≡ Menu

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom


This is the story of a son who designed and built a tiny house on wheels for his mom. It has about 300 sq. ft. of space.

What an awesome and inspiring story, right? His name is Matt Thorne. His mom has been living in the tiny house for well over 6 months now and she loves it! Now Matt is looking to build one for a customer. He’s also looking for the right person to partner with to build another one as a vacation rental unit.

Don’t miss other interesting tiny homes like this – join our FREE Tiny House Newsletter for more! 

Man Designs and Builds an Incredible Tiny House on Wheels for His Mom!

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

© Matt Thorne

What a beautiful tiny house, right?

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

When you go inside, too, you’ll notice it’s top notch!

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Nothing but the best for Mom!

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Beautiful kitchen cabinets with lots of storage.

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Look at the huge fan to circulate the air. Very important in a tiny house!

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Another look at the stunning kitchen.

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

More tiny house kitchen goodness…

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Interesting cabinets, right?

Son Designs and Builds Tiny House for his Mom

The big sink is nice for dish duty.

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

The cabinets roll shut! Interesting!

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Hey, where did you get that blue refrigerator?

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Staircase to the loft which is located over the kitchen and bathroom.

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Cozy tiny house, isn’t it?

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Just add a skylight for stargazing!

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

Tiny sink for the bathroom. Gotta save space!

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

The shower.

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

The roof and privacy walls. Very nicely done!

Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom
Son Builds Tiny House for his Mom

© Matt Thorne

Here is the 28ft Tiny that I built for my mom. I designed and built this last year. I have decided to build another for purchase. I have been a contractor for over 20 years and enjoy building and creating. I am located in Portland Oregon.

Another idea that I have is to build a tiny home on someone’s property for a vacation rental, I need a fantastic piece of property to put it. I would build and share the home with the land owner and when it was not in use I would want to AirBNB it. I would also share that income with the land owner.

Resources

  1. https://www.facebook.com/matt.thorne.773/posts/1734009266622097

Our big thanks to Matt Thorne for sharing!

Share this with your friends/family using the e-mail/social re-share buttons below. Thanks!

If you liked this you’ll LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with more! Thank you!

You can also try our NEW Small House Newsletter!

More Like This: Explore our Tiny Houses Section

See The Latest: Go Back Home to See Our Latest Tiny Houses

The following two tabs change content below.
Avatar

Alex

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!
{ 74 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Cindy Corder
    January 6, 2018, 12:43 pm

    Beautiful design and clean layout. One lucky mom indeed. Please get the Chardonnay out of the sunlight. Just trying help out a fellow mom. 🙂 And btw…. very nice work Matt!

    • Avatar Eric
      March 1, 2018, 12:04 am

      Hey Cindy, how do you know that it is Chardonnay? Could easily be any white wine or even just sparkling grape juice.

      Being in the sunlight won’t hurt it unless it is there for days/weeks on end. Don’t know about you, but with me it wouldn’t be there for more than half an hour… lol

    • Avatar matt
      September 15, 2019, 11:24 am

      Thanks so much!

  • Avatar Robert Aulicky
    January 6, 2018, 12:47 pm

    Hi Matt,

    My first question is why the soffit? I’m wondering why not make the footprint 10′ and taper the walls in to 8’6″ to allow the soffit? The width on the roof already requires a wide load permit in some states.

    • Avatar Toni Benton
      January 7, 2018, 11:37 am

      I’m gonna take a stab and say there is no intention of moving it. Many people build on wheels to avoid regulatory and permitting issues.

      • Avatar James D.
        January 7, 2018, 6:24 pm

        The width of the house is never mentioned, but going significantly beyond 8′ 6″ usually means customizing the trailer chassis but that’s not something everyone can do or necessarily wish to pay for…

        While you can cantilever a bit around to give a little more space without modifying the chassis… So you may see models with odd sizes like 9 feet wide but not 10.

        Note, as well that the house has very thick walls… They may be 2×8 framed and looks like the interior width may be down to around 7 feet.

        So this may be the maximum possible with the dimensions of the trailer chassis used…

        While there’s also other possibilities… Even if willing to go beyond road legal size limits, the house still needs to be able to maneuver to and from where it is parked and thus the maximum dimensions of things like gates, bridges, trees, power lines, street lights, width of the roads, etc.

