A few years back, when purchasing a home was completely out of the question and outside of our budget, I began to think creatively and come up with alternative options to owning our own home. One option that stood out amongst all others was ordering a prefab kit home. Prefab homes have been around for many years, some of the first affordable prefabs were the Lustron homes made of porcelain and steel in 1950. I was lucky enough to see one on display in New York last year at the MOMA. Unfortunately for the Lustron company, prefab homes didn’t catch on and Lustron went belly-up.

Build a Home for $20 Grand…requires 14 tools, most of which you already own. Click here to find out how.

Today, there’s a new wave of prefab homes that incorporate many “green” elements, such as recycled wood and energy efficient designs. A few that I find aesthetically pleasing are Rocio Romero LV homes and the Marmol Radziner Skyline series. On a side note, Rocio Romero is more cost effective and within our budget. Some of the prefab’s I’ve encountered cost more than home’s selling in my neighborhood. Rocio Romero’s website also breaks down the costs of each home with past projects as a guide line.

A Small House Plan - Rocio Romeros Prefab LV Home
A Small House Plan – Rocio Romero’s Prefab LV Home

There are also many little house plans that are incredibly unique and space-efficient, like the  Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Jay Shafer has created and designed some of the tiniest homes using space efficiently. Some of his smaller models fit on trailers and are portable, however I like some of his slightly larger stationery homes, like the Sebastarosa shown below. My father-in-law is newly retired, divorced, and has been playing with the idea of building a portable house on his trailer that he pulls behind his truck. Last Christmas I bought him one of the Tumbleweed books that has lots of creative designs he might eventually be able to use as a guide.

Tumbleweeds Sebastarosa Model
Tumbleweed’s Sebastarosa Model

On top of being a cost-effective alternative to purchasing an older or newer home, prefabs give the purchaser more floor plan options. For instance, since you can choose the floor plan that works best with your family needs, there’s less space to be wasted. One thing I notice, especially in new homes, is wasted space in houses. My sister-in-law purchased a brand new home a couple of years ago and they opted for a loft on the second floor. They now regret selecting this option since no one in their family uses it. They also had chosen a dual-staircase model, but ended up with one ‘L’ shaped staircase instead. Sometimes, when you work with a development model, you end up with altered floor plans. When purchasing a prefab kit, you order exactly what you want, no surprises when you move in.

Tiny Portable Tumbleweed House
Tiny Portable Tumbleweed House

Another great bonus with prefab is location. Since you must purchase your land before you purchase your prefab, you can select exactly where you want to live. This can also be a drawback, however. In my neighborhood, we are completely land-locked. There’s not any available land for miles upon miles. We’re hindered by our surrounding mountains and suburban sprawl.  In this case, if my husband and I were able to live in a space under 200 square feet, a Tumbleweed Tiny House might work. We could move from location to location with all of our belongings following behind us. From the beach to the desert, this 200 square foot home could travel just about anywhere.

We’re not ready for this quite yet.

If you’re interested in building your own tiny home, here’s a great book to get started:

Tiny House Design’s Pioneer Cabin – 16 x 20

 Tiny House Design’s Pioneer Cabin House Plan: $9.95 Buy it Now

The 42-page e-book contains the framing plans, required lumber, and drawings for this structure.

If you’re interested in purchasing house plans, check out Amazon for some terrific house plan books.


  1. Susan Tiner Reply

    I recently learned about yurts and find them very appealing and versatile. Here’s link to a photo gallery https://bit.ly/14sGsP at Pacific Yurts. Aren’t they beautiful? Another idea for living in a small space.

    • I just checked out the Yurt site and those are amazing. I especially like the Tree House Yurt and the desolate island Yurt. This could be another housing option for the furture.

      thanks for the link-
      Little House

  2. Tumbleweed floor plans are really amazing! All the nooks and crannies make room for all things.

    thanks again,
    Little House

    • @Ryan – I believe the Rocio Romero homes hover around the low $100,000’s. But that doesn’t include any land preparation, or the cost of the land, which is where the fees can add up quickly. As for the style of their houses, you’re right, they wouldn’t fit into just any neighborhood.

  3. @Gela Vasale – Storage can become a problem. However, a small shed could solve that problem. It could hold things the tiny house can’t hold. 🙂

  4. @Charles – Tumbleweed homes have quite a few design variations and could most definitely look more “southern.” I love tumbleweeds!

    • @Harriet Fretwell-Visit Tumbleweed House Company or click on one of my links to their site. They sell their homes and their plans directly from their website. Good luck!

  5. https://tinyurl.com/famiwebb38203 Reply

    _Little House in the Valley – Home Designs, Plans,
    and Ideas for Smaller Living_ was indeed a
    terrific posting, cannot wait to examine even more of
    your blogs. Time to spend some time on the internet lolz.
    Thank you ,Darren

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