Tiny Houses

2 April 2014

Welcome to cityLAB’s Tiny Houses blog. We’re going to be writing here regularly, using this blog as a journal to document the construction of a Tiny House in Garfield, a neighborhood in the heart of Pittsburgh’s East End, full of promise and, unfortunately, vacant lots.

Late last year, when we held the Tiny Houses brainstorming session, we heard that people were not all that concerned with the design of their Tiny Houses. What were they worried about? Everything else: how to find and buy the land on which to build a Tiny House, how to navigate zoning and permitting, how to prepare the land for a house, how to build (with or without a contractor) and how to finance the construction of a Tiny House. So we decided to change our approach. Our goal is to lower the barriers to entry for potential Tiny House builders in Garfield. We are going to do that by showing you how to build a Tiny House in Garfield.

We are firm believers in doing, and so cityLAB decided, with the help of our friends at the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation, to build a Tiny House in Garfield and document everything that happens along the way. We’ll be posting new journal entries about once a week—so watch this space! And do let us know what you think in the comments or by writing us at info@citylabpgh.org.


  1. I agree designing and building aren’t barriers as much as how to find and buy land (loans/financing…) on which to build, how to navigate zoning and permitting (especially for owner-builders of natural home like straw-bale), how to prepare the land for construction, and how to finance construction.
    Also, rather than a tiny house, I’m more interested in building a small house (i.e. 600-1200 sq.ft.) for two.
    Would love to talk with anyone who can offer information (for example, though straw-bale construction of one-two family dwellings has been integrated into national building codes, it appears PA is resisting state-wide adoption; perhaps Pgh has/could integrate straw-bale in our area independent of the state?…) or, even, who’d be interested in brainstorming/researching with me about this.

  2. I look forward to reading your regular updates. Best of Luck!

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