Tiny Solar Saltbox

Tiny Solar Saltbox, Simple Do-It-Yourself Tiny House Plans
PDF format – 45 pages – $9.95

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These house plans contain the measured drawings and instructions for a tiny solar saltbox house that is easy to build from common building materials. The base structure is 8′ by 12′ but multiple units can be attached to each other if you need more space.

Pictured on the cover is a 12′ by 16′ house made from two 8′ by 12′ units. There is also an optional sleeping/storage loft that spans the width of the house just above the south facing windows.

The walls are balloon framed, meaning that they are built in one piece to make construction easier. The roof is made up of self-fab trusses which are built on the ground and lifted and tilted into place on top of the front and back walls. This approach helps take away some of the complex framing chores in the roof.

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Below are some sample pages:

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Free Updates

Today the plans are complete but over time I’ll make improvements and additions as reader suggestions are incorporated. When I do I’ll send out a link to the free update to everyone who has already purchased the ebook in the past. So in many ways purchasing an ebook from me is really more like subscribing to an expanding design resource.

Please Note

Before building any structure be sure to check with your local authorities. In many communities permits are not needed when building tiny buildings like sheds but the rules range widely so it’s best to research your local restrictions before building anything. Also please note that these plans were not prepared by or checked by a licensed engineer and/or architect. Build from these plans at your own risk.

Affiliate program

If you’re interested in selling this ebook on your website you can earn a 40% affiliate commission for each sale. Learn more about the Tiny House Design Affiliate Program.

43 Comments Tiny Solar Saltbox

  1. Amy Turnbull

    Michael, I like the idea that these “units” can be constructed and added together, however, exactly how is unclear. Do they abut or would they be affixed?

        1. JoshB

          I’m a 22 year old from BC, Canada, currently living in Asia. This site is amazing. Housing prices are insane where I’m from, and I’d love to continue living as simply and affordably as I can when I return to Canada. Thanks for this great resource!

      1. Larry

        The problem is these trailers are not affordable at $35,000. I would like to have one but they are too expensive…

  2. liz

    I would like to see your designs for Haiti, I may get to go there at the end of next summer when things are a bit more stable.
    You and I talked about emergency shelter last year, we were discussing the use of pallets and other biproducts of shipping reliefe supplies, to build with. Do you know what they are using to ship things in or on? Also there is plenty of “urbenite” or broken concrete for foundations, floors and walk ways, some corrigated aluminum etc. I dont think its practical to ship in matirials now or any time soon, as they would be competing with food and medical supplies.
    sorry about spelling

    1. Michael Janzen

      I will post the plans I’m drawing up for Haiti soon. It’s basically a simple prefab system that could be flat-packed, assembled, and disassembled. It’s similar to what I have in the Tiny Prefab book but uses handmade trusses and more traditional framing. The idea is that it could be low cost shelter, home, or even home office for someone in the states. A portion of the revenue from plan sales would be donated to a humanitarian effort I have in mind. I’m still working on the details.

      Hatian Shelter Preview

      As far as pallets… I don’t know if they are a plentiful building material, so I limited the use of pallets to the floor in this drawing. I suspect in a tropical environment building with pallets might cause more long term trouble than something like earthbags.

  3. Lisa Fuerstenberg

    Hi, I just purchased your e-book to get the plans for the house featured on the front cover. However, I was surprised to find another model inside. Do you have the plans for the 8×12 house featured on the front page?

    1. Michael Janzen

      You know it never occurred to be that this would be confusing but now that you mention it I totally understand. The cover photo is two of the 8×12 units side by side. I’ll add a few pages to the plans to show exactly how you can build larger homes from the same set of 8×12 plans. The only modification is slight variations to the north and south wall framing. When I’m done with the update I’ll send the new version out to everyone who has bought these plans.

      Thanks Lisa.

  4. Deanna Dick

    Looks like it would be a great way to build a treehouse. You could do each wall on the ground and winch it up in the tree. I’ve got the site all picked out.

  5. scott anderson

    I really like the idea of micro houses.
    The applications from disaster relief to third world and then to your backyard are awesome.

    Eduardo if you still need help feel free to reply to me and we can talk offline.

    Earthcore SIps

  6. Kathryn

    I would like to build an L- shaped guest house using your plan with a cross gabled roof. Do you have any suggestions on how to construct the roof? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

  7. melissa heath

    Do the instructions include directions for sizing and installing solar panels? or is the solar in the name passive only?

  8. Z00 Brown

    I can’t tell from the short description or examples, but… can this be put on a trailer, or adjusted to do so? It’s the perfect size at 8 feet, but can it be done, architecturally? I am a beginner builder, so I can’t tell from just that…

    1. Michael Janzen

      It could be but would exceed the 13.5 foot trailer height limit in most places. So it would probably require a temporary move permit when you moved it from place to place.

  9. sam

    I’m not sure if you can answer this, but the disclaimer that the houses are not designed by a licensed architect or engineer… should that concern me? should I get these inspected by a “real” architect first or are they safe to build and inhabit?

    On one hand I think it’s probably just a legal disclaimer that you have to post. But then again, if that’s the case, you probably can’t safely respond to me and say “yes, ignore that legal disclaimer and build your house” because then, I imagine, you’d be legally responsible.

    I guess maybe I’m asking, have people actually built any of these yet, and are they living in them? and has it been working out?

    1. Michael Janzen

      The disclaimer is an effort to be up-front and avoid folks making assumptions. At the end of the day a plan is a design, The safety of the final structure has everything to do with how it was build and the builder. While I make every effort to follow the universal building code standards with the framing design I don’t claim that it will pass in every community – simply because every community can have different rules.

      I’ve not had much feedback from buyers on this particular plan. I suspect in the spring we’ll hear from more people that are building from the plans.

  10. James Veen

    I would like more headroom in the loft. Can the pitch of the roof be changed?
    Is this in the plans?

  11. Jim Steinbacher

    I would like to build a 12×16 and need plans.

    Am not happy with pay pal. Any other way to get you paid for plans ?

    Thanks, Jim

  12. Dawn

    My mother and I are planning on building some of these. We are going to do it ourselves, and were wondering if the house would still be structurally sound if we replaced the two windows on the front with a sliding glass door. We’re trying to get our cost estimates done, and we agreed we liked the idea of replacing the door on the side with a glass door on the front.

    Thank you!

  13. Robert McCarson

    Michael, is the cut list at the end of the plans for one 8″x12″ unit or is it the two put together?

  14. Amy

    sleepnumber ad is in the middle of the article and does not have an option to close it out. I cannot read the article. :(


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