Category Archives: Tiny House

General tiny house ideas

Black Friday Sales – 40% Off Plans

I just wanted to announce a little black Friday sale!  You can get any of my eBooks or building plans for 40% off by using the code ‘BlackFriday15’ at checkout.

40 percent

Likewise all of the eCourses are on sale using the same code OR the links below!

Digital gifts are great for tiny house people, they take very little floor space ;-).

Part 1 Codes and Foundation Selection –

Part 2 Construction –
Part 3 Systems and Utilities –
Part 4 Custom Tiny House Design –
I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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Family Update November 2015

Our little monkeys are doing great!  Just a quick update…

Miles is growing like a weed, he put on 4.5 pounds in his first month (that’s a lot!).  He’s rocking the double chin and loves tummy time.  He’s about as different from his sister right now as two kids can be.  He gets over stimulated easily by bright lights and loud noises (like his mom and dad).  He gets cold much easier than his sister ever did.  He’s very calm and chill most of the time, he rarely cries at all!  I think he is actually a better sleeper than Hazel was and she has been a ‘sleep through the night’ girl from the day we brought her home.  My biggest worry is that he is too calm and too quiet.  Yeah, I made it this far through two kids without any awful horror stories, I am the mom others want to slap.  I make no apologies but I count my lucky stars! :)  I still think he looks more like my side of the family but certain features (nose and lips) are definitely from his dad.  He is adored by all. :)

Miss independent, I mean Hazel is a star at ‘school’.  She still does daycare, half days four days a week.  We started at twice a week but once Miles was born bumped it up to four because she LOVES is and it was barely any more, cost-wise.  AND it means I get that much more one on one time with Mister (Miles’s nickname).   We both (James and I) feel a little guilty that Hazel got so much one on one and Miles is forced to share, so the half days is a good compromise and Hazel comes back ready to show us everything she’s learned.   She knows a ton of sign language which we’ve never taught her.  She knows a bunch of kiddo songs, LOVES Five Little Monkeys and is the best dancer in class! :)  She tries every word we say out now and is starting to use sentences, short ones like ‘shoe help please’.  She said thank you to our waitress, all by herself when she brought out our food.  Proud moment!  She absolutely loves her brother even if she has to share attention… she seems to be very understanding when I can’t snuggle her because I have to feed Miles… hopefully that continues.

Denver dog is loving our new couch, that seems to be the highlight of his world these days :).  He hangs out with James during the day since James is mostly working from home,it makes it easier on me so there is no growling and waking up the babies with his dream barks and when the mailman comes by…

Pretty much we are all hunkering down for the winter and getting ready to put up the Christmas tree… oh, and Thanksgiving :).  We did recently build a bigger couch for the tiny house, it’s not as pretty as the other but it’s comfy, I can throw some pillows on it and snuggle up with the kiddos.  It’s a good move for winter! $65 well worth it so far!  And Denver likes it, he can spread out better :). I hope you all have the happiest of holidays!

Babies in a Tiny House Part 1 – Where Do You Put All The ‘Stuff’?

Where do you put all the baby ‘stuff’? You can’t imagine how many times I have been asked this.

(I have to start this out by saying that our families choices are in no way a criticism of any other choices, we all do what is best for us!)

My short answer… ‘babies don’t really need much ‘stuff'” (usually met with scoffs and eye rolls…).

It’s PARENTS who need that baby stuff – We’ve just decided, instead of rolling with the status quo, we will alter our life so that we don’t need ‘all that stuff’.

Sure, there are times it would be super awesome to have a rocker to use and give my arms a break.  There are not enough of those times to justify using that square footage for a rocker though.  There are certainly not enough of those times to justify getting a different place with a bigger payment and more maintenance just to accommodate that rocker.  Or that other stuff for that matter.  Besides, it’s kind of nice to just be able to rock my kids, even if not always convenient.  Raising littles in the tiny house is not a decisions I feel like I will ever regret, that means something.  I couldn’t say that about working full time.

