Big Tiny House News

This is BiG and that is why I am posting it here.

Fresno has said it is legal to live in a tiny house, full time – all the time.
Once one city does it, others will start adopting the same rules, giving many people the ability to live tiny – Legally!

Prairie-Schooner-Final-Front web sized

Fresno, CA has a population of 509,000 and is the 5th largest city in California.

California Tiny House and the City of Fresno, held a press conference in front of Fresno City Hall to publicize the recent enactment of an ordinance which permits tiny homes on wheels as 2nd dwelling units on residential lots throughout the city. The new ordinance can be found at:

Fresno Bee article and video:

New Zoning/Development Code Details

The City of Fresno enacted a new Development Code in November 2015 which is very favorable to tiny homes and tiny homes on wheels on single family residential lots of 6000 sq ft or more (5000 sq ft if corner lot) as secondary dwelling units.

Specifically, Code Section 15-2754 Second Dwelling Units, Backyard Cottages, and Accessory Living Quarters, sets forth regulations for siting such units and further adds a definition in the code to include “tiny homes on wheels” as an acceptable “backyard cottage.”

This new ordinance, which goes in affect January 3, 2016, becomes a template that can be used by other cities and counties for permitting tiny homes and tiny homes on wheels.

We must give a great deal of thanks to Fresno Council Member Esmeralda Soria for carrying forward such progressive legislation in the Development Code update.  We at California Tiny Homes are proud that Member Soria represents our business in her Council district.  We were pleased that Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin is a supporter of the tiny home movement and, with assistance from the  City’s Development Department, moved forward to make the code changes a reality.  The Fresno City Council unanimously accepted these amendments for tiny homes on wheels.

Below is a complete copy of the relevant sections of the City of Fresno Development code:


