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The Tiny House Movement

 
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Pam wrote:
You should post some pics, Dave:) Some of us need all the inspiration we can get!


You really want to see this ugly mug? hahahahahaha  I tried to take a photo and post it but it broke my camera
 
master steward
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Fun and creative stuff BUT..none of them seem to incorporate any sort of plumbing for kitchens or bathrooms.  That's where the crunch comes..a shower..even a small one, takes up space as does any sort of toilet, even a bucket; and cooking needs a degree of space too, for even a small rocket stove  and a place to store food; clean/store the dishes, much less store and move water. If a person is to be off grid this esp comes into play. It's not hard to see how to build a tiny space to sleep and "hang out" but surely without some sort of bathroom and kitchen facilities these cannot really be called anything but shelters at best? And what about heat in the winter?

It's fun to see how ingenious he is and how that could get the creative juices flowing, but can you imagine having to climb down from 35 feet in the air in the middle of the night to use the toilet? Or climbing OUT of some of those things if a person had diarrhea? yikes. (Yeah I know, people who live right don't ever get such things...hah)

Something to consider is that people used to develop physical problems from trying to delay until absolutely necessary to use the outhouses, esp in the winter. Does anyone even MAKE chamber pots anymore? The ubiquitous plastic bucket..

These strike me as fun novelties but really only toys, though kudos for recycling stuff so creatively!.  Also, they are definitely geared to young bones and now it is often the older people with stiff joints and kids gone off on their own who need to find a better solution to housing.

This is what I am waiting to see. Especially something that doesn't require master carpenter skills to function well.
 
pollinator
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Pam wrote:
Fun and creative stuff BUT..none of them seem to incorporate any sort of plumbing for kitchens or bathrooms.  That's where the crunch comes..a shower..even a small one, takes up space as does any sort of toilet, even a bucket; and cooking needs a degree of space too, for even a small rocket stove  and a place to store food; clean/store the dishes, much less store and move water. If a person is to be off grid this esp comes into play. It's not hard to see how to build a tiny space to sleep and "hang out" but surely without some sort of bathroom and kitchen facilities these cannot really be called anything but shelters at best? And what about heat in the winter?



Yes, but.... they are mostly smaller than that magic 100sqft (108 in Canada) and not very high. The ideas are there.. the use of space is there. Make them a little bigger and the bucket and stove fit. In a building that size, once there is something to cook on, the heating is taken care of... a cooking stove would heat is easily with reasonable insulation. I can't see a couple or family living in 100sqft... certainly one would do a lot of living outside. In the summer, cooking would happen outside or the dweller would find their house too warm. A shower is not a necessity... Nice, but one can do without, there are other ways of keeping clean. However, there are ways of setting up a temporary shower that would only be in the way when in use. At this point it would feel too small for me, but there are boats with smaller space that people live in for many months while circling the globe... and they can't even go very far outside! It is not for everyone, but for some it is a solution.


These strike me as fun novelties but really only toys, though kudos for recycling stuff so creatively!. 



That is what they were meant to be... wooden tents to camp out in... how many people in our world are living day to day "camping out" in a tent... no plumbing or power, cooking outside all year round... bathing in the local pond or river (muddy at that)... but still smiling. Sometimes I think we have too much.
 
Dave Bennett
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My "tiny house" is somewhat portable.  The warm weather version is easily portable and will fit in the bed of a full size pickup weighing in around 400 lbs but my winterized version while still portable weighs in a 1200 lbs and needs the bed of a pickup truck plus a 4x8 trailer to move it.  It sets up or knocks down in about 2 hours with 2 people.  The summer version takes 1 hour.  It is a geodesic structure with 5 major components and encloses 210 sq. ft.
 
pollinator
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Well Dave, you can't stop there. Pix? Plans?
 
Dave Bennett
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jacque g wrote:
Well Dave, you can't stop there. Pix? Plans?


