by Jeff Turner
A few years back we were camping in a two man tent every weekend while building a home in the mountains. Having to set the tent up and take it down every week was beginning to wear on us. Especially since the location we were building in was considered a temperate rain forest. This usually meant we had to reset it up again in the garage later to dry out, as well as take it down. I figured a more permanent structure would be in our best interest, so we set out to build a tiny house to replace our tent. We affectionately refer to it as our “Shanty in the woods.” Even though we have finished our house it continues to sleep the occasional visitor when all beds and sofas have been exhausted.
At our home in the city 2 hours away we were in need of additional storage and I had been thinking of building a storage building. Our garage, out of necessity for my work, had been turned into a shop. The amount of dust I generated was not good for our camping gear, lawnmowers, bikes, etc.
On a trip to the recycle center one afternoon I noticed 3 large pallets of commercial windows. I inquired about them and was told they were headed for the crusher. I asked if I could maybe buy about 10 as I had been thinking about building a solar water heater. He allowed me to take two of them home to see if the size would be right for me and said he would ask his boss about a price. When he told me $5 each I was interested. We had taken 4th place in Mother Earth News “backyard garden” contest the year before. Ever since then, I had always wished I could have a small greenhouse and at $5 a window, that could be a reality.
I thought about combining my storage shed with a greenhouse which could also serve as a “Tiny guest house”. In the end I was able to purchase 66 windows for $200 or $3 each.
Our municipality allows a 12’ x 12’ structure without a permit. With the exception of a shed roof for the lawnmower I was able to do it.
As a tiny house it incorporates everything that one would need. It has a toilet, sleeping loft, cable, running water, electricity, and heat. The south facing glass is a great source of free heat. Lately, night time temperatures have been in the low 30’s, although the inside temperature has stayed above 50 with no supplemental heat needed.
by Marc-André Thériault
SEPAQ are national parks in the Province of Quebec (CANADA) (not to be confused with Quebec city).
They built these awesome modern cabins in two parks, and they are looking to build more.
They rent fairly cheap $125-150 USD.
They have small Morso wood stoves, IMO the best wood stoves for cabins, small houses and ‘larger’ tiny houses.
Unique architecture, comfort, and intimate contact with nature come together in an unforgettable EXPerience. Imagine a dwelling with many windows that bring nature inside and make you feel as if you’re practically living outside.
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant invites you to try an EXP. enveloped in the peaceful surroundings of Lac Monroe.
EXPs are designed for 2 people.
by Chinle Miller
There’s not a lot you can do to a cargo trailer, or so I thought when I bought mine. Then, I got a wild idea to paint one wall a deep sunburst yellow, and one thing led to another. I ended up painting the other wall a Taos blue, which I initially thought might be a bit much, but then decided since I was going to live in it, why not make it like I wanted?
When it was all done, I added a handmade quilt a friend made for me, and it all matched perfectly, though I hadn’t planned it that way. Serendipity! It’s kind of cozy, like a gypsy vardo. I run everything on solar, and the trailer is insulated so it stays warm in the cool weather and cool when it’s hot. After a certain point either way, I do have to turn on the propane heater or my 12-volt fan.
After doing a bit more research on converted cargo trailers, I was pretty amazed at some of the things people have done. Some were simple, and some were as nice as anything I’ve seen. At 6 ft. by 12 ft., mine’s pretty modest, but the storage under the bed is great. I’ve now full-timed in it for a couple of months, and I’ll say it’s much more livable than any of the half-dozen other trailers I’ve had, which include a Casita and an Aliner. It’s also very easy to pull, and I can stealth camp in it about anywhere—I actually camped in a Montana DMV parking lot once when on the road.
Living in a converted cargo trailer feels much more like living in a little cabin, except I can change the views when I want. It feels more substantial, more sheltering, than living in a trailer. And what I really love about it is the simplicity. There’s nothing to break or need repairs. I cook outside (unless it’s too windy), and I use a solar shower and porta-potty.
Life is simple and I can devote my time to writing, hiking with my three rescue dogs, cuddling with my three cats, and watching the sunrise and sunset. People think I’m crazy when I tell them I live in 70 square feet with six animals, but everyone’s happy. We get to be outdoors most of the time, even the cats, as I have a special cat-tent for them. I also take them for walks on leashes.
I’ve owned several nice houses (with the bank) and used to work in a high-paying professional field (computer consulting), but one morning I just flung it all over my shoulder and hit the road, traveling and living in a tent. Sure, being a nomad can be hard sometimes, but the benefits more than make up for it. I can live on almost nothing, and I find myself wanting little. I take great pleasure in things that some would consider unimportant, like watching the bluejays eat the nuts I throw out.
I’ve discovered that having a nice place to live, like my gypsy cargo trailer, gives me the underpinnings to enjoy a life of simplicity. Who could ask for more?
One of my favorite tiny house pre-fab design companies, Cabin Fever, is having a Black Friday sale on their stylish Zip Classic cabin. The Zip is a 120 square foot one-room structure that normally costs $12,500, but is being sold November 23-29, 2013 for only $9,900. The Zip building package comes delivered complete with everything required to build a tiny space.
The insulated wall sections of this cabin come assembled and are easy to bolt together with a few helpers. The building includes a raised foundation with steel brackets and 3/4 inch plywood floors, a 8 foot wide glass sliding door and two windows, 3 inch insulated roof panels with trim and solid wood beams on metal columns, wood paneled interior walls and vinyl tile floors and all the hardware necessary to put the house together. The Zip also has a 12×16 ft front porch made with 1×6 inch planks.
The Zip falls into the category of tiny homes that are permit exempt in most localities and this tiny building can be turned into a guest house, artist studio, yoga room or full-time tiny home. Multiple Zips can also be placed next to each other to create a larger dwelling.
Photos by Cabin Fever