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Tiny house anyone?
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Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Tiny house anyone? on 04/24/2011 19:42:28 MDT Print View

Anyone living the ultralight life in a tiny house? Been thinking about one for quite a while now. Ready to take the plunge. Would like to hear from those who are actually doing it.

Kathleen B
(rosierabbit) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Tiny houses on 04/24/2011 21:15:11 MDT Print View

I bought the plans for a Tumbleweed Whidbey, 461 sf. I'm listing my condo for sale on Tuesday and then hope to be able to afford a tiny plot to build my tiny house from the proceeds. I, too, would love to hear of others who have gone that route.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Tiny houses on 04/24/2011 21:45:48 MDT Print View

Any resistance from your permitting department? We wish to go smaller and will probably go on trailer route because of that. Best wishes for you!

Levon Jensen
(LevonJensen) - MLife

Locale: Canadian Rockies
tiny house on 04/24/2011 22:02:01 MDT Print View

i saw this a month or so ago, http://www.simondale.net/house/ would love to build something like it later in life, when i can find some land and a job nearby.

461 sqfeet, thats smaller then my masterbed room! Should be amazingly cheap to heat! best of luck getting it all done.

Kimberly Wersal
(kwersal) - MLife

Locale: Western Colorado
Re: tiny house on 04/24/2011 22:25:03 MDT Print View

Not a tiny house, exactly--but I have a lot of experience living in small places. Our first 2 years in Colorado we lived in a vintage Airstream (152 sq. ft.) I LOVED it, didn't want to move back into a real house! We are totally rebuilding our old farmhouse now--when finished it will be 768 sq. ft. I don't know what we'll do with all that space since we have been living in the rear 300 sq. ft. of the house for 6 months now while we rebuild the house around us, and I've been quite comfortable. Last summer we lived in our 13 ft. camper for almost 4 months while we took the roof off the house. Really, I think I could live quite well in a "tiny house". Well--actually, I already have... I'm forgetting our first house in Montana-- 464 sq. ft.--very cozy and well built... We lived there very comfortably for several years.

Good luck! I am SO much more in favor of a tiny, but exquisitely built home than I am in a huge (wasteful), but cheaply built McMansion.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: tiny house on 04/24/2011 22:48:53 MDT Print View

I miss our 240sq/ft rental we had years ago. Could have had a better floor plan. But so easy to keep clean. We have 1450sq/ft now and we use less than half and feel like we are spread out. Been reducing the amount of personal belongings. If I haven't used it in a year or so out it goes. With a tiny house you could use materials that you would never think of spending the money on in a big house. We love the size and feeling of space of the caboose in our local park. Been toying around with floor plans based on it.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 04/24/2011 22:54:24 MDT Print View

I've been interested in living in a tiny house for a few years now. I really do prefer a small residence.

And, I'm not sure how I'd make it happen at this point. Generally, land that I could afford is WAY out in the middle of nowhere. I'd need to be location independent. And would I even want to live there? Forever?

The wheeled option presents itself. But I don't know people who would let me park on their land. In a city? Where would i put it?

It seems like something that could happen in a few decades. But now, I'm more likely to move into a small studio apartment..

Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 04/24/2011 22:54:36 MDT Print View

I lived in some pretty small places in Tokyo (e.g., roku-jo/12 m2) before I was married and loved it - everything was fitted in, including a toilet/shower/bath little bigger than my current toilet.

We just extended our house as part of a green reno, and the most common comment we've had from friends who've seen it is that the extension (about 40 m2) is ... small. Australians are now firmly of the bigger is better mentality, even people who really should know better: typically a house like ours renovated for sale will have a huge (and I do mean huge) weatherboard and plaster box added to the back of it, with halogen downlights, polished floorboards, french doors, outside decks and cheap appliances: they look great at first but are impossible to heat or cool and typically take up the entire backyard. We live close to the city and have a rare large block and I wanted to maintain as much of the backyard as possible, hence the small extension. By adding a new, small kitchen and living room and re-jigging the rooms in the original house we went from 2 bedrooms and a study to 4 bedrooms, a library and a study and still have a 30m deep back yard - room to kick a footy.

