St. Helens Oregon High School Tiny House Project

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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!

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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. =)

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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.

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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

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Dragonfly Teahouse

About a year ago I read about a teahouse built of reclaimed material by the folks at Molecule Tiny Homes. The design inspired me. So, I set out to reproduce the design. This is not my first project using reclaimed wood, but it certainly is the largest. At the start my goal was to use only the highest quality reclaimed material and construction methods, but I soon added some local sustainably harvested material for the deck and sashes. I feel to a large degree this type of material fits within the ethos of the reclaimed wood philosophy.

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When it came to hardware, I also looked at reclaimed items. I spent hours scouring Ebay, and local antique and reclaimed shops. I could never quite find what I needed. So, I contacted a local Artisan-Blacksmith and we designed the hardware and he produced it. So again, I think this fits well with not running down to the big box home center and buying some cheap reproduction, but rather supporting local craftsman.

The Dragonfly Teahouse was built to last for generations and constructed with a conservation ethic. Inspired by traditional post and beam framing, using mortise and tenon joinery, the Dragonfly Teahouse also draws slightly from the Japanese style creating a powerful combination of robust elegance.

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Sourcing from southern Oregon and northern California, the Dragonfly Teahouse is built largely of reclaimed timbers from the demolition of the Klamath Falls and McCloud mills, and sustainably harvested local timber.

Both the Klamath Falls and McCloud mills were built nearly 100 years ago from large old growth trees. With tight dense grain, the deep rich color of these re-sawn Douglas Fir timbers reveal a quality of wood largely unavailable today. Many of the posts and beams reflect their rustic past with original peg and nail holes.

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Only high quality materials were sourced. All wood was finished using the highest quality non-toxic product available from Heritage Natural Finishes. Hardware was handcrafted by the Siskiyou Forge and Wild West Hardware.

The Dragonfly Teahouse creates a uniquely beautiful space for contemplation or lively conversation among friends.

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In a garden, by a pond, under a canopy of old-growth, or among a field of flowers, the Dragonfly Teahouse provides a unique experience for its guests. Whether at a wine tasting, sipping tea while reading your favorite novel, or doing your morning yoga while the sun rises over the Siskiyou Mountains, the Dragonfly Teahouse is the perfect space.

The Dragonfly Teahouse is for sale. Visit www.ShaneJ.com for more information and virtual tour.

Shane Jimerfield
ShaneJ Woodworks
Applegate Valley, Oregon
541-499-2064

recycled hardware

Inaugural ADU Tour in Portland

Tiny house fans in the Portland area will get a rare opportunity to tour the interiors of 11 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the Portland area next month. Kol Peterson and Deb Delman of Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel in Portland will be holding the first ADU tour in Portland, Oregon on June 1, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings and her vardo will also be special guests during the ADU networking event from 4-6 p.m. and participants will be able to view the new Caravan tiny rental — the Salsa Box.

walt-quade-ADU

“Part of the goal of the tour is to connect people who want to build ADUs with other homeowners, builders, and designers, who can help explain the actual building process that they went through, so the process seems less daunting.,” Kol said.

ADUs are secondary living units on single-family lots. Portland has seen a six-fold rise in the number of ADUs built since 2010.  This dramatic increase is the result of a 2010 City of Portland waiver of System Development Charges, which reduced the cost of building permits for an ADU by up to $11,000. The tour will be held in partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Portland, and Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area.

tiny-house-ADU

The self-guided tour will consist of 11 ADUs on the east side of Portland including 7 to 8 tiny homes on wheels. Along the route, attendees will have access to homeowners, builders and designers of ADUs and comprehensive, education case studies about the building and permit process of each building. Throughout the day, there will also be workshops presented by experts on permitting, financing, designing and building.

salsa-box

At Caravan, attendees will also have a chance to tour four custom-built tiny houses on wheels and can earn a special $25 discount to stay at Caravan as well as enter a raffle for a free stay at the tiny house hotel. Early bird tickets for the event are $25 and tickets the week of the event are $30. For more information and to register, visit the ADU tour website.

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Photos courtesy of Accessory Dwellings, Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel and Portland Alternative Dwellings

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]