Living Small Means Living Debt Free

Archive for February, 2015

A Dome Home Design

A Round Tiny Home Design

Step Into My Dome

Your home is a living, breathing space where you feel comfortable. No home is exactly like another even if it has the same floor plan.

It’s no different with tiny houses. Typically, a tiny house on wheels will have the same design plan of approximately eight feet wide, twenty or so feet long and on wheels.

If you have the option to build a tiny home on a permanent foundation you could think outside the box – round. A dome home.
The first dome home was built by Buckminster Fuller in 1960. He and his wife Anne lived in their home until 1971. Just like many of us have discovered, Fuller saw this type of housing as an answer to “safe, affordable and accessible housing”.

Today, there are a few companies that are carrying on Fuller’s legacy by offering a dome kit for sale. The interior of a dome home is completely open with a center height that is generally ten feet high.

If you choose to build a dome home design, you will need it to be well-thought out and planned ahead of time.

Much the same as any house build, once the sections are assembled, the doors and windows need to be cut out and pre-framed. Then the installation of conduit and wiring must be completed, sewer and water are plumbed, and then the doors and windows are set in place.

When all of this is completed, the plaster can be applied. First the interior, then the exterior. After that dries, waterproof sealer or elastomeric paint needs to be applied.

Once all the construction work is completed, the inside can be designed to fit your needs and your lifestyle.

Interestingly, one of the safety aspects of the dome is its tolerance to wind. This type of structure can withstand wind loads over 240 mph. This means it is more resistant to hurricanes and tornadoes than many other structures.

Here are some dome homes listed for sale. They may not be tiny and the price may not be low, but you can get an idea of what can be included in this type of home.

If you are searching for something quite different; a unique style of small housing that you can build on a permanent foundation, you may want to consider a dome design. The open concept can give you unlimited design options for the interior living space.

Small Cottage

Cottage In Maine

Cottage ExteriorThis is a gorgeous house/cottage in Maine. It is actually for sale; the asking price is $1,300,00.00 – Wow! The house is 960 sq.ft…. I guess it costs A LOT to have a view of the ocean from your cottage.

The price kind of defeats the purpose of small house living but I love the layout which is why I thought I’d share.

There are three bedrooms; two up, one down. I love the way they’ve split up the upstairs bedrooms; a great use of space.

There is one bathroom which is common in small places. You have all that you need.

Living roomIn the living room there is a fireplace and it’s very open – cozy and perfect. The way I see it, a fireplace makes the room. Gas is okay but I love the ambiance and scent of a wood burning stove – or fireplace with insert to make it more efficient.

Someone that loves the outdoors would love the fact that there is a large deck attached to the house. In fact, it runs the length of the house on the ocean view side.

Ocean ViewAnother big plus is that it has big windows. That is something that I always look for in a house. I love natural light.

Although I could never afford such an expense, I probably wouldn’t consider this place even if I could afford it because I know there are just as beautiful places or land available that is no where near that price range.

I believe in simple living, not expensive living.

I’ll be adding some of the design ideas in this house to my house plans. The great ideas are piling up which is a good thing. We’ve got lots of inspiration to take from.


Small Indoor Herb Garden

Fresh Herbs and Vegetable Garden Anywhere

Hydroponic Indoor PlanterOne of the things that I have really miss while we are traveling is a garden. I have always loved fresh vegetables and fresh herbs. We can’t always get “fresh” in the stores. And they don’t taste the same as when they are fresh from the garden.

I’ve often thought about getting a couple of small planters, and planting some vegetables and herbs in them. I figured we could put them in the RV while we are on the road, and have them outside while we are stationary.

I hadn’t done it yet because I keep thinking about the possible mess they could make inside, how much room they could take up when we are already tight on space, and how to keep the plants healthy and growing while we traveled.

But the lure of fresh food is so enticing.

Today, I was excited to come across something that is quite ingenious. It’s a small indoor herb garden in a container so-to-speak. Small enough to fit on a shelf.

They call it a AeroGarden an advanced hydroponic growing system.
The explanation that they give is so much better than I could write here. If you click the link above, you’ll be able to find out more about the system.

It looks like it would be the perfect solution to my dilemma.

Indoor Flower GardenIt actually is capable of growing more than just herbs. It can grows herbs, flowers, lettuce, peppers, veggies and many more. I think I would use it mostly for my favorite herbs.

