Tiny Houses

Transforming Tiny Home built for under $500

Transforming Tiny Home built f...
The Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and was built for an estimated budget of under US$500 (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and was built for an estimated budget of under US$500 (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Small living enthusiasts regularly impress us with their have-a-go attitude and ability to salvage scrap and unwanted materials into a viable home (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Small living enthusiasts regularly impress us with their have-a-go attitude and ability to salvage scrap and unwanted materials into a viable home (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Pacific Northwest resident Scott Brooks lives in a tiny house measuring just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft) (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Pacific Northwest resident Scott Brooks lives in a tiny house measuring just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft) (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and was built for an estimated budget of under US$500 (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and was built for an estimated budget of under US$500 (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Brooks reports that he spends most of available daylight hours outside (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Brooks reports that he spends most of available daylight hours outside (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
There's no fridge inside so Brooks uses a cooler instead (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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There's no fridge inside so Brooks uses a cooler instead (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Brooks didn't keep an exact tally of costs but estimates it as "well below" the $500 mark (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Brooks didn't keep an exact tally of costs but estimates it as "well below" the $500 mark (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and was built for an estimated budget of under US$500 (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Transforming Tiny Home measures just 7.7 sq m (83 sq ft), and was built for an estimated budget of under US$500 (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The interior has plenty of shelving space (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The interior has plenty of shelving space (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
A wood-burning stove provides heat (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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A wood-burning stove provides heat (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Brooks sleeps on a fold-down loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Brooks sleeps on a fold-down loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
A generously proportioned plywood work area opens to reveal a two-burner propane stove and preparation area for food (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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A generously proportioned plywood work area opens to reveal a two-burner propane stove and preparation area for food (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
A generously proportioned plywood work area opens to reveal a two-burner propane stove and preparation area for food (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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A generously proportioned plywood work area opens to reveal a two-burner propane stove and preparation area for food (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The couch is located beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The couch is located beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Brooks is a wood cutter by trade (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Brooks is a wood cutter by trade (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The couch is located beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The couch is located beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The couch sits beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The couch sits beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Though only small, the home has plenty of storage space (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Though only small, the home has plenty of storage space (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Dining table, tiny house style (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Dining table, tiny house style (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
There's more room than you'd expect inside, thanks to the lack of bathroom freeing up space (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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There's more room than you'd expect inside, thanks to the lack of bathroom freeing up space (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
When friends stay over they sleep on the fold up couch bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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When friends stay over they sleep on the fold up couch bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
When friends stay over they sleep on the fold up couch bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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When friends stay over they sleep on the fold up couch bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
A couple of skylights helps improve natural lighting inside (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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A couple of skylights helps improve natural lighting inside (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The bed looks pretty sturdy (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The bed looks pretty sturdy (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Inside the Transforming Tiny Home (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Inside the Transforming Tiny Home (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
Inside the tiny house (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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Inside the tiny house (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The Transforming Tiny Home at night (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The Transforming Tiny Home at night (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The Transforming Tiny Home at night (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The Transforming Tiny Home at night (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The Transforming Tiny Home at night (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
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The Transforming Tiny Home at night (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)

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.

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.

The couch is located beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The couch is located beneath the folding loft bed (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)

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.

The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)
The cooker and food preparation area (Photo: Scott Brooks/Brendan McGarry Photography)

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 Adventure

7 comments
Robert Walther
So if someone gives me a 10K square foot, Palladian marble mansion, including land, and my title fees are my only expense, my cost could then also be less than $500? I really like these tiny houses, but if you cannot live inside of it...?
MBadgero
Sheet metal and tar paper shacks have been around for years. Living in a box is not thinking outside the box. Besides, this looks like a fire hazard. And Robert Walther is right. The price does not include the *20 acres* of real estate. 1981's 'The $50 and Up Underground House Book' and 1987's 'Tiny, Tiny Houses' had more originality than the current tiny house 'movement'.
JeJe
Greg Kloehn builds them for $40-$50 in his homelesshomesproject. Most human history people built with what was around... from igloo to wigwam... $0. But yeah... being gifted stuff invalidates the $ count. A proper tally would involve adding in the cost of those items - whether you payed or not.
Paul1
I read that the land was 'free'? I don't think originality is as important as constructing a cost-effective living solution. How original is anything these days?! Pretty much everything has been done before, especially with homes...! :)
Juan de la Cruz
All good except illegal in every jurisdiction I can think of. Substandard housing by every conceivable building code in effect. It's a shack, and the affect of these shacks on public health (think what happens when you have no running water of sewage disposal) is tremendous.
Steve Paige
Peace out. No way this habitat cost $500 dollars in NEW materials. The roofing, wood stove and skylights cost that much at bargain prices. Re-purposed second hand materials maybe. Poop in the forest? Not happening. Let's call this a 'storage building' at best. I really feel Gismag got taken on this one. If was a girl I would DEMAND a shower and a place to pee. This is a glorified tent.
kuhnsmith
Gismag-please keep these articles on tiny homes coming! I'd much rather read this sort of stuff that about the latest and greatest ways to kill people with new weaponry. I agree with the content if not the tone of the comments I've read. I hope the negativity doesn't discourage Gismag and it's contributing writers from continuing to report on tiny homes.