Steel Frame Naked Tiny House

“Living it Up” Tiny House

Our latest naked welded steel frame model, “Living it Up” moves out of production and is picked up by customer who will finish the build in Atlanta, Georgia.
The “Living it Up” has an elevated living room with a tuck under bedroom and loft sleeping area above the kitchen and bath level.

It is 8′x 18′ with an price of $15,900.00 FOB at the shop.


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Window Installation

We install windows at Tiny Green Cabins using the following steps for all of our tiny houses.

Tools Needed: Hammer, caulk gun, slap stapler, level, tape measure, utility knife, work gloves

Materials needed: Butyl Caulk, Dupont Flex Wrap, Dupont Straight Tape 4″ wide, Shims, Great Stuff Window spray expanding foam

Step 1;  After the Tyvek house wrap has been installed and wrapped into each of the windows opening, cut

Wildflower Tiny House Bunkhouse Model

Wildflower Tiny House Bunkhouse Model

the Tyvek house wrap at the window rough opening top corner diagonally about 4″ upward and away from the window and tack back.

Step 2; Cut the Dupont Flex Wrap 12″ to 16″ longer than the window sill. Peel off the paper backer centering the Flex Wrap in the opening and full width of the sill. Press into place across the bottom and up the sides of the window – minimum up each window side is 6″.

Step 3; Peel the paper off the back of the flex wrap hanging outside the window and starting at each window corner, pull the corners outward and stretch while adhering it to the walls, then pull and press the rest of flex wrap into place.

Step 4; Using the shims, lay a shim at each window sill corner for creating a space to insulate used in step 10

Step 5; Caulk up the sides of the window frame, across the top of the window rough opening and down the other side to the sill. Warning, DO NOT CAULK ACROSS THE BOTTOM OR WINDOW SILL  – EVER

Step 6; Insert the window into the rough opening, center the window on the opening, and nail at one top corner of the window flange. Level the window and after leveling nail the other top window corner.

Step 7; Plumb the window sides   Tip: Square the window and check the reveal spaces where the window meets the window jamb. To square, using a tape measure, check the measurements diagonally from each corner to the opposite corner – they should be equal.  Also check the window edges from other features of the wall, such as wall corners or fascias to make sure things are set correctly. On a tiny house, since other features are close to the window, this is a check that everything is spaced correctly. After this check nail the window in place and around the window perimeter, nailing through every other hole in the flange.

Step 8; Install the corner flaps at each corner of the window.

Step 9; Cut the butyl tape for each side of the window and across the window head. Each piece should be cut 8″ to 12″ longer than the window. Install each side, and then install the top piece of Butyl tape.

Step 10; Do not install Butyl tape across the bottom window flange – EVER. This flange is left without butyl tape and caulk to allow water and moisture to escape in case it ever gets behind the window.  This is why the flex wrap is used as a sill pan flashing.

Step 11; Pull the Tyvek that was tacked out of the way, fold it down, and tack in place, cutting just short of the window head. Tape to the butyl tape and Tyvek together to seal them tight.

Step 12; insulate the window jambs cavity to wall opening. We recommend Great Stuff as the expanding foam seals the cavity better than a stuffed fiberglass can. Plus the foam does not allow mold to grow if the window leaks.

Here a good video that follows our best practices

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Tiny Houses are filling a Vacuum

Nature abhors a vacuum

With the great recession of 2008, a void or vacuum appeared in the housing market, and it is not where one would think it is. The McMansions are thriving with larger and more unique designs every day.

These buyers are a move up from the previous level of buyers as well as buyers already in that niche that want something bigger or as a result of having to move. So, if one follows the buyers backwards, one finds a niche that has fallen on hard times in the housing market.

That niche was filled with 1st time buyers as well builders that carved out a niche for themselves with this market share. As these buyers started being locked out of the housing market because they were unable to qualify for started homes, it impacted those builders also.

The mortgage industry, after taking a beating on loans from 1st time buyers, changed the requirements to qualify for a loan. That meant increasing the down payments from 5% to 10- 20% and more. The 1st time buyer using this loan plus their meager savings is considered by many to be the foundation of the housing market. And no one in the housing market gains move up equity until the entry level buyer does. With no one buying in the entry level market, the next level of homes does not gain equity very fast, so they become stuck.

However, the people that own McMansions have deep pockets, so equity is less of a concern and keeping up appearances is more so. I helped build a mansion that was over 25,000 square feet, and one of the owner comments was that he had to build a place that large for entertaining clients as well as business partners.

It had 4 levels, with a nanny’s quarters in the trusses of the house that was 2000 square feet. The great room could hold 6 Tinys easily. The place was huge and it required 2 years to build. It is a beautiful elegant home and one could get lost in it easily. It also kept many people busy during the build, and I am sure the decorating and furnishing budget being about 25% of the build cost would mean that furnishing was at least 3-4 million. That is a lot of tiny houses in comparison.