I used these plans as a guide. 
http://www.takeapartdome.com/
I altered them slightly to add a second interior layer plus an 18" - 5 piece exterior riser for more head room.  I cannot give you photos because it was built once, then taken apart and is in storage but.......  When I move it in the Spring I will be erecting it at it's "new" home.  I will then have the opportunity to take some photos.  It looks very much like the photos from this plan book but it is obvious that when mine is assembled that it is insulated. 
I originally bought the plan to use as easily movable animal housing and then saw the potential for a "tiny house."  2 of them with a collapsible 10 ft. rectangular connector would make a "mansion."  I like living small.  I do need space for my tools though.  I can't build "stuff" without my portable workshop and I need storage space for that.  I guess I would need a bigger trailer. LOL.  2 pickup trucks and two trailers so I can carry my animals with me.  A nomadic farm.  I guess I just march to the beat of a different drummer. hahahahahaha
I always liked the methods of the northern Plains natives, moving with the food.
I was thinking of my land in Quebec where I could live in the summer from the food I develop to grow in that environment.  I wouldn't expect it to be productive immediately but it would be fun to develop a self regulating forest garden on that property.  My ideal is the north eastern corner of upstate NY but will probably wind up farther west.  That area would make "jamming" up to Montreal and then on to the northwest and settle in for the summer in Quebec but close enough to home base.  About 300 miles one way.  I like the mountains of upstate NY.  I grew up there but in the Catskills.  I love all of them mountains but the Adirondacks are bigger so I like them more.  
Incidentally, I will put the plans on here if it is legal to do. I also found a much easier way to construct the pentagons if anybody decides to build one.  I disagree with the structural integrity of the design so I altered it using 2 x 4 lumber and "Star Connectors" from Stromberg's Chickens."  It is normal for me to "re-engineer" designs to suit my structural judgment which has seemed to work well for over the years.  The single skin version of this dome would work very well for a small flock of chickens, rabbits, or maybe even a few goats.  I would strengthen the connectors that hold it together but two people can set it up in an hour. 
Peace.
 
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On a trip to buy goats I came upon a sweet little permaculture homestead. They built a tiny house. Then a tiny kitchen. Then tiny barn. Each had a different construction. It just felt peaceful.
The reason was building codes. I don't like building codes. I don't much care for excessive or rigid zoning laws. Building is so simple no one should be homeless. We should be free from rent. We complicate it too much.
 
Dave Bennett
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boiledfrog wrote:
On a trip to buy goats I came upon a sweet little permaculture homestead. They built a tiny house. Then a tiny kitchen. Then tiny barn. Each had a different construction. It just felt peaceful.
The reason was building codes. I don't like building codes. I don't much care for excessive or rigid zoning laws. Building is so simple no one should be homeless. We should be free from rent. We complicate it too much.


Excellent point.  Where I live even portable structures over a certain size need a "building permit."  My friend that owns the local craft brewery just found that point out when he got his permit for the "Oktoberfest" last weekend.  They wanted $400.00 because his original permit request included a 900 sq. ft. tent.  So he rent 3 - 300 sq.ft. tents instead.  No permit required.  That is obviously a building permit "speed trap" for revenue enhancement.  I liked Paul's point about the building inspectors walking past the underground home they were supposed to inspect.  What I find most amazing is that in the not too distant past mobile homes were constructed using 2x3 lumber and aluminum wiring.  They were not structurally sound and serious fire hazards but the building codes allowed them to be sold and at the same time building a home on a foundation using the same materials was not permitted. 

I built my structure with 90% salvaged material.  All of the 2x4's and the interior skin is recycled.  I bought the hemp fiberboard that is the exterior skin, the hardware, the milk paint and the seam sealant.  It cost less than $5.00 per square foot.  It is portable and is weather tight.  I forgot to mention that I connect my sections together with bolts because I do not want a powerful storm blowing my house apart.  That is also why it takes an extra hour for assembly.  I am also still developing a flooring system for it.  At this time the floor consists of tarps.  I envision building a deck to erect the dome off the ground.  Because it is a small portable structure no building permit required.  I am confident that properly secured to the ground it will withstand serious storms.  My next project will be a better water storage system for my tiny home.  I have 2 - 55 gallon food grade plastic drums for water storage.  Ideally I would like to get a 55 gallon stainless steel drum for drinking water but they are prohibitively expensive. 
Peace.
 
pollinator
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Dave, re: the SS drum for water storage -- we've used just plain steel drums, as long as you can find one that hasn't had nasty stuff in it.  Took one end off and made a plywood lid with the lid cut in half and hinged so we could lift just the one side to access the water.  Kept it by the front door in Alaska -- it stayed cool there, and sometimes froze on the side closest to the door (at seventy below).  It needs to be dumped and scrubbed once in a while, but in that climate we were fine with once a year. 

