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Unique 160 Sq. Ft. Tiny House, Vardo-Style

This 160 sq. ft. tiny house is a guest post by Joseph Clark – share yours!

My name is Joseph Clark, and I own a small company called Shibui Woodworking in the Portland Oregon area. I’ve recently been enamored with the idea of tiny homes, and so I built one myself.

I just finished up the exterior, and I’m looking to sell it to someone who either wants to finish the interior themselves, or commission me to finish it to their exact needs and specifications. The asking price for the tiny house shell is $27,700.

Price reflects current condition, exterior finished only. If you would like to finish the interior yourself, I can provide advice and guidance. Or I’d be happy to custom finish the interior to reflect your desired use and personal taste. This solid little structure has endless possibilities; guest house, office, art studio, or permanent abode.

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Unique 160 Sq. Ft. Tiny House by Shibui Woodworking in Portland, Oregon


Images © Joseph Clark


I think it’s a pretty unique build, mostly thanks to the custom radius rafters I made using reclaimed old growth Douglas fir.

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I’ve been a home builder for many years, but I’ve been dismayed by the trend of ever larger homes with ever declining quality of materials and workmanship. I spared no time or expense on this build, and I hope it leads to more opportunities in the future.

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Some of the features of this tiny house include extra heavy duty custom made 20′ trailer with tandem 5200 pound rubber torsion axles, new premium Jeld-Wen aluminum-clad wood windows with tempered, low-e glass and all cedar siding and trim, pre-finished front and back with Cabot Australian Timber Oil, plus so much more.

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The trailer is brand new, and has never been licensed. Delivery is available.

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If you are looking to live off the grid, we can incorporate a remote solar system, propane appliances, self composting toilet, and fresh water holding tanks. If you can dream it, I can build it! I have over 20 years of experience in fine carpentry, from complete high end custom homes to restoring 200 year old Japanese furniture.


Images © Joseph Clark

If you are seriously interested in a tiny house like this you may contact Joseph Clark at 619-980-4577 or [email protected].


Our big thanks to Joseph Clark for sharing!🙏

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Andrea is a contributor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the Tiny House Newsletter! She has a passion for sharing tiny and small house stories and introducing you to new people, ideas, and homes.
{ 42 comments… add one }
  • July 21, 2015, 9:28 am

    Interesting and cute, but I’d be curious to know what kind of premium materials justify a 27K price for a shell with no interior.

    • Max
      July 21, 2015, 4:30 pm

      Build one your self and find out. The price of material is mostly irreverent in tiny house builds anyway, its the skill and ability to build that your paying for.

    • Holli
      July 22, 2015, 11:46 am

      I completely agree David, cute but way overpriced. It’s a trailer (max $5K), 4 wooden walls and a roof.(max $10K), labor ($5K) Even if you used all the max financial figures, shells should retail for between $15-$20 max, in my opinion…

  • Charlotte Mo
    July 21, 2015, 2:41 pm

    Maybe because he’s in Portland, not Alabama? No seriously, for those who ask questions without reading the text first, he offers a price breakdown on his FB. The link to his craigslist ad also offers more specific info about the premium materials, like:
    . -Extra heavy duty custom made 20′ trailer with tandem 5200 pound rubber torsion axles.
    -Hand made radius rafters crafted from reclaimed old growth Douglas fir.
    -New premium Jeld-Wen aluminum-clad wood windows with tempered, low-e glass.
    -All cedar siding and trim, pre-finished front and back with Cabot Australian Timber Oil.
    -Simpson ‘Nantucket’ series clear vertical grain fir door with custom made cedar transom window.
    -30 year standing seam steel roofing.
    -All stainless steel flashing and exposed fasteners.
    -Highest quality materials and construction, professionally built

    And I guess he should get paid something for building it, don’t you think?

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 11:12 am

      Charlotte; Thanks for coming to my defense! It’s a perfectly legitimate question though. Before I started the project I spoke with various tiny house enthusiasts, both professional and D.I.Y.ers, and they all agreed that building a structure that is designed to go down the road at 60 mph is a whole different animal than traditional construction. I’ve used more glue and hold downs on this little building than I’ve used on 3000 square foot custom houses I’ve built previously. I’m confident it can handle whatever the road can dish out!
      Cheers, Joe

  • Joseph Clark
    July 21, 2015, 2:49 pm

    David; A fair question… Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve spent on materials:

    The trailer was $4200, and then I wired it and painted it, which was about $200 more for the lights and paint. Total of about $4400

    The framing materials for the walls, floors, and roof sheathing was about $2200. I used all kiln dried material and plywood instead of OSB, which is about twice the price but well worth it in my opinion.

