Tiny House Tub (or boat for those of you without sea legs): Part 1

AUTHOR DISCLOSURE: I have never lived on a boat. I have never spent more than the 12 or so minutes it took me to get sick to my stomach, on a boat. I know nothing about boats other than I once got on one and was sick within 12-minutes.

Boats are fascinating when it comes to their combination of transportation, domesticity, and labor force. Folks have gravitated to the water for all of history using it for transport, trade, and sport. It is only natural then for us to want to make things that float. A basic raft (a la Tom Sawyer) can be constructed of logs or bundles of reeds tied together. Hollow trunks can be crafted into dugout canoes. In fact, once we, as humans, understood the principle of watertight hulls, we experimented with animal hides and tree bark to attach to a bamboo frame creating a simple, straightforward coracle 1.

A basic Coracle exhibited at the Seedamm Center in Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland).

A basic Coracle exhibited at the Seedamm Center in Pfäffikon SZ (Switzerland).

If one adds planks to raise the edges of the dugout, and uses wooden struts to secure them in place, the early boatbuilder is well on his way to crafting the only design of wooden boat capable of being built on a large scale. This design then incorporates a keel to which a ribbed frame is added. As the walls continue upward a cargo area is formed and a passenger vessel begins.

Basic labeling of a dinghy vessel.

Basic labeling of a dinghy vessel.

It wasn’t until the 5th century onwards that boats turned to ships and ships turned from machines of war to a simple form of transport. The boat has become known in modern times as a Viking longship. By the 11th century the vessels had become more strategic and more elaborate measuring up to 80 feet long, built from oak planks, boasting two high pointed ends, encompassing holes for sixteen oars along each side, and featuring a broad oar that was worked as a rudder by the helmsman. To add to the modernized longship a mast was fashioned near the center on which a long, rectangular sail was hung. What is interesting though is that five boats discovered in the Roskilde Fjord, north of Copenhagen, Denmark, all had similar shapes but also had a double-ended convention in order to support an inclusion of long-range archers (men with bow and arrow). One of the five boats though was built more elaborately and robust than the others including having higher sides and a central hold. These early boats may be examples of of Viking ships that “soldiers”, along with their families and livestock, took on their expeditions to Iceland, Greenland, and perhaps North America. 

Do you see where we’re going with this?

Model of a typical merchantman of the 17th century, showing the cramped conditions that had to be endured but also showing the use of space. Every inch is justly occupied. Photo courtesy of Musphot on Wikimedia Commons

Model of a typical merchantman of the 17th century, showing the cramped conditions that had to be endured but also showing the use of space. Every inch is justly occupied. Photo courtesy of Musphot on Wikimedia Commons.

As the 15th century set upon us there are rapid developments in nautical life. A second mast is added to sailing vessels and eventually a third mast. By the mid-1400s regular vessel sizes were near 120 feet long and 50 feet wide. The largest European sailing ship (and remember there was nothing tiny in the United States as of yet because Columbus had not even sailed the ocean blue!) of the 15th century is the Spanish carrack which at 1,000 tons becomes the standard vessel of Atlantic trade and adventure into the mid-16th century. Those would soon be trumped though by the oft-ostentatious and gilded merchant ships which needed to be roomy for cargo and strong, presumably to fend off pirates, and comfortable, for the captains and the VIP passengers working hard to secure fortunes in the East. And so it is here that we come to find people living aboard ship. For all intensive and historical purposes the sailing vessel has now turned into a floating living space out of necessity and by design! 

A replica model of the Swedish "Titanic" - the pride of the Royal Navy. The largest ship built in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century, the flagship "Vasa" included 64 large-caliber guns. The final weight was 1210 tons and construction took three years. The ship was richly decorated with carved statues of Roman emperors, Greek gods and mythical sea creatures. Lions on the bow were covered with real gold. FACT: Construction of the oak vessel required over one thousand trees and the ship features three masts and ten sails.

A replica model of the Swedish “Titanic” – the pride of the Royal Navy. The largest ship built in Sweden at the beginning of the 17th century, the flagship “Vasa” included 64 large-caliber guns (often confused visually for simple cannons). The final weight was 1210 tons (over 2 million pounds) and construction took three years. The ship was outfitted with carved statues of Roman emperors, Greek gods and mythical sea creatures. Lions on the bow were covered with real gold. FACT: Construction of the oak vessel required over one thousand trees and the ship features three masts and ten sails.

