Ethan’s Tiny House Story

by Kent Griswold on April 8th, 2014. 18 Comments

by Ethan Ramirez

My name is Ethan Ramirez, several months ago I posted pictures of my first tiny house. A 100 square foot silver rectangle that my girlfriend and I built and lived in…at the time. Well since that time a gentleman approached me asking if I would be willing to sell him our house. I was so excited I told him yes immediately, because I had so much fun building the first one and was already thinking of how I could do it again. This time more efficiently and dare I say it, smaller.

front door

The gentleman told me the lease on his rental house was up in February and without much thought I told him great I will have it available. Keep in mind he approached me around late October/early November giving me around 3 months and with my job of working overnights I have several full off days during the week so I figured sure my girlfriend Kelsey and I could totally build another in 3 months. Well turns out that November was a pretty rainy month so we had to scratch November out of the picture and then came December and with it the Holidays and travel so we went a head and scratched that out as well. Which had us frantic and left only with January and February.

table

Well after putting on our “grown up” pants and “work ready” gloves (we actually don’t work with gloves) we got down to business building our tinier tiny house. This house was to have only 8ft ceilings so we could fit under trees if needed, because Texas summers can be brutal. We also wanted to have a 20% smaller footprint. Well ladies and gentlemen I am happy to say that after 6 weeks of sun up to sun down off days we did it!

more details

Our tiny house 2.0 as we call it is complete and we have moved into it. The house consists of a kitchen space with similar plumbing to the last house (water crock fed sink) an “office” which consists of a standing desk with storage beneath it, a sleeping area and living room. We decided to place the bed on the floor in this house because last summer we found out exactly how hot air rises and decided that if we put our bed down low and our a/c unit up high we will get a much cooler sleep.

loft

Inside the sleeping area we have placed shelves inside the joists of the lofted living space where we store underwear and other items used either before sleeping or just after waking. The living room consists of a couch with storage underneath for media and across from it an entertainment center neither of which were in the last house (our movie collection felt neglected). The sleeping area has a height of 3 feet inbetween joists so we can both sit up and read before bed and the living room has a height of 5 feet so it is too short to stand in but in a space that is only 5 feet wide there is not much ground to cover to get to your seat.

view from the loft

We did not put any drawers or doors on any of the storage instead using curtains giving the space an airier feel (or maybe we were lazy who knows). We live on an organic farm with other people living in small structures and tiny homes and have a community bathroom that has a plumbed toilet and washer and dryer along with an outdoor shower. When the weather is too cold for outdoor showers we use the city rec center which only costs us $80 a year which turns out to be cheaper than a water bill.

ground level

Most of our cooking is done on the grill outside and we also have a small toaster oven. I believe that about covers most of it (not that there is really much to cover in a tiny house) Oh wait the house is about 80 square feet and yes both Kelsey and I live in it full time. If there are any other questions be it about building a tiny house yourself, about our tiny house, or what ever they might be you can email us at tinyhouseask@yahoo.com

Thank you and good night.

storage

looking to the entry

the front

Our Tiny Cabin

by Kent Griswold on April 3rd, 2014. 42 Comments

Michael and I knew that we wanted something smaller, but even more so, we knew that we wanted our own land. Michael was raised on cattle ranches down in Alabama and Mississippi. He has many head of cattle that he wants to bring up to where we currently live. We always talked about buying a place or building a place, but neither of us are machine inclined. So we knew that we were going to hire someone that could build our tiny cabin for us.

tiny cabin

We bought a historic hundred and four-year-old cottage in the antique district also known as Goodlettsville about 20 minutes away from downtown Nashville three years ago. Previously we were in a one bedroom apartment so when we bought this cottage we felt like it was so much bigger being that it has three bedrooms. After living in it for a while we realize that three bedrooms were not necessary for us we actually use the master bedroom as a den and media room and we sleep in a smaller bedroom and then of course the third bedroom has been used as a guestroom and catchall.

cabin delivery

Mike and I have always talked about gardening cattle and having acreage someday. I came across Tiny House websites and blogs about a year ago online. Even though we knew we wanted to downsize Mike wasn’t too keen on the small tiny houses that were 6 x 6 on trailers from the get-go. However through the past year we’ve done a lot of research and decided on the size that could work for us.

garden

Mike and I garden extensively. The whole backyard is a working garden. We grow our own food and we know how to preserve. We also have kept hens for years. We had the Mennonites in Dickson Tennessee build us a rather nice-looking coop, and we exchange our vegetables and eggs with the neighbors in our community. What we can’t eat, freeze, or can we give to family, friends, and Church folk.

unfinished interior

We found a company up the road in Greenbrier Tennessee at the Amish general store that builds sheds and small cabins. The company is actually just over the state line in Kentucky. Their quality of work and customization options were second to none. As soon as I spotted what they call a “vinyl Quaker cabin,” I immediately talked to Mike and said I think I found the cabin we’ve been looking for! It is 288 sq ft, not including the sleeping loft. At 12 x 24 it was very easy to have it delivered.

interior

Depending on their order load, your cabin will be delivered within 4 to 6 weeks. Ours took about five weeks, because we had fully customized it. We have windows in the sleeping loft, double glass doors on the back that could lead out to a deck, and extra height added.

Our goal is to be off grid as much as we can be. We are choosing no electricity, plumbing, etc. We will use wind, solar, rain water, propane, kerosene, composting toilet, and wood. Keep more hens and grow our own food.

tiny cabin

We are excited about our journey and we know that this is the right fit for us, it may not be for everyone, but Mike and I knew that this was coming, even before it was in front of us.

