I'm John Weisbarth, and I'm a huge fanof the tiny house movement that's explodingacross the nation.
The average American homeis 2, 300 square feet, but lots of people are deciding that biggerisn't necessarily better, and they're choosingto live in homes that are just 1/10the average size.
Whether they're afterfinancial independence or desire to live with less, inspired homeownersare starting to think outside the blueprintsof everyday building, and that's where I come in.
I travel across the countrywith my partner, tiny house expert Zack Giffin, and together we help peoplebuild their mini dream homes.
– Oh, my God.
– A zip line! (John)And get them prepared for the extreme downsizingit takes to livein under 500 square feet.
(boy)I think it might bea little small.
(boy)This doesn't look much fun.
(John)Trust me; tiny homesare the next big thing.
[cheerful vocal music] ♪ ♪ [lively banjo music] (man)♪ Hey! ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Hey! ♪ (John)We're back down South againthis week in Raleigh, North Carolina, the city of oaks, and you can see whylooking around.
But just outsideof this booming metropolis is a countryside that's justwaiting to be explored.
(Wizardz of Oz)♪ Come on ♪ ♪ Jump, jump, turn around ♪ ♪ Put your hands up, come on, get loud ♪ ♪ They're playing our song ♪ ♪ Shout out if you feel it ♪ (John)I'm on my way right nowto meet Setliff family, Brian and Carolineand their two boys: Rivers, nine, and Jack, six.
♪ ♪ The Setliffs want to tryan experiment in tiny.
They're gonna rent outtheir big house in Raleigh for the entire summer and spend all three monthsliving tiny in the country.
So what we see is the trap that a lot of kidsthese days are falling into, and that's just, you know, coming home, jumping on the computer, hanging out on the couch, and just not gettingoutside enough.
(Caroline)That's what we hope to getout of this house, is to have some woods and for them to play andrun around in and just be boys.
(John)Brian and Caroline ultimately just want to havemore meaningful life experiences with their boys, Rivers and Jack, and they hope they canachieve this by going tiny.
This is going to be a chanceto unplug, unwind, and do things as a family, and so we're incredibly excitedto see how it all plays out.
(John)We have a good budgetthis week, 65k.
And Zack is withour contractor, Paul, at the build site, which is in Saxapahaw.
It's about an hour from Carolineand Brian's big house.
Basically, getting everything upand running so we can getthis project moving.
I really like the layoutof the house, but, you know, what I like even more is that it's on a foundation.
Unlike the trailer builds, we have a little more leeway if you want to change upthe floor plans.
So we have a true master bedroomon the main floor, and then the boys' sleeping loftis above the living area.
The only red flagthat I saw on the whole thing is just the sizeof the kids' lofts is– they're super-teeny.
They might need justa little bit more of a place to call their own, but we'll have plenty of time to address thatwhen we get to it.
(John)Now that the foundation's set, Zack jumped right in to helpthe crew with the framing, and this tiny houseis off to a great start.
I'm on my way right nowto meet Brian, Caroline, and the kids at a placecalled the Launching Pad.
It's one of the few placesthat Brian and Caroline can take the kids to get themaway from the video games.
A trampoline park? Yes, please.
[upbeat music] Caroline, Brian, good to see you guys.
– Hey, what's happening?- This place is awesome.
I've been hereall of four seconds, and I'm like–I'm ready to get my shoes off and start jumping.
(Brian)The boys have a lot of energy, and we think places like thisjust work perfect.
But then again, you have to hop in the car and drive about 20 minutesto get here.
And so, you know, if we can just runout the back door, then, you know, we're all happy.
And so that'swhat we're hoping for.
Well, I tell you what;I kind of want to go out and say hi to the boys.
– All right, do it.
Plus geta little jumping in.
Maybe that's a good excusefor us to come over and say hi.
What's going on, guys? (Brian)So this is John.
– What's up, buddy?- Hi.
What do you guys think aboutthis whole idea of going tiny? I think it's goingto be super different.
Super different?- Yeah.
Yeah, it is.
I mean, for you guys too.
See these four trampolines, these four little boxes? This is roughly the size of whatyour tiny house is gonna be.
Is there gonna be trampolinesin it? No, there's not gonna betrampolines in it, but we're gonnahave to make sure you guys have plenty to do.
But you guys bounce aroundfor a little bit more, and then I'd love to go see the housethat you're living in now.
– All right.
– Thank you.
I'm gonna bouncewith the kids too.
– All right.
Huh! Back at the build site, Zack and the crew have made great progressframing out the house.
But before the crewgets started on the frame for the boys' bedroom lofts, Zack has a plan to maketheir sleeping space larger.
This is what I wantedto show you, because that'sthe entire bedroom.
(Zack)What I wanted to do was bump out the floorof the loft into the spacein the living room just a bit.
(man)We have about 16 to 20 incheswe can take it out.
I think it's important.
