Posts Tagged Tiny Living

Favorite News of the Week

caravan hoteMy favorite tiny house news of the week…first tiny house hotel now open in Portland, Oregon! This news is very inspiring to me! I would love to open a tiny house bed and breakfast. It’s been a scheme of a dream which Cedric and I have been tossing around for some time. I’m excited to see if this type of tourist accommodation attracts more folks to the lifestyle. It’s definitely a great way to get ideas and stay in a cool space in a rad city. I wish I could have hung out in a tiny house before we started building. It would have really helped me conceptualize our design before building.

Ranging in size from 100-200 square feet of custom built coziness, they sport all the amenities youTiny-House-Hotel5 would expect from a hotel.  Flush toilets, hot showers,  full kitchen and outdoor covered seating.  Add in hammocks and fire pits and you’ve got yourself an excellent set-up! The Pearl, shown here, is the smallest of the three tiny houses coming in at 90 square feet. A modern design with gorgeous custom wood work, it was designed and built by Shelterwise LLC. With a dining room table that converts in to a queen size bed, this accommodation truly meets the challenge of small space design with creative solutions.

the rosebudThe three houses definitely have their own personalities. The Rosebud, shown left, is the next size up at 120 square feet and provides that woodsy, cabin-like appeal. According to their website this is best rented for 1-2 people. The Tandem, their largest accommodation can hold 4 but they recommend that family or close friends share the space due to it’s open floor plan. At 160 square feet it would definitely be a cozy fit for four. The pictures suggest a bright and comfy stay no matter which house you choose!

 

If I ever make out to Portland I will definitely check this place out!

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Your Turn!

  • Would you pay to stay at a tiny house hotel?

 

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Tiny House Bike Trailers

Camper-Bike-On-the-Move-600x398How can tiny houses get any better? By attaching them to bikes of course! I love these designs and the mobility without the petrol dependency is right up my alley. Also check out this awesome bike trailer design posted by Ryan. My question is: could I actually tow one of these and live out of it? Not sure but it’d be fun to find out!

Last summer when Cedric and I bike toured we were living out of a tent. After three months I could have really used one of these! It’s probably not the most versatile way to travel by bike but it would sure get a lot of attention. I’m really interested in the extreme ways that people are solving housing issues and creatively using small spaces. I think these bike trailers are such an exceptional example of human ingenuity. I’m continually trying to live a less petrol based lifestyle and while having a tiny house definitely moves me in that direction, this would be the maximum form of commitment!  Plus, if I am having a hard time living in 98 sq. feet, how hard would it be to downsize further! A real bike newThese bike pulled tiny spaces are certainly an extreme in the small space revolution but the impact on society could be huge! At the very least it might be able to provide housing to a growing population who don’t have the means to build a tiny house and pull such a structure but most everyone can get a hold of a bike. Although, to call this “housing” may be stretching things a bit. Shelter may be more apt!

I think it’d be great if bicycle cooperatives and shops could start assisting with constructing spaces such as these. There’s definitely a marketable perspective to such structures as well, for example, with travelers of the two-wheeled variety. I could see some bike enthusiasts wanting to take on the challenge of travel with such equipment. I don’t think it would be easy and you would be limited to terrain you could tackle with such a load but it just makes me itch to take a winter cruise through Florida with one of these rigs! I’d definitely have to stick to flat lands but it would be good fun and it would sure beat a tent! The slow traveler in me feels drawn to the people power of such a set-up plus the attention you’d get traveling with this would be great entertainment. Pretty much the best collision of bicycles and tiny living ever!

 Your Turn!

  • Would you consider living such a tiny life?

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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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Design Inspiration

P1000589 When Cedric and I started looking for design inspiration for La Casita there were a lot of ideas out in the internet. Thanks to great blogs like this one we were able to implement ideas from other tiny houses on wheels but we also looked to alternative dwellings to complete a design we were happy with. We were especially influenced by the sailing community and we definitely looked to the RV community for ideas on how to implement certain systems. The folks who travel and live year-round in RV’s and sailboats understand the challenge of mobile living and have great solutions to common problems and challenges faced by living the tiny life!

Cedric comes from a boat building background and I always tell people P1000592that if it ever flooded where we live, La Casita would probably float. He incorporated a lot of different styles and techniques inherent in a sailboat. When people enter our home they often mention the fact that it feels like being on a boat, without all the rocking. Our built in furniture was  influenced by the seating Cedric had on his live aboard sailboat and our counter top has a lip to it, a common element on boats to keep items from rolling off. Our electric system is marine-grade tinned copper wire and our electric box is made for life on the water. We have DC outlets from West Marine and pretty much everything about our house is built with sailing in mind sans a keel and actual sails! We love the cozy aspect of boat design, especially in the sleeping cabins so we built our loft with that coziness in mind and angled the roof to give it that cabin-like feel and appeal.

P1000593Sailboat weren’t our only inspiration. I checked out RV blogs and forums as well! I found a lot of insightful and helpful information about keeping hoses from freezing, general moving tips and even wood stove recommendations. This community has been around for awhile and the veterans of recreational vehicle living are full of excellent advice.

Another source of inspiration came from folks living in yurts and teepees. Blogs P1000596were really a great source of information from folks living this type of mobile lifestyle. We entertained the idea of buying a yurt for some time but ultimately a tiny house was a better option for our lifestyle. We didn’t feel like a yurt would be as comfortable in the hot climate of the South and friends up North had said that they were difficult to keep warm in the winter.  Plus, after putting one up for some friends, we realized they aren’t as easy to construct as we thought. They also aren’t built for modern amenities and we (read me) weren’t quite ready to give up a fridge and electricity.

It was infinitely helpful to read about other people’s experiences and get a better understanding of just what these different aspects of tiny living offer. Comparing the challenges faced by different communities living a lifestyle with a smaller square footage was essential if designed what was best for our needs. I recommend reaching out to these different communities via blogs, forums, conferences or just go up to a sailor or RV’er and ask what’s up! Most people enjoy sharing their many experiences and animatedly discuss just about everything from waste management to the challenges of wintering in a mobile structure-trust me I’ve asked!

Your Turn!

  • Have any blogs, forums or other recommendations for design inspiration? 

 

 

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 wall, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Turn!

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