Five Day Tiny House Magazine Sale

Sale ends tomorrow December 22, 2014 at midnight.

A special Pre-Holiday Sale is going on over at the Tiny House Magazine site. Save 25% on any or all 24 Issues.

To celebrate the 24th issue or two years of publishing of the Tiny House Magazine and the holidays take advantage of this special sale. Now is the time to purchase any issues you are missing or get that gift for that special tiny house enthusiast.

When you check out use the Coupon Code 25FOR5 and you will receive 25% off of any PDF issue or group of magazines you purchase. The sale ends at midnight on December 22.

Click Here to Buy

Five day sale - Tiny House Magazine

Straw Bale a Tiny House Option?

straw bale

by Andrew Morrison

Some time ago I introduced you to the idea of building a tiny house with a not so tiny material: straw bales (http://tinyhouseblog.com/straw-bale/tiny-straw-bale-cabins/). The idea seemed strange at first glance to some of you; however, I have heard that many of you have since embraced it. Straw bales are obviously not an option for someone wanting to build on a trailer as the weight of a plastered straw bale wall assembly is far too heavy. For a home built on a fixed foundation, however, straw bale construction is a fantastic option. Let’s take a look below at the advantages of this construction technology:

  1. Straw bales are extremely energy efficient. For home owners building larger homes, the average savings tend to be around 75% over the heating and cooling costs of a conventional home. Several of our friends who live in straw bale houses report that they barely use their heating system in the winter because the home is so efficient. What’s more, they don’t even have air conditioning units installed in their homes, which stay perfectly comfortable all summer long in temperatures that reach daily highs of 100 degrees F or more. In terms of tiny straw bale houses, a friend of ours built two straw bale cabins (300SF each) and noted that their heating system only comes on once per day. That is significant when you consider that a typical heater will fire several times an hour to keep a conventionally built tiny home warm.
  2. Straw bale homes are extremely sound proof. This quality is a particular benefit for a tiny house in a busy area. Small houses don’t provide extra square footage to reduce the infiltration of external noises. For example, in a large home, it is common to place bedrooms and other quiet spaces towards the back of the house, away from road noise. What’s more, closets, bathrooms and other “dead space” can be used to further buffer the quiet zones in a house from the impacts of external noise. Tiny houses simply don’t have the “dead space” to help create those buffers. Every inch of living space is needed for actually living, so no matter where you place your bedroom, there won’t be much to quiet the outside world. Thick straw bale walls, on the other hand, can provide a dramatic reduction in external noise in the interior space. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have difficulty hearing someone on the other side of an unplastered straw bale wall during construction. Once plastered, the elimination of sound is even more impressive. In some cases, straw bale landscape walls are used to buffer entire properties from highway noise, so the impacts of having a tiny home built with four straw bale walls is quite impressive.
  3. It’s true that thick straw bale walls take up space; however, they also offer storage options and creative architectural design elements in your home. Because the walls are so thick, the window wells are very deep and provide a great place to display items in your home. You can also carve into the walls in specific areas to inset cabinetry or even an eating or sleeping nook. The ability to carve and shape the walls means that there is a lot of room for creativity in your design in ways that conventional construction simply cannot offer. Recessing cabinetry and other storage elements into the walls means that floor space is not actually impacted in those areas, which is a great advantage in a tiny home.
  4. Although there are other advantages to building with straw bales such as the beauty of the plastered bale walls themselves, their fire resistance (3 times as fire resistant as conventional construction per ASTM testing), their superior strength in high winds, and others, I want to focus on one more of the advantages in particular: the natural material itself. Because tiny houses are so small, any and all toxic building materials that off-gas, do so into that concentrated, tiny space. This means that your foam insulation, glues, formaldehyde, paint, and many other standard building materials will fill a tiny space with the same level of off-gassing that is typically seen in larger homes; however, those larger homes have more interior volume over which to disperse those VOCs and other toxic materials. After all, a framed and painted, 10’ tall wall will off-gas the same amount of toxic material in a tiny home as it would in a large home; however, 100 to 200 SF of interior space versus 2000 SF will surely concentrate the effects of that off-gassing. In comparison, the elements of a straw bale wall assembly: the framing members (if properly sourced), the bales, the plaster, and the plaster color, are all completely non toxic and natural. There simply is no toxic off-gassing from this wall assembly, which is a huge advantage for us tiny housers.

straw bale 2

No matter what advantage draws you towards building your tiny house with straw bales, the results will be efficient, healthy, strong, quiet, and beautiful. For those interested in building with bales, I invite you to visit www.StrawBale.com to learn more about how the process works and how it can fit into your plans to build your perfect tiny dream home. We offer a totally free 16 day straw bale ecourse as well to get you started on learning about straw bale right away. I have been teaching people how to build with bales for many years and I can tell you that those who have followed through and built their own homes all LOVE them.

straw bale bedroom

In hopes that you will join me at a hands-on workshop this coming year, Gabriella and I have created a coupon code, exclusive to our tiny house friends here on TinyHouseBlog, that will save you $100 on your registration. To take advantage of the discount, simply type the following into the discount field during the checkout process: TINY STRAW. The discount expires December 21. Our workshops are a blast from start to finish and you will not only learn a ton about building with bales, but also have a week of fun, connection, and inspiration.

