Tiny House RV

I wanted to show the Tiny House community a recently finished farm worker housing unit. I have always been very much against living in RV type units. Sharon and I lived in a 26ft firth wheel while we built our recent home part time. It took 5 years. Older RVs weren’t sealed very well, were poorly built, and appliances are less efficient, of poorer quality, as compared to conventional homes.

RV tiny house

As of this date, we have not offered these units to individuals, and in fact, to keep the price down, they have to be built in production runs of 6 units minimum.

My opinion, however, on living in RVs, is changing. Modern RVs are built much better than in the past. We have enclosed some pictures. Walls and floors are actually Structural Insulated Panels, utilizing aluminum tubing, foam insulation, and the one piece fiberglass shell and interior panels are glued and assembled under pressure.

The result is a one piece wall, in this case our side walls are 42 foot long, one piece. The one piece rubberized roof, is guaranteed for 10 years, and is easily replaced. About the same job as replacing shingles.
The finished units are pressurized, like an airplane cabin, and soap checked for any leaks that need additional sealing.

wall

Appliances are regular house units, not smaller RV units. So they are less expensive and more efficient for the most part. The Hot Water Heater is a regular house unit, as is the entrance panel, washer dryer, refrigerator, and TVs :) The toilet is an RV unit, but a ceramic RV unit, the shower is full size.

They are surprisingly roomy inside, 8ft wide x 42 ft long, but the two large slide outs, make the home feel really spacious. And it boasts approximately 400 square feet. And with a target price of $42,000, the cost per square foot is quite a bit lower than the average commercial built Tiny Home.

two walls up

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of quality built into the commercially available tiny homes. But we might be looking at Ferraris and Lamborginis, when most of us really would rather drive a Cadillac. And they are more affordable, and more easily financed!!

Anyway, wanted to run this buy your readership, and see what people think. The Tiny House movement spans a lot of ideas, as this blog has covered over the years. So maybe this is another viable option to consider. I would like to hear from you.

Thanks for reading. Bill Kastrinos, Tortoise Shell Home

Bill in front of house

Bill inside house

kitchen

living area

cabinets

 

University Students Design New Cavco Park Model

Cavco Wedge

POMONA, Calif. — Students at California State PolyTechnique University in Pomona have developed a new cabin design that has gotten the attention of California State Parks officials as well as Cavco Industries, one of the nation’s top producers of campground cabins.

In fact, the new cabin concept, called The Wedge, is so unique that Cavco agreed to build a prototype unit using the students’ designs and to transport it to Sacramento, where it will be featured at the California State Fair in Sacramento on July 11 to 27.

“We think The Wedge has a very innovative design that will capture people’s attention and stimulate their interest in cabins and in cabin camping,” said Tim Gage, Cavco’s national vice president of park models, cabins and specialty products for Cavco, which designs and builds fully furnished cabins for campgrounds across the country.

“California State Parks officials are very interested in The Wedge,” Gage said.

Unlike traditional cabins, The Wedge has a unique roof that sits at an almost perfect 90-degree angle. That’s not all that is different about The Wedge compared to a traditional cabin. It also incorporates various materials, including Western red cedar vertical siding, a composite porch deck and an ACX plywood interior for a more modern look. The small footprint cabin has a spacious porch as well as an inside area with a built in full size bed and twin bunk beds as well as custom made seating.

CalPoly students hope State Parks will embrace The Wedge and market it as a unique rental accommodation.

“Our students have come up with a design that could stimulate increase in cabin camping in public parks,” said Juintow Lin, an associate professor of architecture at CalPoly Pomona.

The students, she added, have been working with independent Parks Forward Commission, which has been tasked with creating proposals to address financial, operational and cultural issues facing the Department of Parks and Recreation. Commission co-chairman Lance Conn particularly wanted the panel to look at recreating the traditional cabin as a way to attract minorities and non-traditional campers to State Parks.

CalPoly College of Environmental Design Dean Michael Woo also serves on the Parks Forward Commission, and was asked to have CalPoly’s architecture students take the lead in designing the cabin in an effort to jumpstart interest among groups that are not typical campers.

“Our students frequently get to use their imaginations to solve design problems,” Woo says. “With this project, our students are not only using their imaginations, but also are making something which will change the way Californians perceive and use the great outdoors.”

Lin said her students designed more than 10 distinctively different cabins that had to meet certain conditions such as size, portability and a tight budget. The model called The Wedge was ultimately presented to Cavco for construction.

At least one model that the students worked on is expected to be placed in a state park, but CalPoly students and Parks Forward Commission officials hope is that it will prove so popular it will become the new standard for what camping looks like in California.

“These are designed with the intention of being very real structures eventually,” student Kevin Easterling said. “It’s on its way.”

