Tiny House in Waterland (the Netherlands)

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by Reinoud

Below you find the official tekst we made for the Dutch Design Week which is held from October 18th – 26th.  The fact that we participate in the Dutch Design Week is coincidence because our tiny house is located in the area were the exhibition is held.

We started this project for many different reasons. The main one is that we are all in the ‘building business’ and that business is slow at the moment. I work as a freelance cad specialist and designer, Peer (who also happens to be my neighbor) is an Architect and works as an project adviser and travel agent. We are all self employed. Therefore, we have the time to start something like this.

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Another reason is that the area were the tiny house will be located is a development area. It used to be a large factory complex owned by Philips. Now, it is going to be a living area. We thought it would be nice to have a place over here. We also always dreamed of having an vacation cottage but never knew where. Whether it should be near the sea, near the forest, or in some interesting city. Far away or close by.

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Then maybe the best part of the project for me is that we get a chance to actually build something with our own hands instead of always working on a computer. We can learn a lot from the building process. Also a tiny house is a chance to rethink the way we are living what do you really need.

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Before we started I sent an email to tumbleweed asking if they also deliver tiny house to the Netherlands. The answer was that they did not because the highway regulations were different in Europe and their focus was on the USA. They wished us success if we wanted to make one of our own. For the design, I looked for something traditional in wood in the Netherlands. Building in wood is very unusual over here. Only in de ‘zaanstreek’ the area just above Amsterdam. I think the reason was because there was plenty wood which was imported from the Scandinavian countries to build the ships in the 17th century. Therefore, I named the tiny house waterland-huisje because Waterland is the name of the area that has a lot of these buildings. I found Waterland a good name because of the environmental impact (or lack of impact) of tiny living. Waterland is an area that lies below the sea level (you can look for Broek in Waterland on google maps).

Visit their website here.

Visit them on Facebook.

Watch a movie of the house here:

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The Perfect Alternative Christmas Tree

According to HISTORY.com the history of the Christmas tree is a rather long one finding a root (see what I did there?) in numerous cultures over hundreds of years. In fact, “long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people in the winter. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with pine, spruce, and fir trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.” But it is Germany that is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition we now know. In the 16th century devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some were pyramids of wood while others were evergreens or even candles.  (FUN FACT: Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens and to recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the parlor and wired its branches with lighted candles.)

Norman Rockwell Christmas Tree

Illustration: Trimming The Tree, Norman Rockwell – date unknown

Ask most any American and the answer you are likely to get regarding the perfect Christmas tree is a Fraser Fir or Douglas Fir standing just over 6′ tall and about 53″ wide. In later years perhaps the answer would change slightly to keep the size but switch out the real needles for PVC blend ones that stay green, well, forEVER! But with the growth of the tiny house movement and the backlash against the traditional, consumer-driven, Christmas holiday alternative trees have become more and more popular. Ranging from the “simply shrunken” tabletop firs to the garish revolving, pink shimmer trees, the choices are numerous and each one is a space-saving solution for the tiny house set that allows tradition to thrive on a 1:4 scale!

Wall Decals

The simplest answer to the Christmas tree dilemma is perhaps the least expensive and – some might argue – the least creative. All you need is a little bit of blank wall to put up a vinyl tree decal. In the last few years the sticker decals have become increasingly popular as they are suitable for smooth surfaces, appliances, windows, and more. They can be used in a tight entryway or even behind a current piece of furniture. If you think they lack depth just remember. If you’ve been a good boy or girl it will soon be enhanced by presents! You can find a number of tree decals on Etsy.com.

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Cardboard Tree 

When I was growing up we had a family cat. He lived indoors and I am convinced he behaved so well from January to November just so he could win the affection of the house and mentally prepare for December. For as soon as the Christmas tree went up he made light work of the tinsel, glass ornaments, light cords, etc. He even forgot he was house broken and treated the trunk of the tree to a little nitrogen boost! Why not avoid such loss and go with a cheap and easy cardboard Christmas tree? Varying in size, style, and even color, these recyclable trees are great for a number of occasions and if presented well can evoke the holiday spirit as well as any fir at the local lot. You say you don’t want to pay the money for material you have lying around the house? How about a cardboard tree you can Do-It-Yourself?