Recently enacted City of Fresno Development Code Requirements for Second Dwelling Units, Backyard Cottages (including Tiny Homes on Wheels), and Accessory Living Quarters (Effective January 3. 2016)
15-2754 Second Dwelling Units, Backyard Cottages, and Accessory Living Quarters 
A. Purpose. The purpose of this section is to: 
1. Maintain the character of single-family neighborhoods; 
2. Ensure that new units are in harmony with developed neighborhoods; and 
3. Allow Second Dwelling Units as an accessory use to Single-Unit Dwellings, consistent with the Government Code (Section 65852.2). 
B. Architectural Compatibility. If visible from a public street or park, the architectural design, roofing material, exterior materials and colors, roof pitch and style, type of windows, and trim details of the Second Dwelling Unit, Backyard Cottage, or Accessory Living Quarters shall be substantially the same as and visually compatible with the primary dwelling. 
C. District Standards. Second Dwelling Units, Backyard Cottages and Accessory Living Quarters may be established on any lot in any residential district where single-unit dwellings are permitted. Only one Second Unit, Backyard Cottage or Accessory Living Quarters may be permitted on any one lot. Minor Deviations and/or Variances to meet the minimum lot sizes are not permitted. 
D. Minimum Lot Sizes. 
1. Second Dwelling Unit. 6,200 square feet. 
2. Backyard Cottage. 
a. Interior Lot Size: 6,000 square feet. 
b. Corner Lot Size: 5,000 square feet. 
3. Accessory Living Quarters. 5,000 square feet. 
E. Type of Unit. 
1. Second Dwelling Unit. May provide separate, independent living quarters for one household.  Units may be attached, detached, or located within the living areas of the primary dwelling unit on the lot, subject to the standards of this subsection. Kitchens, including cooking devices are permitted.
2. Backyard Cottage. May provide separate, independent living quarters for one household. Units may be attached, detached, or located within the living areas of the primary dwelling unit on the lot, subject to the standards of this subsection. Kitchens, including cooking devices are permitted. Backyard Cottages shall be located behind the primary dwelling unit, unless attached and integral to the primary dwelling unit.
a. A Tiny House may be considered a Backyard Cottage if it meets all the requirements of this section.
b. The Director shall review the design of the Tiny House to insure that the structure is compatible with the main home and the neighborhood.
3. Accessory Living Quarters. Accessory Living Quarters provide dependent living quarters. They may be attached, detached, or located within the living areas of the primary dwelling unit on the lot, subject to the standards of this subsection. Accessory Living Quarters may not provide kitchen facilities, however a bar sink and an undercounter refrigerator are allowed, but no cooking devices or other food storage facilities are permitted. Accessory Living Quarters shall not be located in front of the primary single-family dwelling.
F. Maximum Floor Area. The following are the maximum square footages of habitable area. The following calculations only include habitable floor space. Minor Deviations and/or Variances are not permitted to increase the maximum floor areas.
1. Second Dwelling Units. 1,250 square feet.
2. Backyard Cottages. 440 square feet.
3. Accessory Living Quarters. 500 square feet or 30 percent of the primary single-family dwelling, whichever is less.
G. Development Standards. Units shall conform to the height, setbacks, lot coverage and other zoning requirements of the zoning district in which the site is located, the development standards as may be modified per this subsection, other requirements of the zoning ordinance, and other applicable City codes.
H. Lot Coverage. Per the underlying zone district.
I. Setbacks.
1. Front Yards. Per the underlying zone district.
2. Side Yards/Street Side Yards. Per the underlying district.
3. Rear Yards. Shall be separated from the main home by a minimum of six feet.
a. Second Dwelling Unit. Per the underlying zone district.
b. Backyard Cottage and Accessory Living Quarters.
i. Alley Present. Three feet.
ii. No Alley Present.
(1) Abutting an RS. 10 feet.
c. A tandem parking space may also be used to meet the parking requirement for the Second Dwelling Unit, providing such space will not encumber access to a required parking space for the primary single-unit dwelling.
d. An existing two vehicle garage and/or carport may not be provided in-lieu of these parking requirements unless the parking spaces are accessed from different garage doors.
3. Backyard Cottage. No additional parking required.
4. Accessory Living Quarters. No additional parking required.
O. Access. Vehicular access shall be provided in the following manner:
1. Driveways. Shall be provided per the underlying district.
2. Pedestrian access Access. An all-weather surface path to the Second Dwelling Unit, Backyard Cottage, or Accessory Living Quarters shall be provided from the street frontage.
P. Mechanical Equipment. Mechanical equipment shall be located on the ground or, in the case of a tiny house on wheels, incorporated into the structure, but shall in no case be located on the roof.
Q. Utility Meters/Addresses.
1. Second Dwelling Units. Separate gas and electric meters may be permitted if approved by the Building Official and Pacific Gas & Electric.
2. Backyard Cottage and Accessory Living Quarters. Separate utility meters and/or addresses are not permitted.
R. Home Occupations. Home occupations are permitted pursuant to Section 15-2735, Home Occupations.
S. Airports. All applications shall comply with operative airports plans.
T. Owner Occupancy Requirements. The following shall apply prior to the issuance of a building permit.
1. Second Dwelling Unit and Backyard Cottage.
a. Either the primary dwelling unit, the Second Dwelling Unit, or the Backyard Cottage shall be owner-occupied.
b. The property owner shall enter into a restrictive covenant with the City, which shall be recorded against the property.
c. The covenant shall confirm that either the primary dwelling unit, the Second Dwelling Unit, or the Backyard Cottage shall be owner-occupied and prohibit rental of both units at the same time.
d. It shall further provide that the Second Dwelling Unit or Backyard Cottage shall not be sold, or title thereto transferred separate and apart from the rest of the property.
Definition of Tiny House added to City of Fresno Development Code
Tiny House. A structure intended for separate, independent living quarters for one household that meets these six conditions:
  • Is licensed and registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles and meets ANSI 119.2 or 119.5 requirements;
  • Is towable by a bumper hitch, frame-towing hitch, or fifth-wheel connection. Cannot (and is designed not to) move under its own power. When sited on a parcel per requirements of this Code, the wheels and undercarriage shall be skirted;
  • Is no larger than allowed by California State Law for movement on public highways;
  • Has at least 100 square feet of first floor interior living space;
  • Is a detached self-contained unit which includes basic functional areas that support normal daily routines such as cooking, sleeping, and toiletry; and 
  • Is designed and built to look like a conventional building structure.
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Special Announcement;

Shop holds have been discontinued

We have shop space open for a new tiny house. Also, we no longer sell slot holds for production.

