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.