Tiny House Tub (or boat for those of you without sea legs): Part 1

AUTHOR DISCLOSURE: I have never lived on a boat. I have never spent more than the 12 or so minutes it took me to get sick to my stomach, on a boat. I know nothing about boats other than I once got on one and was sick within 12-minutes.

Boats are fascinating when it comes to their combination of transportation, domesticity, and labor force. Folks have gravitated to the water for all of history using it for transport, trade, and sport. It is only natural then for us to want to make things that float. A basic raft (a la Tom Sawyer) can be constructed of logs or bundles of reeds tied together. Hollow trunks can be crafted into dugout canoes. In fact, once we, as humans, understood the principle of watertight hulls, we experimented with animal hides and tree bark to attach to a bamboo frame creating a simple, straightforward coracle 1.

A basic Coracle exhibited at the Seedamm Center in Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland).

A basic Coracle exhibited at the Seedamm Center in Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland).

If one adds planks to raise the edges of the dugout, and uses wooden struts to secure them in place, the early boatbuilder is well on his way to crafting the only design of wooden boat capable of being built on a large scale. This design then incorporates a keel to which a ribbed frame is added. As the walls continue upward a cargo area is formed and a passenger vessel begins.

Basic labeling of a dinghy vessel.

Basic labeling of a dinghy vessel.

It wasn’t until the 5th century onwards that boats turned to ships and ships turned from machines of war to a simple form of transport. The boat has become known in modern times as a Viking longship. By the 11th century the vessels had become more strategic and more elaborate measuring up to 80 feet long, built from oak planks, boasting two high pointed ends, encompassing holes for sixteen oars along each side, and featuring a broad oar that was worked as a rudder by the helmsman. To add to the modernized longship a mast was fashioned near the center on which a long, rectangular sail was hung. What is interesting though is that five boats discovered in the Roskilde Fjord, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, all had similar shapes but also had a double-ended convention in order to support an inclusion of long-range archers (men with bow and arrow). One of the five boats though was built more elaborately and robust than the others including having higher sides and a central hold. These early boats may be examples of of Viking ships that “soldiers”, along with their families and livestock, took on their expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, and perhaps North America. 

Do you see where we’re going with this?

Model of a typical merchantman of the 17th century, showing the cramped conditions that had to be endured but also showing the use of space. Every inch is justly occupied. Photo courtesy of Musphot on Wikimedia Commons

Model of a typical merchantman of the 17th century, showing the cramped conditions that had to be endured but also showing the use of space. Every inch is justly occupied. Photo courtesy of Musphot on Wikimedia Commons.

As the 15th century set upon us there are rapid developments in nautical life. A second mast is added to sailing vessels and eventually a third mast. By the mid-1400s regular vessel sizes were near 120 feet long and 50 feet wide. The largest European sailing ship (and remember there was nothing tiny in the United States as of yet because Columbus had not even sailed the ocean blue!) of the 15th century is the Spanish carrack which at 1,000 tons becomes the standard vessel of Atlantic trade and adventure into the mid-16th century. Those would soon be trumped though by the oft-ostentatious and gilded merchant ships which needed to be roomy for cargo and strong, presumably to fend off pirates, and comfortable, for the captains and the VIP passengers working hard to secure fortunes in the East. And so it is here that we come to find people living aboard ship. For all intensive and historical purposes the sailing vessel has now turned into a floating living space out of necessity and by design! 

A replica model of the Swedish "Titanic" - the pride of the Royal Navy. The largest ship built in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century, the flagship "Vasa" included 64 large-caliber guns. The final weight was 1210 tons and construction took three years. The ship was richly decorated with carved statues of Roman emperors, Greek gods and mythical sea creatures. Lions on the bow were covered with real gold. FACT: Construction of the oak vessel required over one thousand trees and the ship features three masts and ten sails.

A replica model of the Swedish “Titanic” – the pride of the Royal Navy. The largest ship built in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century, the flagship “Vasa” included 64 large-caliber guns (often confused visually for simple cannons). The final weight was 1210 tons (over 2 million pounds) and construction took three years. The ship was outfitted with carved statues of Roman emperors, Greek gods and mythical sea creatures. Lions on the bow were covered with real gold. FACT: Construction of the oak vessel required over one thousand trees and the ship features three masts and ten sails.

1 Wikipedia.

Part 1 of 3 on the legacy of boats to the tiny house world. Stay tuned!

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

Misty Tosh’s Houseboat

The Tiny House Blog has featured the dynamo Misty Tosh and her travel trailer before, but now the intrepid TV producer and traveler has a new home and project — a three-story houseboat in Marina del Rey named Flo. While the boat is not necessarily tiny (for tiny, check out her other boat, Enola) Misty has remodeled the derelict houseboat into a work of art.

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All the renovations for her houseboat had to be done on the water and she documented the process and houseboat living on her blog, Big Sweet Tooth. The renovation was recently featured in the L.A. Times. When Misty bought the boat, it was a dark mass of junk and tiny rooms connected by ladders. Misty worked with Refinding Design, a local design firm that scours junk yards, flea markets and roadsides for building materials. Salvaged items like a hatch door from a WWII supply ship covers a wine rack under the floor with a peekaboo view of the water, the metal ring of a wine barrel was turned into a chandelier, and the breakfast counter is a slab of wood with a base of plumbing pipes.

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houseboat

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flo-houseboat3

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The bottom floor is a living and dining area, the second floor is a master bedroom, bathroom and guest area. Nautical rope is a reccurring theme throughout the boat and also acts as a banister railing for the staircase up to the bedroom. The top deck has a small office, a “garden” with artificial turf and a bar.

Misty does have to pump out the sewage holding tank twice a week, but she told the L.A. Times, “We wanted to come home to something like a vacation spa, where we can hide away all our gear and feel like we’re on vacation,” she said. “And when the windows are open and the wind and sun plow through here, we can say: What the heck kind of holy paradise is this?”

flo-houseboat2

Photos by Misty Tosh and the L.A. Times

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

My Boat Roofed Shed

The shed roof is made from a clinker built boat that is 14ft long and 7ft wide at its widest point. The boat is an inshore fishing boat made between 1900 – 1910. It was placed on a frame of 4 telegraph poles with cross beams. Once in place the walls were filled in using aluminium windows from a 1940′s caravan and single glazed windows from our 400 year old farm house.

boat house

The windows are from the early 1980′s and we replaced them last year. Other walls are made of wattle and daub, a mixture of mud, clay, and straw stuck onto a woven frame. It is heated by a French enamelled stove also from the 1900′s in which I burn wood. There is also a 20w solar panel trickle feeding a leisure batter which powers 3 pairs of ultra-brite L.E.D. Lights and a 12v sound system. There is also a 12v refrigerator and a bottled gas cooker with 2 burners, a grill, and an oven. The shed is made from recycled materials except the 12v system. Continue reading