Losing Everything–Starting Over with a Tiny House

“The short story is: we lost the home and business in the blackhole of economic reality. We took what jobs we could find and started saving as much as possible. Thoughts of moving to a more rural setting filled our heads and we started to make plans. Through purchasing Mortgage Free by Rob Roy, we came across the basic idea of finding the best land we could afford to purchase with cash, and then live in a temporary shelter while we built our larger home. Temporary or not, we knew that we wanted a decent quality of life from the structure. We were challenged. How could we do this quickly and with cash?
When I found tinyhouseblog.com, I was inspired by the ideas and immediately started designing our mobile mansion.…”


About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

7 Responses to Losing Everything–Starting Over with a Tiny House

  1. I would love to hear how one can lose everything BUT still be able to buy land and building materials WITH cash! Jeeze…..how is this done in this economy?

  2. Lovely house. I agree with MtnMona. I've seen this house and similar others (tiny, fixed or portable, alternative construction, etc.), and while often beautiful, I wonder how people who "lose everything" or "have nothing" can afford to buy land, building materials, pay for associated legalities, and labor/renovations if needed, and what they do (or did) for money. Often I'm finding that people who build alternative/tiny/portable have some serious financial wind at their back that isn't disclosed, such as savings from a formerly lucrative job, family money, or free land (building in a friend's backyard, or parking their tiny home in someone's driveway, using their utilities), etc. All good for them of course, but in general, these types of stories often feel somewhat dishonest in their presentation, like lying by omission. A lot of people drawn to alternative building do not have financial wealth, and they see these success stories and dangling carrots ("I had nothing and built a home!!") scratching their heads, wondering how it was really done if the builder had few means. I'm a little weary of how the small/alternative house movement in general is touted as an easier solution than it is. One needs quite a bit of resources to get these things off the ground.

  3. some of the above questions may have answers here:


    observations –
    it helps to live in a somewhat benign climate
    flexibility and humor go a long way
    one can start out in a tent – yes, even with kids
    a realtor IS NOT going to show you property you can occupy & own through sweat equity, and non banked finance
    this approach requires imagination, and a certain – dare i say in the age of obama – rugged individualism – not in vogue these days don'cha know

  4. This is really cool that you would be able to do this…I admire your courage. Did you have to get rid of a lot of possessions to be able to fit into a tiny house? I'm curious since that might hold me back if I were to do the same thing or consider it.

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