Things I Don’t Like About My Tiny House

I am not going to lie, parts of this stink… overall… totally worth it so far but here are some of the cons as compared to always giving you the shiny ‘pros’.   I think most of these can also be spun to sound like pros and can boil down to me having moments of laziness, like we are all allowed to have.  (it’s actually hard for me to not put on the positive spin at the end of each point… because I wrote this here though I will not!)   Here is the list:

  1. These things take a lot of time and energy to build, parts of my body will never be the same after this build.  As some of you know, about one year ago I fell off the roof while being dumb on a particular part of roofing, this resulted in a back that was broken in two places as well as a broken heel bone.  Here I am one year later, with the cold season coming and I can already feel it in my back.  My foot is STILL not healed amazingly enough, I have not been able to return to running just yet.  I have been told that I will always feel the weather changes in my back.  That is an unexpected consequence of tiny house living that not everyone will have, but it’s real.   Aside from broken bones, this thing ate up about a year and a half of my life I didn’t intend on giving it!  I seriously and foolishly was convinced that 6 months was oodles of time… nope, two years is more like it.  Sure I could have gone faster, I could have also gone a lot slower… but that is a lot of social life to exchange!
  2. Everybody looks and stares, I am happy to share, in fact I LOVE it, most of the time.  Its those other times when I just want peace and quiet, people still gawk then too.   I have been woken up from a nap more than once by someone knocking on the door.  Which is actually really cool, unless your napping mid day, which pregnant people do sometimes! 🙂   Part of me feels ‘weird’ too, I wish these were more ‘normal so I didn’t have to be made to feel weird so much!
  3. I am constantly concerned about being ‘turned in’ and worried if I am pissing off any neighbors.  Even though I would probably be totally fine with being turned in and it would actually be a different sort of enlightening adventure I would be ready and willing to tackle, it sucks to feel that little bit of insecurity constantly, just not knowing what is around the corner exactly.
  4. Everything is a work in progress, things break, water is not limitless, every action has a consequence that I have to be aware of. Sometimes it would be nice to be oblivious again to my daily processes, dump all the leftovers down the garbage disposal and not think anymore about it.  If I do that now it will grease up my grey water tank and that will be a much bigger deal down the road.  I have to only take what I will eat so i am not as wasteful.  It is mostly enjoyable to be engaged in my daily processes but sometimes it would be awful nice to get lazy and just not care.
  5. Space, only sometimes though.   It’s not even so much the space as it is smells, and it could be a pregnancy thing.  Denny-man stinks though.  He is getting weekly baths pretty much but it’s small enough in the tiny house that it takes no time for it to smell like dog (still, at least it isn’t smelling like compost!).  There have also been times I want to stretch out and do some yoga without leaving home and I just have enough room to do a few poses, nothing too detrimental but, sometimes, it would be cool to not have to go somewhere to do my physical activities.
  6. The dark flooring was a horrid choice with a puppy and mud.  It stays clean mere fractions of a second at best!  I will gets some rugs once I get a lawn and Denny get’s a little better about keeping water in his mouth, that will make this easier.  Right now my floors stay a pretty consistent mix of puppy slobber and dirt.

And the surprising things that I DO like!

  1. I LOVE the composting toilet, at least so far (I have yet to have to empty it).  I like it better than a flush toilet, for real.  No one can hear me pee, no splashing water back on my butt… it’s great!  and absolutely zero smells and the satisfaction that I am not sending a huge burden to be treated at the water plant.
  2. It is nice to be able to do what I want when I want, to know that the investments I make into may living area are mine.  If I want to paint I can, if I break something that isn’t working properly it isn’t super painful knowing I’ll have to replace something dumb only for it to break again some point later.  My own space is an obvious thing to like, but I am surprised by how much I have missed it. Even if it is less than a tenth the size of my last place that was ‘mine’.  That ownership aspect works just the same!

What else would you guys add to the list of Tiny House cons?

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95 thoughts on “Things I Don’t Like About My Tiny House”

  1. I think you echo a lot of the downsides that I’ve started to read elsewhere, as more people move into these tiny homes. Tammy at Rowdy Kittens recently posted about being forced to re-locate after a neighbor turned them into the city and they couldn’t get an exemption to remain. Others have posted about how hard it is to build one on their own. Tammy also mentioned how her back injury was more difficult for her in a tiny home, rather than a more conventional one. It’s valuable to share the negatives, as well as the positives. The extra sensitivity to smells, by the way, is no doubt a huge function of the pregnancy. But I’m sure Denny will always smell like a dog. : )

    1. If you are not already, you can minimize the “doggy” smell by feeding Denver raw food 100%. There is an amazing difference in body odor from a commercial fed dog to a raw fed dog. Also works with the end product of your dog 🙂 which turns to dry, unsmelly white pieces extremely quickly.

  2. Macy, I have been camping in “Towed Haul” for a year now…(I say camping because I have not my own utilities). Adjusting to living tiny is all about learning what is important to you…in other words what do you keep and what goes…..what works in the space and what does not….and mid way through the second trimester the smell and order thing should lighten up a bit (but not a given)..
    Towed Haul is a living breathing organism and is in the constant stages of metamorphosis…this two will end in time. I love my tiny house and I hate it all at the same time…..if I could I would sell it and build a new one and it would be a total different approach and yet I would so miss “Towed Haul” the next one would have for sure a separate sleeping area.

    1. On showers, I am just starting to collect ideas and design my tiny house (so hearing about some of the draw backs early is really helpful, thanks guys), but I’m pretty much sold on this shower idea
      Its an Australian design yet to come on the market, but there are Swedish designs out there already happening. This one uses only 3 Litres of water (less than 1 gallon) no matter how long you are running your shower, plus it heats the water inside the unit so the water that is recycled only needs a little boost in heat, thus saving on power consumption as well.
      If you have any thoughts on how practical this would be in a tiny home, I’m all ears, but so far I’m pretty convinced, especially as I’d like my house to be able to go off grid.

