Welcome. My name is Michelle and I’m here in my empty nest. My life has been a series of unfortunate events. I have been
married twice. I have been divorced twice. I have built two houses and I lost the
houses basically in the carnage of my divorces. So I’ve been a single mom
for 13 years and basically living paycheck to paycheck. My kids are getting older and they’re getting ready to go off to college and do their thing so I’m
looking forward to retirement, but I don’t have any retirement money. I don’t
have a retirement plan. So I had to really start looking at and thinking
about my life in the future from an entirely different perspective. I got
involved in the tiny house movement originally just to build a tiny house
that no one could take away. I figured doing it the same way I did it the first
two times that wasn’t working out really well so I wanted to do something entirely
different. So I built my first house, this house, basically using cash and
sponsorships to make sure that I have a paid-for nice comfortable house when I
retire. Now I’m building a few more tiny houses that I look forward to renting
like on Airbnb or a try it tiny or other VRBO kind of platforms and create some
income so, that’s next. My house is eight and a half feet wide
by 24 feet long and I built it with some help from a few contractors and friends,
but mostly myself in the driveway of my rental. By far my favorite room in the tiny
house is my kitchen. I think that people sacrifice their kitchen when they go
tiny and I wanted to show everybody that you can have a really cool and stylish
kitchen. All of my appliances are circa nineteen mid 40’s early 1950’s. It took me
two years to collect and refurbish the collection. It truly was a labor of love.
My design theme is modern nostalgia and I think I really accomplished it. It’s
one of my favorite rooms in the house. I do a ton of cooking. I do a ton of
entertaining. Also my tile wall, if you follow my blog, you’ll remember that it actually
sent me to therapy and there’s a little tile up there right on the wall and he’s
a little skew and his name is little bastard. One of the things I would do
differently it would be these stairs. Although I love these stairs and they
were really designed from the perspective that I wanted them to be
minimally invasive to the space but at the same time be really architecturally
striking. Underneath of the stairs is the cat box which is a really nice place to
hide it as well. But, one of the biggest critiques I get from most people is how
narrow they are. So, out of all the mistakes I actually made, I think that my
stairs would probably count because if I had to do it over again I might make
them a little more wide because I completely underestimated the width of
my ass. But I love them anyways. One of the things that I did really differently
from most people is I actually adjusted the ceiling height of the loft according
to where I’d be spending the most time. So you probably won’t notice it on
camera but my kitchen has a pretty high ceiling because the guest loft is over
the kitchen and so I don’t spend a lot of time in the guest loft so I wanted
the actual space to be in the kitchen. Conversely I spend way more time in my
bedroom than I actually do in the bathroom. This loft actually has about
four more inches of head room than the guests loft does. My quilt is really really a special memory for me. My grandmother died just prior to planning the tiny house build and I inherited the entire contents of her
entire sewing room. This quilt is actually made from all the fabrics that
my grandmother had given me when she died. When you live in a tiny space
utilization of vertical space is actually way more important than
utilization of horizontal space. People that fill horizontal space actually
creates clutter, but when you create intentional storage in a vertical space
you create architectural interest. One of the things that I don’t like about most tiny houses is they don’t have like real furniture. People take boxes and they put
cushions on top of them and they call them couches. And so one of the things I
wanted to create when I created the living room was a real what I call
proper living room. Living room chairs and an ottoman and a bedside table and an entertainment center. I’m really super proud of the space that I’ve actually
created here. It’s very comfortable and it’s also very functional. What you can’t
see here however is a couple of things. First of all, these chairs were actually
designed to add additional storage space and on top of that if you actually pull
these chairs apart there’s a table that’s tucked beside the refrigerator
that goes right here that actually provides dining and table spaces. So
first and foremost having a glass door on a bathroom is really unique but I
love the feng shui. I love the light. I love the space and I love the
architecture. This is an antique door, but right behind this door there’s actually
a curtain so if you do have to go to the bathroom and there’s someone else in the
house which there’s only people here when I have parties which is regularly
but you know not every day. I actually do have a stackable washer and
dryer. I can’t do all my laundry here. I can’t do my jeans and my towels and my blanket. I have my kids do that. We sort of like this reverse roll thing going on.
I call my daughter my laundry fairy. I drop off my dirty laundry and then it appears
on my front porch all folded. But, for day-to-day laundry I love
the fact that I don’t have to run to the laundromat every five minutes. I can
literally go weeks upon weeks without having to go to the laundromat, which is
really great. Another myth in the tiny house movement
is that you have to sacrifice and downsize like a ton, but the truth is you
can do some really cool stuff when it comes to built-in cabinets and sort of
unutilized space. This is three pairs of my 47 pairs in the house. This is three
pairs of dress shoes. They fit perfectly in the 2×4 framed wall. I’m very much a
girl I have like 200 pairs of earrings and necklaces. I have tons of clothes,
tons of shoes. So there’s only certain things that I was willing to sacrifice
and being a girl was definitely not one of them. Agh! He’s back! Look. Is that at frog? His name is Ralph and I suspect that he’s actually crawling up the drainpipe
behind the washer and dryer. Like that’s the only space in the house that’s
probably big enough. So he’s swimming through the pee trap, he’s crawling up the
drainpipe, and he’s coming in the house and he loves nothing better than to hang
out in my shower. I take him out in the woods and I set him free and then it takes
about two to three days and then he comes back and hangs out in my shower. This is an amazing sink from LaCava. This is actually a hand-carved all
one-piece Italian marble sink. Like a lot of tiny housers in order to
stay off grid and in order to live a more sustainable life we embrace composting
toilets and my favorite by far is Nature’s Head. Basically, there’s three
types of waste. There is grey water and I handle all the grey water in my house by
sitting on top of 18 inches of gravel. Long story short sort of a modified grey
water treatment system I’ve got going on. But then the toilet actually separates
the liquid wastes from the solids. Out back of the tiny house I have a 25 gallon
garbage can. In the bottom of the garbage can I have little teeny tiny holes that are drilled all the way around. I fill the
garbage can up with 24 gallons of water. I pour the 1 gallon of urine into there.
I put the lid on and then it leaks very very slowly down, it’s fully diluted at
25 to 24 to 1, it leaks down through the holes down through the gravel and
actually returns to the ground water itself. That concept came from
the Humanure Handbook. The solids my land host is not really keen on composting
humanure for very very understandable reasons. It’s a really really kind of
high-tech kind of scientific process. So I called the local garbage people and I
said, “How would you like me to dispose of the contents of my composting toilet, my
dry flush toilet?”. And they said, “Put it in a bag and put it in the garbage. We deal with diapers every day.” So that was sort of a compromise on my part
because you know I’d like to utilize it as soil, but my land host they’re not
really keen on the humanure concept, but my garbage company was more than happy to take care of it. When I started building my tiny house I
had no money. None. I had to finance my tiny house in a way that actually did
not consume any of my paycheck to paycheck existence. I had to create
really really creative ways to finance my tiny house. First thing I did was I
actually got an old vintage RV from a neighbor for free. I put about $700 into
it and I turned around and I sold it for $3,700. I did an ombre dresser that I got
for free on Craigslist and I sold it for $325. Just all kinds of separate little
things that would help. And then I ventured on the whole sponsorship thing.
I first discovered the whole concept of sponsorship, Andrew Odom wrote a book called Your Message Here. My advice however for
sponsorships is you don’t have to get twenty two corporate sponsors. You can
get a very very simple sponsorship for a sink or for a toilet or for flooring or
for siding. Whatever it is that you really feel either passionate about or
you feel comfortable advocating and promoting. I really feel like I found my
people. I really feel like I found a group of people that get me and that’s
really rare. I have never really had a sense of home. I grew up in foster care. My birth parents were divorced when I was four years old. I went into
foster care as a toddler. I was adopted as a teen and then left that house when
I was 18 and I’m now estranged from my adoptive family. We’re all just making it work. We’re not necessarily legal. We’re not necessarily rich. Maybe not all of us are
really really smart. We’re all sort of pirates. I’m literally living illegally in my tiny house on the down-low like below
the radar of legality, but we’re just making it work and supporting each other and finding a way to make this life of ours the best version that we can
make it without sort of conforming to what society tells us we have to do. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. If you did be sure to LIKE comment and
subscribe. If you didn’t get quite enough of me, you can hear me also every single week on tiny house podcast if you like the inside of my house and you want to see more pictures you can go to And be sure to check out the podcast cuz I was just
a guest. I know! So fun. It’s so cool. Peace! have a great day.

