Author Topic: Tiny Homes!  (Read 7988 times)

sarahjeaan

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Tiny Homes!
« on: August 26, 2015, 09:14:41 AM »
My husband and I are 25 years old and we have been really into tiny homes since we were 18. We are just now seriously looking into building one. We are interested in building a tiny home on wheels. I wanted to open up a discussion about all things to do with tiny homes. Does anyone have any experience with them or anything you'd like to add to the conversation?
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 09:19:34 AM by sarahjeaan »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2015, 10:38:44 AM »
Why not just get an RV?

Roboturner

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2015, 10:46:03 AM »
Why not just get an RV?

building a tiny home is likely much more cheap, also a fun hobby, GO GET 'EM!

EricP

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2015, 11:40:35 AM »
Tiny Homes look a lot nicer and are actually designed for living in full time.  Better insulation, better space management, etc.  Lots of things that make them actually nice to live in as opposed to just tolerable.

Cromacster

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2015, 12:04:58 PM »
There have been a few discussions about tiny homes on the forum.  These two were the most recent I could find.

Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?

How many here could live in a "tiny house"?

Personally, I wouldn't live in one unless I was single.  I enjoy my space and privacy too much, which lacks in tiny houses.  I would use one as a cabin or vacation home, but I am not likely to ever be interested in owning a vacation home.

My brother and sister in law are in the process of building one.  They are paying a contractor to do it, so we'll see how that goes.

Due to zoning and ordinances the whole tiny house movement is sorta sketchy.  The only real options you have are RV parks, paying someone under the table to park it on their land, or live on unincorporated land.  Not saying that the regulations won't change, but it isn't going to happen fast.

I'm still not convinced about the actual mobility of the homes that are built on trailers.  From the few documentaries and build videos I've watched, the homes are built using fairly traditional methods.  I am a unconvinced that this type of building is really meant to travel down a highway at 55+ mph.

And just for giggles, watch the Portlandia sketch on tiny homes, hilarious!


Cromacster

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2015, 12:16:29 PM »
Just to add.  I also have no interest in dealing with a composting toilet, which alot of the tiny homes utilize.  I know some people use it in compost to make (hu)manure.  I'd imagine a family would make more shit in a year than could be used as compost unless they had a good sized garden, which brings us back to the whole land issue...

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2015, 01:55:46 PM »
Posting to follow the thread, Mrs Axe and I are very interested in a tiny home project. The "build it yourself" aspect is really appealing, and the idea of being able to move the house whenever you like is nice, too. I'm interested in having a mobile base and be able to take that to one or more places where we might build more permanent infrastructure - for example, a small solar farm, a well or simple sand filter and/or septic. I'm also interested in tiny home villages with shared infrastructure.

Please keep us posted on your progress.

alicet

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2015, 01:46:36 AM »
I would also suggest getting new "tiny" house according to your requirements is better than investing on an RV.

Moonwaves

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2015, 03:06:04 AM »
I have a friend who lives in a converted old "Bauwagen" (builder's trailer) - actually in three of them now, as she is married and has a kid. Both she and her husband had one of these tiny houses separately and when they got together they didn't just get rid of one. Not long (a year maybe?) after their daughter was born, they had the opportunity to get a third one and they did that so that eventually she will have her own space. She doesn't post much on her blog anymore (started a different website so these days it's all about the books) but there are plenty of photos and a few day-in-the-life type posts. Even a short video made when she just had the one Wagen. Anyway, that blog is at clickclackgorilla, if anyone is interested.

kandj

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 09:09:19 AM »
DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

I cannot stress that enough. Research where you can live, building methods, materials, budgeting, anything and everything.  Then take your time estimate and (if you plan to build yourself) double it.

I bought an old broken FEMA trailer at 22 to build myself a tiny home and had great dreams to finish it in 9 months. It has been over a year and a half since and it is still being built, with our new finish date coming just over 2 years from the start. I did elope and move a couple times since buying it but it still is a lot of work. My husband and I are both very handy people who happen to work 40+ hours a week (on different schedule), that doesn't leave a lot of time left to work on the tiny place. If you have lots of spare time or plan to hire out, great! However, plan to get stumped, stuck on a tough part, or just need to take a break from it. It is a good experience though.

The other thing you really need to consider is where you can live in it. I happen to live in south west Michigan, which is NOT a friendly place for tiny houses. There are limited options. Campgrounds would be the least hassle from our experience, but after being in this project for so long we have no desire to live in a campground year round (and twice as far from work in our case). We could leave it parked at my parents house but we don't really love that idea. So we are looking at buying a house on wooded acreage and renting to a trusted friend who wouldn't rat us out, because it is illegal to live in a tiny house here. Now we wonder if it was pointless to build the tiny house if we buy a house to hide the tiny house behind.

