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Video: 70-year-old’s Debt-free Tiny House Lifestyle

This is the story of Peter Matheson, the 70-year-old man who designed and built his own 125 sq. ft. tiny home on wheels.

He shared his story with us in early 2016, and today I’m excited to tell you about a new video that Peter is featured in on Living Big in a Tiny House on YouTube! Enjoy!

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Video Tour of Pete’s Debt-free Tiny House and Lifestyle

Pete is Even Working on a Legal Tiny House Community in His Area!

Watch the video below to learn more!

Video Tour & Interview with 70 Year Old and His Off-Grid, Debt-Free Tiny Home!

Learn more


Our big thanks to Peter Matheson & Living Big In A Tiny House for sharing!

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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!
{ 26 comments… add one }
  • Evening Iris
    October 20, 2017, 1:28 pm

    This is very well done. The only thing is I’d have to have a full bath. I’m so happy to hear that this gentleman is going to try and create a THOW community. It is so important that those who have land give a helping hand to others in the movement to acquire an affordable place to put their THOWs. He is to be applauded for his community spirit!

    • James D.
      October 20, 2017, 5:21 pm

      He actually is a very good salesman, he helped the community planners to convince the city council in his area to give permission for the Tiny House Community to be formed…

      It’s unfortunately not just a issue of finding land but permission to use that land for living Tiny that makes such options hard to find… But such examples will help people show that it can work and that’ll help convince other officials to at least consider such options instead of automatically rejecting them…

      • Peter Matheson
        October 20, 2017, 5:34 pm

        Thanks for your confidence James, but you may be giving me too much credit for ‘convincing council and staff’ to seriously explore small, laneway and tiny housing concepts. I did have some information I was invited to share that came from building and living in my tiny house, but our Mayor, City councilors and city staff (Planning, Building, Engineering) were already well out in front of this with their adoption of the Sustainable Community Plan a few years back.

        • Peter Matheson
          October 21, 2017, 11:19 am

          Thank you James.

        • Rosa Espinal
          January 27, 2020, 11:03 am

          I’m wondering if you can give me some pointers on how to go about either joining a tiny house community or even after buying a piece of land, getting the town mayors to consider allowing tiny homes. I’m an American and have never been to B. C. but would like to relocate part time. I’m in my 60’s and enjoy my independence and tiny living appeals to me very much. Thanks!

  • Paul Larsen
    October 20, 2017, 1:45 pm

    Hi Peter. Great to hear that you are still enjoying and living in your beautiful tiny home. The video was excellent and informative. I really think that tiny sustainable homes are and should be the wave of the future, rather than the big plywood palaces that see to be so common in Calgary. I hope to be out in Grand Forks again this coming spring.

    • Peter Matheson
      October 20, 2017, 2:30 pm

      Hey Paul, nice to hear from you. I look forward to another visit with you this spring.

  • Leslie Berg
    October 20, 2017, 1:56 pm

    Great presentation! What a creative endeavor, kudos to the builder on inovative use of repurposed materials, very inspiring. Any ideas on how to acquire the chassis for building?

  • Connie M Gallegos
    October 20, 2017, 8:50 pm

    so beautiful and gorgeous!! Now this is what I’m talking about. LOVE everything about this tiny house, I wouldn’t change anything about it, I would love to one built just like yours. So peaceful and enjoyable

  • Peter Matheson
    October 20, 2017, 9:07 pm

    Thanks for posting this Alex – and thank you for all that you do in supporting the tiny house movement, downsizing and sustainability. You make an awesome contribution and have introduced many new tiny house friends all around the world.

    • Alex
      October 22, 2017, 11:26 pm

      Thanks for sharing everything with us Peter!

  • Carol Perry
    October 21, 2017, 11:40 am

    I really enjoyed touring Peter’s Cozy Home! It is adorable & offers lots of great ideas! Pretty smart thinking regarding Your fridge! It allows You to have wall space & You don’t allow to much cold air to escape! I would never have thought to use a freezer for a tub! Great idea for utilizing things that nobody wants! I really love Your kitchen! It’s adorable! You have really organized Your space well! The views from Your window are just gorgeous! I love all of Your neighbors that come strolling through Your Yard! The views of the river are just beautiful! It’s nice that You are a finished carpenter, & You can save money instead of paying a mortgage! Thank You! For sharing Your adorable home!🍁🍃🍂

  • Wendy Hill
    November 18, 2017, 8:07 pm

    Dear Peter, I just watched the video where you shared your tiny home …I was very impressed …I would love to build my own tiny home someday…the interview was honest and informative and I think gave a real feel for living in a small space…I fear I might need a larger space since I am an artist and we tend to collect lots of stuff…have you had any experience with artists paring down their stuff to live in a tiny home….I do not think they are allowed here in Gilbert, AZ due to zoning ?.. not sure…I purchased 5 acres up north then found out the smallest I can build is 1500’….

