The Morrison family is on the quest to simplify their lives and strip of all unnecessary clutter associated with modern consumption. They have been longing for a different lifestyle so the moment they heard about the Tiny House movement (a popular description for the architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes) they could instantly identify with it. As Gabriella Morrison says:
What we seek is simple, uncluttered, environmentally sane, affordable, conscious living. On a quest to simplify our own lives we have been on a journey of stripping down and simplifying since. From getting rid of 80% of our belongings, to living in a pop up tent trailer in Baja with Andrew and our 11 year old daughter, to purchasing our own 5 acres to create our vision of off-grid tiny living, what we have been learning about human scale, material goods, needs, joy, freedom, and contentment has been life changing.
They didn’t have to turn into yogis, scarify all comforts, and move into a Himalayan cave. Instead, they designed and built a home themselves in four months for the cost of $22,700. With cabinetry and appliances it turned out to be closer to 33K. They did, however, put a bit of yogi touch to it by calling it “hOMe.”
The house is totally off-the-grid and built on top of a trailer chassis. This way they outsmarted the local building codes (minimum room size, etc.) that would have normally prevented them to build such a tiny home.
The most awesome part is that the house is really just like any other house when it comes to simple comforts and systems. There is an office, fully equipped kitchen (full size oven, fridge, tons of counter space), spacious living area, bedrooms, and bathroom with toilet and shower, except that everything is “minified”.
The house is 221 square feet plus two additional sleeping lofts at 128 ft. As you’ll see for yourself from photos and the video below it an amazingly comfortable and elegant abode. First thing you notice is a feeling of spaciousness, tall ceilings, abundant light, and lots of windows to observe the nature around.
As the owners point out, when working with limited space every little detail matters. There is tons of storage imbedded in the interior spaces, well organized and hidden from view to avoid feeling being cramped by stuff. Owners implemented a paperless office and enjoy the view outdoors while working on their laptops. Most spaces have multiple purposes, for example you can use an area as breakfast nook or office.
As Andrew points out in the video, one of the biggest challenges was finding the right solution to heat the place. After much research and consideration they went for a slightly high-tech propane stove. The setup allowed to program the thermostat with a remote control which obviously allows for more freedom, especially when you want to come home to an already warm home.
Most people fail to travel because they are too attached to their homes. With tiny homes on wheels, you can bring them with you and enjoy your ultimate sense of freedom. The cool thing about living in a tiny house is that you get to downsize all of the stuff and you learn to consume and need less. If you want to learn more about this story you can find more info on Tiny House Build site.
11 thoughts on “Family Builds a Tiny Home Off-the-Grid for 22K and Adopts a Dream Lifestyle”
My partner and I just moved to the San Jose area recently and while we’re currently in an apartment we are hoping to downsize and create a place for ourselves similar to the hOMe. However, due to work we will need to stay in the general area–do you (or any of your readers) know of any locations in the Bay Area where someone could legally park their Tiny Home (communities, rural zoning laws, etc)?
Good question KG, your best bet would be to visit the County office and talk to someone from zoning. They may be able to point you in the right direction. This is a tricky issue because the whole idea of tiny homes is that they can avoid the zoning laws by being placed on wheels. I’d encourage research this more online and locally. Have fun, do write to me if you get your tiny home set-up in San Jose, would love to hear from you!
My 9-year-old daughter and I want to do this too, and we have the same questions as KG. We also need to stay in San Jose. Is there a place (online or in person) where we can all share information?
Hi Colleen, we can share info here and if we need to have a conversation then I’ll set-up a forum.
Thanks! That’ll be really helpful. I’m hoping I can report something soon!
I’m in San Jose (currently Sunnyvale) as well and want to build a tiny home too. I have similar questions and also was thinking it would be great if we could get a group together to discuss our progress and local issues. Interested?
Definitely! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ve recently gotten a little more info from the city of San Jose, too.
The bf and I are also interested in meeting other tiny-house enthusiasts around here (we’re in Santa Clara). Our contact email is: jrtkmg at gmail dot com.
Hope to hear from you!
Folks, you can start a local Meetup group with this topic and I’m sure you’ll have more people joining. Have fun.
I am looking for partners to get a big nice land in the mountains and build our own tiny house community.
Who is interested?
I am looking to get rid of my 38″ (x 12″) 5th wheel Teton towable unit. Tetons are noted for their very sturdy underframes and framwork, and generally thicker “arctic” walls, beautiful woodwork cabinetry, ets. Amish!
I need to move the trailer by end of March. The tires are probably not good enough for a long tow. The roof leaks, but do not know how much at this point, will see it on March 1 and do assessment. Figure someone who is planning to build a small home would appreciate this unit, either as restoration project or to strip the exterior walls off and recycle the aluminim, reclaim all the appliances (refrigerator freezer, built in stove and oven, microwave, a toaster oven, double sink, Full bathtub, small water heater with figure configuration for another, tow rope…various lighting figures, perhaps cabinet doors … early american style_ ..toilet, full bathtub/shower, etc. propane wall heater… various electric connections, and so forth. two air conditioners [a freestanding tower type vented to outside and one that fits in window] forced air thermostat controlled heater …the fan used to snag sometimes, so that needs fixing.
Will check out current condition on march 1. Anyone interested? A good start to create your tiny home… or use it for storage…a 38’x 12 foot storage space?? worth a lot!).
email me at email@example.com if you are interested in seeing photos.