Our struggles will surely not be yours, but that is my advice. Do your homework and consider where you can live.

Kroaler

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2015, 03:30:42 AM »
Necroed!

I would like to build a tiny home,  not super tiny, more like 600 efficient square feet that is energy efficient. No trailer... Just really small house. lol

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2015, 06:50:39 AM »
Necroed!

I would like to build a tiny home,  not super tiny, more like 600 efficient square feet that is energy efficient. No trailer... Just really small house. lol

You could fix up this thing...

meadow lark

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2015, 02:50:18 PM »
I have considered buying a trailer park and converting it into a co-housing community of tiny homes.  But then I got distracted.

pbkmaine

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2015, 05:27:37 PM »

DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

I cannot stress that enough. Research where you can live, building methods, materials, budgeting, anything and everything.  Then take your time estimate and (if you plan to build yourself) double it.

I bought an old broken FEMA trailer at 22 to build myself a tiny home and had great dreams to finish it in 9 months. It has been over a year and a half since and it is still being built, with our new finish date coming just over 2 years from the start. I did elope and move a couple times since buying it but it still is a lot of work. My husband and I are both very handy people who happen to work 40+ hours a week (on different schedule), that doesn't leave a lot of time left to work on the tiny place. If you have lots of spare time or plan to hire out, great! However, plan to get stumped, stuck on a tough part, or just need to take a break from it. It is a good experience though.

The other thing you really need to consider is where you can live in it. I happen to live in south west Michigan, which is NOT a friendly place for tiny houses. There are limited options. Campgrounds would be the least hassle from our experience, but after being in this project for so long we have no desire to live in a campground year round (and twice as far from work in our case). We could leave it parked at my parents house but we don't really love that idea. So we are looking at buying a house on wooded acreage and renting to a trusted friend who wouldn't rat us out, because it is illegal to live in a tiny house here. Now we wonder if it was pointless to build the tiny house if we buy a house to hide the tiny house behind.

Our struggles will surely not be yours, but that is my advice. Do your homework and consider where you can live.

Maybe use the tiny house as a guest house, office or studio?


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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2015, 05:33:42 PM »
Necroed!

I would like to build a tiny home,  not super tiny, more like 600 efficient square feet that is energy efficient. No trailer... Just really small house. lol

This! I always thought that was what a 'tiny house' was until watching the documentary Tiny. 150 square feet? No thanks.

arebelspy

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2015, 07:17:17 PM »

I have considered buying a trailer park and converting it into a co-housing community of tiny homes.  But then I got distracted.

We'll buy a unit there.

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clarkfan1979

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2015, 03:23:19 PM »
My wife and I currently live in 400 sq. ft. single floor unit. The unit is oddly shaped so it does feel a little small. If we could somehow "loft" the bed, 400 sq. ft. would be plenty of room.

Kouhri

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2015, 04:49:46 PM »
I love the tiny house movement! I have wasted enjoyed a lot of time browsing videos, blogs, and other Web a pages devoted to this movement. I don't think I'll ever build/buy one myself as there's nowhere I could plonk it that is where I want to live but I love how the ideas of how to efficiently utilize the space are so transferable.

Our plan is to have a tiny apartment with the bonus of living in the heart of the city. Who knows maybe when we're older well have had enough of the cbd and build a tiny house (like a actual house on the ground not on a trailer) and kit it out for awesome economic sustainability.

zephyr911

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2015, 11:15:01 AM »
This! I always thought that was what a 'tiny house' was until watching the documentary Tiny. 150 square feet? No thanks.
Go bigger then. 300 if you like. 500. There isn't even a full consensus on the line between "small" and "tiny"... just a continuum of space-saving strategies that allow people to live in homes all along that range.

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I've considered TH for various purposes, although DW would never go for a true TH for a permanent dwelling. As a bridging strategy in moving to a new region, then later doubling as a guest house, maybe. I've been thinking about putting one on my sister's lot in WA for the next few years - there are plenty of used trailers, former mobile cafes, etc, that could be renovated for just a few grand - so we can visit all we want and not take up space in their house, while scouting and evaluating options for possibly moving there. Thought about one here in AL as a guest house, AirBnB investment, etc.
They do have great potential for many applications.

