Arizona Shed to Tiny House Tiny Homes Tiny House Uncategorized

A Do-Over!

Surprise, surprise…..I’m returning the shed. I know it’s cute, but pretty is as pretty does.  It is not what I ordered, and the things that are not as specifed mean I’d have to significantly change my plans. At first I kept thinking, “OK, I’ll have to modify the plans for that”. And that. And that.  Well wait a minute….I don’t think I should have to modify my plans that much, just because the guy didn’t feel like buildling what I ordered!  None of this is my fault!  So I’m having them pick it up. Since it’s a Rent To Own deal, there’s no penalty at all for sending it back.

I ordered 8’ sidewalls because I planned to have a murphy bed that drops down from the wall, but have it high enough so someone could still sit or sleep on the sofa below it. He assured me that that model came with standard 8’ sidewalls, but mine has 7’ sidewalls. This meant that the wall bed would have to barely clear the top of the sofa underneath, and it also means that my guest bed would be unusable. And it’s entirely possible that the ceiling fan would cut my head off as I was climbing into bed, since it would be a foot lower and the bed a foot higher!

I ordered 2×3 single hung windows and got 3×3 sliders. In a tiny house, wall space is at a premium, for kitchen cabinets and other wall storage. There’s not much floor space, so you have to go up! (Another reason to have higher ceilings as well) Three windows that are too wide mean 3’ less wall space, and I only had ONE wall kitchen cabinet in the plan….it meant no wall cabinets, and it also knocked out my plan to have 15” Ikea wall storage units on either side of the living room window, and on the side wall, where the TV goes on the wall, it meant the largest TV I could have is a 19”. It also meant that the corner where I had hoped to have a tiny wood stove eventually, was no longer big enough.

I ordered continuous eave and ridge vents. I plan to put in radiant heat barrier, shiny foil that reflects the heat back to the roof. I need those continuous vents to let the heat out! What I got was a little 2×12 aluminum vent in each gable end. I did ask the bulder about getting a refund on what I paid for the continuous vents, and I got a pretty aggressive-sounding email back saying he said that he hadn’t charged me anything for them, and that he should have charged me more for the shed; the base price was $4050 and he only charged me $4100. Also he said that the little gable vents are all I need. Well…the base price when I ordered it back in November was $3650! And obviously if he didn’t charge me for them, it meant he never intended to ever do what I ordered.  And who doesn’t know that heat goes UP, not sideways? The only way a gable end vent would be efficient is if there was a fan on it, pulling or blowing the air out.

Besides those things, the construction is a little shoddy, probably because they threw the thing up in a day and a half! Their website says it takes them 3-5 days to complete each shed. The studwalls in mine, which are supposed to be 16” on center, actually have very few 16” ones. They range from 15 ¼” to 21”! That means nearly every strip of insulation would have to be custom cut, taking way more time and involving a lot more wasted material. The masonite that’s covering the underside was not nailed down along half of the back of the shed, and is hanging down about ½” which means any enterprising mice in the area could easily get in and make nests in the cellulose insulation. I tried to nail it up but since the shed is only a few inches off the ground, I couldn’t get a hammer in there.

I ordered a 12 ½” wide custom wood window for the bathroom, to fit between the 16” on center studs. But where I planned to put it, the studs are only 15 ½” wide, so it won’t fit. I’d have to cut through existing studs and do a whole lot more work to make that window go where I wanted it.

The bottom line is, it was not his prerogative to decide what I did or didn’t need, especially with no discussion about it.  I had specific reasons why I ordered it the way I did, and yet 3 out of the 5 changes I ordered, I did not get. It doesn’t matter if he charged me for them or not!

So it looks like I’ll be starting over from square one. I could save up my money for a few years and buy an old travel trailer, though with the extremes in cold & heat here, and no electricity for air conditioning, I feel I need more insulation than a travel trailer can provide.  (Besides, they’re not very cute at all). I could try to rent-to-own another storage shed from another company, but you know the saying “Once bitten, twice shy”. That’s kind of how I feel right now.  

For the past few days I’ve been working on a floor plan for an 8×12 tiny house. That is less than ⅔ the size of this one, but is still twice as big as the camper, and I’m able to fit most everything I really need into the space. So I’m really considering building it myself. I would not try to build it in a hurry; if it took me 6 months, so be it. I’d have to buy materials as money allowed anyway, which will make it a fairly slow process. It’s painful for my bad knee and arthritic fingers to do this construction stuff, so maybe I’d only be able to nail up two or three 2×4’s a day. So what?! And maybe I’d get some (semi-skilled) volunteer help along the way, who knows?