Kathleen
 
Dave Bennett
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I have a pretty good collection of steel drums of various sizes.  I prefer stainless for potable water.  The reconditioned ones are about $275.00.  I will eventually buy at least two of them.  If I get to a permanent location I will build a wooden cistern.  I have experience building very large wooden barrels.  The ones I built were 12 ft. tall and 16 ft. in diameter.  Made from redwood and used for storing Olives before processing.  I built a cistern 8ft. tall by 14ft. diameter out of white oak with a friend.  It holds about 14,000 gallons.  It is his water supply.  The big barrels are easy to build compared to the "whiskey" size barrels because the arc is so gentle fitting the boards isn't as difficult. 
 
Kathleen Sanderson
pollinator
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How long do the wooden cisterns last?

Kathleen
 
Dave Bennett
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Kathleen Sanderson wrote:
How long do the wooden cisterns last?

Kathleen


Properly built......... It depends upon the resiliency of the wood but decades.  I did maintenance on some Olive "vats" that were 50 years old and was only replacing boards that had been run into by fork lifts. 
Depends a lot on where you live though.  Here in Va. I have access to very large quantities of white oak limber which in my opinion makes the best cisterns.  After it is built it is charred with a propane weed torch and then well flushed with a hose.  Fill it with water, adjust the steel bands to stop the leaks and then turn of the "aquarium" pump with the extra large aeration stone mounted at the bottom.  This prevents algae and keeps the water from freezing in the winter.
White Oak is a closed cell wood which makes it very water tight.  Charring the inside prevents the tannins in the wood from "tainting" the water.  It isn't poisonous but will leave a bitter aftertaste in the water for a very long time if the charring isn't done.
 
jacque greenleaf
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Dave, my issue with domes is their propensity to leak at the seams. Is there anything about this design that addresses that issue particularly well?
 
Dave Bennett
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jacque g wrote:
Dave, my issue with domes is their propensity to leak at the seams. Is there anything about this design that addresses that issue particularly well?


Well this design has one roof component and it overlaps the side sections much like a giant shingle.  The vertical side seams are also covered.  If I get a leak it will be from a windy rain storm with sideways blowing under the vertical seam covers because they are covered at the top by the roof section.  I was very careful when fitting the parts during the construction of the 5 sections and all of the seams have really good quality weatherstripping.  I fit the seams before I added the weather stripping.  I am a very slow carpenter but my joints are always plumb and fit very well.  I never got along well with "build 'em fast" contractors.  Got fired a couple from a couple of companies for being slow.  I did eventually find a guy doing old home restoration and additions.  He didn't care how long I took because I he paid me by the job.  Making new cabinets fit well in old houses is challenging as is making settled hardwood floors flat.  Best carpentry job I ever had was working for that old biker. 
I was thinking about heating my tiny dome efficiently this evening and thought about how difficult it would be to use a rocket mass heater but I will keep thinking about how to solve that problem. 
I hope I answered your questions about leaking.  I have experience with domes so I knew about the leaks that some have experienced.  Hopefully my method of addressing the problem with the vertical seams will be effective.  The overlapping roof is in that plan I listed.  It is important to note that my dome is held together with very substantial bolts.  The dome in the plan is not because it was meant as a very temporary structure that the designer uses to boil his sap for maple syrup.
 
                        
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Someone is missing the boat..or something..this home in Berkeley of 420 square feet was built for a mere $100,000 !     hmmm   Even with the built in dishwasher and fridge, that seems like a pretty hefty chunk of change to me.  I guess when trying to change codes it helps to be a university prof.
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/30ZHwg/newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/01/13/backyard-solutions-to-urban-planning-issues/
Still,  it's a start and has opened the way for others to follow.
 
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True no inside toilet means you will have to go outside if only breifly.It really isnt a bad thing if you have it toasty warm inside.It might be the only time you fully experience the weather.I agree that without plumbing some options are limited.Washing dishes is done outside with warmed rain water.If its not freezing you can put them under the eave flow for a bit.Showers are unnecessary but friends or a gym membership can fill in.
 
