A while back I wrote about treehugger’s contest where they purchased a tiny apartment and will renovate it. They asked for designs and the winner’s gets built. They are closing in on the finalist, so check it out and vote! Here
This video is an interesting perspective about how with all of our technology and innovative materials, the house itself has not evolved very much even though the concept is as old as man. Think about the house your great grandparents lived in, now consider your own house, how different is it really? Slightly better insulation, their wood stove is now replaced with your central air, upgraded plumbing. There are homes in 200 year old homes in England that are earthen structures that have a significantly higher R value than our homes. Central air is certainly nice, but only add convenience and older home were smaller, so easier to heat to begin with.
For a 100 years of innovation we haven’t made huge leaps. Consider the first telephone compared to a cell phone. One was expensive, didn’t work well and was a piece of furniture; a cell phone is pocket sized, plays music and movies and currently 82% of US residence have one. In the world of cell phones there has been huge strides, but in houses not so much. Perhaps this is an apples to orange comparison, but I think many would agree, we have made many fine tuning changes, but not nearly what we see in other sectors.
Found some great loft beds, a few for kids, a few for adults. Check them out.
Today I wanted to share with you a great book that comes to us from Portland Alternative Dwellings (link below) written by Dee Williams. Many of you will know her from her house being profiled in many videos, some of which I have posted on this site. Not too long ago Dee launched Portland Alternative Dwellings with her house the Don Vardo, which is one of my favorite Tiny Houses to date.
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The book, described by Dee as a “Tiny How To Manual” discusses some of the key structural elements in Tiny Houses in great detail. I am very glad to see such a manual enter the Tiny House market as it fills a much needed gap when it comes to Tiny Houses on trailers. These houses must be able to withstand huge forces as they roll down the road, Dee has been able to systematically address these issues in her book.
The manual starts of by describing types of forces that are exerted on a trailered house then shifts into how to address them. She covers, in detail, the foundation, anchoring, wall design, roof design and water infiltration prevention. Not only are they key elements to the design of a Tiny House, but it is often areas where an inexperienced person needs the most guidance.
There are a few things that this book (and the Tiny House market in general) left me wanting: a discussion on plumbing, electrical and gas. I think what I really mean to say is that this book is great, but I would love to see Dee take a crack at each of these topics in their own stand alone book (hint hint, nudge nudge). Dee does starts off by saying this books wasn’t designed to cover those topics, so I see this more as a opportunity than a negative.
There are a few things that I wanted to highlight in this book that make it really stand out. First of the level of detail that Dee has put in here is great, not only does she show some great diagrams, but she backs up her design with solid data sources. This book is a nice mix of easy to read language, but loaded with serious content that incorporates elements to adhere to Department of Transportation, the International Building Code and others.
Next is Dee’s foundation/floor framing design, after looking at other trailered Tiny Houses, it was clear this one is superior in many ways. From handling stresses during transportation to the fact it is superior while have a lower sub-floor height than others. I really like this approach and feel that it is more robust than others out there.
Finally this is the manual that I feel complements many Tiny House plans. When you purchase plans from various Tiny House vendors you get highly engineered plans that are good quality, but assume you know a lot about house construction or expect you to pay for a contractor to build it. This doesn’t mesh with the demographic that builds Tiny Houses. They are typically hard workers, looking to save on labor costs, but don’t have the construction skill set. This manual helps mitigate that gap in knowledge.
Overall I would definitely recommend this book to those who are purchasing any Tiny House plans. It will give you the knowledge and confidence in producing a truly high quality house.
So one thing that I have often wondered about living in a Tiny House is if I will miss a dishwasher. Now it is not for the reasons you think. While convenience is a nice plus, the big thing for me is that it uses such hot water to clean, helps sterilize. I am a bit of a germ freak when it comes to the kitchen, especially with raw meat. Today I found what looks like to be a possibility from Electrolux. This is a sink and dishwasher in one. While it only has a limited capacity, it will certainly help out. It also uses some green technologies to help reduce water consumption and power consumption.