      1. Hi Heather,
        I know you wrote this quite a while ago, but this is relevant for our tiny house now, so I give it a shot 😉
        Do you know the name of a manufacturer of such a Swedish design? We are located in the Netherlands, so it would be more convenient to get it from there then from Australia 🙂


  3. So far the only thing I really don’t like is that when Crystal gets up from the bed (which with a 2-year old is quite frequently) she has to climb over me. I wish we had designed the bed to be long ways even if it only gave us 12″ of clearance on each side. It would be better than being a nocturnal hurdle every. single. night.

  4. i dont like dark floors to begin with….
    your space is white and light and i mentioned it to you when you were planning to put the dark floor in that a lighter flooring would look better…..also a big dog in a small space is a disaster…..maybe you can build a tiny house outside for denny…..i couldnt handle such a large animal in such a small space….

    1. None of these comments were very constructive. How does “I told you so” help her in this situation? I sure hope you didn’t hurt her feelings as those comments would have hurt mine.

      1. Personally, I don’t like light colored floors. You don’t know what down there, if you want to sit down on the floor or do some asanas. With a dark floor, you can see the crap and dirt.
        Walking Bob

    2. Plenty of big dogs live just fine in small spaces. I think my dogs prefer it because they like to be able to see everyone and monitor what they’re doing in the house. I’m just going to get a roomba because my dogs shed like crazy and I hate the tumbleweeds of dog hair everywhere!

        1. I think dogs, large and small, make life a better thing. When I saw a couple use an elevator in their tiny home to get their corgi to the loft, I was sold on tiny house living. Macy, you can tell by your videos and pic’s that Denver and your children are well cared for and loved. The juxtaposition of size between Denver and your kiddos is adorable. Denver is one gentle giant. And they say kids have fewer allergies and instances of asthma when they grow up with a dog.

          1. you’re my favorite commentor now, I feel awesome reading your kind words! The kids mostly tolerate each other and every once in a while they forget they are adversarial and play together! 🙂

          2. I first saw you on “Tiny House Giant Journey”. It’s true that other women have built tiny homes. But I’ve seen none who were 8 1/2 months pregnant who said, “Well, I built this house so I think I could patch some dry wall.” (Not exact quote.) That maybe the best feminist tiny house comment and situation yet! And the beds you build for Hazel and eventually Miles – any kiddo would want to sleep in those, as Hazel clearly demonstrated. The bunks are like a tent and a castle with a light you can control. When I saw that I thought, OK, this is above my pay grade.

          3. it was so fun to design their room, I almost went overboard… I got to think like a two year old and imagine what would be cool.. then build it, I’d be lying if I said I never hing out there, in bed… just cause… 🙂 The funniest part was when we transitioned Hazel from co-sleeping… I thought it would be hard… I was sort of dreading it. We just finished up the beds enough to throw the mattress in there, we were at a friends BBQ, hanging out, having a good time… 7 o’clock rolled around and Hazel wanted to go home. I let James stay and ahng and thought I’d just go put her to bed and start ‘the battle’. We got home, she ran to her new bed, crawled in and covered up… she was OUT by 7:15. I was almost offended at how easy the transition was… I mean am I THAT bad to sleep next to!? 🙂 cracks me up, she loves it though… shes so close to moving up to the top bunk, once she can climb down the ladder it’s all hers, and she practices… Miles is eyeing her bunk… and I am getting antsy to get my whole bed back! 🙂

          4. Oh that’s sooo funny! So amazing she took to it immediately! If she wasn’t crazy about her new digs it could’ve never went that well. It says a lot about your ability to think like a 2 year old and to listen to what Hazel wanted. And now Hazel working to master the ladder and Miles eyeing her bunk … a second seamless transition in the works! It’s amazing what design, space, listening and artistry can do to a space. They need to put the importance of design in those raising children peacefully books.

    3. I thought the dark floors were beautiful. Macy were you able to use the radiant heating in the light floors? (Sorry, I’m new in learning all this.) I have medium to light laminate flooring in a 526 sq foot apartment. It is just my 14 pound dog and I. I leave my shoes at the door 98% of the time. I clean my dog’s paws upon returning indoors 75% of the time. My floors stay clean for approximately 5 minutes after cleaning them as well.

    1. I have a family of five, and we fit just fine. When they get old enough we plan on building them micro homes, basically just a bedroom on a trailer, but for now we occupy the same 30′ and it works out well. It seems to serve as a good education on the topic of what is “required” to live happily

      1. Hi CALI,

        I know you posted this quite awhile ago but I’m crossing fingers that this gets to you.

        I want to build a tiny home on wheels for me and my two kids. I’m looking for ANY and ALL ideas about making personal space for kids when it’s so limited in the first place. One of my kids is still a baby so a loft is not ideal. For now I am considering borrowing the “bunk bed” type idea.My older child is autistic and will need noise/light barriers to help with over-stimulation so I plan on a loft for him with some blackout type curtains. He is totally on board!

        1. we have just begun our research for our tiny house, and i have 2 young children (2 and 6 months), and we are planning on at least one more. I ran across Ana Whites videos and she even makes her plans available to free. I love her loft idea and bedroom:

          Were planning on putting toddler up top with lots of railing, and us in the queen with crib or portable crid next to it. this also has a full size pull out for you or a guest. we are planning a loft on the opposite end for us after baby moves to own space. this loft bed with queen bedroom (which could have a door added to it) and trundle bed idea is genius in my opinion. we still have much research to do. Good luck.

  5. Dark floors SUCK. We have beautiful bamboo floors in our townhouse, but with two dogs and tons of rain in GA we only get to see them for about ten minutes each week, five minutes directly after each time we sweep/mop. La was going to put the leftover flooring in her tiny house, which would be awesome money-wise but bad otherwise.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary on the “realities”, because you are correct, we tend not to comment all that much on the aspects that don’t thrill us about our tiny abodes. It caused me smile a lot, except for the “falling off the roof” part .