Len Ovens
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Pam wrote:
Someone is missing the boat..or something..this home in Berkeley of 420 square feet was built for a mere $100,000 !     hmmm   Even with the built in dishwasher and fridge, that seems like a pretty hefty chunk of change to me.  I guess when trying to change codes it helps to be a university prof.
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/30ZHwg/newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/01/13/backyard-solutions-to-urban-planning-issues/
Still,  it's a start and has opened the way for others to follow.



Dollars per square foot is how the amount of the permit is figured out. Probably not owner built either. That might be a way of getting a tiny building permit.... Offer to make it an expensive tiny house so the permit fee was high enough.... then pay your self whatever it takes to cost that much.... silly.
 
paul wheaton
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Neat trick in getting past the permitting hurdles! A lot of talk about how the mortgage free system works.





 
gardener
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Look to the marine world; we have lived in small spaces for a very long time. the tiny house movement would do well to see the things sailors have developed to use space. picture this 6 guys living in 300sq feet for 6 months. the only way it works is to have efficient space and places to get out to. so you might take a look at some of the sailboat layouts; also most boats now have solar and other very low power systems so you can design low voltage DC right into the house. Also heads are minimal with things like fold up toilets and bathrooms that double as the shower stall Etc. might be good stuff.
 
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Ernie Wisner wrote:Look to the marine world; we have lived in small spaces for a very long time...



Oh yes! We are about (32 days) to move into the forest and build a tiny home. I have my eye on marine wood stoves because they are totally excellent at being small and not needing huge spaces around them to meet code (= installed per manufacturer's instructions). There is one called the 'Sardine' that has a rail around the top to hold two pots still when the waves kick up (or the bearded hippie crashes into the thing:)
 
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a good resource:
http://www.small-cabin.com/forum/index.html
 
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Location: Valley of the Sun
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My Aunt got married in 1959. She and my Uncle lived their first several years in a small converted chicken coop behind his parents house while he finished college. I was about 5 the first time we went to visit, and EVERYTHING seemed tight, especially in comparison to the normal "farm/country" houses I was used to seeing; tiny rooms, low ceiling, Plywood and 2x2 or 2x3 construction, etc. I dont know the size, but would guesstimate it was less than 150 sqft. When my cousin was born, they cut out a wall and built in a dresser with a tiny mattress on top. I remember thinking it was kinda weird living in a chicken coop, but at the same time, she made it feel quite homey.
 
David Bates
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That's a most excellent "living in a chicken coop" story. Lucinda and I are moving to our place near Harrowsmith in about thirty days. Right now we have two buildings, one of them is an eight by twelve board and baton frame construction and the other is a very well ventilated eight by twelve summer kitchen we built from round timbers that we cut, peeled and dragged to the site. To begin, and for the foreseeable future we will be living in those two places.

We plan to build an 18x24 timber frame with cord wood walls. Since we have more than enough of our own timber, it is going to take us years. There is a season to cut timber and there must be time to dry it. There are two snags in our plan. The first has to do with our "stuff". Since we are moving out of this palatial 40'x40' house that I'm sitting in, all of the stuff that it's full of has nowhere to go! The second problem is that we will need places for animals to live, right away. We'll need Chickens, Goats, Pigs and a Horse as soon as we can comfortably house them. Nobody (including the animals) gets to stay outside at night where we are going because there are things that will eat you.

It will be a fun balancing act. Building things as material and needs become available... I have a feeling that the Chickens are going to have their permanent, tiny home before we do and that sometimes next winter we may be snuggling in with them... just to get a little space.



 
pollinator
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Paul and Josiah talk about frugality and community in this podcast.

They talk about ERE and the tiny house movement.
 
