The tiny living community is filled with enthusiasts who think outside the box in a bid to turn what's essentially a shed into a viable home at minimal cost. Pacific Northwest resident Scott Brooks offers a great example of what can be achieved with a shoestring budget under the right circumstances, with the recently-completed Transforming Tiny Home, which was built for an estimated cost of under US$500.
Until now, the cheapest tiny house project we'd reported on was the $489 conversion of a storehouse by two college students. Though he didn't keep an exact tally, Brooks estimates his home as coming in at "well below" $500. Like the storehouse conversion, this was largely made possible thanks to the use of salvaged and gifted items, which in this case included skylights, a door, a window and a wood-burning stove.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
The Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and isn't designed to be easily movable. It sits atop concrete blocks in a large 8.1-hectare (20-acre) plot of rural land in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. The land is owned by Brooks' friend, who designed the basic shell of the tiny house to use materials he already had lying around, and Brooks and a few more friends then built it.
Handily, the same friend also constructed an outhouse and outdoor shower to serve his own home nearby, and these were made available for Brooks to use, thus freeing up valuable floorspace inside the Transforming Tiny Home and lowering costs further.
As you'd probably expect from a sub-$500 home, even with the salvaged building materials and free land some sacrifices were required. No sustainable tech was used on the build, and Brooks' electricity is provided by a standard hookup.
The tiny house currently doesn't have any cladding either, though this is in the works and should be a simple enough fix. In addition, it also has no fridge (Brooks uses a cooler and his friend's chest freezer) nor running water, as Brooks decided that a rainwater capture system just wasn't worth the space it would take up.
Though he had no significant experience with tiny house design, Brooks tackled the interior himself, and it looks like he did a good job making the most of the available space. A large fold-down loft bed is placed above the couch, and there's also plenty of storage space available. A generously-proportioned plywood work area folds open to reveal a two-burner propane stove and a preparation area for food, while a small folding dining table just about fits into a corner.
Living in such a small space encourages a certain kind of lifestyle, and Brooks reports that he spends most of his time outside, often choosing to take his meals on camping furniture outdoors. One unexpected downside is that heating the small home with a wood-burning stove can prove a little too effective, and this can make trying to sleep uncomfortable. Still, while not for everyone, the Transforming Tiny Home can be considered a definite success, as is usually the case with tiny house projects, if it is well-suited to the lifestyle and personality of its occupant.
You can read more about Scott Brooks' tiny house and traveling adventures via the source link below.
Source: Scott's Next AdventureView gallery - 32 images