These tiny houses prove size isn’t everything.
Tiny houses are popping up around the country as more people decide to downsize their lives. While the structures often measure less than 300 square feet, the tiny house movements isn`t necessarily about sacrifice. With thoughtful, innovative designs, some homeowners have discovered a small house actually leads to a simpler yet fuller life, connecting them with family, friends, and nature while freeing them from mortgages.
Reclaimed Wood Cabin on Stilts
Inside this treehouse-inspired tiny cabin, you’ll find salvaged church windows, reclaimed wood, and a funky dining table set crafted from old boats.
Tiny House Hotel
Try scaled-down living on for size at Live a Little, a collection of three mini retreat, including the Old Blue Chair shown here, surrounding a central fire pit on a scenic mountaintop property just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee. Rates from $142 per night.
Adorable A-Frame Cabin
Plans from $30
Pump It Up
This tiny house is a musician’s dream: it houses a giant working amp and the deck even doubles as a stage.
A Greenhouse and Porch Swing
Tiny But Mighty
In only 100 square feet, this tiny house known as the Nugget fits a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area.
Quaint Little Cottage
Tiny: A Story About Living Small
The sleek design by New Frontier Tiny Homes features a farmhouse sink, shiplap and subway tile squeezed into 200 square feet. Best of all, though, a sliding glass garage door reveals a deck that pops out from the home, making al fresco dining a cinch.
Modern Tiny Farmhouse
Four couples in Texas created “Bestie Row,” a mini neighborhood where they could all live in houses lined right up next to each other. Each tiny house boasts a bedroom, living room, and bathroom, and was constructed with a minimalist motif—think concrete floors, grained plywood, and a metal exterior.
The Pequod, named for the ship in Moby Dick, is a marvel of modern amenities and upscale materials, all cleverly maneuvered into one tight squeeze. It measures 26 feet long and weighs 11,500 pounds.
This 196-square-foot house near Boise, Idaho, is home to Macy Miller, her partner James, their daughter Hazel, and their Great Dane, Denver. A 27-year-old architect, Macy designed the home from scratch and built it on a 24-foot flatbed with help from friends and family. Clad in siding made of recycled pallet wood, the minimalist home is flooded with light and feels spacious despite its size. Hidden storage under the bed, above the pantry, and behind the fridge are contrasted with open shelving in the kitchen to make the space feel bigger. In total, Macy spent about $11,000 on her tiny house and is now able to live rent- and mortgage-free.
Designed by Broadhurst Architects, this prefab corn crib-inspired structure takes its basic form from traditional American corn cribs, which were common farm buildings that served to store and dry corn. The chic, modern 250-square-footstructure is delivered and assembled on-site, and includes a sleeping loft, an expandable kitchen wall, a bathroom, and living room. An insulated glass garage door opens to a small deck, connecting the interior space to the landscape beyond. Made of sustainable and recyclable materials, the structure can be dismantled and relocated to another site.
The 204-square-foot “Wind River Bungalow” is the Chattanooga, Tennessee, home of tiny house enthusiasts Travis and Brittany Pyke, who started Wind River Custom Homes to help others fulfill their dreams of living simply in mini dream homes. Constructed of rain-screen cedar and hardy siding for extreme durability, the bungalow is full of custom features, including a pine and cedar interior, polymer concrete counters, and a loft ladder integrated into the shelving system.
Living Large With Less
$16, The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir
This is the Olympia, Washington home of tiny house pioneer Dee Williams, author of The Big Tiny, a memoir that details her decision to downsize to an 84-square-foot house that she built from the ground up after a near-death experience. Constructed atop a metal truck trailer, the super-small pine-and-cedar bungalow houses a kitchen counter with a propane one-burner, a sleeping loft, solar-powered lights, a composting toilet, and a sink (but no running water). To help others realize their tiny house dreams, Dee also founded Portland Alternative Dwellings, a tiny house education, resource, and consulting company.
Floating Tiny House
This floating 240-square-foot cabin is an off-the-grid summer escape for Maine couple Foy and Louisa Brown. Assembled onshore, a foundation of plastic floatation tubs, Styrofoam, and pontoons was then towed to sea, and the cottage was built above it, using mostly pine shiplap. Louisa carries water out daily via canoe for a tank that fills the shower and kitchen; at night, candles, oil lamps, and solar lights illuminate the home.
