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Young Lady’s The Lucky Penny Tiny Home

Lina and her cat, Raffi, are used to tiny dwellings, so they thoroughly enjoy this cozy Vardo-inspired Lucky Penny tiny house in Portland, Oregon, that Lina designed and helped build herself. The tiny home is a whopping 100.3 square feet, 14 1/2 feet long, 8 feet wide, 10 1/2 feet high. The “lucky penny” nickname comes from the fact that most of the interior and exterior are copper-colored, including the small refrigerator.

The front cedar porch folds up flat to allow transporting the home from one place to another.  As you enter the home, you will see a chest of drawers to the left, equipped with storage for jewelry, change, and receipts.  The top 3 drawers of the chest hold Lina’s wardrobe, the 4th drawer her shoes, and the bottom drawer contains Raffi’s litter box!  Lina cut a hole in the side of the bottom drawer with enough space for Raffi to squeeze in and out to do his business, while maintaining his privacy.

The open skylight running almost the entire length of the house provides more openness and brightness, allowing Lina and her kitty to enjoy the trees, birds and sunlight pouring through it.  The Tansu Japanese step chest that Lina found on Craigslist stores many items, while also allowing easy access to the upper loft where additional storage is located.

Young Lady’s Lucky Penny Tiny Home


Images © Tiny House Giant Journey

The bed is tucked into the “far” end of the home under a window when not in use, but can be opened out to its full width by sliding it out and over the small refrigerator and kitchen counter.


Lina has not yet finished her bathroom tub/shower (she showers at the big house in the community or her yoga studio). Her plans are to have a bench that covers the tub when not in use, for additional seating.  The shower head — a coil hose with a spray nozzle at the end — is tucked inside a medicine cabinet.  The 4-gallon water heater, located under the kitchen sink, mandates quick showers, but since the nozzle can be turned off and on, Lina gets a bit more hot-water time to rinse off.


Images © Tiny House Giant Journey

Related: Friends Build Their Own DIY Tiny House Community

Video: The Lucky Penny Tiny Home Tour

Related: Friends Build Their Own DIY Tiny House Community


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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • SteveDenver
    May 8, 2015, 10:48 am

    I love this build and all the great ideas, especially the pull-out bed that doubles when extra space is needed. Standard shipping containers are 8×20, so another 48sf, but in this same width.
    The craftsmanship on this home is gorgeous, from the arched doorway to the arched window that echoes it; the shingles, cabinets, even the cool green walls that provide relief from the warm woods.
    Love that cat. I bet he loves to knock stuff over.

    • Sally
      May 8, 2015, 2:02 pm

      Clever use of space, and that cat is definitely aware of the camera 🙂

      • SteveDenver
        May 8, 2015, 2:04 pm

        I think he resented the humans getting in the way of his “beauty shot.” I wonder if they ever lose him in plain sight — he’s the same color as the woodwork.

  • Lisa E.
    May 8, 2015, 12:12 pm

    This is fabulous. No one would ever think that anyone other than a fine carpenter put this together. The ambience is TDF! Love how the wood and the wall colors work together, love the copper, love the “mollycroft” (Gypsy skylight), love the fish scales on the exterior, love the bed, love the windows, love the cabinets, love the storage systems, love the ad hoc tea table (I’m a total tea drinker, too,) love the porch that folds up for on the drom (Roma for “road”) and down to form the porch over the tongue (genius!) This is so well done. Kudos and congratulations on one of the best modern vardos out there! Love it!

    • Sarah
      May 8, 2015, 3:53 pm

      I’m with you, Lisa! To say I’m “gobsmacked” (do we say this in the United States, lol) would be putting it mildly. I love every single thing about this place. These women are so knowledgable, I had more fun watching this video than going to a movie! Way to go!

  • Kathleen
    May 8, 2015, 12:15 pm

    Lots of useful and practical ideas here. I notice she mentioned living in the Bayside Bungalow for awhile. I wonder if that’s Brittany’s in Olympia, Washington. I stayed there for 3 days two years ago with the intention of getting the tiny house “bug” out of my system. It was such a positive experience it made me all the more convinced I could live in one. I have downsized to a 650 sq ft garage apartment that is way too big. The Tinyhousetalk site has been a resource of ideas that are helping me perfect my plans. Finding a place to put it is the major hold-up. A tiny house community such as this one Lina is in is a possibility I’m beginning to pursue now with another tiny house fan I met a few months ago.

  • Joyce
    May 8, 2015, 1:04 pm

    I’m sure you are very happy in this lovely home. Please tell me how you avoid litter box odors. After reading the cat box is under your clothes storage area I felt uncomfortable knowing how many times I have to clean my cat box because the ‘odor control’ formula of the litter is not working. Perhaps sawdust is the answer.

    • Sally
      May 8, 2015, 1:52 pm

      Joyce, she may be lucky and have a non-stink cat. I have two stealth poopers (you never know they’ve been to the box), and then there’s Clara, who can clear the house of all humans. Certain food disagree with her, per the vet. You may consider changing your cat food and see if it makes a difference. If you’re a cat person, you already know they suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, too, which can make the odor unbearable, especially in a hot climate.