Effective immediately, jobs that are sold are moved into production in the order they are sold. No one can reserve a slot for possible use later.

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Freedom Tiny House Series

Ponderosa Tiny House


  • Custom tiny house trailer
  • Size 8′-6″ x 26′-0″
  • Sleeps 3 – 5
  • Curved Bow for aerodynamics when towing
  • Sunken Living Room
  • Full Sized tub
  • Space for washer dryer
  • Vanity at bath
  • Dual Lofts
  • Dual Stairs with storage
  • Fold up deck
  • Fold down deck canopy
  • Sliding patio door with grids
  • Wood framed (steel optional)
  • LP Smart Siding shingle panels
  • Corrugated Steel siding
  • Steel roof, guaranteed 50 years
Rustic Traveler Tiny House

Ponderosa Tiny House

Rustic Traveler Slice

Ponderso  Slice

Rustic Traveler Slice

Ponderoas Slice

Pricing starts at   $68,019.53



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2016 Prototype Tiny House

Transportable tiny cabin


  • 8′x 26″
  • Weight approx 15,000 lbs
  • Sleeps 2
  • Main floor bedroom
  • Covered front porch
  • Green Roof over bedroom
  • Low Profile for towing
  • Box out window in bedroom
  • Beamed ceiling at pitched roof area
  • Separate shower from bath area
  • Closet in bedroom
  • Drop leaf table at kitchen eating area
  • Reading nook with window surround


2016 prototype tiny house

2016 prototype tiny house

Prototype 2016 a_2 Prototype 2016 b_2

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New home in Massachusetts for this tiny house

Parking found in Massachusetts

This tiny house has found a great place to park at in Massachusetts. It took a while but the owner never gave up on finding a great place to live in it. Massachusetts is probably one of the states that can make it difficult to park and live in a tiny house. But, this owner never gave up his search and kept asking a question, ” What do I need to do so I can live in it?”  He finally found a location and town that was willing to work with him. It shows that if one town or city says “no” just move on until you find a town or area that will help you out.


Tiny House Lakeview Tiny House Parking Tiny House view of lake

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Stories and Snowy Tiny Cabins

Gunflint 1977

We all have a story, and this one is from a snow camping trip into the Boundary Waters of Minnesota.

Some of us start as campers with tents, then graduate to pop up campers, and then to self contained RV’s and motor homes all the while dreaming dreams of having our very own cabin to get away from it all.

A cabin can be defined as a small house or shelter to get away from it all, that may be located in a remote or isolated area.

Then some start to realize that they can capture the magical and peaceful lifestyle enjoyed at the cabin and build or have built a tiny house that they can take wherever life takes them. For me, I enjoy a life of simplicity and the coziness of a small cabin or tiny house. And  that takes me to books, stories, adventures, and experiences. Here is one story from my past.

“It was a hot humid summer day as thoughts turned to winters brisk winds. Sitting idly around a table sipping iced tea, several members of my family thought of possibilities and methods to cool down. As a lark, it was suggested that a day of cross-country skiing would be enjoyable and cold. As talk turned to bravado, the webs were spun and before long we were planning an expedition into the Boundary Waters for a little cross-country skiing and snow camping in the following winter. January was to be the targeted month, and the third week as those were the days that it was at the coldest temperature of the winter As the day progressed into the evening we plotted, planned, made lists, and decided who was to take care of which tasks. Now, this was before I knew about personality traits along horoscope lines, and if I did, I would have been aware of potential issues. Lists and Pisceans do not mix well, and Pisceans have a tendency to loose a list as fast as they are given one. Pisceans are dreamers and visionaries. I am a Piscean.

Several times thru the fall, phone calls were made, to remind us of the deal struck on that hot, humid, sweltering July day. The total group consisted of 6, and as the days became shorter, the temperatures dropped, the group became smaller. People were dropping out as fast as ice cubes had melted on that July day. I was even having second thoughts.

