Questions about our project? Check out some of our commonly asked questions below.


  • What are tiny houses?  Tiny houses on wheels provide an affordable, attractive, environmentally-friendly housing option. Nationally the tiny house movement is growing and wonderfully varied. Tiny houses can be as small as a square meter or as large as 300, 400, or 700 feet; the key isn’t really size itself, but careful and deliberate attention to space efficiency and simplicity. Some tiny houses are foundation-built while others are on wheels (like those at Boneyard Studios).
  • Why build small? Today in America, 1 in 4 homeowners owe more money than what their home is worth, with over 5 million homes being foreclosed upon in 2010 and 2011 alone. At an average of $244,000 for a used home, McMansion living simply isn’t affordable—it’s bankrupting our neighbors financially and taxing them emotionally and mentally. Meanwhile, by building the typical American home to excess, the environment also feels the burden: the average new home constructed consumes three-quarters an acre of forest, produces 7 tons of construction waste, and emits 18 tons of greenhouse gases per year.
  • Why build on wheels? Due to their small size, most tiny houses are inherently not up to the minimum size requirements of building code. Building tiny houses on trailers reclassifies them as travel trailers, doing away with such requirements and offering the added advantage of mobility. Of course, tiny homes should be (and typically are) built to code as much as possible.
  • How do the systems work—water, electric, septic? The tiny house movement has experimented with a broad range of systems solutions, with most homes providing electric, water, and commonly expected amenities. At Boneyard Studios, we’ve attempted to rethink and improve upon these solutions, including greywater management, incinerating toilets, rain catchment, air conditioning, insulation, and overall air quality, along with a more deliberate approach to space and design.
  • Are tiny houses really that affordable? A tiny house can be built for between $5,000 and $50,000 in materials, with labor adding another $10,000 or more to the project. So compared to a new SUV, about $40,000 for a new home seems tremendously inexpensive. That said, tiny homes don’t come with the same liberal financing options SUVs do, meaning that most tiny home builders must pay for construction entirely out of pocket.
  • Wouldn’t it be more space-efficient to build a multifamily structure? Certainly, microapartments and microcondos make more sense, from a purely space perspective, in most situations. However, tiny homes offer a balance of space efficiency with proximity to the outdoors, and those windows do wonders in making a tight space feel a lot more open. In our case, we’re sited on an alley lot that couldn’t be developed anyway, so putting the plot of land to use as a place for three tiny houses and a community garden is great use of the space.


  • Where are you located? Out of respect for the privacy of our neighbors, we don’t publish the location of our lot. Sorry!
  • What’s your zoning situation like? What about building permits? The alley lot is zoned Residential-3 (R-3). Current DC code doesn’t permit the construction of habitable foundation-built dwellings on an alley lot unless the alley is more than 30 feet wide. However, private parking of vehicles and trailers (which tiny houses on wheels are classified as) on private property is permitted under R-3. Prior to beginning construction on the houses and the lot, we worked extensively with DCRA and a City Councilmember to receive a street address, which would then allow us to secure the appropriate DCRA permits for excavation work, siting of the storage container, fence construction, and the electrical hookup. Again, because the tiny houses are classified as trailers, they didn’t require building permits. For more on our support of progressive zoning, head here.

Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. I’ve been trying to find ways around law to live in the city I’m going to research the lot and laws in my area but my question is are you violating laws by living in tiny home as soul residence ? And why did you chose incinerating toilet is that to comply with codes? Or convenience ?could you not have composted it?

  2. This is perhaps a silly question, but how do I get to older posts on your blog? I’m a little late to the game, and would like to read your blog from the beginning (or at least get Part 1 of the getting rid of stuff posts), but there’s no button to go back in time. Help! :-)

  3. Great concept! Self-financing (someday maybe cloud funding assisted?), full (or accelerated) equity ownership, transportability (local conditions can change adversely over time), extremely efficient use of resources (when did mindless wastefulness become normalized in the US), real innovation in affordable architecture (not green McMansions), the beginning of the end wage slavery, reduced impact on the environment thru smaller human lifestyle footprint, and a great antidote to a predatory lending system that is beyond accountability. What’s not to like? Hey, how about tiny home rallies (like motorcycle rallies), farm/tiny home co-op villages, maker workshop/tiny home R&D parks, outdoor recreation/tiny home vacation parks, restoration ecology/tiny home ventures (where tiny home dwellers get to stay for free in return for planting trees, cleaning up creeks & riverbanks, restoring wildlife habitats, and clearing forest fire hazards)? When smart, creative people with green values have a lower cost of living, more free time, and extreme mobility, then all sorts of great things could happen. God, The System is probably going to hate all this!

  4. This is a fascinating subject to me. I have been in the real estate industry in finance and rental housing for over 30 years. The affordability issue is answered by renting but that just drives up costs also. So your vision would satisfy the need. The only problem that I see with tiny houses is market acceptance. We still continue to build very large homes to satisfy consumer demand. I would love the opportunity to discuss your vision further.

  5. I have been interested in the Tiny House movement for about two months now. Someone sent me a post on Facebook about a Tumbleweed home and I was forever hooked. I received a blog on the Minim House in one of the Tiny House Talk newsletter a few days ago and that was the one! I am super interested in the cost of that house and could one be built for me down the road? I may have to scrimp and save, but I LOVE this house! No loft and open space! One of the things I loved (besides the space) was the versatility of the furniture! That totally did it for me! Let me know if you’re going to go public with builds or plans of this house. Thanks! :D

  6. Love this – I live on a boat – another version of a tiny house. Our family of 4 lives in probably about 400 sf. I love that so many of the efficiencies that appear in tiny homes come originally from boats :)

  7. Hey my name is robert. I love the tiny hose movement. I am also lookin to build my own. I work for a construction company and always have to rent a place near the job. Each job normally last 2-3 years and its off to the next project. And by the way its road construction I work at. One of these would be perfect. I would love to talk to jay about the matchbox. My biggest concern is connecting the house to the trailer. Is there anyway I cold talk to one of you guys. Im willing to pay or donate to your community efforts.
    Thanks robert

  8. My sister is interested in having a tiny house built and installed in Washington, Oregon or California. Are you able to do this?



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,644 other followers