Daniel’s Lithuanian House Update

by Daniel Combellick

For those unfamiliar with the project, It was started the summer of 2012. I have 12 acres just 30 minutes north of Vilnius, Lithuania. 2012 saw the completed exterior shell, which I originally planned without the full bath. 2013 I insulated, drywalled, plastered, wired, and installed the woodstove and chimney. Spring of 2014 I decided to make this my permanent residence. therefore, early in 2014 I began the bath/laundry/ rear entry. The bath would have a lavatory, toilet, shower, and clothes washer. This I accomplished in a space of 75 sq. ft. I also added on an oversized airlock for additional storage space.

Another reason behind the change of heart on the bath is I would like to have a place for people to come and stay, and not everyone would be excited by the prospect of too few amenities. During summer months I can move back into the old log house, and this house can be rented out to people who would like to experience this kind of living, this remote location, learn about building if it interests them, or who just wish to get away from – wherever they are- and just about everything else for that matter.

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You can see the beginnings of the formwork on the left for the rear airlock/entry. Continue reading

Aubergine: Living in a Converted School Bus

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Guest Post by Collin Vickers

Eco-artist and innovator in radical recycling, Katherine Hanson, is living her American Dream in harmony with nature.

Katherine’s tiny house is timid and easily overlooked amidst the lush greenery of spring or the thick snowfall of winter, but she is still my vote for the coolest house at Dancing Rabbit Eco-village. Her name, (I’ve been told she identifies as female,) is Aubergine, and she is living out her golden years in peace and quiet following a long career in education – you see, Aubergine is a converted school bus. (I wonder what all those children would think if they could see the old yellow dog now?)

Katherine and Henry

At one time, Aubergine was the only running vehicle at Dancing Rabbit, (she even rushed someone with a broken leg to the local hospital,) but now she rests behind an earthen berm on a foundation of gravel-filled rubber tires. She is insulated with rigid foam, and apart from the thin steel framework of her body, she has a conventionally built roof that feeds water into a system of daisy-chained rain barrels, which Katherine uses to water her expansive garden. All told, the construction cost for Aubergine fell under $6,000 and she took several years to build with the help of many hands. Continue reading

The Story Behind The Story: Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution

Odd that I would not only write a post about myself, starring myself but perhaps even more odd that the post is an interview with myself by myself. It sounds even more odd saying it out loud. But this week I felt really compelled to tell a bit more about who I am behind Tiny r(E)volution (other than just the “big mouth” of the duo) and how we got started almost 5 years ago in the tiny house movement.

Odom FamThere has just been so much commentary lately regarding the anxieties, difficulties, and frustrations that come along with a tiny house build. What seems to have been forgotten is the joy, feeling of accomplishment, and excitement that seemed to have been inherent just a few years back. And so that is why I felt it important to record this Vlog. It is a bit long, yes, coming in just over ten minutes but I feel like it is a glimpse of the Tiny r(E)v story seldom seen…especially not on video.

I invite you to watch and enjoy. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, share your story, etc. in the comments section. Provided you don’t verbally destroy me I’ll do my best to respond! To watch just hover over the video image and click on the red, centrally located, standard YouTube play button to view.

After having watched the above video I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the Tiny r(E)volution via the button below for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

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

 

John’s Tiny House

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I’m currently 20 years old and in pastry school. Im located right outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I started my journey by buying a used RV that I demolished and saved the trailer underneath.

Then I started building my home and my uncle came up with the plans for me. As being a pastry chef I needed and wanted a large kitchen, so I made that a main priority. My home is eight foot by twenty-four feet. I have a stair case with a large living room which will also have a projector, as I don’t want to mount a TV, because I don’t want to make the TV the center point of my home. My room will be in the loft. Right now the loft isn’t complete. My plan is to move into my house around the end of April. The bathroom will have a stand up shower sink and composting toilet. The front of the house once I move it will have a deck attached to it. Continue reading

Life with TOW-Wanda: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time

rv lifeToday I’m excited to share a guest post with you by Ginny McKinney. Ginny completed the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course a few months ago (which is now open for registration for the session beginning on March 1st!) and I’ve asked her to share her story because it is downright brave, inspiring and fearless. Ginny has turned a sad situation into a brave adventure.

If you want to join the 8-week downsizing bootcamp and join a lifetime group of friends and comrades on a similar journey towards simple living (either in a tiny house, camper, cabin, or even downsizing in place) – you should join us for the March 1st session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing. You’ll get 8 weeks of practical lessons and challenges, guided step by step help, lifetime access to the private class forum, accountability, support and motivation from me and your classmates, and the tools you need to simplify your home and life.

I’ll let Ginny take it from here:

The morning dawned with the typical bluebird skies of Colorado. Mr. Virgo and I had been knee deep in negotiations as to how we were going to spend our looming retirement years. We finally settled on getting a travel trailer and to start practicing early. Why wait for retirement to have some fun, right? We had a leisurely breakfast then headed out to go trailer shopping. It was a lovely drive. We discussed the merits of different size campers and floor plans. We definitely wanted something big enough to take the kids and grandkids with us. We held hands and planned. It was a perfect day.

