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Posts Tagged Design

DIY: Floating Bookshelves

<This is my favorite, no fuss project in terms of interior design! It takes about 20 minutes to do and can be completed with simple tools on a small budget. Until recently most of our books had still been in storage due to limited wall space in our tiny house. We put in so many windows it left little space to put up book shelves. We have installed a few over our windows which work nicely but too many of them create a crowded feeling in such a small space. I’d seen floating bookshelves on a few different design sites and decided to make a couple for the house so we could unpack some of our books. They’re great because they don’t take up much space and it’s a fun way to keep our favorite reads handy.

P1000356First I headed to my local library and checked out their sale section and bought two hardcover books for a dollar. These are the books that will act as the shelf so best not to spend much money on them. I then went to the hardware store and bought L brackets and a few screws. Some folks use metal bookends instead of L brackets but I didn’t have either and I thought the brackets would be stronger and better able to hold more weight.  Next I marked where the wholes would be and started the rather mundane work of getting the screws through all the pages. This P1000357could be done in 20 seconds with a drill but when I pulled out our trusty Hitachi the battery was dead. I was feeling impatient, so I pulled out a phillips and it took a few minutes longer but was fairly quick and easy.

I tried hiding the bracket in the inside cover of the book but it didn’t look quite right. It doesn’t make much of a difference whether you put the bracket, or bookend, on the inside or outside cover. The way I assembled it I thought you’d be able to see the bracket easily, which would defeat the ‘floating’ purpose, but it didn’t make much of a difference. You can also use two brackets on either end of the book and create a more stable base which I might do for my next set of shelves. I’ve noticed they’re slightly wobbly with only one but it’s held up no problem (so far).

P1000355Once you get all the screws in it gets even easier. Just pick a spot on the P1000353wall, mark the holes and screw it in to the wall. Voila! Stack you favorite books on top and you’ve got yourself a stylish and functional storage solution.

 

 

 

Note on Assembly: Don’t drop your screwdriver where playful puppies might try and “help”.

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Your Turn!

  • What are you favorite interior DIY projects for small spaces?

 

Off-Road Tiny House

I’d love for this to be my tiny home away from tiny home! This rescue vehicle, previously used by the German fire brigade, was converted into an off-road tiny house! Rugged but with all the amenities to make it a home including radiant floor heating, a heated towel bar in the bathroom and a floor fitted on custom made swings to keep the living space from tilting during travel! Who wouldn’t want to travel in this! A great option for folks who want a tiny house that has more of a camper ability to go anywhere anytime but doesn’t have the feel of an RV. Definitely a step up!

MAN FAE 1.36 Truck

Custom floor built to handle rough roads without tilting the living area.

Heated floors…a luxury we don’t have in La Casita but wish we did!

Truck after being sanded, primed and re-painted.

 Water and waste tanks hidden under dining area.

Kitchen comes with electric stovetop, fridge, storage and double sink.

The skylight is a great touch in the bathroom. Light in, condensation out.

 

Dining area with room for 4 to eat comfortably.

Additional awesomeness includes roof rack and hydraulic elevator mounted in the rear for carrying heavy gear. The vehicle has been tested in Italy, Albania, and Macedonia with great success. You can check out the travelogue here.

Your Turn!

  • What would be your dream trip in one of these?

 

Via

Building Tiny Bathrooms

When folks ask us what was the most challenging aspect of building a tiny house we will chorus in unison: BATHROOM. Several factors made this the most difficult part of construction.

IMG_7842Firstly, this is the room we spend the least amount of time. For Cedric, this meant that finding inspiration to work on the bathroom was not easy. It was more interesting for us to design and build the kitchen where we spend the majority of our time. Secondly, designing a bathroom on wheels is challenging in and of itself. We love tile but the fact that the motion of moving the house would likely cause cracking and/or breakage threw that option out the window. We tried buying a shower pan but nothing fit our tiny space. We looked to RV and boat design but we wanted as little plastic as possible and much of those use plastic to create a waterproof space.  We considered using a hardwood such as teak since it was available through the warehouse where we constructed, but we feared it would be too heavy. Our bathroom is on the tongue side of the trailer and we didn’t want to weight it down. That was another reason for throwing out the tile idea-too heavy.

Finally, we decided on corrugated tin which was light and attractive. Before DSCN2756installing the outer materials the walls and floor were painted with reclaimed, heavy duty marine paint that’s used on ships to prevent water damage. For the flooring we decided to make a stainless steel shower pan. Cedric found the material at a junkyard. It was previously a kitchen counter but Cedric shaped, cut and welded it to fit our  bathroom space. This is where our community came to our aid because we did not have the equipment to reconstruct the stainless steel counter top.  We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish it without the help of our friend Bill who has a machine shop. It was not a cheap option and it took a lot of work to get right but we don’t regret the time or the money spent. Our bathroom will probably outlast the rest of the house!

Once we had installed the tin and pan we noticed we had issues with standing water. We fixed this by banging the shower pan in around the drain allowing for better drainage. We built in a box on one side with a hinged lid where our bucket composting toilet is located. We heat our water with an on-demand hot water heater that’s propane powered. It works like a charm although we did have trouble keeping the flame lit on a very windy night!

IMG_7841The bathroom, or the wet room as we call it, is still not quite finished with one window left to trim but other than that it has turned out to be a great space.  We created a drainage field based on a gray water system we had used while working on an organic farm. It allows us to water our plants while showering which our banana and pineapple plants love! We are careful with the products we put down our drains using biodegradable soaps and shampoos that won’t harm the soil or plants. If comments on our garden are any measure of success than we hit the nail on the head. Of all the gardens I’ve had in Charleston, this one received the most praise from neighbors. I definitely think the extra watering had something to do with that! Ultimately, we’d like to build an outdoor shower for summer months as well as a possible outdoor kitchen but we still have a few months to consider those options!

Your Turn!

  • What challenges have you faced designing WCs for tiny spaces?

Amazing Rooftop Garden

Found this neat rooftop garden, I am not really feeling the art, but the curves are pretty neat.  I can imagine laying on the backs of the windows almost like a lounge chair on a spring day, taking a nap.

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.

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