How Long Does It Take To Build A Tiny House (Part 1)

How Long Does It Take To Build A Tiny House (Part 1)

If you have been asking yourself the question, how long does it take to build a tiny house, we have some answers for you. In building our 28’x8’6″ tiny house on a trailer, we have been keeping track of how many hours have gone into each task. Here are some points to keep in mind when reviewing this time log:  Andrew has been building professionally for nearly 20 years. Nearly all of the tasks so far were completed by Andrew working alone. He works for 8-10 hours per day on our house so his time is largely uninterrupted (except for when we stop to film each step for our upcoming tiny house build instructional video).

Andrew LoftSome surprises have been how long it took to install the rigid foam insulation on our walls (10.5 hours). Also, how much time (14.5 hours) it took to install our interior wall and ceiling panelling (we went with a pretty advanced panelling design to get the modern look we are going for). But there have also been pleasant surprises. Like how quickly the lofts are going up (about 1.5 hours from start to finish for our large loft).

Another pleasantry has been how much has been accomplished in the time we have been building. Working on a tiny house as opposed to a more conventionally sized house is so much more enjoyable because each task obviously completes a lot more quickly. And though we have truly been blessed beyond measure with a spell of 2 weeks of perfect weather, we know that the turn to winter is just an eye blink away.

In 117.5 hours we have a home that is just a few hours away from being able to be occupied if we so choose. Though it won’t be completed, we can at least have shelter beyond our pop up tent trailer. Not too bad considering we started with nothing but a trailer base a few weeks ago.

Next steps are to complete the second loft, frame the bathroom wall, and cover the wheel wells (we used a drop axle trailer to gain an extra 9″ of head space which you can read about here). These tasks will be completed tomorrow. Then on to renting paint sprayer for the interior. Things are really starting to come together and each step we complete now has a dramatic visual impact which gives us a lot of momentum and enthusiasm. The end is in sight!! We will continue with our time log and post an update as we complete the next batch of tasks.

Time Log

Here are updated photos of what our panelling looks like after having been painted.

panelling photo 2

Want to learn more about tiny house living and how to build a tiny house? Want to do so for FREE? Sign up for our totally free 7 Day Tiny House eCourse! Find out more HERE.

101 Responses to How Long Does It Take To Build A Tiny House (Part 1)

  1. white dog at large October 28, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    you write very well (thank god). good luck on your house-cant wait to see process pics!

    happy trails-
    jane and moxie

    • Gabriella October 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Blush…Thank you Jane! I take that compliment to heart.

    • Tasha March 5, 2014 at 8:17 am #

      I am anxiously waiting for your plans and videos to be released. As Andrew is an experienced builder, I want to know if its realistic for 2 noobs (2 city kids who have put up a few shelves) to try and attempt such a project. We love the idea of living in a house like this one, but are concerned that our lack of experience will prevent us from actually being able to afford it.

      • Gabriella March 5, 2014 at 10:23 am #

        Hi Tasha! We have seen hundreds of our students over the years build their own houses. Most of them had no previous building experience. I would say that if you are really driven to do this, have good attention to detail and aren’t afraid to learn, that you are a great candidate! It’s really more a matter of being willing to put in the time to learn and being diligent than anything.

  2. Chris Borden October 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Well done and perfect documentation. Amazed at the mindset of the average person who can’t fathom living in this fashion. I tip my hat to you folks and your endeavours. Stay safe. Very inspiring. Thank you.

    • Gabriella November 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      Thanks so much Chris!

  3. sage November 3, 2013 at 9:14 am #

    I wonder why the insulation took so long. Too much cutting and fitting? Any way you could have done it in hindsight to take less time? same question for paneling.

    I built my tiny house in four months on weekends only, in the “in between” times.

    The insulation (fiberglass) didn’t take so long but the paneling took a fair but of time (plywood).

    • Gabriella November 3, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      Hi there Sage! Yeah…totally valid question about why it took so long to do the insulation. We used rigid insulation and had to apply two layers of it. The first layer lay under the electrical wiring and the top layer essentially sandwiched the electrical and few sections of plumbing in between it. Each of those top pieces had to be modified (notched, cut, altered) to accommodate for the space that the wires and plumbing take up in the wall. We also did as meticulous of a job as we could with this task bc we want a very well insulated house. We chose rigid insulation because we like the idea of a rigid material in the walls that won’t have a tendency to sag and slump with movement over time. Using fiberglass insulation with paper is a good option too though as long as you can staple it to your studs (assuming you’ll be moving your tiny home). Do you have photos of your home?

