Freebie Friday! Enter for a chance to win a special prize from TODAY's Take


This 300-square-foot tiny home is packed with flair — wait until you see inside

This tiny house combines the ease of building a model home with the option of avoiding a cookie cutter structure. It’s a customized version of the Loft model from Mint Tiny House, a company near Vancouver that builds microstructures on trailer frames. The owners of this house transported it to La Honda, California, in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where it became their full-time residence.

The couple opted for some add-ons to the base model, which brought the price to about $68,000. The company offers five models, ranging from 16 to 34 feet long, and all can be customized. “We work with each client until the floor plan is exactly as they need it to be. No two of our tiny homes are alike,” says Shannon Persse, who cofounded the company with her husband, Brian. While not for everybody — they would be too microscopic for a large family — these tiny dwellings require creative design and imagination for livability in a downsized space.

Dark wood floors and cedar beams, along with pine walls and full-size stainless steel appliances, make the compact living space stylish and functional. Open shelving keeps the kitchen uncluttered; it also has a whitewashed pine backsplash. The wooden bar on the left folds down; the stairs on the right lead to a sleeping loft. After the home was photographed, the owners added stair railings, which the manufacturer recommends.

Kitchen counters and cabinets: Ikea; 30-inch propane range: Unique.

The exterior siding is Canadian-grown cedar, treated with a dark stain, with painted white trim. French doors and industrial sconces add character to the front of the home. The bump-out on the left side in the photo here is an exterior storage box, which holds a propane on-demand hot-water heater, a 100-gallon fresh-water tank and other items. The box also has electrical outlets.

RELATED: Find a Firm That Specializes in Tiny Houses

The home took about eight weeks to build. Persse says the current lead time is about six weeks, since the company has moved to a larger facility and increased production.

End-feed track lighting was installed in the kitchen to hide any wiring and keep the exposed beams. Persse says they’ve also lately been putting pine tongue-and-groove panels in the ceiling for other lighting options and to keep wires hidden.

Sink: Domsjö double ceramic, Ikea; refrigerator: GE

The 30-inch propane range is from Unique, designed for locations without a conventional electric supply. The home’s water is supplied by the 100-gallon tank already mentioned. All of the company’s homes come with 3-inch RV greywater and black-water hookups, which give owners the option of connecting to any septic sewer system onsite. The water is hooked up via a garden hose connection. The Mint builders also install rainwater tanks for off-the-grid locations.

For this home they also put in a solar conduit, and the owners installed solar panels after the home was delivered. “We recommend you have the solar installed locally, as it is much easier to maintain when the specialist is nearby,” Persse says.

The accordion window and fold-up wooden bar were add-ons the owners opted for. Another bar is just outside the window, and it is removable instead of folding up. The couple has since added a deck so guests can sit outside at the bar. An electric wall heater is below the bar.

The table-bar in the living area is folded up when not in use.

At the end of the table, a Cubic mini wood-burning stove is mounted on the wall. Just beyond that is a sliding barn door that opens to the bathroom-laundry area.

A window seat that becomes a desk is an example of a clever small-space solution. “When people are moving to such a smaller space, they need to really work with the small space so that it fits with their lifestyle needs,” Persse says. The cushioned bench seat provides storage and seating.

RELATED: Adventure Seekers Hit the Road in a Cozy School Bus Home

A mirror folds down to turn the bench into a desk.

Stairs with oak butcher block treads lead to the sleeping loft. The owners have since added railings to the stairs and the loft.

The sleeping loft is 10 feet long and about 7 feet wide.

The space fits a queen-size bed, and storage boxes sit next to the mattress. Upper-level windows add light. The owners use a second loft on the other side of the house as a reading area.

Whitewashed pine walls, a beamed ceiling and a double vanity inject character into the bathroom.

RELATED: Enhance Usability and Add a Handheld Sprayer to Your Small Shower

Vanity: Godmorgon/Odensvik, Ikea; faucets: Moen; composting toilet: Envirolet

A space-saving combination washer-dryer resides in the bathroom. This version is from Midea; Presse says they’ve also begun offering an LG version.

Your video begins in