by Calanne Moroney
The Mobiation Project – a tiny house project with a difference
Since August 2012, we have been living in the mobi-01, a mobile off-grid, open-house that has been moving around Amsterdam, though we are making plans to take it across borders.
Rather than the usual tiny-houses of the movement, this one has a more social role, camping mostly in semi-public urban spots, and folds in to become a 20ft container, when in transport mode.
The tale so far:
“We wanted to go neo-primtive, simple, small and funky. We seemingly have a desire for attention, so the house is open. We do workshops on various DIY techniques, presentations and talks about the project, are filming footage for a documentary about the project, and have been building up a repertoire of message-laden tracks [music] to take the info-tainment just that little bit further. The Mobiation Project was set up to give us meaning, an all-encompassing live project that, because we set up a foundation to manage it, has a goal to spread the word. The house folds into a 20ft container, can then be lifted onto a container truck and transported to the next location.
A small 350W wind turbine and a 160W pv panel supplies the electricity for laptops and LED lighting. Rainwater provides for most of our water needs – we have, at some locations, filtered ditch water, to supplement this. We are currently drawing up the bath/composting toilet trailer that parks into the mobi-01, but for now use a bucket for washing, and a small urine-separating unit for toilet, and a wormery & bokashi bin for kitchen waste.
Till now, we have been urban nomads. Some of the locations have been – a festival [three in total] where we did gigs, film showings, playing open-houses and workshops/talks, and building and managing some composting toilets; an exhibition on “urban outsiders,” where we were a live exhibition piece; a suburban playground where we were an informal meeting place, built willow huts, made fires, read stories to the kids around the stove, built a cob oven, set up a community veg patch and so forth…. Currently we are stationed next to a restaurant in an as of yet undeveloped part of Amsterdam east, where we are assisting the restaurant in greening up their business, as well as working with the first inhabitants of the area to set up a community edible garden…
So far, the approach has been to be invited to come and help on some community project, in return for a place to set up house. This has been in and around Amsterdam, but this year we will be making the move away from Amsterdam. Its time to leave the city and move out into less known territory.
Together, we are ecological architect, welder, furniture maker, compost toilet enthusiasts, vegan-foodie, doglover, DIY-enthusiast, tattooist and graphic designer…. in fact, we are well educated autodidacts and whatever we cannot do, we look it up, call on others to assist and as last resort, work on trial and error. There’s a whole philosophy behind the project about self-determinism, anarchism, anti-individualism and anti-corporate control, and we are exploring and developing this in music, as well as writing a graphic novel set in the future.
Simple living and doing good is the essence of the project, and it appears to be an ongoing process.
We would love to assist people to move along the same path, in return for somewhere to stay, a weekly box of local organic veg and other negotiable treats. We discovered that we are change junkies, conscientious change junkies and like to move into different contexts, inject some good, game-changing energy and action, and move onto the next location. Perhaps some day, we’ll settle somewhere – I have a dream to bury the mobi-01 into a south-facing hillside, but for now, we embrace nomadism and the global awareness it engenders.”
See more at www.mobiation.net
While the film version of the Shire sits in New Zealand, a real accessible version of the home of the Hobbits can be found in Montana. However, if you come to stay in this small house you’ll have to share it with fairies, trolls and dwarfs. The Shire of Montana includes not only a 1,000 square foot house built into a hillside, but also a Troll House and several fairy homes built into tree stumps.
This whimsical 20-acre property owned by Steven and Chris Michael is located near Trout Creek, Montana and is available as a private rental for lovers of Tolkien and the outdoors. The property contains a monolithic dome Hobbit house built into a hillside, a troll house in an old stump and various fairy homes dotted throughout the garden. The main house is 1,000 square feet and contains modern granite counter tops and etched glass windows, two bedrooms, a cozy kitchen, rustic woodwork and even the One Ring hanging from the ceiling.
When the home was being constructed, the owners found a 700 year old cedar stump with a roof and door in a nearby town and decided to make it into a home for trolls. Steven said that once the word got out about the Troll House, other residents of Middle Earth decided to move onto the property which includes the Elven Village and homes for dwarfs and fairies. Various regional artists worked on making the property a haven for these otherworldly creatures which includes waterfalls and creeks, murals, bird houses, a wishing well, a troll bridge and mine as well as a 2,000 lb. carved stone bench made from a rock from Bali that is rumored to have once been a troll.
Guests can stay in the Shire of Montana from spring to fall for $245 a night.
Photos by the Shire of Montana
Having spent most of my adult life outdoors and many years living and working in remote and wild parts of the Africa I have very much become accustomed to living close to nature. Even though I now live half the time in central of London, I choose to do so on Jupiter, a 55ft Narrow Boat.
