Perfect Home from Imperfect Materials

Learn how one tiny home owner builds using salvaged supplies without sacrificing his house’s comfort or beauty in the process.

| February 2017

  • “You really have to be able to see things for what they will be eventually.”
    Photo by Mark Miller
  • The flooring of his cabin came from an old office space.
    Photo by Mark Miller
  • The fireplace was originally from a dumpster.
    Photo by Mark Miller
  • Much of the lumber came from trees that had fallen over in his grandmother’s yard. Mark cut them to length and milled them into boards.
    Photo by Mark Miller
  • “Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Supplies” by Ryan Mitchell.
    Cover courtesy Adams Media

Tiny homes are a growing trend because they are environmentally friendly, less expensive than a regular home, and often mobile. In Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials (F+W Media, 2016), Ryan Mitchell presents the myriad of ways that these small structures can be built with salvaged and reclaimed resources, further lessening their impact on the environment as well as making a home that’s completely unique. Featuring profiles on tiny home owners, ideas on where to find supplies, and what to avoid when choosing construction materials, this book is a perfect, do-it-yourself guide for anyone looking to build a one-of-a-kind household!

You can purchase this book from the GRIT store: Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials.

Mark Miller: Tiny House on a Foundation

• Grantsburg, Wisconsin
• 204 square feet
• 1920’s summer kitchen remodeled in 2015


• Electricity: 110-amp service
• Heating/Cooling: Wood- burning fireplace, electric baseboard, ceiling fan
• Water: Water cooler
• Water Heating: Microwave
• Stove: Microwave
• Refrigeration: Mini-fridge
• Toilet: Outdoor porta-potty
• Internet: Yes

Mark Miller has been collecting and using reclaimed materials all his life. In his words, “Taking things that most people call junk and turning them into something neat looking is something I enjoy doing.” As a contractor he is an experienced builder who loves to work the materials he finds into his build.

Looking toward retirement Mark knew that he would need to be creative, so he started looking for other sources of income. He decided to build a small cabin to move into so he could rent out his larger home, a home that was now too big since his children had grown.

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