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Our Tiny Home Update

Big changes are underway.  We put in an offer on a 500 square foot 100 year old house in Alameda, CA.  The home inspection was 11/17/2012 and now we are waiting for escrow to close.  We are looking forward to taking on an entire eco remodel.  We plan on doing a majority of the work ourselves.

OTGR tiny house

We have big plans for this little house.

Some ideas we want to explore are a vaulted ceiling, adding up to 200 s.f onto the house, a reclaimed wood floor or a concrete floor with radiant heating, rain water collection, low flow toilets like the toto cst744s drake toilet (or maybe a composting toilet), building a loft, open concept living space, installing solar panels, using LED lights, building a mud room/indoor garden room at the back of the house, using solar tubes, rebuilding the rotted wood porch, building a swim spa and back deck.  In the yard we want to create a retreat like planting extravaganza by sowing flower seeds and working on a veggie garden. We also want to have espaliered fruit trees along the fence, low water plants and grasses, an area for composting, vine trellises for privacy and more.  We will attempt to use recycled materials as much as possible and document our progress every step of the way.


This is our attempt at a small footprint homestead in the city.

Barring any unforeseen issues we plan to close on the house by the end of the year.  Stay tuned.


  1. Ah. Very nice. It makes me feel wistful.


  2. Thanks Roxanne!

  3. Hi Cece and Brenda. I’ve been following your blog and love the content. Congrats with the new house, Alameda is a wonderful place to live. You should visit ReStore in Oakland if you haven’t already. They have lots of wonderful items like reclaimed lumber and old doors and windows for remodel projects. If you need help from an architect, you should contact Mark Reilly in San Francisco who has a really pleasing design aesthetic geared for small living spaces. Can’t wait to see the progress!

    • Hi Michael – great to hear from you and thanks for following along. Are you in the bay area? Yes we love Alameda and feel blessed that the timing was right to buy a small house here and not break the bank. Our dream of a small urban homestead that is manageable is finally coming to fruition. Thanks for the architect recommendation. We will check out his work!

      • I live in the Cherryland District of Hayward. We bought our small 2 bed 1 bath house here in 2010 which we’ve been slowly fixing up. What I love about this neighborhood is the diversity and a lot of people here are into urban farming which I’d like to start doing on our lot in the Spring.

  4. Great info/facts on your site. Love the Airstream (of course) and can’t wait to see ho the house remodel turns out. Good luck.

  5. Size is not a must for a home to be nice. As you plan to remodel your home on wide range of aspects, consider finding a contractor that is an expert in indoor, exterior and also green remodeling tasks.

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