Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

What 15 Tiny House Experts Would Change About Their Tiny Houses

I sat down with the top tiny house experts to ask them a bunch of questions, today I am sharing their responses to the question: “If you could go back and change one thing about your tiny house, what would it be?”  The folks in this post have built tiny houses, live in tiny houses and teach folks from all over the world about tiny houses, so we are lucky to be able to tap into their brains on these questions.

kristie-wolfe

I wish I would have bought land originally and built on a foundation instead of converting it a year later.

steven-harrell

I would make it even smaller. I currently live in a 590 square feet home and I see lots of opportunity to reduce space throughout the home.

alek-lisefski

Now that I’m in Texas with a hotter climate than I ever anticipated living in, I could really use a nice mini-split system instead of the window AC unit I am currently using.

ryan-mitchell

I would go from an 18 foot trailer to a 20 foot trailer. I think the extra length would be a real sweet spot for me.

andrew-odom

I could have made a more interesting and more useful house if I had explored a rising roof, dormers, or even a shed roof.

dan-and-jess-sullivan

The kitchen cabinets! We approached them the same way we approached building the shell of the house, which is overkill! We were facing a time crunch and didn’t take the time to review some basic cabinetry tutorials.

deek-diedricksen

I often wonder what a newer, better insulated, better laid-out, design would be like to live in. I wanted to be “Green” by saving an existing “beater” of a house though, and don’t really have any regrets.

ella-jenkins

I would use better quality windows. In my climate aluminum windows are a mistake, would use wood or aluminum clad in a do over. I would also vent my roof.

ethan-waldman

I’d incorporate a compact staircase with storage built in rather than a ladder.

gabirella-morrisson

Now that both of our teenage kids are living on our land with us full time, a larger dining room table would be great.

jenna-spesard

Choose a design with a full porch! I wish I had a covered place to sit outside with my coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night.

laura-lavoie

I might raise the roof line (we’re on a foundation) or do bump-outs to have windows in the loft walls.

macy-miller

Anything I wanted to change I have, it’s a flexible thing. I suppose one thing that is harder to change is my window to wall ratio, I don’t really have room to hang a picture.

vina-lustado

I would make the horizontal window by the stove operable.  In retrospect, I would have been able to make it work with an awning window.

kent-griswold

I would try to have all the money saved to get the all the projects done before moving in. It is more fun to save then to pay off the debt after the fact.

 

A very special thanks to the folks who participated:

Your Turn!

  • What would you change about your tiny house?
  • What tips have you learned from others?
22 Comments
  1. This was sooo helpful, Ryan! I’m about 6 mo. away from starting my TH build and this advice is invaluable.
    I’ll be looking forward to everyone’s comments to this post!

  2. I agree with Jenna and am building a covered deck to enjoy coffee outside. My Tiny House will “dock” next to the deck, which is not attached to the house. 🙂

    • I agree. Covered outdoor space, even if it’s just a spot for a chair and a place to put your tea and book on a rainy day, makes a huge difference to living tiny. If it can also hold muddy boots and dripping rain gear and shelter you and your groceries while you dig out your keys it’s even better.

  3. Thanks for this helpful feedback from those who are already living the tiny life! We are in the process to build a 110 sqf home inside a Skoolie for a family of four! What a learning curve ahead. I don’t think you can really plan this out without having some better ideas AFTER it’s built. I guess, try to have a flexible design and layout, so you can improve upon later? 🙂

  4. Plan,plan,plan your kitchen and bath. Everything else is relatively easy to change or improve later.

  5. Have to be a little longer trailer, with two axles. 14 feet is not bad for one person. 6″ 4 feet tall inside is not to bad. I just wish I would stop make so many TH for me. 5 should be the most I need, right? I can break all of them down in just 5 hours. All are on wheels. I have not found the right windows yet.

  6. Brilliant question… I couldn’t wait to read the answers… Please keep asking it and reporting the results.

    I was surprised by the range of answers. If a theme can be wrestled out of them, maybe it’s to plan, plan, plan.

  7. I’m finishing up my own Tiny House right now, and so I don’t know what I’d change yet…other than to wish I hadn’t been in such a panic when I started. That of course, can’t be helped. 😀
    Ask again in a year and I’ll know better!

