Derek Diedrickson (of RelaxShacks) or as he is better known, Deek has been very busy lately and has just completed two new videos. These are a couple of great How-To videos based off of his book Humble Homes and Simple Shacks.
In the first video Deek walks you through building a window from a cheap plastic plate bought at your local dollar store. In his second video he shows you how to recycle old windows that you can pick up free or for little cost.
Below the videos I have put a few still pictures of the building he built using recycled windows. You can go to RelaxShacks to see some construction photos. Enjoy and if you don’t have Deek’s book you can purchase it on Amazon. Thanks Deek!
Kevin Harrington, a licensed realtor and home remodel expert in Colorado has created a nice selection of tiny and small home plans called Cozy Home Plans. The homes range from 288 square feet to 781 square feet and his plans cost between $99 to just under $700. Kevin also runs a blog where he posts articles on home construction and DIY tips. He has posted about how to mix concrete, installing electricity, useful household tools and tiny house Feng Shui.
A few years ago, Kevin downsized from a 2,700 square foot home, got rid of about 90 percent of his possessions and moved into a 280 square foot 5th wheel trailer. He was in the process of researching alternative building techniques and stumbled onto the tiny house movement. He decided to start a website and blog to showcase his small home plan ideas.
“This tiny lifestyle I was living gave me back serenity,” Kevin said. “This was something that had been sorely missing in my life for a very long time. I just wanted to share my experiences.”
His goal with Cozy Home Plans was to add a few more feet onto tiny homes to make them more livable.
“Can a person live in 100 square feet? Absolutely, but can they share it with guests or a partner full-time? How about a larger kitchen, washer/dryer capabilities and storage for extra stuff in such a small space? Answering “Yes” to these questions became more difficult in such a tiny space,” Kevin said. “My solution was to add a few more feet to each house.”
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
There is no simple way to go about the task of selecting windows for your new Tiny House construct. By the time choosing them comes around you will have heard multiple times that the key to making a smaller space look larger is to incorporate lots of natural light and to use windows and mirrors to give the illusion of a larger, less boxy, space. But with so many brands on the market, so many styles within those brands, and so many ideas about sustainable building, eco-friendly building, and budget-conscious building, the selection process can very easily become a frustrating one. It helps though to become familiar with a few of the most popular styles of windows available as well as debunk a few of the rating myths.
I am not sure how a large, bay windows could find a suitable place in a Tiny Home. A bay window it typically rather large and more times than not involved a window seat. The most common style is one that has a flat piece and two slated side pieces that attach to the home. It is important to remember though that with a bay window, you are essentially changing the shape of your home (which is already a very limited option in a tiny house), so you may need to rework the flooring, siding, and roof of the house as well.
Many of us are familiar with awning windows because they were the window of choice for most commercial structure post-WWII including many of our public schools. Awning windows swing or crank outward from the bottom assuring they could stay open even when it rained as well as making it most difficult for students to use as a means of escape from the dreaded world history class! Today these style windows are most commonly used in basement settings. But in a tiny house they may just what you need in a sleeping loft to assure proper cross breeze despite weather conditions. It is important to note that if an awning window is chosen, you won’t be able to use a wall air conditioner in it.
As the name implies, sliding window open by using two sashes that slide past one another. In my opinion these are a nice, contemporary looking window that is free of pane glass and allows for a lovely breeze when a screen is in place. The one draw back is these windows are very easy to manipulate open from the outside causing a bit of safety concern for the less brave.
It is time for me to show my ignorance. I remember growing up my parents home had storm windows over top of their window-windows. They were literally a second pane of glass that helped insulate our home during colder months. Of course, this was before R-ratings, Low E ratings, and vinyl casements. I am not sure storm windows are even necessary any longer and if they are, the second pane of glass would either have to stay on year-round or they would have to be stored; not a forte of tiny home living.
An architectural mainstay, the transom window probably came to full popularity in the Elizabethan and Georgian styles of building. Used to describe both windows that open for cross-ventilation or for windows that only allow in light above the room door, the transom windows on the market today typically do not open and are meant only to be decorative. They can be decorated, customized, and fashioned as an incredible focal point of an entryway but in a living situation like tiny house when every pound [on the trailer, of course] counts they are not the wisest feature to incorporate.
For the smaller of tiny homes the skylight can be a real saving grace. While most Americans either forget about skylights or rule them out completely, the use of a skylight can greatly increase the overall feeling of size in a tiny house bed loft or even in the “great room.” They let in natural light without sacrificing privacy. And having a 10/12 (or steeper) roof pitch as many tiny homes do, the skylight may be the only hope of installing a substantial window for natural light and passive heating/cooling.
The possibilities truly are endless and while choosing “off the shelf” or “in-stock” windows from a box store or a window/door liquidator is the more budget friendly way to go you may also consider custom windows to match just the size and style you want for your tiny house! What windows are you using in your tiny house? Are you still designing and are curious what you should consider? Did you build and realize your windows were not adequate enough? Share your story with us. And as always, if you like this post consider sharing it on Facebook or putting the link out on Twitter!
Bigger does not always mean better. Progress does not always mean forgetting our roots in order to forge a new future. Blogger, photojournalist, and hobby farmer Andrew Odom has spent much of the last few years rediscovering the lost art of living, growing, and being truly happy. Visit him online, find him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.
Perhaps there is no Tiny House subject (or trailer subject, in general) that causes more arguments and confusion than that of weight. Between the cryptic way that RV weights are reported by the manufacturers, the lack of clear standards by the DOT and the often deliberate misinformation spread by dealers; trailer weights are confusing at best. Because of our recent trailer purchase I have been motivated to try and really understand this often mystifying issue. The following is what I learned, and in my humble opinion, an authoritative explanation of what the truth really is.
Now, our trailer got its beginning as an RV, of sorts. So much of my research has a travel trailer/RV bend to it. If you purchase a trailer from a specific trailer/hauler dealer they should be able to give you specific weights for the axels, trailer, tongue, and hitch. If not, immediately turn around and go see someone else. For our purposes though, I am going to walk you through our process (and one that is becoming more popular with each small home.)
Let’s start with the 2 stickers that are required by law on every RV sold in America. The RV manufacturer is required to include a Weight Sticker on the RV that details all the important weight ratings and maximums. This sticker is usually located on the inside of one of the kitchen cabinet doors. If your trailer has no camper portion (let alone cabinets or cabinet doors) you can simply forego this step and hope the other steps lead you to the same result. Continue Reading »
Because we bought our trailer used and it was formerly a 1981 (camping) travel trailer it had some signs of wear and tear; namely rust. Structurally it is as sound as the day it rolled off the assembly line. But because it spent some time on the east coast the salinity of the air made it prematurely age and the paint/primer at some point gave way to rust spots and “age spots.” Luckily we own both an air compressor and a sandblaster – the very tools needed to prepare the trailer for primer.
Sandblasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material (play sand in this case) at high-velocity to clean a surface. A sandblasting setup usually consists of three different parts: the abrasive itself, an air compressor (seen below), and a blaster nozzle. By launching small bits of abrasive at the surface at a high speed, all imperfections are knocked loose and can then be easily washed off, creating an incredibly smooth surface upon which to lay the new layer of paint. Before we can do that though (which will come much later, I imagine) we need to prime. Why? Primer spray (in this case we used Krylon grey primer) stops rust and prevents corrosion. Continue Reading »