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How to build your dream tiny house

Five tips both DIY amateurs and pros can use to live the optimal tiny life

Mike Basich’s DIY tiny home builds are perfect for life on the road.
Courtesy of @mikebasich

To get the at-home creature comforts best suited to your preferences, sometimes you’ve got to build your space from the ground up. That’s exactly what Mike Basich, a professional snowboarder and tiny house builder, has been up to for the past 20 years.

In total, Basich has built four stationary tiny homes and five tiny homes on wheels. His latest project, Mike’s Dreamchaser, has a wood fireplace, a full-sized bed, and a bathtub built into the floor.

“The builds have all happened at very different stages of my life,” Basich said. “My latest mobile tiny house is a compact version of all the things I’ve learned in the past.”

Here are his five tips on how you can build your own tiny home.

Take inspiration from your travels

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Though Basich spent his childhood building treehouses and camping in teepees, today his travels inspire his best ideas.

“With all my snowboarding, I’ve traveled a lot. You get to see different parts of the world how people live,” Basich said.

Recently, his frequent trips to Japan have taught him how to maximize space, as many people there live more efficiently than most Americans.

Build for the climate you’ll be traveling in

Mike’s Dreamchaser is almost always in frigid and cold environments.
Courtesy of @mikebasich

In one of Basich’s most recent tiny home on wheels build, Mike’s Dreamchaser, there isn’t a fridge. This isn’t a flaw, it’s merely a design choice.

As a snowboarder, Basich spends all of his time chasing winter storms, moving from one frigid environment to another. For now, putting his food in a cabinet that has a vent outside exposed to the low temperatures works perfectly for his refrigeration needs.

If you’re going to park in cities, build small

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When it comes to sizing, take into account the size of parking spaces available at your various destinations. Mike’s Dreamchaser is a delivery truck-style home, with a smaller front cabin and a larger back space for full customization.

However, his last build was much larger, which made it tough to find a parking spot in bigger cities. He took on that challenge while building Mike’s Dreamchaser, making sure that it fit perfectly into an average parking spot.

Give each item multiple purposes

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Some creative thinking can help you turn every section of your home into a multi-tasking space.

“When you’re off-grid or mobile, you learn that ‘oh if I put my kettle on top of the furnace, which heats the place, I can also heat water that way’,” said Basich. “So build your kitchen off of temperatures that already exist.”

Master small projects before you build from the ground up

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Before you build a tiny house, build a dog house. Or, instead of starting from scratch, hunt Craigslist for a trailer you can renovate.

The larger and more DIY you build, the more potential mistakes and challenges lay ahead of you. Once you’ve mastered the smaller builds, you’ll gradually work up to a skill level where you can build your own amenity-filled home for a life on the road.