And the McMansions and its owners keep caretakers, housekeepers, cooks, chauffeurs, and nannies employed, so the McMansions are a benefit to many people in the workforce.

The recovery in housing is becoming “supersized” as these people build bigger driving up the average square feet of housing with square footages growing faster now than during the peak of the housing boom. The average square foot has grown from 2,392 square feet in 2010 to 2,600 square feet last year. This growth is size has resulted in a new word for McMansions, ginormous homes. Homes over 4000 square feet have increased by 12%.

So, where have the people in the starter home market gone? Some have moved in with parents and some parents have moved in with children, a lot of them are renting rather than buying. And some are buying or building tiny houses. Except these tiny houses are on wheels and not classified as housing and do not impact traditional single family square footages.

This supersizing of McMansions is in direct opposition to the tiny house movement of people downsizing to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

And some call it a small or tiny movement and a trend. No one knew how big it is, or if it will grow much, but after last weekend and the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado, people may rethink the size of the movement. The tiny house movement may become more than just a small, tiny movement. Facebook groups that have 150000, 100,000, and 20,000 fans are growing faster than butter melts on a sizzling hot griddle.  The Tiny House Jamboree that was expecting maybe 10,000 visitors had well over 16,000 visitors for the weekend event. That is a lot of people that are more than curious about tiny houses and kicking tires.

Tiny Green Cabins is expanding and evolving along with the movement to better serve our customers; from an average of 1 to 2 homes a year, we are now employing 3+ people and have room for building 3 Tinys at a time in our new shop area.

As the movement grows, companies that build park models are making an entrance into the tiny house market.  They offer basic floor plans with standard features as well as standardized furniture. And when it comes to options, you may want hardwood floors, or a custom exterior you need to go a custom tiny house builder. And that is where Tiny Green Cabins excel. We have over 40 years’ experience in building custom homes, so we enjoy creating a new look for the discerning customer.

So, when you are ready to start your build, give us a call or email us to start the process rolling.

Tiny Green Cabins, Mountain Cabins, Tiny Cabins, Green Cabins, Tiny Green Cabins, Garden Office


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Tiny House Parking Request

A tiny house special request

Tiny House OM Request

In need of parking place, can be temporary or permanent

One of our customers that retained us to build the attached tiny house for them has requested assistance in locating a place to park their hOMe tiny house. It is 28’ x 8’6”. Their ideal location would be in the vicinity of Framingham, MA. with availability as of August 1, 2015.

If you know of someone that has space for this couple to live in their tiny home such as a RV Park, trailer park, back yard, or field close to Framingham, MA. let us know. This tiny house is able to be lived in off the grid for extended periods of time with a solar system and 200 gallons of water storage tanks.

Send Jim an email at or comment on this thread.

Thank you – Jim

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Update on current tiny home project

Progress continues as we start the final phase of moving beyond the exterior finish of this tiny house project “formerly know as hOMe.”

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Kare 11 Video on tiny houses in Minnesota

Could you live in a tiny house of 200 sqft?
Recently Kare 11 TV visited the shop at Tiny Green Cabins. They were doing a story on tiny houses in Minnesota and wanted some more information and video.

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Tiny Houses and R Value

What R Value should I use for a tiny house?                                      1966108_10153365589384937_3958702924510469456_o

The following chart will give you some guidelines for what R value you should aim for in insulating a tiny house per zone. The higher the R value in a wall or roof system the better, as well as what R value an insulation product is capable of delivering. Closed cell foam delivers the best R value but to get a good install, a professional is best to use.
Since we are in Zone 6, we insulate to that zone plus zone 7, 5, 4, 3 , 2 and 1.
Does your tiny house builder do that?

U.S. Department of Energy Recommended Total R-Values


2008 U.S. Department of Energy
R-Value Recommendations for New and Existing Homes 

The following 2008 Department of Energy zone recommendations are based on comparing estimated future energy savings to the current cost of installing insulation. The DOE gives a range for many locations for the following reasons:

  • Energy costs vary greatly over each zone
  • Installed insulation costs vary greatly over each zone
  • Heating and cooling equipment efficiency varies from house to house
  • Best estimate of future energy costs may not be exact. 1
  • New vs
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You want to be a tiny house builder?

What is the best way to become a carpenter?

There are carpenters of legends and myths such as the one that came out of nowhere and built the stairway without any visible supports at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fee, NM.