    Sympathizing too, because somewhere in all the gyrations over the last couple of years, I got lower back pain as a daily companion. Lying flat on my back installing the “stringers” and the batt insulation under the trailer floor was my least favorite part. I modified the design of the next trailer so that I can accomplish that important job much earlier in the process while standing up.

    I moved in about 4 months ago, in increments, kinda forced into it by circumstances. First the old refrig in the house gave out, and I had just installed the brand new one in the trailer, so I started cooking in the trailer first. The next thing to go was the old water heater so I started showering in the trailer. After a few days of that I said the hell with it and just moved the rest of my stuff in, even though I still have some shelving and trim to install.

    Since I am single, pet-less at the moment and not prone to pregnancy, I am pretty much enjoying the experience. I go back to the main house pretty much only to do laundry. One of the joys of mobility is choosing where to park. When it started getting hot, I moved the trailer away from the house and hooked up to water and (2) separate 20 amp circuits beside the barn under some big old oak trees that shaded 80% of my roof for all but 2 hours a day, and the utility bill for the whole property dropped to $45/month during the summer. YIPPEE! I had a small a/c unit, but never used it, getting cooled nicely by a window-mounted box fan/evap cooler, which I had to turn off at bedtime because it got too damn chilly.

    The one thing that tiny living does is force you to be tidy and organized. (never one of my strong points in the past life). The compact space makes every not-so-clean surface or out-of-place item feel like it’s equipped with lights and sirens. CLEAN ME! Put ME AWAY…NOW! Dammit!
    My best purchase of the last year turned out to be an Electrolux “dust buster” & floor vacuum with a wall-mount bracket/charger. It’s a brilliant lightweight and compact design that works great. I never imagined for a moment that I would end up raving about a damn vacuum cleaner….

    1. To me, you’re in an ideal situation: alone and no pets. That’s the only way I could see doing tiny living! But, bravo to those who can make it work with children and pets 🙂

  7. I have to say, Your posts are engagingly down to earth. When I was pregnant, smells were brutal for the first few months but did get much better later.

    My biggest”con” for the place I’m currently living in, a truck bed camper, is the utter lack of kitchen space. My own TH will have a goodly amount of counter room and room for my cooking supplies. I only have the framing up, so I can use my experience living in this even smaller home to design the interior to suit my needs.

    I have two cats and a bunny, and have designed in a sheltered spot for their litter boxes beside the sawdust toilet to contain odors. I know I’ll be emptying the bucket often! My pup lives outdoors in a pen attached to the camper, with a little door that allows him access inside. I can’t do the same thing in my TH unfortunately. But he will have space to come inside and stretch out with the other critters (and me!) when the weather is bad outside.

    I’ve been worrying about my own flooring, which is a sort-of whitewashed pine. We’ll see if light ends up being better than dark.


  8. Thanks for sharing! Unfortunately, big dogs rarely learn how to keep water in their mouths, the consequence of having no lips. I’m sure you will come up with a solution though 🙂

    1. I’ve found that using a deep bucket that is only 1/4-1/2 filled helps with the doggy drips. Most of the water has time to drip back into the bucket and less on my floors!

  9. I am closing in on 50 years old and i want to build a little place…tiny is relative for many. It just has to be livable, not barely, but really liveable. If you need a yoga space then plan for that, a separate outbuilding for your Yoga studio, or for me a separate and private office space.
    Mine will also be the last house i own, it will not need to be on wheels. It will be small, it will be planned for handicaps and a wheelchair just in case that ever becomes a possibility in my life. You need not be in a wheelchair to enjoy the wide travel lanes and clear paths in a home.

    Building small means there is money for more important things like quality in materials, better engineering for longer lasting and less maintenance, meeting Leed platinum energy efficiency standards, and low energy appliances to reduce future operating costs when or if money becomes tight. Also investing in solar power, hot water, and wind energy systems to ensure future living is as cheap as you can make it…just in case money becomes an issue…as it always does for all of us!

    For me 400-600 sq. ft. is my goal, and building it to last a hundred years, as is purchasing at least an acre of land in the countryside for growing some of my own fruit and veggies…but not too far from a hospital and and stores, i figure 20 or so miles out of the center of town.
    And you know…it won’t cost any more than the average guys mid-life crisis sports car!

    By the way, it sounds like you need either a natural shrub or tree barrier or just a good old fashioned fence! Let them look, but from a distance. Perhaps a sign letting people know it’s your home, and a link to your blog where they can learn all about it and see pictures without interfering with your privacy.

    1. Great advice on privacy issue and other considerations. People need help with boundaries:) I’m in ur camp with regards to small, well-sited, green and efficient. So when money gets tight “down-the-road” and it will, all of our $ resources don’t have to be applied to supporting our shelter. Good luck. I think us older folks are on the right track with regards to smaller is better as we head towards the end game. Thanks.

  10. Good list. I’ve been worried about the space too, but fortunately the land we bought to put our tiny house on already has a 16′ x 16′ cabin, so we can spread out in there, if necessary.

    One of the huge benefits, though, is insurance price! I read around a lot of tiny house owners acting as if there was no insurance company in the world that would cover them, but I spend thirty minutes on the phone and finally found a local company that will cover $35k worth of ‘house’ and another $15k of posessions, PLUS liability for something like $330 a YEAR. Crazy affordable! That’s just about what we’re paying for renters insurance right now.

    Anyway, keep on keepin on!

