Tiny House Blog Welcomes A New Voice

HELLO Tiny House Community! My name is Jody Pountain.

Jody

I am absolutely thrilled to introduce myself as the newest contributing writer for Tiny House Blog! You may remember seeing my articles in issues 16 and 19 of Tiny House Magazine, as well as being referenced in Andrew Odom’s fascinating Tiny House Tub series about boats and Tiny House History (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Hopefully you’ll find an inkling of inspiration in my writing and photos to learn more about my style of ‘tiny’ and follow your own path to simple living.

The ‘tiny’ concept tugs at my heartstrings every time I visit this site. The eloquent design and breathtaking simplicity of tiny homes all over the world both speak in such volume compared to the small physical spaces they create. I see rustic homes in the country and contemporary homes in the city that could melt me into a puddle on the floor. I love how living with less can do so much more for my well-being. The stress factor crumples and suddenly there is so much more to appreciate in the world around me now that I have found my own tiny house.

the boat

Several years ago I lived in a 4,000 sf custom-built home on 20 acres. Bordering the coast in a rustic area of the Pacific Northwest, the views were incredible. There were horses, chickens, 9 goats, 6 dogs, a giant barn, pastures and a lovely vegetable garden. The house itself was gorgeous but often felt empty. Uncontrollable circumstances carried me from a wealth of space in Washington to a concrete jungle in Southern California where I began to learn about sustainable living and ‘green’ building. I went on to further my career in the AEC industry and earned my credentials as a LEED AP BD+C (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional with a specialty in Building Design and Construction).

Involuntary adjustment to a fraction of the living area I was used to was difficult in the beginning, but after awhile the amount of weekly upkeep was much less daunting than it had been before. Electric bills were smaller and chores were completed faster. Downsizing to a smaller house and the shedding of years worth of ‘stuff’ prepared me for my next move into a 600 sf studio apartment in the heart of Orange County, California. Little did I know at the time, I would soon pack up again to begin a journey of a lifetime.

I met Peter in the Spring of 2011 when my job brought me to San Diego. Our weekends were often spent camping in the remote hillsides of the Eastern Sierras and the deserted beaches of Baja California, Mexico. We talked about someday buying a boat and travelling the world to reach the best diving, fishing and surfing. This led us to follow what we call the 80-80-80 rule and we eventually decided that our passion is to go Where The Coconuts Grow, in a tropical paradise.

tobago cays

Living aboard a sailboat with our two dogs, Gunner and Betsy, and all our belongings seemed to be the best and most comfortable way to make it all happen. After Peter’s Mother lost her battle to Breast Cancer, the pieces fell into place for us to begin our journey in honor of her. Though we knew nothing about sailing, we bought a boat in Florida, named her Mary Christine and prepared to sail away. Our belongings had been reduced to only the essentials and we quickly learned that we didn’t need any more than that. Within days of moving aboard, our new ‘tiny house’ felt like HOME!

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In February of this year, we left Florida and made our way to the Bahamas. We have since traveled almost 3,000 nautical miles through the Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Spanish Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and finally Grenada. The best part? We brought our ENTIRE HOUSE with us!! We never get homesick because we have everything we need with us at all times. We get to sleep in our own bed at night instead of hotels or hostels as we continue our travels island-hopping through a dozen different countries.

After Hurricane Season ends, we will travel back up the Caribbean Island chain as far North as BVI to see many of the places we missed the first time around. Eventually we will head to Panama, pass through the Panama Canal and someday we plan to sail to the islands of the South Pacific. Wherever we end up, I know this much for sure… living on the ocean and relying solely on the systems within my floating tiny house has given me a whole new appreciate for simple living. I’m excited to share my perspective with you as I travel around in search of surf, sun, sand and serenity.

Guana

You can read more about our adventures on my blog, Where The Coconuts Grow. For all the updates, ‘LIKE’ us on Facebook!

Lloyd Gray and the Mini 12 CT Stove

gray stove

As many of you know I am a big fan of tiny wood stoves. I have promoted the Kimberly Stove designed and built by Roger Lehet here on the Tiny House Blog and highly recommend it for a high end stove. Unfortunately not everyone can afford this stove and about a year ago I discovered Lloyd Gray and his Mini CT stove. Lloyd has had a few business bumps this last year but is excited to reintroduce the Mini 12 CT Survivor Stove. Here is what Lloyd has to say:

My work is just beginning. It’s heating season and people need stoves. My welding friends need extra work and I’m more that happy to help them fire up those welding machines and grinders to produce the MINI 12 tiny stove.

So here we are, trying to regain what was lost and starting from scratch. There are so many wonderful people who have followed our progress and buying our stoves not really knowing our defeats, setbacks and problems. The odds are against us. People can buy cheaply made imported stoves that say US stove on them (arrrgh) for less than one of ours at any home store. I won’t have these made overseas or import anything. I feel that is why America is in trouble today. We are trying to compete with cheap imports and build 100% USA made, putting welders to work to create a product that will last a lifetime and could possibly save lives when the power grid goes down.