One of the things ‘they’ don’t really tell you until after you have that stuff and only if you go out of your way to learn more… that ‘stuff’ isn’t usually that good for your baby or their development anyway.  If you’re like James and I, you go to Babies R Us and look at all the things and get so overwhelmed and start to feel like you’ll be a terrible parent because you don’t know what half of the things are or what they are for but since ‘they’ make it, it MUST be good for the baby, babies MUST need it… otherwise why make it!?  We are all made to feel like we should probably get that thing, all those things, so that our babies have the best shot at being a successful human being…

But wait!  They didn’t have most of that stuff 60 years ago.  People still survived 60 years ago… heck, people might have actually been better people 60 years ago!

It’s a trick!  Kind of…

 1.the protection or promotion of the interests of consumers.
 a person who purchases goods and services for personal use.

You’re a person who buys things (so am I), of course they aren’t going to tell us that having your baby stand up in a walker before they are ready may slow or inhibit their ability to learn how to walk on their own naturally… They won’t outright tell you that baby crib bumpers cause more deaths per year than getting baby hands and legs stuck between the bars.  ‘They’ don’t want you to feel bad about that decision, then you won’t buy it.   It is adorable to watch our babies do everything we can watch them do, and sometimes it’s really handy!  In reality baby stuff is not all bad, like everything there are pros and cons.  Usually baby things are designed to keep babies quiet and contained, which for the vast majority of folks is paramount.  There is a lot of stuff to do in the world and we live in a society where that is hard to get away from that.  And it’s hard to do it all if you have a crying kiddo about.


We have houses that need cleaned, lawns that need maintained, food that needs cooked, possessions that needs taken care of and relationships (other than with baby) that need nurtured.  Oh, and sleep.  None of that just go away when you have a baby.  Baby contraptions really do become a need – unless you go well out of your way to change that.  It isn’t safe to just let your kiddo chill out on the floor if you can’t be right there with them.  In my case I have a large dog that could step on them, a sibling that could (and probably would) smother her brother with kisses, literally.  There are stairs and choking hazards and things that are very dangerous.  Unless you can stop doing everything in the rest of your life and sit and watch your kiddo they really are best kept a bit contained.

What tiny house living gives to our family:

  • Less bills so that was able to quit my job and stay home with Hazel and Miles. (9-10 hours every day)
  • Less house to clean and stuff to maintain so I can be more ‘present’ with them while home. (Weekends clear up)
  • No debt (paid it all off after 8 months of saving on house expenses in the tiny) which equates to less stress and more time guiltlessly browsing Pinterest for recipes and crafts that won’t turn out.
  • Pocket change to try those things out together!
  • I’m afraid I don’t catch any breaks in the sleep department… compared to a lot of parents I got off easy here too though. There are still days spent at my wits end, with kiddos pressing every nerve but I like to think lessening other stresses lets me get through sleepless nights and opinionated toddlers easier :).

All of that adds up to more time with my littles developing their curiosity, their confidence and making memories (mostly for me at this point).  Right now, and for the next several years, that is my priority  and this tiny house helps very much with that.

I am truly grateful for my good fortune, I know it is a rare gift to be in the position our family is in.  These are just one persons thoughts but no matter what the reasons are I hope that everyone can feel as fortunate in their life.

Coming soon (because this post got long enough as it is…)

My minimalist baby needs list and

My thoughts to the ‘your kids will be embarrassed’ and such critics…


Life’s Little ‘Check-In’

Hopefully this isn’t too depressing, it’s not meant to be.  We have recently been working though a lot of deep topics that come about when you are faced with your own mortality.  James’s father, Steve, passed away recently, my grandfather, Carl, did as well.  I think it is natural to find yourself in a deeply introspective pause in order to try to make sense of those sorts of things.  Both were great men, sadly I found out a lot about both only through their obituaries, I really wish I would have known more while they were here.  I feel like I had a really close relationship with my grandpa but with almost 60 years of difference there is bound to be some details we don’t get to discuss’in!  The same goes with my brief path’s crossing with Steve.

