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A New Tiny Home Kit–Worth Coveting

A New Tiny Home Kit–Worth Coveting

When Natural Home put out a call for entries in our Natural Home of the Year contest in 1999, Jay Shafer sent in a few photos of an exquisitely built tiny house and an essay about why he chose to live in 89 square feet. He gave all the usual reasons–building small saved him money, kept junk out of landfills, reduced his overall environmental footprint and allowed him to build a solid, heirloom-quality home. He built Tumbleweed, the 8-1/2 by 17 by 13-1/2-foot home that we honored with a Special Award for Philosophy and Innovation, for $42,000. Its small size allowed him to put five times more money per square foot into quality materials and construction than is allowed for most standard-size homes. This was radical thinking at the time.

“My main reason for building such a little home was nothing so grandiose as saving the world, or so pragmatic as saving money,” Jay wrote. “Truth be known, I simply do not have the time or patience for a large home. I’ve found that, like anything else that’s superfluous, extra space merely gets in the way of my contentment, for it requires maintenance and heating and ultimately demands that I exchange a portion of my life for the money to pay for these luxuries. I wanted a place that would maintain my serene lifestyle, not a place that I would spend the rest of my life maintaining. I find nothing demanding about Tumbleweed. Everything’s within arm’s reach and nothing’s in the way–not even space itself.”

Jay went on to create Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, now the flagship for a tiny house movement that’s sweeping the nation. His superbly designed and built homes can be found from coast to coast. This week I received an email from Jay with photos of his newest model, the Tumbleweed Box Bungalow, which is 7 feet by 14 feet (about 98 square feet). The Craftsman-style microhome is available as a modular kit, with flexible kitchen and bathroom placement.

Do I even need to say how much I want one?

Tumbleweed’s newest kit house has Craftsman details. Photo courtesy of Tiny House Blog

The kitchen is tiny but efficient–and can be placed on either side of the modular home.

The home’s small size means it can be heated efficiently with this tiny stove.

There’s plenty of room for entertaining.

A ladder leads to the sleeping loft.

The home includes a small work area.

There’s even enough space for a small library.

The bathroom has a composting toilet.

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Robyn Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence is editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Magazine, an eco-lifestyle magazine that bridges spa wisdom with green living. Through print, online and phone apps, Organic Spa Magazine offers expert advice and inspiration on sustainable health and wellness, beauty and skin care, fashion and travel. 


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11:02PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Love these little houses, if I were single I would definitely go for one!

7:48AM PDT on Sep 5, 2011

I love, love, love the concept of living small and the craftsman stylings of this one are great. But do wish I were seeing options that were a little larger, say 600-800 square feet and included more storage. Not that we need the baggage we already have, but once you have it, it is hard to part with. And if more people could imagine themselves (and their stuff) in a small space, more people might do it!

8:44PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

perfect for guests :)

1:06PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

I have to admit that is super neat would be excellent for singles living alone and needing an affordable housing unit. Would be great for people wanting a guest house in their backyard as well.

12:56PM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Maybe need one a little bit bigger as I have three cats.I also don't think that you wouldn't be able to have more than one small dog.

2:23AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

Wouldn't it be better, if it has solar energy on its roof? And probably just a one sided roof to have mor space looking south (I have no idea how you call those asymetric roofs)

5:46PM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

bruna, I'd happily have built a trio of these when I was married with kiddo at home.

Several of Jay's designs, and the designs of other micro-house builders is to fit on a trailer for moving.

11:31AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Great concept, but really only practical for one person who would enjoy living "off the grid." But I agree, most homes built today are far to large and made for the sole purpose of us having to fill them up with stuff we don't really need.

11:15PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

That would do me!

5:13PM PDT on Aug 27, 2011

I can't see how this is bear proof, but I'd have few reservations living in brown bear country in one.

I always admire Jay's designs, but I am waiting for the ONE for me. This shows me it is coming.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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