Posts Tagged Tiny House

My Window Saga

So it has been a long time since I’ve updated you all on my tiny house because of what I am dubbing “The Great Window Saga”.  It all started last spring when I made the decision to widen the door from my existing plans.   The door of the Fencl is only 22 inches wide and after I framed it, I realized that I couldn’t walk straight through my door, because – after measuring – my shoulders are 27 inches across.  So doing that math I knew it didn’t add up.  So I re-engineered the whole front wall.

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I had designed this to widen the door, but I was still able to use the three windows my plans recommends in the front bay.  Everything was good and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about that.  Fast forward to installing the windows.  The plans recommended to have 3 window sashes that you can integrate together by making your own window frame.  So I thought about it a long time and came up with the best way to do this.  I then fabricated all the wooden pieces I’d need to make the frame and got assembling.  photo

I decided at that point that I wanted to have my windows at this point be able to open, because I wanted the air circulation and its also the area that I’m going to be looking out the most as it is my desk space.

sdfsd What I ended up with was a double casement window that matched the rest of the windows.  This window opens up really wide so I can let a ton of air in if I want and it also looks really nice because it will be the window I look out most as it is where my desk will be.  So I bit the bullet, ordered it and waited.

downloadHere’s where the real saga began.  Since it was a custom ordered window, it took 4 weeks to get in.  The window finally came in – yeah! – then I realized something…. They had made the window the wrong size!  So we reordered it.  A month later the window came in – yeah! –   and at the store I asked to inspect it before I signed for it.   We’ll I’m glad I did because they sent the window with the wrong grill pattern!  So we reordered it, waited a month, the next new window came in – yeah! – oh wait… what’s that a crack?  Is that corner bashed in?  yup!  So we reordered it again!!!!  Wait a month!

Now at this point what I decided to do was because the issue was with the casement, not the actual frame, they told me I could install it and they would come out and replace just the casement/sash part when it gets in.  So that’s where I am now.

All in all this one window has held me up 4 months!  Which meant I had to extend my rent 4 times!!!  All of which culminated into the worlds most expensive tiny house window and killed my timeline.  Since I didn’t have the window in, I couldn’t finish the siding, which meant that I couldn’t really start doing interior finish work.   Now I am finally back at work on the tiny house after this saga.

I’ll post more photos when I get a chance.

The Conversation We Haven’t Had…. Until Now

There is something that hasn’t been talked about on the blogs yet, something that is THE topic of conversation for many of the Builders, Bloggers and others.  It is that of tiny house safety.  At first it started out as small one on one conversations, but in the past few months what once was side conversation has grown to serious discussion with most of the Builders and Bloggers coming to a single table.  We have been meeting to try to figure out how we can take tiny houses to the next level, to make them universally legal and to make them safe.

CaptureIt came about when some began to notice instances where we saw tiny houses being made in an unsafe manner.  In most cases it wasn’t out of malice or unethical behaviors, but of not knowing any better.  Honest mistakes that could have fatal consequences.

So as a group, both Bloggers and Builders, came together to discuss how we could empower tiny house people to be safer and to be more informed.  We knew starting out we didn’t want to do anything that would hinder tiny house folks, DIYers or Professionals, but we also tried to balance that with the need for safety.  How we do that is something we have been wrestling with as a group and also as individuals.

Tiny Houses have long lived in legal limbo in some places, some people have found solutions that worked for them, but others still struggle with it.  There is a large part of the Tiny House Movement that never wanted to become legal because they see it as their protest, civil disobedience or other things;  Some don’t really care either way, they just want to live in a tiny house;  There are others that want to be fully legal.

At the end of the day, you can live in a tiny house, it is absolutely possible, right now, in your own town; I have no doubt in my mind that it is possible.  However this group is working on a different level, we are seeking a universal legal solution, which is tricky.  If we can achieve this, then you can choose to participate or not, it would be up to each individual to make their own decision.

Beyond legal issues and frankly way more importantly, is safety.  We want you all to be safe, we want you to be informed, we want you to be empowered to build the best house you can.  The Bloggers and Builders do what they do because they love tiny houses, because they care about the movement, and most importantly because they care about the people.

