Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Archive for March 2013

Asheville Tiny House

A few years ago I met Rhodes Waite when we attended a tiny house group talk hosted at a Permaculture gathering. She was in the beginning stages of designing her own tiny house. We fell out of touch but just recently ran in to each other at Yestermorrow Design and Build School in Vermont. She happened to be at the school for a week-long tiny house design workshop and I was there on a work-study for Permaculture design! It was great to catch up and hear about what she was learning in the class and see her completed tiny house. Below are pictures of her home in Asheville, North Carolina and her thoughts on tiny living and the workshop she took at Yestermorrow.

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How do you power your tiny house?

 It is wired just like a “normal” house, 12/20 wiring and a small breaker box.  I have a female recessed outlet in the exterior wall that an extension cord plugs right into.  So I run it to the house who’s yard I’m in.  I set it up so that an inverter and solar panel could be added in the future, but for now it’s on the grid, so to speak. Electric bill runs $5-$10 a month.

What is the biggest challenge for you living in a tiny house?

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This is probably the hardest question you asked, as nothing comes to mind right away. Hmmm…it’s probably that I haven’t been settled in one location long enough to really feel stable as I’d like to. That’s more of a life circumstance and choice thing than a tiny house thing, but ideally I’d like to live in a tiny house in one location (I’ve moved it twice in 6 months). Other than that there aren’t really any challenges. I find myself wanting more space sometimes just to be able to stack a few boxes or get into projects, but it’s not a big deal.

What are some of the advantages?

 I love it, I love it, I love it!!!!  I have no mortgage or rent (just a tiny tiny house payment), and I own my house! Wherever I go my space stays the same, and it’s an amazing space.  It feels so good to live so small, because it doesn’t feel small at all.  The title of the class I just took at Yestermorrow sums it up well…”Less is More”!  There’s really not a way to describe the feeling of lightness and freedom that comes with simplifying one’s life. I love knowing where everything is all the time. I love being able to clean my

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entire house in 5 minutes. I love feeling so connected to the resources I use and don’t use to live my life and power my house.  I love the simplicity of where my “wastes” go…to the backyard. I love the life and character my home holds, it feels great.  I love everything being within arms reach.I love the coziness. I love loving where I live.

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Outdoor Showers

Here in Charlotte, NC things have been warming up, while many places are getting snowed on, we have already had several days in the 70′s.  So naturally I start to begin thinking about my garden and we have been looking for some chickens to add to our urban flock.  Along with all these spring activities I began to think about some projects that I’d like to do once my house is all finished.

One of the ones I’d like to do is an outdoor shower!  I should note that there are very few things that I like better than a shower, I do my best thinking in the shower.  A while back I got turned onto these when I was working in a remote location and after a long day of work, I had no shower, so I had to build one.  I cobbled together a makeshift shower out of some hose and a garden watering wand and it was magical!

The other really awesome thing about outdoor showers is that you it is warm enough that you can tap into solar water heating using only a black hose.  These can be as simple as post connected to a garden hose or very elaborate.

Don’t forget to consider how and where you water will drain and the soaps/shampoos you use (biodegradable).

Here is a PDF for an Outdoor-Shower-Plan

here are some design ideas, I’ll post mine when I build it.

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Outdoor Shower Made from a Viaduct

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Bunkie

Today we have a pretty neat small house that comes to us from Bunkie Co.  I find this house really interesting in many ways, first off its form is that of a iconic house, almost in a cartoon figure way.  Second most of it is CNC plywood, meaning its a inexpensive material that is cut with computer guided machine, so it can be rapidly made with great precision.

One really cool feature of this house – and I almost missed this – on the second photo you can see it actually have two Murphy beds.

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Spinning Some Tiny Tunes

To build off of Andrea’s most excellent suggestions for entertaining in/around a tiny house, I’ve been thinking about my personal Tiny House Playlist. And since I’m still knee-deep in creating the time-lapse video of our floor build, I wanted to do something fun here in the meantime.

Here’s my anthem for building and living in a tiny house. Old Man Luedecke is an amazing blue grass banjo player and songwriter, and I highly recommend his music if you like that sort of thing, but all of us can identify with the message in this particular song, “I Quit My Job,” even if you happen to like your job right now.

Also, I like to think about how a place can affect your state of mind, like “Up On The Roof.” I’m partial to the Drifters’ version rather than James Taylor.

