Don’s Ash Cabin

by Kent Griswold on April 11th, 2014. 33 Comments
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Update new photo below 4/11/14

Don Richmond wrote me the other day about his cabin project and I wanted to share it with you. Here is Don’s story.

I was stunned by the similarity of the House of Fallen Timbers story to my own. I live in rural Southeast Lower Michigan, and my 2.25 acres has been ravaged by the ash borer problem. So last winter I had quite a few dead ash trees to cut down and clean up. Like David, I had plenty of burning wood, and I was afraid they would start falling down and causing (safety) problems, and I was also tired of how bad they looked, as well as having to clean up all the shed during windy conditions. But I got to looking at them, and at how many “straight” sections of log they had in them, and I thought “Hmmm…crazy idea, but I wonder if I could build a small log cabin from the straight pieces.” I also had seen Dick Proenneke’s PBS special, and was impressed that a single person could do that.

So on January 2nd of 2010, I started cutting down trees. A friend helped me, a guy who burns wood for heat, and I told him that if he helped me cut them down and cut them up, he could have all the crooked stuff to burn. It took a while, but we got them all cut down and stacked the straight ones in drying piles, and he got quite a few loads of excellent firewood out of the deal, which I helped him cut to burning size pieces and load onto his trailer. He was happy, and so was I.

Making a long story short, it’s 11 months later now, and I have ended up with an ash log cabin. The only thing I have left is to install the stove pipe so I can burn wood for heat in my Grandfather’s 1887 wood stove that I have in there.

The costs for building were minimal, as I attempted to (and took great pride in) using resources and materials I had already laying around or could recycle from other sources I could find. I did buy some things, like the USB sheets for the roof and floor, 3 insulation rolls to stuff between logs, hinges/handle for the door, but that’s about it. It was a great project, and I learned a lot, and gained great appreciation for the pioneers who did this type of thing for their families to provide them with shelter. I also pretty much did it solo. Besides the friend helping me cut down the trees and stack the logs, one other friend came one Saturday and did some odds and ends – peeling some logs, doing some notching, etc… – more because he was excited about what I was doing and wanted to learn how to do some of those things than out of necessity. Other than that, I did the rest myself, including the nut-busting-back-breaking moving around of VERY heavy hardwood logs. Luckily, I got through it without any big accidents, though not without some scary moments, particularly getting the real big logs up to higher and higher levels.

So I just wanted to share some thoughts and ideas on our projects. Congratulations on your own completions. I share and understand your efforts, and give you credit for all your work.

Sincerely,

Don Richmond
drichmond (at) altair.com

New photo of patio below.

new patio

My Year In A Yurt – Book Review

by Kent Griswold on April 10th, 2014. Comments Off
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My Year In A Yurt, God’s Blessings While Living in 450 Not-So-Square Feet! Is Jen McGeehan’s true story of how she and her husband, Pat, made some very drastic changes in their life to free themselves from debt. Facing foreclosure and bankruptcy they left a beautiful home in Big Bear, California and followed a dream to live on the big island Hawaii.

yurt exterior

Having made friends on previous trips to the islands they were offered a chance to caretake some land with very low rent if they were willing to live in a 450 square foot canvas yurt. Jen and Pat took up the offer and agreed to live in the yurt for a year.

bedroom

Jen, being a horse and goat lover, insisted on bringing her pets with her and thus opened up even more challenges. She learned that moving animals via plane is very challenging. Facing the challenge of the move with the animals Jen’s close relationship with God is stressed throughout the book.

Smoke the horse

When they arrive and get settled they have to remodel the outside bathroom, get to know there neighbors, and find someone to watch the animals as Jen’s father has a stroke and she has to go back to the mainland several times.

Heidi & Girdie

Learning to live in the round in such small quarters took some getting used to. The yurt is one large room and Jen’s work requires that she be on the phone at early hours and Pat sleeps late because his back pain does not allow him good rest in the earlier hours of the night. Pat and Jen are both snorers and each partner figures out unique ways to deal with this annoyance.

The Kitchen

There are many other challenges along the way, and I believe you will enjoy sharing them with Jen and Pat as you read the book.

If you are looking for a spiritual and inspirational book about living in Hawaii in a yurt Jen’s book is for you.

It will be available on Amazon April 29th, but Jen have a link through her publisher whereby it can be ordered immediately. That link is:
www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781628548808

Jen has developed a three-way partnership with Habitat For Humanity (West Hawaii) and Yurts of Hawaii (Volcano, HI). They are introducing the yurt to the HFH family of dwellings, and the very first one will be on the Big Island. It is “all in the book.” Folks can get on board in a variety of ways – volunteer, donate, etc. Check out: www.yurtsofhawaii.com

The book

walking the goats

the outside bathroom

 

April 10th, 2014and filed in Book Review, Yurts
Tags: Book Review, Haawaii, Jen McGeehan, yurt
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Connecticut Post & Beam

by Kent Griswold on April 9th, 2014. 13 Comments
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by Laurie Sharp

We have been following the Tiny House Blog for years, always anxious to see what our friends and neighbors are up to. The Small Home movement is in full swing and we believe post and beam framing has not been addressed often enough as one of the choices available.

We have a unique “T-Rex” Connector to be used strictly with post and beam framing, offering an alternative to the many small home advocates out there. Our exclusively-designed post and beam connectors are extruded from 6061 structural grade aluminum, which is used in everything from ship building to skyscrapers; in addition, our “T-Rex” Connectors are engineer-approved.

The Wilton

For the DIY individual, we have extensive plans and connectors available; you can either use milled lumber from your own land or purchase economically from a local sawmill.

For one who doesn’t have the time required for a DIY project, you can purchase the kit with everything needed to construct a post and beam frame, using the pre-slotted and pre-drilled white pine. Windows, roofing material, doors, and siding can be added to any order.

raising the wilton

For someone who can’t wait, we can add a covered porch and construct your post and beam home for you in the New England area.

Take a look at our website at www.ctpostandbeam.com to see what post and beam framing can offer you! We are willing to work closely with anyone from the Tiny House community.

post and beam logo

post and beam

Wilton rendering

April 9th, 2014and filed in Timber Frame
13 Comments

Ethan’s Tiny House Story

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