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Location: B.C.
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I saw a video home tour of this particular house. If I find the video again I'll put it up here.
http://inhabitat.com/3-meter-net-zero-cube-house-goes-big-on-design/
 
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I tried to post a picture of our tiny house, but I kept getting a bad request error so I'm going to post the link to our blog and you can go there if you would like to see pictures.
It's 12X32, for a grand total of 384 square feet. We paid $3250 for it, plus $130 for a metal door, $400 for transportation and $300 to prepare the sight. So, for just over $4000 we have a nearly 400 square foot unfinished cabin that comes in under the building codes and is going to be quite homey. It's also gorgeous!
You can see the pictures here: http://tinyhousebigsky.wordpress.com/
 
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Location: SW Michigan
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To live simple is to live a deliberate life. To sustain an agri or rural life you need room for extra clothing and tools. Then there is the issue of food storage. The list is endless. I live in a small farm house. I can not fit a years worth of food, tool, winter and work clothing. Not to mention the living members of a family in a very small house.

This is coming from a man who had a 3000+ sq ft Victorian at the beach for 20 years. I have been on each end of this spectrum.

To live small is deliberate. Beware of your true needs. I will note. In a city it is easy to live in a small space. Everything is done for you by someone. I live on the old farm. My tools alone take up more room than my living space. Just wanted everyone to know this.

Please, dream the dream. We can all be a little more choosy and deliberate on how we live.
 
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My view is there is a lot of opportunity here, for a variety of things.

1. Say a family starts with raw land, with a "compound approach" this works even with say two kids. Say mom and dad get one "house", one for each kiddo as they get older, one is a "eating/get together" house. You build a composting toilet and shower facility common to the group of houses, an outdoor living and cooking area for the majority of the year when the conditions are right for outdoor living, etc. You build all the houses on trailers if you ever buy new land you can move 90% of your stuff with out really packing.

2. We for instance are looking right now for 10-20 acres in east Texas to go full scale design with. Some of the houses are nice but 2 bed, 2 bath. Day to day that is fine but I need an office and guest quarters. I could do a tiny house office if the property doesn't have one and say 2-4 tiny houses over a few years. Guests I find like their own space, we could use them for select visitors during workshops, etc. The Vermont guy put it best when he said, "tiny houses do best in the back yard of a regular house".

3. For the single person starting out they are ideal! I have seen them with everything except a bathroom. For a single person who would pay a home owner say 150 a month to park it in the back yard, access electricity and a indoor bath room they ability to save money during those first 10-15 years are awesome! At 30-35 most people feel like fannie mae, sally mae and fredie mac are pets or dependents. At 30-35 a young person taking this approach could easily be sitting on 200-500K in savings even with a modest income and even with a pretty damn good social life and even married with a kiddo or two. Most seem to be capping at two kids or less anyway. This guy or gal could easily phase into option one above as they got married, bought some land, etc. Such a person could also buy a really small house with a few acres on the cheap and buy moving in the tiny house and making a few more end up living really well with a very low cost.

Think about it where I am looking right now a 3/2 home in good shape on 15ish acres is going to cost me 130-220K depending on what we find. You can get raw land for 2-5K an acre if you look for it. A compound built by a young person or couple over time could look like this, with some pretty mac'd out stuff.

10 acres at 4K an acre = 40K (you could do better)
Primary tiny house = 10K (that is a really nice one BTW)
2 Kiddo tiny houses = 7K a piece = 14K
1 Outdoor kitchen living area = 7K (that would be really nice and you could do it for a lot less or a lot more)
1 Common area bath/toilet area = 5K (it could be almost free I am just being realistic)
1 Dining house with full kitchen and a place to eat = 7K

The above comes to 83K built over say 8 years would be about 10K a year. A one bedroom apartment will cost most people about 700 a month right now in a decent area, with zero equity build. That alone is not much less then building the above.

The bigger view though is it doesn't have to cost anywhere near that must. Buy 5 acres and cut out 20K, 5 is more than many can fully utilize. Build a two kid house (especially if you have two of the same sex) and let them live together, with all the outdoor space the house is mostly for sleeping and there is the "eating house" that can double as a quite area when not used for cooking for one to get away from the other at times. So now we are down to 56K.

Likely we could cut the living area cost to under 3K if we used trees on the land for polls, etc. Built a earth oven, use rocks on the land (if we have them) for a BBQ, used a habitat store to get some sinks, etc. In theory we could do it for almost nothing but let's call it 4K total to be realistic. So the above project is now 53K if we divide that by 60 (monthly cost for 5 years) we get about 900 a month. So we can have one main house, one secondary, 1 out door kitchen, 1 common bath, 1 "dining house" and 5 acres of land for about the cost of renting a two bedroom apartment for 5 years.

