Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Arlene and I live in an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, our first dilemma is: where do we build our mobile mini-cottage? We need to have a secure place for tools, materials and the house as we build it. The problem is, it's expensive in the Bay Area. Well, normally, when the economy isn't in the tank it is. The economy's state means that there is more property on the market and that landlords are a little more willing to work with us. For example, normally they require a year lease for a warehouse space big enough to build a tiny house.

But, after a bit of looking around , we successfully secured a small commercial space to build our tiny house.

Our cottage will require roughly 10 feet wide by 20 feet long as it is being built. We'll need a roughly equal size to frame walls. Then we'll also need space for storage and tools. And pizza. :-)

The space we've rented is 20 feet wide and 50 feet deep. Plenty of space. The door is a 12 foot roll-up door. Now, a few folks will note that our cottage is planned to be a few inches over 13 feet tall... but we have a plan for that discrepancy, which I'll leave for a future entry.


  1. Hi,
    Just wondering if you could elaborate a bit on the "commercial space" that you are using.
    It sort of looks like a storage space, but not really. I'm curious as to what the neighbors are like there. How did you find it?
    I ask because I live in NYC and I'm wondering if this could be a solution for people here who wanted to go small.
    -jeff in nyc

  2. Hi!

    Sure. This is actually a warehouse space. Our neighbors are wood workers, a steel shop, and other industrial companies.

    Our build space probably wouldn't be a great place to live, but I know sometimes folks do live in such accommodations.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the response.
    I didn't mean to live, although now that I re-read what I wrote I can see how it could have been taken than way.
    But in NYC I can't imagine how I could build one of these things, on the weekends, evenings, etc.
    I'd have to park it out on the street during construction, which probably wouldn't work out so well.
    I'll have to see what I can find out here. Maybe there's something.
    Thanks again.
    -jeff in nyc

  4. Got it.
    Yeah, we live in a city near San Francisco - paved jungle. Building on the street or in our apartment complex wouldn't be feasible - where would we store materials and tools and such.

    We do have friends that would let us build it at their place, but they live over an hour away. That would make getting there to work on it a barrier. So renting space made sense. Cost for us is 75 cents a square foot, which is cheaper than our apartment.

    I would recommend shopping around a bit. Think ahead. When picking a place make sure you can get your trailer in and out with your unit fully built on it. This means you need height as well as enough space to pull your trailer out.


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