Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces (Tiny Homes, Home Improvement Book, Small House Plans)

Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces (Tiny Homes, Home Improvement Book, Small House Plans)

Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces (Tiny Homes, Home Improvement Book, Small House Plans)

Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces (Tiny Homes, Home Improvement Book, Small House Plans)


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The Perfect Guide to Little Space Living

#1 Best Seller in Small Homes & Cottages

"Joshua and Shelley get you thinking about what you can do to live a little simpler, even if you’re not building a tiny house."―Mario Soto, Tiny House MD. 

With this tiny homes idea book, learn how to redefine what a house is and master organization, location, and happiness to make the best of your little space. 

You’ll want to live in a mini house after reading this book. Tiny House Basics is an adventure in off-grid living. In their debut book, mini house living experts Shelley and Joshua Engberg show how you can join the revolution to downsize without giving up everything you hold dear. As avid campers and off roaders, together they help you enter the world of comfortable and entertaining small spaces. 

Learn the best tips and tricks to owning tiny homes. Whether it’s cottage-style small houses or a mini getaway house, Tiny House Basics makes tiny house plans practical and accessible. With advice easily applicable to any small home, including spaces like apartments and studios, this micro living book turns any little space into the mini house of your dreams.

Inside, find advice on small home interior design and learn:

  • How to maintain a good relationship in a little space 
  • The pros and cons of off-grid living and on-grid living 
  • How to make your small space feel big 
  • Practical storage solutions and design tips 
  • Small space living with pets 

If you’re looking for ways to ramp up your little space, coffee table books for tiny homes, or small modern house gifts—like Tiny House Designing, Building, & LivingSmall Space Style; or The Little Book of Living Small—then you will love Tiny House Basics.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633535718
Publisher: Mango Media
Publication date: 05/16/2017
Pages: 172
Sales rank: 1,189,510
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Joshua Engberg is one-half of the duo behind Tiny House Basics. In the summer of 2014, Joshua and his wife, Shelley, started to build their first tiny house. The goal was to simplify their lives and return to the basics. Downsizing and redefining ‘necessities’ was only the beginning. As avid campers and off-road fans, they were used to smaller spaces and only having essentials on trips. So they thought, ‘why not live like this 365 days a year?’ Moving into a Tiny House was a new challenge that brought its highs and lows. With the help of Tiny House Nation and many talented friends, they finished their self-designed 374 sqft home in 18 Days! Today they live in their tiny house full time and couldn’t be happier.

Shelley Engberg is one-half of the duo behind Tiny House Basics. In the summer of 2014, Shelley and her husband, Joshua, started to build their first tiny house. The goal was to simplify their lives and return to the basics. Downsizing and redefining ‘necessities’ was only the beginning. As avid campers and off-road fans, they were used to smaller spaces and only having essentials on trips. So they thought, ‘why not live like this 365 days a year?’ Moving into a Tiny House was a new challenge that brought its highs and lows. With the help of Tiny House Nation and many talented friends, they finished their self-designed 374 sqft home in 18 Days! Today they live in their tiny house full time and couldn’t be happier.

Derek “Deek” Diedricksen is a man with many skills and interests. He’s a painter, author, musician, teacher and more. But above all, Deek is a builder, a fact his skills as a builder have been on full display with his hit HGTV show “Tiny House Builders”.

With his unbridled enthusiasm and quirky charm, Deek runs the popular Relaxshacks.com and authored the book “Humble Homes & Simple Shacks”.

Read an Excerpt


Making The Decision To Go Tiny

WE ARE SHELLEY AND JOSHUA, and we and our two dogs have been living in a 374-square foot tiny house for a few years now. As unbelievable as it may seem, we love it. However, if you had told either of us while we were in college that we were going to one day live in something no larger than an Ikea kitchen layout (and be happy and content), we would have dropped on the floor laughing, and probably ridiculed you. It was incredibly unlikely. Like many young couples, we had large aspirations when we were in our college years. We were going to be greatly successful, own a massive house with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a pool, and who knows what else. We dreamed about possibly another vacation house or two with amazing cars. This desire came with a struggle.

We fell into the trap of finding jobs we hated that paid well in order to squeeze in vacations. Of course, when you're nineteen, nobody tells you how much work and time all of that will take to attain. Also, nobody tells us how exhausting it will be to get there, and how much of that fictional life that we've created in our heads will be put on hold while we work tirelessly to get to what we think is the top. As young adults, though, even if anybody did try and tell us, we wouldn't have listened anyway. Some things we just have to learn on our own through our own life experiences and painful lessons.

