By Andrea Bird
(Before conversion) So a little about the Birdhouse. We bought a garden shed from kijiji and started converting it to a house in 2009. It sits on a beautiful 12 acre piece of land in Eastern Canada. I started this project with my son (now 10) in an effort to spend more time in nature, be more aware of our consumption, save some money, and most importantly, spend time together outside the trappings of the “connected” life. It has really worked, as the one thing I’ve noticed about living in a tiny house, is that the yard is really big, and the indoor space becomes secondary to the landscape around us.
The main room is about 12 ft x 9 ft including the kitchen and living space. The sofa is a futon that acts as a guest bed on sleepover nights. There is a pocket door that separates the main room from my son’s room, a 6 ft x 6 ft bedroom that somehow stores his clothes, toys and bed. The bed is on hinges so you can clear the floor space to play. Children absolutely love this house, I think there is something in the scale of it that makes it very comfortable for them.
I sleep in a bunk above the kitchen. My clothes are in baskets off to the side. It can get a little warm up there and so I needed a window where there was no room for one; and so take note of the little 4 inch ABS drain pipe that was installed to serve the cause. Instead of opening a window I just unscrew the cap.
There is a stand up shower between the two rooms, hidden by the pocket door for privacy. The toilet is outdoors, a luggable loo that gets moved progressively closer to the house as the weather gets colder.
There is no power, we use a propane stove and fridge, and the lights are solar. We don’t have a solar system, just a few simple lights from the local hardware store. We collect rain water for washing dishes and bathing, it comes directly into the house with a faucet at the sink. Our drinking water we bring from the city, and use about 30-50 liters a week at most.
As you can see, it is still a work in progress. I’ve made the upper kitchen cabinets (hence the bad carpentry), insulted, wired (just in case), put up dry wall and installed the doors an three windows. This year, we stayed in it for 6 months, and will do the same in 2012. It is about a 25 minute drive from the city where we work and go to school, and so with shorter days and lots of snow it would be a bit challenge to winter there, although I’m quite ambitious to attempt it.