Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Archive for November 2009

Tiny House In The Outback

prefabricated-three-season-porch

Once upon a time, I lived in Australia for a while, the thing that  remember so clearly is how big the country is and how much space is available.  The country is the size of the US, with a population well under 25 million, where 80% of that population lives within 50 miles of the coast, this means that the interior of the continent is very very empty.  There is a strong sense of quasi cowboy feel to being in the outback, where I lived while I was there.  This house not only captures that sense of the rough and tumble of the bush, but is sustainable too.  In an odd way this prefab structure has a turret feel, almost medieval.

prefab shelter

This prefabricated structure is sited in an isolated mountainous of Australia. Sheathed in copper, the 10×10 foot building closes down to protect it from brush fire, as well as precipitation. The project also manipulates the elements by employing passive heating and cooling techniques and a water collection cistern (which provides running water).

This small building is an excellent example of contemporary modernism. Formally, it responds to the environment while maintaining a rigorously simple geometric composition. Responding to building technology methods, economy, and siting issues, the unit is completely prefabricated and installed on the site.

From: Casey Brown Architecture

prefabricated-forest-residence

Water catchment system

Water catchment system

weather-proof-home

A Dialogue Of Hope

So the other night I had just went to see a movie and soon afterwards ran into some other folks from my high school years.  We started talking about what everyone was doing when one of my friends chimed in that he was writing a thesis about New Urbanism.   We started talking about all these issues surrounding this topic: gentrification, neighborhood schools, the need for anchors in the community and how Charlotte, NC has approached the issues surrounding new urbanism.

two houses and shared space

Later we talked about how the Tiny House Movement fits into this notion of urbanism.  My friend noted that when he reads this site, he gets the notion of building the Tiny House in the woods, away from it all.  It’s true, I tend to focus on this, which I am at odds with.  The fact is to truly maximize sustainability in the highly populated world we live in today, we must come together and live in a more dense area.  I know that to truly usher in my way of living, one that is green and ecofriendly, one that is sustainable, one that focuses on local, one that focuses on community I must live in an area that is more densely packed.  The issues of course is how do you live in close proximity to others, while still having room to roam, to connect with nature and ensure a high quality of life.

Today’s urban centers are as my favorite author/speaker  James Kunstler “the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world, you can call it a technosis externality clusterfuck and it’s a tremendous problem for us, the outstanding problem is that there are places no one cares about”.  And that’s the rub, the urban manifestation is a place that no one cares about, that pushes out the poor, the minorities or if that isn’t possible, we turn to the phenomenon of “white flight”.  We talked about how we need to create places that are local, have your anchors (schools, stores, grocery, churches, living, office space and a non-salient parking plan for double the intended capacity), how these need to be with in walking distance to each other, but where you can go to other centers via mass transit that people actually want to ride.  Preferably we want a place where cars aren’t allowed in the main pedestrian areas, so long as you have lots of parking underground that allows the area to be permeable.

Main Street Spring2

As we discussed all these huge issues I realized that this was a really extraordinary event happening, I was in awe!  Each person standing in that circle, talking about these huge issues, these progressive issues, these ideas that I feel will change the world in an impactful way, we were from such wildly different backgrounds.  I am the only self described “eco friendly” person, the others were not a polar opposite, but represented many different sects of society.  I was astonished, not that I think of them as stupid, but that they don’t have a logical reason to know this much about new urbanism and surrounding issues.  That essentially regular people had their finger on the pulse of such progressive and important issues was amazing.

It gave me a glimmer of hope that this dialogue that we were having about new urbanism, environmental issues, sustainability and community/local focus might be happening as a whole with people my age, that this generation, which has been sometimes labeled as useless, might be growing to inspire a new age of responsible and progressive thinking.

ScreenHunter_02 Nov. 21 11.38

Now before I get too excited I took a step back to really look at the group and who we were.  I am seeking a PhD, working for Americorp and running a Tiny House blog, my other friend is a researcher at Duke University, the next girl is a social psychologist pursing her masters at Columbia, finally my friend who is a politician/going to Davidson College, who lost while running for a major office in Charlotte by only 3% at the age of 22 with no money.  These are admittedly not normal people.  But I hope that this dialogue is happening outside of these circles.  That my generation is talking about these issues with their friends, so that when we start taking hold as the baby boomers slip into retirement, that we can usher in a new age of socially and environmentally responsible corporatism in all areas of our lives.

small houses close to each other

Reinventing The Bookshelf For Tiny Houses

Quick post for today, I found this really easy crafty project that you could do which is a neat way to store books in a Tiny House.  Pretty easy to figure out and would be useful to save space if you don’t have allot of books.  Perhaps a good xmas present too!

hanging-book-lesezeichen-magazin-1

Source here

Green Flusher

dual flush

So I promise you this blog isn’t turning into thepottylife.com but I found this and got really excited.  Only as of late have we seen dual flush toilets hit the market in the US.  While these are in most homes in other countries, we have yet to really adopt it, but soon I think we will see a strong demand for these in new homes.  While this technology isn’t new by any standards, I ran into this which I have dubbed “green flusher” that replaces you standard flusher (with some fancier internals) that does the same task.  This type of handle is often seen on more public bathrooms which is to have a much larger impact.

green flusher

For some reason they only targeted Woman’s restrooms, which is silly since there are a good solid portion of men who prefer to pee in stalls, albeit standing up.   Its an interesting idea and would love to see it be required in public/government institutions.

green flusher 2

More here

Awesome Concept Hotel / Tiny House

hotel-in-tree

Found this awesome concept for a hotel that would translate nicely to a Tiny House.  The really neat thing about this is that the skin of the structure is highly reflective so when placed in a forest it reflects the forest and almost blends in.  The skin more specifically is mirrored so it reflects outside, but you can see through it from the inside.  This affords a 360 degree view of the natural surroundings.  The architect says it would be “hung” from the tree, which seems both unrealistic and very high impact on the tree even if it could hold it.  None the less its a great idea!  Check the architect’s firm out here

camouflage-tree-hotel

tree-hotel-design-drawing

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