Lucky Penny Tiny House

Lina's Tiny House: The Lucky Penny

For those of you new to The Little Life, welcome! My name is Lina Menard and I live in a tiny house called The Lucky Penny. I designed and built the Lucky Penny in 2014. Thanks go to Guillaume for this photo of me and my tiny house, The Lucky Penny.

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: Simply Home Community in Portland, OR
  • Location Type: Tiny Cohousing Community (three 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
  • Number of Part-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

Lucky Penny Open House

2014-09-13 19.39.39This summer, with the help of lots of friends, I've been building myself a tiny house on wheels called The Lucky Penny. It's time for my little house to make her public debut so we can show off our handiwork before she moves to her new parking spot in a tiny house community. (The house isn't done yet, so I'll continue working on it afterwards, but you'll get the big idea anyhow!) If you're in the Portland area on Friday, October 10th from 3-8pm, please swing on by the Lucky Penny Open House at Green Anchors (8940 N Bradford Street*) to see the house and wish us well before her maiden voyage to Simply Home Community.

And, of course, if you feel like lending a hand this weekend as one of my Tiny House Helpers, please let me know which day and time you can join us. I'll be hosting my last big work parties for The Lucky Penny at Green Anchors on Saturday, Oct 4 and Sunday, Oct 5 from 8AM to 6PM.


* The location is a little tricky to get to the first time. The site is called Green Anchors (8940 N Bradford Street) and it's located almost right under the St. John's bridge. Here's how to get there: from St. John's, take Baltimore down the hill towards Cathedral Park. When you get to the bottom of the hill the entrance to Cathedral Park will be directly in front of you. Turn right and there will be an orange and blue building on your right. Stay left and go along the railroad tracks. Just when you think you've done something very wrong you'll see the gate to the left that says Vintage Boats. Turn in there and drive (or bike or walk) until you see the purple tiny house on the left. That's the tiny house cluster and my trailer is right there.

Naming My Tiny House: The Lucky Penny

this lucky penny tag photo is courtesy of a fun Etsy shop called MODpaw'd that makes pet tags ( Check out Lina's Tiny House: The Lucky Penny for a profile of my completed gypsy wagon!

I believe there is great power in naming and it's recently occurred to me that I haven't introduced my tiny house to you yet by name. Now, I recognize that sometimes it's best to wait until after a baby is born, a house is built, etc. to determine whether the name fits before announcing it, but in this case, it seems so right I'll take the chance. After all, I was telling everyone at the Tiny House Conference this past weekend! So I won't keep you wondering any longer. My tiny house is The Lucky Penny!

Here's why: My Tiny House Started with a Window I found for free four years ago, which inspired me to make the house a gypsy wagon with a curved vardo roof. A couple years later I picked up My Beautiful Arched Door at the ReBuilding Center. Then, since I'm a little superstitious, I quickly acquired A Sink for Good Measure. From there on out, it's been a Tiny House Treasure Hunt.

My tiny house's name came to me, as so many of my good ideas do, at three in the morning. As I thought about the curvy shape of the roof and the delightful coppery goodness of the sink, I realized that these character pieces were giving me a theme. My house is all about round and copper, so it seemed fitting to name it The Lucky Penny. (Anita wrote about my tiny house's naming earlier this week on in her post What's in a Tiny House Name?)

Copper CanistersI've found all sorts of confirmation that The Lucky Penny is the right name for my tiny house. Such as the fact that I've been the lucky recipient of several deals, donations, and discounts. And finding these charming copper canisters at an antique store after years of not finding any countertop containers that seemed just right. And a friend randomly sending me 25 DIY design ideas that use pennies. And then finding pennies all over the place since learning about penny tiling. (When I was a kid my little sister was forever finding pennies and I wasn't nearly as good at spotting them, so now every time I do I get a little thrill. And I stop to pick them up. I don't believe in unlucky pennies. I just believe the heads-up pennies are twice as lucky! Did I mention I'm strangely superstitious?!)

As I've been Budgeting for My Tiny House, I've realized that, like so many other wee abodes, my house will be quite expensive per square foot. I may well end up nicknaming my tiny house The Pretty Penny because chances are it will cost one! But for now I'll remain optimistic that my community will around my little house and the serendipity will continue so that The Lucky Penny continues to be the best name for my gypsy wagon.