100 thoughts on “SINGLE MOTHER Builds TINY HOUSE to Create RETIREMENT PLAN

  1. It’s beautiful but before you know it you won’t be able to get up into the bedroom safely. What will you do? You need a bed on the first floor! It sounds like a “sponsorship “ is just begging others to pay your bills.

  2. Wow….terribly inspirational story, structure not to mention the fact you built it. I hope you can build another because the airbnb idea is not only terrific but in my opinion is embracing of people in the world around you. ..though too, it makes me wonder if its a positive spin reflective of your experience in foster care. BTW, your little frog is a happy omen. Animals can sense wonderful people.

  3. Love your tiny house!! I'd love to build mine as well. God bless you abundantly with success!! 😃 ❤️ 🙏🏼

  4. Thanks for sharing your tiny home!!! Live the crooked tile in the kitchen, “dirty bastard”. LOL. I laughed so hard when you said that. I see that you have had nothing but hardship from the day that you were born. Unfortunately, not all of us can be born with a silver spoon hanging off of our lips. I definitely didn’t have anything of ministry value hanging off of my lips, just some drool. LOL. 😉
    What love about you is that you just get up, brush it off, and keep going. It’s the best thing you can do, and ai applaud you for what you have accomplished. Hugs 🤗

  5. I Love this Lady ! She exudes so much confidence. Glowing personality. I'd Love to meet her and check her home out to !! Awesome job on your home !

