For anyone who enjoys winter outdoor sports like ice fishing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating, the tiny warming hut is a blessing in cold and snowy weather. Used all over the world, warming huts are small structures that can be both temporary or permanent and usually contain a place to hang up wet gear, seating and sometimes a wonderful wood stove or fireplace where you can warm your freezing fingers. Warming huts are also a great place to break out a small stove to heat up some food or a cup of hot chocolate.
Over the past few years, warming huts have bloomed into an interesting architecture. Innovative designs have popped up near frozen lakes, near cross-country trails and in the middle of mountainous forests for use by snowbound travelers on their way to a cabin or campsite. Many of these huts utilize passive solar design, raised platforms, creative heating elements and unusual materials. Continue Reading »
One of my favorite tiny house pre-fab design companies, Cabin Fever, is having a Black Friday sale on their stylish Zip Classic cabin. The Zip is a 120 square foot one-room structure that normally costs $12,500, but is being sold November 23-29, 2013 for only $9,900. The Zip building package comes delivered complete with everything required to build a tiny space.
The insulated wall sections of this cabin come assembled and are easy to bolt together with a few helpers. The building includes a raised foundation with steel brackets and 3/4 inch plywood floors, a 8 foot wide glass sliding door and two windows, 3 inch insulated roof panels with trim and solid wood beams on metal columns, wood paneled interior walls and vinyl tile floors and all the hardware necessary to put the house together. The Zip also has a 12×16 ft front porch made with 1×6 inch planks.
The Zip falls into the category of tiny homes that are permit exempt in most localities and this tiny building can be turned into a guest house, artist studio, yoga room or full-time tiny home. Multiple Zips can also be placed next to each other to create a larger dwelling.
Photos by Cabin Fever
You wouldn’t normally think of a 5th wheel trailer as a tiny house, but when I was invited over to Matt and Kathleen’s Forest River Cardinal trailer which is parked behind a friend’s home, I was astounded at how cozy and “house-like” it felt. The couple, who downsized from their home in Seattle to this 30-foot trailer about a year ago, have turned it into a little mobile retreat.
A few years ago, a trip to India opened the couple’s eyes to an alternative way of life and they decided to sell their home in Seattle and most of their belongings. Kathleen said they were both “ready for wheels on a house” and wanted more time for themselves and each other. Matt works as a freelance multimedia designer and Kathleen is an acupuncturist, so their jobs can go on the road with them. Their cats, Mojo and Chloe, also travel along with them and seem to love their new, sunny home.
The couple’s travels have taken them to several RV parks and campgrounds in the West and they spent last winter on a relative’s ranch in Arizona. They currently live in the large acreage behind a friend’s home and pay $500 a month which includes their utilities and Internet access. Since this winter will be colder than the one in Arizona, the 10,500 lb trailer has currently been fitted with a plywood skirt to protect the tanks and pumps. Matt mentioned that the skirting keeps the bay and bottom of the trailer about 4 to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air.
The reason the couple chose a fifth wheel rather than a wooden tiny house on wheels is simple: Matt is 6’2″ and needed the headroom. This particular trailer was also rated one of the highest in insulation value. The couple purchased the fifth wheel from Fife RV in Washington for $14,500 and it contains a slider for the living room, a cozy kitchen and dining area, a stand-up work station for Matt, a shower and separate toilet, full bedroom, and they keep it warm with the propane/electric furnace and small space heaters. Gray and black water is first sent through a grinding pump before being pumped into the home’s septic system.
Kathleen said that while it can be difficult to keep the trailer warm and that cleaning out the tanks is not fun, she loves the freedom of the trailer.
“I love the mobility and the idea of being totally self contained,” she said. Matt added that he also loves that there’s no wasted space and he totally digs the trailer’s “Command Center” where they can keep an eye on the level of the tanks, the lighting and battery system.
“We were a bit worried about what people would think of us,” Matt said. “But the response to our decision to move into the trailer has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Photos by Harry Thomas
For anyone who has dreamed of having a real log cabin in the woods, but still wants to keep it small, Washington based Mr. Cabin, Inc. builds substantial and very affordable log cabins that stay under 200 square feet. Rhett Conner and Robert Burrington of Mr. Cabin also claim that you don’t need level land to have one of these cabins. Many of them have been built on hillsides that still have beautiful views.
Rhett and Robert are childhood friends with over 45 years of exterior and interior construction experience and build tiny cabins and other structures like garages and sheds out of real four-inch milled logs. To them, real logs add more value to your home as well as beauty and warmth. The logs are protected with metal or cedar roofing with an eight-inch to one-foot overhang and some even include dormer windows. After construction and when the logs have had time to dry, each of the cabins are chinked to close up small gaps and add insulation quality.
The largest cabin is the Grizzly (show below). It’s 10×20 feet with a loft, a nine-foot sidewall and measures 14 feet at the peak. The Grizzly sells for around $11,600 if built on site and $9,600 for the milled kit which you put together yourself. This price does not include the dormers. The smaller MaMa Bear cabin (shown above) also has a sleeping loft and runs about $6,600 for a built cabin to $4,800 for the milled kit. The kit is not available for purchase in Washington and Oregon. Final costs of the cabins will also depend on the types of windows, doors and roofing. Please contact Mr. Cabin for questions on cost, building services and kit delivery.
Photos by Mr. Cabin, Inc.