Healing From the Ground up in a Tiny House

tiny house how to build

A writer and chef with a focus on wellness and sustainability, Erica Nicole Biggers had her dream job in Florida. She was chef at an oceanfront restaurant. Then a dear friend suddenly passed away, and Biggers’ life stopped.

Biggers gave two weeks’ notice at work, put her house in Florida on the market, and moved back to the Savannah, Georgia, area to be near to her parents.

Big plans for a tiny house

Biggers had always loved tiny houses, and that devastating event made her decide to follow her dream and finally build her own on her parents’ rural property.

How tiny? Only 14 feet by 32 feet, or a little less than 450 square feet on the main floor. Two lofts would serve as the “master bedroom” and “guest bedroom,” and a rocking chair porch would complement the indoor living space.

“Life is short. Make it the best it can be and fill it with the most love possible.”

— Erica Nicole Biggers


She wanted a mix of modern and traditional materials, and planned to do much of the work with her parents, “for the memories,” she says. To make it happen, Biggers took a job as sous chef at a nearby restaurant and worked on the tiny house between shifts to document the process and share it on Instagram.

Things to think about for your tiny house

If you’re thinking about building a tiny home, Biggers has advice: Think it through. Focus on how you’re going to live, she says.

For Biggers, she had to consider her knees.

How she’d be crawling—not walking—across the floor in the second-story loft to go to bed. The floor had to be soft.

How Charlie, just a puppy when she started the project in fall 2015, would eventually learn to climb those stairs and share the loft bedroom with her. The floor had to be pet-friendly.

Another piece of advice? Don’t do anything unless it makes you happy, she says.

“Y’all may differ from me, but I wanted the warm-fuzzies,” Erica says about every big—and small—decision she made, from the framed photos on the wall to the STAINMASTER® brand floors on the first floor and second-story lofts. “I had a small budget and needed to be smart with my purchases, so I knew to trust in myself and move forward on what was most important to me.”

A recipe for success

“This may sound crazy, but I went with materials that I felt an emotional pull towards. If it spoke to me, then I chose it,” Biggers says of her decision-making process for the interior of her tiny house.

“I wanted something warm and inviting. I’ve always been drawn to darker wood for floors and loved a rustic, old-barn wood feel. It just felt cozy, and that is exactly what I wanted my tiny house to be from the moment you open the door.”

“First, I turned to my mom and dad. They had a lot of experience in picking out floors and I trusted their opinion,” she says. “I knew the ‘look’ I wanted, but I did not know what I needed aside from that.”

“I knew it had to be puppy-friendly, seeing as Charlie was a new addition to my life, and it had to be allowed in bathrooms,” she says. Biggers also sought advice from people in different stores she visited while checking out her options.

“When I say I looked at a ton of different stores, brands and colors, I truly mean it,” Biggers says of her extensive research. “Between going online and physically in stores I may have looked at virtually every option on the market!”

“I laid everything out—STAINMASTER® and other samples of brands—and STAINMASTER® won in looks. I then did further research on all of the brands and products to make sure I was making a smart decision as well,” she recalls of the process. “Not only did STAINMASTER® win in looks for the carpet and [vinyl] flooring, but it also won in price and quality.”

Earlier this year, Erica and Charlie Biggers moved out of their tiny house. She took a job in Atlanta where she’s working as a wellness coordinator and chef at a medical spa. And Charlie went with.

But building the tiny house helped her heal from the ground up, she says.

Her only regret? That she didn’t build the house on wheels.

As for the tiny house, if these floors could talk, what would they say?

“They have seen sunshine and rain, flip-flops and rain boots, tears and joy, fear and resolve, muddy puppy paws, and a few puppy accidents. (Charlie said he was sorry.) They have seen life as it truly is,” Biggers says.

“They have seen sunshine and rain, flip flops and rain boots, tears and joy, fear and resolve, muddy puppy paws and a few puppy accidents (Charlie said he was sorry), they have seen life as it truly is.”

— Erica Nicole Biggers

For your home, big or small. Get STAINMASTER® brand flooring.

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