In the middle of winter, I start dreaming about tropical locales. For people who are lucky enough to be able to let the outdoors into their homes almost all year long, the “Wee Hus” from Gado Gado International in Santa Rosa, Calif. might be the perfect tiny house for you.
These tiny teak homes with their exquisite details are designed from the original style found in Indonesia and are built in Java. Both the original traditional tiny houses and the newer ones are made from reclaimed teak using traditional mortise and tenon joinery.
Gado Gado uses nails and bolts sparingly where needed for structural strength and safety.The tiny houses are named after Gado Gado owner, David Sussman’s Irish Aunt Patsy.
Indonesia is in earthquake country, and there are more >6.0 earthquakes in Java than in California. These little houses have stood up to large temblors precisely because of how they were constructed: the complex joinery system with through-going tenons through tenons in two directions gives the structure sufficient strength but allows enough flexibility to sway during earthquake movements without falling over.
The ceilings of some of the tiny houses range from simple teak lap-jointed planks to highly carved original “joglo” pieces. Gado Gado cuts the roof shingles by hand out of reclaimed teak boards.
The tiny houses range from 8×8 ft. up to 16×16 ft., and are priced at $10,000 up to about $30,000 based on size, complexity, and the amount of original or new carving requested by the customer. They are built for longevity, and can stand up to rain, snow and direct sun. Teak is more resistant to rot and bugs than any hardwood or softwood grown in the U.S. due to its high resin content and the presence of 1%-2% silica (basically like beach sand) taken up by the teak tree from the soil. These houses are not yet built to U.S. standards for year-round living, although such modifications are not difficult during installation. The original Indonesian teak homes were not built with wiring or plumbing, but this can be added later by the customer.
Gado Gado offers a CD-ROM that shows the step-by-step construction of a 16×12 ft Wee Hus. You can order the CD-ROM from the website.
The teak homes ship to the customer as “knock down” with each mortise and tenon marked to show where they will be put together. Scaled drawings of the pier foundation are also included. Gado Gado recommends that customers invite all their friends that are handy with tools and make a day of it (a 12×16 ft. tiny house takes about 1.5 days to set up with 8 people). However, it is worth the money to get the owner, David Sussman and one of his staff, out to the site to guide the installation.
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