Here is a little background on us both:

Shelley's Story

I went to college right out of high school to get an art degree in interior design. I always loved anything design-related. As a young girl, I was strangely obsessed with decorating shows and design showrooms of all types. I had the constant itch to want to create a cozy and stylish space. In our own house growing up, I was always trying to talk my parents into buying certain art pieces or redoing the living room every couple of months. I couldn't help but walk into people's homes and instantly redesign and knock down walls in my head so they could have more efficient space. I loved many styles and textures and still do to this day. I come from a humble background; my father owned a small painting company with a handful of employees that my mom helped him with, while they raised my two older brothers and me.

My goal in going to college was to start small with a staging company, then work up to commercial and/or high end residential design, and either work for a high-profile design firm or start my own. While in school, I worked at a couple of places doing design-related jobs, but the school loans were beyond my low-paying wage. Nearing the end of my schooling, I got a job offer at a large utility company making a great wage, more than any design company was going to offer me being right out of college. So I took it to get some headway on school loans. After five years with the company, I felt like I had had enough. The job was torture, and I felt my soul was being sucked right out of me as I commuted four hours a day, sat at a desk, which I hated, and oftentimes had to work mandatory overtime at an already intense job. I was already burned out. It only took five years ... How was I going to keep going at this pace and still have the energy to enjoy life outside of a building? I had no time to even spend the money I made, barely any time for a vacation. This isn't at all what I had envisioned as a meaningful and happy life.

After Joshua and I got engaged, I quit my job to work part-time helping with his business. This was something we discussed at length for a long time before taking the step to quit my current job. This was a huge step for me; many thought I was crazy for quitting this job at such a desirable-to-work-for-company. Although it was scary giving it up, it was also exhilarating. I've never liked being bored, so this was a new challenge that excited me. Little did I know at that time that it would be one of the best decisions I made.

Joshua's Story

Out of high school, I went to a technical school for aeronautical mechanics and repair at Oakland International Airport, where I spent the next couple of years learning the ins-and-outs of working on airplanes. I graduated at the top of my class on the dean's list, and I was then set on advancing my career in the aviation field. My next "goal" was to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering at a highly-rated aeronautical university. However, before I made that drastic decision that would occupy another four or more years of my life, I decided to take the summer off and think about what I really wanted to do with my life. After graduating the academy, I was hired to work further with the school by preparing airplanes that were purchased in St. Louis and shipped to Oakland to be used in instruction for future students. During this time the industry was changing rapidly, and the loyalty that the big airlines had towards the crews that kept the airplanes in the air was almost nonexistent. I began to question if I would even like to take this career further.

To this day, I still have a deep love for aviation and the field of mechanics, but I decided ultimately that I didn't want to slave away for a lifetime, giving my career to an industry that would not uphold its loyalty to me when times get tough. So, I pursued another career. In the mid-2000s the real estate market was booming, and I decided to join my family business by becoming a real estate agent. Growing up, I watched my parents transition through different careers before they got into real estate. My mother and father both worked hard while taking care of my older brother and me. My father worked full-time in the uniform industry, and my mother, while taking care of us, worked as a house cleaner and made porcelain dolls on the side as a hobby and a side job to support her love for garage sales and deal hunting. All these skills they developed through different jobs, and hobbies led them into real estate. For me, real estate was a far cry from my passion of working on airplanes, metal fabrication, and welding, but it was still very enjoyable work.

The best part for me was working with people and finding that perfect dream home, wondering what kind of home would be my perfect place. The market at the time was great: interest rates were low, and virtually anybody could buy a home, even someone like myself who was fresh out of school with good credit and not much else. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but in the present, you can only make the best decision based on the information you had at hand, and the information at that time encouraged everyone to buy a house, whether you could truly afford it or not. So, I did what many Americans did: I bought a house because I thought it was the right thing to do. I mean, I had the credit and the mortgage payment was low, so why not? Like so many people believed (and sadly still believe), I felt that I could figure the rest out as time went on. Time didn't seem to go on too long, and twenty-four months later, my mortgage doubled! As one of the early ones in the mortgage crisis, I lost my house. There was no way I could afford to keep the payment up when it doubled overnight. Like many, I thought I was ahead of the game and had my dream home, and after only a few years I lost it to the bank. I just felt hopeless and back at square one. A short time later, while still practicing real estate, I noticed a trend of foreclosed houses coming back on the market, but needing repairs and preservation before being resold. I made a transition in the field of real estate from selling to preserving these houses while they were on the market. After losing my own house, I could fully relate to what people were going through when they had to move out of their own houses. My job then became to help them with that transition and to repair and preserve the house while it went back on the market. Over the course of the next few years, I was servicing and preserving homes across the San Francisco Bay Area in over sixty-five cities, which equated to about 35,000 miles a year of driving with work days that lasted, on average, over fourteen hours.

