Geodesic Houseboat Floating Waterfront Getaway

by Kent Griswold on April 18th, 2014. 6 Comments

by Michael Richard Weekes

WHO

Michael R Weekes wanted to design and build a houseboat / shanty boat in weeks, not months, that cost less than $2,000 and could be made by one person without special tools, space / work center, or equipment.

INSPIRATIONS:

R. Buckminster Fuller, Bigelow Brook Farms, CT

CONCEPT

Fasten the required number of ultra-rugged yet light storage containers to a 10×16 2×4 deck to achieve a 5,000 pound buoyant capability, where containers act like a poor man’s inexpensive floating dock solution.

Use 2x2s fastened together with 8″ 3/4 plywood hubs to achieve a three frequency geodesic elongated dome (split the dome in half and add 6′ stringers to achieve a cocoon type shape) which weighs less than 200 pounds.

The project began as a bootleg/gypsy event by me at a local yacht yard, until I was kicked out at 4 PM by which time I had the pontoons in the water. I spent the next three weeks fabricating and assembling the geodesic cabin to the deck and then was towed to Canalside (ref. Buffalo Waterfront) from the Buffalo ship canal where I built the structure on the water by myself.

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ref: shantyboatliving,com, Buffalo Rising Online, The Buffalo News, Buckminster Fuller Institute, other “geodesic houseboat” on Google.

The home has a splendid 7’6″ headroom and a 9′ width and by offsetting the dome on the deck, it added three feet for a propane grill and cooler, along with back porch.

I’d like to submit this solution for any contests to compete for most value for least cost, effort and time.

The boat build led to my writing and self publishing a book, Building a New and useful Buffalo (eBay – $17.95) which recommends a new kind of framework for communities to leverage their cultural capital to accelerate their transformation and economic development.

dome on car

I am interesting in joining like-minded urban pioneers to make the quality of life in the cosmos more sustainable while receiving the joy that comes with building your own tiny home with your own hands!

I am also looking for a key role in a company who might wish to commercialize / develop a manufacturing capability for tiny living / “deployment” shelters to help victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, or mud slides / earthquakes.

Michael R Weekes
michaellovesbuffalo(at)gmail.com

dome sign

floating dome

Tahoe Tiny Houses and Trailers

by Christina Nellemann on April 14th, 2014. 7 Comments

For those of you who have fallen in love with the Rustic Way cabin on the cover of Issue 15 of the Tiny House Magazine, owner Dan Pauly is collaborating with Marvin Dinovitz of Tahoe Tiny Houses and Trailers to bring the structures made from old barn wood to the West coast of the U.S.

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Marvin owns Tahoe Tiny Houses and Trailers and has built a few of the Rustic Way designs for homeowners in the Tahoe area. Marvin plans on providing several configurations of the Rustic Way houses to be used as extra bathrooms, saunas, dressing rooms or bunk houses.

“Dan Pauly is an incredible craftsman who lives and breaths old barn wood,” Marvin said. “I’m excited to be working with him.”

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Marvin worked for years restoring both large and small boats and has his own company restoring Airstream trailers for use as small housing units. He said that many people have Airstream shells that have fallen into disrepair and don’t know what to do with them. Marvin said he asks vintage Airstream owners to hang onto the interior parts of a trailer because even those can be restored.

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His Airstream housing units can be used as guesthouses, art or yoga studios, small homes or backyard getaways. They are still mobile, but need to be connected to the house septic system if they have a bathroom. He incorporates green building techniques, LED lighting and solar panels.

Marvin also plans on restoring a few Airstreams with fun themes—his first is a Gene Autry/Roy Rogers/1950s cowboy theme with barn wood. He estimates a restored Airstream will cost around $25,000.

“I think tiny dwellings in the 300 square foot range are where people are going to head toward in the future,” Marvin said. “Once you downsize to the basics, you don’t need very much.”