This opportunity was provided to the architecture students in the fallout from the 2011 state budget crisis that included a threat of 70 parks being shuttered. The parks survived but it was learned later that the possibility of the closures was partly the result of senior officials in the state Department of Parks and Recreation hiding $54 million in two special funds. Park attendance has also dropped in recent years.

The independent Parks Forward Commission was tasked to create proposals to address financial, operational and cultural issues facing the Department of Parks and Recreation.

For more information, visit www.cavco.com and www.parkmodels.com.

SOURCE: Cavco press release

interior photo

The interior of the “Wedge” prototype cabin created by Cal Poly Pomona architecture graduate students.

Tiny House Tub (or boat for those of you without sea legs): Part 1

AUTHOR DISCLOSURE: I have never lived on a boat. I have never spent more than the 12 or so minutes it took me to get sick to my stomach, on a boat. I know nothing about boats other than I once got on one and was sick within 12-minutes.

Boats are fascinating when it comes to their combination of transportation, domesticity, and labor force. Folks have gravitated to the water for all of history using it for transport, trade, and sport. It is only natural then for us to want to make things that float. A basic raft (a la Tom Sawyer) can be constructed of logs or bundles of reeds tied together. Hollow trunks can be crafted into dugout canoes. In fact, once we, as humans, understood the principle of watertight hulls, we experimented with animal hides and tree bark to attach to a bamboo frame creating a simple, straightforward coracle 1.

A basic Coracle exhibited at the Seedamm Center in Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland).

A basic Coracle exhibited at the Seedamm Center in Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland).

If one adds planks to raise the edges of the dugout, and uses wooden struts to secure them in place, the early boatbuilder is well on his way to crafting the only design of wooden boat capable of being built on a large scale. This design then incorporates a keel to which a ribbed frame is added. As the walls continue upward a cargo area is formed and a passenger vessel begins.

Basic labeling of a dinghy vessel.

Basic labeling of a dinghy vessel.

It wasn’t until the 5th century onwards that boats turned to ships and ships turned from machines of war to a simple form of transport. The boat has become known in modern times as a Viking longship. By the 11th century the vessels had become more strategic and more elaborate measuring up to 80 feet long, built from oak planks, boasting two high pointed ends, encompassing holes for sixteen oars along each side, and featuring a broad oar that was worked as a rudder by the helmsman. To add to the modernized longship a mast was fashioned near the center on which a long, rectangular sail was hung. What is interesting though is that five boats discovered in the Roskilde Fjord, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, all had similar shapes but also had a double-ended convention in order to support an inclusion of long-range archers (men with bow and arrow). One of the five boats though was built more elaborately and robust than the others including having higher sides and a central hold. These early boats may be examples of of Viking ships that “soldiers”, along with their families and livestock, took on their expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, and perhaps North America. 

Do you see where we’re going with this?

Model of a typical merchantman of the 17th century, showing the cramped conditions that had to be endured but also showing the use of space. Every inch is justly occupied. Photo courtesy of Musphot on Wikimedia Commons

Model of a typical merchantman of the 17th century, showing the cramped conditions that had to be endured but also showing the use of space. Every inch is justly occupied. Photo courtesy of Musphot on Wikimedia Commons.

As the 15th century set upon us there are rapid developments in nautical life. A second mast is added to sailing vessels and eventually a third mast. By the mid-1400s regular vessel sizes were near 120 feet long and 50 feet wide. The largest European sailing ship (and remember there was nothing tiny in the United States as of yet because Columbus had not even sailed the ocean blue!) of the 15th century is the Spanish carrack which at 1,000 tons becomes the standard vessel of Atlantic trade and adventure into the mid-16th century. Those would soon be trumped though by the oft-ostentatious and gilded merchant ships which needed to be roomy for cargo and strong, presumably to fend off pirates, and comfortable, for the captains and the VIP passengers working hard to secure fortunes in the East. And so it is here that we come to find people living aboard ship. For all intensive and historical purposes the sailing vessel has now turned into a floating living space out of necessity and by design! 

A replica model of the Swedish "Titanic" - the pride of the Royal Navy. The largest ship built in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century, the flagship "Vasa" included 64 large-caliber guns. The final weight was 1210 tons and construction took three years. The ship was richly decorated with carved statues of Roman emperors, Greek gods and mythical sea creatures. Lions on the bow were covered with real gold. FACT: Construction of the oak vessel required over one thousand trees and the ship features three masts and ten sails.

A replica model of the Swedish “Titanic” – the pride of the Royal Navy. The largest ship built in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century, the flagship “Vasa” included 64 large-caliber guns (often confused visually for simple cannons). The final weight was 1210 tons (over 2 million pounds) and construction took three years. The ship was outfitted with carved statues of Roman emperors, Greek gods and mythical sea creatures. Lions on the bow were covered with real gold. FACT: Construction of the oak vessel required over one thousand trees and the ship features three masts and ten sails.

1 Wikipedia.

Part 1 of 3 on the legacy of boats to the tiny house world. Stay tuned!

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]