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Ben’s 200-sq.-ft. Off-grid Shopdog Tiny House

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I’m thrilled to show you Ben Barthell’s 200 sq. ft. solar off-grid tiny house that he built himself on a recycled 24′ x 8.5′ trailer (so yes- it’s mobile). This DIY micro cabin has all of the amenities of home but I’d say it’s even better because:

  • It’s completely self-sustaining.
  • It can power itself using a solar panel energy system.
  • It’s built mostly out of recycled materials.
  • It meets all quality construction standards.

Best of all, it’s affordable, easy to maintain, and light on the environment (and the wallet). What do you think of it?

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Ben’s Shopdog Solar Off Grid Tiny House

Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels

Images © Ben Barthell

I hope you enjoy touring Ben Barthell’s incredible tiny house below.

Tiny Kitchen Big Sink 🙂

Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels

For me, a big sink in a tiny kitchen is absolutely necessary so I was so happy to see one here. Obviously, it’s great to have a big sink if you don’t have a dishwasher. Nice job Ben! And very impressive one-level tiny house design (especially for those of us who don’t like ladders or even staircases to lofts).

 One-Level Tiny House (No Ladders. No Lofts. No Stairs.)

Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels

Beautiful design, construction, and finish work. I’d be honored to a house built by these guys, wouldn’t you?

Cozy Bedroom Nook

Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels

Modern Luxurious Micro Bathroom

Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels Ben's Shopdog Steely Cottage Off-Grid Solar Tiny House on Wheels

Images © Ben Barthell

Built by Ben Barthell at Shopdog.

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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!
{ 30 comments… add one }
  • June 21, 2014, 5:22 pm

    I love the built in spice rack in the kitchen and the built in hidden closet on the wall in the bedroom. Wish there was more info on how exactly he’s using it off the grid. Always want as much info as can get on off grid living :). Also, didn’t see a toilet?

    • Ben
      June 21, 2014, 9:20 pm

      Hi Megan thanks for the note!
      The house uses a 750 watt PV solar system with 8, 6volt batteries. This is a 24 volt system inverted to 1500 watts 110volts AC. It is fully self contained and produces all the electricity the house needs and quite a bit more.

      The solar water system uses a closed glycol system that heats the 25 gal pressurized hot water tank through a built in heat exchanger.
      The water in the tank stays around 125 degrees average so plenty of hot water for showers/dish washing and laundry. (There is a small washer dryer in the the utility room next to the batteries.)

      I have a fantastic Separette composting toilet that I would recommend in any house. It is very easy to clean and maintain (no electrics or other stuff to go wrong) and it honestly doesn’t stink! it works great.

      Please let me know if you need any more details, id be happy to fill you in!

      • Alex
        June 23, 2014, 9:32 pm

        Thanks Ben!!

      • Paul
        November 21, 2014, 3:48 am

        Hi Ben… would that be the Villa 9000 or the Villa 9020 composting toilet. How often does this normally take before “you” need to remove the compostible remains? Obviously the more people the quicker it is going to have to be emptied, but just a ballpark figure would be handy.

        thanks in advance.

      • Harry Anderson
        November 18, 2020, 1:36 pm

        Is the solar glycol heater a self design or off the shelf. Looks quite compact if that’s it to left if outside door

  • david
    June 21, 2014, 5:29 pm

    Very nice.

  • Lisa E.
    June 21, 2014, 6:37 pm

    Love the over-bed closet with the drop-down door; very kewl.
    Love the kitchen; nice and homey but with an eyebrow window view (for the security conscious.)
    The sink in the bathroom is marvelous and gives warmth to a functional dead zone.
    Love the wide floor boards and the arched (Cedar?) ceiling; very nice.
    I’m glad he put all of the unattractive utility equipment behind a closed door.
    All in all: Great job!

  • Patrick Lee
    June 21, 2014, 6:58 pm

    Awesome tiny home, I would have no problem living in it…Wow, fantastic job!!!

  • TB
    June 21, 2014, 7:57 pm

    I am enamored with most tiny homes and this is no exception. I love the kitchen and the bathroom as well as the lighting and the ceiling. One drawback for me is the bed. I see this in many tiny homes and I realize the space issues, but I believe I would find a way to do a fold out or some kind of Murphy bed before I would have a bed that goes wall to wall in all directions so I’d have to crawl all over it to make it up. As always, ymmv.

  • Dominick Bundy
    June 21, 2014, 8:22 pm

    Very nice and well thought out. (like that closet concept) But having the bed mattress that flush with the door entrance. Would be a big pain (I can only imagine) to try to change the bedding or make the bed..that’s all..

  • Ida
    June 22, 2014, 6:49 pm

    Very nice, Ben! Your kitchen inspires me. And the utility room. Very handy. I’m very interested in your hot water set-up. I’ll be researching it next weekend. Thanks!

