How They Built a Tiny Home in Their Backyard to Live Mortgage-Free

by Simplify

Traci and Matt were considering a move into a tiny home for a long time. As carpenters and home designers, they loved the simplicity and financial benefits that a tiny home offered, but with three kids, a tiny home did not seem like a viable option.

However, once their youngest moved out, the couple built and moved into a tiny home in their backyard. Their DIY tiny house on wheels is mortgage free and allows them to rent out the main house to help pay off that mortgage.

The tiny home is located in the couple's backyard

Traci and Matt are both architects and that’s reflected in their DIY design that is full of hand-crafted objects, from the Alaskan yellow cedar door to the locally-sawed wooden bar, to the cherry and oak bedside table.

The home is 300 square feet, not including the loft and the outdoor deck. There are two doors, allowing for an orderly flow of traffic when hosting people who might be coming in and out.

This backyard tiny house is environmentally friendly, with plenty of recycled materials throughout. All the windows and doors except for one are made from reused materials and the countertops are made from salvaged plywood.

The design is extremely functional. Kitchen shelves were measured to be an exact fit to the specific items they are meant to store; a moveable kitchen island on wheels can function as a dining space or a cooking space, and be moved out of the way when not in use; the ladder to the loft doubles as storage shelves; the raised fridge to accommodate Matt’s tall frame also creates an under-fridge space for the kitten’s litterbox.

Tiny home in the backyard

Traci’s experience designing their tiny home in the backyard inspired her to start her own tiny home design business, Big Bliss Tiny Homes. Now, she’s sharing the knowledge she gained with others.

For more tiny home stories, take a tour of this rustic DIY silo home that used to store grain or this fairytale lakeside tiny house that even has its own sauna.

To see more videos, check out the Tiny House Expedition YouTube channel.

Join the conversation
3 of 9 comments
  • Cindy Cindy on Sep 04, 2022

    I love the idea but I’m not sure of NYS regulations concerning another resident on property. Did you have any problems?

    • Quigley Prepka Quigley Prepka on Jun 19, 2023

      I think you would need to look into your county and town building codes. I know this would not fly here on long island. there are regulations in some towns that require

      homes to be similar in size. The property may have to be sub-divided and there may be an issue with the minimum lot size requirement have to check with your local Zoning board. To get the permits you may need to have all your neighbors sign off

      to allow it. Here, I can not park an RV in my yard unless it is inside a garage, IE. more taxes. They don't say where they are and that is key since some areas have few restrictions on what you can build or put on your property

  • Xonia Diaz Xonia Diaz on Sep 04, 2022

    Excellent design and work on your tiny home and I wish you great success in your new career.