Amish Meadow Lark Cottages

I’m always on the lookout for pre-fabricated structures that can potentially become tiny houses, and the Amish Meadow Lark company in Pennsylvania caught my eye for their simple, but beautiful construction of various sheds, two of which could be the start of a tiny house.

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Currently, Meadow Lark has five different models of portable buildings to choose from: Mini Barns, Cottages, Quaker Sheds, Hi-Wall Barns and Garages. The Cottages and Quaker Sheds can be ordered in over 15 different sizes. The Cottages cost from $1,120 to $1,480 for an 8×8 foot structure to $4,195 to $5,120 for a 12×32 foot structure. The Quaker Sheds range in cost from $1,285 to $1,610 for an 8×8 foot structure to $4,760 to $5,770 for a 12×32 foot structure. Continue reading

Sir James

At this year’s Burning Man, I was thrilled to find this modified gypsy caravan right next door to my camp. The builders of this unique rig are Christy Horne and Michel Olson, and they were kind enough to give me more information about their comfortable, tiny house which they named Sir James.

Sir James started his life as an 8×12 dual axel car trailer from California Custom Trailers. The trailer came licensed with brakes and everything for $1,700. The house was made with a welded iron “cage” and then wood, tarpaper and plywood layers were all bolted into the cage. It’s 7 feet wide by 12 feet long and it took 4 months to build. Sir James is Michel’s second of four original designs. Continue reading

The Cave Houses of Cappadocia

For the next few weeks I (Christina) will be doing some traveling in Europe (hopefully with no ash cloud delays) and one place I will visit is the Cappadocia region of Turkey. This stark landscape covered with rough mountains is home to several small towns that are actually full of modern day troglodytes living in caves.

The rocks of Cappadocia have eroded over the years into conical structures that the Turkish call “fairy chimneys”. This sedimentary rock was easy for the ancient people of the area to carve out caves for houses, churches and monasteries. People still live in these ancient holes in the ground and have turned some of them into hotels, apartments and shops. Continue reading

Living in a Vardo

I recently came across these photos belonging to Scott, who traded in his $1,400 mortgage for a hand-build vardo and a rental lot in a KOA campground.

It took Scott about three years to build the vardo, but he wanted to give it a style like an old gypsy caravan. He calls himself a modern gypsy and as a carpenter, was interested in how to create a tiny house that could withstand highway travel. Also, he built it on the fly.

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“I did not have plans. I did not create plans prior to building. It was engineered as I went. The trailer frame dictated how I was to attach the floor and walls. Materials dictated how I was to do the rest,” he said. “I had been saving wood for the project when I first thought about building. I was working in construction as a carpenter, and the amount of wood that was being thrown out over the course of time supplied the means. Before construction actually started, I had saved over a pallet of 2x4s, a dozen 2x12s and various lengths of 2x6s and 2x8s. Materials on hand actually dictated how I was to build.”

The vardo was built just like a house, 2×4 foot walls, all 16″ apart. The framing is held together by exterior grade deck screws and 4″ galvanized nails. Lag bolts, carriage bolts, hurricane straps, hurricane ties and braces are used throughout.

His little home is complete with computer, stereo, fridge, appliances and a/c. He watches movies on his PlayStation. He created a canopy that attaches to the roof, to create outdoor living space and performed a stained-glass treatment to the windows in the cupola.

“I get a lot of passersby, stopping to ask questions, see what I’m doing, or just smile,” he said. “I usually respond ‘It’s nothing new, we’ve just became more efficient at it (as I point to all the fancy motorhomes and trailers), it’s just a modern interpretation on an old design.'”

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By Christina Nellemann for the (Tiny House Blog)

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Alaskan Log Cabin

Aaron and Jill Bork have done what many of us dream of, running off to the wilds of Alaska and building a log cabin.

The couple fell in love with each other and the state and decided to build their own home. Armed with only a book and no prior knowledge of log cabin building, they purchased five acres of land with a spectacular view in their favorite area of Alaska and began to build a log cabin by hand with trees from their property. They built the cabin over the course of one summer, and spent the next year finishing up the inside.

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Just about everything in the cabin came from the land: the countertops were built with rocks from a local creek, the deck from local saplings, the spiral staircase going to the loft is made of local timber and even the toilet seat is made of a tree trunk.

In order to simplify their lives and live in the area they loved so much, they decided to do without some of the luxuries. They built an outhouse, do their laundry in a Wonderwash, and warm the cabin with a donated woodstove. They don’t have running water and use a cooler and dry ice to keep their food cold. They also cook on a Coleman stove and use a generator for their electricity.

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The cabin is furnished with furniture the couple built themselves and decorated with found objects. They own a small company called Alaska Antler Works where they create furniture and home accessories out of antlers.

This beautiful, hand crafted home is an impressive example of what can be done with determination, a few friends and love and knowledge of the outdoors.

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By Christina Nellemann

Photos by Aaron and Jill Bork, Alaska Antler Works

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