Carpenters were the builders that did it all, from laying the foundation, to erecting the structure, building and installing the doors, windows, trim and other features of a home. They did it all. Over the years some carpenters specialized; lathers, dry-wallers, trimmers, siders, roofers, window installers and many more.Handyman services

This is a tough subject. Anyone can swing a hammer or cut a board. There are a lot of people in specialty trades that call themselves carpenters (that aren’t). A carpenter needs to learn all trades and know how they affect each other. A carpenter needs to have pride in their work and not just hack something together to get it done. They must understand blueprints, engineering, aesthetics, detail, hard work, common sense, pre-planning, scheduling, material take-offs, efficiency, willing to learn tricks of the trades, etc. Find a mentor that knows all of this and listen and learn what they tell you. This a rare breed that you won’t find in a classroom. It has to be hands on and field taught. It takes many years to gain this kind of experience. The best way to start is to start as a laborer and observe all the different trades and ask many questions. Be willing to dive in and try something new and learn by your mistakes. Never stop learning.

A question I receive quite often is “how do I become a carpenter and tiny house builder?” I can answer this because I’ve done it, and I know a lot of people that have become carpenters and fewer still that have become builders and far fewer still that have become tiny house builders.. And this is a great time to become a carpenter and not so great a time of time to be a builder or tiny house builder. The economy seems to be rebounding, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting a 24% increase in the demand for carpenters between now and 2022, and the contractors I know moaning that they can’t find good help.

Unlike many careers, there is no one, obvious path for someone starting from scratch. The more knowledge you can bring to the table, the better. Having gone to trade school can be a big leg up, but most residential carpenters learn the job by starting out as a laborer or carpenter’s helper for a small builder. Knowledge aside, in my own experience and through conversations I’ve had with contractors, the single most important attribute for an entry-level carpenter is attitude. Skills can be learned. A bad attitude is a permanent flaw. Attitude can overcome inexperience. Attitude can overcome prejudices.

Here’s advice I wish I’d gotten 40 years ago when I was first looking to become a carpenter. While want ads in the newspaper and on Craigslist can lead to work, the kind of employer they help you find is random. Hire on with the wrong company, and you can waste a lot of time learning little, or worse, learning bad methods that you don’t have the experience to vet. Or you can find yourself working for a company that has poor track record for paying their people if at all. You may also find yourself working as a subcontractor without insurance and not getting paid either. I have been there and it is not a fun way to earn a living. I remember working for months and always gettinga  dribble or a promise and never to see all of it. Finally, I learned to that it is better to walk that wait for a promise that means nothing to some. I am not saying all companies are like this, but there are enough to be forewarned about them. Check their track record and talk to former employees and do not be afraid to ask for references.

Be selective. Many of the better construction companies don’t advertise for help, doing their hiring through word of mouth. If you have any contacts in the trades, use them if only to inquire about who might be good to work for. Look at the construction companies in your area and figure out which ones do work that interests you, and where you think you might fit in. A company’s website may provide insight.

Call the companies that seem likely, speak to the boss, and try to set up an appointment to meet him or her in person. It can take hutzpah to get your foot in the door, but showing drive and initiative also makes a good first impression. Show up on time, dressed neatly but appropriately for the job, with a fresh haircut and your phone turned off. Let me repeat that – with your phone turned off. Offer your hand, and be polite. Be honest about your skills. Say that you are willing to work in the heat and the cold, in the rain and the snow, that you don’t mind sweeping up or schlepping lumber, and that you sincerely want an opportunity to learn the trade. At the end of the interview, say thank you and shake hands again. If you felt good about the company, even if they aren’t hiring right now, follow up with a phone call or email (properly punctuated and capitalized) in a couple of days. People with polite, professional, attitudes stand out, as much as I hate to say this, especially in construction.

When you get that job, show up on time, neatly dressed, with your tools, and with your lunch so you don’t have to leave the site midday. Turn your phone off, bust your keester, don’t whine, and soak up every bit of knowledge you can. And, as I have for 40 years, always keep learning and reading about codes and improvements in construction. When you’ve learned all you can from that job, don’t hesitate to move on to a more challenging employer, but without burning bridges if that’s possible. That’s most of what it takes to be a carpenter.

To be a tiny house builder requires more than a book, a power impact drill, and a tape measure. It requires a working knowledge of how all of the facets of a tiny house that make a tiny house. You need to know that a carpenter can make it easy on the trimmer, drywall installer, plumber, electrician, and all the other trades. If you decide to do all of the trades yourself, a trade school should be a requirement so you can do it all. Otherwise, hire the pros that took the time to learn their trade and the codes they have to meet.

I asked Jay Shafer what he considered to be the best piece of advice he could offer for a tiny house builder. He replied, “Keep it simple” I thought about that and decided I wanted to think outside the box and use my knowledge of 40+ years of building custom homes for tiny houses. One could say, that I am the old guy, or the gray beard of tiny houses, or the old school carpenter that is a  tiny house builder.

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