  4. Dwill November 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    What is the interior paneling you are using? It looks different then sheet rock, what do you use to cover the joints?

    Thanks, looks great

    • Gabriella November 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Hi there! We are using a product called Iron Ply. We are going for a very specific design detail in our panelling that has a clean, modern feel. We picked Iron Ply because it’s thin, lightweight, and has a very smooth surface. The cost was reasonable and it is actually a vinyl flooring underlayment product. We created a pretty large detail gap in between each panelling sheet to create the look we were going for. There are extremely expensive alternatives to creating the look we are going for but literally it would have cost several times more and in the end the result would have been the same. We are super happy with how it looks. The panelling took the paint beautifully. I have added some photos to the blog post on bottom for you to see what it looks like at this stage.

      • Jerry February 19, 2014 at 6:28 am #

        The panelling does looks great. Could you explain further, “We created a pretty large detail gap in between each panelling sheet…”. Did you fill the gap (with spackling paste) before painting? Also, did you nail or screw the panels? Thanks so much!

        • Whitney June 29, 2014 at 1:53 am #

          Yes please! I’m wanting to know the same thing 🙂

  5. Carrie February 5, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Have you posted a Part 2 yet? I can’t seem to find it. Thanks.

    • Gabriella February 5, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

      Hi Carrie! Not yet. We are still waiting to complete a couple other things before we release the final part. Stay tuned! 🙂

  6. Kirk February 5, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Hi Andrew and Gabriella,

    I’m so impressed with your tiny house! Really appreciate your sharing this with the world. Not too many modern tiny houses out there, and y’all have done a great job with yours. I’ve got a couple questions I was hoping you could answer:

    1. Andrew mentioned somewhere that he would post pics of the bare trailer? Did y’all ever find those?
    2. I love the trimless windows. Would you mind posting some information about how you accomplished that, and any tricks or hints you came across in the process?
    3. Any reason you decided to go with the floor standing (propane?) heater, rather than wall mounted?
    4. How much propane do you end up using each month?

    Thanks for your help! Great work!


    • Gabriella February 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

      Great to hear from you Kirk! Thanks for your kind words. Means a lot. To answer your questions. We did find the trailer photos and will post them soon. We took photos of the trim installation process and will create a blog post soon to show how that’s done step by step. We did a TON of research on heaters and as much as we love the looks of the Dickinson, we decided to not take a chance that it wouldn’t put out enough BTUs to keep us warm. We have heard from way too many people that it didn’t heat their space. The other wall units didn’t meet our aesthetic criteria. We also struggled to find a unit that would fit in that small space. I wish there had been a nice looking wall unit that was large enough. But I have to say we are very happy with our heater and it does more than enough to keep our space warm, even when we hit several days that were in the -10F range. We set up two 100 gallon tanks and I can’t say how much we use yet bc it’s too early on. But we will monitor that and post about it in the next couple of months.

      • Kirk February 7, 2014 at 7:09 am #

        Thank you Gabriella! I’m excited to see your post about the trim installation! I was also looking at the dickinson propane heaters… I’m early on in my research, and hadn’t heard that there were issues keeping the space heated! Looking forward to seeing what y’all do next.

      • Saki February 14, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        Gabriella, is picture #17 in your Homestead album (in the photo gallery) the trailer you used for hOMe?

  7. Nancy Ryan February 5, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Hello Gabriella…Must give you a wee bit of background. I am 67, healthy, and come from a background of carpenters and fixeruppers. My husband of 25 years is dying of lung Cancer and I will be downsizing immediately after his death. He is an accomplished carpenter and has taught me a little about plumbing, electrical as well as basic maintenance of house and vehicle. We have lived in the same 1200 sf home for 25 years and are “almost” hoarders. It will take me much longer to downsize than it will to build my tiny house. My father was a carpenter/contractor who’s main projects were schools and subdivisions. I am very confident that I can do the work myself. I absolutely LOVE your design AND your writing style. Some questions: 1. How did you prioritize in your downsizing (the hardest part for me)? 2.What was your overall cost including the trailer? 3. Fully loaded, what is the total weight and what do you use as a tow vehicle? Thank you so much. You have a beautiful hOME.