  8. Thank yo. Keep it coming.

  9. I am starting to build my tiny house today. I picked up a fifth wheel trailer frame, and am going to make some changes to it before my build out. Making it 8.5 wide and going to make it 13.5 feet tall with at least one loft. Want full size appliances and a French door that opens to a covered retractable roof that can cover a patio.
    Want to be totally off grid with a 16kw house battery and solar and wind power generators. Going to use mainly reclaimed materials and estate sale finds and salvaged wood for finishes.
    Total length of home is 40 foot long, and with loft looking at tentatively 438 square feet.
    Wish list includes full tub, composting toilet and water flush toilet if possible, and tons of built in storage. Planning on using high quality Windows, fully insulating floors as well as walls and ceiling, and having 120 volt and 12 volt lighting systems on board.
    A sailboat type wood stove in living area and well as slid in barn doors and multiple types of wood to finish out interior.
    Exterior finish will be reclaimed barn wood from my grandfathers barn, and a metal roof and full length 12 wide retractable roof for the covered patio with Eve trough system to catch rain water for a hydro cistern. This water will be fed through filters after
    Storage for onboard use.

  10. Floor plan. Take hints from RV manufacturers. They have been doing this for over 60 years

  11. Its so nice to read what other people have done and would do differently. I’ve already got the land (with a ‘regular’ house on it for my seniors) but making a decision on what kind of ‘tiny’ house and the permits required (i’m on an acreage in a subdivision) and do I want to build in-ground, or round, or true tiny on wheels? so many questions. Fortunately there’s no hustle. Looking forward to reading more of other peoples progress and thoughts of what they’d do differently

    • Hi Allison,
      I just wanted to comment that you don’t need wheels to have a “true” tiny house! Anything very small, whether on wheels or not, is a true tiny house. 🙂

      On another note (not related to your comment), people don’t have to pare down to the barest essentials to live happily in a tiny house. The rhetoric around that has frankly tired me out. There’s no shame in having a storage building, a shop, a barn, whatever, filled with what you need to do your life your way.

      Soapbox speech over now.

  12. I learned that I was living “tiny” in my 595sf first home. Fascinating. What is the official size limit to call it tiny, or is there one?

    • There are people who live in 64 sq ft campers that think they need less, and I read an article years ago where a person complained about living in “ONLY” 3700 sq ft. Honestly, I’m just about certain it’s a matter of perspective.

  13. I live in a small house, 600 sf….but I have converted a Smokehouse next to my home. I call it my Tiny House, but it is 300 sf total. The upstairs is larger than any lofts I have seen. You can actually walk in my upstairs…it has an 8 ft peak. There is a tool shed attached that we are converting into a bathroom, so that is extra space also. I put in stairs rather than a ladder….just need a covered porch out front and it’ll be set…Not sure what I’ll do with it. Maybe rent it short term so people can see if they really want to live “Tiny”.

  14. It’s so… nice? to hear I’m not alone in wanting to change something! Even though I’ve only been living tiny for a little over a few months now, I’ve noticed a couple of things I’d like to change. One is I have a guest/storage loft and only after I moved in did I think I should’ve made the one window in it operable. Extra fans will be a necessity for air flow for someone sleeping up there. I can change it out, but… Tinies are like all houses–there’s always a project going on!

  15. Love this!
    For the people who agreed a a full outdoor porch or covered space would be nice…what about having a (small) covered deck extended from the house? So you have full space inside and an extra seating area outside that trailer space.
    I have been to Jenna’s tiny house, its adorable even with her tiny covered entry not big enough to sit in 😉

  16. Appreciated! And helpful – some of them I hadn’t even thought of. And some of these comments are useful too, such as building a deck. More footage in a THOW is always a pleasure.

  17. Covered porches/decks are so great! I keep thinking how much I’d like to build one even for my regular house.

  18. I am just about to begin building my TH but I am not sure what size trailer I need and truck to pull it bc I now have a van Ive had a long time. I want to go with 200-250 sq ft I believe. Any suggestions or thoughts on the matter? I am in NC but will be traveling to CA to work so I definitely want this on wheels.
    I want to finish the inside but looking for someone to build shell and do electricity and plumbing. I want to get this started so any feedback is appreciated.

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