It gives these guys a feeling like they actuallyhave their own room.
We'll draw it out and do it.
(John)While the crew continuesto frame out the house, I'm meeting Caroline, Brian, and their two boys back at their big housein Raleigh to get a better sense of what they're looking forin their new, tiny house.
– How's it going? – It's good.
How are you?- Good, good.
Everyone here? Right in here.
– Hey, how's it going, Brian?- All right.
How are you? Good.
This place is–this is awesome.
– How big is it?- 3, 000 square feet.
Okay, 3, 000 square feet, and we're going downto 350 square feet.
So I'm sort of nervousabout just sort of losing, you know, my own space.
It's important to make surethat everyone does have a space, even if it's not necessarilyseparated by walls.
That's what makesliving tiny really work.
And it could be a hammockin the corner or anything like that.
You know, it's notlike I'm expecting, like, you know, a private, you know.
– Wing of the house.
The hammock in the corneris a wing in a tiny house.
And how about you, Caroline? Is there anything in particularthat you're looking for? I just want it to feelvery cozy, modern and rusticat the same time, and no electronics at all–that's gonna be our rule– and just kind ofget back to the basics and just enjoy nature.
You knowwhat's funny? You guys talk about unpluggingand technology and stuff, and I'm looking overin the corner of my eye.
The theme for this tiny house:no technology.
Not no electricity.
We're gonna have that.
But we want to unplug the kids and get them enjoyingthe outdoors and the family.
What do you think about thewhole “no electronics” thing? I don't like that ideaone bit.
That does get boringkind of quick.
I know that feeling.
I'm gonna put Zack on the planof making this the coolest, tiny houseout in the woods that two kids have ever seen.
– I'm gonna go check on Jack.
What are you doing, man? Playing my video game.
Just playing your video game.
Wow, you've gota lot of video games, don't you? (Jack)Yeah.
Well, do you understandwhy your parents want to dothis “going tiny” thing? Uh, no, no.
I think they want to get youkids outside a little bit more.
But you're not reallybuying it, are you? Mm-mm.
Until you start really looking at how ubiquitouselectronics are in our lives, you don't really notice it.
But I'm looking, and I'm noticing.
– See you, boys.
– See ya.
(John)We've really got our workcut out for us.
Brian, Caroline, and the boysare going from a 3, 000-square-foothistoric home to a 350-square-footvacation home of their dreams.
The exterior design combinespine, metal siding, and a dramatic roofline togive it a rustic-modern look.
The main living areahas a direct connection to the wrap-around deck throughan industrial-style garage door.
That, along with ample windows, provide plenty of natural light.
They'll also havea small galley kitchen and a full-sized bathroom.
Brian and Caroline have askedfor their own private space, so we're giving them a bedroomon the main floor, while their boys, Rivers and Jack, will havetheir own sleeping lofts, which will be just large enough to fittwo twin-sized mattresses.
We'll also need to buildthe family a custom dining table that will seat four.
And we're doingthis entire foundation build on a budget of $65, 000.
♪ ♪ This is the great outdoorsfor right now, huh? (Caroline)That's right.
It's not a bad space.
(Caroline)No, it's pretty great.
(John)It's not that they don't run around and do stuff.
It's just, you wantto encourage more of that.
I went campingwith my dad a ton growing up, and we want our boysto have that.
That makes sense, and I see the bikes area big deal for the boys.
(Caroline)They love riding their bikes, but I would love to see thaton a trail in the woods.
Okay, I've got a good feelfor what I need to go back and talk to Zack about now, and I think he's gonnareally enjoy the idea of having to ramp up an outdoorsarea and all that, so.
See you, boys.
– See ya.
(John)I'm off to the build site, where the crew has been making progressbumping out the boys' lofts 16 extra inches.
I need to update Zackon my meeting with the family, and I've got a really cool idea for a wayto maximize the outdoor space that I think is gonna makethe boys and Zack very happy.
– You meet the family?- I did.
– I met them.
You're gonna like them.
One thing real quick.
– You got your phone on you?- Yeah.
What do you need? I just–hand it overfor a sec.
I want you to think, “Technology-free zone.
” They want to get back to nature.
That's why they wantthis place.
But here's the thing, and I don't knowif you should sit down or not, but you know what I'm thinking? I'm thinkingI get to finally turn you loose.
Are you telling me.
I'm telling you.
For real? This time is real? – Dreams come true.
– Zip line? It's that kind of build.
Ever since I've beenworking with John, I've been tryingto make a zip line, and nowit's finally gonna happen.
I cannot believe it.
So “back to nature”really means just, like, extraordinary, epic, awesome playhouse? Yeah, kind of.
Maybe these kidswon't even know that they don't havevideo games.
– That's exactly it.
– I think this is great.
All right, man.
You finally get your dream.
Zip lines might seem likethey're easy to build, but they actually take a lotof engineering know-how.
I'm gonna have to findsome experts to bring in and help Zack on this one.