        Unless built on site, how you will get it to the site is often a factor…

        Otherwise, people would be going 12-14 feet wide more often…

        With shed conversions, people can even go 16 feet wide if the roads to the site allow it… The you could get something 16 x 50 but that’s not always a option…

      • Avatar matt
        September 15, 2019, 11:26 am

        Winner, winner chicken dinner. Tell her what she has won Jim…

    • Avatar Eric
      March 1, 2018, 12:10 am

      My first answer is… for shade. Really, the same as for a standard/normal house. Also to shed water away from the walls of the house as well, especially during storm events where large volumes of water comes down in a short period of time… especially in Portland Oregon…

      • Avatar matt
        September 15, 2019, 11:29 am

        Eric killed it on the response!

        • Avatar Eric
          May 14, 2020, 3:55 am

          Awwwww thanks. 😊

  • Avatar DB
    January 6, 2018, 1:02 pm

    The tambour doors on the cabinets are a smart idea for small spaces.

    • Avatar Eric
      January 6, 2018, 1:32 pm

      Totally agree… first time in 5 years that I can remember seeing this. No door poking out into the work area is a very smart move.

      • Avatar matt
        September 15, 2019, 12:01 pm

        Eric, you are awesome. For some reason I did not know there were comments on the article. Sad it took this long to see them. Thanks again for your time!

    • Avatar sc
      January 8, 2018, 9:28 am

      tambour doors? I didn’t know they had that name. cool. I like them.

      • Avatar James D.
        January 9, 2018, 2:10 pm

        Same mechanism as a garage door. It’s basically a flexible shutter typically used as a desk top or in place of a door, composed of a number of closely set wood strips attached to a piece of cloth, the whole sliding in grooves along the sides or at the top and bottom.

        Old style writing desks with the slide up cover may be a version you may have seen before, for example…

        I’ve also seen an artist apply it to custom furniture, namely a table that can extend longer, with the table top being the sliding part that unfurled from a rolled up section on one side. So you just pull the table to make it longer and push it back in to make it shorter.

        You can also hide appliances in the kitchen with similar mechanisms, typically just called appliances garages, which can have things like spring loaded pull out tables that support the appliance so you don’t have to carry it in and out of storage, which can come in handy for heavy appliances like mixers, etc.

        There’s lots of ways a kitchen can be designed…

        • Avatar tom
          January 11, 2018, 7:35 pm

          Yes, tambour doors work well on appliance garages, cupboards for your toaster etc so you have a clear looking kitchen. But had not seen them on regular cupboard doors, it’s a good idea for a tiny house.

  • Avatar Renee
    January 6, 2018, 1:39 pm

    Although outside is as I designed mine(soon to be built) the big question is why would you put low side of shed roof on door side of house?

    • Avatar matt
      September 15, 2019, 11:32 am

      Renee, understood. Because of where I put it and where the door is. It has a gutter systems and a soffit so felt it was the best for this application. She never gets wet because of this.

  • Avatar Dannette
    January 6, 2018, 2:02 pm

    Fantastic Work! I have a suggestion for your next project. The kitchen wall where you have the Ikea rail system…I’ve seen slatwall that looks exactly like that reclaimed wood theme. That would be a perfect place for a residential application. All kinds of hooks and baskets are cheap and easy to move around according to need, or preference. If I ever get around to building (commissioning is more like it) a Tiny House, I’m going to cover all vertical walls with custom slatwall. They even have Subway Tile panels that could be used as kitchen backsplash or bathroom storage!

  • Avatar Jane
    January 6, 2018, 2:15 pm

    Love it!! How does she get upstairs?

  • Avatar John Thompson
    January 6, 2018, 2:22 pm

    Somebody should mention to this builder that not everybody does facebook. I have a ton of questions and would love to find out how the newer building situation goes.

    John

    • Avatar Eric
      February 28, 2018, 11:52 pm

      Amen to that. I too, do not use Fakebook. From the times of MySpace and Bebo I could see the implicit dangers. To date I know of several people whose lives turned upside down due to low life’s warped minds or twisted senses of humour. 2 of these people committed suicide.

      I will never ever go down the track of (anti)social media. Ever!

