She Built a Tiny House with Her Dad for $20k then fell in Love

Meet Jessica; she built a tiny house with her Dad over three and half years. During that time, she fell in love with Bernadette. They had to figure out how to live comfortably in 300 square feet together. Overall, the transition process worked so well that they're engaged!

"A lot of people, of course, assume that you fight all the time when you live in less space, and we haven't. And I don't know if that's because we are that in love or because we did the work ahead of time, and we're really clear about what we wanted or if it was just luck.

But yeah, people always ask when they come and visit, do you guys get sick of each other? And we really don't. And I work inside the home, and she works outside of the home. We have eight hours away from each other all day. So by the time 6 PM comes, we're like, oh, let's hang out, let's cook dinner, let's watch movies. When we have a day off, we try to go and do something so we're not constantly here.

So, the space hasn't negatively affected our relationship in that way."

-Bernadette & Jessica, @thetinyrenegade

Inside the Tiny House She Built with Her Dad

Jessica and her dad built a 24-foot-long tiny house on wheels. When designing and building it, they aimed to create a home that looked professionally done. With that in mind, a clean aesthetic was a top priority. They used lots of white with sage green accents.

Jessica also wanted a tiny house floor plan with distinct rooms that had a natural feeling flow. The L-shaped kitchen, for instance, creates a sense of separation between the living room. A small home office nook separates the kitchen and the bathroom (plus a pocket door!).

The bathroom was designed for maximum space efficiency. Impressively, they were able to squeeze in a full-sized vanity, a stackable washer/dryer, a flushing toilet, and a bathtub. Storage in the stairs up to the bedroom created room for a tanked water heater. It also doubles as a coat closet.

The bedroom loft is located above the bathroom. It features a queen bed with a mini nightstand next to it. On the far side, a shelf with large baskets serves as a privacy screen from the rest of the tiny house. Initially, Jessica had hoped to incorporate more clothing storage in the loft.

Instead, most of Jessica and Bernadette's clothes are stored in the living room. A compartment in the couch serves as clothing storage. Additionally, they use a small Ikea dresser that doubles as a TV stand and a vintage chest used as their coffee table.

Convincing Her Dad to be Pro-Tiny House

All in all, Jessica is exceptionally proud of her DIY tiny house, finished in 2021. It offered a great bonding experience with her dad. But initially, it took quite a bit of convincing to get him on board.

"He was pretty against it. He's like, that's not what you do. You put a down payment on a house. That's what you do. So I made a binder that was this big of budgets, instructions, DIY, all the studies & research to show that it can help me pay off my law school debt. I told him I didn't want to go into more debt.

As a 22-year-old, maybe when I graduated from law school, I didn't know where I wanted to end up. I didn't want to buy a house and then be stuck in a city somewhere.

At that point, it was just me and my dog, so I showed him that, and I told him I can't put $20,000 down on a house when I don't know if that's where I want to be. But I can spend $20,000 to build a house and have housing anywhere I want to go in the States.

That kind of convinced him, and he was like, OK, you put a lot of thought into this. We could probably do it.

My dad had just recently retired, so he was working at a chemical plant, and so it was when he was off is when he would work on it and not every time because it's not his house, and it's not his life, so just when he could."

-Jessica, @thetinyrenegade

Watch Jessica's tiny house TOUR to see more!

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