Tiny House in a Landscape

Deschutes River Cabin

My son Ted and I spent Thanksgiving this year on our own. My wife Janelle’s mother had open heart surgery so she has been down with her. Our daughter Emily stayed in Portland and celebrated Thanksgiving with friends.

We decided to find a place that served a traditional Thanksgiving meal and was open on the holiday and ended up at the Riverhouse Restaurant. While eating our dinner we spotted this old log cabin across the river and decided to check it out when we were done. Turns out it has a pretty interesting history. Copyright Photo by Kent Griswold

The cabin was used by the Old Sterns Cattle Company as a mine shack in the early 1900s along the Lazy River, south of Sunriver, Oregon.

In the 1970s, it was used in an old Western film with John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn called “Rooster Cogburn.” Shot in Smith Rock State Park, the cabin moved to this site after filming ended. A piece of old Hollywood in our little town of Bend, Oregon!

Managing Partner of the Riverhouse Hotel, Wayne Purcell, talks about the history of this cabin in the video below from Zolo Media.

Tiny House in a Landscape

With our relocating and the making of a transition to a new area  I have gotten out of  rhythm with a lot of blog related items.  One of the items being the Tiny House in a Landscape feature. This is one of my favorite features that John Chapman of New Zealand got me started with several years ago. I am hoping to get back into this feature starting today.

Yesterday, my wife and son and I were visiting Sisters, Oregon a little tourist town about twenty miles outside of Bend. We decided to have some soup at a little place called The Open Door. They are a mix of a gallery and a restaurant. We chose to eat outside and at the entrance was this cute little building being used as a mini gallery. The interior space is only around eight foot by ten feet but the detail and design really enthralled me. I shared this on my Instagram account and everyone loved it so I thought I would share it here too. Though not a tiny house per say it is real inspiration for one in my humble opinion!

tiny gallery

St. Helens Oregon High School Tiny House Project

Blue1

It started out a neat enough idea. Apply for a Lowes grant for $4000, build a couple (very) tiny homes for the student’s education and experience, and then sell them on Craigslist. I’m smiling (ruefully) thinking about the “if I’d only known then” concept. You see, when you manage a class of 20-30 2nd year high school woodworking students, neatness never really enters the equation? I teach a woodworking/building construction program at St Helens High School in Oregon. The student’s introduction to the tiny house building class is a one semester (half year) class consisting of learning the basics of machine and tool use, measuring, and basic wood vocabulary as they work through 5-6 projects. It is a regimented class and if you fall behind, usually you stay that way unless you have the with-it-ness to come in during lunch or after school. ?So it is only with a half year of introductory woodworking that I launched into building a couple tiny houses. And unlike some really good high school programs building complete houses every year or two, we were going to do everything ourselves instead of subbing out the majority of it.

My dad has this saying “Two people can live just as cheaply as one, for half as long” and it sure played out on this project. Instead of half the class working on each house, my 4 or 5 best students did all the work on both houses, which meant twice as long to complete anything. You see, I was excited about the project, but convincing a 15 year old to take his or her time and do something right translates to them not doing it at all. It was a rough go.

So, after three years of watching the majority of the work be completed by 2-3 students each year, we have two tiny houses up for sale!

Blue Floor Plan

To start with, all of my students were required to bring in at least three pictures of tiny homes that they actually liked the looks of and after throwing those all out the door because of budget we ended up just drawing our own in Google Sketchup. The houses are both 6’x 8’ and roughly 12’ to the peak. Since the houses vary quite a bit I’ll just give you the rundown in a list format.
The blue house: $5000?35 year roofing?Hardiplank Siding – Stucco board and bat finish?Hardwood flooring?Sheep wool insulation!?Custom high density mattress with cover?Custom lockable door with Brink’s Home Security™ Push Pull Rotate™ Door Knob?Sink with venting and 1 ½” drain line to the exterior (hose bib hook up)?Electrical consisting of one GFCI outlet, 4 standard, two 3-way light switches, and 3 lights?Hinged loft that swings down for more room?Custom modifiable table/workbench/2nd bed/bench seat lets you decide what is important to you!?5 Windows and custom trimwork

The Brown house: $3500 ?35 year roofing?Hardiplank Siding – Stucco board and bat finish?Hardwood flooring?Fiberglass insulation?Custom lockable door with Brink’s Home Security™ Push Pull Rotate™ Door Knob?Custom trimwork?Electrical consisting of 3 outlets, 2 interior lights and dual exterior lighting?Open floor plan
No Street of Dreams here, these are high school 2nd year students building homes for experience, so understand that character and education is featured throughout! Gaps, scratches, and bowed sheetrock come free with no extra charge! We guarantee our work until it leaves the school property. =)

Blue2

Oregon Shepard donated the sheep wool insulation for the blue house which proved to be a good experience for the students. The sheetrock mudding and taping turned out to be my biggest disaster as is evident by the finished product. Since the majority of my students wanted to work on their own products (end tables, step stools, cutting boards, gun racks, etc.) I had considerable less time overseeing the actual work on the houses and it was fairly depressing for a couple specific students to have me come in at the end of the period and cringe. It wasn’t their fault, at that time they just didn’t know enough to know enough.
We ended up spending quite a bit more money than we intended with student “experiences,” but that is what we do here.

Blue3

My hope for the future is that somebody is planning on building a tiny house, but wants to do the finish work themselves. That way our class can do all the basics of framing, siding, electrical, plumbing, insulation, and whatever wall covering material they want, but let the customer detail it out themselves. It is probably a long shot, but we have plenty of good building construction projects lined up until we make that decision.

If anyone is interested in watching the initial building process, we made a short video about it, complete with thoughts from Dee Williams! Enjoy!

http://vimeo.com/67363004
Joe Mauck
St. Helen’s High School
Building Construction Department
2375 Gable Road, St. Helens OR 97051
Office: 503-366-7416
Cell: 503-490-6350
http://www.sthelens.k12.or.us//Domain/140

Blue4 Blue5 Blue6 Blue7 Blue8 Blue9 Blue9a Blue9b Blue9c Blue9d Brown1 Brown2 Brown3 Brown4 Brown5 Brown6