  11. That was really informative, thanks for sharing! I will eventually move to a tiny house. I spent the summer in a 19′ mini rv traveling across country with 3 dogs- and realized so many things that I’m not giving up when I build my tiny house: 1. I definitely need a shower that I can move around in- ideally I’d like a shower/tub combo. I just enjoy a bath now and then, and with dogs, I need to be able to wash them. 2. Vacuum- with dogs, I vacuum daily- The floor has to be of a durable material, (not dark, thanks for reminding me), and not wood, because the dogs’ slip and slid on it, plus the sound of their nails walking on it, can get aggravating! AND there has to be room to store the vacuum with easy access. 3. I need a separate bedroom space. I have a bad knee, so climbing into a loft won’t work. PLUS the practical side- there are times when you have a sleepover “guest”/”Date” and you don’t want the company of your dogs in the bed, so it is important to have a little private space from your “roomies.”

    I appreciate your words though- it is all good research to help design the ultimate tiny home!

    1. Paul, Thank you. Your comment inspired additional thoughts about things I am definitely changing in the next Eco~Smart. I think several of them will make the prototype I’m living in now the worthwhile learning exercise that a prototype is SUPPOSED to be. I keep forgetting that was half the point of building it in the first place. The big lesson learned for me has to do with being “penny-wise and pound foolish”.

      I demo’d an existing 26′ travel trailer down to the frame, an $800 purchase that remains a screaming bargain, but in retrospect there are several things I wish I had done differently…as follows:

      1. I let the existing position of the steel-fold-down steps dictate both the position and size of the doors in my new plan. Dumb… It wouldn’t have been all that difficult to grind the welds and move them to more optimum locations AND make one of the doors at least 30″ to 32″w. When you are designing “tiny”, every inch counts twice as much as in a regular dwelling. My shoulders are 22″ w., my refrig 23.5″w., the existing fiberglas shower enclosure 26.5″w.. so it had to be IN the trailer before the exterior framing was completed. The 24″w. entrance door has shown up as a minor nuisance on several occasions, not the least of which is trying to carry a laundry basket through it without falling on your face. Also, I had to remove the door and the stops when bringing in the fridge.

      2. Re-using that one-piece shower saved me a big chunk of money, but every time I use it, and particularly when I bend to wash my feet, I am reminded that even a 32″ x 32″ shower would have been a HUGE improvement, and the one-piece tub/shower design not all that desirable in cramped quarters. A good question to just “be with” is “How do you REALLY live?” When was the last time you took a “tub bath” instead of a shower? My answer: Can not remember, but at least 5 years ago. When you had a dog, how did you bath him? Uh, in a shower with a hand-held spray unit with a shut-off on it…. No further questions for this witness…. It sounds so damn obvious after the fact, but when you are up to your eyeballs in the design, construction and especially the money-saving mode, things tend to get a little less clear sometimes.

      3. The trailer came with both gray and blackwater tanks and I retained them and let the position of them and the waste-piping holes dictate the location of the toilet, kitchen sink, etc. Again….design limitations born of ignorance. At one point I had the help of a person that has lived the “work-camper” life for years, living full-time in an RV. He asked the “excellent question”… “Do you EVER intend to “dry-camp” in this thing for a week?”… …. “Ah… no.” “Then you do NOT want a blackwater tank in it, because you need to flush, clean and sanitize it on a weekly basis whether you travel in it or not. Do you want to do that?”…. “Uh… HELL no.” And if you want to recycle gray water, there are bigger and better ways to do it.” So, both tanks now reside in a storeroom. The toilet in his RV has a spray nozzle with a flexible hose mounted next to the toilet so you can do a better job of keeping the toilet clean at all times. I’m using that idea in the next Eco~Smart. Don’t know why ALL bathrooms don’t feature this intelligent and inexpensive multi-purpose convenience.

      4. As to flooring type and color, 40 years of interior design experience says it doesn’t really doesn’t matter all that much, as schmutz comes in all colors and the full range of light-to-dark values. The trick is to determine the “predominant” source of YOUR crud, and pick your flooring to accommodate that. The terrain around my trailer is sandy and tan colored, so my medium-value pine flooring works pretty well, but I end up vacuuming it a couple times a week anyway because of the black and white stuff that shows up. Real Dark and Real Light floors should probably be avoided in general, and some visual texture like wood grain, or a “multi-color tweed” carpet helps a little.

      Thanks to Macy and all the commenters. One learns so much out of open, honest conversations like these.

      1. Here is TRVTH: There are only two kinds of dirt in the universe–the light stuff that shows up on dark surfaces” and the dark stuff that shows up on light surfaces*.

        *Ain’t just floors–bedding, clothes, upholstery, countertops…

        I’m leaning toward a rug/carpet free floor, since I’m also investigating radiant flooring for both the THOW and THOAF–on a fountation versions. Sweeping is easier than vacuuming and a damp mop less hassle than shampooing rugs, imVho. Your Mileage Will Vary. I’m also looking at more ADA compliant, since diabetic complications have already nibbled off one toe. I’m thinking “what kind of fun can be had house cleaning from a wheel chair?” Not coming up with a lot of enjoyable ideas, so going for least hassle mode.

        Anyone else got ideas on that route?

        Love the honesty of the OP and gleaning so much from the comments too!

        1. Hi, Jeff. Speaking as one in a manual (by choice) wheelchair already living in a TH myself, as far as ADA compliance, I decided to forego a THOW and get into a simple but beautiful and, more importantly to me at this age and stage in my life, functional lakefront TH in Central Florida. I do NOT have a ramp advertising to the world at large that a cripple lives here. Rather, my TH is all one level from end to end so that ramps are not necessary, thankfully; I simply roll from the driveway to the sidewalk and straight into the house from sidewalk level: no ramps, no steps, no bumps and no hassle getting in and out alone.