– Oh, hey.
– What? – You can have this back.
– Oh, that's a good thing.
I actually don't need it, and then you can't call me andbother me with new things to do.
♪ ♪ (John)It's day two of the build, and Brian and Caroline's 350-square-foottiny-foundation home is beginning to take shape.
With the framing now complete, the crew is busy sheathingand wrapping the exterior, and I'm bring the Setliffsto our build site so they can check out their tinyexperiment for the first time.
Hey, Zack, we got some visitors.
I think I knowwho these guys are.
– How's it going? I'm Zack.
– Nice to meet you.
– What do you guys think? (Rivers)It's a lot biggerthan I thought it was.
– Yeah?- Yeah, it actually is.
(Caroline)It's gonna be beautiful.
It's gonna be great.
– It's gonna be awesome.
You guys are hereat a really good time.
– Let's go check it out now.
(Zack)Watch your feet.
You guys readyto walk the plank? – Yeah.
– Support, John? Oh, yeah, I've got it.
I know you guyshave been waiting.
– Awesome!- Wow.
– Let's go.
Get to see some ofthe more modern elements.
Like, you know, we got front door here, and then this is actuallygonna be a garage door that's gonna give you plentyof access to the outside.
Back on that wallis gonna be the kitchen, cabinets all the way across.
This is more likethe living room area out.
So kitchen here? (Zack)Yes.
– And then— Door to the bathroom, yeah.
This space in the center is where everything elsehappens, so.
What do you guys think? ♪ ♪ It's smaller from the–it's smaller on the inside.
(John)It feels a little bit smalleronce you get in here.
My favorite partabout the house was.
♪ ♪ I don't really know yet, actually.
(John)This is a construction siteright now.
Like, I get it.
I mean, it barely looks like a house.
There's no walls.
Like, it will certainly startto look a little bit bigger once it's done, and I know it's hardto picture right now.
Where do we sleep? Well, your mom and dad sleepin the master bedroom, and you and your brothersleep in the loft.
(Rivers)Well, I think it might bea little, um, small.
It is small, but, really, it's just a place to sleep.
(Zack)You know, you guysare gonna climb up there.
You're gonna go to bed.
But as soon as you're waking up, then you come right backdown here, and you're just having funin the rest of the space.
This doesn't look much fun.
♪ ♪ It's pretty small.
There's not much roomto have fun.
Let me paint a picture;you're stuck inside with nothing to entertain yourselvesexcept for your imagination.
I need your permissionon something.
I want to builda bike course.
♪ ♪ (Zack)There's nothing about being a tiny house expert that prepares youfor beams like this.
(all)Whoa! This doesn't look much fun.
(Zack)Not much fun here? (Rivers)It's pretty small.
There's not much roomto have fun.
(Zack)These kids are not happy.
However, they don't knowwhat I have planned.
There's one thingthat I will absolutely claim to, and that's being a designerof fun things.
I think, Jack, that we can make this fun.
Listen, if Zack saysit's gonna be fun, trust me.
It's gonna be fun.
Deal? – All right, deal.
(Zack)I know we can make it fun.
(John)So that didn't go well.
I got to talk to Zack and seeif we can figure out a way to make these boys' loftsmore fun.
Well, those kids were– they just didn't look happy.
They were like, “This is the house?” Yeah, so I've beenthinking about their lofts, and I think I have an ideathat they'll like, a dividerin between their rooms.
We open it up so it can be–you know, open it sometimes.
They can interact.
They can playwith each other before sleep.
And then boom, it closes up.
And I was thinking, why notturn that opening into, like, a ping-pong tableso they both come down– Is there enough room for that? It's gonna come down, and then they'll have to playon their beds.
Like, they'll be in a sittingposition, but that's– – Okay.
Well, just so longas it's cool.
This is definitelymultipurpose.
– Multipurpose, fun access zone.
Then I'm sold.
♪ ♪ It's day three of the build.
While Zack gets started onthe custom ping-pong table wall that will divide the boys' loftin two, a shipmentof metal panels has arrived.
The crew plans to use itas exterior siding and as coverfor the large deck eave in order to give our tiny housea modern look.
Up top, the roofershave started tar papering.
Meanwhile, I've asked the Setliffs to join me at thePaperhand Puppet company.
I have an exercise that I'mhoping will show Rivers and Jack and maybe even their parents you can have fun by purelyusing your imagination.
Paper Hand Puppet Company builds tiny housesright here out of cardboard.
They're actually in the RaleighMuseum of Art right now.
And what I'm gonnahave you guys do is construct your house, at least the common room, and then we'll spenda little time in 15 1/2 by 13 feet, and we'll seehow the imagination goes.
All the cardboard we're gonnabuild it with is here.
Here are all the tools.
So let's start, guys.
Back when I was a kid, the key to being entertainedwas imagination.
So I'm gonna give the boysa little imagination test.
