I was tired of throwing money away on rent after years of living with roommates in Seattle and here in Salt Lake City. One winter I sublet a 200-square-foot "tiny house"—a kind of make-your-own mobile mini-home gaining in popularity—and decided to build one of my own. Since I studied architecture in college, I came up with a minimal, sleek design. Then I drove to a two-day workshop in Portland, Oregon, to learn specifics, like attaching the house to a trailer. Other builders I met there estimated that my house would cost around $16,000; I took $8,000 that I'd saved from my sales job and applied for a $7,000 project loan from Home Depot.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Next, I talked to construction companies about my project. They donated insulation, wood for the interior finish, and the siding materials. A local museum thought my project was cool and let me build on their lawn, so I always had help from passersby! Piece by piece, I did it, sometimes with assistance from friends and strangers: I built the walls, the roof, the drywall, the windows. I followed the diagrams in a book for the electricity and, miraculously, the lights worked!

Most Popular

After 10 weeks of 12-hour days, I was done. A lot of women mistakenly think they need a man's help before they can even buy a house, so it was really empowering to know I could build one myself. A full-size house is next! —As told to Sarah Miller

Want to Build Your Own Tiny House?

Learn more about them at: TinyHouseTalk.com.

Buy house plans at: PADTinyHouses.com.

Also check out: Dee Williams' Go House Go e-book.

Your most important tool will be: A drill. YouTube is packed with cordless-drill tutorials.

My No. 1 piece of advice: Construction guys will try to tell you you're doing it wrong. Don't let them bully you! They just want your phone number.

Love & Sex
Share
I Tried an Open Relationship—and It Was a Disaster
GIF
Love & Sex
Share
10 Mistakes You're Making with Your Online Dating Profile
Love & Sex
Share
3 Divorce Attorneys on How Power Couples Handle Cheating
Woman in bed, black and white.
Love & Sex
Share
My Weird, Fun, Life-Changing Quest to Have Sex with 100 Different People
Love & Sex
Share
Adventures of a Sex Phone Operator: The Surprising Highs, the Grossest Lows, and the Lesson I Took Away from It All
Love & Sex
Share
5 Affirmations for the Modern Dating-App-Using Girl
Love & Sex
Share
I Tried "Sex Dust" and Here's What Happened
Love & Sex
Share
​10 Ways Weed Makes Me a Better Girlfriend
black and white bride
Love & Sex
Share
The Emotional Weight of Being a Wife
Multi-colored condoms
Love & Sex
Share
Why It Sucks to Date as a Happily Childfree Woman