Milagro Tree

Perhaps you don’t celebrate Christmas with a tree adorned with Christian symbols or even Hallmark memories. That shouldn’t stop you from decorating your Ho-Ho-Home! A number of people collect small metal charms traditional in Hispanic cultures known as milagros or “miracles.” This season why not get festive with a milagro tree handcrafted in rustic iron and topped with a star? Available exclusively at sundance.

The Light Tree

So you have an electrical outlet but you don’t have floor space? Why not try one of the prettiest and most affordable Christmas tree alternative? Dubbed “the Light Tree” it can be framed in any size you like and can be decorated in almost any way you like. Little more than the outline of a classic Christmas tree using some sort of interior Christmas lights, the light tree casts a festive, ambient glow on your tiny house and provides a magical way to start off the holidays.

Christmas Light Tree

photo courtesy of Christmas On A Budget

Pallet Tree

We’ve seen Adirondack chairs. We’ve seen end tables and side boards and footstools and hanging shelves and wine cases and bed frames and just about anything else that calls for wood. They are pallet designs and they are more popular each year. If you have some pallets laying around or just love that shabby chic, recycled look, why not try a pallet tree this year? With its 2-D, borderline 3-D design, and limited need or use of floor space this tree is just right for the retrofit crowd. The coolest thing though is how limitless the tree can be. Each rung of the tree can be scrolled or tapered or angled. You can stack “branches”. You can paint on the “branches.” You can inset LED rope lighting or use backlight. You can string ornaments on them. They are truly versatile and easy enough to build for anyone with the slightest bit of hammer and nail experience.

Wood Pallet Tree

photo courtesy of Something For Nothing Blog

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Traditional English Shepherd Huts in the USA

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We have been following your blogs for some time now and love seeing everyones creations and informative “how to” articles. There are no limits to the imagination when it comes to tiny houses. We noticed that from time to time you feature Shepherd Huts from the UK! I am English and live in Northern Michigan.

My husband and I loved Shepherd Huts so much we decided to set up our own business hand building them staying as true to the original design as far as possible including importing the cast iron wheels from a forge in England. Having spent many years renovating and restoring older homes its exciting for us to build something new, with the same construction principles but on such a small scale. We hope you like what we have designed and built and will share it with your readers!

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The Shepherd’s Hut has been around for a long time dating back as early as the 1600’s from what records tell us. In Thomas Hardy’s “Far from the Madding Crowd” where Gabriel sat and tended his lamb in front of a warm stove, these huts evoke thoughts and memories of another era.

Their charm lies in their simplicity and portability! Originally starting in the 1600’s all the way through to the 1970’s they were designed as shelter for Shepherds while they tended their flocks especially during lambing season, often far from home. The hut combined, cooking area, sleeping quarters, sitting area, stove for heat and storeroom for supplies all rolled into one. Windows were on all sides of the hut so that the Shepherd could keep a watchful eye on his flock. A hinged stable door, which was always positioned away from the prevailing wind, enabled him to hear the sheep. Strong axles with cast iron wheels were used to withstand the motion whilst being towed by horse and later tractor from field to field.

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Over the past few years Shepherds Huts have had quite a revival. There are over twenty independent craftsman companies in England, Australia & Canada restoring or reproducing this wonderful piece of English Heritage enabling many to enjoy the taste of this English rural idyll.

The remerging popularity as a delightful retreat has grown enormously, the ultimate mobile home for charm and character. Finding their way into people’s back yards, country estates, vineyards and campsites, the Shepherds hut is very versatile. Guest room, home office, den, teenage hangout, summer house, pool house, music room, artist studio, suana…. the list of uses are endless not forgetting that bathrooms, kitchens, wiring, bunk beds, sofa beds, cabinetry, lighting & heating can all be added.

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There is also the commercial aspect. These make ideal units to rent out as mini vacation homes. Glamorous camping aka “glamping” offers people all the home comforts whilst still retaining the feeling of being in a romantic, get away from it all stresses of everyday life haven in a beautiful setting, maybe by a lake or on farm land or camp ground.

Owners of the Pixie Palace Hut Co. Rebecca & Larry Cameron have recently opened their business making these wonderful huts here in America in beautiful Northern Michigan. Years of painstaking research including several trips “across the pond” to meet with shepherd hut craftsman and visiting blacksmith’s forges, has gone into every aspect of the design and materials used to ensure maximum efficiency, beautiful esthetics and outstanding durability whilst remaining faithful to the classic proportions, taking pride in creating a bespoke and unique piece of art that will stand the test of time.

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