Posts Tagged small space

The Golden Elephant

I’m back in Charleston for the month visiting friends and family and recently went to visit my friend Zach at The Golden Elephant! No, it’s not an Indian restaurant it’s his tiny house! He’s about half-way through his build and I was really curious to see the progress in person and talk about his approach to building a tiny house. Here are some of his insights!

Golden Elephant

What inspired you to build a tiny house?

I was originally inspired by the shed that Cedric re-modeled in to a living space in the backyard at our apartment. It was the perfect set-up. I was attracted to the minimalism of the lifestyle as well. Plus, all the resources and time to do it were there.

What freedoms do you hope to attain living the tiny life?

Time, I want my time back. Time and flexibility in life. I feel like you have to pay that ahead though. Truthfully, I don’t want to work as much. I also really appreciate the mobility the lifestyle offers.

Why is it called The Golden Elephant?

Cedric and I were hanging out at the house and we were discussing names at one point. We got to work and then he turned to me and said it was going to be called the golden elephant.  I think the name fits. The cantilever of the house looks like a big trunk. It’s one of the largest tiny houses I’ve seen so far and the outside of the house is a golden color from the cypress.

Golden Elephant1

How has community impacted your build?

I’ve met so many awesome people through this thing and it’s made me form stronger bonds to my community. It would not be possible without my friends. You can’t really do it without help from your community unless you have that skill set already. Building I had help with the sheathing, siding and installation of the roof.  I have had help figuring out where systems are going to go, talking about ideas and how I’m going to approach these things. A lot of help has come through talking to people who have done things like this before and going over what I plan to do.

What are your methods for getting rid of stuff?

The formula that I’ve adopted is if it’s not serving a purpose or I haven’t used it in 30 days, I try to get rid of it. The exception to this is tools and camping gear because you’re not going to use them all the time but it’s difficult and expensive to replace those things. At minimum, I do four major purges a year. I will take full inventory and clean everything that I own. I will touch everything that I own in my house and if it doesn’t serve a purpose or I don’t need to own it, it’s gone. That’s what keeps me sane because I don’t need to own any more of this stuff. I’ve never been let down by not hanging on and you just have to really decide what you can and can’t live with.

Golden Elephant4

What has been the most challenging part of the build?

Coordinating the inside such as placement of outlets and lights and switches. It all needs to be carefully laid out.  I didn’t really have an interior design so that’s been really troublesome. Predicting where the systems should go is difficult but staying the night in the space has really helped with that. Also, roofing sucked. I kinda hated roofing only because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I felt like I was unprepared for that part of construction.

What have been your favorite aspects of the build?

Creating home, creating my own space. The siding was good. It was really rewarding, there was something deeply satisfying about doing that.

Anything else you’d like to share about the process. Got any advice to throw out there? 

Try to dive in to it as much as possible.  Really get all the research together and try to do it all yourself. It’s worth more to me to do it myself than to pay someone to do it but that’s if you have the time. Not everybody has the time and my project has taken exponentially longer because I’ve done it all myself. I also think tiny houses should be built as whimsical as possible. When you build it yourself you can do whatever you want! Embrace that.

Golden Elephant2

Thanks Zach and good luck with the rest of your build! To check out more awesome pictures and find out more about The Golden Elephant visit the via link below!

Your Turn!

  • Are you building a tiny house? What are the most challenging as well as rewarding aspects to your process?
  • What originally inspired you to join the tiny house movement?

How Tiny Is Too Tiny?

P1000589When it comes to tiny houses when is small too small? 50 square feet? 100 square feet? 200 square feet? A lot of it has to do with individual circumstances, needs and number of people living in the space. After over a year in La Casita Cedric and I have come to the conclusion that as cozy as our home is, 98 square feet for two people and a stocky corgi is pushing some limits. We need more room in order to work on hobbies, store our bulk items and fulfill our need for independence. In the South it seemed a lot easier to fulfill these needs. We didn’t worry about freezing hoses, there was no need to store bulky winter clothes or gear and going outside was bliss in the winter months. Now that we live somewhere with a serious winter, we have more gear, more clothes and less and less space to put it in and as a tiny house fills, the more claustrophobic it feels. So how do you figure out how small is too small before you’re already living the tiny life? Here are few suggestion from our experience.

First, carefully consider needs. For example, we did not thoroughly considerstorage ideas the impact a tiny house would have on our social lives. We would host 30+ people a year in our apartment and threw lots of social events and fundraisers for different project we were a part of. While I’ve found lots of solutions to the issue of hosting events and entertaining, it’s difficult not having a place for family and friends to stay if they want to visit us up North. This has been one of the hardest parts for me and it wasn’t even something I considered as seriously as I should have. Also, my crafting time has diminished due to lack of space for supplies and the room to actually do projects. My advice is make a list of what is most important to your happiness in your space. Is it being able to cook delicious meals, soak in a tub, host potlucks or a space to do hobbies and crafts in? Number your list with 5 being most important and 1 being least. Make compromises from this list, tweak it as you build and use it throughout construction to remind yourself of your needs and how you plan to meet them.

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Chair Art

One thing that many enjoy about having a home is sharing it with others at dinner parties, visiting guest, having friends over for a party and other events.  But the trouble with a very small space is that you don’t have space to have a lot of extra furniture, just the space for the basics.  Here is an interesting alternative to spare seating. These are chairs that flatten out so you can paint them as wall art when not in use.

 

Backyard Aquaponics

Recently I have been looking into aquaponics to start growing talapia in the planning phase of a larger urban agriculture project I am working on.  I found this great video tour of an automated system that is setup in a tiny greenhouse.  I found it interesting and thought I’d share.