Tour This Tiny House That's Made From Recycled Materials

Danielle has built herself a tiny house made from recycled materials in Sisters, Oregon.

Today, she is taking us on a tour and sharing a little bit of her experience during the build. If you are into tiny houses, this is definitely for you.

Tiny house made from recycled materials

What helped you the most during the build?

The build was a big experience for sure, and a lot of blood, sweat, and literal tears went into it. I had not had any building experience going into it, and I did not use any plans. My house is very DIY. My uncle, who is an artist, helped me a lot with the visuals.

My process was quite spontaneous, I was designing around the pieces that I liked, within the general idea about what I wanted it to look like. The whole roof line of the house is based on one window that I found used at the re:Store. I knew I wanted the bathroom to be in the back or the door to be on the long end.

There are only so many ways you can build them, but it was a definite learning experience. I would get into it and make a lot of progress, then get stuck on something for a month, trying to decide on the material or the way to do it.

I did hire a few things out, such as the rough plumbing. Somebody came and wired my electric box, but I did like all the rough electric myself. That was amazing to learn, super simple. Anybody can do it, and electricians are really expensive.

I did the roof myself, which was a huge accomplishment. It took a while but getting it done made it weatherproof and felt really empowering.

I am not a natural builder, it does not come naturally to me. I do not do too many building projects now, but just having the skills and the experience using power tools is great.

Tiny house made from recycled materials

What kind of siding did you use and was it difficult to install?

One of my favorite features of my house are the cedar shakes. When I was at the Oregon coast, I was inspired by all the houses with cedar shakes as their siding, and I knew I wanted to do that, so that was one of my splurges in building my house.

The process for putting up these shingles was very tedious, but very rewarding in the end. I individually dipped each shingle into the stain without a pneumatic gun and then hung them on a line, making them double stained and hopefully more durable. I really like the staggered look versus the straight lines.

How did you pay for your tiny house build?

When I moved here, I had about $15,000 in the bank saved, so I was able to buy a trailer. I ended up getting a job after a while, which also helped a lot, because I could just pay as I went. I did not have to take out any loans to build it or borrow any money.

Tiny house made from recycled materials

How did you keep costs down during your build?

I did a really good job keeping track of my spending in the beginning, but it fell to the wayside towards the end. I estimate that the overall cost to build a tiny home was around $20-25k.

There were a few really big purchases that jacked the price up, such as the $4,200 brand new trailer from Iron Eagle, made specifically for tiny houses, and $600 new siding.

I would say, however, that at least 50-75% of my building materials were used. I went to the re:Store multiple times a week and collected things that would maybe come in handy down the line, asked around for extra building materials that I could haul off for free, which is how I got my floors, and was just generally super thrifty.

Tiny house made from recycled materials

What do you plan to change in your tiny home?

The trim on my cabinets was a really great idea in theory but did not hold out over time. I glued rocks and all kinds of pretty things on it, but it has started to fall off over the years. The reason I have not fixed it is because I am thinking of redoing the entire cabinet, since it does not go all the way back to the wall, so there is a lot of wasted space back there that I would like to utilize.

My loft space is also something I am not too satisfied with. The bed is just a full-size futon mattress from Amazon with a memory foam topper on it. There is not enough space for a full-size mattress up here. If I were to design my house again, I would have bumped up the ceiling to have more space.

Tiny house made from recycled materials

What advice do you have for other DIYers?

I would definitely just say be flexible. Building a tiny house with recycled materials is probably going to take more time and money than you expect. I would not want to be in any kind of time crunch to get it done.

Pool your resources, find your network who can help you complete each task. Do not build your house based on somebody else's experience with their house; instead, build it totally specific to your needs.

Most importantly, try to finish most stuff before you move in. Every project that you finish before you move into your house is a little gift that you give yourself.

I was so anxious to move into my house. I moved in when it was just the loft finish, meaning nothing down here was done. I moved a little rack for my clothes and had to put a drain in so I could have running water.

Living in such a small space and also trying to work on the projects within it makes you feel like you are always in a building zone, so try getting as much stuff done before you move into your house as possible.

Tiny house made from recycled materials

Would you live in a DIY tiny house? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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