I would likely not do the above but it would work for some folks. More likely for me if I was a young man again, I would find something more like a small mobile home on 5-10 acres which you can get for 40-70K, have all the utility issues (even if it is just well and septic permitting) handled and build an "office" and a "guest" house or two as tiny mobile units.

Imagine a segment of society that begins living this way, by the time kids are ready to leave home and get their own land, they just take a house they built, understand all the maintenance on, etc with them.

 
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Thanks Jack.

That sounds like a decent plan to consider. My wife and I are considering a tiny house on some raw land because we think that, even if we could get a mortgage for a regular house with acreage, we may not be able to afford that mortgage long term. She would also prefer to not feel crammed into a tiny house because we have our first kid on the way. Although, if that lifestyle is only temporary (one winter or so), then we should be able to do it with one. I met a superwoman at the Dayton PDC. She's been living on her new land in a big tent with four kids for the past winter! Awesome.

The idea of building a tiny house complex seems really workable.
 
jack spirko
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Travis Halverson wrote:Thanks Jack.

That sounds like a decent plan to consider. My wife and I are considering a tiny house on some raw land because we think that, even if we could get a mortgage for a regular house with acreage, we may not be able to afford that mortgage long term. She would also prefer to not feel crammed into a tiny house because we have our first kid on the way. Although, if that lifestyle is only temporary (one winter or so), then we should be able to do it with one. I met a superwoman at the Dayton PDC. She's been living on her new land in a big tent with four kids for the past winter! Awesome.

The idea of building a tiny house complex seems really workable.



In thinking about the kids I also think say two and a baby can work in one, as soon as that kiddo can start to give input you start building their own house, make a big deal out of it, let them be involved, park it close to mom and dad, have them spend time in it before they move in, etc. If you think getting a kid to sleep in their own bed during that phase is hard, imagine trying to get them to sleep in their own house. Some cool stuff would ease the transition though.

1. Radios in each house, get them used to talking to you one them long before they move in.

2. Connect the houses with decking, make it feel like part of one bigger thing. Make the deck a great common area.

3. Make sure they are a part of the building, choices, etc. Make sure they understand how it all works. Kids are smarter then we think, I was a pretty good carpenter by 8 and was building things like bike and skateboard ramps that would scare the crap out of my friends parents that we actually used them.

4. Never insinuate that there is anything unusual about the way you are living and building. When things are just presented as natural kids see it that way. My family was technically "poor" I thought we were rich as kings. I had a garden, I hunted and fished for food, played with friends, had a bike that got me anywhere with in 10 mile of home, etc. Today I realize the way I grew up was "crazy" in the modern view. Can you imagine a kid fishing 10 miles from home on a bike alone today off in the woods? At say age 10 or 11? I did it all the time, recently a little girl was picked up by the cops for riding a bike 1 mile to school and her parents threatened with CPS getting involved if it was allowed to continue.

Just some thoughts. When I was in Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras I have to say many people outside the cities largely lived this way, though not quite exactly the same. They had huge Boheios (like a covered pavilion in a city park sort of) with thatched roofs. These were family gathering areas, parents had a house that was largely timber framed from local materials. Kids would build near by as they grew up, grandparents would often live on the same piece of land or very close. Each family had a boheio but often there would be common areas when several families land met, often a "rich family" simply donated a piece of their edge land for the common area. This was were many would gather.

The US Gov calls these people a "sub poverty class", they are wealthy in my view beyond the means of most Americans in the main stream. It never really gets cold there, (though the natives put jackets on during the few "cold" 75 degree nights that happen). The thatched roofs keep 100% of the rain out and the homes and the boheios are remarkably cool even during the heat of the day. Most DO have electricity but cook with wood or gas, many DO have TVs but only get a few local channels but that is all they need/desire. Today I imagine most have some sort of internet connection, broad band internet is more penetrated in Central America then in the US, BTW.

