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Mark’s Alaskan Tiny House: Designed to be Eco-Friendly

Mark’s Alaskan Tiny House: Designed to be Eco-Friendly

Mark Wipfli designed and built the Midnight Sun Tiny House on his property in Fairbanks, Alaska, after realizing he wanted to downsize from his log cabin. He now lives in his tiny abode and rents his log cabin on AirBNB. Also on the property: a vegetable garden, green house, pottery studio, hot tub, garage and chicken coop. Not a bad way to live!

We met Mark at the Portland Tiny House Conference earlier this year. He invited us to come check out his tiny home when we’re in the area. Well, we’re in Alaska! And guess what?!? We filmed the tiny house tour to share with all of you:

Mark insulated his tiny home to withstand the harsh 150 degree temperature differential between Fairbank’s summer and winter seasons. Last winter he was able to heat his minuscule home with only a standard electric space heater. In the summer, he relies on his shady parking spot and cross breeze to keep the space cool. So far, he has no complaints!

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Could the Midnight Sun Tiny House be the most northern tiny house?

We think it’s possible! We towed our tiny house to the Arctic Circle and took the title for one single day, but Mark lives in his northern tiny abode year round. We’re giving him the official title until it’s contested. Go ahead… prove us wrong.

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The Midnight Sun Tiny House flaunts a modern esthetic, emphasized with a mixture of exterior siding – correlated steel, painted exterior plywood and cedar. Mark reduces clutter inside his tiny home by storing the majority of his belongings in his pottery studio and garage, which is also where he pulls electricity. Although the house is not completely finished, Mark has been residing in the space for the past 8 months and plans to finish the plumbing and interior trim by this fall.

Other features of Midnight Sun Tiny House:

  • Detachable porch
  • Rainwater catchment system
  • Manufactured Composting Toilet
  • Custom iPad holder above loft bedroom

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What is your favorite part of Mark’s Midnight Sun Tiny House? 

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  1. November 28, 2015 / 11:08 am

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if there was an update on Mark’s build? I am immensely interested in his solution for his shower pan (plywood box, marine epoxied inside and out) as it would provide me an affordable and DIY solution to my odd sized shower in my own Tiny House (I am mid-build). Has he used the shower yet? Is it holding water?

    I love the painted canvas blocks of colour for his walls, and the varnished plywood countertop solution (lightweight and beautiful). Such creativity.

    Thank you for making the video and thanks to Mark for sharing his home with us. Very inspirational.

    • November 28, 2015 / 3:05 pm

      Unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything from him. We were only in Fairbanks at the time of the video. We’d love to do an updated tour but have no idea when that could happen.

  2. September 13, 2015 / 9:07 am

    I would love to visit your beautiful home. I have begun my journey twords tiny living and was suprised to see the movement has already hit Fairbanks. I understand you dont really do tours but, i was hoping you might open your home to a very enthusiased local.

  3. Gail
    August 6, 2015 / 4:50 pm

    Hi J & G,

    I wish I had read this before I bought my copy of The Humanure Handbook this week! I’ll remember next Amazon order to help you two out. Thanks to Salies for the recommendation.

    I have a question for Mark about his tiny. What is the total weight? I am in the first stages of building on a 20′ trailer, and am worried about exceeding the weight max. Thanks!

    • August 6, 2015 / 5:43 pm

      Ha, thanks for the thought at least 🙂
      Mark hasn’t weighed his house yet, but he’s confident it won’t be all that heavy. It is critical that you think about the weight especially if you plan on towing. Our house is on the heavy side. It’s a 20′ customized Tumbleweed cypress and weighs just over 10,000lbs fully loaded. That’s a lot of stress on a trailer. If you use common house construction but use cedar for siding and such, you can estimate about 400lbs per foot.

      • Gail
        August 7, 2015 / 12:09 pm

        Thanks for the info. We have a truck stop close by our house, and I was actually thinking of buying my materials, laying them on the flatbed trailer, and towing it onto the scales for a true weight. I may still do that. 🙂

      • Scott
        August 28, 2015 / 8:57 pm

        What is the weight limit for a tiny house?

      • August 28, 2015 / 11:25 pm

        As long as it’s within the trailer’s capacity, there is not real limit.

  4. Louise Catherine
    August 6, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    Curious, From the time Tiny House, Big Journey began, how much gasoline has been used? And there still more miles to go. Just trying to figure out the cost of making a trip myself. How much do you figure the entire trip will be? I hope to be able to do it.

    • August 6, 2015 / 12:56 pm

      We’ll probably do a post about that when we are done in a couple months. But short answer: not cheap. It all depends on where you stay and how much you drive. We get about 9mpg at 50mph so you can figure out how much it’d cost you in gas per month based on how many miles you’d drive

  5. Louise Catherine
    August 6, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Some of us would love to have a tiny house to live in because we dont have our own home.Then he has the huge log home that he rents out next to his tiny house?Where does he really live and shower? and eat? He’s not living in his tiny house. Must be a hobby.
    Seems like a nice guy though.

    • August 6, 2015 / 12:37 pm

      His house isn’t entirely finished, yet he spends most of his nights in it. The plumbing isn’t done so he can’t shower or cook in there yet. But his plan is to do so. His other house is rented more often than not so he doesn’t have a choice. I don’t think it’s a hobby.

  6. August 5, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    I love how quirky and unique his house is! I actually am a huge fan of how many windows he fit in, and the interior colors are just so fun. Kudoos to him for surviving without air conditioning- I couldn’t imagine being content without it!

    • August 9, 2015 / 8:22 pm

      Air conditioning isn’t typically a concern in Fairbanks… we don’t get many days above 80 in town (though every few years we’ll get a stretch of high-80s to mid-90s and we all gripe about it,) and it looks like he’s out in the hills where it’s cooler. Open windows, a fan, and a cool glass of water are (usually) enough.

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