by Jim Russell
Hope all is good with you! Seems the last time we talked we were talking about the “AKTIV” house…. a simple cottage that kind of took on a life of its own. The waters have calmed since then, which is nice. The AKTIV is a great house, in fact there is one on a vineyard near here. We’ve mostly been doing houses that range from 500 square feet up to 1200 square feet, but continue to have a lot of interest in smaller spaces.
I don’t know if you remember, but we also introduced “minibox” with you guys in 2012…. It garnered a lot of interesting comments. Many were interested in something more than drawings and concepts. Since that time we’ve built several small houses for clients, but those are private so we thought it would be fun to build something we could show people.
We introduced a slightly larger (360 square feet) minibox at the recent 2014 Portland Home & Garden Show. Fully landscaped outside, fully furnished inside, the small modern cottage enjoyed a terrific response from the thousands who toured the house. The show house was furnished by La-Z-Boy, who is about to introduce a new line of small scale furniture. IKEA was used in the kitchen and bath. Exteriors are board & batten with corrugated metal siding. Exteriors were designed by Schultz & Long of Portland.
The real emphasis of the little modern cottage was livability and maximizing the flexibility of spaces. We’re really interested in contributory spaces, eliminating hallways, and instead of rooms we divided spaces by a pair of barn doors. In this way each area borrows from the other. Further we used a transom above the barn doors allowing the fir ceiling to float above and truly utilize the benefits of ductless heat pump heating and cooling. By turning the shed roof to follow the length rather than the width of the building the ceiling is aways moving up. True to all ideabox houses, the tall volumes allows small spaces to feel big.
ideabox is building to all codes – from RV & RV/Park Models to IRC modulars – so that even our tiny house (200 square feet) minibox is inspected during construction. And the Portland event was a further demonstration on the popularity of smaller living.
I hope you and your readers liked seeing a real minibox! The show cottage is here in Salem for any who would like to see it!
During a trip to Portland last week, I was fortunate enough to meet up with Deb and Kol of Caravan — The Tiny House Hotel in the cool and funky area of Alberta Street in the Northeast part of the city. Most readers know about the couple’s selection of tiny homes for nightly rental in the middle of the city, and now the hotel has a new addition. The 160 square foot Skyline is Caravan’s newest tiny house available for guests and reflects a rustic, Western style with a cozy interior and some great details.
Skyline was built in the Portland driveway of Eric Bohne and completed this February. Eric works full time as a craftsman and also built his own house on the Oregon coast out of recycled materials. His company, Metalwood Salvage, sells salvaged metal pieces and his design and carpentry business, Alter Areas, focuses on re-purposing unique building materials.
The Skyline does not have a loft, but a bunked sleeping and living area. The typical ladder has been replaced with a short, metal staircase. The main part of the house has a bar style eating area and a kitchen with a roomy farm sink and storage. One of the most unusual parts of the trailer is the bathroom. It includes a shower and angled toilet that fits just perfectly into the tongue of the trailer. An ingenious folding ladder sits above the toilet in a metal bracket. It can be unfolded for accessibility to a storage loft above the bathroom.
Deb and Kol recently had an open house for Caravan and the line formed around the block.They estimated about 1,000 to 1,500 people from all walks of life visited the hotel. When I visited on a warm, dry evening (unexpected in Portland during the spring) we sat in the courtyard around a metal burn barrel (fueled with scrap lumber Kol gathers from around the city) and chatted about tiny houses, codes and laws, permits and opportunities. Deb and Kol’s own permitting process was “creative and long” but they feel that their hotel is a unique and legitimate staging area as to what is possible in the tiny house industry.
“With the tiny house movement, everything about it is good,” Deb said. “There is no reason not to make it happen.”