Who knows? Maybe a second or third for growing the fresh vegetables I love so much.

In the long run, I would save money by growing my own and have the added benefit of eating healthy food that I know is fresh and without chemicals.

Best of all for anyone with limited space is that it is soil free. No mess to worry about.

I’m going to get one of these AeroGarden Indoor Garden systems and get our little garden started before we leave for our summer travels.

From Old Barn to Small Guest House

Reclaimed Barn Turns into Beautiful House for Guests

Small Guest HouseWhile working on another remodeling project, the architects discovered an old barn on an adjacent lot that they thought could be turned into a small guest house. A comfortable and cozy place for visitors to stay. They were right!

Working with the owners, they transformed this old barn into a beautiful haven.

InteriorAs the barn itself was beyond repair, they chose to use the existing wood and rebuilt it entirely. Instead of redesigning it completely, they rebuilt it with the old building design in mind.

The end result is a new but old looking 714 square foot building that contains all the rooms that a full size home has. There is a gorgeous kitchen with a dining nook, a spacious living room with big windows that let in lots of light, two small bedrooms, a sleeping loft, a decent size bathroom with shower, and a deck that runs the length of the house.

Living RoomIt is all set on a nice piece of property that has a creek that runs along the property line.

An unusual addition with a small place is a one car garage that is built with the same look and feel of the house.

The end result? A beautiful small house inside and outside, set on a beautiful piece of property. The best part is that it was built from reclaimed materials.


The Big Yellow Bus

Inventive Tiny House Design

Yellow Bus HomeWaiting at the bus stop that first day was filled with anxiety, fear, excitement, and anticipation. It was the first day of the new school year and so much was ahead. Looking down the street, the big yellow school bus was approaching. Boarding with all the other children, you were now on your way to begin a new school year full of adventures.

You may recall these memories of past school years. And seeing a big yellow school bus may bring these thoughts and memories to mind.
For Mira Thompson, a big yellow bus has another meaning – it’s her home. Specifically, it’s a tiny home on wheels. When Mira and her husband Jeremy purchased the bus in 2011, it was just an old school bus. It was a 37 foot, 1989 international school bus. Nothing special.

Today it is a tiny house. Only the yellow cab shows that it was once a school bus that carried children to and from school.
Mira and Jeremy bought the bus with their adventure in mind; and it has taken almost four years to complete.

But this was not their beginning.

It started when Mira and Jeremy married and chose a gypsy lifestyle. Part of the time they spent traveling was in a mini school bus.
Somewhere along the way, they realized this was a great life except they now wanted a home base that was close to their family.

Enter the big yellow bus. Thanks to Jeremy’s carpentry and auto body experience, the bus was transformed to meet their lifestyle. At the same time they are keeping the bus in running order, just in case they choose to hit the road again at some point.

KitchenMuch of the materials they used were salvaged and flea market items.

They covered the exterior with cedar shingles, the flooring is Douglas fir, and wood from an old house became the ceiling.

Wooden boxes found at flea markets and garage sales were used to make shelving.

By using recycled materials, they were able to keep the costs down.

BedroomOne of the more interesting parts of there home is the bedroom. The bed is very unique. They built a ceiling over it, framed it and added drawers around the arched opening.

Above the bed is a sitting or lounging nook which gives Jeremy time and space for playing his guitar.

The wheel wells were a bit of a challenge but they found a unique way to use those areas. One has a love seat built on top and the other is a platform that supports a cast iron stove. That stove is their source of heat in the colder temperatures.

They made sure that the kitchen has enough counter space to enjoy preparing and cooking meals. The appliances they chose are unique, in keeping with the ambiance. The refrigerator is a 1959 Frigidaire and the stove was special ordered from Amana.

They chose to make good use of window space. The one at the back, above the bed, is a recycled paned door that they mounted sideways. The rest of the windows are varying shapes and sizes. This allows plenty of light into the entire home.

Lake ViewsToday Mira and Jeremy’s tiny house sits on land that their family owns that overlooks a lake.

As with other people that live in a tiny home, it gives them the extra nudge to get off the couch, go outside and enjoy all that nature and the community has to offer.


Magazine Issue #26

It’s All About Tiny Houses

Magazine Issue #26The newest magazine all about tiny houses has been published. It’s the 26th edition and just as good as ever.