This is the area that you guysare gonna be spending, really, the vast amountof your time in when you're inside.
It's smallerthan you're used to.
– Isn't it, Rivers?- Yes.
Let me paint a picturefor you guys.
It's a nicesummer afternoon.
All of a sudden, cloudsroll in, torrential downpour.
You're stuck insidein this space for three, four hours.
I'm thinking 30 minutes in this area, with nothingto entertain yourselves except each otherand your imagination.
(Jack)I think that's a little hard.
– You think it's a little hard.
You're doing this as a family.
I'll step outside, and we'll see what we can do.
– Can you lock that behind you?- Yeah, yeah, I will.
Let me get that locked.
(Brian)I wonder if we do– make one of those littlefootballs we used to make.
Act like that's a ledge.
♪ ♪ All right.
Get it to go just–oh! – Ooh.
– Too far.
(Brian)All right, Riv's got it.
Oh, that's a touchdown.
Now you kickyour extra points, Jack.
Hold your– you make a field goal, and he's gonna tryto kick it through there.
Oh! It's starting very well.
They're all playing, having a good time.
– I made stairs.
– That's creative.
♪ ♪ And it took, what, five minutes before it was Bored City, population four.
♪ ♪ (Jack)Who's going to getthe bottle cap? Is there any winein the fridge? [laughs] We had fun in the beginning.
♪ ♪ – But it kind of got boring.
(Rivers)I'm gonna make myself dizzy.
♪ ♪ I don't want to be bored! (John)I tell you what.
[Rivers sighs] Come on over here.
– That was a long half hour.
That wasn't the outcomeI was expecting.
They're gonna need to havesomething to do.
(John)Look, the message is clear.
I'm gonna have to come upwith even more ways to help entertain the boysand Mom and Dad inside as well.
He's readyto go outside now.
Yeah, he's putting onhis shoes.
I say we get out of here.
Back at the build site, while the crew is busy installing the metal panelsto the roof, Zack is startingto build the dining table that Caroline and Brianhave asked for, and I've got yet another projectin mind for him.
We need to hook these kids upwith an entertainment system.
We're unplugging these guys.
Yeah, we need to redefinewhat an entertainment center is.
So it's, like, somethingto replace their television and all their gaming systems.
That sort of thing.
I don't bring youthe easy problems, Zack.
You know, it can't just be one thing.
It's got to be, like, a storage unit with just gamesand art supplies.
Do we have roomfor something like that? This is a small house, but it'sa huge living room, so.
So I was actually just doinga dining room table.
And there's a chance that thiscould just be re-purposed for the whole, like, entertainment zone.
It would fold downto a tabletop.
They could do their artwork, you know.
Yeah, I guess.
So imagine you have, like, basically, like, an armoire.
You know, so it's got doors.
Hold things in.
And it pivoted in the center, and it pulls out from the wall.
Now it locks in place, and there's a nice table.
And I can build that for you.
Okay, if you can build that, I'll figure outwhat to fill it with.
There are manymultifunctional ways to turn what would normally bedead space and walls and furnitureinto hours of entertainment.
Under this tabletop hides a full-sized, regulation pool table, offering hours of entertainmenthidden in plain sight.
Consider surprising your guestswith this clever trick.
For an impromptu game of darts, try hiding the boardin the negative space behind a painting, and reveal it at game time.
Need to relieve stress? Here's an ultra-modern couch that transformsinto a punching bag.
When it comes to incorporatingactivities into furniture, the possibilities are endless.
Meanwhile, inside our tiny house, the insulation is going in and the bathroom tilesare being laid.
And on the outside, I'm about to help Zackwith an aspect of this build that you'd never expect to seeon a tiny house.
There's nothingabout being a tiny-house expert that prepares youfor beams like this.
(John)The design of this house calls for a large, extended eaveover the wrap-around deck.
One of the moststriking features of this design are these huge, beautiful beams.
But they're heavy.
I mean, they weigh inat 1, 000 pounds each.
Installing themis not gonna be easy.
Hold on, guys.
Watch it below, dude.
If he drops that, it's right on your face.
This is gonna supportthe entire weight of our overhangingkind of extended eave.
I think it's gonna be great, but– We just got to get themin place.
This is not a tiny jobfor a tiny house.
(Zack)Tiny house, massive beam.
(John)Getting these beams liftedinto place is no small task.
This is all hands on deck.
We've got Greg up on the cherrypicker, lifting the beams, and Zack and I are tryingto wrangle these things into the right spotsso we can get them set.
First beam, little scary, but we got it in fine.
Second beamwent in pretty easily.
Third beam, I figured, “Yeah, more of the same.
[crack]all: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Careful, careful.
(all)Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! When that thing went, there was no stopping it, and it's going right at Zack.
Just slow, guys.
Nice and easy.
– Pull on in there, John.
– Yeah, yeah.
– There it is.
– There it is.
– Watch your hands.
Let's lower it in.
