Jenny Carney’s Xanadu Cabin

Ecologist Jenny Carney grew up playing in the woods of rural Wisconsin and is now a Principal and LEED expert at YR&G in Chicago, a sustainability consulting service for organizations and communities. However, her love of nature urged her to return to her roots. Carney purchased six acres of wooded land in Wisconsin near the Mississippi River where she built Xanadu — a simple 150 square foot shelter.


Recently featured in Real Simple Magazine, Carney’s “shed” for living in the woods reflects what she considers a modern angst: nature-deficit disorder. She used the term after reading the book “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” by journalist Richard Louv. The book discusses our contemporary detachment from the natural world and how to remedy it. Continue reading

The Mobiation Project

by Calanne Moroney

The Mobiation Project – a tiny house project with a difference

Since August 2012, we have been living in the mobi-01, a mobile off-grid, open-house that has been moving around Amsterdam, though we are making plans to take it across borders.

Rather than the usual tiny-houses of the movement, this one has a more social role, camping mostly in semi-public urban spots, and folds in to become a 20ft container, when in transport mode.

project postcard

The tale so far:

“We wanted to go neo-primtive, simple, small and funky. We seemingly have a desire for attention, so the house is open. We do workshops on various DIY techniques, presentations and talks about the project, are filming footage for a documentary about the project, and have been building up a repertoire of message-laden tracks [music] to take the info-tainment just that little bit further. The Mobiation Project was set up to give us meaning, an all-encompassing live project that, because we set up a foundation to manage it, has a goal to spread the word. The house folds into a 20ft container, can then be lifted onto a container truck and transported to the next location.

project in daylight

A small 350W wind turbine and a 160W pv panel supplies the electricity for laptops and LED lighting. Rainwater provides for most of our water needs – we have, at some locations, filtered ditch water, to supplement this. We are currently drawing up the bath/composting toilet trailer that parks into the mobi-01, but for now use a bucket for washing, and a small urine-separating unit for toilet, and a wormery & bokashi bin for kitchen waste.

Till now, we have been urban nomads. Some of the locations have been – a festival [three in total] where we did gigs, film showings, playing open-houses and workshops/talks, and building and managing some composting toilets; an exhibition on “urban outsiders,” where we were a live exhibition piece; a suburban playground where we were an informal meeting place, built willow huts, made fires, read stories to the kids around the stove, built a cob oven, set up a community veg patch and so forth…. Currently we are stationed next to a restaurant in an as of yet undeveloped part of Amsterdam east, where we are assisting the restaurant in greening up their business, as well as working with the first inhabitants of the area to set up a community edible garden…


So far, the approach has been to be invited to come and help on some community project, in return for a place to set up house. This has been in and around Amsterdam, but this year we will be making the move away from Amsterdam. Its time to leave the city and move out into less known territory.

Together, we are ecological architect, welder, furniture maker, compost toilet enthusiasts, vegan-foodie, doglover, DIY-enthusiast, tattooist and graphic designer…. in fact, we are well educated autodidacts and whatever we cannot do, we look it up, call on others to assist and as last resort, work on trial and error. There’s a whole philosophy behind the project about self-determinism, anarchism, anti-individualism and anti-corporate control, and we are exploring and developing this in music, as well as writing a graphic novel set in the future.

Simple living and doing good is the essence of the project, and it appears to be an ongoing process.

We would love to assist people to move along the same path, in return for somewhere to stay, a weekly box of local organic veg and other negotiable treats. We discovered that we are change junkies, conscientious change junkies and like to move into different contexts, inject some good, game-changing energy and action, and move onto the next location. Perhaps some day, we’ll settle somewhere – I have a dream to bury the mobi-01 into a south-facing hillside, but for now, we embrace nomadism and the global awareness it engenders.”