So when it comes to safety we realize that many people want to build their own tiny house, that’s a given, but the question then becomes how can I teach you to build it safely if you have never build anything before.  There are plenty of people out there that don’t need my help at all, in fact I could learn a lot from them, but there are others that do need a helping hand.  Coming together as a community is what makes us strong, it’s what makes this a movement.  Viva La Tiny Revolution!

 

Your Turn!

  • What are your thoughts on Tiny House Safety, how can we address it?
  • How can we at The Tiny Life help people to become empowered to build amazing and safe houses?

 

 

A Tool Not In Your Tool Box

So I have been trying to make a final push on my tiny house, but I’ve had some delays with a window.  One of the things that I realized the other day was that there was a really important “tool” at my disposal that I’d never really thought of and frankly, at first didn’t realize I was even using.  It isn’t a traditional tool, but I’ve found it has been invaluable during this process.  The best part is that you have several of these in your possession already.

So what is this tool?  It’s a chair for thinking.

3132_Casual Adirondack Chair There are times in your build that you find something that stumps you, there are times where you have discovered a mistake, or there are times when things aren’t going your way.  Enter a chair to sit in and consider the problem.  It seriously have been invaluable, sitting in that chair, staring at the problem with your plans in your lap, you work it out in your mind.

A perfect example of this was when I went to put in my collar tie beams for the loft.  I cut them to the correct length, put it up on the top plate and notice there was some wiggle room.  At first I freaked out and thought I had cut the beam short, but after remeasuring I realized it wasn’t them.  What had happened was over the span of the wall, the center had bowed out slightly with the weight of sheathing.  The left side was bowed out 1/8th of an inch and the right side was out a 1/4th of an inch at the top; the bottoms were spot on.

Now at this point I had to figure out how pull the top of the walls inward the correct amount.  This is much easier said then done, because these walls now are secured firmly and are very strong.  I also had to pull one wall in more than the other.

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So I sat down and thought about the problem, several ideas came to mind, but after a while an elegant solution emerged.  I didn’t want to put holes in my floor and I noticed one important thing.  I had to bring one wall in twice as much as the other.  So I went to the store and bought a huge eye hook and fastened it halfway up the wall into a stud in the center of the bow.  From there I connected my trailer ratchet strap to the eye hook, and then to the top of the other wall.

What this did was allow me to pull the wall together, but since I fastened one side half way up the wall (the side I need 1/8th), it gave me a mechanical ratio of 1:2.  Meaning I pull in one wall an eighth of an inch, I pull the other wall in a quarter of an inch, which is exactly what I needed!  From there I dropped in my collar tie and fastened it through the outside of the wall to hold it in place.  After securing all the ties, I released the straps and the wall stayed perfect.

There are times you will get frustrated, upset, maybe even mad, but I have found the chair to be an important thing to use to clear my mind and get to a solution.  It has saved money, time and frustration; ultimately building a better house.  So consider a chair as a valuable tool that you already have.

 

Tiny House Tour – Bayside Bungalow

Not too long ago I got to sit down with Brittany Yunker of Bayside Bungalow for the first time to learn about her Bungalow.  It was a lot of fun to hear her stories and her tiny house is amazing!  So I thought I’d share some photos, plus Brittany let me know she will be doing a tiny house tour for those of you in the Olympia Washington area.  Details of the tour below photos.  Photos by Christopher Tack, Courtesy of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

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Many people over the past year have asked if they could see the Bayside Bungalow and check out the tiny little house that I now rent out as a vacation rental.  Alas, the time has come for a (tiny) Open House!
Are you interested in exploring, testing, touching, trying, photographing, peeing in (the composting toilet – duh!), measuring & learning more about tiny houses?  Then this is for you!  Learn about how it was built, why I decided to build it, how it works, what goes in (water, electricity & food) and how it all comes out (gray water, urine-diverting toilet system), and most of all – does it fit YOU? Bring on the questions!  Bring a sketchpad, measuring tape & camera & explore this tiny house.

What: Open House at the Bayside Bungalow tiny house vacation rental
When: Sunday, August 18, 2pm-6pm
Where: The Bayside Bungalow in Olympia, WA
Your host: Brittany Yunker, builder & owner of the Bayside Bungalow

For directions & more info, photos, or to make a reservation, visit www.baysidebungalow.com

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!

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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.

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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.

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