    The siding and trim was around $2200, including all stainless steel ring-shank fasteners and flashing.

    The windows were $2750. I used Jeld-Wen aluminum clad wood windows instead of vinyls, about 4X the price.

    The front door was $1045.

    The reclaimed old growth I fashioned the radius interior rafters out of was $800. The two exterior barge rafters are made from kiln-dried clear cedar, which was $160 for three boards (I used one of them to made the transom window above the front door.

    The steel roof was about $1000.

    There was another $2000 or so in miscellaneous expenses including the 12 heavy duty hold-downs, thread cutting screws for attaching the floor to the trailer frame, 5 gallons of glue for laminating the rafters, two cases of sub-floor adhesive (I glued every single joint from top to bottom), five gallons of Cabot timber oil, 4 gallons of Taylor MS-113 urethane hardwood floor glue for laminating the two layers of 3/4″ subfloor plywood, 25 pounds of exterior grade construction screws (all the framing is screwed for a tighter fit), galvanized ring shank nails for attaching sheathing, marine grade tung oil finish for the door, and a few others I’ve surely forgot.

    That comes to around $17,000 in out of pocket expenses. I’ve spent two months working continuously on the project. The rafters alone required milling 405 individual 3/16″ laminates (there’s 27 laminates in each of the 15 rafters). Each piece had to be re-sawn and run through a planer on both sides, then glued and clamped around a pattern jig for 24 hours. By comparison, I could have framed a traditional gable roof in a day or two, but I felt for practicality, strength and beauty, the curved roof was worth the investment in time.

    Similar units I’ve seen online, such as the popular models from Tumbleweed, sell for $50 to $60K fully finished. I think it would be reasonable to be able to finish this one for no more than that, and probably less. I’m also flexible on the price, especially for a buyer who would like me to do the interior finish. If I don’t find a buyer, I’ll continue working on it until it’s done, but I felt it would be nice to allow someone to have input into the details and layout.

    I hope that helps. Please feel to post any other questions in the comments section. Also, for a detailed, step by step history of the build, check out my facebook page. There’s a link in the post.
    Thanks for looking!


    • July 21, 2015, 10:36 pm

      Thanks for the extra info Joe, it was nice of you :o)

      I keep seeing interesting things like this offered and they are all in the Pacific Northwest. It is my opinion that the “southeast” needs to catch up . . . tiny house-wise.

      • July 21, 2015, 10:42 pm

        PS: I love the roof.

        • July 22, 2015, 9:25 am

          I’m working on Project in FL now

        • Joseph Clark
          July 22, 2015, 11:05 am

          Kathleen; Thanks for the compliment. We’re always on the cutting edge out here on the frontier… must be that pioneer spirit!
          Cheers, Joe

    • Jaime
      July 22, 2015, 11:10 am

      Thank you, Joe, for all the detailed information you’ve provided on this build. You’ve done a beautiful job with this – your attention to detail and your consideration of the materials are both inspiring – this build is easily worth what you are asking. I was particularly impressed that you gave so much thought to the base trailer, and the glass and the windows. Many THoW here do not have egress capable windows in the lofts by default, and the use of tempered glass in a towed home is, I agree, a near necessity. You’ve obviously put a great deal of effort into your design.

      And the roof is awesome!

      I totally wish that you were on my side of the country – craftsmen of your caliber are hard to find, and as I’m doing a lot of renovation and repair on my house prior to selling it to downsize, I would sure like to have people like you around.

      Though in all honesty, I think I’d prefer to be on -your- end of the country – Oregon is so beautiful.

  • Toni
    July 22, 2015, 9:04 am

    I love this tiny house! I live in Phoenix Arizona however and I would want to place this on incorporated land as I would not be moving it.. Can you tell me how I would go about doing this?
    I would like a kitchen with full sized appliances hooked up to city water and utilities. I would like to use its full potential with a loft, fold out couch, bathroom.. Thank you!

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 10:26 am

      Toni; Thanks for looking! With regards to placing it on incorporated land in Arizona, I don’t know what the zoning regulations are in your area. As for getting it there, however, delivery is definitely available. It’s on wheels! I have a 3/4 ton diesel truck that’s more than capable of towing it anywhere it needs to be.
      There’s plenty of room for a loft; I designed it with a loft in mind. The walls are roughly 9′ tall at the top plates, and around 10’6″ to the bottom of the rafters. The two short sliding windows are designed to allow for cross ventilation, and the casement window in the front wall satisfies fire egress requirements. Everything else (bathroom, kitchen, etc…) is only limited by space, budget, and your imagination.
      Best of luck with your search, and warmest regards!

