Alternative Homes Today

On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, I ran into Ross Lukeman of the blog, Alternative Homes Today and we chatted not only about tiny homes, but about his architecture career and interest in alternative ways of design and construction. His initial interest in tiny homes derived from attending a Tumbleweed workshop with Dee Williams in his home in Houston, Texas and he decided to start a blog covering various tiny homes, natural building techniques, interviews and building companies.

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Above photo: Ross visiting Brittany Yunker’s tiny house in Olympia, Washington

“As I began covering them more and more, I became interested in building one for myself,” Ross said. “As someone who’s almost done with school loans, I’m not wanting to turn around and mortgage my life to another bank.”

The blog also reaches beyond alternative or tiny homes and natural building to cover bike commuting, finance, landscaping, clutter and material possessions, minimalism, DIY projects and even some comics.

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Geodesic domes in Huntsville, Texas

While Ross covers a wide range of ideas, he is most passionate about homes that match the value of their occupants.

“As obvious as that sounds, I feel like a lot of us are struggling with this, our homes being out of sync with what we really want in life,” he said. “Which is why it’s great seeing people embrace the “enough” principle with tiny homes and pursuing what really ignites their passions in life.”

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The Myrtle at the Cob Cottage Company near Coquille, Oregon

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The interior of the Myrtle at the Cob Cottage Company

Ross has been traveling around the country visiting various tiny homes for the blog and at this point his favorite designs are the Tumbleweed Cypress 24 Overlook and the Michael Reynolds Earthships in New Mexico as well as rammed earth homes.

“(The Tumbleweed) model has a huge great room in the front, which I would could use as my home office and workshop,” Ross said. “I like the 24 foot tiny homes because they have enough extra space for you to change functions and add people in the future.”

“With the Earthship, I really like the idea of homes handling all of the systems like energy production, waste processing, food production, etc.,” he added. “I know some people get caught up with not wanting to use old tires in their walls, but I think this all-systems thinking is where homes need to go in the future. It’s more sustainable and it gives the occupants way more control.”

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The Tree House, made of reclaimed materials in a Bois d’arc tree by Dan Phillips in Huntsville, Texas

Ross thinks the future of tiny homes will continue to grow and gain awareness primarily in the field of tiny homes on trailers and traditional building—but just smaller. He mentioned the micro apartments in New York City and the interest of ADU’s (accessory dwelling units) in Portland.

“I think the trick will be getting tiny homes into urban settings like this,” Ross said. “We’ve become way too dependent on cars and parking tiny homes away from everything because municipalities don’t know what to do with them will have to be a hurdle we overcome. I believe once the more progressive cities integrate them into urban settings, other cities will begin to follow their example.”

“We should also be seeing more tiny home communities,” he concluded. “I know Jay Shafer’s community in Sonoma County, California is underway. Apparently the county planners are as excited about it as he is!”

 

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Ross helping to build a strawbale house near Bastrop, Texas, a project by Clay, Sand, Straw Natural Builders

 

Ross Lukeman is the founder of Alternative Homes Today where he interviews alternative homebuilders, tours cool alternative homes, and builds green DIY projects. You can grab his free Tiny Home Construction Cheat Sheet here.

Photos by Ross Lukeman/Alternative Homes Today

Tiny House on Blocks

Chris is an ex van and box truck dweller who is currently building a tiny house for himself, his girlfriend Kristin and her small dog, Daisy. Influenced and inspired by Deek Diedrickson’s , Lloyd Khan’s and Jay Shafer’s books, Chris has decided to chuck a “normal” life and live in the 8 foot by 12 foot structure on his parent’s wooded suburban land.

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In a humorous and grating way, Chris is documenting the trial and error he goes through while building his  abode. He knew that he didn’t have any prior skills before starting the project, so he doesn’t sugarcoat it and describes both the progression and the frustration in frank terms.

“Whenever something seems pretty straightforward, my brain translates that to “quick” and/or “easy.” I bet there are carpenters who could have gotten this job done in a couple hours. Maybe quicker. That’s not a realistic goal for me. What I need to focus on is staying sane and not ramming a screw through my eyeballs with an impact driver. Today was a success because I made progress. Let’s not talk about how much progress, but rather reflect on the fact that I’m a reasonably sane man with vision in both eyes.” Continue reading

Tiny House News

I am excited to introduce a new site today called Tiny House News. When I started the Tiny House Blog I was the only one writing about tiny houses in the blog format. In the last few years the internet has come alive with many new blogs about tiny houses and people sharing there stories of building their own tiny houses.

I have wanted to add a feature on the Tiny House Blog that would show off these blogs but have not been able to find anything that did it justice. Recently I discovered a way to create a news type blog that uses the RSS feeds to connect to many of these blogs and I have created a site called Tiny House Newshttp://tinyhousenews.info/

My goal with this new site is to give you one place to get a snapshot of what is happening daily in the tiny house world. You can quickly scan the page and click on a story you are interested in and you will go directly to that blog or news source.

I currently have the most popular blogs on the site but a neat feature with this site is that you can submit your own blogs RSS feed and I will check it out and then approve it. So please go check out the Tiny House News site and let me know what you think about it below. http://tinyhousenews.info/

Be sure and bookmark the site and check on it daily!

Tiny House News