7 things to know about building a tiny house from scratch by Bekah Blankenship

Bekah Blankenship is the sister of Bham Now's Jacob Blankenship.
Bekah Blankenship is the sister of Bham Now’s Jacob Blankenship. Photo by Bekah Blankenship

By now, who hasn’t heard about tiny houses? Maybe you’ve seen people talking about them on TV. You may even know someone (or, in my case, three other someones), who either have one or are in the process of building one.

To find out more about what’s behind the hype, we talked to Rebekah Blankenship. She’s the sister of Bham Now social media guy and amazing photographer Jacob Blankenship. He’s also documenting his sister’s process here.

1. A tiny house is usually less than 400 square feet

While there’s no set definition of what constitutes a tiny home, according to Wikipedia, anything that’s under 400 square feet can fit the bill. Well, you know, unless it’s a shed, which is something altogether different. Coming in at a cool 242 square feet, Bekah’s tiny home on wheels definitely fits.


2. “Tiny life is so liberating”

According to Bekah and other tiny house enthusiasts, part of the appeal is “not needing to depend on so much to survive an be happy.” Less space = less stuff. Less stuff = more time for the good stuff: the outdoors, relationships . . . you know, living.

3. A tiny house means homeownership without 30 years’ worth of debt

“I really didn’t want to be in debt for 30 years.” Bekah, a 24-year old dental assistant, would rather not need to work every day 8-5 for the rest of her life. Since her big loves are exploring the outdoors with her three big dogs and her boyfriend, who can blame her?

4. Making a tiny house is like an old-fashioned barn-raising

Bekah’s never done anything like designing and building out a tiny house before. It started when she got the shell from Brother Billy, the preacher at the church where she was working. At that time, it just had walls and electricity. She and her village picked it up from there.


Now, in her spare time, she’s working on the tiny house with her Dad, a welder and ironworker with his own Odenville-based biz called Sterling Iron Works and her boyfriend. Her brother Jacob is documenting the whole process on Instagram. Also, the DIY Network is her new constant companion.

5. There’s a whole community of tiny house enthusiasts online and at conventions

Who wouldn't want to stay in this lovely tiny home in New South Wales?
Personally, I’d love to go spend some time in this sweet little domed house in New South Wales. Photo from Tiny House Society on Facebook

Bekah gets a lot of design ideas from following other tiny house enthusiasts on Instagram. You can follow Bekah’s journey on Instagram at tinyhousesomaya.

She also loved the Georgia Tiny House Festival that took place March 1-3 in Macon, Georgia and the BJCC Home Show right here in Birmingham. And, she’s part of the Tiny House Society, which is open to anyone building a tiny house.


6. Tiny house living works better if you’ve got land

Right now, Bekah’s living and building on her parents’ land. In the future, though, she hopes to fix up and sell another, smaller tiny home, as a way to make money to purchase her own land. Since her home’s on wheels, she can travel with it to the mountains that she loves in order to scope out the perfect spot.

And, I’ve known folks who’ve tried to have mobile tiny homes within Birmingham city limits. Because of local laws, that hasn’t worked out so well, and they eventually ended up buying a home to rent out as an AirBnB with enough land to house their tiny home.

7. People wanting the scaled-down lifestyle tiny house living offers have a few alternatives

There are also whole communities for people who are into van living, storage container living, RV living and school bus living.



So, if the idea of living in a small space with less stuff and no debt appeals to you, why not check out tiny house living, or one of the other alternatives? Meanwhile, you can follow Bekah’s journey at Tiny House Somaya.

Author: Sharron Mendel Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference