Sauvie Island Tiny House

Jessica Helgerson and Yianni Doulis purchased this gem of a tiny house back in 2008 with the intent of living in it full-time with their two small children. The tiny house sits on a five-acres of land on Sauvie Island which is about 15 minutes north of Portland.

The house was remodeled with reclaimed materials and now serves it’s fourth role since it was built in the early 1940′s. The homes original use was to house shipyard workers that worked in the local area. When the area flooded in 1948 the house was floated down river to Sauvie Island where it became a goose-neck station. After that it became a rental house and now a tiny house for four.

Jessica and Yianni’s small home only has a footprint of 540 square feet and has a green roof for added insulation.

The layout of the house is simple and clean and allows lots of light to pour in from the windows that meet with the floor. The sleeping loft accommodates Jessica and Yianni while the children’s room has two bunk beds and a full bed for guests.

The built-in sofas have storage space underneath them to store the children’s toys. The built-in wall behind the sofas is used to store book and other miscellaneous items.

The interior is lined with reclaimed wood siding, the majority of which came from one of the barns that sits on the property.

The children’s room has two bunk beds with storage underneath them and a pull-out closet for easy access to clothes. The room also has a full bed (not pictured) to accommodate guests sleeping over.

Jessica and Yianni have also committed to being mostly self-sufficient with their family’s food. They built a 1,200 greenhouse the first year they moved to the property. Inside they grow vegetables, berries and fruit. They also raise chickens, keep bees and make cheese from the milk of their neighbor’s goats and cows.

Most weekends the couple invites lots of family and friends to their home to enjoy life outside the city for the day or the weekend.

Photos by Lincoln Barbour. If you would like to learn more about Jessica Helgerson’s interior design, you can visit her website at jhinteriordesign.com.

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Category : Blog

33 Comments → “Sauvie Island Tiny House”


  1. Fran Burt

    May 31, 2012

    This is the most beautirul tiny house I have even seen. And to think it was remodeled with all reclaimed wood. If I would have a dream house, your house is it. Everything including paint colors and how you decorated it is what I would do if I had the money. The only thing I would change is the tub. As a senior citizen I think a nice walk-in shower would be perfect. I wish you many happy years in your beautiful home.

    Reply

    • Sheila

      Jun 03, 2012

      This is the most beautiful Tiny House I have seen so far. The setting is so charming and inviting. This is a dream retirement home. Would love to see.

      Reply

  2. Dez Crawford

    May 31, 2012

    Oh, this is a winner.

    Reply

  3. manina schiffl

    May 31, 2012

    ist there a way to get a blueprint, floorplan of this house?
    may want to build one just like it!
    thanks

    Reply

  4. Maria J.

    May 31, 2012

    Congratulations, this home is so well thought out and organized. You appear to be incredible minimalist (of material possessions) and focused on what’s really important.
    I hope you will enjoy for many years to come. Can see you grandkids enjoying it soo.

    Reply

  5. susanna suchak

    May 31, 2012

    I am in love! This is exactly what we have been looking for. Please…plans! Lovely! A real delight as are Jessica and Yianni. Thanks.

    Reply

  6. Krista

    May 31, 2012

    This clearly looks bigger than 540 sq ft…., but I do love it!

    Reply

    • Jen

      Dec 12, 2013

      No, it’s definitely that size. If you look at the exterior picture of the house at the top, you can see the different rooms inside. The kitchen and living area are one big (small) room, and the kids’ room is in the back. Parents sleep up the ladder. They just did a really amazing job with the interior pictures. I love, love, LOVE this house. It’s so perfect, aside from the kitchen table. I’d have a rollaway islandy thing or something. But that’s all I would change. Except for a shower. Must have a shower.

      Reply

  7. Leslie

    May 31, 2012

    I love it, it is so cozy and peaceful! I’m not sure how they manage to make it look peaceful, but it does. and raising their own food and chickens…what a satisfying life that would be! I agree with the others….Plans, Plans, Plans!

    Reply

  8. Ellen

    May 31, 2012

    Absolutely gorgeous and brilliantly designed! Full of charm and character.

    Reply

  9. Kirsten

    May 31, 2012

    THIS IS SO GREAT! I live in Portland I hope they sell this someday… so that I can buy it.

    Reply

  10. Amy Turnbull

    May 31, 2012

    I’m curious how much the land and the house cost and what kind of work the owners do.

    Reply

  11. krystal

    May 31, 2012

    Absolute perfection. Seriously beautiful.

    Reply

  12. Cynthia

    Jun 01, 2012

    I love this!!!!! The layout and design is outstanding!!

    Reply

  13. LHgirl13

    Jun 01, 2012

    I love the bathroom sink. Is it vintage, or does anyone know where to find one?

    Reply

  14. Jay Creighton

    Jun 02, 2012

    Inspirational. Gorgeous. Clever. Like everyone else, I’d love to see the floor plan. Also, nice fridge. I’ve looked into those and found mixed reviews. How do the owners like that refrigerator? Is it reliable? does it use as little energy as claimed? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Merry Lee Corwin

      Oct 20, 2013

      Yes, I noticed the smaller, streamlined refrigerator, too. Would love to get a review…and know the brand and source.

      Reply

  15. Alex Pino

    Jun 02, 2012

    I just think this one is awesome. So perfect and inspiring for young families.

    Reply

  16. Paul

    Jun 02, 2012

    One word: Stunning!

    Reply

  17. MaMammalia

    Jun 02, 2012

    Gorgeous! We live in a 600 sq-foot apt that seems to have less space than this place. Very inspiring!

    Reply

  18. Missy N

    Jan 16, 2013

    Where can we get the plans?!?!? This is an awesome home!

    Reply

  19. Michelle

    Sep 11, 2013

    I want one just like this!!! <3

    Reply

  20. debbie

    Sep 11, 2013

    Thanks for the great pictures and for sharing this wonderful tiny house. Love it!

    Reply

  21. Connie Cunningham

    Sep 11, 2013

    in desperate need of curtains, color and warmth. I dont understand how this white on white on white stuff caught on ever. Torturous to look at and even worse to live in. The psychology & impact of color is totally overlooked. yeeesh.

    Reply

  22. deborah

    Sep 11, 2013

    I never tire of seeing this house and reading about the family. Beautiful! Many peoples dream.

    Reply

  23. Lola

    Sep 11, 2013

    This is a great design. I can see myself living here.

    Reply

  24. Paul

    Sep 11, 2013

    I want to know where the bathtub came from. Really like it a lot!

    Reply

  25. Claudia

    Sep 11, 2013

    I love the house with all its wood accents, and the owners do a great job making full use of every square inch! That said, the kids’ room is so sterile — there’s not a single piece of art on the walls or anything that personalizes their space at all — it’s like they’re temporary visitors in their own home.

    Reply

  26. Monica

    Sep 11, 2013

    Love, love, love it!
    Downsize, and live simply. What Joy!

    Reply

  27. Karen In Sacramento

    Sep 13, 2013

    Very clever use of space and very clean, but the sterility of the living room and (especially) the childrens’ room depresses me. Pictures/art and the occasional curtains make a world of difference in warming up a home.
    It also looks very physically cold. I grew up in the Portland area, and unless the windows and walls of this house are heavily insulated, the damp cold from late Fall to early Spring can be miserable. If that has been handled, a little more detail on it would be nice!

    Reply

  28. David

    Oct 12, 2013

    I guess the kids don’t have toys.

    Reply

  29. May

    Mar 24, 2014

    Very interesting, because she does not live in this house all on it’s own…..She has additional building on the property…one being dedicated as a closet. I am very disappointed because for months I have been following this particular home as well….not so much the home but the idea and come to find out it’s not what we think…They are completely closed off to the idea of giving anyone info. because they themselves do not live entirely out of this home as we all like to think.

    Reply

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