North Texas Woman Embarks on Life in Tiny House

Woman builds a 112-square-foot, $25,000 home

By Mark Schnyder
|  Sunday, Feb 16, 2014  |  Updated 6:12 PM CDT
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In the land of big homes, Beth Ann Norrgard's home is about the size of a nice tool shed; and she says that is all that she needs.

Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News

In the land of big homes, Beth Ann Norrgard's home is about the size of a nice tool shed; and she says that is all that she needs.

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In the land of big homes, Beth Ann Norrgard's home is about the size of a nice tool shed; and she says that is all that she needs.

Norrgard's 112-square-foot house is complete with a kitchen and bathroom, each 2 feet by 4 feet in size. The living room will have bookcases and there will be a desk that can lower and serve as a bench. A ladder leads to the loft bedroom, complete with skylight, a stained-glass window and enough room for a queen bed.

"I was just ready for a life change,” said Norrgard, a former paralegal. “I felt the life that I was leading was sort of circular. I was going to work to get a paycheck to buy things to put in a house and I wasn't satisfied with that lifestyle anymore."

Norrgard said her house cost $25,000 to build, about one-tenth of the cost of the typical American home. She said she's been working on the home for about five months and that she should be ready to call the house a home in about a month.

Speaking of freeing, the tiny house doesn't just lack space; it also lacks a mortgage.

When asked how she knew she'd be happy living in such a space, having never done it before, Norrgard replied, "I guess I don't know for sure, but I have to try it. Even though change is really scary, I think regret is worse and I have to try it."

Norrgard has her house on wheels at the moment. That’s because she plans to take it across the country and show people how it's done and maybe convert some folks to her new way of living. One of her volunteer helpers said he'll seriously consider it.

"The more I work on hers the more I am comfortable with the space I'm dealing. So, yes, I think I could," said Lewis Gonzales.

Norrgard will be showing off her tiny house during the NBC 5-sponsored Earth Day festivities at Dallas' Fair Park on April 26-27. She said she's excited to be a part of the event, showing her home to the public and answering questions about it.

"I think it's liberating,” said Norrgard.  "I think living a simple lifestyle is very freeing."

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