When Mark Alford realized that just about anyone could build a tiny home for a decent price, he was sold. Mark and his girlfriend Eliana Chinea hopped on the tiny house movement to build a 200-square-foot house of their own. A year later, they’ve nearly completed their new digs, created largely from salvaged materials, that’ll help bring the couple closer to financial independence and a more mindful lifestyle.
Mark and Eliana used to live in an expensive studio in West Oakland but craved a more minimal and affordable alternative. Mark, who works as the lead Visual Merchandiser for San Francisco’s Rapha Cycle Club, told Shelby Tramel of Olivers: “We were just fed up with the whole stereotype of needing everything. I mean, there’s an entire industry devoted to keeping shit that you don’t even use anymore with storage places that you basically pay additional rent on to house things you don’t ever see again and eventually forget.” On October 2014, the couple announced their plans to build a tiny house in an endeavor nicknamed “Project Freedom.”
After six months of building and $7,000 spent, the couple has nearly finished their new 200-square-foot house. Topped by a slightly canted corrugated metal roof, the micro-home is clad in reclaimed pallet wood and sheet metal and insulated with recycled jeans. A skylight and large windows—purchased for just $250 and salvaged from a barn—let in the breeze and natural light. Like most tiny homes, the dwelling is set on wheels. The interior, still a work in progress, thus far includes a lofted bedroom, bathroom, and office area with a desk.