          I have found a few housekeeping tips to help me remain independent as long as possible that I am happy to share with you, and any others they might help. First, design the kitchen LOWER and BIGGER than you might think okay at first. Your full-sized friends can either lean over a bit or stay out of your kitchen… LOL. Wider doorways and lower countertops and windows are great. Also for your frig, ya might consider a smaller unit and, depending on your height/arm length, maybe one with a freezer on the bottom. You can always just use the lowest frig shelves as there are so many, as well as door storage, and crispers hold a ton of food; but being able to get things out of a top freezer in my near-full-size unit has been problematic for me as a short person even before being in the ‘chair. (I opted not to get the under-counter frig, however, because going grocery shopping every 2-3 days is too much of a hassle for me living alone, and I remain glad I made that choice for that reason, despite this other issue.) For cleaning house, as others mentioned above, sweeping and mopping are really all you need, and both are much easier in a TH as well as less time-consuming than shampooing carpets. I also have two dogs who live with me, so clearly keeping on top of cleaning after them is a top priority for me. I have a Swiffer sweeper and have a Swiffer mop too but prefer a traditional sponge mop for dirty doggie paw prints, hair, etc. In all three, though, I chopped off the handles to the length that fit me sitting in my ‘chair, and this has made all the difference. Now I don’t tire myself fighting the tool as well as the dirt anymore, and shorter handles make it a breeze to move from room to room by just slapping ’em over the chair arms and taking ’em with me as I go – vrooom! I also use the sponge mop to clean my entire shower: walls, floor, the whole kit and kaboodle. (I wish I had a tub, too; but it is an imperfect world, and that is my only complaint about living tiny. The rest has been a blessing for me, and now my two sons want to go tiny, too!) ☺ All cleaning takes less than an hour for under 200 square feet, and I am not totally exhausted when I am done.

          These are just the workarounds that came to my mind right off the bat tonight, Jeff. If you have specific questions/concerns, please feel free to ask. As someone much wiser than I once said, the only “stupid” question is the one you don’t ask. I am happy to address absutely anything on this subject and don’t embarrass easily, so no worries there. LOL!

          I actually had plans for a completely handicap-accessible home that I drew up, but unfortunately I could not get financing and/or sponsorship to make it a reality at the time. Now I am glad for my own circumstance that this is how I live instead, although it saddens me that I couldn’t bring it to fruition for the many disabled and other folks out there who, also as mentioned above, are looking into other options as they age than the typical loft THOW models we see at every turn.😢

          As mentioned above, I also strongly believe the free and open exchange of ideas, thoughts and general brainstorming here is beneficial to ALL of us, even in this instance the young people who think a wheelchair will never be relevant to their lives, or at least not until they are “old.” I am not pointing fingers but only saying I thought that way when I was young, too… until it *was* relevant and I was still young. So if nothing else, this might help everyone take just a moment to consider these things, if not for themselves, then for their parents and other loved ones they will undoubtedly want to come visit their home over the years, too. Hopefully, something we say here will be as helpful to others as all the above comments have been helpful to me here.

          Thank you, Miz Macy, for your terrific blog and shared life experiences in a TH, as well as for making this wonderfully inspirational forum possible for all such likeminded individuals, and my apologies if my comments have wandered too far afield of the topics here. Please keep up the great work! Your adventures with your family, home and pup are all great fun to read!

          1. Thank you so much for your tips & tricks on dealing with life as you have experienced it!

            I have been already thinking in terms of designing my “ideal” place, as if on a “standard” THOW, then bumping the passage ways to ADA standard, lowering counter tops…I also have a lovely manual chair that I have needed off/on dealing with diabetic & now arthritic issues. I am blessed thus far it has been a temporary experience, but I see the writing on the wall. Oh, I should mention that I’m recognizing that I will probably need to have a special trailer made, to allow for at least a 10′ width, like what those using the Minim House design have.

            I already use a freezer below, but never thought of it from a chair, having switched to it after my most recent stint in it. Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of a chest freezer with a cutting board/butcher block top (extension of the counter) since they hold the cold so much better and work really well even with a power outage. Never occurred to me what kind of challenge *that* would be from a chair!

            And I was already thinking no carpeting for easier cleaning. I am particularly fond of Dachsies, even if they may not be the ideal breed for ADA animals (I’ve been considering getting one trained as a “Diabetes dog” who can smell the differences in blood sugar levels in the sweat).
            so the shorter handles! Another consideration that obviously makes life so much easier!

            I know that I can anticipate a large part of life outside of the “usual”, but there is nothing like learning from someone who has been there and done that…or still there doing that!

            Part of the big (little!) dream is having as much as possible automated, smart house style, and tying in voice activation…especially for things like blinds, ceiling fans, lights…even though those switches will also have to be properly positioned for easier chair access. Yeah, I’m a geek! And it’s fun to dream…I’ve already determined that while automation is really cool, it won’t go in unless I have a manual option for it for when the power fails.

            I really appreciate your feedback! I’ll be contacting you when I come up with some other related questions.

            Thanks again for the insight!


          2. Do you have a floorplan design you could post showing the widths needed? I’m also in a manual wheelchair. Thanks

          3. I have the floor plans for purchase, the hallway is a little narrow at 28″, definitely not ADA but might be workable depending on your needs. There are some builders out there who have worked on some ADA designs and/or functional housing for folks who need wheelchair access. Tiny Idahomes is always one that comes to mind, he does lots of cool stuff like lowering lofts, I have heard that Sprout also has some great layouts for people who want wheelchair access. If you have specific questions about my layout I am happy to answer them!

  12. My father spent 25 years on a large Junk moored in various places around the Seattle area. After several years, he made a little sign that answered all the “usual” questions from curious bypasses. He said this eliminate 90% of the knocks on the door. I don’t live in a small house now, though I moved from a 400 sq ft cob cottage where people frequently stopped and asked questions about the construction process, size, amenities, and so on.

    Making a list of the most commonly asked questions and answering those in a nicely worded, informational sign will probably satisfy the curious without discouraging fellow builders.

