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.

5 Funky Green Homes
A 280-Square-Foot Cottage: Everything She Needs for $28,000

58 comments

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

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

Carol P.
Carol P.4 years ago

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!

Corrina L.
Corrina L.4 years ago

perfect for guests :)

Isabelle Letourneau

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.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan4 years ago

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.

Marc Benner
Marc B.4 years ago

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)

Robyn L.
Robyn P.4 years ago

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.

Bruna P.
Past Member 4 years ago

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.

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda4 years ago

That would do me!

Robyn L.
Robyn P.4 years ago

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.