On a fall trip to Oregon, I saw what looked like a tiny brown house parked in a truck and trailer rental lot in Klamath Falls. The owner told me that it was a summer concession trailer built specifically for serving coffee and sweets. It is 8×15 and about 3,500 lbs. and looked so much like a tiny house that I was wondering if other concession stands could also be turned into a small house on wheels.
Concession trailers are created specifically for serving food or beverages on the road or in parking areas. They range from mobile food trucks to trailers towed by larger vehicles. The design of concession trailers will sometimes reflect what they sell and will be decorated with a tropical theme for Thai food or a classic 50′s theme for hot dogs and corn dogs. Most concession trailers are equipped with industrial and public food-grade equipment or sometimes they are stripped so you can install your own equipment. Many of them already contain the necessary plumbing for water, propane and electricity. Concession trailers can range in price from about $40,000 to about $6,000. Continue Reading »
The lowly outhouse may be making a comeback. Some tiny houses being designed these days are not being outfitted with a bathroom or even a space for a composting toilet. While a specific design or structure may be sound and even really beautiful, it may not provide people with one of the most basic of human needs. A simple or more complex outhouse could be a viable solution.
The outhouse originated about 500 years ago in Europe, and was used primarily at inns or in public spaces. During this time, the ubiquitous symbol of the crescent moon on the outhouse door also began to appear. Since most people were illiterate during this time, the male outhouses were marked with the symbol of a sun, indicating masculinity, and the women’s were marked with a symbol of a crescent moon, which represented the feminine (also the Roman goddess Diana who was the protector of women). As time went on and the American frontier opened up, the men’s outhouses were not maintained as well as the women’s (since men tended to just go out in the woods), so the men’s outdoor commodes began to disappear, leaving the women’s (and their crescent moon symbol) behind. Eventually, outhouses became unisex and some even included several different sized holes for men, women and children. Continue Reading »
The latest issue of The Family Handyman has a beautiful house on the front cover that happens to be step-by-step plans on how to build an Arts & Crafts style shed with a front porch. I think with a little tweaking, and the installation of electrical and plumbing, it could make a very nice tiny house.
This particular shed is 8×16 feet with a large sliding door on the back that runs on a track, three windows that let in plenty of light and a front door with a wonderful front porch that brings the total area of the shed to 16×16 feet. The structure can be built in four or five weekends with the help of a few people. The cost (not including the concrete slab) is about $3,800, and the skill level needed is intermediate. Experience with framing is helpful, but not necessary. Because of the sliding door (that opens up the living area) this structure will probably work best in warmer or milder climates.
Kevin Harrington, a licensed realtor and home remodel expert in Colorado has created a nice selection of tiny and small home plans called Cozy Home Plans. The homes range from 288 square feet to 781 square feet and his plans cost between $99 to just under $700. Kevin also runs a blog where he posts articles on home construction and DIY tips. He has posted about how to mix concrete, installing electricity, useful household tools and tiny house Feng Shui.
A few years ago, Kevin downsized from a 2,700 square foot home, got rid of about 90 percent of his possessions and moved into a 280 square foot 5th wheel trailer. He was in the process of researching alternative building techniques and stumbled onto the tiny house movement. He decided to start a website and blog to showcase his small home plan ideas.
“This tiny lifestyle I was living gave me back serenity,” Kevin said. “This was something that had been sorely missing in my life for a very long time. I just wanted to share my experiences.”
His goal with Cozy Home Plans was to add a few more feet onto tiny homes to make them more livable.
“Can a person live in 100 square feet? Absolutely, but can they share it with guests or a partner full-time? How about a larger kitchen, washer/dryer capabilities and storage for extra stuff in such a small space? Answering “Yes” to these questions became more difficult in such a tiny space,” Kevin said. “My solution was to add a few more feet to each house.”