I think we can all appreciate Johnny Sanphillippo’s situation, he worked hard at a job he loved that unfortunately didn’t net him a large salary, of course if you were to ask him, I’m sure he would tell you that money isn’t the most important thing in the world, not something to run after at all costs.
Johnny cleaned houses, he painted homes and gardened for a living, he lived in California, there was no way he was going to be able to qualify for a mortgage on a home of his own, something he really wanted. He decided that going small would be the best thing for him, he purchased a lot in Hawaii and began working toward building a small home, one that he could afford, and one that allow him to retire later on without having to worry about having a pension or major money coming in.
He did run into some snags with the building inspectors and planners, they wanted him to build big, he wanted to build small, so he designed a larger home with a detached 2 car garage, he built the garage, after getting that signed off on, he told them he was not going to build the house, apparently that worked out for him, I suspect it was a matter of more relaxed codes and such, I know there are other places in the USA mainland where that wouldn’t work, to do this and get away with it, you need to be someplace where the codes are more relaxed, preferably where there are few building codes, rural, with neighbors who mind their own business.
He has had some issues with things like his outdoor shower, not the shower itself but the inspector not wanting to sign off on it, they would give ridiculous reasons like he couldn’t allow the “raw sewage” (warm soapy water) to flow out into the “environment” (his back yard), so he plumbed it into the legal septic, next they told him he couldn’t have rain water flowing into the septic, so he installed a roof, now they considered it a separate dwelling and that place could only be a single dwelling….. his neighbor gave him a suggestion to change the “name” of the shower to a hose bib, with no roof and closing up the drain, that was accepted by the inspector. Now this created another snafu, the home was in violation because it didn’t have a shower!
Johnny has managed to get through this and many more oppositions from the local government, hopefully he will be able to retire there and not have to worry about any more intrusions.
Here is a video interview about Johnny and his tiny home, enjoy!
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
Leave a Reply