  13. While I love TINY, I personally couldn’t LIVE Tiny. For me, SMALL is the operative word in living. My wife and I are on Social Security. We purchased a 1300 sq. ft. home in a Middle Tennessee for under $70,000 and will spend about $30,000 remodeling it, adding a 500 sq. ft. cathedral ceiling screen porch, energy efficient windows, attic fan and a second bath. For us, SMALL is best. After 40 years of marriage, we’ve accumulated too many memories to live without closets, a kitchen too small the both of us can’t turn around and cook together. For us, one of the secrets of a long and happy marriage is OUR OWN PERSONAL SPACE (ie., his and her computer rooms. We enjoy friends and entertaining. We’re not out to impress folks with needless ostentation, but one of the perks of a life of hard work should be the ability to enjoy your home with your spouse and friends — without being crammed an area the size of a couple of large refrigerators.

      1. Small is a relative term, there are no sq ft police, no government agencies declaring a set of standard labels…it’s just that attitude that has tiny house folks so frustrated by governments and people needing to define what size is what and what’s acceptable. The attitude i’m speaking of is the requirement many feel they need to impose a set standard that others must follow…1300 sq ft may be small to some and to others it may be grand…and i’m so OK with both descriptions and don’t feel a need to include or exclude anyone elses definitions.
        Live as you like, let live as they like, whatever it’s called.

  14. Mobility as we age and/or recover from difficult injuries is problematic with many loft arrangements. This is especially true for some of the more steep and “creative” approaches to loft stairs that I have seen in many people’s designs and builds.

    I really appreciate this blog entry for many reasons. When you talk about being kept from doing yoga, or restricted to a small range of poses, this does suggest a significant quality of life issue. When designing and considering the space you most want and need, keeping range of motion and motion-oriented activities in mind is critical. The bed-hurdle, the way space shared with two makes it less than 50% for both….

    I live in mid-coast Maine near The Shelter Institute, where people have come for decades to learn various timber frame construction techniques; many of whom went on to “build their dream home in the woods.” When we were looking at different properties, we were taken to over three dozen of such places, now on the market for a variety of reasons…but we joked about calling them the home version of a “divorce canoe.” You could date them stylistically by decade. And all but one revealed severe problems with an “idea” being made “actual” and, in doing so, magnifying the gaps caused by oversight or hubris.

    Thanks for writing a honest and clear update of your experience.
    Hope you are able to find ways to adapt your space and continue to improve the quality of your life.

  15. I’ve built my own tiny house that I designed (I’m 61 and had a lot of the same concerns as the other “older” commenters) and I must say that I love how the space has turned out and works perfectly for me. I spent many months figuring out just what I really needed and wanted to make sure I’d actually have room for it. This includes that I can do yoga in my living room, I have an electric piano and actually enough room so that another musician can join me in playing music at my house. I can’t do the yoga and have a cellist playing in my living room at the same time though! And my house is 8’6″ wide and just under 13’6″ tall – fitting most of the “down-the-road” no-need-for-a-permit limits.

    I used a larger flatbed trailer (28′ long and then 8′ of gooseneck) so my bedroom is up a short flight of stairs (5 steps and I have a hand rail) and it is an actual bedroom with a closet and a chest of drawers and double bed. I definitely did not want to sleep in my living room or climb up a loft ladder every night and have the shortened head room over my bed. I have a totally workable kitchen, plenty of storage and a bathroom with a composting toilet and RV-type shower/tub. It isn’t palatial, but it works for me and has worked for my guests.

    Speaking of guests and possible visits by eventual grandkids – I have a loft with two twin mattresses in it and a ladder and also a double bed sofabed for my elderly guests – or me if I can’t even make it up the 5 steps to my bedroom because of injury. I even have a built in wine rack.

    I also have radiant floor heat and a dual water heater that heats the floor glycol and also is insta-hot for my domestic water needs. I have a 100gal water tank in another storage loft and can run my electricity from my solar or by running my propane generator or by plugging into “shore” power if I need to. I fill my water tank about every two weeks. More often if I am doing laundry by hand in my deep large kitchen sink. I got a laundry plunger and a hand wringer and have set up some hooks in my living room (have a retractable clothesline) so that I can hang laundry there to dry if the weather is bad.

    It does tweak my laziness button at times when I have to empty my urine bottle (I have two though so one is always empty and I don’t have to do this in the middle of the night) and the compost from the solid waste side of my separating/composting toilet (Nature’s Head). I only do this about once every two months though. The urine is every 3 days or so.

    If anyone’s interested you can see my house and read my blog (not very up to date) at

    It does take more time and planning to figure out where to put my house. I’ve been in one beautiful place for over 7 months and now need to find another place. Fortunately I don’t have to leave in a hurry so have had time to hunt for the right spot and meet the people whose land I will be on. This summer we had a fire nearby too – and though I should have been able to move my house, the fire fighters wouldn’t allow me to get into the evacuation area with my truck to move it. Luckily it didn’t burn down.

    I think doing the larger gooseneck trailer is the main thing that allowed me to have what I really wanted in my house. Goosenecks are more stable and easier to maneuver to drive down the road too – which is important since my house is quite heavy and tall.

  16. Going Tiny will not be much of a problem for me, as I lost everything in a fire on the road. But finding a place to build a tiny house is hard now, and the money, I am on Disability and it doesn’t leave much left over. But your story shows the mistakes you have maid and the fact that most just see the advantages not the problems. I have lived “tiny” all my life and really want the freedom that this life gave me then back.

  17. Perhaps one of those indoor outdoor carpets would work? Maybe one inside and one outside the door? When they get dirty take them out and hose them off. White and dark floors are tough to keep clean looking. I have always like mud brown floors. I love the idea of the reddish mexican tiles with a drain in the middle of the floor, then you could simply hose out the trailer when it got dirty. LOL I got this idea when I worked at the animal shelter. Though they might crack if the house was moveable.
    Oh well this too shall pass. I imagine a swifter and a dog house might be your best friend, or perhaps an overhang outside that wet dogs can lie on until dry.


