1948 Trotwood Tiny House Project

by James Kinkaid

I have been working on a tiny house project since June, when I found a 1948 Trotwood camper for sale alongside the highway here in Ohio. I purchased it, complete with original ice box, for $350.00 delivered. I renovated the inside first, then had my neighbor Tim help me drag it out into the woods behind my house. I painted the outside and built  deck from reclaimed lumber from the Habitat for Humanity store near me.

trottwood camper snow camp

I am a teacher, so I got some of my techie kids involved in designing and building off the grid energy technology for the project. They built a pop can heater designed to heat the inside space with passive solar heat, a solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery for lights, an outdoor wood-burner to channel warm air into the camper, a water collection canopy and filtration system, and an outdoor privy. Continue reading

Our Tiny House Inspired Backyard Office

by Louise Norris

I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and love all the photos of tiny spaces. We have an average-size house and two little boys, but we also work from home and my husband spends much of his day on the phone with clients. He needed a quiet place to work, and we found inspiration from your site. Last winter, we purchased a Tuff Shed and had it installed in the corner of our backyard. It cost us about $3000 for the shed, and then we spent about $1000 more to equip it with solar power, add a porch, and finish the inside. Tuff Sheds don’t come with interior finishing in mind, so we had to add lots of nailers in order to be able to anchor the walls and ceiling properly. But once that was done, we were able to put in sheetrock, wood flooring, and all the finishing touches that make it feel like a regular room.

We added the porch and roofed it to match the shed, and then we painted the entire thing to match our house. My husband ordered all of the components of the solar setup and put the whole thing together himself. We built a wooden box in the corner of the room to house the marine battery he uses to store electricity and the various other parts of the solar power setup. We insulated the walls and ceiling, but in order to make the room comfortable in the summer, he built a little swamp cooler using a bucket and a desk fan (which doesn’t use much electricity). In the winter, he uses a brooder light to keep his desk area warm. The 120 Watt solar panel provides enough electricity to power the fan or brooder light, his laptop, the phone charger, and a couple of lights. Continue reading

Liveaboard life: Self-sufficient with Solar

In last weeks video series I introduced you to Teresa Carey and her home on her sailboat. This week is a followup on Teresa and how she manages off the grid using solar as her power.

When Teresa Carey is sailing she knows just where all her energy comes from and where it’s going. “My solar panel charges my battery monitor and I have to keep an eye on that battery monitor because when it reaches a certain point I have to start shutting things off.”

She has just a 130 watt solar panel – about 30 times less wattage than the average household- so she keeps electronics to a minimum: a VHF radio (for communication), an icebox (no freezer), a computer, a GPS and a boombox (for sunny days only). Besides solar and her sails, she uses some non-renewable energy: diesel for a small engine and propane for her stove.

She pumps her own water for use (and it’s cold). She takes overboard, or bucket, baths (in the video she washes her hair for the first time in 16 days). She fixes things when they break. But she doesn’t complain, in fact, she prefers it this way. “It’s more authentic.”

In this video, Teresa shows us how she meets her basic needs: water, energy and reading the elements (tides, wind, storms) in order to stay alive and reach her destinations (in this case, the Bahamas).

Video via faircompanies.com