Tiny Houses on CNN

CNN: Tiny Homes Big in down economy

More people are learning to live small by trading their big homes for financial freedom.CNN’s Thelma Gutierrez reports.

Tiny Houses on CNN


Embedded video from CNN Video

Can you believe that Jay’s appearance on CNN drew over four times as much website traffic as his Oprah appearance? Thank you CNN.


House Material Costs

Estimated material costs for Tiny Houses

Updated: 08/01/2013

Trailer Size  14′
Cypress 20
Linden 20
TrailerHouse material costs - Learn more about trailers 3,800 4,100 4,400
General Materials 5,000 5,500 6,000
Insulation 1,200 1,500 1,700
Roofing 550 650 700
Exterior Siding 600 700 800
Interior Siding 500 600 700
Flooring 500 600 700
Windows 3,400 3,400 3,400
Appliances 1,000 1,000 1,000
Fixtures 1,600 1,600 1,600
Mechanicals 2,500 2,500 2,500
Sales Tax 1,652 1,772 1,880
Total 22,302 23,922 25,380

Please note that the cost prices are only estimates. We’ve included sales tax since it is often overlooked, but is a large number.



Tumbleweed Trailers

A typical flatbed trailer is ideal for building a Tumbleweed Tiny House. They are available at many trailer and RV stores. The picture is a typical flatbed trailer.

Often when you purchase a trailer, it will have sides or ramps. That’s okay, you will just need to remove the sides and ramp. It’s actually pretty hard to find a trailer without some sides built in. Sometimes they are referred to as utility trailers.

Trailer sizes are listed as the size of the actual trailer bed. It does not include the hitch or the wheels. For example, a 7′ x 14″ trailer would be 7′ between the wheels. Almost all trailers are 8’6″ wide when you include the wheels; and as it turns out, this is the widest possible width for road travel without a permit. The bed of the trailer would be 14′ long, and when you add the hitch, it would probably measure 17′ long.

Except for the New Popomo, all of our portable homes require a flatbed trailer where the wheels are taller than the trailer bed. The maximum legal road height in the US (without a permit) is 13’6″. None of our homes are taller than 13’5″. But more important than the legal road height is the height of the bridges. Most bridges are in fact much taller than 13’6″, but to be safe, you can not build on a trailer where the entire bed is above the wheels.

The Popomo does not have a loft, and therefore is designed to fit on a trailer bed that is “over the axle”. The advantage to that design is that it provides for a wider house, albeit shorter.

Most trailers come with a double axle. Usually, each axle is rated to hold 3,500 lbs. However, some axles are rated for 5,000 lbs each (as well as 6,000 lbs each and 7,000 lbs each). Therefore, a double axle trailer will have a total rating of 7,000 lbs or 10,000 lbs. This rating will have a large impact on the price. It is referred to as “GVWR”, which means Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Keep in mind that the GVWR includes the weight of the trailer.

So if the trailer is rated for 7,000 lbs and the trailer weighs 1,500 lbs, you can put 5,500 lbs on it. On our website, we list the weight of our houses including the weight of the trailer.

Except for the XS-House, all of our homes require a double axle trailer. The XS-House can be built on a single axle trailer if the axle is rated for 5,000 lbs.

Trailers usually include brake lights, a license plate, and a breaking mechanism. The lights and brakes attach to your car/truck, and when you use the brakes, it will also apply the brakes to the trailer.

There are many sizes for hitch balls, but almost all are either 2″ or 2 5/8″ (2 5/8″ are recommended). The hitch ball on your car/truck is easily changable, and probably around $30.

Because the trailer is roughly 18% of the material cost, saving money on the trailer is the easiest way to control construction costs. Consider buying a used trailer. is an excellent place to look for a used trailer. Prices for used trailers range from $500-$1500, a savings of $1000-$2000.


Suggest a Location

Where should host an open house in your city? Do you know a properly location ?

Suggest us a location. Please let us know where you think we should stop on our tour and have an open house. We’re not familiar with many of the towns we’re visiting, and we’re looking for feedback on where to host the open house when we are in your neck of the woods.


Please let us know if you can grant permission to be there (you work there or own the property). Ideally any suggested location will have ample parking.


Our largest house yet!

Enesti is our largest house yet

Over a dozen new green home designs are almost here. Pictured to the left is the updated Enesti.

We added an optional bedroom on the ground floor. These plans are complete, and the new house measures a tidy 774 square feet for the 3 bedroom version (ground floor pictured on top).

When you purchase the plans, you’ll receive plans for both the 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom versions. The bottom picture features the side view of the house with the additional room.The following five houses will all be updated shortly:

  • Harbinber
  • Bodega
  • Loring
  • New Vesica
  • Sebastarosa

…with more plans to come next month.

Enesti is our largest house yet



    bodega loring nv
    harbinger Whidbey sebastarosa
    enesti b53 zglass
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