The new extension is solar passive and I highly recommend that approach. We now use half the electricity, have reduced gas use by 95% and recorded zero water use on our last water bill (we plumbed rain water tanks right through the house, so evidently the small amounts of mains water we use for drinking etc aren't big enough to register).

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 04/24/2011 23:03:13 MDT Print View

We live in a fairly rural setting and hope to setup on someones land as caretakers. Keeping the growers at bay, and rent to a minimum if not all together gone.

David Lutz
(davidlutz)

Locale: Bay Area
"Tiny house anyone?" on 04/24/2011 23:14:34 MDT Print View

I think that's a terrific idea.

On Saturday we were poking around this place on the campus of Santa Clara University. It was built by students, I think. I would guess it at 500-600 sq ft. I'll pace it off next time we're there.

http://www.refracthouse.com/index.php/design/architecture/

I have cruised the web on this idea quite a few times. I've seen some cool stuff built out of shipping containers! Cheap, and very secure.

Devil's Advocate here - I've seen rough plans for trailer-mounted designs, but not any engineering. I wonder how they are assembled and how they would hold together while under way?

The old Airstream trailers seem very livable and refurbishing one would be a great project. Depending on the arrangement you made for placing the trailers, you could even have a "compound". Why not? A trailer dedicated to cooking/living/bathing and a small separate trailer just for sleeping.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: "Tiny house anyone?" on 04/25/2011 00:29:15 MDT Print View

Renovating an Airstream typically is big bucks, as is purchasing one in good condition. I once lived for two years in a 8' X 6' tent trailer (excluding the bunks when they folded out. It can be done, but you need to adjust your lifestyle.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: "Tiny house anyone?" on 04/25/2011 06:25:42 MDT Print View

Tiny house vs. trailer A tiny house built with quality materials can be designed for full time living. Most trailers have short term living in mind. Do a quick search for RVs rated for full time occupancy will yield few results. Plus they always look like trailers. A tiny house looks like a house, some are on trailers. Being 6'3" I would go with more headroom as well that is afforded with a tiny house.

David here is a video for you.

http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/2010/01/23/how-to-build-a-tumbleweed-tiny-house-video/

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: "Tiny house anyone?" on 04/25/2011 10:46:20 MDT Print View

Interesting thread. Makes me want to look into the possibilities.

I'm picturing a little house on enough land for a garden and maybe space for a Steve chicken condo.

Daniel Goldenberg
(dag4643)

Locale: Pacific Northwet
Re: Re: Re: "Tiny house anyone?" on 04/25/2011 11:02:19 MDT Print View

One common strategy seems to be to buy a small house and rent it out, while placing your tiny house (with wheels) in the yard. That gives you access to utilities.

I think this is what Jay Shafer of tumbleweed did.

Lots of places have a minimum square footage requirement for dwellings which is why the really tiny houses are on trailer to get past the zoning requirement.

Edited by dag4643 on 04/25/2011 11:05:57 MDT.

Gerry Volpe
(gvolpe)

Locale: Vermont
tiny houses on 04/25/2011 13:37:47 MDT Print View

While not tiny enough to qualify in the tiny house movement my wife, myself, soon to be born child, and two good size dogs live in a 640 square foot house with a small loft. I love it and it's energy efficiency especially. Things will continue to be a little cramped until I build a tiny house for my gear and tools but it is a great lifestyle. To be honest during the long winter months I definately daydreamed of a modest super-efficient addition. My wife and I lived in the tipi that is my avatar for 4 months while we built our first small house (570 square feet). There are things I really miss about the simplicity of that lifestyle. We were really in touch with the natural world such as seeing an amazing display of northern lights which I would easily miss now living in my house watching netflix. I think I will always live in more modest dwellings than your typical American but choosing to live rurally in a fairly harsh environment makes it harder to live in a truly tiny house for me. In a warmer climate you can make use of outdoor living space more consistently and in a more urban evironment you have many options for out of home entertainment and space to occupy.