We are excited to insulate the tiny cabin, put up some sort of wall materials such as bead board, and we received leftover hardwood flooring from some friends.

Our plan: within the next 12 to 18 months to be fully off the grid on our own homestead, growing our own food, and looking for alternative fuel options.

Our next venture is finding a good used tractor! :)

Shon & Mike
Goodlettsville, TN

tiny cabin

April 3rd, 2014and filed in Your Story
Tags: Amish, cabin, Tennessee, Tiny House Articles
42 Comments

The Revival

by Kent Griswold on March 26th, 2014. 37 Comments

by Jonathan Morningstar

Let me introduce myself: My name is Jonathan Morningstar. I am an itinerant United Methodist pastor, which means that I can be moved to a new parish at any time. My wife Amanda and I are always one phone call from the bishop away from moving to a new town, which honestly can cause a little anxiety. The parishes that I serve provide my wife and I with a more than adequate parsonage, but we have always wanted a place to call our own!

We started looking at our options, and found the Tiny House Blog! It has been such a helpful resource in this process. We decided to locate our little cottage in a campground that my family has been attending for years. It is a century old revival type camp-meeting in central Pennsylvania. At this campground, there are many small cabins owned by families that have attended the meeting, often for generations.

jonathan

My grandfather was a minister too, and his small cottage is just down the way from mine, now owned by my uncle. Through the bat and board siding, the sound of hymns and spiritual songs and spirited preaching comes wafting through the cabin in the humid late summer heat.

The Susquehanna river is just down the hill from the campground, where we often swim and fish. It’s a perfect place to relax. We lease a small tent pad, which our 10X16 cottage occupies. We had the cabin shell built by a local shed company, and delivered to the site. We then finished the interior. Four of the 16 feet is porch, but we decided to maximize space by locating a sleeping loft above the porch. This puts the interior at around 120 square feet, 160 if you count the loft. We’ve kept an open floor plan, having a corner for the “kitchen” and “office,” a sitting area, as well as a centrally located pot-bellied stove that provides heat. The stove is quite small, I found it at a local antique shop. The bolt holes on the legs have always left me wondering if it in fact started life in a railroad caboose.

kitchen

A small secretary desk provides a valuable workspace; much of what I do as a pastor involves writing and reflecting, and this quiet location is a great place to focus on this task. Most of the furniture is reclaimed, or heirloom. The heavy oak love seat, rocking chair, and chair are from my great aunt, and were used at the campground 50 years ago. My mother has had them for as long as I can remember, but a few years ago gave them to me. They are now back home!

stove

The antique brass lamp was my grandmothers. We’ve decided not to insulate the cabin, and instead have left the walls open, you can see the inside of the bat and board siding from the interior. Only being a three season cabin, we didn’t feel the need to insulate, the little wood stove easily heats the place during cooler spring and fall days.

desk and light

The other reason we left the interior unfinished, other than to save a little money, is because leaving it “breathable” just feels more like the mood of the camp. Not too long ago, the campground was full of canvas tents, I slept in one as a kid. The canvas tents have been gone for a while now, and I believe the loss of the old wall tents takes a great deal away from the rustic feel of the camp. Our goal with our cabin was to make a space that was faithful to this “feel.”

loft

Hope you enjoy our little cabin, which we’ve nicknamed “the revival.”

the cabin

The Map of Enough – Book Review

by Kent Griswold on March 25th, 2014. 24 Comments

I have had the privilege of reviewing a new book entitled The Map of Enough by Molly Caro May. I really enjoyed this book and wanted to share it with you.

The Map of EnoughMolly grew up in a nomadic family, moving from one foreign country to another. She developed her identity from this nomadic life and in her mind never wanted to settle down.

However, things changed when she was nearing the age of 30. In 2009, Molly and her fiancé Chris had the opportunity to move onto 107 acres in the Gallatin Valley in Montana. Initially living in a cabin her folks owned they both dreamed of building a Mongolian yurt and staying on the land for a year and than taking their home and moving on.

Molly and Chris

Thinking it would only take a couple of months to build the yurt the couple immediately set forth to transforming an old garage into a wood shop and then started collecting and constructing the materials. As Molly soon found out construction takes much longer than planned. The actual time to build ended up being around five months instead of two.

They took on some real challenges as the yurt site is far up on a hill and they had to move all the materials up by hand, including a very heavy wood stove. Getting help from their neighbors and new friends they accomplished these tasks and move on to others.

Yurt in Summer

Living among the tall grass, deep woods, and wild animals opened up new challenges for Molly and she started feeling a real connection to the land and place. Her book shares this experience and the changes she goes through as she adjusts to her new surroundings. Once the yurt is completed and assembled she heads off to New York in a snow storm to complete the plans for the wedding. Molly soon finds out how anxious she is to get back to her simpler life in the yurt.

yurt and mountains

When Molly returns she turns to exploring the 107 acres and getting even more acquainted with her surroundings. She spends her days exploring and writing and figuring out how they can afford to extend their stay past the first year. She puts in a garden. Chris is developing his woodworking business and she is writing.

Join Molly on her journey and transformation as she embraces the land and living in one place.

yurt and stove

Five years later Molly and Chris still live in their yurt in Montana. They now have a beautiful daughter and are hoping to stay on “the land” many more years.

You can purchase the book here at Amazon and follow Molly’s blog here.

Continue Reading »