    • Gabriella February 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      Thanks for connecting Nancy. I am sorry to hear about your husband. It sounds like you have been together for a good many years and I can’t imagine that any of this is easy for you. I am warmed to hear that you are stepping into a new and exciting place for yourself and that you have the skills and confidence to build your place. To answer your questions…when it came to downsizing, what really helped early on was setting a goal for ourselves. Ours was to go through every single belonging in our house and to apply our 365 day rule. If we hadn’t used an object within 1 year, it HAD to go. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. No matter how much it cost or how much we may use it in the future. That was an intense process but really was the cornerstone in taking a determined step to make a change in our lives. We were also clear of our mission and vision to live a simpler life that was more within our means. Once we got over that first major hurdle, things got easier and easier. The more we got rid of, the more excited we became, the easier it was, and the more empowered we felt. Plus it was an emotionally liberating experience. So I would encourage you to have a vision of what you want your life to be in xx amount of time and then set a goal. A first goal that will get you on your way. 2) We will release the cost of our tiny house soon. Sign up for our newsletter or come back to see us in a couple/few weeks 3) We don’t have a weight for hOMe and are actually not sure if/how to get it. Since we don’t plan on moving it for a very long time I am not sure how we would get it to a scale. We may calculate it based on house plans but that will be a little while. I hope you’ll stay in touch. I would love to hear about your process more.

      • george March 2, 2014 at 11:58 am #

        GABRIELLA….Awesome jobon your Tiny House… I’m looking into moving back to AZ from MA in the next couple of months…Spring 🙂 and want to do a Tiny Home!! Love your design … far as “weight”?? Go to a trucking company and see if they would let you borrow/ or come out to you with their portable scales that the State Police do their roadside safety checks with OR talk to the State Police along a toll road or Major Highway and take it to the Tracktor Trailer Weigh Stations….Just make sure you aren’t “Overweight” with it….you could get cited…but at least they could give you anaccurate weight…just a thought! I signed up for you emails and looking forward to any tips on my “future home” Thanks and best of success to you and your family!

        • Gabriella March 3, 2014 at 9:13 am #

          Thanks for connecting George! 🙂

  8. Frank Rodrigues February 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    Hello !

    I really want to thank you for this beautiful example of efficiency and style.
    I have been researching many different options to “Tiny Living”. I have been downsizing for awhile. I am 53 years young in very good health at the moment, but who know’s what my Higher Power has in store for me. So that design of the staircase is fabulous. I really liked the separation of the sitting bench and the eating area and their duel purposes, as all properly designed tiny houses must employ. To mention all the cabinetry used to segregate those spaces was ingenious ! I have always known that, if I were to build on a trailer, it would need to be 28′ long. As I’m an artist and musician and need more space than the average bear. I can’t recall seeing a better design than yours. If I were to build on a trailer, I would have to say that I would want to model it off of your design. Although I am also considering “Shipping Container” Housing as well. I’m really on the fence with it all.

    Do you have blueprints and specific plans for this build ?

    Thank-you so much !


    • Gabriella February 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

      Thanks for writing Frank! Great to hear that you are giving this a lot of thought. We gave serious thought, planning and attention to hOMe before we lifted a hammer and we are so happy we did. One of the ways we created the design was to clearly identify what our needs were. Once we had that list, we designed and redesigned and redesigned until we felt like ALL of our needs were met. Mental gymnastics!! We will be selling plans at some point. Hopefully in next 2-3 months. Check back to our site from time to time or sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already and you’ll be among the first to know. 🙂

  9. James February 6, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Firstly having researched Tiny houses almost daily for a couple of years I must say your completed Tiny is my favourite by far. Awesome job!
    Hopefully you will make plans in metric as well? (I’m in Australia)

    In terms of insulation and getting the look you wanted did you consider SIP’s instead of conventional framing and insulation?
    I’m only in the dreaming stage but I like the concept of SIP’s.
    Any thoughts?

    • Gabriella February 6, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks for connecting James! So glad to hear you love hOMe. We will for sure offer our plans in metric as well. We didn’t consider SIPs. Not because of anything being wrong with them per se but we wanted to create a design and home that could be built using conventional materials and systems. Keep us posted if you go the SIPs route. Would love to hear how it goes for you!

  10. f d February 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

    I’m subscribing!

    Eagerly awaiting for part 2 and many more blog posts about picking a trailer, framing up securely to that metal frame, installing first fixes, trailer rules, etc.

    • Gabriella February 6, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

      Thanks f d! We will be filming a walk through tour tomorrow and will send that over the weekend automatically to you since you’ve subscribed. 🙂

  11. Allan February 7, 2014 at 8:56 am #


    Love your site and the tiny home build. Very inspiring! Would you be able to build 2 tiny homes separately on 2 trailers (2- 28’x8’6″), tow them to your site and then fasten them together to form one larger space but on 2 trailers? We are 5 in our family (3 adults and 2 teenagers). Thank you for all the great information.

    • Gabriella February 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

      Hi Allan! Glad to hear from you. I really like your idea of using two trailers. Are you guys on land at all?