Clint Wayman
(cwayman1)

Locale: East Tennessee, US
Re: "Tiny house anyone?" on 04/25/2011 19:10:47 MDT Print View

Hey David,

That looks alot like what some of our Architecture students at the University of Tennessee are doing for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.

http://livinglightutk.com/ourstory/provensuccess/

Personally, the closer I get to being out of school, the more and more a smaller living space appeals to me. This past fall semester, my parents had our house renovated and we, four full-grown individuals, lived for about 6 months in a small cottage/house owned by some family friends. The house was about 800-100 sq.ft. (as approximated by my dad) and we lived MORE than comfortably. The house was out toward the country and had a huge yard. So, instead of chillin' on the interweb (which was feeding on spotty wi-fi anyway) we went outside and passed football and played soccer. I'll be a graduate student in the fall, so a good ways from having children, but I realize that I don't want a big house to raise a family. I simply want a decent yard.

-Clint

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Tiny House vs. Trailer Park vs. Apt. Living on 04/25/2011 23:04:49 MDT Print View

I've never lived in a trailer park... so I'll admit upfront to stereotyping...

For me, I can see how living in a smaller house can make sense -- esp. since I am blissfully single. However, I am not sure I would live in a trailer park...

Right now, I live in a 3-bedroom house. Maybe in 25 years or so, I will move into a modern 2-bedroom apt. unit with decent soundproofing and say good bye to yard work and blowing leaves off my roof...

Edited by ben2world on 04/25/2011 23:05:40 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 04/25/2011 23:55:33 MDT Print View

I read the book "Tiny Houses" years ago and loved the idea. I have always wanted to live aboard a sailboat, which is really the same feat.

I lived in a 21 foot trailer for a year when I was in college and was perfectly comfortable. It was made to sleep 6, so I had four bunks in the back--- one for me and the other three for storage. I actually made a profit on it and lived for a year for the cost of the utilities.

I rented a 16x24 cabin while living on Totten Inlet and attending The Evergreen State College. It had everything my girlfriend and I needed.

My father and I built a nice little 12x24 cabin using salvaged and blem building materials. It was cozy and stout. It had a barn roof and a nice loft bedroom, a laundry and a bathroom with a shower. There was one big room on the main floor with a kitchen on one end and a killer wood stove my father made from scratch. Thoreau would have thought it a mansion.

A yurt would be very nice for near-wilderness living.

Storage and heating are the challenges I found in small recreational homes. They are usually made on the cheap and for occasional summertime use, so those are lower priorities I guess.

We have lived in our home for 24 years. When we moved in it was 850sf on the main floor with a basement about the same size. We added 500sf to the main floor to add two bedrooms and a bath when we had kids. The basement provides storage and laundry that makes the main floor very livable. I really wouldn't want more space.

Jeff Antig
(Antig)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Tiny house anyone? on 04/26/2011 01:27:51 MDT Print View

If you all haven't already, you need to check out www.tinyhouseblog.com

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Buying a basecamp in a falling market on 04/26/2011 08:16:08 MDT Print View

I'd like to purchase a home but not sure I want to commit to an area, despite lower prices. Plus home prices are STILL falling in at least 10 major markets as of today (26 April 2011)

... link: MSN Money article on home prices 4/26/2011

Sounds like trying to catch a falling knife to use a stock market analogy, and with jobs becoming more uncertain, who wants a traditional 30-year mortgage? Guess one could always lease or "flip" with these low prices but these come with their own dangers.

My thought is build a new small place (if possible under building codes) for a low-risk place to live, with an expansion plan in case fun with a girlfriend unit results in triple hatchlings (think the clinical term is triplets). Maybe just wait until some new tech comes to fruition. Not sure about a trailer as most are cheaply made and seem to attract tornadoes, though an Airstream has a certain Americana allure (and may hold its value, away from "Tornado Alley" anyways).

ed: br - not sure triplets are in my future unless talking beer

Edited by hknewman on 10/22/2014 15:56:07 MDT.