Mobile Ski Chalet
This 112-square-foot mobile cabin belongs to extreme skier Zac Giffin, the host of FYI’s Tiny House Nation, a show that features people from across the country who are living the tiny house lifestyle. The tiny abode is home to Giffin and his girlfriend, skier Molly Baker. Built on a trailer, the house features a little wood stove, living space, and a lofted guest bedroom and storage area accessed by a floating staircase. Built by Giffin for almost $25,000, the structure took seven weeks to complete.
Designed by Broadhurst Architects as a weekend retreat for a family from the suburbs of Washington, D.C., The Shack at Hinkle Farm sits on the southern slope of South Fork Mountain in West Virginia. With no electricity, the family relies on oil lamps for light and a small wood stove for heat; rain water is collected from the roof for the outdoor shower. An aluminum and glass garage door opens to a cantilevered wooden deck, where a removable canvas awning offers shade and shelter.
Tiny House Hotel
One of six tiny houses—each built on wheels and outfitted with a bathroom, kitchen, and sleeping loft—at Caravan Tiny House Hotel in Portland, Oregon, the Skyline cabin is one of the newest additions to the hotel. The 160-square-foot structure is constructed of mostly salvaged materials and houses two queen beds. Rental rates are $125 per night.
Wild West Wagon
Located near Watergate Bay in Cornwall, England of all places, the Sundance, a Wild West-themed wagon-style dwelling, is available to rent through Unique Homestays. Decorated with a “saloon chic” aesthetic (think wagon wheel art and sheepskin throws), the quaint interior features a wood-clad master bedroom, a bathroom with a walk-in rain shower, and a full kitchen. After a day riding horses on the nearby beach, relax with a glass of wine while sitting in a rocking chair on the lantern-lit front porch. Rental rates are about $800 for a three-night stay.
With its 1920s cabins and vintage Boy Scout tents, Camp Wandawega, located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, evokes the set of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. But the camp’s most charming feature is its three-level treehouse, built around a massive elm tree and outfitted with Pendleton blankets, tree swings, and Mason jar light fixtures. Used as a common space, guests can read a book in the treehouse’s library on a rainy day or spend a lazy afternoon on the bottom-level hammock.
The “Writer’s Block” cabin designed by Cheng + Snyder features storage for a canoe under its bed and workbench space. Located in Westport, Maine on the banks of the Sheepscott River, the 190-square-foot hideaway features windows arranged to maximize views and allow for passive heating and cooling.
This fully restored 1920s sheep wagon sits on the 30,000-acre Heward family ranch in Shirley Basin, Wyoming. The tiny wagon is outfitted with a full-size bed, two built-in cold boxes, a folding table, and a wood burning stove. Accommodating up to four people, the wagon can be moved around the property depending on the renters’ recreational interests (fly fishing, stargazing, and hiking are just some of the many options). Rental rates are $100 per night.
Surrounded by peaceful, bucolic farmland in Somerset, England, the Shepherds Hut Retreat is comprised of four tiny “huts” available for rent. Each structure overlooks a nearby pond, and includes its own private deck and fire pit. Inside the 20- by eight-foot huts, you’ll find a fully functioning kitchen, a bathroom, a dining area, and a built-in bed. Rental rates start from around $243 per weekend.
Refined Woodland Cabin
This 400-square-foot cabin with a refined decor sits nestled among fir, cedar, and madrone trees on the East Sound of Washington state’s Orcas Island. Designed by architect David Vandervort, the cross-shaped floor plan creates distinct alcoves for the kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, while a ladder provides access to the loft bedroom above the central living room. French doors lead out to a patio of flagstone, which is also used at the cabin’s entrance. (Building plans of a prototype of this cabin are available for purchase from Vandervort.)
The Yolo County Cabin, designed by Butler Armsden Architects, sits on a 400-acre farm in the rural Northern California town of Winters. With a structure inspired by the local water towers and lean-to sheds that dot the area’s surrounding agricultural landscape, the home’s elevated viewing terrace offers a 360-degree view of the land.
These tiny houses prove size isn’t everything.