Kristie Wolfe spent $5000 to build herself a tiny home on wheels in her hometown of Pocatello, Idaho. It started off as a yearlong experiment in simple living, but she liked it so much she decided to keep living small, not only in Idaho, but she began looking for land to build a tiny vacation home.
She bought a plot of land in Hawaii sight-unseen for $8000. A year later she bought a plane ticket, packed her bags full of tools and with the help of her mother, began to build a bamboo “treehouse” that to fit the surrounding jungle (though rather than using trees for support, she built it on stilts). After two months of building every day “from dawn to dusk” and an $11,000 investment, she had a second home.
For Wolfe, the fact that it’s small- 15’ by 15’ or 225 square feet- is an asset. “My original house was 97 square feet so that was really tiny so this feels huge… I think small homes are beautiful because it fits with my lifestyle. I think having a lot of stuff mentally weighs you down even in ways that you don’t realize.”
Building her own home meant that Kristie was able to design everything custom: from a toilet-sink to save water (she’s not only off-grid, but she relies on rainwater capture for water) to an indoor/outdoor shower with cork-bark tiling. Whether she ever moves here permanently or simply moves on to building yet another home, she now knows she can build her own shelter.

Filming credit: Ivan Nanney –

Kristie’s blog:

Original story:

41 Replies to “Building your own Hawaii minimal house for a vacation's cost”

  1. I like how this girl always makes it sound like she’s on a budget but yet she always has the money to build all these different cool structures with her mom- sorry but you know working my ass off out here and it would be nice to have those resources and be able to build your little dreams on a budget- Where they get the property? not that a lot of haulis don’t have property in Hawaii

  2. Details she put into the design and functionality are amazing with such a simple result. I to love the second floor as I’ve learned to love the view and different perspective on looking beyond ground floor views. Great use of utilities which can be daunting to construct. One thing I’d change if permitted would be stair ladder. I’ve learned to love two tier stairs with a mid landing and longer run. Makes for the climb more accessible with full hands. Amazing!

  3. OMG. I think I'm in love. Yes she is gorgeous and has an amazing figure/physique. But what matters most is her intellect, ingenuity, industriousness, and creativity (and sense of humor we didn't get to see). Her place is amazing and actually livable. She chose one of the two best islands [imo] to build on (Hawaii and Kauai). And not that she would necessarily ever sell it, but she created a value added "homestead" that could probably sell for $200K or more. She could probably start a business doing this (or designing for people).

  4. really nice, thanks for sharing. I would love to have more detail about your construction process (foundations of the building, designing the structure, finding a piece of land, etc.)

  5. I’m planning on doing this on Big Island. Do you have any theft or security issues? Especially when you go away for awhile? What area of Big Island do you recommend? I’m on a budget but I’d buy a piece of lava at this point just to get started. Loved this video, mahalo for sharing. 🌺🤙🏽

  6. She's amazing Builder and Shiva invented the Peaks like they do in Hawaii for ventilation you know cuz it how to get through a hot there so he have to have air coming through it

  7. You can build a nice house out of shipping containers there cheap to buy in Hawaii and their real storm proof they're strong you put about three of them together in odd ways and you have a real nice voice

  8. Does anybody know the legalities of this kind of thing in hawaii? I've been looking into doing something like this (which is how I found the video) and have had a hard time finding out size requirements for permits. I personally wouldn't mind living in a small space like this but I'm not sure my wife would like it. I'm thinking something along the lines of 25×25 feet instead. But u sure if that falls within the non-permitted area.

  9. Brilliant. So creative; the integration of form and function is outstanding. I also adore your Oregon Hobbit house. It'd be a blast to work on such projects.

  10. OK so there were no footers. She obviously doesn’t understand weight loads. My guess is the first mini hurricane or strong winds combined with a rainy environment, no insurance, toothpick construction. This thing look like it could probably tip over and be gone. This is why people should not run with their “dreams” she is not an architect. I admire the effort but the thing is the structural nightmare.

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