Bowerbirds’ Hand-Built Tiny Art Studio and Small Cabin/ Recording Studio

by Beth Tacular

As a long-time reader of Tiny House Blog, I’m really excited to share with all of you the tiny building project I’m working on. I’m an artist and musician, living in rural North Carolina. For the last six years, my partner, Phil, and I have been busy with two projects: touring around the world as the Bowerbirds, and building a set of small live-work buildings out of salvaged materials.

We write reverent songs, mostly about our love for the natural world and about finding ways to make a life outside of mainstream culture. We’re currently working on our next album, which we want to record in our small cabin, and for which we are running a Kickstarter campaign. We thought some of you might be interested in hearing about our project (http://kck.st/SxZEg2) or might want to order music and art made in a tiny studio, for holiday gifts, or just for yourselves, which we’re giving away to funders of the new album.

We first started our small building project with no real construction experience, but with a crazy obsession with handmade houses, especially really little ones. In 2007 we bought some cheap land in rural North Carolina, on which we parked an AirStream trailer that we got for a steal ($900!). We lived in the AirStream for three years, with no running water, electric lights or real source of heat, so that we could afford to start the band, record albums, make art, go on tours, and put all our money back into the building project.

Phil in airstream

(above: Inside the Airstream in winter)

The first thing we built was a 240 square foot art studio, where I make art and write songs on a very small piano, and with a sleeping loft where we’re sleeping while we finish the larger (but still small – 493 feet plus a 168 square foot loft) cabin. We’ve been inspired by stories on this Tiny House Blog about how many people have chosen to live with less and more simply, in order to save money, to create more time for doing what they want with their lives, to be more self-sufficient, and to have less of a negative impact on the land they live on. Because we work at home, in professions (art and music) that require a lot of gear, equipment, and supplies, we can’t really live in as tiny of a house as some people can get by with, but we can create small, multi-use spaces, just big enough for us to get everything done that we need to do. And if we feel cramped, there’s always the woods outside. Continue reading

Pocket Neighborhoods” Author Ross Chapin to Speak in Asheville

Sorry for the short notice, I get these up as soon as I can!

Author of the book Pocket Neighborhoods, Ross Chapin, will host a workshop in Asheville, North Carolina on November 5, 2012 at the Lord Auditorium in the Pack Memorial Library located at 67 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville.

On his website Chapin describes pocket neighborhoods as, “clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around a shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas.

These are settings where nearby neighbors can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirttail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate.”

During this workshop, Chapin will offer a presentation on this topic for professionals and the general public, sharing stories of communities from around the world, their historic precedents, and the key design principles that give them vitality.

To get all the information visit the Local Plan website. http://www.localplan.org/2012/10/pocket-neighborhoods-author-ross-chapin.html

Danielson Groove Commons

Ross Chapin

Tiny House in a Landscape

Last month Lori, one of the Tiny House Blogs readers sent me this link to this wonderful tiny cabin in a landscape. The photo is listed as creative commons at Flickr and was taken by anoldent (not a real name). Entitled “Old Home Place” with the following description. You can link to to the photo stream here and see more pictures.

The summer after I finished school I set off into the mountains of North Carolina to build a log cabin, armed with a few books, and hand tools, but no experiance or skills. I set up my tent and expected it to take six weeks to build. Six months later I still hadn’t finished the chimney or started the roof. But this is what it looked like on a misty November morning a few years later.

I lived here for about eight years, and owned it for about fifteen years after I built it in 1976 with local fieldstone and oak logs I cut, peeled and notched on the site, working alone with hand tools. It had no plumbing, I carried water from a nearby spring, and I heated it in winter with about half a cord of wood a week which I cut and burned in the open fireplace. Eventually I moved into Asheville and had to sell it, but it was a large part of my life, and I miss it more with each passing year.

old home place