About the Author

Jay Shafer is leading a move­ment that is changing the way America views housing. His revolutionary approach to house design has stirred inter­national dialogue. In his, The Small House Book (self-pub­lished, 2000), Shafer explains why smaller dwellings make good sense and how superior design can be achieved with less space. He has contin­ued to share his philosophy by creating Tumbleweed Tiny House Company through such venues as Fine Homebuilding,

The Wall Street Journal, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and at the University of Iowa’s School of Art, where he served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Drawing for more than a decade. Professor Shafer currently lives in a 89 square foot home of his own creation.

Visit www. tumbleweedhouses. com for more about Jay and Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.


“A visionary designer…”- Catherine Halley, Domino Magazine “…guru of the small house movement.” – John Blackstone, CBS Sunday “.part of a new generation of cutting-edge designers.” – Aric Chen, Paper “.instant curb appeal.” – Bethany Little, New York Times “.one hundred square feet of bliss.” – Thelma Gutierrez, CNN “.a monument to life pared to its essence.” – Dan Weeks, Living Room “.built to last.”- Craig LaMoult, Chicago Tribune “.an efficient use of every inch of space.” – Cheryl Corley, NPR “.astounding.” – Oprah Whinfrey, The Oprah Winfrey Show “.extraordinary attention to detail.” – Hannah Bloch, New York Times “.an inspiration.” – Christopher Solomon, MSN Real Estate “.designed to last a lifetime.”- Julie Martin, BBC News “Move-in-ready gems.” – Denise Gee, Better Homes & Gardens “.a testament to discriminating taste”. – Carol Loyd, San Francisco Gate

1. Great Room 2. Sitting Room 3. Kitchen 4. Bath 5. Loft.

[1] Great Room 2. Kitchen 3. Wet Bath 4. Loft.

[2] Great Room 2. Kitchen 3. Wet Bath 4. Loft.

[3] Great Room 2. Kitchen 3. Wet Bath 4. Loft.

[4] Great Room 2. Kitchen 3. Bath 4. Loft 5. Storage.

[5] Great Room 2. Kitchen 3. Bath 4. Bedroom.

[6] Great Room, 2. Kitchen, 3. Full Bath 4. Bedroom 5. Loft.


The Vardo is not much more than a full-sized bed flanked by a cou­ple of work surfaces over 35 cubic feet of storage space. It can be pulled behind virtually any car or removed from its trailer to rest in most any truck bed. It is pictured on these pages with an optional fireplace.



The plans pictured here are for the Lusby. Those for the rolling houses in­clude instructions for attaching the house to the trailer. Please visit tumble – weedhouses. com for more information.


1. Worldwatch Paper 124, by D. M. Roodman and N. Lenssen, Worldwatch Institute, Washington, D. C., 1996.

2. NPR’s cartalk. com interview with Adam Stein and Tom Boucher.

3. U. S. Bureau of the Census.

4. National Association of Home Builders. $244,000 is the average price of all houses sold in August, 2008.

5. How Buildings Learn, by Stewart Brand, Viking Press, 1994.

6. Iowa City Building Codes.

7. Residential Street Typology and Injury Accident Frequency, by Peter Swift Associates, 1997.


The exterior of the Ofnoco resem­bles the Tarleton and the Lusby. The inside is a blank slate with space to create a tiny home of your own.

Square feet: 36

House width: 6’ House length: 6%’ Road Height: 6’-5”

Dry Weight: 950 lbs

Ceiling height: 4’-3” – sizes are approximate

Wildf lower

The Wildflower is like my house on the outside with a single, open room inside. Add closet(s), a loft, utilities, furniture and entire rooms as you see fit.

Square feet: 117

House width: 8’

House length: 19’

Road Height: 13’-5” Dry Weight: 5100 lbs

Porch: 3’x 7%’

Ceiling height: 6’-3” – sizes are approximate


This tiny structure, and those fol­lowing it, are different than the ones on the preceeding pages. Inside you will find a single open room. Just add closet(s), a loft, utilities and furniture as needed. The pictures on the following pag­es show how my friend Greg man­aged to fit everything he needs to live full-time in his Biensi. Visit www. resourcesforlife and click on “mobile hermiage” for more about Greg and his house.

House width: 8’

House length: 15’

Road Height: 13’-5” Dry Weight: 4400 lbs

Porch: 3’x 7%’

Ceiling height: 6’-3” – sizes are approximate


The Whidbey’s main floor is simi­lar to that of the B-53 and Enesti, except that it uses a bump-out to house a downstairs bedroom, and it has a full main floor bathroom, in­cluding a sink over the toilet. Pic­tured below is the add-on version with 2 bedrooms. I do not count the upstairs 400+ square feet be­cause, with so much sloped ceil­ing, it does not officially qualify as a habitable room. 1

Square feet: 63

House width: 7’ House length: 10’ Ceiling height: 9’ 6” – sizes are approximate

Z-Glass House

This contemporary design does not have a pronounced gabled roof or loft. It looks a lot like the New Popomo, but is about three times bigger. Like its smaller cousin, the Z-Glass House has a glass wall that is intended to face south during the winter for solar gain. This design includes a stain­less steel counter, sink, range and refrigerator, a full bath and a fire­place. While it is not built on inte­gral wheels, it is small enough to be moved on a trailer. It is shown at right with hot rolled steel siding. [5]

Square feet: 461

With add-on: 557 House width: 16’

House length: 30’

Porch: 6’ x 6’

Great Room: 10’ x 15%’ Kitchen: 7%’ x 7’

Bathroom: 7%’x4[6]/2’

Addition: 7’x10’

Ceiling height: 7’ 6” – sizes are approximate


The В-53 is the biggest design I offer. It is essentially the Enesti with a bungalow exterior and a bump-out over the porch.



The layout of the Sebastorosa is basically the same as the Enesti tuned sideways.

Square feet: 743

With add-on: 837 House width: 16’ House length: 30’ Porch: 6’ x 15%

Great Room: 9%’ x 15: Kitchen: ІУ2 x 9’A

Bathroom: 5%’хб’

Half Bath: 41/2’ x 5’

Addition: 7’x12’

Ceiling height: 7’ 6” – sizes are approximate


The Enesti, or NST (not so tiny), contains two bedrooms, one-and a-half baths, a fireplace, a dining nook, ample storage and a full kitchen that includes a washer/ dryer beneath the counter. A third bedroom is also available.



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Square feet: 681

With add-on: 774 House width: 24’

House length: 22’

Porch: 6’ x 18’

Great Room: 9%’ x 15%’ Kitchen: ІУ2 x 9%’

Bathroom: 5%’хб’

Half Bath: 41/2’ x 5’

Addition: 7’x12’

Ceiling height: 7’ 6”

-sizes are approximate