      • Allan February 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm #

        Hi Gabriella! We have 2 acres on a lake. Looking for a inexpensive way to build. Will not be towing these trailers.Thanks.


    • f d February 9, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

      The easiest (and long term most durable, plus easiest to tow fully enclosed, and future proof should you ever need to tow again) might be to construct the two trailers as fully enclosed individual units and then once on site create a raised covered walkway / enclosed breezeway (depending on the climate) between the two units. Making an H shape of sorts. If said walkway is not too long, one could come up with some brackets to slot that floor and roof section in place, as kind of a modular piece. Fully enclosed of course becomes a hallway and is more permanent.

      Create one unit as cooking/bathing/living/entertaining/working area and the other as a number of sleeping + clothing closet areas. Space permitting maybe study nooks for kids. Which would have the benefit of only needing a certain amount of electrical power in the sleeping for lighting & charging of electronics & maybe computers for the kids.

      It keeps things simple, but I think it really depends on the climate whether trips to the bathroom & shower would be “acceptable” for all involved. Maybe, the parents could sleep in the loft of unit 1 so others would have more space and privacy in unit 2.

      Anyhow. That’s just some practical thinking on my part.

      I don’t have the link handy, but I saw a photo gallery and video one time of a Naval Architect who home built his own custom RV for a family of 5. But, some of those principles in boat & RV design might be handy to create sleeping arrangements for 5 in unit 2. I will see if I can find the photo gallery and/or video.

      • f d February 9, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

        If you google/bing/… ” schachagra ” you should find several videos, photos and related information, about this really fantastic custom RV build with incredible space utilization and attention to detail.

        • Gabriella February 9, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

          This is super. Just checked out videos on schachagra. Love it. Thanks for your ideas/suggestions as well f d!

  12. Kayla Feenstra February 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    Hi Fellow Tiny Homers!

    I’m in the process of building my own tiny home, and found your site by coincidence–it is BY FAR the best one I’ve seen yet! Big congrats!! I know everyone wants and needs different things, which is why being able to custom build rocks, so I guess in saying that yours is the best I’ve seen is me saying it’s the one that would work best for me, not necessarily for everyone out there! 🙂

    Anyway, I read above about you not being sure how much the house weighs…. my axles can handle 7500lbs in total, so before I started building on my trailer, I took the trailer to the weigh scale at the dump, and from that number, subtracted the weight of my truck, myself and my dog, and the amount of stuff in the back of the truck, coming to somewhere between 2000-2200lbs. My trailer is 8×16, so quite a bit smaller than yours, but I left the wood decking on mine as the frame was warped a bit and I had to put shims in everywhere. Once I’ve got the door on and the trim on, I’ll be taking it back to the dump to reweigh it. Another place to go would be to a metal recycle depot, or to a auto wrecker. They all have weigh scales. Another place would be the weigh scales on the side of most highways (depending where you live–the closest one to me is an hour away), where all transport trucks and commercial vehicles get weighed and/or inspected. Another general way to do it–my dad’s been in construction since he was 20, and he said industry average is 10lbs/square foot, or 4.5kg/square foot. I would say tiny homes are heavier, due to higher ceilings in some areas and the compact nature of the design and storage, PLUS the trailer…. so my guess is trailer weight + 20lbs/square foot (footprint) + 10lbs/square foot of loft area.

    Your hOMe looks awesome, I love the custom windows and the siding–clean and simple. Also love your full kitchen (something I won’t compromise either), and your attention to business space (I’m a business owner as well, in organic agriculture). Your house looks extremely well thought out! I can’t wait to move into mine soon! All the best, and if you’re on Twitter, I’m @kaylafeenstra–would love to connect there!

    Cheers! Kayla

    • Gabriella February 8, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you SO much Kayla! Really glad you love hOMe…we do too obviously! Also really appreciate hearing the weight estimator. That is super helpful. I really look forward to staying in touch and learning more about your own build. 🙂

      • Rob B May 13, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

        Other places to get a trailer weighed include some Interstate truck stops tho they usually will charge a fee. I got weighed for free at a sand and gravel yard – free for sure if you are buying some sand, gravel or dirt. They will weigh your trailer before you load and again after and you will get a printed ticket with the weight. Some metal scrap yards too but may not want to deal with a long long trailer. Just ask before you take your trailer.

    • Paul Mikels August 23, 2014 at 8:52 am #

      There are portable aircraft scales. An EAA (Experimental Aircraft Assn.) club near you may be able to help you locate a scale to borrow.

