While her friends may have longed to live in a mansion or pined away for a palace, Toni Shelton had a big dream of her own: a tiny house.
Inspired by such TV shows as “Tiny House Nation” and HGTV’s “Tiny House Hunters,” Shelton got in touch with one of the reality show contractors and hired him to build her “tiny dream house.”
“I designed it and had it built. It’s got a bedroom on the first level and a washer, stove, oven, hardwood floors and a barn door for my bathroom,” said the Canyon Country resident. “I have the tiniest house on wheels.”
At the moment, Shelton’s tiny house is without a home. It sits on a trailer in a storage unit until she finds a piece of land to rent where she can place her house and live in it.
Now that her four children are grown – her youngest, Carl, graduates from Canyon High School in a few months – she decided to move forward with the home she had saved her money to build.
“They didn’t believe me. They said, ‘Mom, you’re crazy,’” Shelton recalled.
The whole experience was brand new territory, and she wasn’t sure how to even begin, so she turned to her computer.
“I started doing some research online to find a builder. I saw a builder on HGTV and I was in awe of his work,” she said. “You could tell he put a lot of love in his work. It was like love at first sight. He was detail-oriented – from the wood to the light fixtures, to the flooring. I thought, ‘I’ve got to call him, I’ve got to call him.’”
That’s just what she did. Shelton contacted Doug Schroeder at Timbercraft Tiny Homes in Guntersville, Alabama. And though he was booked up, she got on his list and gave him a deposit.
The website for Timbercraft Tiny Homes reminds you why you might consider a house like Shelton’s, especially with taglines like: “Downsized living is all about making time for things that matter.”
The company customizes the tiny houses, taking 8-10 weeks for construction following the design phase. They also build bumper pull trailers from 16-28 feet long for hauling the houses, and customers have access to gooseneck trailers for up to 39 feet in length.
When Shelton heard it was built and ready to be picked up, she had a friend from Chicago fly in to drive with her to Alabama to get her new house – a 4,500-mile trip in less than three days. They hurried, because her friend had to return to work.
When Shelton first laid eyes on the house, she actually thought it looked large. It is 8 ½ feet by 24 feet, weighs 14,000 pounds and has two levels.
“We got stopped along the way, people were pulling to the side of us, following us, stalking us – it was like that the whole way,” she said.
That part of the adventure is over, and since November the house has been in storage.
“I’m still in awe of it,” she said. “I go and visit it like it’s a family member.”
It sleeps 5-8 people tightly, and when she moves in she will be downsizing quite a bit. Shelton will be moving from a 3-bedroom, 3-bath house to her 192-square-foot custom home. Luckily, she designed it with a lot of built-in storage, mostly for her shoes, clothes and photos, she said.
Shelton’s children live in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but she is established here in Canyon Country. Shelton moved here because she had a friend who “lived in the area and loved it,” she said. “It’s family-oriented and safe for children.”
She has her own event planning/promotions/photography business. Shelton is also a prolific formal model, who has appeared in everything from billboards to music videos.
Right now, however, her attention is fixed on one appearance: finding the perfect home for her new house.
If you have some land available for rent, contact Toni Shelton by emailing Tsprodhouse@gmail.com.