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Building Smalltopia: We’ve got a roof!

{Every week, I post a short essay about the little house we’re building. Enjoy!}

We only have 8 more days until the little house rolls into Portland! It’s hard to believe we’re going to move in so soon! Last weekend we got to hang out with Dee and Katy and while Katy was in town she had a chance to pick up our roof (pictured below) and kitchen counter.

In the meantime, we’ve been boxing up our stuff and donating odds and ends to Goodwill. We gave our futon frame to a Freecycle member last week and we’re taking our kitchen table to Goodwill this afternoon.

Our Rock Soft Futon mattress and Ikea Poang chair are the few pieces of furniture coming to the little house. The chair should fit snugly into the great room and shouldn’t take up too much space. It’s a cozy reading chair and we don’t want to give it up.

In addition, I had a minor meltdown over a last minute cost that came up. We knew getting the little house into the backyard would be difficult because the yard entrance has an awkward angle. The truck won’t fit, so Logan has been looking into solutions. Rather than renting a forklift, we decided to buy an electric trailer dolly that will enable us to get the little house into the yard at a very tight angle. We decided to buy because the rental would have been more expensive in the long-run. In addition, a forklift would have torn up the backyard and that’s not an option. With Dee’s help, we purchased the dolly and will rent it to other tiny housers in the future, likely through a tool library in Olympia, WA.

The building process has been awesome. However, the biggest lesson I learned this week is this: Any house, big or small, comes with unexpected costs.

As always, I’m happy to answer questions. However, please read this Q & A first. I’ve been getting a lot of the same inquires over and over again. If I’ve already answered the question, I won’t respond to it again. Sorry that’s just how it is. 🙂

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ethan October 15, 2011, 10:17 am

    Tammy, thank you for re-igniting my interest in tiny houses! I’m so glad I saw your instagram shot and checked out the blog.

  • Mike | Homeless On Wheels October 15, 2011, 12:07 pm

    Wow… how exciting! As for the unexpected expense, that isn’t really related to the house as much as it is to the site you’ve chosen. Another option you may have already considered might be, if fencing is creating an access issue, to temporarily remove the fence and then reinstall it after the house is in place.

    Great idea, though, buying the dolly and then having it available for others to rent.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading all about it and seeing pictures once it is moved and furnished.

    • Logan October 15, 2011, 12:54 pm

      Hey Mike,

      Indeed. We considered the fence idea; however the fence is relatively new and the landowners weren’t thrilled by the idea of dismantling the heavy duty fence they recently put in. 🙂 Additionally, we may need to move the house again this spring so in essence we are more temporary than the fence. 😉 Cheers!

  • Megan Swicegood October 15, 2011, 12:33 pm

    I love our Ikea Poang chair – we got rid of some furniture and did some creative arranging so it could stay in our home. It is a cozy reading chair. I’ve loved following along on your tiny house journey. I can’t wait to read about the final product and the moving/settling in process.

  • Kane October 15, 2011, 12:54 pm

    Tammy so close now 😉

    The picture belies the term tiny house. The figure on the roof looks like a tiny person in comparison.

    • Logan October 15, 2011, 12:59 pm

      True! Even a tiny house is big! That’s Katy, the tiny house creator, on the roof. The house is 13’5” at the apex and 16′ long so “tiny” is a relative term. 😉

  • Debby October 15, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I’m so happy your dream is coming true! YEA!!!!!

    • Tammy Strobel October 15, 2011, 3:59 pm

      Thanks Debby! I miss you! 🙂

  • Caroline October 15, 2011, 2:49 pm

    The house looks great! This has been my favorite series on your blog – I keep checking back to see if there are more tiny house posts. Although I had written off tiny houses for our own little family as a less-than-workable option, all of your wonderful posts about building your tiny house have gotten me rethinking the possibilities. Can’t wait to see more pictures after you’re all moved in!

    • Tammy Strobel October 15, 2011, 3:59 pm

      @Caroline – I’m excited too. I can’t wait to document the move and write about the experience of living in such a small space. It’s going to be a fun adventure. Thanks for reading!

  • DJ October 15, 2011, 4:32 pm

    Congratulations! Isn’t it amazing that enough other people with trailers have had similar problems that an entire machine was invented to solve them? At least you’ll always know where to go for the machine, no matter how many times you may move in your tiny house, you will always be able to negotiate tricky angles.

  • Bonnie Discuillo October 15, 2011, 6:13 pm

    I like your roof. Is it metal? I had to laugh at the term “great room” for you reading chair! Thanks for sharing your project.

  • Kel October 15, 2011, 7:42 pm

    I LOVE your tiny house. I have wanted to live in one since I saw on Oprah (years ago, now) a show who had a guy on there that lived in one. I still remember him saying that I allowed him to do what he really wanted to do. I’m a biologist and my first year out of college I lived in a little tent (even smaller than your tiny house) for a year. 🙂 I was so happy then. Nothing to worry about. So little to clean.
    Alas, I live with a husband who refuses to get rid of anything. Sigh. One day maybe.
    Please post lots of pictures if the inside. I would love to see what it looks like and how you store stuff.

