#1: I’ve Decided to Build a Tiny House

In 2017, after moving to this little town of Arkansas for 6 months for my job, I decided to buy a house (a regular one). I really wanted to buy a tiny house at that time but North West Arkansas wasn’t ready to sell me a tiny house. So instead, I settled for a regular one, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, with a barn as garage (yes, it comes with the swing! and yes it’s slightly dangerous but I got on it for a few tries). 

I’ve used this garage for two years, the garage door was not automatic and I manually pulled it up and down to open and close it. Last year, the roof started leaking so in order to prevent more water damage and potential mold issues, I spent about $6,000 to replace the roof.

At this point, the garage door is almost non-functioning. It would stay ajar like this in the above picture and I used a 2×4 to prop it closed from the inside. Yes, very classy.

Because the bottom of the barn is all rotting away, and little critters (like possums and cats) are actually using it as a shelter during the winter, I decided to cut down the bottom 4 ft of the plywood, replace them, and put new siding altogether to protect the shed. Of course, now it needs a new door as well.

You can also see a hole towards the back of the barn covered by a piece of plywood to prevent critters from coming into the barn. It was a bleak sight to see the state of the barn!

After replacing the siding wood with plywood, we put up these basic plastic white siding to protect it from rotting again.

This barn looks nothing like the barn I used to own! It reminds me of the Ship of Theseus, a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. If I’ve changed almost 99% of this barn, is it still the barn I bought? 

Beginning of this year, since we’ve decided to take a break from Airbnb-ing our spare bedroom in the house, I’ve been trying to figure out other ways we can still get into rental properties. I thought about converting this barn into a tiny house. After learning everything about the building code and inspection requirements from the city, we got approved for the permit to start construction! Always check with your city/county rules before starting a big project that requires water/sewer connection because the requirements might be so far out of your perception. . . which happened to us.

With the concept of adding a full functioning bathroom, we want to insulate the barn properly and have the door be the entrance/exit. So we took out the garage door and replaced it with a 4×7 window. 

Because we are doing this on a budget, we didn’t have a lot to spend on windows. I called around the local shops that sell windows to look for a “mis-ordered” window, one that was ordered wrong either by the customer or the shop. Those windows are hard to sell, especially custom ordered ones. I told the local shop the dimension of my garage door, and they found a big window they are eager to get rid of because of mis-order. A win-win situation! I got this lovely high-quality window for about $400. 

Here’s a picture of the barn with the exterior finished.

I found the other windows from Home Depot: egress window 3’x5′ and small kitchen window 19″ x 31″.

Now the next big part is plumbing and electrician. Check out the 2nd of the tiny house series here and the entire series can be found here.

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