  18. Good stuff Macy. It’s funny how many articles I’ve been seeing lately about living in a tiny house. I’m about ready to write one too. Hopefully the pros outweigh the cons… but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

    practical suggestions: what about laying cork or linoleum (Forbo’s Marmoleum) tile flooring over your existing floors? both products are super thin and have a variegated texture to hide dirt. also, we have a handheld vacuum that we use often! it’s battery operated, and the battery only lasts one full house sweep, but it’s super convenient.

  19. I am in a tiny apartment, which means I did not have to build it and I don’t have to fix it. It lacks the charm and individualism I see in the custom homes; it’s just a simple box-like room in a ho-hum early 70’s apartment building – but I love it! Cozy, versatile, and it takes me about 3 minutes to clean up. I have room for yoga, sewing, writing, entertaining. (not all at the same time, mind you). You mentioned smell and I have to say that is one thing I have trouble with. Cooking smells fill the whole space and they linger.

    1. I DO have to admit, that seems to be a problem more associated with early pregnancy, I have since not noticed it much at all, I’ve got some windows I can open when needed to get some fresh air and it seems to do the trick!

    2. a tip: when I’ve burnt food and the smell permeates dispite open windows
      I put out a plate of baking soda. works well.

  20. happy and intrigued to see this conversation – been learning about tiny houses for about four years. My last child is leaving home in a month and I’m getting more serious about making my own home. It is fun to see what others have done but just seeing another new build is not so helpful as learning about the nitty gritty of daily life in a tiny home. that is always what is facinating and I’m finding I’m wanting more of…so thanks alot. I want the experiencial detail, this is how I do this…not just a visual. And the whole conversation and process of determining what is personally important and not as I move forward in a new chapter of life.

    1. Thanks Dani, I am trying to remember the pats I wanted to know about and write about them, its harder to remember though, If you ever have a wondering about something, let me know, I would be happy to provide my experiences on whatever in th house! Good luck moving forward, I would love to follow along!

  21. Hi Macy,
    I thoroughly enjoyed browsing your site. I am looking to develop a ‘tiny home’ community for seniors. The one thing that I commonly see on various tiny home sites that confuses/concerns me is reference to the legalities and fear of having to move. Is it an issue of where they’re set up or the size? I know you’re not a lawyer(at least I don’t think lol) so I’m not looking for legal advise just insight.
    Thanks for any information you can provide,

    1. Hi Patrice-
      Thanks for commenting.It is an issue of size first and then zoning. Most places in the country have a minimum square foot required on any new dwelling, for the most part tiny homes don’t meet this which is why theyy often get put on wheels. This allows them to be ‘legal’ through the transportation department as RVs. The problem then is with occupying an RV,it is generally only permitted fora small number of days in a row in one location. You would have to have a piece of property zoned as an RV park to be ‘legal’ for a tiny house to live at. The problem there is that most RV parks will only take a manufactured (not DIY) RV for safety reasons. A village is completely in reach to be able to have a piece of property zoned for RVs but otherwise it’s hard to legally infiltrate existing infrastructure. Hopefully that makes sense…

      1. Thanks for your prompt response. Makes total since. In researching this project last night I came across the concept of “park models”. So I’m currently looking into purchasing a small RV park then licensing myself to manufacture the “park models” and additionally licensing myself to distribute back to myself. Hopefully it all works out.

          1. I’m still researching this but the state department of motor vehicles issues the licenses. I reside in Florida so I’m attaching the links I came across ( as well as a link from recreation vehicle industry association ( . One more link (, I believe this is an example of a park model home.

            Hopefully this will be a viable option. With the quickly shifting economic climate city/zoning officials should soon be open to “out of the box” housing options.

    2. Hi Patrice,
      I’ve been thinking about forming a tiny home community for seniors as well, but the idea is very new. This blog is very helpful on many levels, especially land issues, insurance, mobility of house, drawbacks of living in a tiny house, etc. Also, making the “campus” ecologically sound. Would love to hear more about your findings.
      Thanks, Camilla

      1. Hi Camilla 🙂
        What I’m coming to conclude is that it may be best to create the tiny homes as fixed structures and not mobile dwellings. Especially if you plan to rent them. I’m not quite sure what you’re going for aesthetically but there are quite a few pre fab options out there. Another benefit of going prefab is that you would have an image, material and dimension information to take to your local zoning department. (I’ve done this and the information they gave pretty much told what what I would have to do next) They can advise you as to whether your desired dwelling would be in compliance with their minimum square footage requirement, how many you can actually place on the property based on parcel size, as well as what the fire marshalls require in terms as accessibility to the homes within the community( dwelling placement, access road, fire hydrant), etc. Prefab would cut down on your start up time as well. You generally only have to have the slab poured, electric/water/sewer lines installed. Depending on the scope you may have to have a retention pond.
        I’ve been researching permaculture as well which would be awesome to incorporate into your site plan. The selling of fruit, vegetables, and or fish(depending on the extent of your eco system) could possibly offer you an additional stream of income as well.
        Sooo 🙂 having said all that the first thing I would do is take an image of what you want to your local zoning office and advise them how many units you would like to have. From that point you would have a greater sense of what your next steps would be. Both monetarily and physically(ex. reaching out to an architect).
        If you can think of any other questions just let me know. I’m glad to share any information I have.

        1. Having turned 66 and active in my church with quite a few older friends, I can tell you TINY HOUSES, are simply NOT COMPATIBLE with most of the seniors I know. First is mobility. We DON’T DO STAIRS anymore. We DON’T DO tiny bathrooms and kitchens. While all of us could definitely do with some serious downsizing, most of us have accumulated a lifetime of memories and can’t live WITHOUT CLOSETS and CABINETS. Those of us who are active (and many of us are) like to entertain and live for our visits with our children and our grandchildren. Do not misunderstand, I LOVE TINY, but you need to understand TINY IS NOT for EVERYONE. We didn’t work 40 years to earn the privilege of living in a shoebox.

