TurtleHomes: Living Space You Can Take On The Road

TurtleHomes: Living Space You Can Take On The Road

Rachel Dauby

What does a traveling home that is space, cost, and energy efficient, look like? 

Affordable, energy-efficient housing for traveling work is difficult to find. The goal of this project is to design an organized, modern, two-to-three occupant house trailer that can be bought and owned by any person who travels on the road frequently, whether their occupation be construction worker, circus performer, or explorer.

People in this demographic would benefit from this tiny home because costs of RVs are upwards of $40,000 and are not energy efficient. The cost of the tiny home should be less than $20,000 base price, and should include rooftop solar panels and a composting toilet system. The interior design should be modern and walls light-colored so as to create a sense of organization and cleanliness within the small space.

Inspiration for this trailer home comes from design ideas such as repurposed shipping containers, capsule hotels, and cottage living. Based in wood and covered in metal or another sturdy exterior, the trailer should also be weather-resistant and sturdy in order to encompass all possible situations. Other materials used in the home’s construction should be sturdy and long-lasting, with the aspiration that the home will be used for decades to come.

If possible, the home should be constructed and furbished using recycled materials so as to save energy and money, such as used shipping containers, recycled wood or metal, and pre-owned appliances.



TurtleHome’s Building Requirements: 

Weatherproof: The tiny home may be exposed to all of the elements, so it will have to be completely weather-proof and well-insulated.

Off-Road: The home should be able to connect to utilities (if staying in an RV park of sorts) or disconnect for up to a week. These connections should be supplemented by solar panels to save energy.

Unassuming: The house will not be too outstanding in color or size so as to fit in any situation, as well as having low noise levels to not disrupt others in nearby areas. 

Versatile: The home can be towed anywhere, which leaves the adventuring to the owners!

Cost of a TurtleHome:

Materials for a TurtleHome cost about $13,000-$15,000. The homes can be built at about this price without major labor costs. If the user is a capable handy-person, the home can absolutely be built by them.

Breakdown of Costs:

  • Building Materials: 
    • Roof: Corrugated Steel ($200)
    • Walls: Oriented Strand Board ($600); Lumber ($300)
    • Insulation: ($400)
    • Paint: Indoor ($200); Outdoor ($200)
  • Tools:
    • Painting tools: ($100)
    • Power Tools: Chopsaw ($200); Tablesaw ($200); Nailer ($100)
  • Utilities:
    • Water: Piping ($200); Tanks ($250); Composting Toilet ($950)
    • Electricity: Wiring ($200); Generator and Solar Panels ($2,000)
  • Accoutrements:
    • Food Storage: Refrigerator ($200); Freezer ($200)
    • Cooking: Microwave ($100); Stove ($300)
    • Water: Shower ($200); Sink ($300)
    • Storage: Kitchen Cabinets ($300); Other Storage ($300)
    • Bedding: Mattress ($200)
    • Lighting: ($300)
    • Windows: Accordion Window ($300); Front Window ($100); Skylight ($150); Back ($100)
    • Home Decor: Countertops ($200);
  • Other:
    • Trailer: ($4,000)


Energy Efficiency:

Because one of my main goals for this design is to create something energy efficient. In lieu of this goal, the TurtleHome uses a composting toilet (to save electricity), and a solar power generator. Their designs are below:


Nature’s Head Composting Toilet & Goal Zero: Yeti 1250 Solar Generator:





TurtleHome Floor Plans:


Final Designs:


Side View: The front door, roof-mounted solar panels, front kitchen window, and trailer hitch.

Top View: Bed (right), water tank (left), removable ladder

Not Pictured: Skylight




Back: tiled shower, bathroom

Interior: Kitchen, Hallway, Bar

Not Pictured: Fold-out couch under indoor countertop, food storage


A Quick Poll: 

(click to scroll)





Made with Padlet


Share this project
  1. April 27, 2018 by Hanalie.Reichel

    WOW RACHEL!!! What an interesting concept that would help so many!! I lovely page filled with great images and a very straightforward idea that I absolutlley love. Great job!!

  2. April 27, 2018 by Caroline Kim

    This is so thought out Rachel! It looks like you have spent a lot of time and effort planning this out and your design and ideas have really come together! I can see this type of housing being very desirable by people looking to live in a tiny house because of its efficiency and low-cost point. Your page had wonderful visuals and it was super easy to follow. Overall a great project

  3. April 27, 2018 by Tara Crymble

    I really enjoyed reading this 🙂 I’ve watched various TV shows about tiny living, and it’s always intrigued me. The visuals within your project were very clean, professional, and easy to understand. I also liked variety of videos to watch! Lovely job.

  4. April 27, 2018 by John.Shrewsberry

    I love that you have already fully designed your solution and have mapped out the efficiency of this form of housing. I also really like how you mapped out exact pricing and other aspects of this awesome idea!

  5. April 27, 2018 by Arman.Ozgen

    I think the addition of Solar panels was a good idea, because many of the homes that I see do not have solar panels on the. Cool idea!

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