Yoga Teacher Building his own Tiny Home – A guest post by John Cole
I love your website! It’s helped me dive deeper into the tiny house community and expand my knowledge so much to help with my own build. Here’s a little about me and my story:
I’m 24 years old and teach yoga at the Mt. Washington Resort in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. My apartment lease ran out at the end of August so I’ve been camping in the beautiful fall foliage while I work four days out of the week and the other three days I drive 2 hours down to Dover where I’m building the house.
I first heard of tiny houses about a year and a half ago. I really fell in love with them when I was in the middle of a cleanse and at a loss of what to do with myself, so I started researching them; the seed had been planted. From there my passion grew more and more gathering all the info I could about plans, layouts, building practices, etc… I started teaching myself how to use sketch up and design everything. I would scour craigslist every day looking for a suitable trailer until one-day last summer I finally found the one. Its about 7.5′ x 20′. I got it for $400 from a guy in Maine. My friend Seth helped tow it to my parent’s house where I proceeded to spend the summer greasing the bearings, rewiring brakes/lights, and the labor-intensive process of grinding all the rust off. I covered the trailer in POR and Seth welded reinforcements all over.
Images © John Cole
Fast forward to this summer. My sketch up plans finalized and tools acquired through family and home depot have allowed me to really get going. I constructed the floor sometime around May and bolted it to the trailer with carriage bolts. In July I constructed the walls and put them up. September I finished sheathing the walls and the roof rafters went up. This current week I’m putting the rest of the ZIP panels on the roof. It’s been such an amazing experience learning everything from scratch. More than anything I love how rewarding the work has been and the feeling of aliveness my life has been imbued with as a result of this venture.
Its mostly been me working on the house with friends helping here and there when they’re free. The framing is 16 oc with 2x4s and the roof is with 2x6s. I got my all but two of my windows from the local reStore and my doors off craigslist. The house will run off solar, have a rain catchment system, and a compost toilet. Heat will come from a wood stove from graystove.com.
Images © John Cole
Up to this point I have probably spent something over $4k and every single penny has been worth it. I have a blog I update my progress on every week at:
I am raising funds to go towards obtaining a Solman solar generator for the house at:
I was recently featured on NH Chronicle in a segment they did on Tiny Houses too! I’m hoping to move it really soon cause its getting pretty cold camping. I’ve got a few things to finish up and I’m waiting to hear back from someone I spoke to about renting their land in Bethlehem.
If you enjoyed this yoga teacher’s DIY tiny house story you’ll absolutely LOVE our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more! Thank you!
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love your story, your TH design and your components. I was looking at a navigator sardine wood stove . It is $1300 with the glass window, which i love. yours is cool looking and a lower price. I will look into this more. I like the looks of the solar generator too. Keep up informed of your progress John 🙂 happy building:)
Thanks Liz! I was looking at the Sardine stoves too but when I stumbled upon gray stove I fell in love, they’re beautiful and a budding company too!
well go on! That’s how you do it–NICE work
The trailer looks like it was salvaged from a box or travel trailer. I hope it will hold the weight of a tiny house because if it was, it was never designed for it.
Skimp and cut corners anywhere else if you need to, but never, never, NEVER skimp on the trailer. It is your foundation and a frame that was made to hold an aluminum box may very well fail under the much greater weight of a house.
The trailer was salvaged from a travel trailer, similar to that of the trailer tinyrevolution.us used and also a few other builds I have encountered. The GVW marked on the tongue is rated for 20,000 lbs. I have also verified the axles as being adequate to hold the weight of the house upon examination of the bolt patterns and diameter. I decided to go this route because it made the most sense financially for me. As you can see I added reinforcements and I will soon be adding more before the maiden voyage. I’m no expert but I’m doing the best with what I’ve got and will certainly be as thorough as possible before putting this on the road. Thanks, I really appreciate your concern!
So far, so good. Looks very sturdy, and I like the roof pitch. Keep us posted with new pics as you go. Can’t wait to see it finished!
Thanks Marsha it feels sturdy too! I sure can’t wait to see it finished either!
well done looks great, i hope to start my own tiny house next year, if the budget allows ,,,, elaine doyle
Thanks Elaine. Good luck with your build and take all the tiny steps you can!
John , love the post and your blog. The structure is very similar to the one
I m planning to start next month. Could you tell me the height of the two side walls. Thanks. Will be following your progress
Thanks Judi. The taller wall is 124″ from top to bottom plate and the short wall is 94″.