This Off-Grid Tiny House Homestead Preserves Navajo Family Traditions

by Simplify

Vernita and Travis’s tiny house homestead on their family land in a Navajo Reservation in Arizona preserves family traditions while providing the couple with a way to save on rent.

Their off-grid tiny house is 10 by 16 feet and includes an open-space area with the kitchen and living room, as well as two lofts with two beds; one for Vernita and Travis and one for their son.

The kitchen and living room have movable pieces, such as homemade countertops on wheels, so the family can switch things up if they want a change of scene or need space.

Their shed tiny house cost around $6,400 for the outer shell and drywall insulation, with many of the things in the house handmade with reused materials, some of which are from their wedding and are a good way of incorporating special memories into their home. 

The off-grid tiny house runs on a generator and does not have running water, but this was not a hard adjustment for Vernita, who grew up off-grid on the reservation; or for Travis, who also spent time living off-grid at his grandparents’ home.

The off-grid tiny house is set on family land in the Navajo Nation

The tiny homes of Navajo heritage preserve a connection to the land. Vernita’s parents lived on this spot on the reservation, and so did her great-grandmother, dating back 100 years. 

The family enjoys eating and hosting in their outdoor space, which includes 3 grills and a smoker. They also have an outdoor garden where they grow pumpkins and other types of vegetables, and where they keep pet rabbits.

The outdoor space of this tiny house homestead also has an outdoor 5-gallon camp shower; the family hopes to install a propane heater for winter showers. They also have an outhouse next to the woods. 

Instead of using a composting toilet, they dig a 6-foot pit that lasts them for the entire year. This feels more natural to Vernita because it is how she grew up; she did not want a toilet inside her house, in the same place where she cooks and eats.

Off-grid tiny house homestead

Saving money on rent allows Vernita and Travis to spend quality time together and travel to national parks and go hiking with their son. 

Before they moved, they felt like they were spending all their time working in order to pay the bills. Now, thanks to their shed conversion to tiny home, they have massively cut down on living expenses and are living rent-free, leaving them time to enjoy life together.

For more tiny home stories, read how this tiny house homestead was constructed using scorched wood felled in Californian wildfires or how this woman converted a shed into a 10 x 11-foot tiny house.

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

Join the conversation
 1 comment
  • Diane Diane on Jul 27, 2022

    God bless you. A few years ago I visited the mittens. I love what you have done. We can certainly learn from you.