  • John
    July 22, 2015, 9:10 am

    It’s gorgeous. Did you do the work by yourself or you have a shop crew that helps on projects like this? I live in Thailand at the moment and we will be moving back to the U.S. and something like this is perfect.

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 11:01 am

      John; The only thing I needed a hand with was installing the metal roofing. Fortunately my dad is retired and has plenty of time on his hands (and he’s a former contractor), so I utilized his free labor. Other than that, I built it entirely myself. Where in Thailand do you live? I spend a few months every winter in Indonesia and have been to Thailand on a couple of visa runs. Usually a week or two in Phuket. Thailand is beautiful, and the food is outstanding, but alas, good waves are few and far between. As I mentioned in another post, I’ve been researching the possibility of shipping one to Indo. As I’m sure you know, buying land in SE Asia can be tricky, but a house on wheels would open up a lot of possibilities for leasing or renting land without the risk of building a non-movable structure.
      Get in touch when you return, and we can design one for you.
      Cheers, Joe

      • John Coulter
        November 24, 2015, 10:26 pm

        Hi Joe, I’ll look you up when we head back to the US. I am just north of Phuket. We were tired of the traffic so moved to Khok Kloi which is a small farm town and you most likely passed thru while on a visa run. Land laws are pretty tricky so we just rent since we know we will move to the US soon (or later). It would be nice to see a tiny house with some traditional Thai home influences like roof dragons or sliding doors.
        Cheers, John

  • Carol
    July 22, 2015, 10:00 am

    This tiny home is missing one key aspect that is very important to me – a porch. I love sitting outside in the morning having a cup of coffee/tea. I am not a fan of the curved roof. The wood siding is beautiful and love all of the extra touches/wood/screws/windows that went into building his tiny home.

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 10:33 am

      Carol; Totally agree (Well, about the porch, not the roof, lol). I have a design in mind for a porch off the back. I could fabricate the framing from aluminum square tube and attach it to the sub-frame using a piano style hinge. The legs would be telescopic, so that they could be adjusted for level, and it could be tilted up and stowed during transport. There’s a creative solution for everything!
      Cheers, Joe

  • Kristina H Nadreau
    July 22, 2015, 10:31 am

    I hope some lucky person buys this jewel soon, as compensation to this fine, fine craftsman. I have seen some poorly and mediocre constructed work on this site (and elsewhere) and actually have only seen 3 examples of superb craftsmanship. This is one of the three. no whining abut price please.

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 10:47 am

      Kristina; Thank you very much for your kind words. When I started this project, my goal was to build a structure that was essentially furniture quality, or as close to it as possible. To be honest, if I added up my time, I could have definitely made more money cutting some corners (or just working my regular job!), but it’s been a labor of love. If no one buys it, I’ll be perfectly content to live in it myself. I’ve also been researching the possibility of shipping one to Indonesia, where I spend a few months every winter. No need for a heater there!
      Cheers, Joe

  • Trish
    July 22, 2015, 10:38 am

    Well done Joseph. The attention to detail, the craftmanship is wonderful in this tiny house. It definitely justifies the price. If it were bigger, finished inside, and I was in the market for one right now, you’d be my builder, hopefully in the future. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 10:51 am

      Trish; Thank you for the encouragement! When you decide to take the tiny plunge, get in touch, and we can design one for you from the ground up. I already have plans in the works to make the next one 24′ or 28′ with triple axles.
      Cheers, Joe

  • Marcy
    July 22, 2015, 10:50 am

    This is going to make someone a very nice home!

  • Annee
    July 22, 2015, 11:11 am

    I love the look of this “Tiny”. The attention to detail makes it luxurious. Well done!!

  • Allin
    July 22, 2015, 11:23 am

    I’ve been looking for a Tiny house for about six months and this is without a doubt on the top three I’ve seen quality of this construction is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.Will you be doing more Will you be doing more tiny homes?

    • Joseph Clark
      July 22, 2015, 1:27 pm

      Allin; Thanks for your comment. I absolutely hope to build more tiny homes in the future. I have plans to make the next one a little bigger, 24′ or 28′ with triple axles. I’ve been in the building industry for well over two decades, and this has been one of the most personally fun and rewarding projects I’ve even undertaken.
      Cheers, Joe

  • Elba
    July 22, 2015, 11:39 am

    Love it. Specially because of my knees I can’t do loft and would have to do sofa bed and looking at the tiny house it would feel even bigger. And you can divided your way. Great.

