Kent, here is a photo of the cottage that I lived in during college. Later, my family of four lived here for a summer. The house sits in the backyard of my parents home, and they currently use it for morning prayer, coffee, and breakfast on the porch, and as a guest room when family comes to visit.
The majority of it was built in 1998 out of two dilapidated tool sheds. It is on a pillar foundation and is about 25 x 12 with two main rooms and a storage loft. The loft is easily large enough for a queen sized bed, but not quite tall enough to stand up in. It is the maximum size allowed for a backyard “shed” without having to apply for a building permit. It also is without running water, but it does have electricity. It is a very comfy, cozy cottage with a beautiful porch area. This picture was taken the morning after Christmas, after a blizzard.
Jesse – Searcy, AR
This weeks Tiny House in a Landscape was discovered on Pinterest. It was simply entitled “Cozy” and did not have a link to where it was discovered.
The colors reminded me of fall and this time of thanksgiving. The scenery is perfect for this little house. Pinterest is a great place to follow tiny houses and you can follow the Tiny House Blog Pinterest page here. Have a wonderful weekend!
Jan Sturmann wrote me recently to share a tiny house he has built in the Bay area of Northern California. I’ll let him tell you about it.
Imagine a house that has everything you need, but nothing more. Walls and a roof that shelter, but do not entrap you with false promises and hidden costs. The Dutch have an untranslatable word: gezellig. The Germans have a similar word, gemütlich. It’s a combination of comforting, welcoming, cosy, and inspiring. I built this house in the spirit of those words, to be efficient, practical, and aesthetically nourishing.
The house was created spontaneously, by hand, and using simple tools. Each piece is imbued with the memory of its making and it cost no more than a few months of work. It contains only objects that give tangible pleasure, or are inherently useful: fire, water, food, clothing, a couple books, and a sharp knife.
It provides space to eat, play, read, dream. It’s a refuge, but not a fortress. It lets the outside in and gives imagination flight. Falling asleep under this curved roof evokes memories of our ancestral cave with lines of sight to the rising and setting sun, and a skylight to the stars. This essential shelter leaves nothing wanting.
Foot print: 49 square feet
Usable space: 98 square feet
Cost to build: $5,286
Time to build: Three months
Location: Bay Area
Design wise, probably the most interesting element is the curved rafters. Basically, six foot 2 x 6′s ripped to 1/4 inch then bent, glued and clamped over a plywood jig. Not wanting to loose the look of the rafters, or the extra space between the rafters to insulation, I screwed 2 x 6 T&G over the top of the rafters for the ceiling, then bent two layers of 1inch rigid foam over that, then 3/8 in. ply, then tar paper, and finally asphalt shingles for the roofing. The skylight of course gives a wonderful sense of spaciousness. The two east and west windows are located to let in as much light as possible, whilst still maintaining full privacy in a dense urban environment.
All walls are insulated and have a layer of soundboard beneath the ¼ in. sheetrock, which are plastered using a mixture of clay, sand, and flour paste with a natural dye added.
Originally, the shack was built off-site as separate panels, transported in a U-hall, then assembled on site, with the idea that it could be easily disassembled should I leave. But now with the complexity of the added roof, disassembling is no longer an option. During the remodel I realized that I can hire a crane to pluck the house out and put it onto a trailer to move to a new location. This utterly changed my attitude about the building from it being just another temporary structure that I leave behind (as I have so many in the past) to my permanent own home that I can take with me.
Except for a couple of back-of-the-envelope sketches to think through ideas, I worked without any plans or scale drawings. Working alone, I’m able to engage in a form of dialogue with the building as it grows, with each element growing on the next. I lived in it the whole time I was building the loft and roof and then slept in the loft as I was building the kitchen/living room. By living in it as it grows, design solutions present themselves in a way that designing abstractly with with pen and paper never can. It helps that I have extensive building experience to draw on as I engage in this improvisational construction dance.
Personally, the most rewarding aspect of this was having my 2 ½ year-old-son participate. To engage in this kinesthetic exchange of learning to use tools, construction, balance, and the danger dance.
Thanks Jan for sharing your tiny home with us.
by Christian Hoffmann
In my gap year between high school and college, my father and I built a 520 square ft cottage for me to live in. Although I loved the cottage, it didn’t take long for me to discover that 520 sq ft was far too much space for one person! I spent 90 percent of my time in one corner of my house. I was immediately inspired to build a new, more efficient space.
My new design has been long in the works. I kept refining and simplifying the space until it contained all the essential parts of a home in their most efficient form. The space is small but the lofted ceilings and carefully laid out floor plan make this cabin feel grand!
Vastu Cabins are designed to feel cozy and nourishing. Living in a tiny house allows one the freedom to grow in all areas of life. The ancient Indian principles of Vastu are utilized in our cabins to support the growth of peace and happiness in the residents. To learn more please visit www.VastuCabin.com
* I have added a photo of the outside of Malissa’s house
I have been wanting to cover Malissa’s tiny house story for a while now and have had her on my list to contact. However, Apartment Therapy has invited Malissa to participate in their Small Cool Contest and I wanted to get the word out to you before it was to late to vote. I hope to still get Malissa to tell us her story, but in the mean time here are a couple of her thoughts about the house: “It’s cozy and comfortable, a great space to do my creative art, while also serving as my perfect retreat.”
Biggest Challenge: “One of the most challenging part of living in a small space with two people and two cats was finding your own place. My house is only 170 square feet, and in a space that small, it’s important that you feel you can go to your own place and do your own thing.”
Malissa designed their house and I have attached a few pictures and the floor plan. Please go vote Here. You must sign up to vote, but it is real easy. All votes must be in by April 30th.
Yesterday for fun on the Tiny House Blog Facebook Fan Page I decided to ask a simple question to see what kind of responses you, my readers would share with me. Here is the question: “What’s one word that describes a tiny house?”
When I pulled this post together last night there were 148 responses. There were a few duplicates so they were removed. It was so much fun to read them and I wanted all of you to have a chance to see them and to add your answer below if you choose.
Here are the answers:
- Easy does it!
- *tiny* (with sparkles)
- DEBT FREE
- just right… charming
- Micro~cosmic man!
- “Compact?” “Efficient?” In the end, “enough”…
- Large! Wait…what?