As sad as it is that I didn’t get to know all the gritty details while they were here I sort of feel that that is ok.  It is kind of cool to read some ones whole entire life in a summary, it sure makes them seem like a badass!  It’s kind of more awesome that they didn’t see their accomplishments as extraordinary, it was just a part of them, not something  bragged about.  They were both pretty extraordinary though and worth bragging about.  Luckily they both leave behind a legacy of family, now we just have to boast about them on their behalf!  And we will :).

One Man's Legacy
One Man’s Legacy

It all get’s me to thinking though, what would my eulogy sound like?  What do I want it to sound like?   Am I writing my life in the way I want and accomplishing what I want?  What is my legacy?

Turns out I have sort of written about this before in a previous blogging life.  Before MiniMotives existed I had a blog called MeMotives.  I wrote about my life and my intentions, part of that is how I want to live and be remembered.  It was my way of sorting through life’s things, no surprise right around the time my other grandfather passed away several years ago.  Going back through those posts, what I have noticed is how helpful those intentions I set have been for me in meeting my goals over the years.

Through those posts I made a personal mission statement which has been a guiding beacon:

“To love life, live honestly and humbly, and actively create a better environment for my family and community with the optimism and passion that all things are possible.”

Since then, things have changed.  That was before I had a partner, before I had kids, before I designed or built my tiny house and quit my job/career(?).  Building this tiny house was never something I set out to do for any reason other than my own education (with construction) and to save me some cash for a couple years.  So much more has been accomplished with it though, it has changed my path in several ways, it has given me a platform I couldn’t have had on other paths.  It has changed things for me in ways I couldn’t have predicted and it continues to change things for me personally and professionally in unexpected way.  With the addition of these recent changes I figure it is time to re-evaluate life and my (and our) goals and my bucket list.

While there are no conclusions in this particular post, that is what I have been doing in the background here while also pouring myself and my time into our new little one, Miles, and our, now seemingly much bigger and more mature, little one, Hazel.

Breakthroughs will be coming soon :).  I hope you are all well!

What I Wish Others Knew About ‘Going Tiny’


Just a few points I want to make about ‘going tiny’:

  • It doesn’t have to be your forever home.  SO many people love to point out that I have kids in a tiny house and that it ‘won’t work forever’.  This may or may not be true, right now it has ‘worked’ great for longer than expected though, I am SO grateful for our living situation.  That isn’t the point though, at least not for me.  I didn’t build this house as a retirement home, I built the house as a tool to enable the life I want to live, it has and is doing just that.  When the house no longer does that I will come up with another situation.For me, it was a learning project, I built my own house, that was goal #1.  Additionally it enabled me to become debt free.  After 8 months of living tiny I had paid off all of my debts AND had a completely paid for house with only a SMALL rent payment for the land I set it on.  If it stopped there it would have been fantastic but every month I save over $2,500 on bills I used to pay… I would be very happy with my investment if it all went away tomorrow.


  • Tiny houses are just a ‘thing’.  There seems to be a lot of folks interested in tiny houses who are tied up with the idea of minimalism and not ‘letting things own you’ but yet they define themselves as ‘tiny house people’.  When it comes down to it a tiny house is just another thing.  It isn’t something to define yourself over.


  • The wheels are not usually about mobility. As tiny homes gain popularity I am seeing a lot more folks joining the movement who want a tiny house but don’t want the wheels, that is awesome!  Most though, have no idea that the wheels in many cases are imperative to being able to build ‘that small’.  Even though things are slowly changing, most places require you build to a minimum size, usually much larger than a tiny house (yes, even on your own property).  This is a building/zoning department requirement, in order to bypass these offices you can put your home on wheels and be classified as a mobile structure.  So even though most tiny houses have wheels a good portion of them don’t take many trips…


  • It’s a leap of faith. One of the biggest obstacles is finding a situation to live.  Because of the wheels, tiny houses get thrown into a different classification which often times can be tricking to find a parking situation.  When I built, like many others I had no idea where I would be able to live once complete, but I built anyway.  There are a lot of great ways to connect with others for a parking spot and more and more community options coming up all around the country, but still, this tends to be a leap of faith for those looking at building tiny now.  There are WAY more waiting for it to be totally legal before taking that first step, and folks who want to save money for land first.  Personally, because it is a legal grey area, I prefer to rent land rather than buy it, that way if I am asked to leave I am not out the cost of the land purchase, which is totally possible in my area!The good news, once you have pretty close to a finished house parking options usually open up.  People just want to see what they are agreeing to, no one wants to agree to house an eye sore so it’s sort of understandable…