Until… We were standing in the fourth trailer, trying to decide which one we liked best, when my sweetheart suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 62. In a moment, the life I knew, the life we had planned, was just…gone. The next few days…ok, the next YEAR, was a blur. I went to stay with my kids for a few weeks. It was spring break and my older daughter said, “Mom, we’re all yours today. What do you want to do?” There was only one thing TO do. We went out and bought a travel trailer!
I instinctively knew I needed to put something joyful in front of me or I wasn’t sure I was going to get through this. I remembered seeing a story somewhere about a group of women who were trailer enthusiasts so I started searching. Sisters on the Fly is an outdoor adventure group that encourages women to bring out the girl in them and go play. They were exactly who I needed to drag me through the darkest of days.
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 About two months after Mr. Virgo died, I took off for a three month trip on my own, exploring every corner of Colorado and points in between. I camped nestled between big rigs. I ventured far out in the boonies where no one could hear my anguished cries as I yelled at God for taking my man. I met my new Sisters along the way and my healing, albeit slow, began one campfire at a time.

I was warned against making major decisions in the first year of widowhood. For quite some time, I had been feeling like a slave to the big box that was my now cavernous home. I had a mortgage that wasn’t going to be paid off till age 89. I yearned to be free of the responsibilities of lawn care and home maintenance. I was feeling the weight of my genetic tendency to hoard junk that no one in their right mind was ever going to want or appreciate. My children had long ago told me they were just going to bring in a dumpster (or two!) when I’m gone so why wait? I consulted with my realtor. I had a home staging company come in and give me some advice and I set my sights on purging 40 years of STUFF!

It was not easy. As a matter of fact, it was physically and emotionally painful. My younger daughter came to town and helped me one day. It took ten hours to clean one closet! I was reduced to tears on many occasions but there was only one way to eat this elephant and that was one bite at a time. Every box of stuff donated, sold, given away made me lose another 100 pounds!

I found I was tripping over what I wanted to keep so I rented a storage space. A word of warning here. Make sure you rent at a reputable, secure site…preferably with cement walls between storage units. I tried to save a buck and ended up getting about $9000 worth of items stolen, all replaceable except Mr. Virgo’s golf clubs. So sad.

Once the house was staged and on the market, the waiting game began. I moved into my little 16′ camper, partly to keep from having to clean the house constantly, and partly because I wanted to try my hand at living in a tiny home. I had been following the tiny house movement for quite some time. I was definitely interested in the lifestyle, but I wanted the flexibility to move frequently. I loved it, but the configuration of my space wasn’t really conducive to full time living. I started looking for a bigger, well built, travel trailer to buy once the house was sold.

I knew I needed to downsize in earnest. “Be ruthless!” became my mantra. I whittled away till I got a three bedroom house down to 25 boxes of stuff that I just HAD to keep. I paid to have it moved to my grandparent’s farm where I was going to care for an elderly aunt. As fate would have it, that didn’t work out for either of us so I bowed out gracefully.But, now what to do with the 25 boxes of stuff I “couldn’t” part with? I have been the caretaker of the family archives since my mom died eleven years ago. My first job was to scan 10,000+ photos and documents onto an external hard drive. And back it up on a second external hard drive for safe keeping. It took six weeks and was quite the trip down memory lane. It was emotionally draining and there were a ton of potholes on that road. Once I got the photos all scanned, I packed up the originals and shipped them off to the families of the subjects. Brilliant. They’re happy…I’m happy! Win-win.

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Once I sold my house, I traded in my Ford Expedition for an F-150 pickup and traded up for a 29′ Starcraft Launch Ultra Lite with a slide out dining area. It feels like the Taj Mahal after being crammed in my first camper. It does have a few disadvantages. I can’t pull into small, intimate campgrounds as easily. I’m a little less inclined to just hookup and go like I did with the little trailer but I’m hoping that gets better with time. Backing up is certainly interesting. I’m 42′ from nose to tail…there’s a learning curve. And, you had better be prepared for sticker shock at the gas pump! When I moved to West Virginia in October, I averaged 8 miles per gallon cross country and gas was over $4 per gallon in some places.
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 It’s winter now and bitter cold so I can’t really go through the rest of the boxes just yet. I’m spending my time organizing my little house on wheels in preparation for the next phase of this journey. I cannot stand the prefab, plastic look of the brown interior that all RV’s seem to have so I am changing the decor to something that suits me. Even though it’s 4 degrees outside, I am snug as a bug in my tiny little home. And best of all? I’m free. It’s paid for. I will carry only what is useful and loved. I can live wherever I want. And that is the most empowering thing I have ever done for myself.

Mr. Virgo would be so proud! <3

You can follow Ginny as she travels with TOW-Wanda…her home on wheels. www.facebook.com/marshmallowranch

Ginny is a former student in the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course. If you need a step by step plan to get your life downsized and get out from under your “stuff” – you can join the next session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing right here.  Class starts March 1st!

The practical weekly lessons and private student-only forum allow you to make progress at your own pace within a group of like-minded friends on the same journey. I’ve been told that the group is a catalyst for lifelong change. That’s because we not only go through how to eliminate all sorts of crap from your life and space, but because we fundamentally change your relationship with “stuff”. It has the cascading effect of positively influencing every area of your life. You can learn more about Tiny Transition and Downsizing and register here.
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