The day of reckoning arrived, and the surviving three dreamers met up in Hudson, WS. We quickly double checked our lists, gathered up our gear, and headed north. The evening temps were hovering around 28, and it had just started snowing. As we miles ticked off, the snowfall became heavier, until at times the road became obscured. We hung our heads out the window to eye the side of the road, and no one was talking about turning back. We had struck a deal, and we were not going to be deterred from our goal. We laughed as we drove, and decided we needed coffee and lots of it. Around 2AM, we pulled into Duluth, MN and stopped for that much needed coffee. We were slightly behind schedule considering the slow going of the roads. We were headed for the Gunflint Trail out of Grand Marais, and our goal was to start cross-country skiing at the end of the trail to our campsite by early morning. We had a 5-6 hour ski trek to make before we hit the campsite.

As we drove old Hwy 61 along the North Shore of Lake Superior, we could hear thru the snowfall the pounding of the waves on the rocks below us. 61 followed the lake, and at points was a shear drop to the lake without any shoulders. The only thing that separated us from the drop was a cable guardrail.

Around 5AM we turned out of Grand Marais, heading west, and the snow was piling up, the snowflakes being as big as boxcars, and the pine bows were along the road were sagging heavily under the weight of the new snow. The picture was an awesome black and white image in the headlights. We often thought we were part of a picture as the trees slowly crept by. Just as the early twilight of the morning had brightened to the day, we arrived at the trails end and a cabin stacked high with snow. We talked for a while with the lone owner and then strapped on our skis and headed out. We snapped some pictures and left the camera in the truck for safety. The sound of the skis on the new fallen snow was the only sound that broke the silence. It was very much like a lovers whisper in ones ear in the middle of the night.

After a couple hours of skiing along the lake, we heard the sounds of wolves in pursuit of some prey. Looking thru the pines in the direction of the howls, we saw a lone deer running ahead of 4 wolves, with 1 in the lead running down the middle of the lake. The sight held us spell bound as we witnessed the wild of nature and we were without the camera!

After another couple of hours of skiing we found our campsite and set up camp, and as we unpacked our gear, we decided we were slightly hungry. We searched all of the backpacks and discovered that food had not made the lists! We had coffee, 2 giant chocolate bars, some nuts, some granola and of course, I had a book! We made our coffee and decided that we were okay. This was not planned as a long trek, just 48 hrs, and we could shorten it and head out the next day instead.

We built a fire, melted snow, and told stories as the snow fell around us. Finally around 10 we decided to bank the fire and head to the tents. We could see the stars and the moonlight on the moonlight on the snow, the air biting at our cheeks, the frost icing up on my beard created a snapshot in my mind for years to come.

Around 2AM, I woke up, and thinking it was because I was cold, decided to do some isometrics in the sleeping bag to warm myself up. Then I heard what had woken me up. The sound was like a high-pitched scream in the night, and very much like a woman’s scream of terror. Now, I was awake, and so were Frank and Oscar. After some intense discussion we concluded it was the northern Lynx on the prowl.

The next morning dawned clear and cold. The snow was still falling, and we marveled at the sight. We had our coffee, ate some granola and nuts, and packed up our gear. By mid morning we were skiing across the frozen lake, making excellent time. By mid afternoon we reached the truck, stole the gear and drove to a restaurant in Grand Marais, where we ordered a large dinner to end the day.”

Below are some cabins and tiny houses in the season of December. Enjoy

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Really Really Tiny Ravenlore Mini Model

From This;

Ravenlore v.1 (791x1024) - Copy

to this;

A mini Ravenlore just in time for Christmas

3D Printed Architectural scale model

This model of a tiny cabin was modeled in SketchUp by Marcus of and 3D printed in Full Color Sandstone via Shapeways.

Original cabin concept by Tiny Green Cabins.

When we build a tiny house, we will be printing a miniature model for each owner to have.

20151217_114656 20151217_114711 20151217_114734 20151217_114820 20151217_114938 20151217_115457

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Custom tiny house on the road

Road Trip and Pictures

Tiny house bound for MA

Tiny house bound for MA

This tiny house formerly know as hOMe is bound for the Boston area of MA. It weighs in at 16,400 lbs with an axle weight of 15,500 lbs and tongue weight of 900 lbs.  We were retained by the customer to build this custom hOMe model to the customer specifications.


