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We’ve received a number of comments and emails from Small Living Journal (SLJ) readers expressing interest in Do-it-Yourself Projects. Finally, I hope the stories presented in this issue inspire you to build your own tiny home.
In fact most of the authors of the Small Living Journal I met writing a post about their projects.
Will had very little carpentry experience, yet he was able to build his home with a little guidance from a carpenter friend, who was available for questions and assistance when he needed help. Will’s journal and photos got me thinking that this might be a way to show the average person that they too could build a beautiful home with little or no experience and with some guidance from a professional. I decided to start a new web site featuring these people and have just made the site live in the last few days.
I hope this video and the Tiny House Journal will inspire you to take the step and make your dreams of owning and building a tiny house come to pass. Google SketchUp is free 3D drawing software that’s easy to learn to use and will run on both Mac and Windows computers. I invite you to follow me on Twitter, and visit my blogs, Tiny House Design and Tiny Free House. I’d like to begin by drawing attention to a distinction between Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-By-Yourself projects, because I think that there is major difference between the two.
The DIY approach is, basically, do simple things by yourself, and when the job gets demanding or daunting, get some assistance. For reference purposes, I’ve participated in several DIY type projects in my own small house endeavor, including transporting the house to Aromas, moving the house up the hill, wrecking a collapsed barn for salvage wood, building a deck, installing a woodstove, and plumbing the house. Or I’ll take a piece of material, say salvaged corrugated steel, and screw it up onto the ceiling in one spot, and just leave it there for a month or two, looking at it, until I decide whether I like it or not. The purpose of this article is certainly not to discourage anyone from DIY or even DIBY, but rather to encourage readers to honestly assess themselves and their abilities, as well as their expectations for what they hope to accomplish and along what time-frame they require results. But, installing a new dishwasher?  You bet I’m going to do that one myself!  Which I really have to do in the next couple weeks as I’m putting my condo on the market soon.  Anyone interested in a cute little condo in a quiet neighborhood? Block of compressed baked clay, laid in rows with the help of mortar to form various masonry work, such as walls, partitions and chimneys.
Mixture of fine aggregates (pebbles, gravel, sand), water and a binder (cement or lime), used to join masonry components or to coat masonry after it is completed. Small brick with vertical holes, whose dimensions are usually no greater than 40% of the brick.
Small brick, not perforated, used especially in building or covering various types of walls. Landscaping sounds complex to those of us not gifted with green thumbs – but making paths, patios or decks to define space in a garden or yard can be as simple as slicing sections of wood and infilling the gaps with sand.


Katy Elliott spotted these at a flower show but they would make a great do-it-yourself garden project. Creative contemporary domestic designs, from unique home architecture to custom interior, furniture & DIY design ideas.Find inspiration via plans & pictures of compact modular mini-houses, small-space apartments, all-in-one bathroom & bedroom projects & more.Upcycled cargo shipping container houses, to space-saving furniture, ultra-modern interiors & futuristic homes! Paul Stankey (and family) not only bought his structural materials on the cheap, but also used simple do-it-yourself processes to construct his cargo container house step by simple step – starting with pipes to leverage the containers off of the trailer attached to his truck. After pouring simple concrete foundations, he and his partners used railroad ties, vehicular force and rounded pipes to roll the containers up and into place before welding them to the piers below.On top of the metal shipping boxes, a wood-framed wall-and-roof system was constructed to extend the height and provide sloped rainwater drainage (leading to an on-site gray-water system). This issue contains a wealth of information on building tiny homes as well as a variety of tips and resources. During the publication of the Tiny House Blog I have met many interesting people who are building or remodeling their homes.
Recently, I have been getting to know some builders of Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. Below is a video I put together from the photos Will took of his build of his Tumbleweed Tarleton. Instead of writing it all down I decided to dust-off my podcasting microphone and do a quick podcast video to show you how to do it first hand.
The common denominator in all of these projects was my father, whom I call Ironhorse. In retrospect, I regret not asking him to write an article for this edition, as I can think of no one more involved in DIY than he. He gets serious results and he breaks a lot of things in the process, which he then has to fix.
I share his physical strength, endurance, and willingness to dirty and bloody myself, but lack his motivation, technical knowledge, determination, and natural inclination towards practical mechanical problem solving. Any of the individual tasks of measuring and cutting and drilling and nailing is no real problem, but it is in the putting everything together that I am weak. Here is a man who obviously delights in design, who is not a bulldozer, and who executes his well thought-out designs into delightfully proportioned, comfortable, and functional extensions into reality. Sure, you have to cut or buy the log slices but at least you do not need to grow anything in the process. A local train yard and a few hundred dollars can buy you a few five-thousand-pound insulated metal boxes. It can be done in various ways, you can construct the decoration concept by yourself, and you can also make use some of the online tools or software to make your work easier. Second, we included an article from a new participant: Anne Lupton from Small House Building.
One of them, Will Pedersen from Abbotsford, BC in Canada kept a written journal (which is available for download at the Tiny House Journal) of his building expenses.
I’m also posting the actual SketchUp file in case you want to play with the actual file.


Using this approach he has built and broken (and repaired) more stuff than anyone else I know.
They are like long articles that don’t convey any tangible knowledge or understanding. I’m more inclined to draw a floor plan and then take my shovel outside and move some dirt around. If I have a concept, I will implement it in a loose, rough form but I am reluctant to finish anything.
I can arrange for a few hours of assistance a month with things I just have no idea about, like plumbing or electrical, or maybe winching the house up a hill. Unfortunately, for the wannabe cynic philosopher, necessity is a rather lackadaisical driver. And at that price, who would not be tempted to plan their new home around shipping container-sized units?
After you create it, it means that you will not need the help of any professional or architects. If you’re interested in participating in a future issue, please refer to our Guest Submission guidelines.
I prefer to leave things partly finished for as long as possible until I am forced to make a decision on them. But I knew that for anything to be accomplished I would have to station myself in the house, where ultimately the inconvenience of anything dysfunctional would force me to act on tasks. But this technique requires great motivation, fearlessness, energy, strength, a refusal to take no for an answer, a high tolerance for both pain and filth, a bunch of stuff (which will soon be broken), and most importantly the know-how and determination to fix the wreckage that you’ve left in your path (or at least the stuff that you think is important). For instance, my deck wraps around an oak tree, and one of the salvaged 2 x 12 redwood planks runs wild about a foot, angled along the tree.
The downside of all this is that my 216 sq ft building has to serve as workshop, woodshed, and house, with mostly unsatisfactory consequences.
Improvising with available materials is part of what makes owner-built homes unique and charming, and over-engineering can easily become an impediment to the improvisational necessities of the real world.
My original intent had been to chop it off in a straight line with the rest of the planks, but when I look at it, the angle harmonizes with the tree and with the planks on the other side and I simply feel no compunction to cut it off. Then, to create home utilities, you can search for some tutorial and create it using the available materials.



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