  13. Luc February 10, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    Hi Gabriella!

    So glad to see such an informational blog following up on the pictures I’ve seen of you wonderful home! I was just wondering if you would be able to touch on the planning process before the build actually took place. How long did it take you to finalize your floor plan and did you make any 3D renditions of it somehow before the actual build and if so what kind of programs did you use or was it simply by hand?

    I am in the planning stage and simply have rough copies of a floor plan at this point.

    Thanks again!

    • Gabriella February 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      Thanks for connecting Luc! Great to hear that you are in the planning stages. What you’ve asked is a great question. We gave a LOT of thought to the design of hOMe. We used Google SketchUp and after a few hours of tutorials learned the basics which allowed us to change and manipulate the space in a 3D format. This was pretty critical to really getting a feel for the place and what it would be like to live in it. Both Andrew and I have quite a lot of experience with plans and imagining space in our minds but I do believe that seeing it in 3D is the best way. We were in design for weeks. We would make a significant change and the think about it for some days, again really envisioning how the space would flow and work to the best of our ability. One key piece in the design process was the we started with a totally blank slate. We didn’t do any research on any other plans or try to piece different ideas together. We created a list of functions/needs that we had (sleeping area, bathroom, full kitchen, usable stairs, etc.) and then set about creating solutions for each function. Sometimes we would feel really worried bc we would suddenly realize that we had forgotten to account for something and had to literally start all over again. Somehow we managed to get it all to fit and to be within a reasonably sized trailer. I think with perseverance and clarity that you can create space in impossibly small areas. Let us know how it goes for you!

  14. Brian patrick February 11, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    Same as everyone else I really love hOMe!! My family has a house, but we really need a hOMe of sorts , we are planning on a similar sized trailer. However, I’m not getting a very clear answer anywhere about weight ratings needed for trailer and axles for a home this big. Just wondering of you remember off hand the loading specs for your trailer, I would really hate to break an axle and roll our home on the highway.

    • Gabriella February 21, 2014 at 9:09 am #

      Hi Brian! So glad you like hOMe! Our 28′ trailer has two 8,000# axles. The trailer itself weighs 1,450 pounds. Hope that helps!

  15. Gary February 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Delightful design, and a cozy, gemuetlich place to live.
    In speed reading your articles I haven’t yet noticed
    how you addressed the hazards of off-gassing from the materials you used.
    For example, the flooring looks like it is laminate, usually made from plastics and glued wood, which can leak bad gases.
    How about the Iron Ply. What is it made of?
    How did you minimize the risk of fire?
    Does the Iron Ply provide any fire safety in case of an electric wire fire in the walls?
    Is the rigid insulation fire proof?

  16. Jerry February 20, 2014 at 5:45 am #

    The panelling does look great. Could you explain further, “We created a pretty large detail gap in between each panelling sheet…”. Was this for aesthetics? Also, did you nail or screw the panels? Thanks so much!

    • Gabriella February 21, 2014 at 9:08 am #

      Yes, the gap was for aesthetics. We wanted a clearly defined gap between each sheet. Sheetrock wasn’t an option bc of weight and also cracking of the joints in movement. We also didn’t want the pine T&G look. The modern paneling look we were going for cost a fortune because they have a special attachement/spacing system. We created the gaps with good ol’ 16p nails. We attached the Iron Ply using paneling adhesive as well as finish nails. It’s solid.

  17. Jerry February 21, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    I spoke to Patriot Timber, the manufacture of IronPly. They recommend a new product they make for wall and ceiling panelling called, “RevolutionPly.” It’s available at Lowes (Item #: 518477) and costs $15.50 a sheet. The panelling is primed on one side for paint, and weighs less than IronPly (14 lbs vs. 21 lbs). I’m estimating 45-50 sheets are needed for a hOMe home.

    • Gabriella February 21, 2014 at 9:03 am #

      Awesome Jerry! Great to know. We used 41 sheets. One side of the Iron Ply is primed (though it has ‘x’s all over it as nailing guides). It took paint really really well. We used Kilz as we were worried about those ‘x’s bleeding through but we had no problems with that at all. We loved how light weight it was when working overheard.

  18. Sheri February 22, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Where did you buy your trailer?

    • Gabriella February 23, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      Hi Sheri! We had it custom made in southern Oregon. Send me an email to [email protected] and I can give you his number.

