Having lived aboard a boat for a lot of the last 15 years I knew I liked living in a small space. I once lived in a 26ft sailboat that I could not stand up in. It was all of 25 sq ft in the cabin, I loved it. When I came upon the community of folks that have embraced the Tiny House mantra I knew I had found kindred spirits. It has be a blast over the past 12 months as I have done a deep dive into the idea of building my own Mobile House. I was asked last week who was the person who has given you the most insight into this project. That was an easy question for me to answer, who is the brightest mind, and it is the collective mind of the community. The Tiny House Blog has been a great resource to me but there is no one source, there are hundreds and I have been able to embrace all this knowledge to find ideas, plans, and concepts and to mold an ideal of what I want in My Mini Mobile Cottage. My personal network has joined me in this venture which is a major reason I started my own blog – MyMiniMobileCottageBuildingJourney as a place to record my experience and add to the collective information on building these houses and to inform my friends and relatives of my progress.
I really liked the open floor plan of the Fencl by Tumbleweed Houses. I have attended Jay’s seminar and have his book. What did not fire me up about the Fencl was the way he treated the front of the house and the idea of taking my living space and making part of that a porch. While architecturally it looks cool, it did not meet my needs. I have chosen to make a detachable deck that attaches to the front of the house and using the entire trailer floor as living space. I have to have a U-haul to move the dang thing so I can put my deck structure in there and take advantage of the extra space.
While I have not locked down my plans, I certainly have moved past the planning and acquisition stage to the building stage. I have done this with little or no knowledge of how to build a house. I found a friend with this skill set and he volunteered to help with the project. I chose not to purchase any plans and have crafted my own ideas into a structural plan utilizing his vast experience and understanding of things like load bearing walls. I am confident when I say we are over engineering the structure to make sure it does not fall off the trailer or twist and crumple to the ground as I go around the first corner.
One of the fun aspects of this project has been acquiring materials and learning about things I had never really considered. The Humanure Handbook was a hoot to read and path I wanted to follow for my Mini Mobile Cottage. I found a guy who was selling chunks of a bowling alley and I bought one to use as my kitchen counter. I have decided to go off grid as much as possible while being fully ready to accept AC power from the grid. While when starting this project I had no experience about joining 2×4’s together I do have a lot of experience with 12 volt systems from my boating life. Designing my electrical plan, which included a full solar array, has been a very enjoyable but expensive side project of this journey. Here is my crazy idea of my electrical room.
Since I am running a 1500 watt inverter I wanted the ability to choose what plug strings were going to the inverter and what ones were going to the grid. Flexibility was important and during times of good sun output and would rely more heavily on the solar then the grid or be able to go completely off grid. Thus my flexible power bars strategy. I will be running 400 Amp Hours of batteries to start and two 135 Watt panels. I have no real experience with this so I have relied heavily on books, YouTube videos and the folks at GoGreen Solar and Backwoods Solar as my resource of information and where I acquired my gear. This draws me back to the collective mind and the power of the web. I have been able to engage electricians and solar experts to make sure I am not making crazy or better yet even dangerous decisions. I am excited to see how this all rolls out once I have my Mini Mobile Cottage in its first home site, funny thing is I have no idea where that will be other then on the west side of Portland, OR within biking distance to my job. Sweet, I love the challenge of it all.