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Gizmag talks to the creators of the Tiny Tack House


May 15, 2013

The Tiny Tack House designed and built by Christopher and Malissa Tack (Photo: Christopher Tack)

The Tiny Tack House designed and built by Christopher and Malissa Tack (Photo: Christopher Tack)

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Micro home enthusiasts Christopher and Malissa Tack have designed and hand-built a gorgeous 140 square foot (13 square meter) eco-home on wheels. Dubbed the Tiny Tack House, the wooden home was built on top of a 20 by 8.5 foot (6 by 2.5 meter) flatbed utility trailer, which means the couple can move around as they wish. We recently interviewed Christopher about the his experience and love for tiny homes.

Tack revealed that it was his wife who convinced him to build what would later become their perfect micro home. The Tiny Tack House includes a versatile living space, raised loft bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and eleven windows that flood the home with natural light.

"In January 2011, upon returning home from work, Malissa asked how much I had looked into the tiny house movement," he tells Gizmag. "As I had not, she began showing me examples of tiny houses that had been built. As any 3D artist would do, Malissa began building small spaces using her preferred 3D application (Lightwave 3D). After a few weeks and several revisions of her idea of the 'perfect' tiny house, Malissa asked me when we were going to build one … I was caught completely off guard and told her that I was in if she was. The rest, as they say, is history.”

The house was built almost entirely by Malissa and Christopher, with some help from a few friends and family members. Christopher’s dad, for example, assisted by running the electrical wiring as well as helping with the framing of the roof.

"Since neither Malissa nor myself had any prior construction experience, we relied heavily on the resources we could find online," admits Tack. "For example, for the installation of the skylight, we visited the Velux website. The owner of the property we built on is a certified commercial plumber as well as electrician. He provided a substantial amount of guidance regarding the plumbing and electrical systems, though he wanted us to learn how to do everything and made us do all of the work."

The wooden home was built with a strong sustainable focus. Natural wool was used throughout the home for insulation. LED lighting was used alongside the eleven windows which provide an abundance of natural light during the day. When required, an oil-filled electric space heater heats the small home and a custom-built 38-gallon (144-liter) steel water storage tank was fitted for fresh water.

"We have become accustomed to taking very conservative showers where you turn the water off when you do not need it (i.e. while lathering up)," reveals Tack. "The two of us go through 38 gallons of water approximately every 4 days … not too shabby considering the average American uses 80-100 gallons of water per day."

In addition, the Tiny Tack House features four external solar panels (the home's biggest expense setting the Tacks back approx US$11,000), which help to keep the summertime energy bills down.

"We have averaged about $1 per day of electricity use from approximately October - April," explains Tack. "As you can imagine with solar power, it works best when the sun is out. Last summer we only used about $35 from the grid the entire summer."

After spending around 800 man hours building the home and approximately $20,000, it has become one of the couple’s favorite spaces and permanent living quarters.

"I love the homey feel and natural light the space provides," Tack tells us. "Everyone who has visited our home comments on how relaxed they feel inside. Malissa and I quickly learned that we cannot go into the loft during the day due to this comfort. We have both been guilty of climbing up into the loft to grab something and taking an unplanned nap."

"Our long-term plans do not include living in our tiny house forever, but at least another 3-5 years," concludes Tack. "After this, we will likely build something a bit larger (300-400 sq ft). We hope to be a resource for those building (or considering building) a tiny home of their own. Malissa has also spent the past few months working on a small house design layout book. This should be coming out soon."

Be sure to head to the gallery to see inside this impressive tiny home and get a glimpse into the building process.

Source: Tiny Tack House via Apartment Therapy

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

Very nice. I missed the picture of the walk in closet.

Mark A

Congratulations on the fantastic results.

Where does the toilet drain to? Are you limited then to only living in trailer parks and RV campsites? Where do the solar panels, front porch, and picnic tables go when on the move? How much does the house weigh and consequently, what kind of truck do you need to pull it? Is your range electric or gas? Is your bathroom vented? It seems like a space that small could get a little bit "fragrant." Did you have to lose weight to get past each other in the kitchen? :) Harvey

Just one question . Why buy this when I can buy a trailer this size for half the price?


They didn't buy it, they built it. Kudos to them for doing it their way. Anyone can buy something given they have the money. In this case they built something that they designed and put the sweat equity into making it a reality. I can see why they love to live in it.


If you want to live in a trailer. I need more room than that to change my mind.


Excellent design and execution. Have the builders considered SIPS walls/roof? It's lighter, better insulated with a tighter seal. Using wool as an insulator will yield a R12-13 in the cavity while wood, having a ~R1.0 per inch, will yield a R4-4.5 through the ex.sheathing/stud/int.sheathing. Look at "Mooney wall system" if you want to keep with a standard stud wall w/wool. Some other Micro H. use a radiant floor heating system. An unobtrusive addition which results in even, quiet and efficient heat. Looking foward to the next (and the next) build. Phileaux


I always wondered how much heat they're losing through the studs. Got to be other materials/techniques you could re-purpose/scrounge.

BTW, re-purposed/scrounged materials are the way to go, if you've got the inventiveness/time and want to save money on something like this. Plenty of reports of tiny houses for maybe $5000 with the most expense being the composting toilet and fasteners/adhesives.

John Frazer

....or if you have good taste you would have just refurbished an old Airstream trailer.....

Warren Wilson
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