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$5,000 Off-Grid Home Leads Tiny House Movement

tiny house movement

This Hobbit House cost only $5,000 to build. Image source:

Imagine life without having to pay for a mortgage or large utility bills. Seem like a dream? Think again!

The so-called tiny home movement has grown tremendously in the past few years. Many people — from young couples to architects — are trading in their large homes to build tiny homes that are as small as 200 sq. ft. Tiny homes are perfect for a young person or a retiree who can’t afford a large home.

They can also be a lot of fun. Consider five of my pint-sized favorites:

1. The Hobbit House

Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit House was built in four months by Simon Dale in Wales. He built the house for only £3,000 pounds ($5,000 US dollars) with the help of his father-in-law, friends and a few workers. It’s made from oak taken from the surrounding woodlands and has running water pumped into the house from a nearby spring. The look is made complete with fairy lights and rustic furniture — making it cozy enough for even Frodo or Bilbo Baggins to live in.

2. The Escape Cabin

If you want to get away, try the Escape cabin. It’s 392 sq. ft. and the price tag starts at $80,000 for the base model. You can also add on a few luxuries including heated floors and a built-in bed.  The cabin is portable — yet costly — to transport. But depending on where you live, it might be tax-free.

According to the builder of the Escape cabin:

ESCAPE qualifies as a Park Model RV which many of you probably know means it is not real property for taxation. However, if you were to enclose the deck even with glass in many jurisdictions this would negate the taxation relief. We use a 30mil clear plastic that works very well.

3. Macy Miller’s Small House

Most of us only dream of paying less than $100 a month on bills, but Macy Miller has actually made it happen. An architectural intern, she spent two years building a 196 sq. ft. home that she designed herself.

Harness the power of the sun when the power goes out…

Her tiny home includes a gorgeous kitchen, luxurious bathroom and a loft bedroom. She only spends $93 a month for her bills — including her cell. And with all of the money that she’s saved, the best part is that Macy can stay home with her newborn baby girl.

4.  A Sustainable Treehouse Community

Does watching the movie Swiss Family Robinson make you long for the adventure of living in a treehouse? Do the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi inspire you to build your own? If so, then you’ll love the rustic and simple life at Finca Bellavisa’s Sustainable Treehouse Community in Costa Rica. Some treehouses can be built there for as little as $35,000, while others take as much as $160,000.  Not sure? Rent one for yourself and see what it’s like. But after waking up to a serene setting each morning nestled in your peaceful treehouse, do you really think you’ll want to go back down to the real world?

5. Jessica Helgerson’s Tiny House

For the last six years, Jessica Helgerson and her family have lived in a small, 540 sq. ft. remodeled home. Their tiny home sits on an island in the Columbia River 15 minutes north of Portland, Oregon. The worn roof was replaced with a green roof with moss and ferns planted, making a striking contrast to the white cottage. They enjoy guests coming for the weekend and have plenty of room for them to stay. There are two bunk beds in the children’s room and a full bed for guests. And the sofas in the living area are comfortable enough for guests to sleep on. It may be a tiny house, but who wouldn’t enjoy the simple luxury of this island getaway?

Let’s face it: Tiny homes offer big benefits for some, but may not be right for others. For large families, obviously a tiny home isn’t a good solution. They can be difficult to build because many states now have tight restrictions on building homes and going off-the-grid. And for those who like luxury, you’ll definitely add on big bucks to your small home price tag.

Considering building a tiny home? Here are some benefits:

  • To save money.
  • To live simply.
  • To be adventurous.
  • To explore nature.
  • To live off-the-grid.
  • To design your own home.

What about you? If you could dream big and live small, where would you live? And how would you build it? Let us know in the comments below.

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