ADU Guide

How to Make the Most Out of a Shed Tiny House

Learn how tiny houses are the top housing solution for 2021 that has seen record housing price increases and increased flexibility as people work from home.

CottageJanuary 03, 2020

There is no denying America’s growing interest in tiny homes. According to Fidelity National Financial subsidiary, 56% of the more than 2,000 Americans they surveyed said they would consider living in a tiny home. And of those contemplating their first home purchase, 86% said they would consider the tiny home option. Even the Coronavirus pandemic has not dampened tiny home interest or its market—in fact, it has had quite the opposite effect. Building a tiny house can be cheaper on the pocketbook, faster to build, and in some cases, more dependably built.

What Is a Tiny House?

When the Great Recession hit the world’s economy beginning in 2007, the small house movement began to attract more attention. These homes, most of which have 400 to 1,000 feet of living space, represent a growing trend in the U.S. housing market. While many of them are built on trailers so they can be transported, a considerable number of them are anchored on properties owned by other individuals or by the tiny homeowner themselves.

Most tiny homeowners point to affordability, efficiency, and eco-friendliness as the main reasons that interested them in the tiny home lifestyle. This is especially true when the median price of a traditional American home is $233,400, and is much, much higher in places like California. Tiny homes can be prefabricated construction or custom built to suit special needs or to blend in with their surroundings.

When it comes to choosing your perfect tiny house, we definitely recommend custom-built varieties. After all, you have less space to work with, so you want to make sure that it works for you and your unique needs! And when it comes to choosing a builder for your tiny home, you want to go with a company that knows the industry and has experience working in what can be a challenging area.

Cottage has completed a wide range of projects from big to small, luxurious to cozy, and high-end to affordable. We are able to work with you through the approval and design process to ensure that you’re 100% satisfied with your results. We are able to offer tons of inspiration and ideas through our past projects that range from in-law suites to cottages to rental units designed to maximize income. So no matter what you’re looking for in your tiny home, Cottage can help you make it a reality with our customized design and seamless construction process.

Why Consider a Tiny House?

If you’re short on cash, in a rush, or not known for your construction savvy, you may want to consider building a tiny house to meet your housing needs. After all, minimalism is all the rage these days! So enjoy a minimalist and flexible lifestyle by living in a tiny home while also reaping the following benefits:

  • Time: Choosing a tiny home can save you a ton of time during the construction process since you’re dealing with a much smaller and less complicated space. Instead of waiting over a year or more for your new home to be built, you can get the keys to your new tiny home in no time.
  • Money: Again, since tiny homes are smaller and use fewer materials, they are more affordable than traditional single-family homes that can cost millions of dollars in California’s hot seller’s market. While the cost of tiny homes varies on the size and features, you’ll still be able to save a substantial amount of money compared to the cost of building or even buying a regular house.
  • Quality: Tiny homes are designed and built by professionals to custom specifications. If you are not good with a saw and nails, it is well worth starting your tiny house project with walls, windows, and a roof you can count on rather than depending on your own knowledge and experience.
  • Financing: Some tiny home builders provide their own financing or have trusted lending partners so that you can avoid having to seek a loan from a bank or other lending institution.

Things to Keep in Mind When Considering a Tiny House

Although tiny houses can be a great way to save money and get into your unit quickly, they may not be the best solution for everyone. Before making your investment, you will need to check local ordinances to make sure they allow for sheds to be used as dwelling units in the city or county where you live. Most local governments will require that the shed be placed in the back of a separate main house with a certain allowance between the main house and the edge of the property line. Some may require you to purchase a permit.

Tiny homes are becoming especially popular in states like California due to ever-rising housing costs. The state has made it easier than ever to build these units with additional restrictions varying by city.

Getting the Job Done

Constructing a tiny home sounds pretty easy since it’s smaller and less complex than a regular single-family home, but it’s a pretty involved process. Here’s what to expect during the process:

  • Foundation: Be sure to dig a level pad on which the unit can rest. Cover the area with four to six inches of gravel that extends one to two feet beyond the footprint of the unit. Consider how you will tackle any drainage issues and the placement of water and sewer lines.
  • Moisture: Considering putting your tiny house on blocks to avoid moisture problems and access to plumbing and other utilities when needed.
  • Framing: Ask that your tiny house be built with traditional 2x4s so that other building materials such as insulation will fit properly.
  • Electrical, Water, and HVAC: Install your electrical lines, water lines, internet connection, and any HVAC equipment. Be generous when considering how many electrical outlets you will need throughout the space to ensure that it’s functional.
  • Sealant: Seal up all cracks using a good silicone caulk, especially where the roof meets the top of the wall.
  • Ceiling and Wall Insulation: Make a decision whether to insulate the unit ceiling and walls with insulation spray foam or batt insulation.
  • Floor Insulation: Insulate the unit’s floors by either insulating beneath the floor surface, adding a new layer of plywood on top, or both.
  • Drywall and Floors: Install drywall and then trim out doors and windows. Paint the entire unit, then add flooring and baseboards.
  • Cabinets and Counters: Maximize your storage space in your tiny home with custom cabinets to fit all your gadgets and items. Keeping the space organized is key!
  • Appliances and Lighting: Finish up your tiny home project by installing all appliances and light fixtures.
  • Finishing Touches: Many owners of shed tiny homes opt to add on a front porch or a backyard deck, among other special features, to make the unit feel more like a real home.

All About Shed Tiny Houses

As you can see, living in a tiny house doesn’t have to be a last resort. In fact, it should be a legitimate option that allows you to live the lifestyle you desire. For the best tiny home designs, be sure to check out Cottage’s work that includes spaces from 350 square feet to over 1,000.

Sources:

Survey Reveals America's Ideal Tiny Home and Tiny Office | IPX1031

How the Tiny Home Movement Promotes Sustainable Living | Sustainability at Kent.

First Ever Statewide ADU Owner Survey Shows Growth, Room for Improvement | Terner Center at Berkeley

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