  19. Ed Swope February 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Hello Gabriella. I really have enjoyed reading about your home. I have had a desire to do something similar for a long time. So far, no luck getting my wife inspired or interested. I will keep working on her.
    Earlier posters inquired about weighing a tiny home. One bit of advice given was to go to a state weigh station or port of entry to weigh it. I would not recommend that. Some of them DOT officers an be less than friendly, and may not like you coming in just to see what your tiny home weighs. In some states it may even constitute unauthorized access or trespassing. A better option would be to go into any trick stop with a “cat scale”. Most major truck stop chains have them. 10 bucks and you will have a certified weight of truck and trailer. Just pull on, keeping in mind the 3 plates of the scale. Put truck on front 2 plates and trailer on the back one. Cat scale ticket will have all three weights printed it. I’ve been a truck driver a long time. That how we insure our axle weights are legal before we hit the road.

    • Gabriella February 28, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

      Thanks for the heads up Ed!!

  20. Heather February 28, 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    Hello Gabriella & Andrew,

    I have been thinking a lot about a tiny house for a while, a Tumbleweed actually. The funny thing is that I had this thought in my head of a few changes… a full kitchen, lots of cabinets, stairs instead of a ladder, a second bigger loft area and a little more head room from a sloped ceiling. This was exactly what I had envisioned in my head! Will you be placing plans up or selling them soon?

    Thanks, Heather
    PS. I loved reading your blog about your experiences with your family. I have always said that money doesn’t buy you happiness. It just buys you stuff! The experiences that you have with your loved ones are really the true joys in life.

    • Gabriella March 3, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Thanks Heather! And yes, we will offer the plans (soon!) 🙂

  21. Emmanuel March 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    What a wonderful project.

    I’ve been wanting to have something similar for a while. I am unfortunately not handy at all, could some of this work be contracted easily? And do you provide a list of all the material that is required?


    • Gabriella March 4, 2014 at 9:09 am #

      Hi Emmanuel! Yes, I would imagine you could find someone to contract out the pieces that you weren’t comfortable with. 🙂

  22. Lori B. March 10, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    Hi Gabriella & Andrew:

    I just came across your site and I love your design/hOMe. I am just in the dreaming stage right now but every day I piece together a little bit more information from different sites. I was wondering if you could give me some information about some of the utility units in your hOMe. I was wondering what kind of water heater you installed and what make/model of fireplace you put in? I’m in Alberta, Canada and our winters are long and get extremely cold, -40 at times not including windchill. This all has to be factored in for insulation, water, heat, etc. I think that I could use heat tape for the water line and wrap it well with insulating tape and then put skirting around the bottom of the trailer. Have you gained any more insight as to how much propane you are using? I have been thinking the same way you did and was going to use 2-100 lb. propane tanks. I’m just trying to gauge how long they would last, especially in the winter. Have you had to refill them yet? Do you use your stove a lot because that would add to the usage as well as your heating stove?

    • Gabriella March 11, 2014 at 8:47 am #

      Thanks for connecting Lori! Great that you are planning away. We put in two 100 gallon propane tanks side by side. I think we are using around 25 gallons per month these winter months. Propane takes care of our heating, hot water heating, cooking heat. All of those are pretty big energy/propane hogs. Our heater is on quite a lot and it’s doing an amazing job. We bought one designed to heat 800SF homes bc we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be undersized. Even when it was -11F we were toasty warm in hOMe. The heater is this one:,-Fireplaces—Inserts/H27.aspx. The hot water heater is an Eccotemp. Not sure of model right now but it’s the one intended for cabins. Should be easy to find. They both work great!

  23. Paulo Eduardo March 25, 2014 at 10:19 am #

    Can´t wait for the floor plans!

  24. Gail Kelly March 28, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    Gabriella, you are a saint for being so patient, complete, and caring in adressing the plethora of comments and questions you receive. Kudos to you!
    One question from moi: I am considering using rock wool insulation in walls and ceiling of my soon-to-be-constructed 10×28′ house. Denim was also considered but price is considerably higher. I wondered if you had familiarity with either of these and their suitability for small homes on trailers. Mine will not be moving. Thank you for your valuable insights and get those plans out…I’m ready!

    • Gabriella March 28, 2014 at 9:32 am #

      Hi Gail! Great to hear that you are getting going! Here is an excerpt from our TINY HOUSE INSULATION REPORT we created that we will share with everyone in next couple months:

      Rock wool is produced by heating natural basalt rocks or industrial steel-mill slag in a furnace to about 2,910F. As the material melts, it is drawn out into fibers and formed into felts, blankets, or batts. The finished product is a mass of very fine intertwined fibers, bound together with starch. It is also known as stone wool, mineral wool insulation, or slag wool insulation. The EPA requires that rock wool insulation be comprised of at least 70% recycled content. Today, rock wool has been generally replaced in residential construction with fiberglass insulation.

