A tiny house may not always work out as a permanent home for everyone. Shawn and Jamie Dehner of the Small House Catalog have lived for the past two years in one of their own designs called the Moschata Rolling Bungalow. This orange delight cost $17,000 to build, sits on a lot the couple owns and contains a full kitchen where they are able to cook and bake, a bathroom with a sink, an RV sized tub and a shower and toilet. The vaulted living room has window sills that are wide enough for their cat to sit on and the sleeping loft has a queen size bed. However, the building codes in their home of Point Roberts, Wash. requires that they build a permanent home within two years.
Their new home will be 700 square feet and the Rolling Bungalow will become their company’s office. The Small House Catalog designs, drafts and occasionally builds small houses and tiny “rolling” bungalows. Their designs are influenced by the kit houses and bungalows of the early 20th Century and are cozy, comfortable and stylish. Both the houses and plans are also affordable for the average person. Several of their plans include the Beekeeper’s Bungalow which is 680 square feet and costs $249 and the 200 square foot Tinka which is free to download. The Small House Catalog also has a great blog that covers a multitude of small and tiny house issues including design aesthetics, small house styles and reviews.
The couple will not leave their rolling home without some regret.
“We’ve met just about all our neighbors (and maybe even our whole town). We never would have met so many people here otherwise,” Jamie said in a recent article for CNN Living. “We’ve even become a landmark…”turn left just after that cute little orange house” is apparently a commonly offered direction! It was a simple, fun building project that solved an immediate need by providing us with clean and comfortable shelter. Furthermore, it saved us a ton of money as we were able to say goodbye to our rental and keep $1,000 a month in our pocket.” Continue Reading »
by Jo-Anne Peck, President of Historic Shed Custom Outbuildings
There comes a time when anyone who dreams of living in a small house has to ask the question, “Where will I put my tiny house?” When choosing to site build a little house, this becomes an ever bigger question since zoning codes and neighborhood association rules are often at odds with small house goals. As a result, many tiny house people look to rural areas where restrictions may be less stringent. However, not everyone prefers country living, and site development costs for utilities can be prohibitive on undeveloped land.
For those that would rather live within more established areas, close to walkable stores and with sociable neighbors, older and historic neighborhoods may be a good choice for building a new small home. The average size of an American single-family home has grown exponentially over the years, but most of our ancestors managed to live in much less square footage, often with much larger families. Therefore, there are many established neighborhoods with precedent for small homes. Historically laid out with small lots (for example, much of the historic core of Lake Worth, FL was platted with 25′ wide lots), local zoning in designated historic districts is often tailored so that new construction within the district remains in scale with the historically smaller homes in the neighborhood. In addition, many historic neighborhoods also allow accessory structures behind the main home that can be even tinier than the main home. Continue Reading »
Many times readers ask me about building codes and unfortunately I am not an expert in this area. Fortunately I have readers who keep their eyes open for me on the internet and recently TD spotted an expert in this area and shared his link with me.
There is a blog written by Tom Meyers called Sustainable Building Codes. Tom Meyers of Berthoud, Colorado is a building code regulator, who is active in the revision of the modern building codes. He is concerned about the effect of regulation and the consequence it has on the production of affordable and sustainable residential construction. Recently, Tom did a couple of articles that relate directly with tiny houses and their legality and the issues that go with their construction. I wanted to let you know about them and send you to his blog so that you can learn from his knowledge. The articles are Tiny House Code Compliance – 120 Square Foot Exemption? and Tiny House Code Compliance Part 2.
I hope this information will help you and I will link to it on the links page so you can keep up with Tom’s writings. Thanks again TD for sharing this with me and thanks Tom for sharing your knowledge with us.
Mike Moore recently sent me his story about his small house build, using a modified version of Jay Shafer’s Mulfinger. It is neat to see one of Jay’s larger homes built as most have never been constructed. I’ll turn the story over to Mike and he can explain the process he used to get his home built.
I found Jay Shafer in 2004 by googling “tiny houses.” I had been following construction techniques and architectural ideas since the 60′s, but it was Jay’s work that really resonated with me. I started with the Mulfinger plan, which Jay modified for me, enlarging it to a footprint of 16 x 20. It took me about 3-4 years to build it, with LOTS of help; you can see the results in the attached photos.
For those that are curious concerning codes, let me relate my story of dealing with the planning/building departments of Person County, a mostly rural area in central North Carolina.
There were several aspects that had to be addressed, some of which I discovered by researching county and state codes. This was in 2005, and codes change frequently, so some of these might not currently apply. Continue Reading »