Gray Stove is a veteran owned LLC providing great American value and craftsmanship. Our tiny, powerful MINI 12 stove is 100% built by hand in America by skilled craftsmen.

The MINI 12 was designed and built as a practical and affordable means for heating and cooking in Tiny Homes, RVs, Campers and Boats where space is limited.

The original MINI 12 CT Survival stove from Gray Stove. Features: Compact Design, Secondary Combustion, Flat Cooktop, Burns small 9″ pieces or chunks of solid wood. Rugged all welded steel construction and refractory lined for decades of reliable use. High Temp black finish. Pyro Ceramic arch-top viewing window. 1-touch air control. Split firebrick lining. 100% USA made in PA Specifications: 14″W x 14″D x 21″ tall. Heats 800 sq.ft. Average output: 8000 btu/hr Firebox: 9.5″wide x 10″deep x 8″ tall Solid wood or charcoal multi fuel. Flue size 3″ Weight 110# ships UPS in box.

Current price as of October 2014 $970. Shipping Included!

Following are two testimonies by Shane and David on how they have used the Mini 12 CT in their RVs. This is an example of how they would work in a tiny house.

If you would like to learn more or purchase your own stove please visit Gray Stove at http://www.graystove.com/ and be sure and mention Coupon Code THB12 and you will receive the multi tool designed just for the Mini 12 CT as a gift when you purchase your stove. You can also follow Gray Stove on their Facebook page here.

Shane shares with us a movie he created below.

I can’t tell you how much fun I had working on this project  and everyone that has seen it is amazed at the transformation. I was researching wood stoves online, the main reason is because propane heaters release moisture inside the camper and creates a lot of condensation.  

I also like the ambiance of a wood burning stove. At first the only place I could find small wood burning stoves were either in Europe or made by a marine stove company, which were very costly. I finally found the mini 12 and after researching it, I knew it was what I was looking for. It was in my price range, and the dimensions were what I needed for my small camper. I then talked to a friend who installs wood stoves and he was impressed with the ease of installation. Finally after using it a few times and getting used to it I am happy that I made this choice, not only did I get a great product, I also developed a friendship with Lloyd Gray.  

This past weekend I used the camper and the temperatures outside were below freezing,  I just got my fire going in the mini 12 and kept it a balmy 80 degrees inside the camper, Lloyd says you need to feed it every couple of hours, however I was able to only feed it every 3 1/2 hrs to stay comfortable. It truly is a great product and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a small stove with a great look, and it can really put out the heat. -Shane

shane's mini 12

David also has a Mini 12 CT in his motorhome here are a few photos and his thoughts on this little stove.

I wanted to try simplifying my life: down size, clear out the clutter, actual and metaphorical. In doing so, I sold my Harley (still tearing up over that) and bought a  circa 1988 26ft RV…aka “The Mobile Command Center” and I set out to live in it for a year. Did I mention I live in Minnesota? I grew up in a house that was heated with a wood burning stove and I wanted one in my RV. I quickly learned through the “Internets” that the stoves available were not exactly what I was looking for and overly expensive…that is until I discovered the Mini 12. It was love at first “You Tube” viewing of the burning little wood stove. I was sold.

After talking with Lloyd and discussing some details, I ordered my stove. When it arrived, I installed it myself with some professional advice. All I can say is that I love it even more now. It works perfectly as a wood burning stove to heat my RV and it is a thing of beauty to watch in action. I have used it in winter weather and in milder weather and it functions fantastically for both. In the colder times it has been used as my main source of heat and once it is fired up the stove can be loaded and burns for hours without reloading and I have been toasty warm. Thanks to the boys at Gray Stove for a great stove at a great price! -David Hoban

david's mini 12

Alex’s Hovel

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Alex lives in Northern Illinois and is building a hovel tiny house. The Hovel is a 481 cubic foot house, built from local stone and some salvaged materials. It is a very unique structure and I’m looking forward to seeing Alex complete it.

Alex is trying to raise some funds to get the hovel winterized and has set up a Facebook Fan Page to share more info on his progress. Here is what Alex has to say about his project:

Hello Brethren! Finally, I’ve made a page for the Hovel. I haven’t worked on it since July, due to unforeseen problems (income). I figured the approximate cost for materials needed to finish the project before the rain and snow come down. Thus, I can move in and light the First Fire! I would need $500 +/- for materials. I have included the list on my photo-compilation. I will be elated by any support. As work progresses on the project, I will upload new photos of it. Thank you!! Also, heres a link, if you wish to help fund The Hovel. Any amount help, and all funds will go towards materials. ~~Alex G.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hovel/591628344281315

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