Tiny House Book List

These are our top ten books to read when searching for tiny house inspiration! This is the literature that influenced the design and build of La Casita and which continues to inspire us to build tiny houses and attempt to live a more sustainable life.

#1: Go House Go by Dee Williams was the basis for our build. We found this to be an excellent reference and helpful when tackling the nitty gritty of building a tiny house. Check out The Tiny Life’s book review here!

the small house book#2: The Small House Book by Jay Shafer was an obvious choice when determining style. This book helped us to determine our desired aesthetic inspiring us with it’s intent toward sacred geometry and traditional angles that set tiny houses apart from sheds or mobile homes.

 #3: Tiny House by Mimi Zeiger was our coffee table book for about a year. We loved to flip it open and enjoy this visually appealing amalgamation of tiny dwellings from around the world. The book focuses on buildings that share sustainability initiatives which encouraged our inspiration to build a home made of 90% reclaimed materials.

#4: Move House by Sean Topham is the book that led us to the Tumbleweed designs. It had a page featuring Jay Shafer along with many other quirky projects that opened our imaginations to what mobility and livability could mean.

 #5: Ultimate Guide to House Framing by John D. Wagner is a well laid-out, clear guide to framing. From teaching how to use tools to reading blueprints to sheathing a wall-it truly encompasses how to frame a building in terms of construction as well as design.

#6: Simply Imperfect: Revisiting the Wabi-Sabi House by Robyn Griggs Lawrence is a lovely book we were intuitively drawn to.  Wabi sabi is,  to quote Lawrence, “a subtly spiritual philosophy that offers a path toward home as sanctuary  a simple place devoid of clutter, disturbance and distraction,” which we are continually striving for in La Casita.

#7: The Composting Toilet System Book by David Del Porto and Carol Steinfeld is a comprehensive look at alternative waste removal options.  More than 40 systems that offer ecological water management options are featured. It helped us gain a better understanding of what’s out on the market and what we can build ourselves.

#8: Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs is an excellent DIY resource for living a more sustainable lifestyle. Charmingly written and filled with fun, simple and cheap recipes for everything from all-purpose cleaner to herbal hand salve, it’s also a great reference when starting a garden or trying to fight a cold. Such an endlessly useful resource!

#9: Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats and Funky Forts by Deek Diedricksen is by far one of the most lively written works on small spaces. I love it’s zine-esque aesthetic and saucy vernacular!  Deek also has an excellent book list at relaxshacks.blogspot.com. Check it out!

#10: Little House on a Small Planet by Shay Salomon challenges people to think about their resource use and consider their true living needs.  This book is a passionate endorsement  inspiring the renovation, building and inhabiting of small dwellings.

Your Turn!

  • What books inspire you to explore, build and live the tiny life?
  • What is on your recommended reading list for tiny life enthusiasts?


  1. Shelter by Lloyd Kahn

  2. Dee’s book and “House Framing” were great guides for as I prepped for my build as well. Even if you have a different idea of how you are planning to build compared to others, it’s great to learn tips and tricks from others(and when you’re lucky…their mistakes!).

  3. How to live in small spaces, by Terence Conran. One of the best books ever!

  4. The Very Small Home: Japanese Ideas for Living Well in Limited Space by Azby Brown and Kengo Kuma (May 1, 2005)

  5. Can’t see why Jay Shafer’s book is so popular. Its more like a real estate magazine with little advice for people who are actually building. Plus, most of the photos are Photoshopped. It makes the book really painful to look at once you notice that.

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