Tiny Houses

Nameless off-grid tiny house harks back to smaller and simpler times

Nameless off-grid tiny house h...
The tiny house is up for sale for $49,999
The tiny house is up for sale for $49,999
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The tiny house is up for sale for $49,999
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The tiny house is up for sale for $49,999
Generous glazing ensures plenty of daylight inside the tiny house
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Generous glazing ensures plenty of daylight inside the tiny house
The tiny house measures 20 ft (6 m) in length
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The tiny house measures 20 ft (6 m) in length
The tiny house is based on a double-axle trailer and finished in black steel
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The tiny house is based on a double-axle trailer and finished in black steel
The tiny house is heated with a Dickson propane-powered heater
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The tiny house is heated with a Dickson propane-powered heater
The bedroom is a typical tiny house-style loft bedroom with a low ceiling
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The tiny house has a typical tiny house-style loft bedroom with a low ceiling and enough space for a double bed
The kitchen is small and includes a propane-powered two-burner stove
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The kitchen is small and includes a propane-powered two-burner stove
The kitchen includes some storage space and connects to the bathroom
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The kitchen includes some storage space and connects to the bathroom
Visitors enter the tiny house through a large sliding glass door
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Visitors enter the tiny house through a large sliding glass door
The tiny house's interior measures 209 sq ft (19.4 sq m), much of which is taken up by the living room
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The tiny house's interior measures 209 sq ft (19.4 sq m), much of which is taken up by the living room
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A lot of North American tiny houses are huge luxurious models that offer many of the comforts of a traditional house. However, this unnamed off-grid tiny house by New Mexico's We Shelter People harkens back to the tiny house movement's roots by keeping things small and simple – and relatively affordable too.

The tiny house is based on a double-axle trailer that has a length of 20 ft (6 m). It's topped by a gabled roof that lends it a slightly traditional look, even with its black painted steel finish. Generous glazing ensures that the interior is filled with daylight.

Access to the tiny house is gained by a large sliding glass door that really opens it up to the outside and its interior measures 209 sq ft (19.4 sq m), much of which is taken up by a relatively large living room. The decor is nice and clean and simple – indeed, there's not a whole lot going on in there at the moment since the home is unfurnished, though it does include a Dickinson propane heater (a marine heater popular in the tiny house scene) that should be sufficient to keep the small space warm in the winter. There's also some storage space.

The kitchen is nearby. This is quite small and simple, and contains a two-burner propane-powered stove, a fridge/freezer, a sink, plus cabinetry and some extra storage space. The kitchen connects, via sliding pocket door, to a snug bathroom that has a shower, sink, and a Nature's Head composting toilet.

The tiny house is heated with a Dickson propane-powered heater
The tiny house is heated with a Dickson propane-powered heater

There's just one bedroom, which is a typical tiny house loft-style sleeping space with a low ceiling. It's reached by a storage-integrated staircase.

The tiny house is configured ready for both life on the road and safely parked up in an RV park. It gets power and water either from a standard RV-style hookup or from the installed solar system, which consists of two 12-volt batteries and four 310-watt solar panels. It also has a 40-gallon (151-liter) water tank.

The tiny house is up for sale for US$49,999. To the firm's credit, it breaks down all the materials used and their cost in detail on its construction notes, which are well worth a read.

Source: We Shelter People

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16 comments
16 comments
TechGazer
One draw of monster houses is the investment potential. Property generally gives a good return, so the larger and more expensive the property (and home), the higher the potential return. If society really wants to promote tiny, energy efficient homes, the financial aspects need to be addressed.
cjboffoli
Certainly there must be a more practical exterior color (for desert use) than black.
Terence
@TechGazer Terence from We Shelter People here (my friend and business partner and I are the builders of this particular tiny house). You're 100% right about the investment potential of bigger homes, but our experience on this build is that when your profit expectations are modest you can build a high-quality structure that should last a "lifetime" like any other normal house for a pretty low cost. And I will say that if we're able to sell this first one (we're just starting out!), and assuming we could source the materials for the same price (an open question given rapid inflation these days; the windows are already $1k more than we were when we bought them) then we'd be happy to build a thousand of them because the profit per house works for our needs. Not saying you were wondering about any of that, but I thought I'd share our perspective because we certainly care about the financials. Right now, though, we care most about building something high-quality for a "reasonable" price.
Terence
@cjboffoli Terence here from We Shelter People. We were intrigued by the black exterior for the aesthetics and so we did some homework on that before the build. We were comfortable with it based on how we planned to insulate the house and based on our supplier's advice that the black would not be a problem, even in the heat of summer. That said we weren't 100% sure of that until we built it and tested it on hot summer days (not desert hot!). You can read about the results of those tests on our website: https://www.weshelterpeople.com/materials-and-costsSuffice and scroll down to the Roof and Siding Metal section.

That said, you're 100% right about this, any tiny house or any normal house in the desert. Absent AC (we do not include AC by default), we would not advocate and in fact would not sell you the tiny house if you wanted to use it in the summertime in a desert unless you asked us to outfit it with AC or said you were going to do it yourself. But that has little to do with the black exterior, which is designed to reflect, not absorb heat, and everything to do with the temperatures never getting low enough throughout the day and night to live comfortably without AC. We're lucky to be based in northern New Mexico where, even though it can get hot during a summer day, the nights are much cooler and pleasant. For those who prefer warmer temps, it's AC or bust.
Unsold
Conceptually it's a great idea. Black will absorb heat. White reflects heat which is helpful for combatting climate change. The best option is an organic tone taken from the landscape, so that it blends in and disappears. As far as the interior goes (which prompted this commentary,) white has it's uses, but global white is the default interior color for every bargain basement apartment I've ever seen. That said, "the colors are free". If you need a color - even a global one - for your discount interior, pull it from another color in the space. Take your color chart and pick an organic color or value from the FLOORING. You'll be surprised how pulled together it looks. And still cheap.
rtstxtrdnr@gmail.com
Is there storage under the stairs?
Nik Bermudez
Terence: "But that has little to do with the BLACK EXTERIOR, which is DESIGNED TO REFLECT, not absorb heat.."

Me: (Doubt)
Me: (You can't cheat physics)
BlueOak
Nicely minimalist. Large windows are very nice, but might be a bit on stingy side in the kitchen and in the loft. More natural ventilation (operable windows in high spaces would help. Hopefully the propane heater is direct vent or combustion process moisture build up would be a problem. Not a fan of a primary entrance being a sliding door wall - they tend to wear out, causing problems when used heavily.
BlueOak
Regarding the “investment” aspects of homes…. Going to speculate that the vast majority of folks considering Tiny homes have no interest in tying up their money in one, even if they can afford a “monster home”. If your purpose for buying a “monster home” is the Real Estate investment return or diversifying your investments (perhaps using Real Estate as a hedge against inflation), simply buy Real Estate investments! You’ll have far more flexibility to get in or out. And you won’t have the added premium maintenance and property tax costs and risks that go with personally owning a “monster home”.
mikewax
Well you guys are thorough that's for sure. Looking at your specs i see you put in an awful lot of structural support and i wonder is all that structure for mechanical reasons? Or maybe there are building codes that dictated the framing and cladding details?
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