    • Avatar Bob
      September 23, 2018, 9:18 pm

      It’s very dangerous to use Facebook as a substitute for a website. Unfortunately, those that do will learn the hard way when the European Union begins taking them to court for failure to follow existing privacy legislation (GDPR). It’s also an opportunity killer for anyone which does use Facebook because it infers they do EVERYTHING on the cheap. And, they do limit, severely, access to their businesses as a result. It’s about ignorance of the medium and the dangers that medium has not only to their business model but also prospective customers.

      Since I’m in the business, I know what lurks on Facebook and other social media sites so I’m very careful in how I use the platforms. It’s the wrong use of the tool like using a screw driver as a hammer kind of scenario. So, if any of these tiny house builders, or any business, only has a Facebook page, I stay as far away from them as possible and I highly recommend everyone else do the same.

    • Avatar m
      September 15, 2019, 11:52 am

      John, had no idea there where comments on this article. 1.5 yrs later I reply. What questions do you have if you still do? Sorry and thanks. Matt

  • Avatar JJ
    January 6, 2018, 3:26 pm

    Beautiful! However, I would not locate the sleeping area right over the stove top like that for fire safety reasons. I hope there is good ventilation, a good combo carbon monoxide/smoke detector, small fire extinguishers at top & bottom of the stairs, and an alternative exit directly from the sleeping area.

    • Avatar James D.
      January 7, 2018, 6:08 pm

      Just having the stove below the loft isn’t much of a fire threat, it’s over 3 feet above it… You mainly only have to worry about what may be within a foot of the stove, like curtains, oil, rags, towels, etc. and then what could then transfer or catch fire from those things.

      Though, I’d have extended the metal tiled back splash to cover both of the corner walls…

      For CO/Smoke detectors and extinguishers… Those things are pretty standard these days, along with emergency egress points.

      The range hood vents also typically have a extinguisher pack that drops onto the stove automatically when there’s a fire and you just replace it after each use.

      Many builders are also taking to installing hidden fire suppression systems, which may look like the CO/Smoke detector or look like a small vent… Some have even installed fire sprinklers…

      Mind, the builder did this for his mom and he’s a contractor with over 20 year experience… The house was also built for a little over 100K, which includes many hidden features that probably include a list of safety features beyond the basics. So I doubt he left anything to chance…

      • Avatar matt
        September 15, 2019, 11:53 am

        Right on James D! You nailed it.

    • Avatar Bob
      September 23, 2018, 9:10 pm

      What bottom of stairs? There was no photo of how to gain access to the loft. Unless “Mom” is 8 ft tall, there is no practical method to access the loft. No ladder/staircase from the floor to the mid-deck is shown in any of the photos.

      • Avatar Eric
        September 16, 2019, 9:59 pm

        Cough, cough… “Staircase to the loft which is located over the kitchen and bathroom.” 13th picture down…

        • Avatar Beth Grant-DeRoos
          September 17, 2019, 4:53 am

          More of a ladder not a staircase

        • Avatar Eric
          September 17, 2019, 3:46 pm

          @Beth Grant-DeRoos

          Think more of it as a very lightweight ladder, every little bit shaved off helps with towing. Besides, the rungs are excellent massagers of the arches of one’s feet. rg&dfc

        • Avatar Vicki Strickland
          May 11, 2020, 6:52 pm

          I am looking at 13th picture down. Maybe I am just not seeing it but how do you get from the floor to the top of washing machine. That is a pretty tall step. Am I missing something besides high jump abilities?

  • Avatar M arr
    January 6, 2018, 6:48 pm

    Beautiful just beautiful.

  • Avatar Linda Carlson
    January 6, 2018, 9:40 pm

    Where in the country are you located, Matt? My son has some nice property in NE MN and might be interested in having a cool tiny house on it for rental if it’s not too far from where you are.

    • Avatar Bob
      September 23, 2018, 9:22 pm

      last sentence of the first paragraph where Matt tells the story “I am located in Portland Oregon.”

  • Avatar Debra Bushee
    January 7, 2018, 10:49 am

    wheres the picture of the other end of stairs too loft?

  • Avatar Sue Moenius Moenius
    January 9, 2018, 1:10 pm

    I’m guessing your mom is pretty young? I love the house…except with arthritis in knees, loft is pretty much out for living except for storage. Do you have a fallback plan for her if climbing gets hard? Is sofa convertible?

    Congrats on a great job!

  • Avatar Debbie Card
    January 11, 2018, 9:55 am

    Would LOVE to have a tiny house. Wish contractors would consider tiny house communities, where we don’t have to live on a lot alone! Several women in our condo community have discussed interest if we could all live close!

