Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged Construction

The Journey Starts

Today was day one of building the Tiny House and I didn’t get as far as I hopped I would.  My welder let me know that he wasn’t going to have time until Monday to tackle the project, but it shouldn’t take him that long to do.  So most of the day was spent driving to Lexington to pickup my trailer at Kaufman Trailers, then talking with the welder about what needed to be done.  The welder had some ideas on how to improve the structural integrity of the anchoring of the house to the trailer over and above what Tumbleweed recommended so the plan has changed slightly.

Even though I didn’t get started on the floor framing like I had wanted, I have a game plan for the welding, I picked up almost all the lumbar for the floor framing and all the little things have been collected.

Here is a photo of the last load of lumber for the floor portion of the build.

Today I learned a few important lessons that I think I’d be wise to keep in mind during this process.

  1. Everything and I do mean EVERYTHING takes way longer than you thought it would.
  2. Have a plan, think it through, then be prepared to totally change it as things come up.
  3. While building a Tiny House always have: work gloves, a tape measure, you house plans, pencil, calculator, patience…

 

Tiny House Builder Interviews

Recently I have been ravenously reading other Tiny House building blogs as part of my preparation to build my own Tiny House.  Along the way I have been fortunate to talk with a lot of people who have been building or living in Tiny Houses which I was able to learn a good deal from.  So today I wanted to share some of what I learned and give a shout out to some awesome people!

Rowdy Kittens – Tammy Stroble and Logan Smith

I have know Tammy and Logan for a while now and I always gain some great insights from this amazing couple.  One thing that struck me from my conversation with them this time was their comment how larger traditional homes are “made for other people”.  With traditional homes many people are concerned with resale value and having your home generalized to potential buyers.  Tammy and Logan’s pointed this out and said to me this house is for you, so design it that way.

MiniMotives – Macy Miller

I really love the work Macy is doing over at her website, I found it very informative and she has a great links section.  From our conversation I have been able to glean some insights into building codes and where we might take Tiny Houses in the future. We talked about how DIY builders of Tiny Houses are a good thing and at times, not so good.  Another thing that municipalities are very concerned and focused on is sewage.  Tiny Houses often use composting toilets or other alternatives to the standard grid tied flush toilet.  After some reflection I can understand this as a big issue.  Here in most parts of North America we benefit from a lot of attention paid to our water management and sewer management.  This leads to better water quality, huge impacts in terms of health and disease control and  mitigating damage that water causes.  It’s not perfect here by a long shot, but this infrastructure saves countless lives.

Big Lake – Tiny House  – Erin and Pete

These two are building the exact same house I plan to build and I was able to glean some building tips and other considerations from them.  The first was making sure your trailer was properly fitted to your house weight.  From trailer shopping I discovered that you can often get a trailer rated for 10,000 lbs for about $200-$300 more.  The downside to this is that it often means you raise your trailer deck height about 2-3″, but you have a beast of a trailer that can take it, so you sleep better at night.

Tiny R(e)volution – Andrew

I found Andrew’s website  and really liked his philosophy on a lot of things.  As he put’s it, they are building “cash on the barrel” which is something I admire.  Some of the practicality of how Andrew is doing things brings a lot of perspective to this process.  He has a lot of great videos and I have watched each one several times!

120 Square Feet - Laura and Matt

Laura and Matt built a great little house in the mountains of NC, right near where I used to live and have so many fond memories.  I learned a lot of construction specifics and they are good motivators in taking on this endeavor.  What I like about their house is they setup a solar system that powers everything.  I still find it amazing that couples can swing such a small space, but these two not only live in the house together, they work from home together.

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses – Steve and Jay

I was excited when I received my plans from Tumbleweed and these guys have been able to give me a lot of nitty gritty details on the build.  Windows were a tricky thing because the type they recommended just were phased out.  They helped me figure out the alternative and I am excited to get started!

So a big thanks to all those above and many others who helped me along as this journey starts!

 

 

Go House Go! – Book Review

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.

Click Image For Link

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.

$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

BadGast

Here is a art studio / residence located at an surfing artist community (who knew there was such a thing) made from shipping containers.

BadGast, which roughly translates to Bath Guest, is a modern live/work studio, located in a unique and artistic surfers village called F.A.S.T (Free Architecture Surf Terrain) on the beach in Scheveningen near the Hauge. FAST is a new urban beach community with a strong focus on the arts, protection of the sea as well as surfing. The program for the cultural container on the sea began in September 2009 and every month a new person has come to work on a sea or bather related project, which is then presented at the end of their time
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