  6. “Runaway Ralph” book series perhaps? 🐸 What a lovely and grounded lady 😊
    Thank you for letting us into her home.

  7. Take all your bigger items to the laundry why make your daughter responsible for your choice of living if you’re going to be independent do it right

  8. Love you, Michelle and I absolutely adore your incredible strength, character, elegance, honesty and what you've done here.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. I loved this video🎆🎉
    Very educational for me. Love the style, the smart design, the drive and most definitely the personality.
    Thank you!!

  10. I just loved Michelle, she’s so real and I loved how she went through everything about living tiny. I just wish I could go tiny for me and my husband (but we’re not so tiny 😆)
    Thank you so much for sharing her journey.

  11. the fact that you take the little bug out to the woods instead of killing him tells me so much more about you than any thing else you said or did. you are clearly a wonderful human being. bravo.

  12. I absolutely loved her. I loved her honesty, humor and she kept it 💯. The tiny house she built is gorgeous.
    I don't know ANYTHING about building a tiny house. I guess I'm going to learn very soon and incorporate some of the design elements I've been shown. Thanks for sharing. 😀♥️

  13. i really love your house is cute….i think as I get older if you can do it maybe i can too….I love this concept…thanx for sharing……and I wanna keep it girlie too….

  14. อนาคตสักวันถ้าฉันกลับเมืองไทยฉันจะต้องมีสักหลังนี่คือบ้านในฝัน ฉันโสดเหมาะสำหรับอยู่คนเดียว

  15. What a cool lady, after everything she's been through, she's doing so well and I love her attutude….positive and soooooooooo smart!

  16. I've watched dozens of tiny house videos and have never felt compelled to comment until now. I love your style, your confidence, your resiliency, your sense of humor, and most of all, your strength. How I would love to sit and have a glass of wine with you. You go, girl.

  17. I commend you ! You are truly a warrior! U have a incredible story & your house is very beautiful!!

  18. I love your video. I am currently living in my car with my dog, without much money just looking for the next step in my life. I have been obsessed with the dream of owning my own tiny home and after watching many videos on the subject, yours inspired me the most to go after that dream. Thank you for all the tips on how to get assistance with owning a tiny home…and some laughs about little bastard and not accommodating when it came to the width of your steps!

  19. Girl…. you are the sh*t! Good for you! Wish you were my tiny house neighbor! We have a lot in common! Good job! Great Tiny house – you did good. Hi Ralph!!! 🐸

  20. Love her house! But. I like her more love the way she said she understands the with of ass! She is just starting like me so espontanus! Or better said sincere! Love her

  21. Woman please! Divorces are 75% initiated by the woman! That mean you all are choosing to be single parents and have your kids grow up in a single parent home! I’m sick of the glorification of Divorced ppl’s and single parent hood due to failed marriages! It takes more character and resilience to stay married then to fail and quit!

  22. Such a good idea. And I've had the same my kids are almost grown and I'm wondering what I am going to do. And your honesty and humor are contagious. Thank you for sharing.

  23. I absolutely LOVE this video!! This has got to be the cutest and most homey tiny home I have ever seen. The gal is so smart and fun and is an inspiration to me! I have always wanted to live in a tiny home.. and I would love one just like this!! Thanks so much for sharing!!! 😊❤️

  24. Amen on the living room! 95% of the tiny homes I have seen online have the boxes with cushions on them. So shallow with no stretch out room! Good plan to make your home comfortable for you. Loved your comment about the width of your stairs too. Too funny yet very honest and real!

  25. Oh! Those unfortunate events!!! I can relate. I’m struggling really hard right now & the tiny house movement has so much potential and I wish I had some friends to help me see if this is feasible for me. You’ve done a fantastic job!!!

  26. Single mom notice cat roaming around twice divorced and no money. Cash sponsorships. This is a sociological documentary on the decline of western women. Cheers.

  27. I love the two comfy chairs instead of the usual storage sofa idea. Just seems so inviting, to share with a friend or a good book. Lovely job. I'm hoping our next home will be much smaller than the current one that we are restoring. Totally forgot that I had seen this before until we came to the frog! What a nut, making his way back over and over again.

  28. So, I busted out with "I completely underestimated the width of my ass" 😅It's all good, great job girl!

  29. I loved her! I absolutely loved this video. I watch a LOT of tiny house stuff and this woman had such an amazing story. Her path to tiny home ownership was one of the most creative and determined I have heard so far. She is truly a trail blazer and giving hope to those with creativity and determination. I learned so much from her story! Thank you. 💜🙏🏻👼🏻✝️

  30. Omg I'm in the boat right next to yours. I'd what I'm going to do. I've been watching tiny videos sounds a little scarry but I know I could do it. Not knowledgeable about building my own and don't have any property any suggestions?

  31. I've been bingeing all of these Alternative Living Spaces videos, and this woman is one of my favourites so far!

  32. Love you and your awesome personality and I LOVE your house. The use of the different license plates is brilliant.

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