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Archive for October 2009

EXO HOUSE

Last week I wrote about the Katrina Cottages, which where used to help address the need for housing after Hurricane Katrina. I then found this designer who talks about how FEMA addressed housing need before these where built. We used camper trailers, according to this article:

102,000 travel trailers and mobile homes that FEMA purchased after Hurricane Katrina. The price tag for the trailers was more than $2.6 billion, according to FEMA. Despite their cost of about $15,000 each

FEMA later sold those trailers for $1-$2, yes, one to two dollars each!  Anyway, this designer thought there had to be a better way and putting aside the fact that FEMA should have thought of this before, here is what he came up with.

The EXO House is a temporary structure used to house refugees and disaster victims quickly for much less than $15k.  I was thinking what could we achieve with these for homeless folks?!?!

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Water Water Everywhere….?


House Trucks

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We have had several readers write in about house trucks, which isn’t a new concept by any means, but perhaps a precursor to tiny houses?  They have a certain charm to them that RV’s lack and makes me think of gypsies for some reason.  Anyway, there is some romantic appeal to them that I can’t put my finger on but regardless they represent a subculture in the Tiny House Community.

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Reprinted: Here

The Morisons exhibited their self-sufficient wooden house-truck, customized from a decommissioned fire engine and containing, next to a stove and pot plants, a library of apocalypse-themed fiction. Tales of Space and Time, as it was called, embodied a jauntily over-optimistic attitude to surviving the end of the world, simultaneously mocking the ‘art will save us all’ attitude of some contemporary civic reformists. Art won’t save Folkestone. I hope something does though – something real, something solid.
Jonathan Griffin, Folkestone Triennial, Frieze, Issue 117 September 2008

Ivan Morison: What made you build your first truck?


Roger Beck: The first one I call my escape vehicle! I grew up in LA, a metropolitan, screwy city. And so it just got to the point where I just had to get out. So I left a whole bunch of stuff I didn’t want to get rid of at my parent’s house and got into my first house car and headed north. I couldn’t head south ’cause I had long hair and didn’t want to cross the Mexican border; I couldn’t go any further west; the east coast was nothing more than big cities to me and so I decided to go to Canada!


So, it was my escape route. I got to Oregon and then I did a stupid thing. Me and a friend ripped a tape deck out of a logging truck and I was arrested the same day and I was put on five-years probation. And in those five years I built my second house-truck that had a lot of problems. I drove it to California again to see my parents and my father and I built my third truck. He really helped me build a house on the back of a truck. I travelled most of my travels in that one.


I had the idiosyncrasy of trying to distinguish myself as a New Age American Gypsy and not a hippy living in a school bus with a bunch of mattresses in the back. That’s not a house-truck, that’s because you’re homeless and you can’t afford to live in an apartment, which you’d prefer to do. I had no desire to live in a house. I had my house; it was just on wheels.

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Ivan: Was there anyone doing this before you in America?


Roger: For me, when you think about house trucks you’ve got to go back to the depression. People were living in rigs because they couldn’t afford to live anywhere else.

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Katrina House

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I have seen these around, they are sort of similar to shot-gun style houses, which I have toyed with as an option.  This model is 308 square feet and can be built very quickly.  They were used in Katrina to rebuild or simply start from scratch,  some neighborhoods.   I like the simplicity of it and yet they are very attractive looking.  Here is what Lowe’s has to say about them:

Originally designed as a dignified alternative to the FEMA trailer, the Katrina Cottage has evolved into a nationwide sensation that is finding popularity as affordable housing, guesthouses, resorts and camps. Marianne Cusato and a team of designer have partnered with Lowe’s to bring the Katrina Cottages to market at plans and material packages. Cottages in the Lowe’s series range from 308 ft. up to 1800 sq. ft. Several of the cottages have grow options that allow the smaller cottages to be expanded over time.

The construction time of a Katrina Cottage is dependant on the style and type of cottage being built. A cottage can be done in as little as 6 weeks, but variables, such as weather, may come into play. Always talk with your contractor when working out build timelines.

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check it out here

Tiny Hotel

Many of us have heard, seen or been in the Tiny hotel rooms of Japan.   They are basically just a 10x5x5 cube that you can rent for $45, which is a steal for Japan.  I found this Tiny Hotel to me a bit more aesthetically pleasing.  This is a single room in Germany.

I have once been in one similar in Austria, it was amazingly comfortable and had its own bathroom and shower! A little tip for when you are traveling and trying to save a a few Euros;  The bathroom is considered a luxury and you can ask if they have rooms without bathrooms, this will save you about 10 to 25 Euros!  The downside is of course that you have to shave a bathroom down the hall, but its worth it.  Of course there are hostels too, which I highly recommend, but do your research.   Anyway, back to the Tiny Hotel, check out this room and compare it to one you would find in America.

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