  • Avatar Michele
    January 11, 2018, 10:19 am

    Beautiful house. Why is the fire place half way up the wall behind the sofa?
    Hopefully mom enjoys a lifetime of excellent physical health to be able to climb up into that loft.

    • Avatar Bob
      September 23, 2018, 9:30 pm

      I suspect he’s one of the few contractors to figure out how to disperse the heat evenly throughout the house. A couple of years ago I figured out that if you set the fan to twirl counterclockwise, it pull the warm air up and disperses it across the ceiling and down the walls. Thus, you never have hot air smacking into your body or face directly. It also helps to keep the drafts minimized. Works very well. Keep in mind that hot air rises and cold air falls. So, if you can keep all the air warm using the ceiling fan to optimize the effect, you just about eliminate cold drafts and hot flashes through out the entire small/tiny house. Works well with A-frames as well as with homes with high ceilings.

      • Avatar matt
        September 15, 2019, 11:58 am

        Bob nailed it again!

    • Avatar matt
      September 15, 2019, 11:40 am

      Michele, the fire place also happens to be the coolest picture you have ever seen. It is awesome from any viewpoint and also heats the house if needed. Also has a flame only setting. LED flames that really appear real. Its one of my favorite things in this one.

  • Avatar Darlene Wieliczko
    January 11, 2018, 2:20 pm

    I would love to be that lucky of a mom! Seriously I really do want something very similar indeed. I don’t really like the stove against the wall or the slideupcabinet doors…they are not disabilty friendly. Also curious about what type of toilet is in thishome.

  • Avatar Dominick Bundy
    September 23, 2018, 3:50 pm

    Beautifully done with a nice layout, But it doesn’t look all that “tiny” to me. Small yes but not tiny, it has all standard size appliances. As well as ample foot space.. maybe it’s just me ,I don’t know but I just don’t see things here being all that tiny .

    • Avatar matt
      September 15, 2019, 11:56 am

      Dominick Bundy , Big Tiny.

  • Avatar Yvette
    September 16, 2019, 4:59 pm

    This is absolutely beautiful AND efficient with everything I would ever need.

    • Avatar Matt
      November 14, 2019, 12:03 am

      Yvette, thank you very much.

  • Avatar Judith Kass
    September 16, 2019, 5:25 pm

    Hi! I love your Tiny House for your mom! It looks like sort of an extension to your house? I would like to keep in touch and have been thinking of either trying to find something I could fix up or buy one already finished. I have been involved with building in the past and do have some skills. Would like to keep in touch. “I would like to start a Tiny House Arts Community with a Barn like structure in the center and, tiny houses all around the barn. The Barn would be a shared creative structure for people to do all their creative work in. I have a masters degree in art and this sounds like the best of everything.
    I could work, teach and create. All the Best, thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Matt
      November 14, 2019, 12:01 am

      Judith, fantastic idea and thanks of the kind words! Let me know if you get something rolling.

  • Avatar Beth Grant-DeRoos
    September 16, 2019, 5:32 pm

    Often wonder how even the fittest older person will like climbing a pipe ladder to a low ceiling sleeping loft. The knees even in a fit older person doesn’t need the added stress of crawling across the floor to get into a bed. Or when sick having to climb up and down a ladder to get to the bathroom.

    • Avatar Patti Pickerd
      September 17, 2019, 6:47 pm

      Agree completely!🤔

    • Avatar matt
      November 14, 2019, 12:09 am

      Beth, she is 71 and there is no need for the pipe ladder other than stability. She can sit from the landing into the loft. We can always do a downstairs sleeping area. High side of the loft is almost 5 ft tall. Roomy! Thanks

  • Avatar Barbara Kozakiewicz
    September 16, 2019, 5:48 pm

    Love your idea of the cabinets in the kitchen with the rollup doors. Just thought I’d mention that in another tiny house some woman used a rolling tool cart in her kitchen. She said it offered plenty of dry space and the bottom drawer was big enough for her pots and pans. I thought that was a great idea as well as it also had a wooden top. You have a lucky mom !

    • Avatar matt
      November 14, 2019, 12:11 am

      Thanks so much Barbara!!! She was not that lucky when I was younger..haha

  • Avatar Diana
    September 16, 2019, 6:04 pm

    I’m curious about those roll ups on the cabinets. Such a great idea but where to purchase? Hope someone can let me know!
    Thanks! Nice place. Lucky mom….he obviously loves her. Aww…sweet..