The idea to build a shepherd’s hut came to me four years ago one wet and windy night in a farmer’s field in the North of England. To split a long drive home from Scotland, my girlfriend and I decided to be true to our instincts (which is to live as naturally and as much outside as possible) and stay in a shepherd’s hut that the farm rented out as a B&B.
With the fire on and candles lit it was not too dissimilar to the interior of Jupiter. Within an hour I was casting a critical eye over the interior, the obvious nail heads and screws were an anathema to me.
It is important to remember however, that shepherd’s huts were very agricultural, simple buildings used by shepherd’s during lambing time. The hut provided portable, but minimal shelter for the shepherd, a store for his tools, a bed for the night and a safe place to store medicines needed for his flock. Also under the bed was “the lamb rack,” a cage for injured or orphaned lambs. With cast iron wheels, the hut could be towed from field to field, depending on where the shepherd needed it.
So once the plans were drawn up and the research done, I set to work on building the hut during the winter of 2011/12. I had decided during the planning that the hut should, at least on the exterior, look agricultural and have the same proportions as the originals. To fit a full sized double bed width ways meant I had to increase the overall dimensions. This also meant I could build in storage, by the way of drawers, under the raised bed and you would still have a usable space.
I sourced all of the materials from local businesses and craftsmen from the hand built chassis that was constructed by our local blacksmiths, Utopia Forge, to the Tilley lamp bought from The Tilley Lamp Co half a mile away.
The steel chassis gives it the needed rigidity; it has a turntable and tow hook which has been put to good use here in Littleton where the hut has traveled across the fields to the farm show at Loseley House. The 100 year old cast iron wheels I found on E Bay (the delivery nearly cost as much as the wheels), which I ground back and re-painted. I suspect they wouldn’t suffer being towed on hard surface as they are too old and brittle now, but it’s nice to have the history on the hut.
The insulated stud walls were made of 2×2 pine, notched glued and pegged, with a 5mm plywood skin over the top which was then covered with a semi permeable roofers membrane.
Corrugated iron sheeting has come a long way over the years, you can now buy it pre-painted to a range of colours and cut to length. The curve for the roof takes a bit of working out, the suppliers had a program to work it out, but it doesn’t take into account the overhang.
The interior is clad in 15mm T&G in two meter lengths, the joins in the ceiling and walls are hidden by White Oak batons. The baton on the vaulted ceiling had to be steamed to fit. This is something I had never done before, with a bit of research, a wallpaper steamer, some PVC and some left over insulation provide enough to make the steamer. A bit of trial and error and a greatly increased electricity bill, produced the right shape to fit.
It has a solid Oak floor; the wood burner I sourced from a blacksmith’s called the Windy Smithy, it’s tiny but produces an enormous amount of heat. It has a 240v feed if needed and a hidden double socket.
The hut has been used by a diverse selection of family members and friends- from an 86 year old to 20 something’s with dogs. The comments from everybody, however is the same – “it’s just amazing, it’s so cosy!” My girlfriend I tested it out with 2 foot of snow on the ground, it proved to be very cosy indeed.
The basic canvas wall tent, used by outdoor enthusiasts and the military for hundreds of years, can be turned into more than a tent with the simple addition of a wooden platform. My family has some property in a beautiful meadow with mountain views and we are looking to put up a canvas wall tent on a wooden floor to use for guest camping and enjoying the summer nights. Research for these tents has turned up some fantastic photos of what can be created with these portable but heavy duty structures.
Wall tents are different than tipis and in that they have four sides and a peaked roof, much like a tiny house. Canvas wall tents have been used by the military as early at 1740 and were used extensively in the American Civil War. Hunters and trappers in the 1800′s used wall tents while on the frontier and they are still used today as shelters in refugee camps and by soldiers in Iraq.
Canvas wall tents range in size from about 8-10 feet wide and 10-20 feet long. They can be supported with a simple wood frame, steel poles or traditional timber poles cut down on site. The walls are typically 5-6 feet high. Some canvas tents are large enough to contain a wood burning stove and the canvas roof can include a hole for a stove pipe. Furniture, carpets and even wall hangings can be used for interior decoration.
Canvas wall tents can actually be mounted to a hard surface deck. This keeps the tent from being blown away and damaged in the wind and also keeps out unwanted outdoor critters. These types of tents are called deck tents and can be secured even further with cable systems that tie the tent down to the deck.
Because of their sturdy construction and ability to let in fresh air while protecting campers from the elements, many canvas wall tents have become popular for glamping enthusiasts. The tents can be enjoyed in the summer and fall and then packed up and put away when winter arrives.