As always, there is no print format. Just a PDF that can be downloaded right away.

It’s also available for reading on your iPad or Android.

The cost? Only $3.99.

I have an Android that is used for all my magazine subscriptions and books. By having my books on my Android, I don’t have to worry about finding a place for paper books.

This months tiny house magazine issue is 61 pages full of information, articles, and images.

Happy Reading!

The Best Seasons For Building A Home

Home Building Season Is Coming Fast


Now available in 26′ length.

With the warmest months on there way, it is time to start making plans. If you are thinking about or ready to build, now is the time to get serious about your home building plans.

Tumbleweed is getting serious. They have the trailers ready to go for anyone that will be building a tiny house on wheels.


These aren’t just any trailer…they are specially designed for supporting portable very small homes. They are designed to withstand the pressures of road travel; for keeping your home safe while on the road.

The trailers are a special design, right down to the tires. They aren’t the same tires that you will find on a regular utility trailer – they are upgraded to ensure your safety.

There are two styles of trailer to choose from.

One allows for more head room which means you can build your tiny mobile home with a loft.

The other is made for a single floor home which means a it could be built slightly wider than what you normally see.

And this year, they have added a longer trailer so you have more flexibility in your house design. The newest trailers are 26 feet long.

That means you can choose from 15′, 20′, 24′ and now 26′ in length.

You may want to build a place and leave it in one location. That can be done even if you build on wheels; it just means that if at some point in the future you decide you want to move your tiny home or cottage, you have that option. That is what I call forward-thinking. It’s something that would very expensive to do when you build on a foundation.

Want to know more? Check out the Trailers Here.

Affordable Small Homes Workshop

Ready, Set, Go…Build

Designing A HouseYou’ve made the decision, you are going to build a small home for yourself. But you don’t know the first thing about construction. No problem…you can do it. Many people have done it. People with prior construction knowledge and others who had no experience at all.

All you need to do is attend a workshop.

It’s the favorable lifestyle that got your interest. You’ve done all the research and you know it’s right for you. Now to find someone that can teach you the basics to get you started.

No Problem!

These workshops are becoming more and more popular. Because of this you will find them all over the country. Almost every weekend of the year. It’s just a matter of finding the one that will be held in or near your location.

We’ll show you where they are – Affordable Small Homes Workshop

You may or may not already have your design selected.

You may be looking for a builder or you may want to build it yourself . Either way, finding out the basics is important. If you hire a builder, you will want to make sure that you know that all is being done right. If you choose to build it yourself, you want to be sure that you are doing it correctly.

Because of the size of these houses, they are unique and building one is not the same as a traditional home.

First, the decision has to be made whether to build it on a trailer or a solid foundation.

The trailer option means that you will be able to move your house if you choose. To take it with you when you need or want to move; or simply to go on vacation. Imagine how much you can save when you take your home with you.

Once the foundation is decided on, you’ll want to learn about the electrical and plumbing. What materials should you use? Are special tools needed?

Answers to these types of questions are included in these workshops.

In addition most of these events have hands on experience so you can get some practical knowledge.

I would suggest finding a workshop that has a combination of presentations and hands on work. That way you will be exposed to knowledgeable instructors and experienced builders.

Whenever possible, they will have finished and/or partially completed tiny houses on site as examples.

Some questions related to zoning and residential restrictions may be covered as well. This is important as each area has their own interpretation, and rules and regulations on these types of homes.

Some cities and areas are embracing them while others are not as welcoming.

Other topics should include understanding moisture control, ventilation, insulation, and utility systems.

Assistance will be given about furnishing and lightning. Think small; comfortable and cozy, but on a smaller scale.

For the best experience, you should make sure you have your list of questions and concerns written down before you arrive at your scheduled workshop.

A further benefit from these events is that you will meet and interact with people who have built and live in a small home. They will be able to give first-hand knowledge of the life you are planning.

For the best experience, it is suggested that you have a good idea of the tiny house design plan you would like to build.

The Gift of Home

Residents of Tiny House Communities

Housing CommunityTiny house enthusiasm is growing and communities are forming throughout some countries.

If you like the idea of simple living, you may like the idea of a tiny house development. Living in town or in a city can be more expensive than living in the country but this is one way of keeping expenses down while enjoying easy access to all that communities have to offer.