      PROS: Readily available material. High flame retardation. Rodents are not attracted to rockwool insulation. One of least expensive insulations available. Easy to install for the do it yourselfer and no specialty tools required. Good sound insulation. Made from abundant rock or recycled slag from iron-ore blast furnaces. Rock wool insulation does not absorb moisture and therefore does not generally require the use of a moisture barrier before installation

      CONS: Use of rock wool insulation has decreased over the years. Its ability to retain a large volume of water can create condensation issues (though less than with fiberglass insulation). There are some pretty significant health concerns and potential risks associated with using this material. These include concerns that the fibers can lodge in the lungs in the same way that asbestos can as well as significant risk of irritating your skin, lungs, nose and eyes during installation. A face mask, goggles, gloves and long sleeved shirt/pants should be used during installation. Very high energy waste in manufacturing. Some companies add 5% phenolformaldehyde** (more than in fiberglass insulation). Rock wool is often contaminated with lignite (a type of coal) and mineral oil to control dust. It is typically bound into batt form by the use of a phenolic resin. These materials can be bothersome to sensitive people who are directly exposed. Make sure to read the package label and research additives before selecting rock wool insulation.

      Ingredients (vary by manufacturer): mineral wool fiber, urea extended phenolic cured resin, petroleum hydrocarbon

  25. Laura March 30, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi Gabriella,

    This post has been extremely helpful to me as I’ve been working on creating a rough build timeline/Gantt chart. I’ve looked for the part 2 to this post but haven’t been able to find it – have you posted about the overall number of hours that have gone into getting the house completed? I’d love to see if you have! Or, could you share your time tracker for each task? Thanks so much!

    Thanks for all the awesome posts, and for being so willing to share your experience and process. You guys are making tiny living a possibility for so many people through keeping this blog!

    • Gabriella March 31, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      Hi Laura! I have not come up with post 2 of this but will in the next couple/few weeks. Come on back and visit us!

  26. Susan Evers April 2, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Please send me your emails . I love your ideas . Though I am single and do not know how to build, i love the idea of small homes.. Your home is lovely.

    • Gabriella April 4, 2014 at 7:58 am #

      All set Susan!

  27. Anderson Lima April 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    Parabéns pela obra, sou um admirador desse segmento, aqui no Brasil não vemos construções assim, a não ser pelos designers q querem ganhar dinheiro.
    Tenho um projeto de um escritório na região do Mato Grosso, e gostaria de me aprimorar mais sobre o assunto.
    Agradeço o espaço.

    • Gabriella April 6, 2014 at 8:29 am #

      Muito obrigada Anderson!! Que bom ouvir de uma persoa do Brasil!!

  28. Megan April 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    Hi Gabriella,
    I am only 23 years old, but am looking into how I can set out on my own with something affordable, and something that I can call home. I just saw an article on facebook about your husband and your house, and fell in love. Not only is it gorgeous, but I love the idea that less is more. It allows you to be closer to eachother, save money, and enjoy the finer things in life. I have a question though (that may be silly) is the house on a trailer for any reason other than towing? If I was to build a tiny house, i’m not sure if I would be towing it, so was just wondering if it had another purpose (plumbing,etc). Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks!

  29. Nind May 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Is there enough to support a balcony over the roof? For example if someone wants to bring a telescope and just relax up there -that sort of thing.

  30. Kitty May 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Hi, I was wondering what the total cost involved in this project was. I think it’s an amazing idea, I just don’t know if it is affordable for us. Do you have a total cost or a breakdown of items and their price?

  31. Srael May 7, 2014 at 11:43 am #


    Great designs! I’m thinking of making one when I land in Vancouver in September! Could you please let me know how it fares in strong winters? Is it possible to build in refurbished buses? I’d like to incorporate solar panels on the roof to always have electricity, would this design be ideal? Please send me the information.


    • Gabriella May 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Hi there Srael! Have you checked out our free 7 day ecourse? There is a tab for it on the menu. That may be helpful. In terms of hOMe in the winter, best bet is to find out what your minimum code Rvalue is for your area and adjust the framing width based on that. It’s important that you build to meet the climate in your area.

  32. Carol May 24, 2014 at 8:33 pm #

    Congratulations on your beautiful home. Do you plan to add decking outside the home? I imagine you spend a lot of time outside enjoying your property.


    • Gabriella May 24, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      Thanks Carol! We will have a small deck out front that will be more as a place to take off shoes and store them outside. Our seating areas are in the shade of some beautiful oaks just 20′ or so from hOMe. We have a dining area as well as a sitting area with a fire pit. We are ready for various outdoor celebrations!! 🙂

  33. Peter May 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    Hey Gabriella, In the video of your house tour, Andrew stated that it took 4 months to build. However, in this post you stated that after only a few weeks you went from a trailer to a habitable building (yet still unfinished). I’m just trying to estimate the time it’d take me to build my own tiny home. Is there a reason for the discrepancy? Thanks for your help!