  • Size; 28′ x 8′-6″
  • Sleeps 3 – 5
  • Triple axle rated at 21,000 GVW
  • Jeldwyn windows with tempered glass
  • Stabilizers
  • 1500 Watt Solar system
  • on/off grid capilbilites
  • 200 gal potable water storage
  • 100 gal grey water storage
  • Hardwood Floors throughout
  • Stainless steel countertops
  • Smugglers holds storage
  • Hampton fireplace/heater – 18000 BTU
  • Ikea cabinets
  • All in one Washer Dryer
  • Propane range
  • Running/Clearance light package
  • Water filter and water softener
  • Interior and Exterior LED lights
  • Exterior outlet
  • T&G Cedar siding with cedar trim

Below are pictures of the interior and features of this tiny house

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Tiny Houses Are Cheap…Right?

An Essay on the True Cost of Tiny Houses
By Emily Gerde

 Tiny Houses Are Cheap…Right?

There is a lot of talk going around about the cost of a tiny house….well the reality is that they often cost more than the current tiny house television shows say they do. This is especially true if you can’t build it yourself.  A lot of you are thinking, “The whole reason I wanted to buy/build a tiny house is because it is cheaper.” Well it is cheaper, but not in the way you may think it is. We budgeted for 60,000 but quickly realized it will be closer to 80-90,000 (We chose to buy all things new and stainless steal appliance). You can lower your cost quickly by choosing cheaper materials, but we went with local, eco friendly, new materials. Let’s discuss why it’s ok that tiny houses cost more than you expected.

Up Front Cost Versus Long Term Cost

Before you get frustrated about the real cost of a tiny house I need to remind you that the upfront costs will be quickly paid off due to your new self sustaining, low maintenance home. The first thing that most tiny house lovers talk about is the “no mortgage” aspect of tiny living as a huge benefit. Well this may be true for some if you have 40-80,000 lying around, but not true for others. We were lucky enough to make enough off selling our home to pay for the tiny house with out a mortgage. For those of you who don’t have that kind of money lying around there are still huge benefits to going tiny.

Here’s where you will be saving money, even if you have to use a loan to pay for your tiny home. First, your utility costs can be almost zero depending on the choices you make while designing your home. We decided to go with a wood burning stove instead of propane because we will rent or purchase land in a wooded area, so free heat source. We also chose to do water collection from the roof to provide water for the dishwasher, shower, sink and washing machine. (We purchased this carbon filter to assist with eliminating toxins from the rainwater ( We will be visiting the local fresh water spring for drinking water. ( Search your area to find a local spring near you, but be sure it gets tested or bring it in to be tested at either your county government center. You can also bring it into a business that sells water softeners and filters and they will test to see what system you need for the water by telling you what’s in it. We are doing a solar system that again will have up front cost but no monthly payments. By eliminating utility payments you can quickly and easily pay off the loan you needed for the tiny house.  Andrew Morrison goes into more detail here:

Things like Internet, cable, and renting or buying land are costs that need to be considered, but you can decide on less Internet, no cable and cheap land. We will be doing a more heavy duty Internet, but no cable. We use YouTube and Netflix instead of cable. The great thing about tiny houses is they can fit in places where regular homes can’t. If you make your home self-sustaining, you will have more options with land and in turn more choices with prices. Of course you need to talk to your county about zoning.  I figure if more tiny house owners talk to their counties about how we can make them money off the land, than more of them will open their doors to tiny homes. So many counties have lots that have been sitting vacant for 30 some years because it is on a marsh or has no electricity or septic, but they may decide some money is better than none. The important thing is to have documentation on what kind of money tiny houses can bring into the community, such as shopping local, community education, and of course paying for the property.  We have been able to find land under 30,000 dollars on places like,,, etc. We are going to rent from a farmer for a couple years while we save for a good down payment on land.

Long Term Savings:

Beyond saving on utilities, there are lots of ways you will save long term. One great example is remodeling. For a normal 200-300,000 dollar mortgage you will pay for the house 2-3 times depending on your interest rate. Once you do finally pay off your home, it’s time to start remodeling because everything is going bad or broken. Many times when people remodel their homes to get ready to sell again they are spending 100-200,000 dollars in repairs and upgrades that they will only enjoy for another 10 or so years. With a tiny house, you can remodel much more cheaply and more often if needed. You can also use nicer more eco friendly materials because it is a smaller space so the price tag won’t be so steep. Here’s a local store that sells lots of great environmentally friendly products:  You will also save on home insurance because there is less to insure as well as life insurance for the same reason. We were able to drop our life insurance in half, which saves us on monthly costs.

