Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Vermont Tiny House

Vermont has quite the tiny house scene. Only two weeks after moving up here we came across our friend KJ’s tiny house and heard about several more! Back in SC, we were pretty much the only tiny house folks that we knew about but it seems Vermonters have had tiny house fever for some time! Today I want to share this wonderful tiny house that our friend built and currently occupies with her bull mastiff!

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The house currently lives on a farm and sits on a 8 1/2 x 16 foot trailer with two bumpouts that serve as storage and sleeping space. She has a hard wired, 20 amp circuit that allows her to hook to a breaker box in the barn next door and although she has a clawfoot tub she recently bought, she does not having running water in the house.

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While taking a permaculture course, KJ was exploring a less toxic, less material based lifestyle. She was living in yurt in Vermont and realized that it was not the best living situation through the long winters. It took a lot of wood to heat it and keep it warm for one person so she nixed the idea of buying a yurt. She became especially interested in gypsy wagons and began researching other small living alternatives, such as school bus renovation, back in 2008. Then she moved in to a tree house on a goat farm owned by a couple of architects. She revealed her dream to build a tiny house and she says their eyes lit up! They agreed to help her in exchange for goat sitting on the weekends. Two months of building and she had herself a house.

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The house is built with pine that was cut and milled from the forest on the goat farm and it was built specifically to her measurements. She’s thinking up new ideas for the house and planning to remodel the downstairs to have a narrower staircase and a space for a table and two chairs. The best things about living the tiny life? The strong sense of ownership and accomplishment is certainly a strong sentiment for her. “It’s mine, I made it!” is the first thing she tells me when I asked her the above question but also living in a non-toxic space and escaping the materialistic bent of our consumerist culture are among the positives to living this life.

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KJ also really loves having a woodstove in her tiny space. She enjoys splitting firewood and having the warmth and coziness that wood heat provides. The house is well insulated and she uses about 3/4 of a cord of wood a winter. That’s pretty good when you consider that many households use 2, 3, 4 or more cords during the cold season!

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Some of the harder things about living in a tiny house? Not being as autonomous as she would like since she rents the land she occupies.  She is also dependent to some degree on a supporting structure, whether a barn or someone’s residence, in order to get water and electricity. This makes daily tasks more time consuming but she appreciates the humbling quality hauling your own firewood, water and other needs has on her life. She feels gratitude to only walk a few hundred yards for clean, healthy water when she thinks of the women in the world who walk miles for dirty water that can harm them and their families. After becoming extremely ill while living in the tiny house and still having to perform her daily tasks in the winter while also goat sitting, she definitely has an appreciation for the harder aspects of living the tiny life and she finds she’s still happy to be living it.

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A want to send a BIG thank you to KJ for letting a like-minded eccentric into her home and for sharing pictures of her tiny house!

Your Turn!

  • What are your motivations for joining the tiny house movement?
  • If you’re already living the tiny life, what are the best/hardest aspects in your experience?

 

10 Comments
  1. Wow, wood stove, TUB, stairs and books, books, books! This one is great, even without the water. Books without water is better than water without books!! (Well, in my opinion anyway)

    Thanks for posting the pics and thank KJ for the rest of us too.

    Jo

  2. Hiya, just wanted to say that there are lots of tiny house people here, but we tend to get laughed at until people here how little it costs to live tiny. I even have a friend who owns 2 regular size houses (read big) and wants to put a tiny house in her one of her back yards so she can escape sometimes.

  3. Please excuse my spelling…it should be “until people HEAR” :) it is only 6:30 am….

  4. Love it! Will babysit goats for a tiny house!

  5. Hi, great looking house, love the interior. Would like more pictures of bathroom and stairs.
    You said “The house is well insulated” with what?
    What is the R-Insulation value?

    Thanks for sharing

    • The house does not have a bathroom and I don’t have better pictures of the stairs but I can see if the owner has any. She just moved so it may be awhile before I can get those to you. She used a natural fiber based insulations. Not sure of the R-value. I’ll find out and let you know.

