It certainly seems to have struck a chord, this little house, and stirred up a buoyant froth of curiosity. A welcoming shelter always does (tell me, am I the only one who still wants to see inside the Candy Land houses?). Maybe it’s because of its diminutive size, or the fact that it houses five people just fine, or maybe it’s because it’s mortgage free – whatever the reason, there are so many of you peeking in our virtual windows. And there are many of you asking questions, because we all know that curiosity and questions go hand in hand.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, How much did it cost?
It certainly has cost some dollars and cents, but before I get to that, let me tell you about the other costs.
This little house cost us our perspective on living, and exchanged it for a new one, retooled for a simpler life. It cost us all the excess we had, and left us with what we loved and needed the most.
It also cost us five months of care-taking a home belonging to someone else (so we could save every dime possible); five months of looking at photos of people we didn’t know hanging on the walls ; five months of eating out of someone else’s dishes; five months of watering - but not eating (very much of) someone else’s garden.
It cost us seven months of living in 200 square feet through a (thankfully, quite mild – it only got down to 10 below a couple times) Wyoming winter(so we could save every dime possible). Seven months of boys in sleeping bags that were laid out every night and put away every morning. Seven months of near-constant frost-covered windows. Seven months of sliding sideways to pass each other.
It cost ten months of weekly jaunts to the laundry 20 miles away, to wash, dry, and fold our week’s worth of clothing, bedding, and towels. It cost us fancy palates, serving us instead with soups and stews and (lots of) biscuits (so we could save every dime possible). It cost us a certain self-image.
Patience. It cost a tremendous amount of patience. Of waiting. And more waaaaaiiiiiting. Of finishing the little house in stages that we could afford.
Yes. This little house cost us.
It cost $52,000 to have the unfinished shell put on this land (that we rent every month). It cost another $16,000 to pay permitting fees, hook up existing utilities, finish the inside, and paint the outside.We also spent approximately $3500 on appliances. It will cost $8,000 to have a full-length covered porch built onto the front, which we are hoping will be completed next spring.
All this. It cost us. And we were willing to pay – to a boy (because their opinions mattered, too). And we would do it all over again in a heartbeat, because, as they say, the benefit has far outweighed the cost.
We LOVE this little house!
PLEASE NOTE: If you are one of the curious ones, wondering if something like this might work for you, please don’t take our numbers as exact for your situation! There are a tremendous amount of variables in the cost of building depending on where you live, whether or not a land purchase is part of the process, whether or not utilities exist at the site, whether or not roads exist, what permits are required, what local codes dictate, what finishes and fixtures you choose (both outside and in), what type of windows and doors you select, what heating/cooling system you decide on, what labor will cost (if that labor to build and finish is hired or your own), and so on. Your numbers could be more, or they could be less than ours. It is good, however, to have some idea of the kind of picture you may be looking at, so, there you go.
Now you have a place to begin.
Have a lovely weekend, friends!