      I use a top grade of litter. To some, it’s pricy, but it lasts much longer than the cheap stuff and clumps like it’s supposed to.

      It’s great to see how she manages with a pet. No vardo should be without one.

    • signalfire
      May 8, 2015, 5:03 pm

      I suspect the cat might spend a lot of time outdoors, which means the box would be night time back up…? I agree with everyone, I thought for sure at first sight this was a Zyl Vardos design – it looks a lot like his style and heirloom quality craftsmanship. This may just be my favorite ever! Now, to get this design to fit on a Class C or Sprinter frame…

    • May 9, 2015, 4:55 pm

      You can clear up odors a lot with diet. I’ve tried all the things, wet, dry, high end dry, and raw foods. The difference in odor between cheap commercial dry and wet to high protein dry and raw is staggering! On the high protein dry, their bm’s become smaller more compact and nearly odorless. On raw the size of their urine clumps triple (cats Do Not drink enough from water dishes of any kind) and the poo clumps shrivel to tiny hard odorless nuggets.

      Combine that with a clumping natural litter and an automatic litter box and it’s cat person nirvana! House never smells like cats, their fur is so luxurious and I’m never spending time scooping while holding my nose. Truly the best thing I’ve ever bought for my kitts!

  • Nancy M.
    May 8, 2015, 1:57 pm

    Love this design. Extremely functional, and beautiful! And love the location of bed….nice to be basically surrounded by windows! I could definitely be happy in this!

  • Jack
    May 8, 2015, 2:16 pm

    So we know where Raffi’s litter box is, but where is Lina’s? Did I miss something?

  • Rue
    May 8, 2015, 3:57 pm

    I notice that toilet arrangements were never mentioned…guess that’s in the “big house”, which makes this not quite an independent dwelling.

    Still, it’s clearly designed very well for the owner’s needs, and is a lovely little build. I especially like the skylight.

    • Doris
      May 8, 2015, 4:40 pm

      The bathroom is shown in the video, along with explanations for her hot water and shower materials. Perhaps she thought we would not be interested in her actual toilet, or perhaps it is a work-in-progress, perhaps currently not to code, and therefore perhaps not for public perusal. Maybe she’s trying to find a toilet in copper? 🙂

  • James
    May 8, 2015, 6:40 pm

    Very nice indeed, but as mentioned above, no toilet and can’t see a space for one either…?
    For me, a tiny house is exactly that, a tiny house. Bed, kitchen, shower, toilet, living area etc….
    Not toilet = no house, at least for me. Relying on external bathroom facilities kind of defeats the purpose of living tiny.

    • Doris
      May 9, 2015, 6:13 pm

      She’s managed to get all that creative organized living in 100 square feet, and yet people want to declare her “unauthentic” because of her toilet arrangements?? Here we go again with Rules for Tiny House living by….um, where is that policy posted again?

      Maybe she doesn’t want to tell everyone she pees in a bucket because then she’ll get slammed for that. I doubt she ran next door every time her bladder called during a Portland winter night.

  • Maria
    May 8, 2015, 7:25 pm

    Like this home. But where is the toilet? One thing I don’t like is the litter box being in the bottom drawer where her clothes are. I have two cats and believe me litter boxes stink no matter how much you clean them. One would wonder if her clothes have picked up the litter box odor.

    • LuAnn
      May 10, 2016, 9:13 pm

      She has two dresser boxes stacked on top of each other. Top drawers are separate from bottom. No odor creep.

  • Varenikje
    May 9, 2015, 2:10 am

    Ha ha. Toward the end of this video when her cat meowed, my cat heard that and started to growl because he thought there was a cat nearby.
    Beautiful house. Lots of neat ideas. I guess that is what I am doing right now: collecting ideas.

  • Frank
    May 9, 2015, 11:09 am

    She is a very intelligent designer. A lot of nice touches. Just want to play devil’s advocate on certain things. This house seems to be design for one purpose – a single person with a small pet. No real area within the dwelling to relax except for the elevated bed when going to sleep. You cannot bring friends over to spend an afternoon and feel comfortable (two steel stools without support and a small wooden board over an open drawer is no way to entertain comfortably – there is no porch furniture also to sit down and enjoy the outside. The skylight does not open for ventilating out rising hot air in the summer time and no ceiling fan for ambient comfort. The tub in the front door (also wished the front door was dutch design to have the top open and bottom closed when inside) which turns into a sitting area clever but impractical. A more useful solution would have been a diverting composting toilet so not to exit the home to use the toilet at the main house . Some of the colors were strong especially in the green one inside; would have chosen a pastel-like green for the natural them she has with the wood and copper. Now to get away from the being the devil’s advocate, love the fact that she constructed with SIPs. Love the windows. Love woods and metals chosen. Love the drawers and personal touches she has. Love the skylight. Again she knows what she was doing for her taste and what she wanted. For me it would not work out because I need some sort of comfort after working hard. I would need a comfortable sitting area to unwind and plan my next day and do some work in a relaxed seating area.