Starting Our Life Together

After we got married, the business was busier than ever for the next couple of years. This meant long and demanding work days, and worst of all, it meant we rarely got to see each other. One of the memories from that time that sticks out is waking up very early and rushing out to beat rush hour traffic. The depression of saying bye to each other while hoping we would both get to see each other later at a decent hour ... A typical day often included heading out to work extra early due to the nature of the business, which included driving through up to fifteen or more cities a day performing heavy-duty tasks with a crew. We also did a lot of driving through cities documenting the state of different properties. We had the goal that sooner, rather than later, the business would essentially run itself, with us having to do some light managing. As more time went on, however, the clients started to get more demanding of our time and attention; we started to see more clearly that our goal of being less hands-on was getting further out of reach. Our already fourteen hour workdays were not leaving any extra time to do the things we enjoyed that kept us sane.

Regardless of the increasing pressure we were dealing with, we decided we had taken on too much and decided to start scaling back little by little. At this time, we still weren't thinking of going tiny; we were just thinking of our sanity. One of the biggest frustrations with owning and running a business was that we never seemed to be able to take a break. Vacations were a mere dream that never happened due to how demanding the business was. Even getting away for a couple of nights for our anniversaries was tough. When we finally were able to get away for an anniversary in Santa Barbara, we had a real turning point. At this point, we had let a couple clients go, as the business was starting to get very cutthroat and the work was becoming more intense and demanding as the phone would never stop ringing. We got to a breaking point with most of our large clients as the expectations had become unreal and left us feeling lifeless. We scaled back further and only kept smaller clients; it would be something that just the two of us could do and handle without having to manage a crew.

Not too long after scaling back we started to feel a little freer and like ourselves again! There was still one problem, though: we still felt burdened by our expensive rent and started realizing we didn't need this extra space. Our home was only around 1,300 square feet and even still, we only used a quarter of it. Most of our house just stored our junk and toys that we bought but never had to time to use. Our house was essentially an expensive storage unit. Our young adult dream of a massive house and all the other luxuries really started to change. We didn't want more stuff, we wanted more time. More time to enjoy the things we truly loved and valued, like spending time growing our relationships with our families and friends, volunteering in our bible education work, and traveling and camping.

We realized that we didn't need to make a small fortune to do these things; we needed to work smarter, not harder. It was around this time when we realized that we needed to cut our living expenses, and the largest one was our house. Since prices in the San Francisco Bay Area were only increasing and our business was here, we couldn't just up and leave and start our new lives in a new, less expensive area. This is when we started to recall our friends telling us years ago about tiny houses. It's also when we discovered that tiny houses didn't have to be as small as we had thought! After watching the documentary "Tiny" on Netflix and seeing how well they could be laid out and how practical they could be, we were hooked! This was going to be how we achieved our simplified lifestyle without giving up everything. With our backgrounds of design and metal fabrication, the ideas starting flowing on how we were going to create a comfy and spacious-feeling tiny house.

Saying out loud that we were going to do it was the easy part, but making the actual decision was a bit different. At first, our adrenaline started pumping, seeing that this was something so different and exciting! Freedom was right around the corner ... or so we thought.

* Could actually do it?

* What size would we live in?

* What size is practical so we can be comfortable and not feel like we're squeezing by each other all the time?

* How was it going to be with dogs? What about closet space, since we both have both dress and casual clothes?

* What about our king bed that we've grown accustomed to and had no intention of giving up? What about our garage full of tools?

* Can we really do it as inexpensively as some have said they did?

* How long will it take us to build it ourselves?

* Is building it ourselves going to be practical, since we still have to work?

* How much of a strain is it going to be while paying expensive rent AND investing into building our tiny house?

So many questions were coming to mind. Even the thought of buying a nice travel trailer crossed our minds. One problem with full-time RV/trailer living for us was that it didn't have custom options that we could put into a tiny house. We still wanted something that felt very solid with normal home-feeling touches; tiny houses were still stick construction and that was something we were very drawn to. Also, we could have things like an awesome bi-fold accordion window. Stairs in our little home? A kitchen with normal-sized appliances? Yes please! We knew that while it would certainly be an adjustment, a tiny house is what would best suit our needs. One of the bigger talking points for us was, "Oh boy, what will our friends and family think? Will they be supportive or try and talk us out of it?"

We were both raised going camping with our families, and we loved the simplicity that camping offered. We would always pack up our vehicles with only the essential items, and we lacked nothing for the week or two we were in the woods. This love of camping continued into adulthood, where we stepped it up a few notches to extreme off-roading and even more remote campsites in the wilderness. This type of camping became more refined as the years went on. We would travel on very difficult off-road terrain and trails packed up with all our necessary recovery gear and tools in case we broke down on the trail. In addition to that, we needed to have adequate items for setting up camp at the end of the day, so we could truly relax before we did it all over again the next day. By refining the amount of gear we brought and actually needed, we lessened our packing every trip. We eventually built a custom off-road trailer to handle all the terrain our 4runner would go through; this off-road trailer ended up becoming our basecamp between trails; our little "vacation tiny house," you could say. Having a comfortable camp has always been an inspiration for us to strive to live more simply, and when we first thought about downsizing to a real tiny house, we realized we could use many of the things we learned growing up camping and off-roading to simplify our life to just what we needed.