    • Ben
      June 22, 2014, 7:48 pm

      Ida, Thanks much!
      The Water heating system is a closed loop glycol system using a 4×8 solar panel that circulates hot water to a heat exchanger inside a pressurized 20 gal hot water tank. The system uses a delta switch that simply turns the circulation pump on when the solar panel temp is hotter than the water in the hot water tank…and shuts off when the tank is water is hotter than the solar panel. Very simple and very efficient! the water in the tank averages 125 degrees so lots of hot water for showers, dishes and such…

  • Brian
    July 12, 2014, 2:01 am

    Love the look and feel Ben and especially the bathroom away from the kitchen. The outside looks cool and it weathers to a great colour. As you said it looks better in person. Well done Ben and thanks for sharing.
    Cheers from Australia

  • Michael
    July 18, 2014, 6:51 pm

    I like it. However, adding a murphy bed would gain some more space and create a working or relaxing place. Sure you are loosing the storage under the bed but without a loft you can easy add it under the floor in certain areas.

  • B.T.
    August 27, 2014, 2:04 am

    Ben, great job on your beautiful tiny home. I think it’s totally awsome. I spend alot of time in N.M. Farmington and Gallop, mostly.Next time I’m down there I’ll drop by your shop and check out your tiny homes. Again beautiful craftmanship.

  • Laura
    August 27, 2014, 12:38 pm

    Hi David, love your tiny hose. In general, what would you charge to build one?

  • KenK
    October 27, 2014, 9:31 am

    Dude ty for showing your utility room! I am a carpenter/builder so the structure is the no worries area for me. I am thinking DC for LED lighting and outlets for a fixed voltage required appliance. Then an inverter for standard outlets. Any advice is way appreciated. thx KenK

  • jermaine
    November 19, 2014, 10:58 am

    Hello Ben. Just bought a cabin shell I ran across your article while searching for a composting toilet. What kind of do you recommend that I purchase? Thank you.

  • Deborah
    November 20, 2014, 2:58 pm

    I like your TH!
    Please tell me WHERE the utility room is located. And the second door going to the outside… is that the access door to the utility space (although the photo of the elec. components, etc. looks larger than the width of the shower… which I am guessing is on the opposite wall). If so, then the toilet is tucked in between the shower/sink and utility closet??
    Hmmm, not said very well, how about this: The back wall, from left to right, has the shower, then sink, then toilet, then a wall, then the utility closet (accessible from outside). Is this correct?
    Thanks for answering.

  • Justin Falen
    November 20, 2014, 11:55 pm

    Very nice; I’m thinking of doing something very similar and have a question regarding the floor plan. I was thinking of reversing your placement of bedroom and bathroom, which would put the bathroom and kitchen next to each other on one end. My thinking is that this would simplify the plumbing and keep the interior water lines to a minimum. Is there a reason for your choice in layout other than possible sanitary concerns?

    • Alex
      November 21, 2014, 10:21 am

      Good points, Justin, from what I’ve noticed people usually do it for sanitary/smelly concerns 😀

      • James D.
        November 19, 2020, 1:31 pm

        Well, in terms of hygiene, it’s more the idea/impression of it that really bothers some people. In actuality, the kitchen is the dirtiest place in the home by far and already gets exposed to everything the bathroom does, regardless of location/distance, but that doesn’t change the gross factor people can feel about the bathroom for just what it’s associated with…

        While, being a tiny home, the difference in distance is negligible anyway but some will feel some distance is better than nothing. Otherwise, it’s the smelly concerns that are really valid but like a studio apartment it’s going to be hard to deal with in a small space with limited to no division of that space. However, generally good ventilation for both the bathroom and kitchen will do more to alleviate those concerns than how far you can space them in a tiny home… Along with regular cleaning regiment that would be more effective to actually promoting good hygiene than how you do the layout… But people ultimately do what they feel comfortable doing and avoid things that bother them, for whatever reason, real or imagined…

  • May 24, 2015, 4:40 pm

    Hi Ben,
    Followed your link after reading a great comment you made on this site on Jan 14, 15 . I really like the materials you used in your tiny home and the one level design. Great use of space and nice colors. Nice job.

  • Terri
    November 23, 2015, 8:39 am

    Really really nice and great info. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Dawne Forrester
    April 14, 2016, 11:11 pm

    Love the tiny house. Some day when I don’t have 7 kids at home, I may hit you up for one 😉

  • Large Marge
    July 26, 2016, 10:43 pm

    A gas range and oven burn tremendous amounts of oxygen while dumping tremendous amounts of Carbon Monoxide and water vapor into the living space.

    Please, include a powered exhaust fan over the sink and cooking area!

  • Stephen Gibbs
    July 28, 2016, 7:19 pm

    This is awesome! Great job Ben!! One of the nicest I’ve seen. What is the approximate cost, and how long does it take to build? Do you have other models? I’m looking for one with both a bedroom & a loft. Love that it’s entirely self-contained! Looking forward to hearing from you?

  • Angela
    March 3, 2018, 7:32 pm

    How much $

  • john
    November 18, 2020, 1:58 pm

    Great off grid layout. Nice job!

  • Kathy
    November 18, 2020, 9:25 pm

    First; thank you for ideas on managing what sounds like a well-done solar system. I am particularly intrigued by the water heater kept at 125 degrees by a solar system. What an idea! Mostly THOWs seem to have electric on-demand water heaters. I have one in my home and its pretty useless in getting hot water for “immediate” use. I am assuming there is some sort of switch-over to the battery system for after-dark dishwashing, clothes washing. One thing I am most concerned about in your design is the lack of actual living space. Not going to happen in/on the bed…you would just have to give up on having sheets/comforters etc. I do like the closet, but again you would have to stand or kneel on the bed to use it. Thanks for sharing your ideas and talent!

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