With a tiny house you have more time to think about your spending because clean up and organizing takes no time at all. You can be more thoughtful about your shopping and cooking to be sure you are not wasting food and you’re getting the best deal. With out all the maintenance, cleaning and yard work of our previous home, I have been able to make sure we don’t throw away any food, shop deals and find the store with the best prices. We buy all organic and shop at our local cooperative and at Costco. I can be more thoughtful in my meal planning to be sure everyone likes the choices and no food gets thrown or wasted. With more time we have been able to think about our budget more clearly and go on more vacations. Another HUGE benefit of tiny living is you can’t buy as much stuff because there isn’t enough room. It is also a great way to jump on the online or offline garage sale movement or swap with friends. I swap toys and clothes with friends for my toddler so he doesn’t get bored with toys and we save money. Sometimes, I sell toys he is bored with that are in great condition and use that money from the online garage to buy another toy. Here’s an example site:

None Monetary Benefits

Enough about money, let’s talk emotional health. Lots of studies show how important it is to be a minimalist (which is a different amount for everyone), as well as the freedom to move to a new place quickly and easily with low stress if your current location no longer serves you. Let’s be real… are humans really meant to be stuck in the same place forever? In my opinion, and the opinion of many researches, is no. Right now with our toddler we want to be near a city but far enough away where he can enjoy nature and have fresh air. We will be homeschooling and need things like museums and libraries around as he grows. When the kid(s) are out of the house we would like to move to a more rural location and perhaps back again to the city to be close to grandkids. Tiny houses can be moved without the stress of packing a whole house, a possible two mortgage payments at once while you try to sell, having a perfectly clean house during showings, maintaining grass for resale instead of a beautiful edible yard, etc. The biggest benefit of a tiny house is time. Whether that’s more time with family, more time for vacations, more time to cook good nutritious foods, and more time for relaxation and self-care. All in all, a tiny house offers a life of freedom, choices and a back to the basics lifestyle.  Living tiny forces you out into the community to use local resources, activities, parks and events. It is a great way to meet new people, explore new ideas and support local business. I am so excited to spend the time outside and in the community. Or course, our home will be cozy and wonderful but it will be nice to get out every once and a while and enjoy all the wonderful free things every community offers.

Why We Chose to Use a Contractor Instead of Doing It Ourselves

I truly admire those who can build a tiny house themselves. I think it is so important to know what goes into your home and to make every decision wisely. Being that my husband and I know absolutely nothing about building, electric, plumping, etc. we felt it was important for us to hire a contractor. Jim Wilkins with Tiny Green Cabins ( has been a lifesaver. When working with Jim and other contractors (especially those who specialize in tiny homes) you know for sure your home will be done right and safely. Andrew Morrison ( does a great job with having a DVD with step-by-step building guide, but he also states that his tiny house isn’t really meant for moving. That’s where Jim came in, to make sure we had a trailer that could handle moving, electric that is safe and efficient, plumbing that won’t leak and he gave us the ability to customize our tiny house to fit our needs. We have a toddler, 4 cats and a dog, so our tiny home had to be made differently than most. When it comes down to all the decisions that need to be made such as, does it fits there, is it in our price range, is it safe, is it eco-friendly, etc. have been answered by Jim. It is so much more efficient to have someone who knows the industry to help answer questions. Of course we did tons of research, but there is no replacing the knowledge of someone who has been in the industry for years.

Should I Live in a Tiny House

            Here are some questions to answer for yourself when deciding to live in a tiny house:


  • Do I want more time for myself, my family, vacations and nature?
  • Do I want less cleaning and maintenance on my home?
  • Do I want the freedom to move to the city that suites me or my family best?
  • Am I ok with upfront costs but long-term savings?
  • Do I want to be a part of my local community and meet new people?
  • Do I want to live in a way that is good for the environment?
  • Do I want to be as self-sustainable as possible?

If you answered Yes to at least some of these questions, a tiny house is for you.

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions at: or follow us on our blog at:

Jim Wilkins at Tiny Green Cabins has openings! Contact Jim to reserve your spot today! 651-788-6565

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