They have plenty of food, every other tree grows something you can eat! You don't plant a food forest in Panama, you find a forest and you find food. They eat a lot of the land crabs, the icks and ews of the average Jo are funny as they taste as good as any high dollar seafood in a restaurant. You can find them anywhere near any tidal areas, miles inland if there are estuaries or inlets near by. Any body of water over an acre is teaming with fish, lots of peacock bass, YUM. The kudamundi is considered a great source of meat and they are quite tasty. They do have cattle and the meat is really lean but plentiful.

A tiny house compound in Panama or Costa Rica might be cool! Don't even get me started on the pure joy of a hot cup of coffee while the sun comes up on the Cerro Azul mountains while sitting among the plants that produced the beans you are currently enjoying. I saw some real crappy conditions in parts of those nations (and really bad in Honduras) but where people had their acts together in the mountains it was awesome. Note they didn't have that much more stuff, just a few conveniences and a lifestyle that used what they had.

When I came back to the states as a very young man I couldn't wait to get home, now as an older wiser guy I miss the place and how special it really was/is.
 
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I recently bought a small home of 700sq ft, though it is not considered tiny, me and my partner have never been happier. Prior we had lived in a 1400 sq ft home, and have found you need less of everything when the home is small, quite cost effective as well as super cozy.
 
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Pam Hatfield wrote:Fun and creative stuff BUT..none of them seem to incorporate any sort of plumbing for kitchens or bathrooms.



We have a kitchen with a full size stove, full size refrigerator and freezer, sink and pantry space plus a full bathroom with bathtub and shower in our 252 sq-ft cottage.

Very comfortable for our family of five. We used to live in a much larger old drafty farm house and didn't like it. Beyond the drafts it was impossible to keep warm in the winter and impossible to clean from over 200 years of road grit that had gotten into the walls and ceilings. You clean and clean and clean again yet the farm house was never clean. In contrast, our tiny cottage is easy to clean and maintain.

See: http://SugarMthFarm.com/cottage

Eventually we plan to berm it - it's built strong enough and that will give even more protection from the winter winds. But first we have some other projects to complete like our on-farm butcher shop.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
in Vermont
 
Daniel Morse
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Some thoughts,

I was and have worked in many trailer factories in my life. RV's, Modular and Trailer. My most recent adventure was refitting Big Mercedes Benz vans into a limo product. Here is the truth on trailers. It is all made with the cheapest materials know to man that will let them get them down the road. Long gone are the days of any real wood or design other than the cheapest. There are a few exceptions, but most people here can never afford the used prices, let alone new product prices. Modular and Trailer manufacturers are usually the same guys bouncing from factory to factory. Same materials, often the same owners.

If you do find a well built one and it is what you can afford rock on guys and gals. Just do not expect anything built in the last 30 years to last. The bonding in the boards is literally dissolving as we speak. The sealer has already gone. If it is not leaking, it will soon. So any thing you buy know that you will have to do maint.

One more issue. Old age and handicapped. The trailers and RV's can be hard to use and live in if you are walker or wheel chair bound. Old age is happening to us all. Just keep the future in mind. Here, in this area a lot of them are for sale because the people can not use or live in them for this very reason. It is something to think about. A year becomes 20 before you know it.

I love my 76 Winnebago. I loved my School Bus, the one my ex took. I lived in them each for a while. Good luck folks.

 
paul wheaton
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Somebody sent me this very interesting web page. I think the idea is show how terrible it is to live in a small space. But I kinda think about keeping the space size the same, but doing a makeover for the living space. Better shelves and the like to tuck away "stuff".



(source)
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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I was interviewed by Monica Gokey on KBGA about tiny houses. And she talks to Abe Coley (who is in my "just enough" podcast series) She sent me the MP3.
Filename: KBGA_Home_MGokey04-09-13.mp3
File size: 6 megabytes
 
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Great thread! Has anyone checked out Tortoise Shell Homes http://www.tortoiseshellhome.com/index.html they make steel mini-mobile homes starting around $25K. They look pretty cool and are made out of steel so should last for a while...
 
Daniel Morse
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I find the smaller home I have. The less I need.

However. You will need out sheds for stuff.

I love my small home. I do need extra space for stuff like tools, materials and such. Just keep in mind what your true personal needs are and realistic about what you need to make your life productive.
 
This tiny ad is wafer thin:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
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