Alan suggested Less Than Jake’s “Science of Selling Yourself Short,” mainly for the ska-like vibe. Plus, I think he knows what a klutz I am (“my own worst enemy…”).

He also said, when he’s building on the house, he likes to go old-school. A little Led Zeppelin, perhaps?

Is he saying he’s building by himself too much, or that he likes to build by himself? Am I psychoanalyzing his song choice? Yes, yes I am, poor guy.

I would love to make a full official playlist for us here at The Tiny Life so…

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Your Turn!

  • Spit it out, what are your Tiny House Songs?
  • Which artists/songs represent the freedom of tiny living, or the fun/trials of tiny building to you?

How to entertain, the tiny life way!

Ever since I was little, I loved to throw a party! As a kid I thought, who doesn’t want to come over, swim in the pool, listen to music and sip koolaid? Now it’s more like who doesn’t want to hang out, listen to music, eat delicious food and drink beer? Since living in a tiny house our parties have gone from large affairs to more intimate gatherings and it has been a big adjustment. I’ve definitely got some tips and tricks though for those of you out there trying to figure out the entertainment aspects of living the tiny life!

bouncy castleTip #1: Get creative! We had a Halloween party one year and it was a cold one (for Charleston). So what did we do? We built a bonfire, invited friends with marshmallows, rented a jump castle and stocked a cooler full of beverages! Talk about immediate outdoor entertainment! Sometimes, the trick to partying the tiny life way is to keep everyone out of doors. This is really easy in the summer when the weather is great but what about when it’s chillier? Cedric has a winter birthday so we have to come up with alternatives. Perhaps an ice skating party or snowman building contest! It’s all about how you can creatively use your outdoor space. Another great trick is follow local outdoor customs. We got a keg, invited neighbors and had an oyster roast, an open air event in the South that you enjoy during the winter harvesting months. Rent a tent, make it an event! Here in Vermont we’re debating a sugar shack for a warmer type of entertainment!

Tip #2: Throw a dinner party! Or Sunday brunch! Everyone loves to be fed. I know of very few people who turn down free food. Plus, dinner parties are perfect for inviting one or two people and having a wonderful, more intimate event. Two is definitely the max number of folks we can invite and still serve comfortably. In the case of tiny 215912_2019225800037_2119919_nhouse living, my trick is to prepare as much in advance as I can. I make soup that I can re-heat, bake a crusty bread beforehand or put together a one-pot pasta dish. This makes prep easier and more manageable in a tiny kitchen plus it gives you more time with your guest(s). Also, if you are hosting in the winter months clear your hooks and storage area for guest items. I tend to stash Cedric and I’s clutter and winter wear, including shoes, in the loft. If we are having 1-2 people over plus their dog and our dog we remove Asher’s kennel and sometimes our ladder as well so we have plenty of room for 2 and 4-legged friends!

Tip #3: Rent out the roller rink! Or any other such venue for larger parties such as engagement celebrations, baby showers or blowout birthdays. You only have so much you can do in a tiny house. Cedric and I have had our birthdays at our favorite restaurants and then invited folks back for cake. We can’t serve more than two people a whole dinner but we can serve 4-6 a piece of cake. Going somewhere were many folks can join in a dinner or game of bowling and then having a smaller crew for a short period, such as sharing dessert, can assure that you end a birthday or any evening with those folks closest to you.

Tip #4: Foldable, storagable entertainment! Sturdy folding chairs and easy to store entertainment is a must in a small folding-islandspace! We have a 4 player Catan game, playing cards and a compact, homemade version of Rumicub that we break out for game nights. Trick with games? Buy a traveler’s version if they have one! They are compact and easy to store! We have a folding chair we keep handy hung on hooks. A small, folding side table can do wonders for increasing your space for games and dinners. Space savers are essential and they can make putting together a fun evening super easy!

Tip #5:  Relax and have fun! Don’t stress your event. The process should559707_10151266255539322_919314180_n be as enjoyable as possible. Putting together a tiny house gathering has it’s perks in that it’s very manageable. When you have a large space you can easily invite too many people and end up with an event that takes more time and money than you planned. The more casual and laid-back your approach to entertaining the more fun you’ll have hosting and enjoying your next tiny house party!

Your Turn!

  • How do you party tiny life style?
  • What kind of entertainment have you hosted in a small dwelling?
  • Any tips or tricks to share about organizing a tiny house event?

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