  • Donna bolt
    July 22, 2015, 12:50 pm

    A tiny home to be proud of that will last. I will look at it when my house sells (listed now).

  • Dug
    July 22, 2015, 1:52 pm

    @ Joe

    Hi buddy superb build NO doubt about that.
    I have to note that yet again users jump down a builders throat with irrelevant jabs, having read little or not at all about the product it’s becoming a pre requisite almost of groups like this, I see NO reason for your feeling you had to justify yourself to anyone over the route you took to build it.
    Surely the end user/buyer who will end up taking her off your hands will be in awe of your laborious, spectacular work skills which are so obvious.
    I admire your cool in answering the various questions I wouldn’t of been so cool, at the end of the day you get what you pay for in all walks of life, that includes Tiny Homes if you want a unit under 20k buy a mobile home as that’s about all it will in truth buy you I’m afraid.
    Respect is what is due to all the low volume craftsman made units that we have the great privelage to view via these pages.
    Well done you !!! Respect where it’s due guys !!

    • Joseph Clark
      July 23, 2015, 12:08 pm

      Thanks Dug! I really appreciate the positive feedback. I know that for some folks, there will be some sticker shock. I also understand that for some people, tiny living is all about frugality and reusing materials. I can totally appreciate and applaud all the (usually young) folks out there making their own living spaces out of reclaimed windows, siding, doors etc… If I was still in my 20’s (alas, don’t we all wish!), I could totally get behind the idea of running all over town to find unused and unwanted goodies and cobbling together a space of my own on a shoestring budget. However, that wasn’t really my aim with this build. Rather, I set out to create a structure that, with proper maintenance, should last for generations. Also, for piece of mind (and liability) I wanted to be confident that, as a builder, I could feel confident about the safety and integrity of what I was selling. Hence, details like tempered windows (which adds about 25% to the cost), glued joints, galvanized framing fasteners, stainless steel exposed fasteners and flashing, etc… All these little things add up, believe me. For example, a 10′ piece of stainless steel ‘z’ flashing costs about $13. Light gauge painted steel costs about $3. But in 10 years, the painted steel will be rusty, at least here in Oregon, while the stainless with be as good as the day it was installed.
      I feel there’s room under the tiny umbrella for builds of all kinds, and that people can understand that there are guys like me who are disillusioned with the shoddy state of typical building these days, and trying to create a little piece of functional art, not just cash in on a trend. And for those who just want to be mean-spirited, as that wise old sage Taylor Swift says… “haters gonna hate”
      Cheers, Joe

  • Tracy
    July 22, 2015, 2:48 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dug above. It’s a work of art–truly beautiful. There are reasons why homes from the 1800’s and 1900’s are still standing and one of those reasons is quality craftsmanship. You understand the true meaning of quality craftsmanship and “building to last” that most contractors just don’t get. To me, living “tiny” doesn’t mean frugality; it means quality–trading in the massive amounts of “stuff” in our lives to live better quality lives. When your tiny house business gets to be too much work for one person (and it will–trust me) and you need a helper, I’m your gal!!

    When I get ready to build my tiny home, you will definitely be my builder.
    Thanks for sharing,

    • Joseph Clark
      July 23, 2015, 12:20 pm

      Thanks Tracy! I came up in the industry on the North Oregon Coast, in the historic town of Astoria. Given that it’s the oldest settlement west of the Mississippi and the end of the Lewis and Clark trail, Astoria is blessed with some wonderful examples of turn of the century building. Some of the craftmanship on those old Victorians is pretty breathtaking. On the North Coast, if you don’t build it to last, it won’t! What folks on the East Coast call hurricanes, we just call November…
      I also had a business for a few years importing and restoring antique Japanese furniture from the mid 1800’s. The mortise and tenon joinery on those pieces is truly awe inspiring, especially considering it was done all by hand with no power tools. I’d love to make a ‘kaidan dansu’, or Japanese style step chest for this house. In 1800’s Japan, they didn’t call them ‘tiny houses’, just ‘houses’. Us modern tiny home builders could definitely learn a thing or two from their creative ways of utilizing limited space.
      Cheers, Joe

  • Valery Lytle
    July 22, 2015, 4:01 pm

    Question: does this come with rough-in electrical and water lines? Could it have both RV and regular hookups? I really enjoy looking at this tiny home – even all the way from Central Virginia! Would be a hoot to put together with you … BUT, I am mobility handicapped and have to use steps with rails, and a ramp when in a wheelchair – plus I have friends in chairs too. Would sure be nice if I could work with a tiny house with ADA regs familiarity, or willing to learn about the physical requirements a handicapping condition can need … no tiny home builder has seemingly tried this … Would be wonderful! I only have seen ONE accessible tiny house in all my searching….not sure what specific adaptations were done…

  • Susanne
    July 23, 2015, 6:32 am

    I am curious about the gallons of oil and glue used… No problems there, I hope, with emitting odors ?

