Backyard Project: Turning our Shed into a Tiny House

We lived in our house for a little over a year when we began dreaming of the idea of renovating the shed in our backyard. The 200-square foot custom-built shed definitely had some wear but was solidly built. We had been using it for storage, cramming everything in there that would not fit in our house.

We lived in our house for a little over a year when we began dreaming of the idea of renovating the shed in our backyard. The 200-square foot custom-built shed definitely had some wear but was solidly built. We had been using it for storage, cramming everything in there that would not fit in our house.

Our friends have two successful short-term rentals that they used to pay their mortgage bills. Any money they had leftover went towards traveling to destinations like Spain, France, and Costa Rica. They inspired us to see our shed as more than just storage space, but rather a money-making opportunity.

Why we chose to renovate our existing shed into a tiny house for short-term rental:
We wanted to earn income outside of our existing job–to build up savings, pay off student loan debt, and be able to afford travel and renovation work on our home.

After several years of moonlighting, we wanted an opportunity to make money without having to leave our home or work inconvenient hours. We are looking for ways to make us less dependent on the incomes from our 9-5 jobs (with hopes one day of going part-time and traveling more!).

When we embarked on the planning process of turning our backyard shed into a tiny house, we knew we wanted to do as much of the work as possible ourselves. That being said, we were idealistic about how much time it would take us to complete tasks. Considering that we both work 40+ hours outside the home and also have a side hustle marketing business, we didn’t have a ton of extra free time to be working on the tiny house. It took us longer to complete the work, but we were determined to do the most of it ourselves (and with the generous help of friends and family).

2017 project- turning our backyard shed into a tiny house

We lived in our house for a little over a year when we began dreaming of the idea of renovating the shed in our backyard. The 200-square foot custom-built shed definitely had some wear but was solidly built. We had been using it for storage, cramming everything in there that would not fit in our house.

I grew up doing fixer upper chores around the house like painting walls and staining decks, but knew nothing about plumbing or electrical work. Because everything had to be tied back into our house (like the sewer line), we decided to outsource the plumbing, electricity, and drywall. Everything else we could do ourselves with the help of friends, YouTube, and construction books from our local library.

Outsource:
Rough electrical work
Rough plumbing work
Drywall

Insource (DIY):
New roof
Carpentry work (including framing the bathroom and closet)
HVAC system
Electrical and plumbing finishing work
Ditch for pipes and wires
Flooring
Painting
Deck
Landscaping
Installing repurposed windows and doors
Kitchen installation
Design and decor
Tankless water heater

Here’s an excellent article on the broader subject of insourcing vs. paying someone to work on your house.

Enough planning, it was time to get our hands dirty! In my next post, I’ll share how we got started, and what we did when our first curve ball that was thrown at us.

We lived in our house for a little over a year when we began dreaming of the idea of renovating the shed in our backyard. The 200-square foot custom-built shed definitely had some wear but was solidly built. We had been using it for storage, cramming everything in there that would not fit in our house.

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