  • Avatar Mark
    September 16, 2019, 6:10 pm

    Hi Matt

    Just purchased a beautiful piece of property in the East Mountains of New Mexico. Would love to have you build a tiny house on it.

    • Avatar Matt
      November 13, 2019, 11:55 pm

      Mark, sounds great let me know. Building 1 now be ready by Christmas! I have spent some time in Taos. Thanks for the comment. Matt

  • Avatar Cathy
    September 16, 2019, 7:44 pm

    Thoughtful design, peaceful interior … I would love to live there.

    • Avatar Matt
      November 13, 2019, 11:57 pm

      Thanks Cathy! It feels great in it!

  • Avatar Debra l Bushee
    September 17, 2019, 11:50 am

    Very nice , were did you come up with the roll type cabinet doors ? I really like those .Nice arrangement of rooms and set up.

  • Avatar Irene
    January 2, 2020, 3:15 pm

    It must be a young mother to climb the stairs, the interior is very modern but not practical for an aging person.
    It’s sober. The roof with debris accumulates there is it a risk of water infiltration?
    The shower tiles are beautiful.
    Nice

    • Avatar matt
      January 3, 2020, 12:15 am

      Irene, she is 71 and I just put in a new staircase with 2 more steps. Which lowered the rise quit a bit. I also did more storage with several drawers as well. She has no problem and said she did like the lower rise though. The roof is commercial grade metal and underlay. It is situated under a 100 yr. old weeping willow and it is Oregon(rains 9months a year) and it has never had a problem. Thanks!

  • Avatar Andrea
    January 2, 2020, 6:49 pm

    Nice house but I’d worry having the stove up against a wooden wall…shouldn’t it be tile or metal in case of a stove fire??

    • Avatar Beth Grant DeRoos
      January 2, 2020, 11:20 pm

      I agree 100% Andrea!

      • Avatar matt
        May 14, 2020, 12:19 am

        It is not a problem at all. There is also a 6 inch space from the oven to the wall.

    • Avatar matt
      January 3, 2020, 12:24 am

      Andrea, she has been cooking in it for 2 plus years now and has never had any problems. I can understand concern but there is also a space between the oven and wall . What I can do is build you 1 and you can put anything you want there! I could do tile or metal:)

  • Avatar Andrea
    January 3, 2020, 12:45 am

    Hi Matt, your work is very nice but my husband and I already designed and built a (large) tiny for our family and we’re very happy with it! Thanks anyway

    • Avatar matt
      May 14, 2020, 12:01 am

      Andrea, sure would love to see some pictures of that tiny you guys built!

  • Avatar Andrea
    January 3, 2020, 12:52 am

    One more thing Matt:
    If you like the rustic wood look (as do I) I’d treat the wood with non-toxic fire retardant (Google it) and keep a fire extinguisher nearby just to be safe. What a beautiful thing you did for your mother in building her a house! I know from experience that it was a labour of love and very hard work. Good job

    • Avatar Matt
      May 13, 2020, 11:58 pm

      Thank you Andrea for the kind words. There is a fire ext. within reach just in case.

  • Avatar LOUISE Bowen
    May 11, 2020, 1:33 pm

    Most of your tiny home is really practical and nicely done. How old is your mom? Sorry, but after age 50, I don’t think I’d be asking my mom to climb a ladder to get to bed.

    • Avatar Matt
      May 13, 2020, 11:54 pm

      As I stated above she does not need the pipe ladder to get into the loft it is more for looks and stability . She can stand flat footed and sit into the loft. No need for the ladder and was thought through as is the reason it is designed that way. The landing also doubles as a table for her when needed also part of the design. She is 72 and the stairs up to the landing have a low rise and large step.

  • Avatar Sandra L Pogue
    May 12, 2020, 1:38 pm

    How old is Mom? I am 78 and love that house except for having to climb a ladder to go to bed and then down and back up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break. You said you wanted to build another small house. Maybe keep the bedroom easier to get to.

    • Avatar matt
      May 13, 2020, 11:43 pm

      She is 72 and she can stand feet flat on the landing and sit her butt in the loft. The ladder has very little need or use other than aesthetics. I build whatever someone wants.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Next post:

Older post: