A Transforming Micro-house/Camper on Wheels

by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

Hey all!

Been very busy working on not one, but five projects lately, including a pretty bizarre and fun tree house for a client in Boston, Massachusetts that you might see soon. Some of these other builds, and more, will be toured at my November (15-17th) Tiny House Building and Design Workshop in Massachusetts, where we’ll all build TWO cabins together, and see the very first-built Tumbleweed.

THIS particular little dwelling on wheels though, camper-like in stature, is something I’ve dubbed “The Cub”. It will soon have a very small exterior bathroom on the trailer tongue. In the photos you see, it features a small sleep bunk (I’m 6′ 4″ and have slept up there), a translucent storage wall, and a front wall (the same) that flips open to transform the entire structure into a porch, or a mini-stage, for backyard parties. It could even be used as a camper/flea market kiosk. “The Cub” overall, is just 5′ by 8′. Tiny. Dang Tiny.

cub at night

Photo by Matt Carroll

Eventually, aside from the bathroom I’ve already planned, I’m going to add another small, hollow, storage bed-couch combo down below, and most likely add some shelved storage that will double as steps to the bunk, a place to hide goods, and a small cook surface (not the part you’ll step on). The bathroom, I might add, will be accessed from the outside of “The Cub” by a different entrance, seeing as this structure is so small, and you wouldn’t want to be enclosed with a toilet in only 40 square feet.

building the cub

Oh yeah, I suppose I should mention that I already hauled this, with a mere mini-van, to Vermont and back, a 9 hour round trip. At one point, using terrible GPS directions to get to the Yestermorrow Design School for a speaking engagement, we were led over a mountain pass all on a dirt road…. and the van handled it no problem, which is surprising, as the van is a Chrysler. I’ve weighed this lil’ sucker on a scrap-yard scale too, and it clocks in at 1520 pounds- light enough where I was able to hitch it solo without a jack. In hindsight, I could probably even build this a little lighter, while not sacrificing strength. Speaking of which, construction-wise, all the plywood is screwed and glued to the framing, which also makes use of angle-brackets and knee-braces. The front, windward, wall is also double layered for strength, and insulated. The other walls could be insulated down the road if desired, easily. No plumbing- you’d have to carry water in, or hook it up via a simple hose, if you wanted a small sink inside. I figured we’d just go with a 5 gallon camping tote for the time being.

cub construction

Additionally, I plan to pull out the tiny side table and other loose items, and to replace them with built-ins, thereby lessening the need for tethering items down. All in all, this wasn’t really built so much for travel, but more for the utilization of a wheeled loophole, but built-ins are always a good idea anyway. One item I recently picked up is a little $4.99 Ikea 3-in-1 shelf unit, that I recently shot a short review video on. I’ll soon install this, alongside other compartments.

reclaimed wood roof
Anyway, I hope to have another update post for you guys down the road, AND a tour video, once this little camper is officially done.

Other points of interest:

  • The ceiling, aside from the white beams, is all FREE barn wood
  • The back bead-board wall is wood from a home almost 100 years old that was being thrown out (my neighbors place, who know I LOVE salvaged wood).
  • The orange wall-hanging which many have commented on favorably- it’s a 1970s stereo cabinet door, found street-side, which I painted. Nothing more.
  • The green wall hanging with a fossil on it – yup, found on the side of the road during a trash day.
  • The table- same thing….
  • Green vase- grabbed it curbside too (sensing a theme here?)
  • Large painting (which was actually just being stored there for a bit)- $2 at a yard sale.
  • The bunk railing- threaded pipe from home depot ($20 or so).
  • Front door, from a salvage yard (I needed a non-standard, narrow, size- $75
  • The large back window- another free street-side find.
  • The other two windows are micro-Andersons- I splurged here- they were about $65 each.
  • The trailer- brand new and rated for over 2000 pounds- $529

Video of the IKEA shelf…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJ37jSBtDs0

MORE TO COME!
Derek “Deek” Diedricksen
www.Relaxshacks.com

comfy chair

bunk bed

artwork

Deek enjoying the cub

The Cub

Deek and the Cub

The Deek jump

Tiny House in a Landscape

This week’s Tiny House in a Landscape is a photo taken by Derek (Deek) Diedricksen. Nicknamed the Shroom Room, this cabin was built by Deek for right around $300.

It does somewhat resemble a mushroom, with its top heavy, large-overhang roof n’ all.

The overhang is very generous so I don’t have to worry about water as much, Deek coated the door three times with some good exterior paint, and the thing was very solid (a salvaged freebie with its hinges intact) to start with.

A deck and a mini fire-pit by the glacial erratic boulder will eventually be added too! You can follow Deek’s blog at RelaxShacks.com.

$300 cabin

 

Whittled Down Caravan/Gypsy Wagon Video Tour

Hey all, a belated happy new year, and here’s a brand new video mini-tour of “The Whittled Down” Caravan, which made a guest-structure appearance at our Tiny House Building Workshop in Massachusetts this past November (one of five tiny shelters, structures, houses, we had on site!). It was built by Tristan Chambers and Libby Reinish (now of Easthampton, Massachusetts) for a mere $1,500 – trailer and all. They drove it to Massachusetts all the way from New Mexico, where it was originally built. This little wagon also had a full page photo spread in “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks.”

By the way, some guy named Kent Griswold (tinyhouseblog.com) will be trekking cross-country to speak and hang out at the next workshop that I’m hosting alongside Steven Harrell (from tinyhouselistings.com) in Wilmington, North Carolina (April 26th-28th). Other speakers include Laura LaVoie from 120squarefeet.com, Dustin Diedricksen (environmental engineer and small house dweller/builder), Alex Pino of tinyhousetalk.com, and more….its almost becoming a tiny, “tiny house convention”. We’ll ALL be building a tiny guest house too, and holding campfire discussions at night. Its limited to 25 people to keep it more intimate.

We’ll have the full roster/event poster out soon, and keep you updated. You can also sign up at Relaxshacks.com for this three day, hands-on, workshop.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

whittled down caravan