We love camping and off-roading but we didn't want to feel like we're living a full-on camping life indefinitely. Is living tiny going to feel like we were camping 24/7? One of the big questions for most couples going tiny is: is living in such a small space going to affect our relationship negatively? The biggest fear that crossed our minds was, what if we invest all this time and money and it doesn't work out, what if it feels too tiny and we want out shortly after?

We got right to researching and did so for about six months, day and night. We researched by watching YouTube videos and looking on Pinterest and Googling anything and everything related to tiny houses. During this time, we were able to see what we did and didn't like in a tiny house.

Are You Ready Quiz

* Do you really use all the space you have in your home?

* Do you have a room or closet that is only used for storage that houses items never used?

* Do you really use every single thing you own on a monthly or seasonal basis?

* Are there pieces of clothes or items you own that you haven't used in the past six months to a year?

* Do you think you can live in half the square footage you do now if it created more time to spend doing things you enjoy?

* What appeals to you the most about living with less space and less square footage?

* What is more important: more time or more stuff?

* Can you recall immediately what's stored in areas less-used in your house without digging through them?

* Do you spend more time maintaining your toys than you do using them?

* Does the thought of enjoying your life now appeal to you more vs potentially having to wait many years to start enjoying it?


Excerpted from "Tiny House Basics"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Joshua Engberg and Shelley Engberg.
Excerpted by permission of Mango Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Derek "Deek" Diedricksen 8

Introduction: Who Lives In These Tiny, So Called Tiny Houses? 12

Chapter 1 Making The Decision To Go Tiny 20

Chapter 2 Planning: Research 32

Chapter 3 Downsizing 48

Chapter 4 Building: The Unspoken Realities Of Doing It Yourself, Plus The Cost 60

Chapter 5 Why We Chose Our Design Aesthetic And Layout 74

Chapter 6 Making Room For Your Junk In A Small Space 98

Chapter 7 Pets In A Tiny House 108

Chapter 8 Relationships In Tight Quarters 120

Chapter 9 The Rewards, Benefits And Challenges Of Downsizing 132

Chapter 10 How Practical Is A Tiny House For The Long-Term? 150

Afterword: Our Tiny House Trailers and Tiny House Shells 162

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Tiny House Basics is honest about the journey. Joshua and Shelley get you thinking about what you can do to live a little simpler, even if you’re not building a tiny house."―Mario Soto, Tiny House MD.

“Joshua & Shelley address one of the biggest questions when it comes to going tiny: ‘how can you live well with another person?’ Like the rest of the book, the answer is remarkably satisfying.”―Dusti Arab

“It is one thing to read a book about the theory of a transition. It is quite another to read one based on someone’s personal testimony of transition. Joshua and Shelley have nailed it in regards to balancing tips with case study. Their emphasis on being realistic in all things―from design to daily living―is both important and inspiring. In my 9 years of being active in the modern tiny house movement I have not yet read such a well thought out book for those at all stages of the ‘going tiny’ process."―Andrew M. Odom, Tiny r(E)volution, author, speaker, and practical strategist

Tiny House Basics gives you a front row seat to the mindset and process of becoming a tiny house dweller for the long haul.”―Steven Harrell, Owner of Tiny House Listings

“Andrew and I live and work together full time in our tiny house, and we know from firsthand experience what challenges these circumstances present. Shelley and Joshua totally get it too and have learned the secrets to a successful and thriving relationship in a small space. In Tiny House Basics, they eloquently share valuable tips that anyone can greatly benefit from, whether they live tiny or not.”―Gabriella and Morrison, Tiny House Build

"Shelley and Joshua offer great advice on how to make a tiny house work for two. They demonstrate how a strong foundation and good communication are essential―not only in building a tiny house, but in living and thriving in one!”―Alek Lisefski, from The Tiny House Project

“Outstanding! Josh and Shelley’s book not only gives us a new perspective on what happens behind the TV cameras, but more importantly, it gives us a behind-the-curtain view into the realities and challenges of building a tiny house. The format is easy to understand, thorough, and a must read for anyone who’s even THINKING about building a tiny house. The good news is that I now have another resource to add to my tiny house library. The bad news is that I’ll have to cancel my own plans to write a book because I think they’ve covered it all!”―Michelle Boyle, writer at My Empty Nest & My Tiny Perch

“With the creativity, quality and success of their tiny house build, Joshua and Shelley of Tiny House Basics have proven themselves to be experts in the tiny house community.”―Jewel Pearson, Tiny House Trailblazers

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