          1. I find it pretty offensive and rude for you to refer to my house or anyone’s tiny house as a ‘shoebox’… no one is trying to change your mind or forcing you to live in a tiny house. There are solutions to stairs, there are solutions to stuff you want to hang onto and there are solutions to family gatherings – I don’t think anyone will try to force any of those on you though, I certainly won’t. Living tiny is not for everyone I just don’t see why you have to go out of your way to comment on a tiny house blog about your dislike for the lifestyle in a way that is rude to those choosing to live it… Personally, if you were asking me, the ‘privilege’ is in NOT working for 40 years just to be tied to ‘stuff’… Instead I will spend that time ‘being active’ in the world. But this is where we may just have to agree to disagree…

          2. I apologize Macy, I was under the impression this site was for a free expression and interchange of ideas, after all it IS titled “Thing I Don’t Like About My Tiny House”. I had no idea it was supposed be a “Love Fest” and only those who held rosy viewpoints similar to your own were allowed to post their opinion. Tell you what… Don’t listen to what anyone else thinks. And above all, don’t listen to seniors like myself. You go ahead and BUILD that Senior Living Community of Tiny Houses, if you can get your construction loans. Let me know how things work out for you.

          3. Well thanks for the half baked apology. No, this isn’t a site for ‘free expression and interchange of ideas’, this is MY website. It’s just like your house is not for me to walk into and start redecorating. This is what is wrong with much of the ‘older generation’, you don’t ‘get’ how the internet works. While this site is open to the public, I own it, it is for what I choose to do with it and you can’t come here, be rude and expect not to be questioned about that, that is NOT why I run this site. What you have done is the equivalent of you coming in my house and shaming me and anyone else I invite in. I am guessing that if I walked into your home and started criticizing you personally and all your guests and ideals you wouldn’t be happy about that either. The internet is not a free for all like you seem to think. Talk about bullies…

            And no, I have no desire to get any loans or build anything for anyone else, certainly not rude or condescending ‘seniors’ like yourself… that has never ever been my point, it’s pretty counter to it actually… my goal is to help empower others, who ARE interested, do for themselves. I’m not in this for the money, I am certainly not a developer, I am in it because it is something I believe in, deeply and because I like supporting and encouraging others to help themselves as they so desire… I am just sick of you people going so far out of your way to be bullies for something you disagree with, just scroll on, your negativity does no good for anyone, it’s certainly not welcome here. In all your years weren’t you ever taught ‘if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all?’ It’s a good one to remember for next time.

  22. Hi sweetie. Just found your site doing research. I bred Akitas for 27 years so here’s a tip for you, by bathing Denny so much you are damaging his coat and skin. Try this instead, most doggyness comes from the PADS of feet, chin and jowls. Take a used dryer sheet, or new baby wipe or even a clean rag. Dampen to moist, then rub the area around mouth, chin and four feet. Don’t neglect between toes! If you commit to this you should see a real reduction in dog de cologne. As for slobbers, you can get a cocker spaniel bowl. This narrows at the top so he will literally wipe his mouth as he stops. Those with Newfoundlands and Bernard’s keep a towel near the bowl. You can always fill the bowl, give a good drink, use the towel then place bowl into sink. Be sure you water often if you use this method! Allow deep drinks outdoors as well. Teach Denny to drink from his own doggy bottle (available everywhere) this will cut down on dripply slobbers as well. Just like kids they’re easy to train in a short period of time if the time is fully focused, consistent and sensible. Best of luck!

    1. Good doggy advice. I want to add that diet has a huge impact on a lot of furry kids. A raw food diet, or at least a super high-quality no-grain diet can cut down on skin issues that make more dandruff and smells.

  23. I know this isn’t at all related to the home, but I got stuck on the fact that your back hadn’t healed yet. It’s a long shot that you reply to me, but I may know of something that could help if you’re still feeling pain. I’ve had an injury that the docs said wasn’t going to get any better as well, and in about a month (maybe a touch longer?), I wasn’t feeling the “usual” pain anymore. It’s worth a look if you’ve tried everything else, especially with all the energy and mobility required with little ones around 🙂

      1. Do you have access to the email I entered to leave a comment? Or is there another way I can privately send you my contact info?

  24. It just this honesty I really appreciate about you and your blog! Thanks for sharing all the details, your personal lessons learnt and letting us follow your whole inspiring journey. 🙂

  25. In reference to safety in your house design; I have lived tiny in two spaces and after a serious kitchen accident I now look at kitchen design with great respect. I burned myself badly making tea and eggs one morning. I knew it was about to happen and I had no choice but to let it happen; there was no escaping the falling water in that single sided galley with one entry/exit. Thank goodness my child wasn’t next to me at the time. My next kitchen will be a galley, but open on both ends, similar to yours. Do you still like your kitchen design?

    1. That sounds awful! I’m so sorry! It is a fear of mine, I do still love my kitchen, we can even get two butts (and a dog) in there cooking, we’ve perfected the galley kitchen dance! 🙂

  26. Re: Dane. I imagine you know by now they are wet mouths, sort of drooley when they drink. But fabulous pets, even in small spaces. We had an adult Dane from time inwas an infant. No better babysitter. And their ears make great pacifiers (!) When i was growing up we had a number of them, even a litter resulting in two adults and 9 growing pups at same time. It was a farm, with smallish house and smallish summer cabin. Natual couch potatoes. As to the mountains of poo, you might try a different food. Thanks for the indepth review of small space living, compost toilet, big dogs and stuff de-cumulation. Spot on the reality of building or modifying your space.
    I am Rejuvenated to rehome more stuff and not collect more. Smiles.

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