It looks perfect on my side.
I'm holding here.
I won't let her go.
[drill whirring] We're just really, really lucky that the strap heldon the cherry picker.
I mean, someonecould've really gotten hurt, but crisis avoided.
Dude, I thought that whole thingwas coming down.
[makes cracking noises] You can build a lotof tiny houses and not be preparedfor a beam like that.
♪ ♪ – Yeah.
– Let's get going.
(John)We avoided major mishap and were able to getthe remaining pillars in place.
Even with that monumental featcomplete, Zack's not skipping a beat.
With many projects to tackleand no time to waste, he's working into the nighton the dining table that will double as anold-school toy storage cabinet.
♪ ♪ [upbeat music] It's day four, and Zack and the crewhave turned their attention to the interior.
The knotty pine wood wallsare being assembled and fastened into place, and the ceiling panelsare being installed.
The garage door that opensonto the deck is being hung, giving our tiny housea modern feel and a connectionto the outdoors.
The Setliffs' experimentin tiny isn't gonna work unless we're able to build theman epic, awesome playhouse that's technology freeand gets the boys outdoors.
I don't think we're there yet.
I mean, I'm still lookingfor a zip line expert to help Zack with that build, but I do have one more idea that I think just mightseal the deal.
Dude, we reallyhave to up the game out here.
And I know that we've gota zip line going in.
I know that we're workingon a game center inside.
I want more outside.
I mean, they're kids.
They love riding the bikes, and so I want a bike track, and I've heard you tell storiesabout doing this.
You want kickers?You want jumps? I mean, yeah, and like, maybe banked turns.
If we want to doa bike course, I say we just try to do, you know, circumferenceof the entire house.
The tricky thing is making sure the track isn't gonna stick outlike a sore thumb.
I think it comes downto landscaping, really, and I want the trackto kind of blend into the landscapinginstead of dominating.
Like, give them somethingthat's just really fun, playful.
We can make swoopsand banks.
Like, these kidsare just gonna love this place.
I totally agree.
With a bike courseand a zip line, I think we've gotoutdoor entertainment pretty much figured out.
And for indoor entertainment, Zack's nearly finished up the dining table that doublesas a toy storage cabinet.
So nowwe've just got to stock it.
I'm meeting Carolineand the boys at the HyperMind toy store, where Rivers and Jackdon't know it yet, but they both just hitthe jackpot.
I knowthat it's a little bit tough, and the ideaabout going to the tiny house without electronicsseems boring and terrible and the worst thing ever, but it's not, and that's why we're here.
There areno electronic games here.
These are all board games, braingames, games of the imagination.
We've dipped into the budget, and essentially I'm gonna letyou guys go on a shopping spree.
Get whatever gamesyou want in here, okay? – Yay!- Really? Yes.
– It's a miracle.
– That's right.
It's a miracle.
So let's have at it, all right? (man)♪ Hey, hey, hey ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ Hey, hey, hey ♪ (John)That's cool.
(Caroline)Dad would love that.
Yeah, that looks like fun.
This is probablygonna be hard to choose from, because we have so much.
♪ Hey, hey ♪ ♪ ♪ (John)So you didn't find anythingyou liked? (Rivers)I'm really excited.
I think we picked outsome good board games.
I mean–oh, you're going backfor more.
I think this is–I thinkthese are the last two.
(Jack)We got a ton of board games, so I was like, “Awesome!” I just got to call Zackand make sure we add an extra roomto the tiny house now.
♪ ♪ It's day five, and Zack and the crew are cruising along on Carolineand Brian's tiny house.
I'm meeting up with Zack becauseI found the perfect company to help him buildhis outdoor dream project.
Got a couple guysI want you to meet, Isaac and Seanfrom Beanstalk Builders.
– How you doing, Zack?- What's going on, Zack? They'rethe zip line guys.
I definitely havepicked out a spot that looks perfect to me.
There's a little bitof a clearing already through the forest.
And I think that wecould maybe run a zip line and not haveto take out too much trees.
(Sean)We love being tree friendly.
What I'd really like to dois connect it to the porch.
(Sean)Shouldn't be a problem.
(Isaac)Could actually build some sortof fort or tree house.
So there's a tree house too? Because these kidswould probably just, like, lose their heads.
Well, we wanted them to bein the woods and not in the house, so that's– we'll keep them out there.
You can see kind of the spacethat the zip line might go, and we can just kind of get ridof some of these little shrubs.
I think that the obvious choicewould be one of these two.
(Sean)This tree is a big tree.
The problem, though, is down here, where it's hollow underneath, which meansthat this tree is failing, and it's justnot gonna work.
This is way more intensethan I thought.
There is the potentialI got a little carried away.
– Right? (Rivers)This is amazing! (John)We're in Saxapahaw, North Carolina, building a fun-filled tiny housefor Brian, Caroline, and their two boys, Rivers and Jack.
