Four Lights Tiny House Company

U-House is coming

Jay Shafer has been busy developing the next generation of tiny houses. Read on to learn about the U-House and how you can be part of this exciting development in the tiny house world. What does the U-House have that other tiny houses don't? 

A Telescoping Footprint

U-house’s telescoping footprint allows you to easily expand or reduce its size to match your changing needs. The standard core will available in seven vernacular forms:

  • The 312 Sq. Ft. Front-Gabled 3-Poster
  • The 372 Sq. Ft. Front-Gabled 3-Poster
  • The 312 Sq. Ft. Front-Gabled 4-Poster
  • The 372 Sq. Ft. Front-Gabled 4-Poster
  • The 312 Sq. Ft. End-Gable
  • The 372 Sq. Ft. End-Gable
  • The 372 Sq. Ft. Wraparound

Each allows for infinite modification with the following standard features:

  • A 226 Sq. Ft. majority of this is committed to enclosed, downstairs living space.
  • A second-story expands the total amount of heated floor area to 312 Sq. Ft.   
  • Another 28 Sq. Ft. is devoted to a front porch, and there’s a 3’x4’ back porch too.
  • The structure contains 135 cubic feet of ample storage space. An optional 35 Sq. Ft. attic component is also available.
  • The U-Coupler© component can also be added to connect U-house to virtually any other structure, including other U-houses, for infinite expansion and varied form.


Like a lot of Jay Shafer's previous designs, this one is portable. It can be put on wheels or on a firm foundation and (in most jurisdictions), it can be transferred from one to the other and back again. This allows for greater flexibility in terms of siting your home, and it allows you to follow life and livelihood wherever they may take you.


U-house’s unique Nesting-Hinged-Roof© allows for the unprecedented transport of a relatively tall structure (over 16’ in this case) from one place to another without incident.


U-house’s innovative wall, roof and floor systems contain far more r-value (insulation) and far less thermal bridging than conventional systems of the same thickness. The subtractive design of these systems (including an integral rain screen in the walls) allows for far less material waste during their production and greatly reduced energy consumption through their use. The thermal envelope and structural integrity of U-house are never compromised by boring holes into these vital components for pipes, wires and ductwork. This is far from the case with the vast majority of today’s other housing options.


U-House’s efficient thermal envelope and concise footprint are accompanied by a 11,500 BTU heating system, a stout (80 pound snow load) roof, and it can be cooled by a small air-conditioner. The sum of these parts is a house that can be comfortably, efficiently and cost-effectively inhabited year-round in any hemiboreal climate. While the standard U-house core is designed for seasonal-use only in all Subarctic, Alpine and Polar regions, fortification options are available for full-time habitation anywhere (on earth).


U-house is the first and only dwelling designed to meet the primary U.S. design criteria for all four of the most commonly occupied types of structures in North America: site-built (IRC-regulated) housing, modular/prefab, manufactured housing, and RVs. With little more than a switch from wheels to a locally mandated foundation or vise versa, U-house can transcend a lot of the limits posed by zoning and building codes that have traditionally determined how and where we can live. Some municipalities have tweaked these more universal laws to one degree or another, so check with your local municipality if U-house meets your local building and zoning codes.

U-house Living Room

U-house Kitchen

U-house Bedroom

U-house Loft


Cool Stuff for Average Needs

There’s no such thing as the average person, so trying to provide for Universal domestic needs will never be a perfect science. It does help that I’ve met a lot of folks who aren’t shy about letting me know what amenities they’d like to see in their home. At 312 square feet (not including the porches or attic), the basic U-House is about 1/5 the size of the typical, new American house, but it’s palatial compared to many of my earlier designs. It seems not everyone, much less everyone and their family, is cut out for living in just 100 square feet. This newer design can accommodate pretty much all the amenities you’d expect to find in the average American dwelling:

  • a washer and dryer
  • a stovetop-range with a venting hood
  • a tub and shower
  • 9.85 cubic feet of refrigerator space
  • a microwave
  • a full-sized bed
  • a dishwasher
  • dining for 6
  • 135 cubic-feet of ample storage
  • a twin-sized sofabed

We haven't started taking orders for U-House yet, but you can be the first to know when we do. Sign up below for news and updates.


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