For those of you that follow this idea of simple living, you’ll understand that simple doesn’t mean that you are doing without. It is downsizing so that you can live a better life while still having many of the luxuries you have become accustomed to.

Villages For Simple Living

Tiny house villages for the chronic homeless are more widespread than you may realize. One of the first communities was started in Portland, OR in 2000. It started out as a tent city. Today it is a one and a half acre development called Dignity Village and houses approximately sixty residents.

The village has a communal atmosphere – there is a common kitchen, bathhouse, greenhouse, and even has computers with internet in a common area.
The village is on land owned by the city of Portland and is run by a non-profit. The goal is to bring dignity to the homeless.

From that humble beginning, tiny house communities for the homeless now span in numerous locations across the U.S. The most recent being Community First Village of Austin, TX.

When it is completed, this development will house 250 residents on 27 acres. Rent will begin at $150.

There is a communal garden and livestock including goats; the goats will be used to make goat cheese. There will be chickens that produce twenty three dozen eggs per week.

All of this bounty will be used for feeding the residents.

What some of the more progressive cities are realizing is the cost of these housing developments are much less than public housing for the homeless.

One of the least expensive is located in Madison, WI. At $5,000 per unit it is quite reasonable and attainable by many that would never have been able to afford a home of their own.

One of the most expensive is in Olympia, WA at $87,500 per unit.

These developments may not be what most people think about when it comes to tiny house communities. The homes may not fit the mold of traditional small houses. In actuality, there is no mold. It is all about living simply with a small footprint and enjoying the communal spirit of the village.


Living Large in a Small Home

A Tiny House Designs

DIY HomeAlthough we know that living in a tiny home is not for everyone, we also know there are many advantages to choosing this lifestyle.

There are also many versions of this lifestyle that you can choose. There are houses of various sizes from really tiny to on the verge of large. What one person may feel is really tiny may be the perfect size for another. Then again, other people may find a house that is approximately 900 square feet to be too small for their tastes.

Just as size is a matter of opinion, so is the reason for choosing to build and live in a small place.

There are lots of people the save money by learning how to build their own tiny house.

This style of living means different things to people.

Some of the most common reasons are:

To save time; giving themselves more freedom to do what really matters. More time for family, sports, travel, relaxation…to make their life less stressful and more enjoyable.

To reduce their debts and save money for their future, to have the ability to take dream vacations, or to have some breathing room from the constant demand on their hard-earned money.

To reduce their carbon footprint. When you think about it, it takes much less resources to build and to live in a small place than it does to build and live in a large place.

In addition, you could use reclaimed resources to build a smaller place. There are many places where you could find such resources.

As you can see, the reasons are as varied as the size and style of the homes.

Healthy LivingContainer House


If you are considering this lifestyle and are going to be moving from a large home into a small one, you will need to make some difficult decisions. Decisions like what you will keep and what you will give away, sell, or donate.

When you live in a little house, space will be at a premium. You will only be able to have the essentials with a little extra. That is not to say you will be deprived of anything. You can have most of the luxuries you are accustomed to as long as they are needed. Remember, essentials only – things that you will use on a regular basis.

Depending on the size of your home, your appliances may need to be on a smaller scale.

Organization is very important. Everything in it’s place and everything needs to have a place. This is a good thing; it means less clutter which translates into less stress. No more need to move dozens of collectibles just to clean.

Healthy Living

Another big bonus is that you will spend more time outdoors; getting fresh air, exercise and enjoying all that nature has to offer.

Your time can be spent in your yard reading, gardening, and watching the birds or other wildlife depending on your location.

You may find yourself visiting a park in the region, taking a bike ride, or taking regular walks. You’ll actually have the time for these enjoyments.

Not only will this lifestyle be healthier as you’re spending more time outdoors but it will also be more socially rewarding. You are getting out more, meeting new people, making new friends.


Living small actually promotes imagination and resourcefulness.

Many of the items you have will serve dual purposes. You may choose to have a tri-purpose coffee table that raises to become a work space, and then lower to become the dining table.

Your bed may be a Murphy type bed that closes up during the day to allow for living space and pulls out for sleep time.

Small homes by nature are cozy. When you are reading, fixing dinner, or watching a movie there is a closeness that escapes you in a large home.

Couples and families will naturally spend more together. It fosters an intimacy and brings families closer which benefits everyone.

When you consider everything all together, tiny house designs offer you more freedom, time and extra money to enjoy your life.