  • They are rarely ‘cheap’. I am a horrible example of how much tiny houses ‘usually’ cost.  I hate that every time cost comes up it turns into a ‘builder greed’ and extravagance discussion (as if living extravagantly is a bad thing).  My house is used a lot to try to justify this argument but no one seems to consider how many hours I put into finding and refinishing materials to meet my budgeting goal (under $12k).  The fact is that most people don’t have or want to put in that sort of time, and having someone else do the work is not free.  Nor is having someone else use reclaimed materials going to save you money, that takes time which often costs more than just buying ready to use material.  So, unless you are ready and willing to get your own hands dirty and pour yourself into your tiny house don’t expect to get one for less than $15-20k, most DIYers spend more than than honestly on just materials.

    There IS value in hiring labor, a lot of value.  Everyone has different influences on their tiny house decisions, cost/budget is only one of those.  Your timeline may drive you to make less cost effective decisions, or any number of other factors, that is ok.


  • You CAN do it. I truly believe that anyone is capable of building a tiny house.  There are a TON of great examples of people facing greater difficulties than standard when it comes to building.  Sicily Kolbeck is one, if a 13 year old gal and her writer mom can build a tiny house with no previous experience can you?  Or Vera Struck, who is a 65 year old, disabled cancer survivor who built her house on her own after attending a tiny house workshop.  Where there is a will there is a way.  No single part about building a tiny house is hard, there is LOTS of help out there in the form of YouTube videos, eBooks, blogs, Facebook groups and there are no more helpful people than tiny house people.  I don’t care how much of a beginner you are, we are all beginners at some point, if you jump in you will find a way!


  • It’s not hard. I’m often asked what my biggest challenge is about living tiny and I ALWAYS draw a blank.  The best possible answer I can come up with is not being able to take a bath that once a year that I used to… which is not that hard (it was an intentional decision not to have a bathtub, you can have one :)).  In reality the hardest part is dealing with the criticisms of others over my decision to live tiny, particularly with a pet and children.  I only have to deal with that though because I choose to remain open about it and put myself in the public eye in an effort to normalize the lifestyle… that one hard part can easily be minimized by not doing that.  Living in a tiny house feels just as normal and just as comfortable for our family as living in larger houses did.

He’s Here! Miles A. (aka Mr. T(iny))

He made it!  3 days before his due date!  My midwife was out of town at a conference again so it seemed the appropriate time to go into labor :).  This is the second kid with the same midwife and she didn’t deliver either of my babes! :)   It is quite alright though, she was great for both pregnancies and I had the same stand in midwife who delivered both Hazel and Miles.  Never saw her but to deliver both kiddos, but she was great at talking me through everything both times.  It’s so nice to have someone to make you more comfortable and relaxed while giving birth to little people.  I appreciate both of my midwifes :).

main passtime
main passtime

I had been having contractions for several days and HOPING things would get going soon… turns out being pregnant is still uncomfortable, ALL the time!  :)  At 3:30 I started doing dishes, the LAST thing in the house left to clean.  Almost instantly contractions got a lot rougher and were 2 minutes apart.  I let it go for an hour to see if they would keep going then emailed James that he should probably come home, we might be going to the hospital soonish…  He came right home and tried to get me out the door instantly but I wasn’t convinced I was really in labor yet so we waited, drank some water and kept track of things.  At 5:15 I decided we should probably go check and see, so we went to the hospital.  At 5:30 I was checked in and not leaving until I had the baby :).  At that point I was at 6 cm dilated and the nurses were impressed I wasn’t screaming already :).  Labor is a different kind of pain than just ‘ouch’… it is lots of ouch too but… it’s just different, it’s productive pain so it’s easier for me to work through mentally, and it comes in waves, so I could relax in between and just trust the process would be over soon enough!

