Building your own Hawaii minimal house for a vacation’s cost

Building your own Hawaii minimal house for a vacation’s cost

Kristie Wolfe spent $5000 to build herself a tiny home on wheels in her hometown of Pocatello, Idaho. It started off as a yearlong experiment in simple living, but she liked it so much she decided to keep living small, not only in Idaho, but she began looking for land to build a tiny vacation home.
She bought a plot of land in Hawaii sight-unseen for $8000. A year later she bought a plane ticket, packed her bags full of tools and with the help of her mother, began to build a bamboo “treehouse” that to fit the surrounding jungle (though rather than using trees for support, she built it on stilts). After two months of building every day “from dawn to dusk” and an $11,000 investment, she had a second home.
For Wolfe, the fact that it’s small- 15’ by 15’ or 225 square feet- is an asset. “My original house was 97 square feet so that was really tiny so this feels huge… I think small homes are beautiful because it fits with my lifestyle. I think having a lot of stuff mentally weighs you down even in ways that you don’t realize.”
Building her own home meant that Kristie was able to design everything custom: from a toilet-sink to save water (she’s not only off-grid, but she relies on rainwater capture for water) to an indoor/outdoor shower with cork-bark tiling. Whether she ever moves here permanently or simply moves on to building yet another home, she now knows she can build her own shelter.

Filming credit: Ivan Nanney –

Kristie’s blog:

Original story:



Molly Stitt says:

Kristie Wolfe  is an inspiration on so many levels!

Susie Bear33 says:

, people kill me building these open houses in tropical areas you all act like there is no threat of rampant mosquitoes keep yourself protected and those diseases that some of these insects transmit is no joke

pej f says:

is this the same chic that built the hobbit house?????

Boholmission says:

Building is easy when you can buy milled lumber, modern tools, and all the fittings. It is more of a challenge building in a remote area without this option. I have built 5 houses in remote locations using mostly what i could find at the site.

Gina Martindale says:

I love this house especially the shower. Want to designs my tiny house similar to this. Great job. 👍✌🤘

SIncere Muzic says:

but wait when you flush it arent you washing ur hands in poo and pee lol that went over my head lol

kina wild says:

So that book on plants. Can i get the name and author

john r. says:

I used to live in Hilo, even the sidewalks turn black from all the rain. How do you deal with the mold and dampness on anything that is fabric, wood, etc.? No screens on the windows – what about all the mosquitoes? How are you purifying your water? How do you keep your house from being ripped off of all your furnishings by roving bad people? You've done such an excellent job. Did you use a power generator for your power tools? How DID you get your big stuff up to the floor level? I really think what you have done is inspiring many women to do the same. Once they build their own place, then they know how to maintain it.

Grzegorz Rzemieniewsk says:

You are so amazing! Your homes to. Hobbit home and this one. Do you have housbent now?:)

mjb ventura says:

the headboard called here as BANIG..many bamboo here philippines

Gulf IslandRock says:

Great video … we just built a tiny gallery and tiny home of Salt Spring Island. I did alot of the work myself also. Love it!

Tipi Dan says:

Shacks built without regard to building codes are common in Hawaii.  They are fine if you want to spend money and sweat on something that will never have any resale value, because the authorities there turn a blind eye to these things.  All you're going to get out of your time and effort are some nice memories— very fleeting memories.  This particular contraption will have an extremely short lifespan considering the climate it is situated in.  
I'd give it about 3 years.  
As it is not being lived in year-round, divide the number of days occupied per habitable lifespan into the cost to calculate cost per night.  Depending on days occupied per year, likely it would be cheaper to stay in a beachside resort or a timeshare condo.

Chris F says:

If anyone could help me do this on a low fixed income around 700 a month to get land and build something like this in guam or virgin islands, let me know! or maybe hawaii

Leah Edwards says:

Your toilet fauceted sink is the most brilliant thing I've ever seen!!

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