See more at

project at night

Appalachian Trail Shelters

In an initial armchair approach to preparing for some longer and tougher hiking trails (I’m starting to train for Mount Whitney), I’ve been reading some great books on people tackling the Pacific Crest Trail and the Appalachian Trail. The popular book “Wild” was fun, but I am really enjoying “Awol on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller.


David’s 2003 hike is documented in this beautifully written story that really brings the trail to life. He also goes into details about his “homes” along the trail since he rarely used a tent: the AT shelters that dot the 2,172 mile long passage across the mountain range. There are around 250 backcountry shelters along the trail where both section and thru-hikers can stay for free. Most of them are basic and open to the elements, but some are actually beautifully constructed and take advantage of views, light and airflow. Most of the shelters are near a creek or a stream and some have a privy or basic toilet nearby. They are kept clean and in shape by hikers and trail volunteers.


The Long Branch Shelter in North Carolina. Photo by

Most of the shelters have basic sleeping platforms, but no cots or beds. Food is either kept away from bears and other critters in boxes or hung from strings on the ceilings. Some shelters have picnic tables and food prep areas and most of them do not allow open campfires.


The Icewater Spring shelter in North Carolina. Photo by Deep Creek Cabin Rental.


A shelter in the Matane Wildlife Reserve, an extension of the International Appalachian Trail. Photo by the Ottawa Rambling Club.


A shelter in Rangeley Lakes, Maine. Photo by Rangeley-Maine.


The Derrick Knob shelter in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Wikipedia.


The John Springs shelter in Virginia. Photo by Virginia Places.


The Chestnut Knob Shelter in Virginia. Photo by Barbara Council and


Top photo: William Penn Shelter. Photo by White

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Happy, Simply – A Lifestyle Model and Education Project.

Debt free – healthy, happy, and with lots of friends. Where the best things in life are not things, where less is more and, where just enough is plenty!

The lifestyle model includes:

  • Sustainable living – shelter, food, water, energy, transport, waste, environment
  • Community participation – volunteering, active citizenship
  • Education – learning, simple sustainable choices, self-sufficiency, and rich experiences

A model for life and an educational project to learn from with information and inspiration.

happy simple life

Of most interest to the Tiny House community this website will be the Happy, simply home – a 10m2 house built by a group of volunteers using mainly reused, recycled, or left-over materials in two weeks for under $8000 NZ ($6700USD).

To live simply is the ultimate sophistication and luckily I have been fortunate to live and learn from the world’s poorest who, unfortunately, don’t get to choose simplicity, but are masters of living simply and being more connected to their families, communities, and the environment around them.

Simplicity has so many amazing benefits to the individual, the people around them, the environment, and towards a more just and connected global community. This was the starting point that I wanted to have a home that implemented these ideologies in a tangible way through a dwelling to live in and be an active part of a community.

inside drawing

After traveling to almost 60 on top of my native home of Australia, I stumbled upon a town named Paekakariki (where the girls are cheeky – as the local rhyme goes) and fell in love with the surrounding beach and mountains and also the community. It’s a small but distinct community that cares about where they live and those who live within the community. I was there this time last year and then had to leave for the remainder of the year. I returned in late January to set up the Happy, simply project and the home. Continue reading

River Guide Tiny Houses

This last summer, my husband and I took a three day whitewater rafting trip on the South Fork of the American River in central California. This area of the state has a culture of its own. While the mountains and the coast have the ski and surf bum, the American River is home to the seasonal river guide. Many of these river guides come from all over the country to raft and kayak one of the most popular rivers in the West and they live from May to October in a hodgepodge of dwellings.

The river guides we rafted, ate and played in the water with lived in tents at nearby campgrounds, in temporary buildings on land leased by various rafting companies or in VW buses in the parking lot. One of the guides even lived the entire summer in a hammock strung up between two live oak trees. The guides used the campground bathrooms and showers and cooked in outdoor kitchens. Around the river, and in the massive, thorny blackberry bushes these free spirits squat in what might seem like terrible living conditions, but what they see as the best way to experience the river. Continue reading