Backyard Guesthouse Redesign

Some Tiny House Blog readers might remember the backyard guesthouse project I was working on last fall. Well, the Tiny Guesthouse Challenge is complete and my mother’s backyard guesthouse now has a new bathroom and a few other additions. A 5 foot by 7 foot addition was added onto the existing building by a local builder who lives right up the street. The bathroom contains a shower, sink and cabinet, and a low-flow toilet.

We bit the bullet and decided to have a 300 gallon septic tank and leach field put in behind the house. We do not have any neighbors or facilities within 5 miles from the back of the house and the property is adjacent to a county wilderness area. The water for the shower and sinks was run from our pump house, which is right next door to the guest house. Because the addition was so small, and we live in an unincorporated area, we did not need to get a permit. Continue reading

Ella’s Tiny House Update

I featured Ella back a few months as she was in the process of building her tiny home. Ella just sent me an update and tells me the house is completed. Ella says: “My house in FINALLY done! It’s been a little over a year since I started and it’s so exciting to see a house instead of a bunch of scattered projects.”

Ella has moved just about everything into her tiny house and says it still feels airy and has surplus storage. She is surprised by that as she expected to have every nook and cranny filled to the brim with things she could not part with.

Ella and her tiny house

Ella is enjoying living in her tiny home and it feels very natural. She loves that everything is close at hand and it makes life easier by being this way.

She has two kittens that have joined her in her tiny house arrangement and they are adjusting too. Learning to climb the ladder and finding their special places. Continue reading

Ode to the Outhouse

The lowly outhouse may be making a comeback. Some tiny houses being designed these days are not being outfitted with a bathroom or even a space for a composting toilet. While a specific design or structure may be sound and even really beautiful, it may not provide people with one of the most basic of human needs. A simple or more complex outhouse could be a viable solution.

The outhouse originated about 500 years ago in Europe, and was used primarily at inns or in public spaces. During this time, the ubiquitous symbol of the crescent moon on the outhouse door also began to appear. Since most people were illiterate during this time, the male outhouses were marked with the symbol of a sun, indicating masculinity, and the women’s were marked with a symbol of a crescent moon, which represented the feminine (also the Roman goddess Diana who was the protector of women). As time went on and the American frontier opened up, the men’s outhouses were not maintained as well as the women’s (since men tended to just go out in the woods), so the men’s outdoor commodes began to disappear, leaving the women’s (and their crescent moon symbol) behind. Eventually, outhouses became unisex and some even included several different sized holes for men, women and children. Continue reading