I really want a tiny house in my backyard that we can use to have Tatum play and just use as a mini greenhouse / playhouse

Check out my Q&A all about this below with Chris Schapdick by Chris Schapdick – original tiny house for my daughter and I – my tiny house building company


Where are you finding most Tiny Houses being built?

Actual construction and builders are mostly concentrated in southern and midwest states. This is predominantly because the large facilities needed to construct a tiny house have lower rents and more availability in those areas. I’m a bit of an anomaly building in the north east. In regard to where most tiny houses are located, that has more to do with the legalities and zoning laws. The west coast has numerous pockets where they are being allowed but that trend is also spreading east from there and we are seeing more and more adoption of ways to allow people to live in these structures in a growing number of municipalities and locations.

What is the price point as far as purchasing a tiny house – what is the range?

It’s a broad range and has to do with size and the amount of work the customer is willing to do themselves. Labor cost is a large component of a tiny house build and therefore a complete tiny house will incur the largest cost. Some folks are opting for ‘shells’ which is a start to a build where the framing and walls are constructed by a builder and then the customer/purchaser does the interior and exterior finishing themselves. This is a great way to make it your own and to save a lot of money. With that said, shells can start under $10,000 all the way up to a fully finished tiny house for upwards of $100,000.


What is the process of building a tiny house?

First decide what you want the house for in the first place. Travel? Full-time living? Then decide what your house needs. They things that are important to you. They might not all be possible, but you should still have a good idea of things you want. Are you building it yourself? Who will build it for you? What is your budget? What is your timeline? Also, very important is where will the house be located and what are the restrictions around you spending time in it (if any) based on the location. That’s a rough outline. I go into very minute detail on all those aspects in my book and guide people down that path and all the decisioning involved.

Can you do a solar tiny house?

Absolutely! Solar is amazing. Free energy from the sun! What could be better. The costs for solar related items keep dropping and this has become a really viable way to power or supplement your electric needs in your tiny house…or any other dwelling for that matter. Although the upfront costs may be higher, keep in mind that beyond basic upkeep, the solar set-up will continue to deliver power free of charge from that point onwards.


What have been some of the coolest tiny houses you have seen?

As a builder myself, I gravitate to other builders that put a lot of style and effort into their structures. I think that it shows when a builder is in this line of work for the right reasons. I very much admire the work of ‘Craft & Sprout’ as well as ‘Perch and Nest’…stunningly beautiful houses…larger than I tend to build.

Is there some economic opportunities for a tiny house?

Some people use them as vending structures. I have a customer that does the Renaissance Faire circuit and they needed a retro looking structure to fit into that environment. They sell jewelry out of the structure and also use it to save on hotel, camping, lodging costs. Other folks are using these as weekend getaways to escape the city. When not in use they make great Airbnb rentals if someone has one sitting on a nice piece of land somewhere. Yes, there are definitely ways to have a tiny house earn money for you.

Do you think this is an opportunity for those who want a 2nd home or maybe a rental property?

Yes, that’s exactly what I was outlining in the previous question.


What does a tiny house usually come with and what is the square footage typically?

Another tough question with a broad range. Anywhere from 40 square feet to 350 is the range for a tiny house on wheels (THOW). The size will often determine depth of features. You can’t expect a full bathroom in a 40 square foot dwelling.


Can you build a tiny house in a backyard and what is process if there is no way to crane it in – can it be built from start in a backyard?

Most likely you could take a section of fence down to maneuver a tiny into a backyard if needed. Comes down the the specific scenario. Crane would likely be a last resort as that will get pricey. If it is to be built on wheels, then you need to be able to get a trailer into the backyard at a minimum if that is the location where the structure will be spending the bulk of it’s time.
Have you seen tiny houses be almost like a she-shed?

Definitely. I sold one to a customer and she simply wanted a place to relax, read, meditate. It’s wonderful to have a dedicated space for this sort of things. Our lives have enough distractions these days and to have a distraction free, purpose built space to pursue whatever you like is a wonderful luxury.


Tell me about about yourself and how you got involved in all of this?

I built a tiny house for my daughter and I. We wanted to spend more time in nature and get away from the urban environment where we live and where she goes to school (she’s 14). That was the catalyst that got me started. I had a such a good time doing that, that I decided I wanted to build more and that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s been really life changing for me and has enriched my life in ways that I couldn’t have imagined even a few years ago. Tiny houses have quite literally changed my life and I love having the chance to impact others in the same positive way as a builder, author and life coach.





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