CatamaranSailor

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2015, 11:06:58 AM »
If you haven't already, check out  Andrew Morrison and his wife, Gabriella. They are huge proponents of the tiny house life style. (http://tinyhousebuild.com/)

Andrew is planning on doing a series of workshops around the country starting in 2016...might be worth checking out.

As other folks have indicated, there are hurdles to overcome regarding tiny homes, depending on the area of the country you live in. However, just like Earthships 20 years ago, as they become more popular, more municipalities are changing their regulations to accommodate them. Walsenburg, Colorado did exactly that just a few months ago.




Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2015, 11:24:18 AM »
We did a version of tiny house living while building our small (925 sq ft) home, so I can share some of the pros and cons. We had two small cabins- the first we bought from the local mennonites so we wouldn't need to sleep in a tent every time we came to our property. It's 10' x 12' with a 4' covered porch, no lofts. The second is our "kitchen shed"' which is 10' x 16' with 4' covered porch and 2 lofts, also from the Mennonites. They do very good work at a reasonable price. Note that these do not technically count as tiny houses, since they are wider than 8' and thus require a wide load permit to transport on main roads.

We winterized both (insulation, finish walls and floors) added heat, and a propane range in the kitchen shed. No power or running water, just a sink that drained to a bucket; water we pumped from our well into jerrycans and then into an in-wall tank operated by footpump faucet like you see in boats. Composting toilet in a separate outbuilding.

Pros:
- got us living on our land and not in a crappy rental in town two years before the house was done. Saved lots on rent, even considering what we spent on the kitchen shed. This also helped us design a house appropriate for the site since we were there all the time to observe and revise our plans.
- forced us to purge stuff, and live with the bare minimum. We have slightly more now that we are in the house, but not much
-easy to clean!
- felt like an adventure, and we still feel pretty badass having done it.

Cons:
- ventilation and mold issues. We insulated but probably should have foamed all the seams. Any place that cold air hit the warm air in the winter, we had to deal with mold. Vinegar and tea tree oil were our weapon of choice.
-ventilation and carbon monoxide issues. We knew this would probably be an issue so we had a CO monitor. We had to open a window or two whenver we cooked. We avoided anything that had to burble on the stovetop for more than 15 minutes. The oven produced less, so we baked a lot in the winter. We also had a propane refrigerator that tried to kill us twice- because of the small air volume, any combustion hiccup became a big problem. BE VERY VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THIS IF YOU USE ANY NON-ELECTRIC APPLIANCES

I would recommend Lloyd Kahn's books and websites for inspiration and PAD for plans- they have a $20 ebook that was helpful, even though we didn't do the home on wheels version.

FWIW, if we go for the move-able tiny home living in the future, I am leaning toward the sprinter-type van conversion, mostly because neither one of us likes dealing with a trailer, or the hefty truck one needs to haul a full on stick built tiny home.

yyc-phil

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2015, 12:08:30 PM »
Why not just get an RV?

building a tiny home is likely much more cheap, also a fun hobby, GO GET 'EM!

And also, RVs, while making efficient use of space, aren't built to the same standards as stick-built tiny houses. RVs are primarily designed to be occupied for leisure or part-time living, and to be transported often so they are light and use light materials and much less insulation and air circulation is not the greatest, whereas tiny houses are designed and built for full time and permanent living, and are basically small houses, on a trailer or not.

I am currently in the process of designing a big tiny house of 400-500 square feet, on stilts. It will have one bedroom and one bathroom with a loft above, overlooking an open kitchen/ living area with 14 foot ceiling, from which we can access the loft by a ladder. The loft opens to a small deck and outside stairs. Standard patio doors will face south for maximum sun exposure and will be also be used for the main entrance as well as in the bedroom and loft to maximize light penetration. Main source of heat will be wood (we have about three acres of red cedar and Douglas fir enough to last several lifetimes) and a couple of electric wall glass-type plates, a composting toilet, and grey water recycling system. Flat shed-style metal roof to facilitate the eventual use of a rainwater collection system. I can't wait to start construction, likely this spring or summer.

zephyr911

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2015, 10:06:41 AM »
http://realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/3225-Fair-St_Lincoln_NE_68503_M87642-24139
<400sqft total, no basement while still being a permanent structure. If we were still looking for a house I'd be checking this bad boy out (not that I could actually talk DH into it)
I had to add a "www" into that URL to make it work. Got a 404 otherwise.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2015, 10:30:11 AM by zephyr911 »

zephyr911

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Re: Tiny Homes!
« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2015, 10:30:49 AM »
Huh, I copied and pasted it directly. I went bank and put the www into my original post. Hope that works
Change in server code, who knows. Works though.