    • Joseph Clark
      July 23, 2015, 11:49 am

      Susanne; That’s an excellent question. The glue I used for making the laminate rafter beams is called ‘Roo Glue’. It’s water based and nontoxic. Here’s a link to their website if you’d like more info about the product: https://rooglue.com/about-roo-glue/frequently-asked-questions/
      The sub-floor adhesive used in the framing construction has a definite odor when it’s first applied, but that disappears when it’s dry. Sub-floor adhesive is widely used (and often required by engineering) in new construction. When the walls are closed in, all glue joints will be covered in any case.
      The Cabot and Tung oils I used on the exterior siding and doors are obviously oil based, and have their fair share of V.O.C.’s. I always use a respirator when applying them. However, the odor also disappears when they are dry. I’ve used both of the products for years for exterior applications, with no complaints. There are water based exterior finishes out there, but I’ve never found one with any efficacy, especially given the harsh winters and hot summers we have up here in the Pacific NW. If anyone knows of a non-toxic, water based exterior finish that works well, I’m all ears. Even with oil based products such as Cabot Oil (there are other similar products from Olympic, Wolman’s, and others), regular maintenance and reapplication is a must. As a former employer of mine used to say “we’re dealing with wood here”. I won’t even use latex paint, as I’ve seen it bubble and peel countless times. In any rate, those are strictly for exterior purposes, and I wouldn’t use them inside.
      I finished the rafters inside with Bri-Wax, which is a carnuba and beeswax blend. I’ve used Bri-Wax for many years on furniture and interior woodwork. It provides a beautiful luster and patina, especially on distressed surfaces. I apply it with 0000 steel wool, and buff with a soft cloth. A far superior finish than polyurethane or lacquer in my opinion.
      Hope that helps!
      Cheers, Joe

    • Joseph Clark
      July 23, 2015, 3:48 pm

      Susanne; That’s an excellent question, and I submitted a very detailed reply this morning, but it is apparently still in ‘moderation’ limbo. I’ll check back later, and if for some reason it has been lost to the ether, I’ll re-post it.
      Best regards until then,

      • Joseph Clark
        July 23, 2015, 3:49 pm

        … and just like that, there it is! hope that clears up your questions and/or concerns.
        Cheers, Joe

  • Joseph Clark
    July 26, 2015, 4:17 pm

    Quick update: The trailer took its maiden voyage this morning, down to the weigh station. Official weight: 6000 pounds even. A bit heavier than I estimated, but easily within the parameters of the tandem 5200 lb. axles. I estimate the net finished weight should come in around 8000 lbs. Happy to report it towed quite smoothly. Tow vehicle was a 3/4 ton Dodge turbo diesel, which handled the weight no problem. The twin trailer brakes worked perfectly, all the lights functioned as they should, and it cleared all overhead wires and overpasses with room to spare. Ready to deliver to your home site!

  • Ev
    July 26, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Beautiful craftsmanship….. Keep on building, Joe!

  • Francine Read
    July 30, 2015, 5:59 pm

    Your craftmanship is exceptional. We eventually want to get a tiny house for our adult son to put in our back yard. But his will either need the bedroom on the main level or a loft with center standing room and stairs access (no ladder!) The fact that you are willing to allow the buyer to customize the interior is extremely appealing. Hopefully when we are able to proceed in about a year, we can work with you to build another tiny house … as I suspect this one will be long gone by then!

  • Sabrina Warren
    July 27, 2020, 4:55 pm

    Love it. This is almost exactly like the tiny house I’ve planned for myself. I appreciate your replies as I was looking into making curved laminated beams for the roof of mine as well and any info along those lines is kept for future reference. What is the floor to ceiling height of this?

    • Sabrina Warren
      July 27, 2020, 5:14 pm

      Never mind about the height. I just read through all the comments and your replies. 9 foot walls and 10 foot 6 to centre beam. Could you post a picture of your beam jig, please?

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