It was a pretty fast process really, check in at 5:30, by 10:00 we were cooing to our new little baby boy!  Most of the time was spent joking around between contractions and generally having a good time (weird to say for a labor story…).  I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a moment I considered letting them put lots of drugs in me for labor but ultimately I know that can slow down the process and can put unnecessary stress on the baby, if it was necessary I wouldn’t have hesitated but since it wasn’t I opted to try for another natural delivery with no drugs, it worked well the first go round, why not go for two?  It was rough but I am sure it made the difference between his birthday being the 1st or the 2nd, and I am glad to have had a shorter labor (with only 11 minutes of active ‘pushing’ :)).

We opted this time to just let my folks know so they could pick up Hazel (conveniently on their way home from work!).  No one else knew until after Miles was born, that way there wasn’t added pressure of people waiting in the waiting room or walking in the delivery room.  It was weird to be without Hazel for the night but she had a blast at grandma and grandpas.

Miles was exactly the same length as his sister (20.5″) and weighed 9 ounces more (8 pounds 10 ounces).  Apparently I make big (healthy!) babies :).  We got to do everything just as we wanted, I have two great labor stories and I hope to never be one of those people who like to offer all the worst case scenarios and horror stories to newly expecting mothers.  If I ever get caught doing that I give you all permission to slap me.  Labor isn’t always bad, it’s a pretty amazing process not to be feared!

SINCE BIRTH… Miles has been keeping us busy, he’s had some reflux issues that he seems to have worked through, the first several days he kept throwing up everything he ate and had a lot of fluid in his stomach.  He lost 5% of his weight in the hospital but today at his 12 day check-up he was up almost a pound from birth so we seem to have no issues feeding :).  He’s in the 90+ percentiles on height and weight.  He doesn’t have a tongue tie like Hazel did so feeding has been much easier on me.  He has been the quietest little guy, he sleeps all day and wakes up around 7pm and is in and out through the night but rarely wakes me up, he just looks around :).  We’re pretty smitten, Hazel adores him, I think he must have a raw spot on his forehead from all of her kisses.

She has had some adjustments to make but seems to be rolling with it pretty easily.  About three weeks before he was born we started putting her in ‘school’ (daycare) for two half days a week.  Mostly because she is a social butterfly and really wanted to hang out with the other kiddos (they go on walks right by our house).  She is LOVING school, we may bump up to four half days a week just so I can spend some one on one time with Miles and she really likes it.  We got a stack of her art projects and it is pretty cool to see all the things she is up to.  It’s hard to drop her off for the day but nice to know she really likes it and gets to learn and do so much!

I have the feeling that these two kids of mine are going to be COMPLETE opposites.  Hazel is a very strong willed individual with a lot of opinions… a ‘bossy pants’ some might say.  She’s completely extroverted and a social butterfly.  I think Miles will be more sensitive and easy going… time will tell but it’s been pretty cool to see their little personalities coming out!

We went shopping for Halloween costumes, I had this big plan that Hazel would be a cowgirl, Denver would be her pony and Miles could be a cow… Hazel had absolutely zero interest in being a cowgirl, no matter how many boots and hats she saw… what she wanted… er demanded, was Wonder Woman.  She saw the skirt, grabbed it and threw itt in the cart.  Went I put it back on the shelf she very calmly said ‘no’, grabbed it again and put it in the cart… I didn’t give in at the moment… but… this year we have Wonder Woman and superman… Denver can be bat dog :) (pictures coming soon).  It cracks me up how opinionated Hazel is at 18 months, i don’t think I’ve ever had that strong of opinions, just makes me laugh, all the time!

Lets see, other than all the family shinanigans… Guillaume and Jenna fron Tiny House Giant Journey published their video tour of our place, it’s way better than any of my boring ole tours :)

Here are some images in no particular order:

‘How-To Tiny House – 101’ – Now Live!

course images final

(A four part series)

I put together these presentations as a way to help the tiny house community to the best of my ability.  I presented these locally and have had several requests to put them online so here they are!  The actual live recordings didn’t work out but I was able to re-record the information.  It was not the least bit comfortable for me in front of a camera, just like standing in front of a crowd wasn’t BUT I believe in the information and I believe in helping to empower others interested in living tiny so hopefully you can forgive a little camera shy me and find value in the information presented!  This is my attempt at a complete ‘brain dump’ of everything I know and have learned about tiny houses in the last 4+ years!

