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 »
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 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 »
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 »
by Jaclyn Nicholson
Have you ever considered the difference between acting green and buying green? A lot of energy is wasted in homes on showering, lighting, cooling, using the bathroom and doing laundry.
So, in order to preserve, you can change how you do things or you can purchase energy-efficient appliances.
For example, you can keep the light on in your room for just 49 minutes or you can get an energy efficient LED bulb, and keep your light on for 6 hours and use the same amount of energy. Which do you prefer? Weigh the differences here.
Guest Post by Deb Durham
Deb Durham here again. Yep, the tall broad with a penchant for small spaces and little automobiles.
When you can’t afford or don’t want to expand a home’s footprint, here are 2 remodel ideas for transforming existing space to best advantage. This is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,200 sq. ft. home I renovated outside of Santa Fe, NM. I call it Asian Adobe.
By Margy Lutz
Several years ago I wrote posts about living off the grid in our float cabin on Powell Lake in Coastal BC. You can read them here on the Tiny House Blog at “Our Little Cabin Up the Lake” and “Living on the Water.” Our float cabin, at the time, was 420 square feet downstairs with a 200 square foot sleeping loft under the peak of the roof. That is more than ample living space, but what it didn’t have was “indoor plumbing.” This fall we decided to trade in our trusty outhouse for a 60 square foot (6X10) bathroom with a composting toilet. The view won’t be as great, but the convenience will be appreciated. And instead of climbing four flights of stairs, we just have to go into another room. No rain, no wind – how civilized.
Our good friend John, who built our cabin, took a design I created and made it a reality. The bathroom addition is downstairs off our guest bedroom. He framed the walls, tied the roof into our existing one, made the old window into a doorway, added a window to the bedroom, and even gave us a side porch extension. He is a jack of all trades and was able to handle most of the work single handedly. Wayne and I worked on finishing touches like painting and furnishing.
We chose a Sunmar Excel NE for our composting toilet. The NE stands for non-electric. While it isn’t hooked up to our cabin’s solar powered electrical system, it does have its own panel to run a small fan within the air circulation pipe. That helps eliminate odour, and keeps the air moving around the compost as it processes. Six twists of the built in handle after each use keeps the contents in the holding drum mixed and working. The air circulation pipe rises above the roof line and has a built-in rain deflector. There’s also an overflow tube just to make sure there are no accidents indoors. With just two of us using the toilet, the capacity is excellent. We’ve had in operation for two months now, and are very pleased.
Our bathtub has been in our downstairs storage room for several years. Now it’s part of a real bathroom. The tub, however, isn’t connected for hot or cold water. Our bathtub is a cold weather luxury. In the summer, our natural swimming pool is all we need for a cooling swim or wash. We’ll continue to heat our water on the wood stove. I can fit four large pots on the surface at the same time, and a hot winter fire will get them almost boiling. Add an equal amount of cold water, and you have enough for a nice soak or soaping down. And there’s nothing like bathing with a friend to save water.
The bathroom also gives us some additional space for storage. A shelf built by John holds towels and toilet supplies, a recycled $1 end table holds toiletries, and a commercial pantry kit on sale for $49 provides space to store my canning in a cool place away from the sunlight. What a difference a little extra space makes when it is used wisely.
You can find more information about float cabin and off the grid living at http://PowellRiverBooks.blogspot.com. For information about Wayne’s Coastal BC Stories, come to www.PowellRiverBooks.com. Up the Lake and Farther Up the Lake have lots of information about our cabin life on Powell Lake.
John frames the 6 X1 0 bathroom addition and new side porch. Continue Reading »