The Cicela Family Story

Frank and Elea

by Collin Vickers

Frank Cicela, father and aspiring entrepreneur, has moved with his family from a $200,000 house in the suburbs to a $20,000 tiny home in rural Missouri so that he can start a revolution!

Did you know that it only took 66 years for us to progress from the first flight at Kitty Hawk to landing on the moon, and that the entirety of the Wright Flyer’s first airborne journey could have fit inside the external fuel tank of the space shuttle? What a testament to our creative power! Continue reading

Small is Beautiful – Released Today!

small is beautiful infographic

It’s been two years in the making, but Small is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary is finally here! I had the opportunity to view this a couple of weeks ago and also many of you saw a premier of it at the Portland Tiny House Conference. This is a great documentary and I highly recommend it!

Small is Beautiful – A Tiny House Documentary [TRAILER] from Jeremy Beasley on Vimeo.

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The Story Behind The Story: Andrew Odom of Tiny r(E)volution

Odd that I would not only write a post about myself, starring myself but perhaps even more odd that the post is an interview with myself by myself. It sounds even more odd saying it out loud. But this week I felt really compelled to tell a bit more about who I am behind Tiny r(E)volution (other than just the “big mouth” of the duo) and how we got started almost 5 years ago in the tiny house movement.

Odom FamThere has just been so much commentary lately regarding the anxieties, difficulties, and frustrations that come along with a tiny house build. What seems to have been forgotten is the joy, feeling of accomplishment, and excitement that seemed to have been inherent just a few years back. And so that is why I felt it important to record this Vlog. It is a bit long, yes, coming in just over ten minutes but I feel like it is a glimpse of the Tiny r(E)v story seldom seen…especially not on video.

I invite you to watch and enjoy. Feel free to ask questions, leave comments, share your story, etc. in the comments section. Provided you don’t verbally destroy me I’ll do my best to respond! To watch just hover over the video image and click on the red, centrally located, standard YouTube play button to view.

After having watched the above video I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the Tiny r(E)volution via the button below for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

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By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

The Coyote Cabin Story

by JB McCauley

For a the past year, I have been following Tammy Strobel and Logan Smith’s story at Rowdykittens.com, and was envious of the great life they orchestrated. The tiny house inspired my husband and I to begin building our own “Coyote Cabin.”

We live near a nature center and the “escapees” come to our backyard, which is a large clearing surrounded by woods. It’s not unusual to spot deer snacking in the vegetable patch. For several days I kept seeing what looked like a large dog near the garden. I snapped a picture while it was investigating what was in the red wagon. My husband identified it as a coyote.

coyote

When we started building our tiny house, we dubbed it the “Coyote Cabin” since it was in the same area of the back garden. Most of the materials are re-used – the trailer from a generous family member, wood that was destined for the dumpster. The design is my husband’s and he is building it without plans. Every inch will be created just for us, including a staircase to the sleeping loft (we’re not getting any younger) instead of a ladder.

I was still working at our local school district as an administrative assistant. Although I loved my boss and co-workers, I needed a change from sitting at the computer in an underground building for most of the day. My inspiration to resign came from two quotes by Danielle LaPorte at daniellelaporte.com:

tiny house

“Obligate yourself to your dreams.”

“Fear hardens us. We over-protect ourselves and we get further from who we really are.”

I was afraid. ‘What If?’ kept playing in my mind. It was time to let go of the fear and begin making our tiny house dream a reality. I turned in my resignation the next morning and only have 7 more working days left. My husband is still employed so we will have income. As we begin downsizing from 900 square feet to an area 16 feet long and 8 feet wide, I plan on donating most of our belongings.

It’s an exciting journey and I know this will be a positive change!

JB

Finding Freedom: a return to Usonia

“Tiny House History” is not so much an actual academic topic as it is a supposed idea of how we got to the place of sustainable homesteading, as it were. While it may come with some argument or even disdain I propose that tiny house history did not begin in the late 1990’s with a man, his 100 sq.ft. house on wheels, and a discipline in beautiful, functional, little dwellings. I propose rather that tiny house history began in the “old world” with caves, huts, squats, and other primitive but very natural dwellings. I also propose that tiny house history is not just an exploration into the architectural aspects of a dwelling but also the philosophical, academic, spiritual, and relational aspects of a housing movement. Because of this definition I find myself more and more curious about the homes built in the last 2,000 years. And so it is because of this curiosity that I have come across the Usonian Houses developed by Frank Lloyd Wright beginning in 1936.

Pratt HouseUsonia was a word used by Wright to refer to his vision for the American landscape including urban planning and building architecture. Wright proposed the use of the adjective Usonian in place of American to describe the landscape as being distinct and free of preceding architectural conventions. The homes would be smallish, single-story dwellings without a garage or even storage options. The majority of the designs were L-shaped so as to compliment a garden terrace on unusually shaped lots. They incorporated passive solar heating and natural cooling by way of flat roofs and large, cantilevered overhangs, natural lighting with high windows near the ceiling line, and radiant-floor heating. Even at this point it is easy to see how the influences of Usonian houses work into tiny houses, small houses, and sustainable homes.

Usonian is the term used in reference to 60, middle-class, homes designed by FLW. The first home was the Jacobs House built in 1937 in Madison, Wisconsin.

As history has it Madison newspaperman Herbert Jacobs – a friend of FLW’s – challenged the architect to design and build a home for $5,000. (with current inflation that equates to $80084.70 in today’s currency.) Wright went about designing and L-shaped house with an open floorplan and just two bedroom. To make the build more economical Wright developed a 2-1/4″ thick plywood sandwich wall for the house. (think SIP in today’s building world).

Jacobs House

Jacobs House courtesy of Florida Southern College.

Declared a National Historic Landmark in 2003 the Herbert Jacobs house has undergone some renovation, modification, and ultimately restoration since the mid-1950’s.

Wright continue to explore his Usonian idea even after the Jacobs challenge. Wright saw this as an opportunity to redefine architecture and economy just as the nation was in the throws of the Great Depression. FLW knew his homes could control costs on a number of levels while still providing style and substance to American homeowners.

Besides being small, one-story structures on concrete slabs, Usonian homes also had kitchens incorporated into the living areas. They had open car ports rather than garages. In short, they eliminated ornamentation in favor of function. In the 1950’s as FLW got older he continued to explore the notion of affordable housing by expanding into Usonian Automatic homes which were – in short – Usonian style houses made of inexpensive concrete blocks. The three-inch-thick modular blocks could be assembled in a variety of ways and secured with steel rods and grout. Wright hoped that home buyers would save money by building their own Usonian Automatic houses. Unfortunately assemblage proved to be a bit more difficult than intended and most buyers ended up hiring pros to construct their homes.

Pope-Leighey House

Photo of the Pope-Leighey House in Falls Church, VA courtesy of Library of Congress.

While Usonian homes actually built was limited to just 47 and while the costs to build often exceeded Wrights own projections causing them to overshoot the middle-class, they had great influence on what we now know as ranch style homes (complete with open floor plans, flat roofs, and connections to nature through glass and natural materials) that have helped define the American suburb experience.

Even today a number of Wright’s Usonian houses are still lived in by the families of their original owners. A couple have recently come on to the real estate market commanding millions of dollars. While this price point may be a long shot from FLW’s initial intention of affordability they are a great testament to his design ability and commitment to homes for the masses.

The Pope-Leighey house in Woodlawn, Virginia as photographed by Rebecca Robertson.

The Pope-Leighey house in Woodlawn, Virginia as photographed by Rebecca Robertson.

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]