Zack and the specialistsfrom Beanstalk Builders are about to starton the zip line.
(Sean)This tree is a big tree.
The problem, though, is down here, where it's hollow underneath, which meansthat this tree is failing.
So normally you wouldn't want to anchor a zip lineoff of something like this.
But I definitely see a lotof white oaks in the area.
White oaks arethe strongest– best root system, stout as can be.
(Isaac)You see that oneleaning to the right? Looks almost like a big boat? Right to the left of that, that's a white oak.
That could be an option.
You guys are the pros.
I say have at it.
[upbeat music] (Zack)The zip line startsat the back of the deck, and the first thing wehave to do is ground the post.
Once that's in place, then we run our cableabout 300 feet through the woods to a white oak treethat we picked as our end point.
Any trees or large shrubsthat are in the way are gonna have to get cut downand pulled out.
Then we get startedon the tree house, which is gonna be the baseof the zip line, and it's pretty muchjust a raised landing pad.
Once we've built it, then we got to hoist it up to the appropriate heightand secure it in the tree.
A little bit more.
I cannot wait to see the lookon these boys' faces when they ride this thingfor the first time.
♪ ♪ [light acoustic guitar music] (John)The Setliffs won't have theonly tiny house with a zip line.
We're headed to an islandoff the coast of Maine to visitthe tiny island tree house.
This 350-square-foot house was designedwith one main purpose in mind: to create family fun in a technology-free, natural environment.
Mark Parkeris the property manager.
The family livesa very fast-paced life.
This is the place where theycan kind of come, deflate, and just enjoy the outdoorsand nature.
(John)This tiny home, located not farfrom the homeowners' main house, was originally conceived as a placefor their children to play and as an overflow spacefor adventurous house guests.
This might be a tiny house, but it's got a king-sized bed.
(John)There's a master bedroom loftand an open living area.
The entire house is madeout of natural wood, along with reclaimedand salvaged materials, giving it a classic, rusticcabin feel.
We had Doug fir floors, natural rough-cut boardson the inside.
So it's a very warm feeling.
A lot of windows to bring ina lot of the natural light.
(John)This tiny housedoesn't have any plumbing and comeswith only basic electricity, and you definitely won't findany TVs or video games here.
But what this cabin does haveis extra storage and space-saving furniture, like this fold-up table, which are perfectfor tiny living.
This tiny island tree housewas designed so the family could maximize the timethey spend outdoors.
There's rope swings.
There'splaces to sit back and read.
One of the great thingsabout the balconies is, you can step right up onthe roof with just a simple rope and look out at the water.
You leave the balcony, and you walk right out onto that swing bridgethat goes out to the deck.
You cannot walkacross that bridge without a smile on your face.
Then you get out to the deck, you know, jump on the zip line, and just zip right downand have fun.
It's the ultimate payoff.
♪ ♪ (John)Back at the build site, Zack's come up with a way for our BMX bike track to both blend inwith the landscaping and also provide hoursof outdoor entertainment for Brian and Caroline's boys, and it startswith a big dirt delivery.
Zack's asked Brian to help out.
(Brian)Today I'm at the build.
Zack told me he hada special project going on and wanted me to come byand check it out.
So what do you have plannedhere? Well, I need your permissionon something.
I want to build a bike course that totally circumferencesyour house.
So exactlywhat are you thinking? I mean, the whole coursewould be dirt.
And then a select numberof turns, I want to do out of wood, kind of like a boardwalkon an angle.
So what I have here, right, is basically some supports.
We'll have planks that are gonnago up on it like that.
Now you have, like, a nice, banked turn that it looks likeyou could ride a bike on.
I think they'll dig it.
Well, I'm gladyou're on board.
Let's get this going.
[upbeat music] To be able to show Rivand Jack that, “Hey, Dad helped out with that, ” and I think that'd be exciting.
♪ ♪ (Zack)So let's go walk around and see aboutwhere we're gonna put them.
Man, they are goingto dig this.
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (John)It's day six, and we've made a lotof progress on our tiny house.
The metal siding has beenoxidized with a solution of ammonia and salt water in order to deliver an exteriorthat's rustic-modern.
The crew is painting the barndoors for the master bedroom an old navy blue, and the hole for the kitchensink is getting cut out.
I'm meeting up with Zackat the build site, because he's excited to show methe completed BMX bike course.
– This is unbelievable!- Right? Like, this is way more intensethan I thought.
I was hopingthat you'd say that.
This is legit.
There is the potentialI got a little carried away.
However, I do think, in terms of the goalof making this something that's gonna last, it's got to befairly substantial.
And just so you know, if you're thinkingit's a little too extreme.
(John)Yeah? This areaunderneath the berm? Yeah? I plan on, you know, packing that out.
– So that's a trail.
So the kidswill have the option to go on the flats underneath.
Good, I like that, because then it's not tooadvanced for Jack right now.