Sorry, the Oregon location is already full. The Arizona workshop only has 2 spots left and Idaho just 5. The rest of the locations (Australia, Vermont, Nebraska, and Texas) still have a bit more room in them. Here is the link to the workshops themselves: http://strawbale.com/store/category/workshops/ I hope you can join us. Happy baling and stay tiny my friends.

straw bale workshop

Deek Diedricksen and Tiny House Builders HGTV

HGTV Banner

Boston, MA resident and long-time tiny house designer, blogger, author, and youtube host Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, will be the host, designer, AND part of the building crew for an upcoming new HGTV show entitled “Tiny House Builders”. The show will debut as a sneak peak on Sunday, December 14th at 1pm. Deek, whose design work has been featured from The NY Times, to The UK Daily News, will also be featured (his second time), on a tiny house edition of ABC’s “Chronicle HD”, also slated to air soon.

“I think people are going to dig the HGTV episodes, or at least I hope so”, said Diedricksen, “We’re doing things the hard way, and at break-neck speed, and all off-grid too, in just four days- so its just absolutely grueling- but the end product in each episode is something I’m pretty proud of, and the builds and approaches are pretty darn unique. Best yet. I’m doing all this with a team I got to hand pick- all guys local to me. My brother Dustin is on my building crew and plays the occasional part of co-host, I have two long time musician friends and tradesmen in Jim Shippey and “Creature” (from the musical act “Woodland Creatures”), and I brought in this guy Phil Laplante, a New Hampshire resident, who is just as positive and entertaining as they come. He was my back-up carpenter on another string of online episodes I did for HGTV and The DIY Network in 2012. He never got ANY screen time, per contract, and I thought it was insane- the guy’s just great- so I brought him on board. Melissa Teper, aka “DJ Melissa”, from my FM radio dj days at 104.1 WBCN Boston (Deek’s CBS co-host for two years), and this guy we call “Johnny Milwaukee” (Jon Lyman) round out the cast. I told HGTV that I didn’t want any wimps, supermodels, or high-maintenance mirror addicts, and they were cool with it. So if you’re looking for Brad Pitt attempting to wield a hammer with slow-motion hair flips, or Heidi Klum prancing on a beach, sorry, we can’t give you that.

“Tiny House Builders” is a one hour program and the initial episode was filmed in Lunenberg, MA, with, as Deek reports, deep, deep, in the woods. “If they pick up more shows, beyond the pair we’ve delivered so far, I certainly would want to build something in my own town, and my hometown in the Connecticut, so that’s something I would push for. I have a few ideas I want to pitch already, as honestly, if it were up to me, I’d build and shoot everything very locally- less of a commute, I love my town, and I wouldn’t have to be away from my family for long periods of time. We’ll see where the show takes us though, and heck, if it doesn’t take off, I have so much going on with my next book (“Microshelters” via Storey Press- Sept ’15), custom tree house and backyard office builds, and my hands-on design workshops around the US, that I’ll just focus more on those instead. I also want to do more with my painting and art, in fact, I have a few long-brewing ideas for the ailing downtown center of my town and even started up a facebook page to try and spread some of these possible revitalization approaches.

In episode one, as Deek has shared with us, “We’re building a seasonal cabin in the woods for a family, but one that’s part tree house, that straddles a stream, and that has a glass floor, among other things. Episode two will move into a more traditional tiny home in that it is fully insulated, and with all the amenities.

Deek currently has a book out titled “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” available on amazon.com, and runs he blog www.relaxshacks.com, as well as the youtube channel “RelaxshacksDOTcom“.

Deek will also have a small, intimate, hands-in workshop in his art studio (hands-on), in mid January- a one-day workshop focusing on tree house building, but with tiny house design and discussion worked in. This will be a full day workshop, with another to closely follow. For more information, check out his blog www.relaxshacks.com for upcoming details, which will be posted soon. This workshop will be limited to twelve students.

tiny house builders group