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Posts Tagged building

Tiny House Cohort

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, I am building a Tiny House!  One thing I have been doing as part of my planning is a lot of research.  Part of that was to talk to a lot of people about their experiences and I found it very helpful.  So I thought I’d see if I could find other people that are building their own Tiny House that are either within a month of starting to build or just started themselves.

The idea would that as we work on our own houses, I think it would be great to do a google hang out with a group of these people every now and then to kick around ideas, share challenges, offer solutions and Etc. We could help each other out with helpful advice and how we decided to do things.

So I figure I’d put a call, do you all know any Tiny House bloggers just starting out?  Are you just starting out?  Let me know!

Your Turn!

Are you about to build or just started to build your own Tiny House?

Do you know other people that are just starting the process?

Are there other Tiny House blogger you know that just started?


Lessons Learned From Building My First Tiny House

Today we have a great guest post by our friend at the Austin Tiny House, Louis Burns at www.austintinyhouse.com.  Louis has some great hands on experience, so feel free to pick his brain in the comments!

Have Flexible Expectations

Before I started, my biggest question was how long it would take to complete. I had initially planned to have a friend work with me but then he landed his dream job and was completely unavailable.  I read somewhere that a guy had built a tiny house in 12 days. After the first 12 days, I was still working on framing. I suspect 12 days may be possible for a professional crew but it was just me. It took me 500 hours to build it over 9 months.
I’d spoken to another friend about storing all my materials in a shed on the property. I’d gotten the okay but the day before delivery, she “forgot” our prior discussion and said I couldn’t use it. I ended up putting all the supplies under an open shelter with plastic sheets covering them.
In the planning process, I’d added up everything I thought I would use and had those two friends look it over too. We were estimating $4000 in building supplies including the trailer. No such luck. By the end I’d had to spend around $8000. I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
The only expectation I started with that I came out the other end with was that I could finish the project.
Quite a few days – especially during the Texas summer – I had major motivation issues. The heat aside, I found that if I was approaching a step that I didn’t know how to complete like framing the roof or wiring, my work pace would slow to a crawl too. I had to keep in mind that as long as I kept working on it, it would eventually get done.
I noticed that I worked better when I knew how the next step would work before I got to it. It’s like having your next book to read ready. Regardless of what I’m reading, I usually have a next book in mind. It helps me stay motivated to finish what I’m currently on.
Sometimes I would get so frustrated that the only thing that kept me going was the fact that I’d already sunk a good chunk of money into the project and that my wife was proud of my efforts. I can’t imagine trying to do it with an unsupportive spouse.
More times than I can recall, I reached a place where I thought I was stuck. The last two instances I recall were that the storm door was the wrong size and that the plank in the porch I wanted to replace had a screw in it that was under the door frame. When that would happen, I’d take a break and see if a solution would come to me.
With the storm door I talked to the manufacturer’s customer service and then realized I could build onto the framing with the remaining lumber I still had. With the porch board I sawed as much off as I could reach with the reciprocating saw. Then I took my biggest drill bit and drilled all around those two screws. I used a chisel to get the wood pieces out and then sawed off the ends of the protruding screws. The new plank is as secure as the others.
Often times, the solution that presented itself was better than what I’d planned originally. I hadn’t known enough about vinyl siding to order undersill and it hadn’t been suggested by the salesperson. When I got to the top of the siding installation, I ended up tucking it under the roof trim and hiding it with finish trim. It looks better than if I would have tried to use undersill.  Of course I didn’t try to wing anything. I probably bought 5 books on building and checked out 10+ more from the library. I did check with a former electrician before I started but the rest I learned as I went. I think that’s where a lot of folks start so I’m proof it’s possible.
If I were doing it again, I’d definitely make sure I had a dedicated (preferably inside) space to build, store supplies and all the right tools. Trips back and forth looking for something that’s been borrowed, going to the home improvement store or waiting for the weather to cooperate can really slow you down.
Besides that, working your plan is what gets it done. Even if you can only manage a few hours a week, it will eventually work out.


Building a tiny house…

China’s Problem

So we have seen how we have countless neighborhoods that have been almost abandoned or stopped in mid construction.  In my post, Boulevard of Broken Dreams, it shows how California has been hit hard.  This pales in comparison to China’s empty houses.  Currently there are enough empty house in China to house roughly 2/3 the American Population.  That’s right, China currently has enough homes to house over 200 million people.

In a quest to “westernize” or “Americanize” investors dumped their wealth into constructing entire cities where there might only be a handful of people living in them.  They are so big, but so sparely populated, they don’t even have enough people to keep the city in working order.

Click the photo to see these ghost cities

$100 Million Class Action Filed Against LEED

Many of us are aware of the green industry standard called LEED, basically it is a set of guideline that aim to help buildings be more efficient and eco-friendly.  Even though there are many who have jumped on board, there has been a dull roar in the background for quite some time now; People saying that this standard is not stringent enough, misses the mark completely, etc.

Well just a few days ago Henry Gifford filled a class action against the US Green Building Council.

A lawyer put in plain language when she said:

The allegations are essentially fraud and false advertising, an anti-trust claim and a RICO claim thrown in for good measure. His theory is that the USGBC has falsely claimed that its rating system makes buildings save energy, and that building owners have spent more money to have their buildings certified, that professionals have gotten worthless professional credentials and people in general have been duped into thinking LEED has meaning.

She goes on further saying this case has merit, but the plaintiff might not be the best suited for this case.  Gifford, a noted environmentalist, shared his reasoning behind his decision to file stating that he was afraid that if someone within the green community didn’t stand up and provide a check and balance, outsiders – possibly from big oil, “drill baby, drill” camp – could use this as ammo to discredit green initiatives, especially efforts to live more responsibly.

Full article: here

Sustainia Pod

This tiny space started out as a unique work space, but evolved to include a fold out bed, solar panels etc.  Wrapped in R30 insulation and a price tag of $10,000 it is a surprising low cost for some of the custom woodworking that is included.


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