So they're gonna startup at the top of the driveway, and then they'll be able to goeither direction, and the idea is, like, you give it a couple pedals and then you just let yourselfkind of go through the course.
It starts out real slow, and by the timeyou're down here, you're really rippingaround the corners, so.
(John)By the way, I just want to point outI see bike tires.
You've been out ridingthis thing, haven't you? Shh.
No, I've been workingthe whole time.
You're not gonna expect meto build something like this and not test it out.
Speaking of testing it out, this thing looks likeso much fun, I can't resist.
– [laughs]- Dude, I just love this thing.
Just– [drill whirring] And then hitthe tabletop jump! ♪ ♪ – [laughs]- Okay.
– Yes!- Need more speed.
I'll work on that.
[laughs] The thing goes all the wayaround the house.
– Are you kidding me?- No, no.
– Check that out.
– [gasps] Oh, my God.
– A zip line!- Not just a zip line.
– There's a tree house.
– What? Really? (John)It's day seven, and before we hand the keysto their tiny experiment over to the Setliffs, there are just a fewfinishing touches left.
The landscapers are plantingthe annuals and shrubs, and naturally Zack is testingthe bike course one last time.
Inside, the crewis installing the custom ladder for the boys' lofts, and the Essentia mattressesare being put into place.
I'm helpingto arrange the bathroom items while Zack is busyinstalling his dining table, which will double as anold-school toy storage cabinet.
One week ago, we arrivedin Raleigh, North Carolina, to help the Setliff family build the tiny rustic-moderncabin of their dreams.
Brian and Caroline wantedthis tiny home to be a way for their boysto connect with nature, but convincing themthat they could have fun while being unpluggedwas a challenge.
I gave the familya taste of what living tiny and technology-freewas gonna be like.
Zack worked on creatingboth indoor and outdoor fun, including his first everzip line, and with Brian's help, he even built an awesome BMX-style bike trackfor the boys.
We hope that once Brian, Caroline, and their boys see all the surprises we'vepacked into their new home, they'll really embracetheir decision to go tiny.
Now it's timeto welcome the Setliff family to the tiny-house community.
– How's it going, guys?- Hey.
– Oh!- Come on over.
– This is amazing!- Gorgeous.
[light music] – Wow.
– Holy cow.
– It's so cool.
– I love the rusted metal side.
(Caroline)It has a beautiful slanted roof.
It's really modern.
It's like they just putthis perfect house in the middle of the woods.
– It blends in.
– I'm so glad you said that.
(John)With the rough-sawn pineall stained, I mean, it fits in the outdoors.
This is perfect.
Are you guys curious at all about what this wood stuff isout here? ♪ ♪ Have you got any guesses? It's where you, like, ride your bike on? You think it's somethingthat you ride your bikes on.
This isn't a bike track;this is the bike track.
We just need this placeto be fun.
The thing goesall the way around the house.
– Are you kidding me?- No, no.
It's made with wood and dirt, and there's a lot of curvesthat you can ride up on.
It just looked amazing.
(Zack)Are you talkingabout the house, or are you talkingabout the bike course? All of it.
– You boys want to get inside?both: Yeah.
Have at it, guys.
Check it out.
(Zack)We'll be in in just a sec, okay? – Oh, wow.
– I'm gonna faint.
[lively music] (Caroline)It's gorgeous.
Oh, my gosh.
It's very, very cozy, and I love the floors.
Caroline, check out your countertop.
(Caroline)It's so gorgeous.
(Brian)It feels like a cabin.
Just very, very comfortable.
And rustic inside.
(Caroline)Oh, my God, it's beautiful.
It's just exactly my style.
– Hey, guys.
– How's it going?- Good.
You know what I likeabout this right here? It's that he's not bored.
That's kind of perfect.
What do you guys think? This feels likea cabin inside, and that's exactlywhat we were after.
I mean, I love it.
One of the thingsthat you asked for, Brian, was really, like, a spacethat you could call your own, so that's whatthe master bedroom was.
♪ ♪ (Zack)This might seem a little smallto you guys, but this bedroom is enough to make most tiny-house ownersvery jealous.
Yeah, I mean, especiallythis part, where you can– where you have to jumpto hit the ceiling and not have to be duckingthe whole time.
(Brian)Caroline can come in here, hang out, read.
We can come in, you know, together, or I can just come in, but it's a space that we have.
This is actually oneof two private rooms.
The other oneis right next door.
This is a big tiny bathroom.
This is not wood.
– It's not?- No, no.
– That's ceramic tile.
This kind of gives youthis look of, you know, that rustic-modernyou were going for.
I love this vanity.
Bathroom's a lot biggerthan we expected.
I feel like I could gohang out in there and have a glass of wine.
[both laugh] I want to talk to you guysabout the boys' lofts.
♪ ♪ This is just the areareally to sleep.
Your guys' areato play is down here, outside.
At least that's what I thought, and then Zack said, “Well, we got to give them a littlesomething to do up there too.
