Have you ever wondered if those Tuff sheds you see lined up outside Home Depot can be turned into a shed tiny house?
They sure can!
I was amazed when I stumbled upon one couple – Beth and Barry Smith – who crafted a gorgeous Tuff Shed tiny house out of a two-story shed.
The couple is no stranger to living tiny; they moved out of a 3,000-square foot house into a 27-foot camper in Georgia to build their first tiny house.
Their goal? To have no mortgage and enough money to travel the world.
When their daughter and grandchildren came to live with them on their 3-acre plot of land, the Smiths decided to build a Tuff Shed as their second tiny home.
In this post, I’ll tell you more about which Tuff shed they chose to turn into a tiny home, how they made their shed legal, and how they built out such a gorgeous interior.
Choosing a Tuff Shed Tiny House
One day, Beth and Barry were running errands at Home Depot when they spotted a cool 2-story Tuff Shed. Right away, they started thinking about a tiny house. The shed they chose is called the TR-1600 series, and the Smiths decided on the 16×24′ model.
The TR-1600 two-story Tuff Shed features 8′ first floor walls, a full second floor, 36″ staircase with railing, and boxed eaves on all the walls. There’s also the option to install a front porch with a deck.
It’s quite customizable, with five roof colors and three different materials to choose from, including composition shingles, dimensional shingles and a metal roof.
The Smiths’ Tuff Shed tiny house came in at $20,000, not including any interior work.
It eased their minds that the Tuff Shed does come with a lifetime guarantee, and Home Depot stands behind its products.
To prepare for a new Home Depot tiny house on their property, the Smiths first installed a concrete block foundation with a crawl space. The tiny house would be attached the foundation using earthquake straps to make it extra secure.
“We bought the shed and Tuff Shed came to our piece of property and set it up,” said Beth. “We were having a snowstorm at the time and it took them about six days to put it up.”
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Building a Tuff Tiny House to Code
One major problem in the tiny house movement is trying to figure out how to build to code. Every county has different regulations, and you need your plans approved before jumping into a tiny house build.
“Our county requires homes be at least 500-square-feet,” said Beth. “It also outlaws single-wide homes, so we couldn’t have a tiny house on wheels.”
That rule rankles Beth: “I think if you have rural property you should be able to do what you want with it. You should be able to live in a yurt if that’s what you want to do.”
Beth and Barry worked tirelessly with county inspectors every step of the way to make sure their Tuff Shed tiny house would be legal.
“We designed it so it could be a two bedroom house with outlets and smoke detectors,” said Barry. “While it’s permitted as a two-bedroom, right now we just have one really long bedroom upstairs.”
The couple did a lot of work themselves: insulation, flooring, painting, tiling and the kitchen cabinets and sink. Then, they hired out the tough stuff for their Tuff Shed tiny house.
“We hired out the electrical and plumbing,” said Barry. “A local gas company came out and installed our gas tank and copper line. Someone else did our drywall.”
Beth and Barry chose to add extra insulation so they wouldn’t hear Army helicopters and planes roaring overhead. They use a mini-split for their tiny house heating and cooling.
Overall, the cost of their Home Depot tiny house rang it at around $60,000 for a 768-square-feet.
A Surge in Popularity for Shed Tiny Homes
Since building their Tuff Shed tiny home, the Smiths have noticed a surge in interest in shed homes.
“People are reevaluating the lives they’re living,” said Beth. “They want out of cities, they don’t want to spend every dollar they have on housing. People want something they can afford.”
Beth said if you are interested in jumping in on the shed home bandwagon, it’s really important to talk to county inspectors before buying land and building a house.
“Your county may have build restrictions,” she said. “Find out what you can and can’t do. Check and double check to make sure you can build what you want.”
She said don’t try to sneak under the radar, because the county has the right to make you tear down your tiny home. All that hard-earned money would be flushed down the toilet.
For more tips, check out our article: Buying Land for a Tiny Home.
How the Smiths Like Living Tiny
So far, so good for both Beth and Barry Smith, who are enjoying their newfound existence living on 3-acres of property with two tiny homes and a work shed.
Beth says its great to be mortgage free. “Our goal was to live as inexpensively as possible. We love to travel, so we wanted to spend our money on life instead of junk.”
She feels great living with just a small amount of stuff and now can’t fathom living in a house with rooms full of things.
“It’s crazy to think we buy something and keep it for the rest of our lives,” she said. “There are a lot of strong emotions surrounding clutter.”
The Smiths had to do their part downsizing out of a 3,000 square foot house, and learned to appreciate less.
“You have to develop a mindset that if it can’t fit in the space, or if you haven’t touched it in a year or two it has to go in the giveaway pile,” said Barry. “Or maybe even in the trash.”
The Smiths love living with their daughter and three grandchildren so close at hand. They have a garden and goats.
And life couldn’t be better.
To follow their journey, head to Facebook: My Tuff Shed Tiny Home
Other tiny house stories you’ll love:
- 5 Tiny House Kits for Under $5,000
- 12 Amazingly Affordable Tiny Homes for Under $45,000
- 15 Clever Tiny House Storage Ideas
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.