  • Jennifer | Modern Aspirations October 15, 2011, 8:31 pm

    Hi Tammy. Congratulations on your new home. Moving is always a busy but exciting time. I wish you and your husband happiness in your new home.

  • Shawna Callaghan October 15, 2011, 9:25 pm

    I have been following you for a while and I’m super stoked that you are moving into your tiny house. We just made our first downsize from 3100sqft + 3 car garage to 1200sqft and no garage ( and 300 of that is storage for crap we don’t want!). We hope that our next downsize happens in about 2 years, and it’s to a 40-45 ft sailboat. I’ll be looking forward to learning from your experience.


  • kristen esbensen October 16, 2011, 4:11 am

    I am 64 and losing my job, pretty scared about the future, wanting to move to California, and these little houses look appealing and affordable to me. In 1970 my husband built us a 12 1/2 foot modified dome in which we lived in the Oregon National Forest. We had a baby; a dog; 3 cats; two goats; and chickens. The dome met all our needs at the time, was charming, and was probably the nicest, leanest structure I have ever resided in. All this to say, I have lived in a small space, and loved it, and want to return to it. Seeing what you are doing inspires me. My hope is to live in Claremont, California and put a dwelling such as this in a yard, much like a back house.

    I have many questions, but I think I’ll wait to see how things unfold for you before asking.

    Kristen Esbensen


  • tammy October 16, 2011, 5:13 am

    i love your tiny house adventure! i have followed silently for so long and now can’t help spilling over since it’s so close! you and logan are re-newing my faith in the young people of today. it’s truly not about stuff. more stuff, bigger stuff. if people could only learn that earlier, rather than usually the hard way!
    you have found the key to happy living! and your little house is simply beautiful. i love the french doors. i would have to have lots of natural light myself and they will give you that. i also like that you’ve chosen to have your futon and chair rather than mostly built-in furniture. it will give you more flexibiltiy in many ways.
    like mike above… just can’t wait to see more wonderful pictures, inside and out!
    all the best,
    tammy j
    (won’t be hard to remember my name!)

  • Krystal October 16, 2011, 2:00 pm

    Wow, your tiny house looks amazing! And like someone else said, the tiny house doesn’t look so tiny with her on top, haha.

    I have a long way to go in my life, considering how I’m still relatively young, but I can’t wait until the right time comes for me to start thinking about buying a tiny home as well. And even though you may have to spend a lot to live in a tiny home, it would be all worth it because in the end, you’ll be saving yourself money.

    Can’t wait for more pictures!

  • BigWarpGuy October 16, 2011, 2:02 pm

    That looks really nice.

    If the guy on the roof had a violin, it would be ‘Fiddler on the Roof; the Small House Edition’. 🙂

  • Jeannie October 16, 2011, 4:25 pm

    I think your blog is AWESOME and have been following it for almost a year now 🙂 If I remember correctly, you and Logan have two adult cats? I’d like to know more about how you think they will do in a smaller space?

    I have two cats myself, and while they (5 yrs and a 1 yr old), mostly sleep all day, they do have moments of playtime and running about. I can imagine that becomes difficult in a smaller space, so I would be concerned about proper amount of exercise. What do you think? I’d love to hear!

    Thank you very much for writing, and sharing.

    In joy,

  • Jeannie October 16, 2011, 4:26 pm

    OH, yes! Also, what do you do about their poop disposal? Living in Oakland, CA, I am familiar with compostable toilets, but I was wondering if you compost your kitties’ litter as well. Thank you again!

  • Jackie October 17, 2011, 8:02 pm

    I’ve been following your tiny house journey for a while and I’m so excited for you and Logan. I thought I had to be creative in my tiny apartment in NYC. When you build your own house you can plan for all of the storage nooks and crannies. And it seems that you’ll have everything you could possibly need. 🙂
    The adventure begins!

  • Sheila October 24, 2011, 8:13 am

    What a great way to approach your problem! I love the idea of renting such a tool to others in the future, and eventually, you will be reimbursed for some of the upfront costs you’re incurring.

    Can’t wait to see photos of you settled in your new home.

  • colin October 24, 2011, 8:58 am

    hi tammy,
    thanks for sharing so much about your tiny house. i’m building one starting next week and i’ve learned alot by looking at the photos of dee and katy building yours. i do have one question for you. i noticed that you used the oregon shepherd wool insulation. how did you decide to use that? i’m very interested in going that route even though it’s a bit more expensive, but i would love to hear how it’s working out – or since you’ve only been living in it a few weeks – what convinced you to go with that.
    thanks so much!

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