Randi and Cody Hennigan know firsthand the meaning of DIY. Since March 2015, the Richardson couple have been building their own tiny home. Sawing, sanding and wielding power tools, they have painstakingly constructed the 170-square-foot miniature residence.
The versatile house has been a longtime dream of the couple. Seasoned adventurers who love the outdoors, the couple saw the house as the next step toward their vision of living an independent, sustainable lifestyle.
“Sustainability was our foothold into this. It was all about paying attention to our footprint,” says Cody, manager of the claims department of a nonprofit benefits company.
At their 1,400-square-foot conventional home, the Hennigans practice what they preach. The couple have five backyard chickens and grow much of their food. On vacations they enjoy hiking, fishing, bird-watching and camping, yet their careers have left them with little time to enjoy nature.
“We started talking about our life’s plan and where do we want to be. We wanted to spend more time together outdoors,” says Randi, a couples’ therapist and professor.
The tiny house, they realized, would allow them the mobility and flexibility they sought, reduce their footprint and decrease their need for income. It was the perfect alternative to their traditional home and routine.
From the trailer up
Beginning with a 20-foot by 8-foot utility trailer from Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, the couple started building from the flatbed up. They originally began building in the shopping center where Gecko Hardware is located in Garland, but eventually had to move to the parking lot at Lakewood Brewing Co. in Garland.
The project was complicated, and although a skilled handyman, Cody knew additional expertise was needed to guide them through the building process.
Andrea Rideout of Gecko Hardware introduced the Hennigans to Don Ferrier, president of Ferrier Custom Homes, Fort Worth. Ferrier specializes in building green, energy-efficient homes.
“He was our consultant on how to use sustainable materials and how to use SIPs [structural insulated panels]. He was good about what special materials to use, how to build and how to put things together,” says Cody, 34.
Walls were constructed of panels from Fischer SIPs; they are twin structural facings with an insulating foam core. The panels created a strong, energy-efficient frame.
The design of the interior space came next but transitioned throughout the construction process as the Hennigans assessed their needs. Two areas were defined as priorities from the start, however.
“We were thinking about how you use a home. We wanted a lounge area with an L-shaped sofa, and we had to dedicate space for our record player. The sustainability aspect was a given,” says Randi, 33.