At the Great American Tiny House Show

Do you know anyone in the market for a fabulous tiny house on wheels? Jason and the Tiny Terrapin are looking sharp at the Washington State Fairgrounds today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check out our updated gallery photos, but it’s even better in person! Go to Tiny Terrapin Tiny House on Facebook for more information.

On the Move!



Wow! It’s been a while… we have a bunch of new gallery photos to check out and a road trip to tell you about.


In December, we received an unexpected gift: a zoning violation from the city for building a tiny in our driveway. Because tiny houses don’t exactly fit into any current classification in city ordinances, it’s really unusual to receive a violation and most people don’t register their tiny houses until it’s time to haul them because at that point they more closely fit the description of an RV and can be registered as such.

Jason had to do a lot of calling around, getting referred in circles because (again) the ordinances just aren’t there for tinies yet. He finally decided he needed to insure it as a trailer and drive it to the DMV so he could get it registered.

For insurance, he used Michael Carmona at Farmers Insurance, and was very pleased with the service he received.

Then he hired Casey, who came highly recommended, to drive it to the DMV. He did an amazing job getting the tiny terrapin maneuvered carefully out of the driveway, to the DMV and safely back home again. Check out his business here.

Jason and I followed Casey’s truck in another vehicle. The terrapin did great on the road. Along the way, it was fun to see all the interest it attracted: people were taking photos and stopping to point and stare as went by. Hilariously, one woman on our small city street was getting out of her car while talking on her cell phone with her back to the street. She didn’t even notice as the tiny house rolled by her a few feet away as she walked up the sidewalk toward her house!

We arrived at the DMV, and after waiting in line for quite some time, found an employee, Brenda, who was very helpful. She wanted to be sure that what she was telling Jason was correct so he wouldn’t have to bring the tiny back another time. Because this was the first tiny to come through the Foster DMV, she called another person to be sure she had it right. It took some time waiting for a response, but in the end she gave us an RV license plate and registered it. That was a great feeling!

Completed since last post: plumbing system (nearly completed), walls insulated, ceiling baffles are in, chose exterior paint and started painting before getting hit with a cold snap and subsequent snowstorms (very unusual in Portland)

Still needs to be finished: electrical, insulate ceilings, tongue and groove hemlock for walls and ceiling, floors and cabinets, and many other small details


Now is a great time to start picking out interior finishes and details. Let us know if you are interested in buying or if you know someone who is. The sooner we have a buyer, the more involved in final details that person can be.

Skylights and Siding



Jason is installing 3 skylights, two small and one large. The small ones he installed himself, and he will need a buff friend to help with the large one when it arrives (again). He’s had three damaged ones shipped already, with a fourth on its way. It would be nice to finally get that one in, but I decided to go ahead and post anyway.


The siding is cedar double teardrop. Here’s a link to the local supplier.

Here’s a link to the siding he used.

Week of Spring Break



This week was spring break for me (Christina). Since I was able to be with the kids, Jason put in a lot of time on the terrapin.

First he worked at putting up the roof rafters, then added the dormer shed roof. On each window, he put a double sill for nailing siding to later. Then he leveled out the shed.

He used cedar 2x6s for the loft supports, which will be exposed when done. These are on 2 foot centers, which he chiseled out for the loft to sit on.

The final step this week was adding brackets to attach the house frame to the trailer. It’s getting close to time for windows, roof and siding. Stay posted!

It’s looking like a house


It’s turning out to be a rainy spring here in Portland, but they worked through the showers. If they stopped every time it rained, they’d never get this terrapin on the road. Jason’s cousin, Patrick, came to help again, and our neighbor, Jared, showed up too. Now all the outer walls are framed, including the small ones where the door and the tiny porch will be.

First things first


This weekend Jason framed in the floor and the walls. He needed a second set of hands to help with attaching them to the trailer, so his cousin Patrick volunteered. It was amazingly sunny for part of the weekend, which made for an unexpectedly pleasant beginning to the project.


Jason is using open source plans he found at the Small House Catalog. Be sure to check out their website; this is the design he fell in love with first. It is a tried and true plan, which Shawn and his wife lived in for several years. I love his reasons for giving the plans away, see these here.

The trailer has arrived


Today the trailer arrived. The boys decided right away it was a plaything, and it created quite a stir with people walking by asking about it. Soon enough, it will be obvious what is going on here. For now, it’s just another thing crammed into our tiny front yard.


As much as possible, Jason is using only local companies my building supplies. He started with an 8′ X 20′ Iron Eagle custom trailer. They were very helpful, and his research tells him they are one of the best for a tiny house.