    • Gabriella May 27, 2014 at 8:29 am #

      Hi Peter! This time table doesn’t walk the reader through the entire building process, just through a portion of it. Within a few weeks we actually started sleeping in it while under construction so that we had a little more shelter from the weather. In total though, it took us about 4 months to build.

  34. Louis Patenaude October 5, 2014 at 5:41 am #

    I met a couple last year who lived in a tiny house, he and his wife were part of a circus traveling the province of Québec, both seemed pretty well grounded, when asked where his kids were( age 7 and 9 ) he said with no worries whatsoever,” oh there just outside playing somewhere” I saw the kids later, fantastic looking lads, close at heart to their parents, and the world as their playground.
    let’s get this movement on wheels and then let’s share our experience on how our live shaved changed.


    Louis Patenaude

    hopefully this is the beginning of an era for mankind.

    • Gabriella October 6, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

      Wonderful story!!

  35. Scott February 6, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    I am curious to know approximately how long it took to frame up the platform for the house, the walls and roof, up to the point that you put on the IronPly on the wood studs.

  36. Astraea April 13, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    I just purchased your Sketch-Up plans and I would love to know how you attached the loft to the main frame as it’s not that clear in the plans.

    • Gabriella April 14, 2015 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Astraea! We used simple 4×4 hangers which can be purchased at any larger hardware store. They are made out of metal and attach to the side walls with nails.

  37. Sierra April 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    My class at school is in the middle of designing a tiny house as a project. I am so exited. I have decided to make a tiny house. I am only 12 years old but I love to learn and to take challenges. My dad is an electrical and mechanical engineer so he could help me on the things that I will not be doing on my own. I am trying to use sketchup to make a model. I know just about nothing of building things like this. I live in NH and we have fairly cold winters with a lot of snow. How long do you think it would take me to build the shell of my house? If I start at the beginning of summer, would I be able to finish it before it starts to snow? That is my main problem. I have nowhere to put it if I can’t finish it before it starts to snow.

  38. Joshua June 20, 2015 at 11:01 am #

    Hi there, I came across your site while doing research for building my own tiny house. I really like your site and find it very inspiring. I am leaving NYC this Friday to go stay with family in Phoenix to get this built. Do you have any recommendations or sites that helped you your first time? I am more of a tech guy than a builder but I learn quickly and just the idea of doing this has reinvigorated my life and imagination and I am so so so so so excited to get started. Thanks so much.


  39. GM July 24, 2015 at 9:41 pm #

    I was curious if you spackled over the nail holes in in the ironply to get that clean smooth modern look? Also what type of nails did you used?

    I’m assuming you just used 1/2″ right over the studs and insulation without anything underneath it?

    • Andrew August 6, 2015 at 8:59 am #

      We did indeed spackle over the nail holes to make the wall smooth. We also sanded the spackle down. I don’t remember off the top of my head the size nails we used. I believe is was 3/4″ finish nails (16gauge?) in the filed and 1 1/2″ finish nails (16g?) over the studs. We also glued the panels to the sheathing as we went.

  40. Travis January 11, 2018 at 4:36 am #

    Love the detailed progress information. I am looking to start on my own next summer, goal would be to have it where yours is by winter and then stop and save money to finish the following summer. Curious what the build cost up to this point and if you have a detailed cost report as well, would really help me get a better idea of what the first half of the build would be. Also looking to go bigger 10ft wide and would like at least 32 long. Living with too Siberian huskies would like for them to have some room to play. Understand I would need to hire someone to move it when completed, but I don’t plan on moving it more than once or twice in its life nor will my Tacoma be able to tow it.


  41. chad April 5, 2020 at 11:42 am #

    7 y/o post just came into my feed. Oh well~

    As General Contractor I have a 3, 4 mo deadline. We have a 4 man crew of quite varying experience (both in the trades & w/my co).
    We capture every cost we can w/minimal subs – pour our own creet, pull our own wires, sweat, glue’n staple (PEX) pipes, roofing, insulation, paint, etc (licensed dude signs off). Now that’s a 1,400 – 2,000 sq ft house.

    With tiny its all about floor plan and materials. When we do an ADU a la` tiny – it actually takes me (w/an occasional hand) the same length of time. EVERY thing is tiny: will B seen close up when done (quality finish) & no elbow rm, no ladder rm, etc while constructing.

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