Melanie is a National Spokesperson for the Tiny House Alliance USA, and the author of “Trailblazing Tiny: A Guide to Breaking Free.” She and her husband live — legally — in a tiny house on wheels that sits on an acre homestead.
They built their 144 sq. ft. tiny house in just seven days with the help of three other people at an Incredible Tiny House workshop back in 2018. Now they are enjoying a peaceful life outside the rat race — raising chickens, growing veggies, and spending less than $300/month on a land mortgage and utilities! We got to interview Melanie about her tiny life below, so be sure to read that after the photo tour.
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144 sq. ft. Fully Legal Tiny House & Homestead
Here’s a construction picture of the build.
The flooring going in.
Sealing up the outside!
A little snapshot of their acre homestead.
Their lovely garden.
The hammock swing that matches the cabinets is perfection.
What a creative shower stall setup!
They chose such a beautiful color for the exterior.
Some cozy patio lighting!
Here’s the bedroom loft.
Melanie speaking at a tiny house festival.
The happy couple!
What got you into tiny living?
We got into tiny living for many reasons. We wanted a sustainable, simple, and easy way to live. We were sick of the corporate jobs, the 9-5 grind, the living-to-work mentality, and the lack of freedom to do what we wanted.
Did you build your home or buy it? How long did the process take?
We built our tiny house on wheels in 7 days. We attended workshop at Incredible Tiny Homes in 2018 where 5 of us spent 7 days crafting our home. It was a long 7 days, but the results left us with a massive amount of skills that we still use today to repair and maintain our home. Making is less dependent on contractors and such to do repairs because when you have built it you know everything about it and how to fix or change it if you want to.
How do you make money on the road?
We do not live on the road. We have lived in a backyard, a campground, and we are now on our own property living with the wheels on as a legal dwelling. I run our little homestead, write books, grow food, have a woodburning business, and do contract construction. My husband has a job in the city that he commutes to at this time
How has tiny living changed your life (for better or worse)?
Going tiny not only changed our lives for the better, it gave us a whole new skill set building our home and the confidence to tackle things in this lifetime never thought I could. It has allowed us to buy our land and live for under $300 a month and will allow us to retire early and enjoy our peace and quiet in the countryside.
What’s the hardest part of tiny living?
The hardest part was finding a piece of land to buy and being allowed to live on it full-time. It did require us moving to where we were allowed and fighting through city and state zoning and building officials.
What’s the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding for us is that we don’t have to work 5 jobs to make it anymore. We have over an acre of land with chickens and gardens and a stream, and we don’t have the same stress about trying to hustle to survive. There is more beauty in peace than in money.
Any advice for people looking to go tiny?
My advice for people going tiny is don’t add all the bells and whistles, you don’t need all that stuff to be happy that these tiny house companies add to these homes now. Keep it simple… it is always easier to add something later than to be tearing stuff out because you don’t like the way it is working. While storage is cool, and it’s fun to design… the more you add, the more you will use. Go with less storage and start downsizing now.
- Follow them on Instagram
- Check out The Tiny House Alliance (website)
- Buy Melanie’s book, “Trailblazing Tiny : A Guide to Breaking Free”
- Glenn & Darcy’s Modern Clear Creek Tiny House on Wheels
- Splitting Time Between Homesteading & Vanlife
- The Classic: A 20-ft. Tiny House by Indigo River Tiny Homes
Our big thanks to Melanie for sharing! 🙏
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Natalie C. McKee
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Very good advice, Melanie. I’ve been watching the last 13 years as tiny houses got bigger and bigger and stuffed with all the “normal” and expected amenities of a regular home replete with all the upkeep and maintenance and ownership of stuff. The whole idea behind tiny life living was simplicity and minimalism so there would be more time to live oneself, and also invest time in the lives of others. Most tiny houses now are versions of mobile homes and require a lot of upkeep and maintenance. Your advice about storage was golden. Rather than have more storage for stuff, have less stuff to store. Thanks for your wisdom.