Our Serendipitous Tiny House

Posted on May 28, 2013


I frequently browse the free section of craigslist, despite knowing that many things on craigslist are junk, and the good things go so very fast. I have managed to get a few sweet deals on the craigslist free section, among them this super cute yellow antique drawer end table thingy, a large size dehumidifier which, despite being monstrously loud when running, helps keep the swimmingness of the Florida heat down a notch in the house, a sewing machine (which I had so little idea of how to operate that I chalked it up as useless), and our current coffee press.

Oh wait, most of those items came from Freecycle. Except for the antique drawer thing, but otherwise I don’t know what I’ve been able to snag off Craigslist. Let’s go ahead and say not much. All curb notices are gone before you can get there, and heaven forbid it’s more than a 10 minute drive away or you’re doomed.

This week, though, we’ll go ahead and say I found the coolest free thing I’ve ever received (well, almost received) – a free house!!!!

A free tiny house.

Really, a free shed.

Except that R, the guy who build this whole thing by hand, finished this bad baby out to be more of a house than a shed. Insulation, window, shower, toilet, loft space for storage or a bed, closet, etc.

A. Free. House.


I’ve been obsessed with tiny houses since…well, since I rode my bike while living at the Snapp’s house in Temple Terrace and stumbled upon the ~240 sq. foot shed-turned-house that we lived in on Dottie Dr. for a year. By tiny house standards or norms, 240 square feet is luxurious and spacious, but by most people’s standards, well – that’s insane. Our first tiny house was pretty space inefficient. The closet was small and more for storage than clothes, there was no loft, and the bathroom wasted a lot of space in its design (or lack thereof). But regardless of those things, we loved living in the tiny house. Some people recall that we were about to kill each other for a lot of while we were there, but I must remind you, we lived apart for the first 6 months of our marriage and then living in that tiny house was the first time I shared a room with someone since college (and college was the only time I had to share a room with someone) and it was a boy!

Right. So we’ve been obsessed with tiny houses. Me especially since I am all over pinterest and the internet looking up designs of tiny houses and trying to figure out how we could possibly live somewhere and spend the money to build a tiny house somewhere at the same time, etc. etc.

So back to the free section on craigslist.  I’d seen a small cottage (is 800 sq feet really a small amount of space to anyone?!) on craigslist in the free section before, to whoever could pay to move it. I emailed the people, heard nothing in response. That was dumb of me, though. Clearly I have no idea how much of a project it is to move something that’s already build into place.

I really don’t.

Because let me go ahead and say that our serendipitous cottage of a tiny house is a mere 120-140 (including the bathroom) sq feet of a foot print, compared to a whopping 800 sq feet, and this is has proven to be quite the ordeal to even prep for moving, let alone getting it actually moved.

I saw the ad. It had a phone number to text or call. I texted. Silly me. Hubs said to me, “If you don’t call him, I will.” And he did. So glad for that.

The guy on the phone said that 40 people had already called him about it.

40 people before us.

He’d give it to whoever could demonstrate that they could actually move it, and use it. After all, this was a hand-build labor of his time and effort. If you disregard the cost of materials (which is still several grand), the cost of time is still extensive. Who can blame the guy for not wanting his masterpiece turned to splinters.

I sent the awesome Rebecca K. of pork magic in Brooksville a message (it’s not really pork magic, but she raises magical pork, so that’s my reference of choice for the evening. She raises all the bacon that The Refinery on N. Florida uses and other pigs that they cook up and serve to the public). She responds almost instantly – we can make this happen!

Needless to say, despite me having no real idea of what moving a shed, let alone a very house-like shed, consists of, Rebecca has pretty much, almost made it happen.

I went in late to work the next day, since Rebecca got so excited for us (let me tell you that we only marginally knew Rebecca prior to this, save for making some tentative farm plans and having discussed her pork and the pig we raised last year) that she called R (house builder) and talked to him about it. He said he would show the place before noon the next day to interested people and see what propositions he got.

While Rebecca says that people will fall in love with our charm (me and Nate? Charming?), I’m pretty sure the fact that she knew some stuff about buildings and what a joist is (I didn’t, prior to this whole thing) was what got R willing to give us the place. That, and he’s just a stellar guy, but that deserves its own post.

All I shall say is that we’re in the thick of mobilizing a 120-140 sq ft shed-turned-house off of Davis Island that is, minus the cost of extra labor, tools, and rebuilding (I feel so bad about everything we’ve had to deconstruct and take apart), quite free.

Maybe it was the promise of duck eggs and homebrew that tipped him over the edge, but craigslist has saved me a few times. I roomed with total strangers in SC that I found on Craigslist and they were stellar, and now, my (OUR!) first house!

People, I can join back in the tiny house (and first time homeowners) fun – for free!tinyhouse

home sweet tiny house


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