The Technology of the Tiny House

by Kent Griswold on June 26th, 2013. 23 Comments

By Aaron Kuehn

I’m not ready. At least not yet. Every day I get closer. Closer to being ready to live in a tiny house.

Living “tiny” is not a new concept to me. When I was a child, my parents were avid fishers and we would spend months at a time in the deep woods of Canada. My dad, mom and I lived for those extended periods of time in a 23-foot travel trailer. It never seemed cramped nor odd to me. It was cozy and comfortable. We had everything we needed. Even as a kid I marveled at the efficiency of that RV. Every nook and cranny was used for something.

Terry Travel Trailer

I’ve also been impressed by the clever layouts that hotel designers have pulled off. In small spaces they have created functional and comfortable environments. I often find myself saying “I could live here” when spending time in a hotel room.

So the tiny house has always been on my mind and I believe that someday my lifestyle and a tiny house will merge. As time goes by, the practicality, and thus the reality, of such a life change becomes all the more tangible.

There are many perceived barriers to living in a tiny house. Most of them revolve around the “tiny” part: we hunger for space and we fear letting it go. However, the past several years have seen several technology improvements that allow for more efficient use of space and thus make the tiny house choice much more attractive.

TELEVISION
When the power goes out usually the first thing I miss is the TV. We have now said goodbye to the large, heavy, tube-based TV set in favor of the small, thin, lightweight, cooler, more efficient flat-panel design. This is a change that huge numbers of people have adopted in their homes. But it’s an even bigger deal in the tiny house.

Think of the cubic feet of space required for the old-fashioned TVs of just a few years ago. In a tiny house a large percentage of space was required to have a TV, particularly if you wanted one with a serious viewable area. Continue Reading »

Tiny Re(E)volitions Kitchen

by Kent Griswold on May 23rd, 2013. 27 Comments

by Andrew Odom

So much time is spent thinking about the exterior build of tiny houses – the trailer, the framework, the weight, the roof, etc – that the interior is often overlooked. But is that wise? Isn’t the interior what transforms an otherwise stark and impersonal trailer or foundation into a home? It is if you ask Stacey Pridgen of Rooms and Spaces and tiny places.

“The interior is what turns a trailer into a home. It is where a person lays their head at night and you want that person to feel like they are in a palace and not an outhouse,” says Pridgen.

kitchen

A contractor, creator, builder, craftsman, artist, and innovator for over 25 years Pridgen has been putting hammer to nail since he was just 16 years old. “I started when I was 16 years old or so. I got a job with a construction outfit as a framing assistant. I spent a lot of time helping, lugging material, and trying to learn the trade.”

Stacey never remembers wanting to be a doctor or a lawyer or any sort of corporate tycoon. He craved the dirt and the outdoors. College never even appeared on his radar as he went directly from high school onto the job site. Continue Reading »

1948 Trotwood Tiny House Project

by Kent Griswold on January 9th, 2013. 44 Comments

by James Kinkaid

I have been working on a tiny house project since June, when I found a 1948 Trotwood camper for sale alongside the highway here in Ohio. I purchased it, complete with original ice box, for $350.00 delivered. I renovated the inside first, then had my neighbor Tim help me drag it out into the woods behind my house. I painted the outside and built  deck from reclaimed lumber from the Habitat for Humanity store near me.

trottwood camper snow camp

I am a teacher, so I got some of my techie kids involved in designing and building off the grid energy technology for the project. They built a pop can heater designed to heat the inside space with passive solar heat, a solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery for lights, an outdoor wood-burner to channel warm air into the camper, a water collection canopy and filtration system, and an outdoor privy. Continue Reading »

My Tiny House in Asheville

by Kent Griswold on December 21st, 2012. 78 Comments

by Marcus Barksdale

I recently completed a tiny house for my personal residence in Asheville, North Carolina, and wanted to share a description, a few pictures, and a video of it with other tiny house enthusiasts. I include a lot of detail to help others learn from my thought processes.

I’ve wanted to build my own house since childhood, and became fascinated with tiny houses upon discovering Lester Walker’s book Tiny, Tiny Houses in the late 1980’s. At the time I owned a small, post-war house in Austin, Texas, and it always felt so huge and inefficient. The rest of life distracted me for a long time, all the while I constantly dreamed about, researched, and drew tiny houses for fun. After leaving a toxic job and traveling for awhile, I decided it was time to follow this life goal and build my little house.

Asheville small home

I chose to build a fixed house, rather than a trailer-based dwelling, for several reasons:

  • I’m an urbanite and I’d rather live in town so I can walk or ride a bicycle to get places than drive a car very far. But it’s pretty hilly here in Asheville and harder to find an in-town backyard into which you can physically move a tiny house on a trailer.
  • I didn’t want to worry about getting caught violating housing codes by living in what the local governments would consider a recreation vehicle.
  • I didn’t want to own, or need to rent or borrow, a large truck each time I needed to move a trailer-based house.
  • A fixed house provides equity, potential rental income and better resale value.
  • I wanted the creature comforts of a large shower and full-size range.
  • I wanted outdoor rooms with more permanent features, such as a porch dimension,” except kitchens.

“Each dwelling unit shall be provided with a kitchen area and every kitchen area shall be provided with a sink.” Continue Reading »