am

    What a lovely home you have. I appreciate that it looks like a home with toys around and a cereal box on the counter rather than some which are sterile and daily life hidden away while the photos are being taken. You have a great attitude and I wish you and that gorgeous daughter well.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      June 11, 2020, 2:25 pm

      I love that too. Makes me feel better about my housekeeping with toddlers, ha!

    July 3, 2020, 3:56 pm

    Looks great, love the copper sink.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      July 9, 2020, 12:57 pm

      I’m all about copper sinks!

  • Nina
    July 28, 2020, 10:00 pm

    Love what you have done Alexis, your spirit and love of your daughter. What you have done with your loe of books – you reading nook and your living room book case, really love this. Would you share the name of your Tiny home builder? I’d like to contact him and start on my own build.
    Thank you so much for sharing this very unique reflection of you – your house supports who you are.

  • Nina
    July 28, 2020, 10:03 pm

    Great personal expression, Alexis! Way to go! What a great example you are to all of us…you are very admirable, creative and thank you for being so honest and inspiring about the number of levels really involved in paring down things in our lives. Getting ready to design our Tiny and chose a builder. Would very much appreciate your sharing the name of your builder, if they /he continues in building Tiny’s. I love how your unique self is honored in the design…particularly the book shelves behind the couch. We have BOOKS and will part with only those we care not to or can no longer read 9A OUR EYES

  • Mary A Jarzembowski
    October 22, 2020, 3:55 pm

    I must say the daughter seems very young, how do you negotiate that in a tiny home with a loft where they are sleeping. Seems dangerous when a youngster starts walking and can fall from a loft at night….

    • Natalie C. McKee
      October 23, 2020, 2:17 pm

      I follow her and she’s put up a baby gate and last I read was sleeping on the couch downstairs for the time being.

  • Eric
    October 23, 2020, 11:48 pm

    Hah! $820 a month? Converted to NZ dollars that is about $1220 a month. Typical rent in Auckland is around $3000+

    You don’t know how lucky you are.

  • Tanya Miller
    October 26, 2020, 1:33 pm

    How would a single mother of a special needs child who currently lives in north pinellas county go about obtaining/qualifying for a tiny home on a fixed income? We are loosing our lease in January 2021 and haven’t been able to find affordable housing. I’ve reached out to various agencies without any luck. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • James D.
      October 26, 2020, 10:33 pm

      Affordable housing in Fl, is a bit elusive right now and what Tiny House options there are may not suite your needs. Timing is the big issue, many options can take a long process to get approval and some options aren’t built yet and won’t even start until next year, there’s a number of affordable housing initiatives that are going to take advantage of the 1% local tax increase that was approved to help fund it, but they will take over a year before they’re ready to offer housing in your area but here’s some links that will hopefully help in the meantime…




      celebrateoutreach.org/ (Faith based organization that fights homelessness, they’ve done tiny homes for vets in St. Petersburg, FL and may be able to offer some help)

      Possible ways to search for another alternative…



      There’s also a number of Tiny House Builders and Tiny House enthusiast/advocates who may also be able to offer options or direct you to find more info…




  • Stephan of Arkansas
    July 5, 2021, 4:48 pm

    Lovely house. Very charming lady and her little one. But the sheet artfully hanging down above/near the stove — a fire hazard. Please consider changing that. These comments respectfully submitted. Stephan of Arkansas.

  • Julie Bryan
    November 22, 2021, 6:44 pm

    I really like the Cabinets fronts. Question is it a wallpaper design or pasted on. It would of been nice to follow those cabinet doors Into the bathroom cabinet. It is such a cute home for her and her child. Extra loft just waiting till the daughter will have her own loft.
    Good luck it looks to warm and inviting great job.

  • Marsha Cowan
    November 22, 2021, 7:48 pm

    What an amazing story. You’re quite the trooper, and I love the attitude you have as expressed on your chalk door. You’re totally living up to that mantra. Stay strong and keep growing. Your house is so lovely and well designed for your family. Be happy and safe!

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