      • I’m interested to know about about the insulation of this house- I’m in the planning stages of Tiny House building in Western Masscahusetts (similar climate to VT). Any idea which natural fiber insulation was used? We are spending a lot of thought on insulation, so that our Tiny Home can be all-season livable.
        Thanks!
        M

  6. I have been obsessed with tiny homes for some time now and am sure this is the way that I am supposed to go for my future. I too would love to see more pictures of this home, particularly the stair case as the home I would build will have to take me into my old age. Can’t be too careful! If you cannot get in contact with the owner, could you perhaps pass along contact info of the architects (w/their permission of course!)? Thanks so much for any help you could provide!!

  7. Sorry, but there is no bathroom. The claw foot bathtub was an impulse buy at a yard sale. How could I say no to a preacher who wanted 75 bucks for a flawless fixture? In good condition I’ve never seen one for under $250. Now… what to do with it? My former location had an outhouse and an outdoor shower with hot running water from April through October, which was blissful, even in cold weather. During winter months, I have been blessed by the generosity of friends who have given me access to their plumbing. I am thinking of some sort of outdoor bathhouse for my new location, perhaps on a trailer, details yet to be worked out. For the hot summer months, I live next to a stream and I have year-round access to indoor plumbing in another house on the property.

    The stairs are 12″ over 12″, which makes for interesting additional seating, but my dog has a bit of difficulty navigating the height of each step. I am planning on changing them to a more manageable height at 9″ over 9″. Stairs take up more room than a ladder, but it’s nice that the dog can get up to the sleeping area at night, as well as get out of the living space when I have company. I found lots of cool ideas for stairs with drawers and cubby spaces online.

    I used Roxul brand insulation. It is a mineral wool made of basalt. 6″ batt insulation in the floor with r-value of 23. 1″ rigid board insulation in the walls and roof with r-value of 19. In such a small space it does a great job of keeping me warm in the winter, as well as cool in the summer, even in Vermont. It is non-toxic, non-irritating (think fiberglass), does not off-gas, will not burn until it reaches 1200 degrees fahrenheit and when it does, it does not give off toxic cyanide gas like the commonly used pink board insulation. I bought the batt insulation at a local building supply store. I found the board insulation on their website, which they did not sell in quantities smaller than 20,000 square feet. I only needed 750 square feet. I could not find a retailer anywhere that carried the product, since it’s main application was for use in soundproofing and acoustics. The woman on the phone was kind enough to give me the contact of a customer in Indiana who had purchased a large quantity. He agreed to sell me a small amount. The cost of the insulation PLUS the freight charge was still cheaper than buying the toxic pink stuff at my local hardware store!!!! The house was constructed using rough cut 2×3 lumber with 1 inch pine board sheathing on the outside, both of which are exposed inside the living space. The insulation was then attached outside the sheathing, with board and batten siding as the final outer surface.

    Sorry, but I don’t think the architects are looking for more tiny house design business. They are actually architectural consultants and more or less manage projects as opposed to designing them. I was already living on their farm in a tree house, which provided a lot of inspiration for my house design, and they were happy to help me with my project, but they are pretty close to retiring anyway. I really just lucked out on that one. If you have a friend who has any experience with building or carpentry, they could be a great resource.
    I think one of the great things about the tiny house movement is that each of our experiences is so unique. There are no prefab, cookie-cutter tiny houses. Since we are generally building our own, it becomes that much more necessary, and exciting, to figure out how to be resourceful and reach out to our individual communities for help and guidance.

    And, lastly, YES! can’t do without my books. The books and the large dog were major factors in the design. Chop wood, carry water helps to keep me humble and grateful, books help me to stay educated and interested in the world around me, and the dog, well… what can I say, he’s my security system for home and heart.

    Peace and Good luck!

  8. Lovely story and sharing, thank you. I continue to dream up my design….your info is so very helpful!!

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