I could build the shell of this smaller structure for around $1500, and have no monthly payments. The one I’ve got now cost $4100 and on the rent to own plan, would have ended up costing me $9100 after 4 years of payments!  I’m still thinking about it, but am really leaning in this direction.

What happened to our pleasant winter weather?! On Saturday we had 25-30 mph winds with gusts up over 50 mph, and a couple inches of snow.  Last night, the low dropped to only 11 degrees. (It had been in the mid-20’s) I brought in a second 1500 watt heater that runs off 1# propane bottles, and ran the two heaters at the same time, which worked great until it ran out of gas around 3 a.m. When I woke up this morning it was 47 degrees in here at bed level, and down on the floor, Roxie’s water was frozen solid in the dish! Once the sun came out it warmed everything quickly which means all the frost-covered metal strips in the camper defrosted and were raining on me!  I’m so glad I’d spent time on Saturday stuffing cracks and wind leaks with foam, or it probably would have been much colder in here.

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15 replies on “A Do-Over!”

I say good for you! Of course, not good that you have to return the shed, or that they messed it up; but good for you on returning it. I have built small cabins before and I know EXACTLY the headaches you are talking about. They add up, and are huge in the end. (I rebuilt one non-standard cabin because I had too – it was too close to a waterway to start over – and then later built one from scratch to standard dimensions. That second one was SO MUCH easier! No trying to fit a 36″ shower stall in a 35″ space, or having to cut sheet rock down to 47″ because the studs were not spaced correctly, etc.)

Still, I would have tried to live with it for awhile so as to avoid the discomfort and “ugh, back to square one-ness” of returning it, as it sounds like you did.

But, now you are returning it. Good for you. What’s the point of specifications if they are ignored? Hmmph!!!!


PS: I did buy a non-charming 20-ish foot travel trailer to live in while I built the from-scratch cabin. It was cheapish ($750), and had all the appeal of an early 80’s rumpus room (ugly aluminum siding, fake walnut paneling, garish flowered upholstery), but it was weathertight for the most part, had instant sink/drain/furnace/toilet/windows/curtains//furniture/stove/propane/fridge so it had its charms. I sold it later for the same price, as a side bonus. I did have to have a friend go with me to pick it up and tow it to my land, because I didn’t have a truck. Prices these days may not allow that, but….. maybe?


Thanks Luna! I think I’m comfortable enough in the camper I’ve got, for now. It’s tempting to maybe get an old one and strip out the stove & fridge but they’d be soooo old! Not sure I want to deal with 80’s appliances.


I know you probably know this already, but since Roxie sleeps on the floor, do you have a camper pad for her? The closed cell ones that you can get at Wally World for about $8. I use these with my cats when they want to sleep outside on the porch when its cold here. I put that between the floor and all their blankets. Of course, the cold here is not nearly as chilly as where you are.

Love you blog and am blown away with your building knowledge…amazing!


I tried an ensolite pad on the floor for Roxie but she dug at it and made a mess! I do have rubber-backed rugs down, which for some reason she leaves alone. And she has a dog bed on top of the rugs, which she sleeps in when it’s cold on the floor. Thanks!


Good for you. What in the world was that guy thinking. I am hoping you follow up and send a copy of this to the president of the company. He needs to know his sales agents are not doing their jobs. Maybe he will come back with an offer to make it right with you. Just a thought. Big hugs Go Girl Power!!


I took a ride to NC recently and I passed some places that had cute little sheds with shutters and window boxes already on them and I thought of you. I know you said the tiny houses were too expensive, but maybe a resale (someone who tried and didn’t like living little) would be a good line to follow. I bet there are some for sale. Maybe a park model?


I think you can get assistance if your SS is not enough. They should have been taking money out your whole working life, Janis?


Of course they did, but I got laid off from my job of 23 years back when I was just barely 60, and had to live off my savings until I could start getting SS And because I didn’t work those last few years, my SS is not as much as it would/should have been. I do get some small assistance with my Medicare drug plan but that’s all I qualify for. I still have a $300 a month car payment too. I feel pretty lucky to have an excess of $150-200 a month, but sometimes unplanned stuff eats that up, too.


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