(Fall 2011 – Summer 2012)
My name is Ben Norton. This is my tiny house story. A neighbor of mine was all excited about your blog and showed me lots of really cool tiny houses that people have built. I was hooked. I just said, “That’s what I’m going to do,” and I just started; buying materials as I had money. I don’t think anyone really thought I was serious because I was eleven years old at the time.
Growing up, my parents gave my brother and me skills that many kids don’t have. We worked on lots of different projects with real hammers, nails and wood. From an early age I was like a sponge and absorbed all I could about power tools, building, tree cutting, engine repair, and even asking the right people for advice and help. Continue Reading »
Cars have carports, why can’t a house have a house port? Designer Hally Thacher was looking to build an eco-friendly home and was inspired by the structures that sheltered hay, alfalfa and farm equipment in the area of northern California where she had grown up. Her House Port and PopUP House designs make for a very interesting concept in home building.
The PopUP House is available in several configurations which are prefabricated and shipped flat-packed to the building site. The PopUP House consists of interior/exterior insulated panels. Over the top of the PopUP is the prefabbed House Port (the large freestanding roof) that protects the home against weather, keeps a consistent temperature throughout the hot summer and offers a covered outdoor area. Several smaller versions of the PopUP, called Cubes, can even be purchased and placed like a small village under the House Port. Continue Reading »
So my building season has ended. The outside, barring a few details, is finished.
The last article ended with me getting ready for the roof. They do wood roofs quite differently here than in the USA. My roof is a blend of the two systems. The only problem encountered was to make the person installing the shingles understand American methods, which I preferred for aesthetic, and other, reasons.
Still, in some details I deemed the local wisdom to be better than the American approach – doing things as quickly as possible- and although language was a barrier we still ended up producing a wood roof which I consider to have the best of both country’s methods incorporated.
As an example, where in the USA such a small roof would be completed in one day. This person and his helper worked a full seven days on the roof and as much time splitting the shakes. He seemed to care where every shingle was placed. The roof is made of Aspen, a tree similar to the American variety in leaf, although the bark is darker. It is a traditional roofing material here. I am not completely convinced that its lifespan will be equivalent to Western Red Cedar. We shall see. They tell me that such roofs can easily last 35 years which will certainly be long enough for me!
As the roofer was progressing I began the task of siding. This began with a layer of 2 in. extruded polystyrene insulation set between 2×2 furring strips. This was followed by a layer of wind/moisture barrier and then additional furring strips to create an air-space behind the siding. Lithuania is a wet climate. Taking extra steps to keep things dry is essential. Taking extra steps to keep things warm is also essential. Continue Reading »
The guys over at One Project Closer have been putting together expert how-to guides by shadowing contractors on actual job sites, and they call these articles “Pro-Follows.” If you’ve ever wondered how a professional contractor would build a concrete patio or finish a basement, check out their website. They only have a handful of Pro-Follows thus far so be patient as they build up this resource. Here are some pictures from a recent Pro-Follow for how to build a shed. Visit that link for the full story, and if you like what you read, consider subscribing to their feed.
The foundation was built by digging out a space a few inches larger than the shed, and lining the perimeter with pressure treated 4×6′s. Next, they set 10 columns of concrete block on undisturbed ground and back-filled the area with crushed stone. This type of foundation allows them to set the subfloor directly on the concrete block and provides an exit path for water and moisture. Continue Reading »