    • Doris
      May 9, 2015, 6:37 pm

      Devil’s advocate: a person who advocates an opposing or unpopular cause for the sake of argument.
      Hmm. While dissecting, did you miss the fact that this house is barely 14 X 8 (NOT a Man Cave) designed by the owner for her own needs ? Perhaps her friends are smaller than yours and don’t require as much space.
      After living in a yurt and other tiny houses, I would guess she pretty well knows what works for her. Among other things you found lacking (the shade of paint, porch furniture, etcetera???), I don’t know why you think she should have a Dutch door. How could you not notice that cat? 🙂

      • Frank
        May 9, 2015, 8:43 pm

        Raffe is an intelligent cat….Raffe knows better than to leave his comfortable environment for the wilderness…..I have seen these gypsy wagon type of designs and dutch doors go well with the décor….the mint green interior was a little too bright for me….but its her home and that is what she chose and likes….I am not advocating that this be turned into a man cave…..I had mentioned that I loved much aspects of what she has done and complemented her and I am well aware that it was designed just for her liking and needs….I just think it needs a place where one would relax and read something or do internet surfing and be relaxed….and not just on the bed….she is a very clever designer…..and I loved her copper/metal on wood theme…..I cannot see myself on a rainy day laying in bed all day….or sitting on an un-ergonomic manufactured seat….it’s a work in progress…..she has done well so far….she just needs to set aside another (besides the bed) area for coziness and comfort

      • Rozz
        May 12, 2016, 6:35 am

        Those are HIS ideas, so who are YOU, Doris, to “counter”?! Ugh!

  • Debbie
    May 9, 2015, 2:04 pm

    What was the name of the surround for the shower? I didn’t catch what she said.

    • Frank
      May 9, 2015, 10:43 pm

      Alloy Panel….if you google it…..and click images……you can see many styles and designs of Alloy Panel……Alcoa (manufacturer of aluminum products) makes one that is used in the aero space industry….so as she mentioned….it must cost a pretty penny to purchase…..excuse the pun

  • Peter Piper
    May 9, 2015, 4:19 pm

    I really like the windows, but with the skylight, you really could go stealth and have only the skylight. More security… for sure nobody is going to break in with no windows and a very good lock or even an iron security grill on the door.

  • Peter Piper
    May 9, 2015, 4:27 pm

    One thing that really impresses me about tiny houses is the need for organization. Without it, life would be almost impossible in such a tiny space, but with it, a lot of problems are solved… such as “where did I put that?” No more looking high and low for something and wasting a lot of time.

  • jaime
    May 10, 2015, 12:13 am

    Obviously the camera has a wide angle lens, but I still cant believe is is 14′ a genuine tardis! This home looks to have twice as much storage as TH’s twice the size. A real triumph in practical design. I’d give this TH a 9 out of 10. The only reason being that there is no such thing as a perfect TH so cant give a 10

  • May 13, 2015, 3:06 pm

    One thing I really want to know that hasn’t been mentioned is where she found that lovely skylight that goes so well with the curve of her roof?

  • Mimi
    May 19, 2015, 8:35 pm

    It’s pretty and good for her but……..how can anyone live anywhere permanently without a toilet? I know it’s close by but geesh! Not close enough for me! ( I suppose that’s why she’s living there and I’m not?) But I love the design…..and the cat! 🙂

  • Lynnette
    June 15, 2015, 4:02 pm

    Missing a bathroom. But very creative and cute!

  • Theo
    June 16, 2015, 10:40 am

    I like it, a lot of thought went into it. Unfortunately not enough thought it would seem – I agree with a previous comment – no toilet, no home.

  • Dick
    May 10, 2016, 5:04 pm

    If it works for her, that’s the only thing that matters. But…I didn’t notice anything about heating/cooling (and I agree, being able to open the skylight would really help, especially in the summer–but I’m in Oklahoma, and I doubt the Portland area gets as hot and humid as we do), nor did I see a stove or cooktop. Maybe I missed something…

    But all in all, it’s a beautiful home.

  • kid cardona
    January 22, 2017, 6:47 pm

    Looks nice. I like the design of the home with the curved roof. Too bad there was only three photos. Not everyone can access You Tube to see videos….

    • Natalie
      January 23, 2017, 7:16 am

      YouTube should be available to anyone with internet connection. You don’t even need to subscribe 🙂

  • kid cardona
    January 23, 2017, 2:43 pm

    Natalie, on being able to access You Tube. Currently l live in China. it is blocked and l do not have access to a VPN. I am sure it is nice to see videos but for the moment photos are my only option.

    • Natalie
      January 24, 2017, 6:32 am

      Oh I understand, Kid! Sorry about that, I was confused 🙂

    January 23, 2017, 2:53 pm

    Very beautiful tiny house, or I should say Vardo…! The wood is a little dark but the light green paint color sets that apart… It seems cozy although there is no bathroom…!

    • Natalie
      January 24, 2017, 6:31 am

      That’s always a little rough for me 🙂

  • Susanne
    January 23, 2017, 4:37 pm

    Anyone know if this little community still going strong?

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