The Joy of Tiny House Living:

Everything You Need to Know before Taking the Plunge

Review by Jenna Collignon, Junior Editor, Matrix Group Publishing

What is essential for you in your home?  A big, comfy bedroom with tons of furniture?  A huge eat-in kitchen?  Rooms upon rooms in which you can spread out? 
You don’t really need all that space, because with all that space comes the stuff to fill it all with.  What if you could downsize and de-clutter, save money, and have a place that was all your own?
Now let me ask you another question.  Have you heard of tiny houses?  They’re something of a trend right now, especially if you’re an avid watcher of the HGTV channel. 
In his new book The Joy of Tiny House Living, Chris Schapdick poses you these same questions and more. Have you given the tiny house idea any thought and want to know if it’s really for you? Then this book is perfect for you. 

Primary thoughts

Very much like a tiny house; the book itself is aesthetically pleasing.  It’s bright and modern, and when you open it up, every page has beautiful images laid out in a clean and crisp manner.
As well as the book being visually appealing from cover to cover, the information inside is wonderful as well.  The content is incredibly easy to follow, as it moves through the thought processes used to make big decisions such as this.  It’s as though Schapdick built you a personal toolbox full of incredibly relevant information. 

Chapter One: Fundamentals

Just like building a house – regular sized or tiny – you will need to have a strong foundation.  In the first chapter, Schapdick introduces the concept of tiny houses.  He details his story with tiny houses, covers the history of tiny houses, goes through different age demographics and why going tiny is a good choice for them, and determines the preliminary groundwork that allows you to figure out whether tiny houses are for you. “Going tiny,” says Schapdick, “is a process of self-discovery; it’s about figuring out what’s fulfilling in life to you, other than possessions” (pg. 42). That’s what this chapter is about: YOU.  It is all about really figuring out if this is a good next step for you to consider in your life.  Schapdick doesn’t want to simply sell you the concept of a tiny house; he gives you all the information you’ll need to make the choice for yourself. This is also where Schapdick lays out the concept of minimalism and living clutter free, which is essential when going tiny.  Many of us have heard about Marie Kondo and her life-changing system of organization and de-cluttering, but going tiny is next level.  As the saying goes, “less is more.” 

Chapter Two: Design

In this chapter, Schapdick moves into the sphere of conceptualizing your own tiny house.  What do you want in it?  Have you thought about the kind of tradeoffs you’re going to have to make if you really want that washer and dryer?  What about if you’re thinking about traveling with your tiny house?  Going off the grid and being earth conscious?  These questions all matter when you’re deciding what you want in your own tiny house. Have you thought about the foundation that your tiny house will sit on?  What about the issue of picking the right trailer?  What about where you want to have your bed?  Are you okay with lofts, or do you need to be on the main floor?  Each of these considerations are important to know before going into the planning stage.

Chapter Three: Construction

In this chapter, Schapdick builds you the walls and roof of this project.  He starts off with money: the biggest question of them all for many people.  How are you going to fund your tiny house?  What are the best options for you going forward?Schapdick goes through the pros and cons of all the options when it comes to building your tiny house; from building the house yourself, or hiring outside help, and what best to know.  Because this is not a “how-to-build” book but is a “know-how-to-tiny-house” book, it is incredibly comprehensive on everything surrounding the decision to go tiny. Schapdick also covers the insides and finishing touches in this chapter. He covers framing, electricity, plumbing, roofing, insulation, design, lighting, theme, proportions… everything to help you make your tiny house your own!

Chapter Four: Other Considerations and Chapter Five: Legalities and More]

This is where Schapdick covers the little things often overlooked when it comes to thinking about building a home, like venting, humidity issues, entertaining guests, moving around and towing your house, and what kind of toilets you can install in a tiny house.  Every little piece matters when you have little real estate to work with!In addition, Schapdick also gives an overview on the legalities that surround tiny houses and goes into what kind of research that you are going to have to do before you get into your tiny house.  Where is your tiny house going to live?  What kind of laws regulates tiny houses in your area?  What about protecting it against theft? Not into living in a tiny house full time?  What about using it for a vacation place, or an office?  There are so many options for tiny houses that there is really is no end to your creative choice when it comes to building small.

Finishing thoughts

One of the best things about this book is that it is not selling you just one way to do things.  That’s not the tiny house way.  They are a unique kind of house, so why not find a way that is unique to you?  Schapdick gives you an overall picture of many of the options, and details what’s important about each one. Sprinkled throughout the chapters are interviews with real people who chose to go tiny.  By including these, the author gives the feeling that, if these people can do it then you can do it too! The book is written in a conversational-yet-informative style that feels as though Schapdick is taking you by the hand and going through these steps.  Nothing is dry or ‘textbook’ about this book; it’s easy to lose yourself in its pages for a few hours. If you or someone you know has been thinking about going tiny, I highly recommend picking up this book. It really is “everything you need to know before taking the plunge” of going tiny! 

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Chris Schapdick

About the Book’s Author

Chris Schapdick is a tiny house builder ( and helps others forge their own path via his coaching business. Putting his experiences together in book form is a way to reach more people to help them as well. 
Chris does not come from a construction background, but instead used to lead a 9 to 5 life which he grew ever more tired of. Curiosity and a willingness to take risks have made this new path infinitely more rewarding since he gets to help people who are struggling to find direction to forge their own path forward.