For anyone who enjoys winter outdoor sports like ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating, the tiny warming hut is a blessing in cold and snowy weather. Used all over the world, warming huts are small structures that can be both temporary or permanent and usually contain a place to hang up wet gear, seating and sometimes a wonderful wood stove or fireplace where you can warm your freezing fingers. Warming huts are also a great place to break out a small stove to heat up some food or a cup of hot chocolate.
Over the past few years, warming huts have bloomed into an interesting architecture. Innovative designs have popped up near frozen lakes, near cross-country trails and in the middle of mountainous forests for use by snowbound travelers on their way to a cabin or campsite. Many of these huts utilize passive solar design, raised platforms, creative heating elements and unusual materials. Continue Reading »
Bill Thomas of Hobbitat Spaces in Maryland developed a passion for small spaces after 30 years of working in the historic restoration and custom home business. With the change in the housing market came a change in his focus of building and he began to develop small, custom homes that are constructed inside and out of the harsh Northeastern winters.
The first Hobbitat (or “Hob”, as they are affectionately called) was constructed using materials from Bill’s grandfather’s barn, windows from his childhood cabin and other reclaimed doors and materials. Hobbitat Spaces then built 13 Hobs for Blue Moon Rising, an ecotourism retreat in western Maryland. Each of the cabins were built with recycled, reclaimed and local materials, giving them a distinct look and feel.
Hobbitat Spaces is now in the process of taking individual orders for their small, hand-crafted homes. Each of the homes are built in a shop and all utilities are contained within the building envelope under insulation. The Homes are built to Maryland State building and energy codes and take about six weeks to complete.
Each Hobbitat contains the following:
• A complete structural framework, built to IRC code, with a Zip system exterior wall sheathing.
• An enclosed floor system that rests on six piers, installed before the building arrives.
• A roof system of hand cut framing or engineered trusses designed to carry a 40 lb. /sq. ft. snow load.
• A 30 gallon electric hot water heater.
• A 100 amp breaker panel and wiring to conform to the current code. Many outlets and light switches as per code.
• Andersen thermal windows. Your choice of 400 or Architectural series.
• A complete thermal cocoon of 2 lb. foam. R-38 for ceilings R23 for side walls and R30 in the floor system.
• A fresh air intake system with an Airetrak 1A control for indoor air quality.
• A plumbing system that allows you to very easily drain the building and walk away for weeks or months.
• Panasonic brand exhaust fans.
Photos by Hobbitat Spaces
Rikkert Paauw and Jet van Zwieten of FOUNDation Projects in Utrecht, Holland have been making recent news for their ability to turn the ordinary dumpster into a unique space – with items actually recovered from dumpsters. Their current designs are being used as meeting spaces and bars, but with a little imagination could be turned into tiny houses.
The artists put several of the large trash bins in the local neighborhood, and filled them up with trash and materials collected from around the town and donated by locals. They then used those materials to create the structures. The project, called Straatlokaal, has been used to promote responsible waste removal, recycling and object re-use. The building of each project took about a week and the Dumpsters were set up as alternative bars and places for creative entrepreneurs in the heart of Ultrecht’s Neude Center Square. Because the dumpsters have wheels, they can be moved around the city.
These Dutch “recyclitects” also build furniture, lamps and custom items from reclaimed materials like wood pallets and cast off metal. They have a few videos on Vimeo showing the Straatlokaal building and creative process.
Photos by Stortplaats van Dromen
Homes with a small footprint often need to take advantage of outdoor living areas. Recently, a means to attach an attractive and functional porch or patio cover was invented and is now widely available. This product, the SkyLift Roof Riser Bracket, is a simple piece of hardware that can support a roof cover and actually complement the design of a small home.
People typically install a patio cover to better enjoy the outdoors with protection from the sun and weather. Unfortunately, because of the way they are constructed, many covers darken the interior of the home and lead to unanticipated maintenance and structural failures.
As a remodeler for 20 plus years, I have seen my share of patio roof attachments that seemed to accomplish the opposite of what the homeowner envisioned. That’s why I invented SkyLift. This product solves major problems like low-slope leaks and dry rot, cave-like interiors, and trapped BBQ fumes. In addition, the SkyLift Hardware ensures structurally sound construction.
For years I had contemplated the prospect of creating a better patio cover. Then one day I stood in a client’s back yard and in every direction I looked I saw sad, leaking, dilapidated patio covers. “There has to be a better way,” I said to myself. I decided to dedicate my efforts to solving the problem and after a good deal of product development, SkyLift was launched. The response from both homeowners and builders has been fantastic. Continue Reading »