  • Leigh Jackson
    November 19, 2017, 2:58 am

    When someone builds smart, that’s impressive. This guy did a great job on his place.

  • Nanny M
    November 19, 2017, 10:51 am

    Charming home, charming guy. Inspiring. I just wish all homeless could enjoy such a place!

  • Diane
    April 27, 2018, 3:37 pm

    I like the unit and also see that he has a beautiful view. I wonder how much the lady that has given him this beautiful view is benefiting from him being there? I would want to see some profit for her as it is her property and obviously she has paid the expense to make it beautiful. Parking spaces in RV places cost quite a bit and electricity even if you use a small amount is not free. If he has a marketing background he knows what things cost. I hope he is paying his share while he is stacking his money in the bank.

    • Peter Matheson
      April 27, 2018, 4:20 pm

      Hi Diane. Thanks for your concern for my elderly landowner.
      In addition to my standard monthly rental fee I also pay my fair share of internet and electrical. I am always happily available as a volunteer handyman around her large home and am told that I provide her a comforting sense of security. We both consider our arrangement ‘win-win’.
      If I have given the impression that I am ‘stacking’ money in my bank account it would be an unfortunate exaggeration and I apologize.

      • Amber
        February 13, 2021, 10:05 am

        Such a lovely example of using one solution to solve multiple problems – there are thousands upon thousands of asset rich, cash poor elders forced into giving up the homes they treasure for both financial and social reasons, and even more who’re facing housing crises for a number of reasons. Peter has highlighted just one way of bringing people together to meet mutual need – this is an example of communities evolving when the naysayers say there’s no such thing as community any more. Communities are pretty hard to build when everyone is closeted away in the homes they’re working every minute of the day to afford, fiercely protecting property that stands between them and the quality of life that Peter and his elderly neighbor/landlord enjoy. And environmentally sound too!

  • Diane
    April 27, 2018, 10:26 pm

    In response I hope you are paying at least 600 to live there. That would be fair market value with all included. Yes I am a marketing professional. Being a handyman or carer on the property should be part of what you do because you LIVE there. I am often approached by free loaders wanting to park and I am on to this game of wanting to live free while everyone else pays the bills. I rent the rooms in my home as a sustainability project to business people and I charge them 1200 a month. I never have a vacancy. I have been booked solid for 8 years.

  • Kurt
    April 28, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Overall, I like this tiny house. I like how Pete designed the outside area for the generator and A/C. However, there are a few things I don’t like about it. One, there doesn’t appear to be enough storage space; e.g. where’s the clothing closet? Two, I wouldn’t want my bed to double as a sofa. Three, seems like it would be difficult removing and placing sheets on the bed since it’s only accessible from one side.

    • Kurt
      April 28, 2018, 8:13 pm

      Forgot…thank you Alex for posting this; very interesting.

    • Peter Matheson
      April 28, 2018, 9:08 pm

      Hi Kurt.
      Thanks for taking the time to write. I appreciate the intelligent comments and they can also be very helpful to those currently designing.
      I decided to do some drastic downsizing to ‘live tiny’ and the small closet beside my fridge is now suitable for my few shirts and pants. I have a roll-out clothes bin and further storage for bedding etc. under my bed. It IS extreme, but it works for me.
      As I mentioned in the Youtube interview, I seldom entertain at home, so the bed-to-living-room conversion is not an issue for me and I, like yourself, wouldn’t want to rely on it often. Although I appreciate the incredible creativity, of the Rubic Cube, transforming interiors of some of the more complex THOW’s – I’m not a fan.
      I am in total agreement with your sharp and accurate observation that the bed would be difficult to change sheets on – it is a bear of a job that I don’t look forward to!
      Containing my home within 18 feet of length created a variety of design limitations – but I truly love it!

  • Paul Larsen
    April 29, 2018, 9:28 am

    That is the beauty of tiny houses , they can be personalized to suit the owner. There is no right way or wrong way to build one. I do prefer the simplicity of Pete’s home, even if changing sheets on the bed is a bit difficult . I would rather change sheets on a bed like his than crawl around in a loft trying to do it. Or worse , one of those beds that raise and lower with cables. There is beauty in simplicity.

  • Cherry Loveland
    January 30, 2020, 10:10 pm

    I love this. Do you have a plan for this? And if so how do we go about getting one? (cost).

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