Portland is a hotbed of the tiny house movement and the excitement and possibilities for the dwellings are really catching on. During this warm night, the Caboose was filled with four young people, a young couple from Chicago were enjoying the Portland-themed Tandem and the Rosebud was inhabited by a travel writer from New York — all visitors curious about tinier living. The hotel not only seems to be a tidy selection of tiny houses, but a gathering place for interesting, like-minded people.
Photos by Caravan — The Tiny House Hotel and Christina Nellemann
April 5-6, 2014, Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 4pm
Not too late, a few more seats available.
Join us for the first of our Tiny House Classes, a joint venture between Tiny House Blog, Northwest Woodworking Studio, and the Reclaimed Wood Blog. Presented at The Northwest Woodworking Studio, 1002 SE 8th Ave, Portland Oregon.
In this two day workshop you will learn from Master Woodworker Gary Rogowski about furniture design and building techniques as we build The Brilliant Chair.
The skills you learn in this workshop are ones you can take home to use on furniture, woodworking, and Tiny House projects.
- Hand tool use for accurate measuring and marking
- Sawing with chop saws, saber saws, and band saws
- Hand plane techniques for cleaning up lumber, texturing, and prepping surfaces
- Assembly techniques
- Using portable drills and screws
- Wood finishing
This is a great project that you’ll love building and using.
Also included in the two day class tuition are these added values:
Salvage Works of North Portland will also give a short demonstration on how to pick the correct materials using reclaimed lumber.
EB Tools is supplying two of their new KwickGripper nail pulling tools for a drawing. They will also offer 20% off coupons for those who do not win the tool to purchase one from their website. TheKwickGripper is a $30 value.
CeCe of CeCe Caldwell Paints has agreed to come in and talk about her great paints with the class. She is also providing every student with a free quart of paint of the color of their choice.
Plans for The Brilliant Chair come as part of the class from The Northwest Woodworking Studio.
Finally as a bonus you will receive a six month subscription to the Tiny House Magazine in PDF format.
To learn more and sign up click here.
Only twelve spaces available so sign up right away. Go to www.NorthwestWoodworking.com to enroll.
by Hal McClendon
Some of you may have seen the article of the little cabin on wheels Kent published on this blog May 29th, 2013. Thanks to all who commented on the post. Anyways, that post drew interest from some folks in Portland, Oregon that own and operate according to them, the first tiny house hotel. They contacted me asking if I would consider building another tiny house for their hotel. As mentioned in the previous post, I’m retired and looking for projects to keep me occupied I jumped at the opportunity.
We met and discussed the overall design. I had been thinking about building a caboose looking tiny house and shared with them my thoughts. We drew a rough sketch and floor plan and decided then and there to get started. They were as excited as I to get this going.
It was built in my driveway, with no plans, just a vision I had for the end results. They picked the exterior colors and pretty much left the interior up to me. Working with them in collaboration on the overall interior floor plan.
The owners, Kol and Deb Peterson described their view of the Caboose for me as follows;
“It has a completely unique design, inside and out. As the name implies, the red exterior looks like a train caboose. The middle section of the caboose has a “cupola,” a second story, bright and roomy sleeping loft with big windows. Beneath the sleeping loft are two twin sized, cozy bunk beds with custom made quilts and comfy pillows and a sitting area for 4-5 people. The custom built benches, cabinets, ladder, fold out dining table, cobbled wood floor, curved roof elements, and copper shelving, make the interior of the Caboose pop with detail. Within its’ 140 sq ft., The Caboose holds an impressive amount of richly designed, unique and artistic features, including the builder’s signature Mason jar lighting and copper piping. The Caboose can sleep 1-4 people, and is a particularly great option for families. Children will love sleeping in the semi-enclosed bunk beds. Parents will love the luxurious sleeping loft in the cupola.”
I had a tremendous amount of fun working with the caboose build. Kol and Deb (owners) were very fun to work with as well. For anyone interested in viewing the build pictures from start to finish I’d be happy to share.
Kol and Deb named it the Caboose, and it was delivered to them from Salem Oregon December 18th, 2013.