” (Zack)Everybody knows that when it'stime to go to bed, people actually mean it's timeto go play in your beds.
[laughs]- And so let's go check it out.
Get on up there, Jack Jack.
That is your space.
All right, well, let's take a look and see.
Where are you gonna playping-pong? Okay, River, so you justundo this latch up at the top, and then the whole thingcomes down.
[latch clicks]- [gasps] – Ping pong!- Look at this.
♪ ♪ So what do you thinkof that, Riv? I have no words, in a good way.
– Pretty cool, right?- Yeah.
(Caroline)Maybe that's our room and the kids' room is there.
[laughter] When they pulled downthe ping-pong table, I just saw it on their faces.
They just went crazy.
You know, one of the thingsI told Zack that he had to do was makean entertainment center, and he's like, “Well, there's no electronics.
What do you mean, “Entertainment center?” And this is whatwe came up with.
You have so many fun thingsto do outdoors, but not every single daycan you do things outdoors, so this is aboutthose moments.
Basically, what it isis a cabinet.
It's gotall sorts of games.
– Our games.
(John)Yeah, these are the gamesyou guys picked out.
If that's all it was, that's fine.
Shut this up here.
Lock it out.
The whole unitpulls away from the wall.
– Undo this pin.
And now tiltthis whole thing back.
Now you've got a big tablefor gaming.
This could beyour dining room table.
He caught us off guard.
You know, we sawthe entertainment center, and then he startedto wheel it out.
It's just as great useof space in the place.
This is what a non-electronicentertainment center looks like.
And entertainmentin this scenario kind of looks like the facesof your loved ones, right? Staring across the tablefrom you.
(John)But, boys, this is for when you guys are stuck inside 'cause it's rainingor it's nighttime.
But there is another way to entertain yourselveson the outside, and it's right behind this door.
– Check that out.
– [gasps]- Oh, my gosh.
There is another wayto entertain yourselves on the outside, and it's right behind this door.
– Check that out.
– [gasps]- Oh, my gosh.
– You know what this is?- A zip line! – That's exactly right.
– No way.
It's not just a zip line.
There's a tree house.
– What?- Really? – Yep.
– Can I go see it? (John)Well, yeah, but there's onlyone way to get there.
That's on the zip line.
Yeah, the best way.
[laughs]Yeah, the best way, exactly.
♪ ♪ I was not expecting it to be, like, from the house.
That's so cool.
(Brian)Be able to walk out here, jump up there, cruise down.
(Zack)It's probably the coolestzip line that I've ever built.
I'm ready! [upbeat music] Whoo! [Caroline laughs] Whoo-hoo! – Here he comes.
– Whoo! – Whoo-hoo-hoo!- Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo! ♪ ♪ [people cheering] ♪ ♪ (John)Yes, coming in hot.
So what'd you think, boys? Awesome, but I'm coming backto go again! – [laughs] He's coming back.
– He wants to go again.
(Caroline)Yeah, the boys are gonnahave fun.
I have no concerns.
They're alreadyjust having a ball.
Our mission was to makea modern-rustic house in the country that would enable you to helpget the boys unplugged and yet still be entertaining.
I think we pulled it off.
I'm okay without electronics.
– [laughs]- Mission accomplished.
– Yeah, score.
The only thing left to do nowis officially welcome you guys to the tiny-house community.
[all cheer] Get over here! You're gonna be a familyin a tiny house.
Congratulations, you guys.
♪ ♪ It's been three weekssince Brian, Caroline, and the boysstarted their newest journey as membersof the tiny-house community.
Have they been able to unplugand leave technology behind? We're headed back to Saxapahaw, North Carolina, to find out.
♪ ♪ Let's see you dothat jump, bro.
Give them your best.
(Rivers)Living in the tiny househas been really different.
It's really different.
(Brian)All right, Jack Jack.
♪ ♪ Nice.
Good work, Jack.
It has been hardwithout electronics, but I love the bike track.
(Caroline)We've been really enjoyingthe outdoors more.
Just being unplugged, not havingthe electronics has gone great.
Kids are forced to be outside, and that aspect of ithas been really what we wanted.
I can't believe I can fly! (Caroline)The zip line is a lot of funfor them.
I just think it's, like, really cool, and I don't knowwhat to say about it.
♪ ♪ (Caroline)So, you know, we're loving the house, but it's a work in progress.
We ended up getting a new couch that's biggerso we can all fit on it, and we are getting ready to makethe porch screened in.
We're gonna spend a lotof time out there.
It pretty much adds a wholenother space to the house.
It's gonna be great.
(Brian)So I think the whole ideaof a tiny house, I would actually encouragepeople to look into it and check it out.
It's a great ideajust to be able to downsize, and so far, we've enjoyed it.
I would definitely recommend getting a tiny housefor somebody.
We love it, and the kids love it.
I think John and Zackdid a great job– not a good job, a great job.