Lina designed and built The Lucky Penny for herself in 2014

Lina designed and built her first tiny house, The Lucky Penny, in 2014. Photo credit: Tiny House Giant Journey

Lina designed and built her first tiny house, The Lucky Penny, in 2014. Photo credit: Tiny House Giant Journey

This profile will introduce you to my lil' house. If you'd like to see more photos and articles about my house, read Lucky Penny's Public Debut. If you have questions, please be sure to take a peek at my Frequently Asked Questions and if your question isn't addressed there, please contact me. If you want to see a video tour, please check out the Lucky Penny Tiny House Tour by Jenna and Guillaume of Tiny House Giant Journey. You can also check out other posts about The Lucky Penny on my blog.

Fast Facts

  • Name: The Lucky Penny
  • Location: Going Places in Portland, OR
  • Location Type: Tiny Cohousing Community (two tiny houses act as detached bedrooms in the backyard of a single-family home)
  • Setting: Urban
  • Designer: Lina Menard of Niche Consulting LLC (yup, that's me!)
  • Builder: Lina Menard & Friends (I hosted work parties most weekends!)
  • Plan Set: To Be Released Soon
  • Number of Full-Time Inhabitants: 1
  • Pets: Raffi, 10 year old red Devon Rex tabby cat

Size Details

  • House Width (Exterior): 8'-4" (100")
  • House Width (Interior): 7'-4" (88") 
  • House Length (Exterior): 14'-9" (177")
  • House Length (Interior) = 13'-9" (165") 
  • Exterior Square Footage: 123
  • Interior Square Footage: 100
  • House Height: appox. 12'-6" 
  • Weight: Unknown

Construction Details

  • Style: Gypsy Wagon
  • Roof Shape: Vardo (curved)
  • Foundation Type: Single 5000 # Iron Eagle Vardo Trailer with side extensions, welded-on stabilizing jacks
  • Construction Type: SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)
  • Insulation Type: EPS (expanded polystyrene foam)


  • electric point-of-use water heater
  • electric space heater (Oct-Mar)
  • mini-fridge without freezer (April-September)
  • one-burner induction cooktop
  • convection toaster oven
  • mini chest freezer 
  • kitchen sink
  • bathroom shower

Sustainability Features

  • salvaged door, windows, and finish materials
  • electric-only appliances
  • SIPs construction for energy-efficiency
  • liquid-applied water resistant barrier for air sealing and energy-efficiency
  • all LED lighting
  • energy-efficient appliances
  • low-VOC paints, stains and sealants


  • Total Budget: $25,000
  • Total Build Cost: $24,250
  • Building Materials: $14,000
  • Car & Truck Rental: $2,750 (I don't own a car, so I rented cars and trucks for my build)
  • Build Space Rental: $2,250 ($250/month for 9 months)
  • Volunteer Meals: $1,500 (I ran work parties most weekends and provided coffee, continental breakfast, snacks, a picnic lunch and for those who stuck with me till the end, dinner!)
  • Furnishings: $1,500
  • Contracted Labor: $1,250 ($750 roofer, $300 welding for flip-up porch, $200 electrical consultation)
  • Appliances: $1,000
  • Estimated Sweat Equity: $16,000 (800 hours at $20/hour*)
  • Total Value: $40,250


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