 

Photos by Rustic Way and Marvin Dinovitz

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

YahiniHomes: Tiny, mobile homes

by Christina Nellemann on April 7th, 2014. 13 Comments

Danny Yahini’s tiny house company, YahiniHomes, offers the best of both worlds in the small house industry. His various custom homes are not only small and portable, but they can also be set up on a trailer, or on your choice of foundation, and then added onto later to accommodate life’s little changes.

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Danny, who’s based in Athens, Ohio, has been designing and building small, energy efficient homes since the 1980s. He now concentrates on building smaller, moveable homes that are affordable for his clients. All of Danny’s well-insulated cabins are built with high quality materials and are designed to be moved easily. They can also be designed with detachable porches and decks. The cabins can include local and natural materials like natural edge poplar and bamboo flooring and Danny utilizes solar power and heating systems in off-grid cabins.

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He currently has four different designs: the 15′x20′ Cabin, the 8′x18′ Side Porch Cabin, the 8′x14′ Off Grid Cabin and the 8′x18′ Butterfly Cabin. His latest design is The Pod, a 12′x24′ skid mounted home that is designed to be added onto. The cost of the passive solar Pod was around $20,000 and the 2×6 walls of the home were finished with stucco paint.

The interiors of the YahiniHomes feature simple, beautiful designs, storage and versatile bed and living areas. They all contain kitchens and bathrooms. The 8′x14′ Off Grid Cabin has a interesting platform bed (like a sheep wagon) that accommodates additional storage and a pull-out table.

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Photos courtesy of YahiniHomes

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Caravan’s Skyline

by Christina Nellemann on March 31st, 2014. 12 Comments

During a trip to Portland last week, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Deb and Kol of Caravan — The Tiny House Hotel in the cool and funky area of Alberta Street in the Northeast part of the city. Most readers know about the couple’s selection of tiny homes for nightly rental in the middle of the city, and now the hotel has a new addition. The 160 square foot Skyline is Caravan’s newest tiny house available for guests and reflects a rustic, Western style with a cozy interior and some great details.

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Skyline was built in the Portland driveway of Eric Bohne and completed this February. Eric works full time as a craftsman and also built his own house on the Oregon coast out of recycled materials. His company, Metalwood Salvage, sells salvaged metal pieces and his design and carpentry business, Alter Areas, focuses on re-purposing unique building materials.

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The Skyline does not have a loft, but a bunked sleeping and living area. The typical ladder has been replaced with a short, metal staircase. The main part of the house has a bar style eating area and a kitchen with a roomy farm sink and storage. One of the most unusual parts of the trailer is the bathroom. It includes a shower and angled toilet that fits just perfectly into the tongue of the trailer. An ingenious folding ladder sits above the toilet in a metal bracket. It can be unfolded for accessibility to a storage loft above the bathroom.

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Deb and Kol recently had an open house for Caravan and the line formed around the block.They estimated about 1,000 to 1,500 people from all walks of life visited the hotel. When I visited on a warm, dry evening (unexpected in Portland during the spring) we sat in the courtyard around a metal burn barrel (fueled with scrap lumber Kol gathers from around the city) and chatted about tiny houses, codes and laws, permits and opportunities. Deb and Kol’s own permitting process was “creative and long” but they feel that their hotel is a unique and legitimate staging area as to what is possible in the tiny house industry.

“With the tiny house movement, everything about it is good,” Deb said. “There is no reason not to make it happen.”

Portland is a hotbed of the tiny house movement and the excitement and possibilities for the dwellings are really catching on. During this warm night, the Caboose was filled with four young people, a young couple from Chicago were enjoying the Portland-themed Tandem and the Rosebud was inhabited by a travel writer from New York — all visitors curious about tinier living. The hotel not only seems to be a tidy selection of tiny houses, but a gathering place for interesting, like-minded people.

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Photos by Caravan — The Tiny House Hotel and Christina Nellemann

By Christina Nellemann  for the [Tiny House Blog]