Young family convert old abandoned shed into beautiful tiny home with $16,000 budget
They turned an ugly shed into a cozy home for four.
Jaclyn Abergas

Although tiny houses have been around since the 1800s, the tiny house movement really started around 2000 when University of Iowa professor Jay Shafer’s tiny home was featured in the Des Moines Register.

For many in the tiny house movement, they consider Jay as the godfather of tiny houses.

Although he wasn’t the first person to live in a tiny home, his feature on the Register inspired so many people all over the country to transition from big to tiny home living.

“The article was the start of what we call the modern-day movement of tiny homes – what looked like a small version of traditional homes,” Gary Johnson, co-founder of the tiny house movement said. “He was living in what looked like a fancy garden shed.”

And that’s what Katy and Michael Zientek attempted to create in September 2020.

They inherited a big piece of property in Fayetteville, Texas from Michael’s grandparents, which included a big house and an old, 280-sq.ft. shed, built in the 1980s. Before they inherited the property, they had already been renting a home for the past seven years so they were excited to have their own home now.

However, they couldn’t live in the big house because they wanted to have it remodeled first. But where will they live for now?

Well, when they were still living in their old rental, Katy loved watching tiny home living on TV and she had told Michael that she wanted to live like that someday. Well someday came sooner than expected.

The inherited property included a 280-sq.ft. storage shed about fifty meters away from the main house. It was perfect! Katy was finally going to be living her dream of tiny house living.

Michael had construction building experience but this was his first time building an actual livable structure.

While they were pretty much hands-on with their entire construction, they also hired experts to help them with building the interior walls. But other than that, 90% of the work was done by Katy and Michael. Plus they repurposed some of the materials from the barn on their property for their ceiling.

Inside this tiny home, they were able to build a one-bedroom, multi-purpose home.

There was a small but full kitchen, and a living room/dining room which also doubled as the bedroom for their seven-year-old daughter, Carolina. Inside their bedroom, they were able to fit a full-size bed for them and their 2-year-old daughter, Harper. And there’s also a full-sized dresser inside plus a full bathroom/closet!

Michael also added a staple in most tiny homes, a porch where they can hang out on those beautiful spring and summer days.

Overall, it took them 9 months to finish the house with a budget of $16,000. And once they’ve moved into the remodeled house, they planned to keep the tiny home and list it as a vacation rental.

From home renters to homeowners to landlords, that’s what you call real estate progress!

Want to see how they transformed this 40-year-old shed into a cozy home for four? Watch this video!

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By Jaclyn Abergas
Jaclyn Abergas is a contributor at SBLY Media.