These are four sessions I have made to cover some of the main tiny house topics.  I know people aren’t interested in all parts so I split them into four different sessions focusing on ‘Construction‘ options, ‘Systems and Utilities‘, ‘Codes and Foundation Selection‘ and finally ‘Design!‘  I hope they can be beneficial for you!


Tiny House Construction

course images part 2

This is going to be a conversation about the various types of construction you may use when building your tiny house. I will talk about standard framing practices, advanced framing techniques, steel stud construction and SIPs. The great thing about tiny homes is that even the most complex house is pretty basic. Even though this will be a bit more ‘technical’ information I hope it stays simple enough for those not in the construction industry.

In addition to framing options I will get into insulation types, pros/cons and tiny house specific considerations and suggestions when it comes to moisture protection, fasteners, attaching to your foundation and more. This will MOSTLY focus on tiny houses on wheels. I also hope to give you a basic understanding of tools needed for the task and important safety info!

There are approximately 2 hours of information relating to construction, insulation, glazing selection and special considerations – as it applies to tiny homes. This course is formatted to provide the information relevant to you and enable you to make the best decision for yourself. 

Tiny House Systems

course images part 3

This is going to be a conversation about the utilities and hookups available for tiny houses including pros and cons of each. I will talk about on-grid, off-grid and self contained options when it comes to water, sewer and electric as well as a basic intro to wiring and plumbing.

I will go through all the fixtures and options as far as plumbing, heating and cooling your tiny house. This will be the one where we talk at length about toilets and all the options there ;-).

There are approximately 2 hours of information relating to utilities, fixtures and systems as they apply to tiny homes. This course is formatted to provide the information relevant to you and enable you to make the best decision for yourself. 

Designing Your Own Tiny House

course images

This is going to be a conversation about how to design your own tiny house. Fact is tiny houses HAVE to be suited for their occupants, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ but there are things to consider and think about in your daily life. I will share some of the important questions to ask yourself, some things to consider and give you some general rules and background of design to help make the appropriate decisions. Design is daunting but it’s also systematic and with tiny houses, form really does follow function, there are reasons that one strategy makes sense over others. In addition to talking about the design of the actual house I will touch on designing your lifestyle!

There are approximately 2 hours of information relating to design, materials, and processes – as it applies to tiny homes. This course is formatted to provide the information relevant to you and enable you to make the best decision for yourself. 

Tiny House Codes and Foundation Selection

course images part 1

This is going to be a conversation around local and national code issues surrounding Tiny Houses. I will talk about the options you have both locally (to you) and nationally, focusing on the permitting process and alternative paths to legalized tiny house living.

As a part of this conversation I will explain the difference between a foundation tiny house and a tiny house on wheels (legally) and the process that each must go through. The MAIN focus of this course will be tiny houses on wheels so I will get into the considerations that will go into picking your foundation (trailer) including both new and used options.

There are approximately 2 hours of information relating to history, zoning, codes and foundations – as they apply to tiny homes. This course is formatted to provide the information relevant to you and enable you to make the best decision for yourself. 

Some reviews of the live sessions:

“It was outstanding !!! – Macy is so full of wonderful information – Thank you for all the time you take to help others.” -Kym

“Comprehensive, informative and fun! Thank you!” – Dani

“Macy — Once again you wowed us with your tiny house series! You answered a lot of essential questions and asked us to consider some questions I had no idea I needed to think about. You are a master at instruction and even if you feel nervous talking to groups, you are a true master of communication and I thank you for giving of your time to teach us all something new.” – Libby

“Macy, thank you for a great final meeting and a fantastic series! I’m not sure how, if I would like it built for me or a more DIY effort, but I am more convinced than ever that a tiny house is for me! You did a fabulous job presenting the information in a logical and systematic way.” – Michelle

“enjoyed the class while learning much I did not know.” -Joe

“Very informative!!” -Fawn