Poor single mom builds own 200-square foot home, a look inside and I want to move in right away

What a difference a year can make.

Until recently, Michelle “MJ” Boyle had to pay USD $1,500 a month to rent a small home in Sherwood, Oregon.

Because her rent was so expensive and her salary was low, she could never save money. Everything she earned on her job at a coffee shop was needed to cover rent and food.

But what could she do? She found no cheaper accommodation and could not move on the street with her kids.

However, when her children eventually moved out, her situation was different — and that’s when Michelle decided that it was time to change her life.

With the little money she’d managed to save, she began to build her own house.

This change would not only cut down her monthly expenses to almost nothing, it would also allow Michelle to start saving for future retirement.


How did Michelle manage all this?

Well, she started by joining Tiny House, an organization where people build their own houses to live a simpler and thriftier life.

She managed to buy a small house for a small sum of money and moved out of her larger home.

Michelle had previously been paying $1,500 in rent for a 3 bedroom home — now she lives in a small, 200 square foot cottage. And the rent is just $70 a month!

And that even includes electricity, water and WiFi!

“Building anything with your own hands is one of the most rewarding experiences,” Michelle told Oregon Live.

“In my case: I’m not only building it, I designed it.”

My Tiny Empty Nest

Enter into her humble little dwelling and you will be amazed!

We start with the quaint little kitchen where Michelle spends most of her time.


“All of my devices are from around the mid 1940s to early 1950s. It took me almost two years to collect and renovate my collection,” says Michelle.

“Everything is done with love. The theme is modern nostalgia and I think I really managed to accomplish it.”


There is enough space in the house to accommodate a small staircase leading up to a loft, where Michelle usually reads or just rests.

Not bad at all!


I could easily nap or just sit and read a good book there!

From the living room, another staircase/storage room leads up to the bedroom.

As you can see, there is plenty of space and furniture that Michelle managed to pack in, to make it as homey as possible.


Up on the second floor is Michelle’s bed …

It must be great to wake up here every day!


What do you think about the living room?

Doesn’t it all just feel bigger than 200 square feet?


The bathroom isn’t too shabby either! It has running water, a shower and toilet.


Michelle has also managed to include a wardrobe in her tiny house. Impressive!


During winter, the house fares just fine! What a dream to live here …


Good job, Michelle! What a wonderful, beautiful place you have designed and built.


But Michelle isn’t done with her dream project.

Instead of taking a much needed break from the work, she is drawing from her learnings and experience and continuing to design and build tiny homes. The idea is that she will rent them out in the future and have a safe source of income.


Would you like to live here or do you know someone who would love to move into a home like Michelle’s?

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