Bill Thomas of Hobbitat Spaces in Maryland developed a passion for small spaces after 30 years of working in the historic restoration and custom home business. With the change in the housing market came a change in his focus of building and he began to develop small, custom homes that are constructed inside and out of the harsh Northeastern winters.
The first Hobbitat (or “Hob”, as they are affectionately called) was constructed using materials from Bill’s grandfather’s barn, windows from his childhood cabin and other reclaimed doors and materials. Hobbitat Spaces then built 13 Hobs for Blue Moon Rising, an ecotourism retreat in western Maryland. Each of the cabins were built with recycled, reclaimed and local materials, giving them a distinct look and feel.
Hobbitat Spaces is now in the process of taking individual orders for their small, hand-crafted homes. Each of the homes are built in a shop and all utilities are contained within the building envelope under insulation. The Homes are built to Maryland State building and energy codes and take about six weeks to complete.
Each Hobbitat contains the following:
• A complete structural framework, built to IRC code, with a Zip system exterior wall sheathing.
• An enclosed floor system that rests on six piers, installed before the building arrives.
• A roof system of hand cut framing or engineered trusses designed to carry a 40 lb. /sq. ft. snow load.
• A 30 gallon electric hot water heater.
• A 100 amp breaker panel and wiring to conform to the current code. Many outlets and light switches as per code.
• Andersen thermal windows. Your choice of 400 or Architectural series.
• A complete thermal cocoon of 2 lb. foam. R-38 for ceilings R23 for side walls and R30 in the floor system.
• A fresh air intake system with an Airetrak 1A control for indoor air quality.
• A plumbing system that allows you to very easily drain the building and walk away for weeks or months.
• Panasonic brand exhaust fans.
Photos by Hobbitat Spaces
The tiny EcoPod Holidays vacation homes, located in the Derbyshire area of England are not only portable vardo-like structures, but they have been built from over 50 percent waste materials including sheep’s wool and recycled glass bottles. Each of the EcoPod Holiday huts are available as vacation rentals for people who love to be in the outdoors, but want the comforts of home.
Each of the small structures, scattered around the countryside, are constructed using reclaimed timber with some additional FSC approved woods when needed. The owners also use sheep’s wool or recycled bottles as insulation and all finishes are derived from plant-based paints and natural oils. Solar panels are used for lighting and appliances. EcoPod Holidays also manufactures their own wood burning stoves for space heating and heating water for washing and showering.
Each of the EcoPods have different configurations that include a cozy interior with a kitchen, a dining/sleeping area, a bathroom and shower and some even have an airy conservatory and a balcony. All of them are located in scenic areas close to walking and biking routes. The EcoPod Holidays company will also work with customers to build their own tiny home using local and reclaimed materials.
Photos by EcoPod Holidays
Rikkert Paauw and Jet van Zwieten of FOUNDation Projects in Utrecht, Holland have been making recent news for their ability to turn the ordinary dumpster into a unique space – with items actually recovered from dumpsters. Their current designs are being used as meeting spaces and bars, but with a little imagination could be turned into tiny houses.
The artists put several of the large trash bins in the local neighborhood, and filled them up with trash and materials collected from around the town and donated by locals. They then used those materials to create the structures. The project, called Straatlokaal, has been used to promote responsible waste removal, recycling and object re-use. The building of each project took about a week and the Dumpsters were set up as alternative bars and places for creative entrepreneurs in the heart of Ultrecht’s Neude Center Square. Because the dumpsters have wheels, they can be moved around the city.
These Dutch “recyclitects” also build furniture, lamps and custom items from reclaimed materials like wood pallets and cast off metal. They have a few videos on Vimeo showing the Straatlokaal building and creative process.
Photos by Stortplaats van Dromen
Charles Finn might just be the ultimate tiny house Renaissance Man. He’s a self-taught woodworker, an author, freelance writer, editor of the High Desert Journal, a literary and fine arts magazine, and his custom microhomes also allotted a full color spread in Lloyd Kahn’s “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” book.
Charles is originally from Vermont, but lived in Japan for a few years and admired the Japanese tea house designs. He eventually found himself in British Columbia living in a 7×12 foot vardo made by a woodworker friend. The vardo had no electricity or plumbing, but did have a 3-burner propane stove, a Jøtul woodstove and a set of deep-cycle batteries to run his laptop. After his first experience in a tiny home, he built his first “microhome” in Potomac, Montana out of lumber dismantled from old barns. The 8×12 foot cabin with a five foot loft became known as the Potomac Cabin. Continue Reading »