Even if you don’t plan on making a back country trip to Norway any time soon, these tiny cabins may give you a few ideas on how to create a tiny house that melds nearly seamlessly with its natural surroundings. Koiene (pronounced koi-eh-n) are a system of tiny, convenient cabins scattered around the countryside of Trøndelag, Norway for use by anyone who’s in the area for hiking, fishing, foraging, hunting, cross country skiing or snowshoeing.
The simple, little structures can be rented through a website that specializes in memberships for these types of vacation cabins. The site and the cabins are run voluntarily by groups of students. The cabins are named after the area they are in and these multi-syllabic locations are distinctive from each other: some are on a river or creek, some on top of a mountains, some by the lake or other larger body of water. Continue Reading »
This week’s Tiny House in a Landscape was taken by Eric Jacobson who lives in Austin Texas. Eric says:
This past weekend I rode in the LiveSTRONG Challenge here in Austin. Actually, the ride takes place in Dripping Springs just west of Austin. I usually ride the same route, but this year I decided to ride a different one and I was pleasantly surprised by the scenery, especially this little gem. It sits just off the road with a small stone fence in front, large pasture surrounds it on the sides and back and a river running in front on the other side of the small country road. It was a great Fall day for a great ride with fantastic scenery.
Photo Credits Eric Jacobson
The Tiny House Blog’s how-to writer, Andrew Odom, was recently interviewed about his future tiny home and his Tiny r(E)volution website on Eric Rochow’s GardenFork Radio podcast. The interview includes Andrew’s stance on the mortgage crisis and sustainability as well as decluttering and making space for a new baby. While Eric does not live in a tiny house, he does advocate what most tiny house fans are enthusiastic about: buying local, growing your own food, and living more simply. GardenFork covers everything from how to build a raised garden bed and make pizza to how to raise bees and replace a damaged fender on your car. Check out his video on how to safely use a chainsaw. It’s hilarious.
GardenFork puts the fun back into chores. Eric’s unabridged and friendly style of presentation shows all aspects of a project, including the mistakes. Frozen hoop frames, seized chocolate, and getting whacked in the head by a homemade tomato cage all make the cut. Eric’s opinion is that done is better than perfect.
Eric is accompanied in his DIY projects by his tomato-stealing, ball-crazy, pond-swimming Labradors, and his “camera operator” spouse whose funny off camera comments are just as delightful as her husband’s on camera sangfroid.
The GardenFork name includes a TV show, a blog, a forum, the GardenFork Radio podcast, and the Real World Green videos.
Photo courtesy of GardenFork
The FirstDay Cottage company in New Hampshire offers a house kit which they claim a couple, and a handful of friends, can build in approximately fifteen weekends and for under $45,000. These house kits can be customized for each customer and can be built with almost no carpentry experience. What I found very refreshing about FirstDay is that they insist that their kits are so simple to put together, that they encourage all their customers to contact them frequently to get advice and support throughout the project. They even help to get the owner/builder financing.
While these houses are little larger than the average tiny house, the smallest is under 1,000 square feet. The smallest of the plans is the Basic, which is 16 feet by 30 feet or 960 square feet and costs about $26,900 for the kit.
The FirstDay Kit Includes:
- Instructions and plans
- Posts and beams
- Sheathing and decking
- 2″ High-R Foam Insulation
- Roofing and siding
- Interior and exterior doors
- Building wrap
- Interior partitions
- Kitchen cabinets
I actually found the FirstDay plans through this couple, who are living the simple life in upstate New York with their young son. They built their own FirstDay as a spec house and then built a tiny cabin in the woods from the scraps left over. The entire project cost them about $900.
Are you looking to become an expat in Costa Rica? How about living in a shipping container? You can do both in one tidy package from Container Homes by Jimmy Lee. Lee designs and delivers surprisingly airy and open shipping container homes with a full kitchen, bedroom and a small bathroom.
Each of his homes is earthquake, fire and hurricane proof. And since they do stay within Costa Rica, you probably don’t have to worry about heating the place. He is selling a 45 x 8 x 9 foot finished home for $17,000, and a land and home package for $60,000. You can also order the raw containers from his company and build your own house. A 20 x 8 x 8 foot container sells for $2,700 and a 40 x 8 x 8 foot container sells for $3,600 to $4,100. Transportation costs are extra, but he can have a home delivered to you in 3-5 weeks.
This might be the best time to purchase one of these home/land packages. Costa Rica is no longer an undiscovered paradise. When I visited the country about 10 years ago it was just starting to cater to travelers, and now it’s a refuge for American and European expatriates. Prices are only going to go up.
Before opening up his business, Jimmy worked as a Greenpeace team leader for six years in Washington, D.C. He left Greenpeace to study to become a chiropractor. Weeks after receiving his Doctorate he moved to Costa Rica where he has been established for ten years as a chiropractor in the town of San Ramon, Costa Rica. He is also a yoga instructor.
He believes that shipping container homes are the most environmentally sound form of home construction on the market. It’s been estimated that 85 percent of the building materials used in each shipping container home have been recycled. Also, the foundation design is less expensive, uses much less material and is faster to install. The infrastructure for transport already exists, so the container homes can be easily moved by ship, truck or train. This component reduces the amount of transport time. Everything is delivered in one trip. You don’t have to pay for multiple deliveries of separate construction materials. Additionally, no building permits are required. Because the unit is on its wheels, it is referred to as a “non-permanent” structure.
The 45 foot container home includes:
- The wheels. This unit is attached permanently to its base
- Total insulation on all walls and the ceiling, backed by fibrolite board
- All bathroom fixtures. Shower, toilet, sink, mirror, shelves and tile
- Kitchen counter, sink and faucet, shelves, breakfast bar with two benches
- Bedroom rug, shelves and bamboo curtain rod installed
- All windows and doors are equipped with metal bars
- Ceiling fan in master bedroom and lighting
- All electrical outlets and light switches
- Interior and exterior paint
The home does not include the following. However Jimmy’s company could supply the following for an additional cost:
- Furniture and appliances
- Second bedroom if requested
- Transportation to your destination
- Solar power
- Rainwater catchment system
- Hot water pump
- Bamboo roofing (the container naturally has its own roof, this would be on top of that)
The first step to ordering from Jimmy is to visit the prototype and decide what changes you would like to make. If you cannot visit, and wish to place an order, you can do so and then as soon as the model home is picture ready he will send you the photos. A deposit of 50% is required to begin the building of your portable home. Estimated time to completion is between 3-6 weeks.
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While living in an area populated by people from the Basque region, some residents around the Reno/Lake Tahoe area will sometimes catch a glimpse of a sheepherder, his sheep and his home in the high desert: a small trailer or sheep wagon.
My post on the gypsy caravans was popular, so I thought I would do a post on the classic (and contemporary) sheep wagon.
Sheep wagons are usually about 7 to 8 feet wide and about 12 to 16 feet long. Inside the wagon is usually room for one bed or bunks, a small stove, sink and cooking area, storage for clothes and an eating area. Most sheep wagons do not have bathrooms or showers.
Sheep wagons are more of an American West style and the gypsy caravan is more of a European style. The sheep wagon has a curved roof supported by hoops and looks more like a covered wagon. The roof can be made from heavy duty cloth or wood. I have even seen a few with tin or corregated metal roofs.
Several companies in the U.S. convert old wagons or build new wagons for vacation homes and retreats or backyard offices and country cabins. There are also a few books with great photos and information on sheep wagons including Portable Houses by Irene Rawlings and Mary Abel and Retreats by G. Lawson Drinkard III.
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