Four Lights Tiny House Company

The Small House Book (paperback)



Would you like to get autographed copies of The Small House Book and Jay Shafer's DIY Book of Backyard Sheds and Tiny Houses while making progress towards the Tiny House Movement?! Please visit the Tiny Houses For Humanity Fundraising Campaign and make a donation today.  For a limited time we are offering books, housing plans, and more, to donations $25 and up.

The Small House Book has served as the starting point for thousands of tiny house builders and provided a treasure trove of inspiration and information for countless more.
Renowned tiny house designer Jay Shafer takes us on a captivating journey through the world of tiny houses. His extraordinary story begins in 1997 with the dilapidated Airstream trailer that he gutted and rehabilitated, and carries us across America and into the present day, where his house designs have sparked a national movement.

“A monument to life pared to its essence”

– Dan Weeks, Living Room

Jay weaves his own narrative though a treatise on tiny house living and the history and economics of living small. Inside these 220 full-color pages, we explore the heart of the movement through photographs of Jay’s favorite houses and communities across North America. And that's just the beginning... The Small House Book contains a treasure trove of practical information for the tiny house builder, including a photo-illustrated step-by-step overview of how to build your own top-quality portable tiny house.



“The prize for efficient use of space goes to designer, Jay Shafer.”

– Lisa Davis, This Old House


Here's a sample of what's in store for you:

  • 150 gorgeous full-color photographs
  • Jay Shafer’s 7 Organizing Principles
  • 46 Essentials of Efficient Design
  • How to build a house with 14 common tools
  • How to mount a house on a trailer
  • Which building materials are best for tiny houses
  • Heating and cooling solutions for extreme climates
  • How to beat building codes and zoning restrictions that prohibit tiny houses
  • 23 profiles of Jay’s beautiful house designs, including floor plans And much more...


The real estate collapse and subsequent economic downturn left many people rethinking their ideas about what the word “home” means. The average price of a house in the United States is an alarming $244,000, and at 2,300 square feet, emits 18 tons of greenhouse gasses annually—increasing deforestation and fossil fuel consumption, and perpetuating our dependence on foreign oil. The prospect of being tied to a mortgage for life while paying dearly for more home than we can afford—or even justify—has made the “American Dream” less desirable than ever.


A grassroots movement towards smaller houses and simpler living is taking root in America and beyond. People everywhere are trading in their stress and sense of disempowerment for the freedom and simplicity that smaller living affords.
Whether you’re ready to build your own tiny house now, or you just want to learn valuable tips about how to downsize your belongings and simplify your life, this book is a veritable goldmine of information and inspiration.


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    If you are unhappy with the paperback version of Jay Shafer's Small House Book, please return the book within 30 days of purchase, and we'll refund your full purchase price. Read our full return policy here.

      Jay ShaferJay Shafer is leading a movement that is changing the way America views housing. In his Small House Book, his workshops and through mass media, Shafer explains how superior design and social justice can be achieved with less space. As the founder of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Four Lights Tiny House Company, he has introduced us to a truly sustainable housing option. Shafer has spent over a decade living in self-built homes of less than one hundred square feet. His tiny house designs have been featured on Oprah, CBS, CNN, AOL, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Yahoo. His Beavan tiny house design was selected as the "Editor's Choice" winner at MAKE Magazine's New York 2011 Maker Faire.  
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