1 Wikipedia.

Part 1 of 3 on the legacy of boats to the tiny house world. Stay tuned!

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

Ready? Set? Go Tiny!

by MJ Boyle

The first step in living your tiny house dream is the dream itself…visualizing what you will need, and what you will want, and imaging all the benefits that a simpler lifestyle will bring.

The second step along your journey will involve planning and asking yourself a lot of questions. Where will you park or build it? What will it look like? How will you fit all your stuff into it?

Eventually, however, you’ll have to DO something and I think this is where a lot of tiny house enthusiasts get discouraged. Perhaps they/you think that if you don’t have all the answers for every question you have…you cannot begin building? Maybe it’s lack of money that is getting in your way. Maybe you don’t have the tools, or the expertise to build your own home.

Even if all of the above apply, in order to fulfill your tiny house dream, there will come a time to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and blaze that wonderful trail towards financial independence. And just think…someday you will fondly remember the day you finally decided to embrace your inner child, and be wildly optimistic, and move forward despite your trepidations.

OK…Ready? All Set?

trailer

My Trailer…ready and waiting for the build to start!

I started my Tiny House journey just a few months ago and I would have never imagined how far my vision would take me in such a short time. Now, that’s not to say that I haven’t hit a few bumps along the way, but my 24 foot trailer is paid for and in my driveway, the lumber is being delivered in a couple of weeks, I have all my appliances and most of the interior materials stacked around the house and garage, and my tiny house (aka “My Empty Nest”) should be dried in before the infamous Oregon Rains arrive.

Like many of you, I live paycheck to paycheck and I have debt. I don’t have any savings, and I don’t own a home. I don’t have a retirement account, and things like new tires, or car repairs, require careful planning. So, to put it mildly, the financial concept of me building a tiny house is just plain crazy. But, when I stumbled onto the concept of gaining sponsors for my build, it all clicked, and it was just the kick start I needed to get into gear.

So, even though I didn’t start with any money, I was able to move forward…,
…slowly…but forward nonetheless.

Also, like many of you, I didn’t know a lot about how to build a tiny house. I am familiar with the concepts and practices behind “normal” residential construction, but a tiny house is very different. So, I reached out via facebook, and have done hundreds of hours of internet research, and I attend monthly tiny house networking events. Now, I know the difference between a deck-over and a drop-axle trailer. I know the advantages and disadvantages of tiny houses with lofts, and those without. I have met a few movers and shakers in the tiny house world, and have a network of supportive and knowledgeable people.

I certainly don’t know it all, but I now know a lot more than I did when I started!

upholstery

Selecting upholstery fabric for my tiny, custom, living room furniture. So many choices!!

The most fun part of all of this, however, has been “putting pencil to graph paper” and sketching my design. I didn’t start with a clear vision but today I have one. I have stacks and stacks of paper in my tiny holder folder where I keep all the copies of the designs I drew, and re-drew. I listed, beside each design idea, the things I liked best; as well as those attributes that the floor plan was lacking. (no wall space, not enough windows, too many hallways) And speaking of windows, I have a list of the windows I have collected so far with their dimensions. I then numbered them, and incorporated them into my designs, cross referencing their numbers so I know which ones I have left over. (Extra windows? Who’d thunk?) I also have another list with the appliance, loft, décor, and furniture dimensions. I then check, and re-check, and then triple check; to make sure they will all fit where I want them to. (and just discovered that I have to move my kitchen window up, as well as my loft, to accommodate my vintage drainboard-style kitchen sink…sigh…)

I didn’t have money, but I had time, which I invested in researching sponsors.

I didn’t know how to build my tiny house, but my ideas really started gaining momentum when I reached out to others.

I didn’t have a clear design vision, but I started with a pencil and a piece of paper and now it’s gettin’ REAL!

tile

Ta Da! My color scheme is finally finished!

If you feel like you’re stuck in the planning stages, if you’re not able to easily answer all of the questions you have for yourself, and if you’re discouraged by seeing others move forward while you’re still visualizing…..it’s time to shake off the dust and take an active step (even if only a small one) in the right direction.

Ready?
Set?
Now GO!

“Michelle is an outgoing single mom, published author, speaker, patented inventor, blogger, craigslist stalker, enthusiastic Glamper, and Northwest native. Her interest in all-things-tiny-and-old started when she was only 12 years old when she became fascinated with a tiny abandoned farm house near her parent’s home; and she’s been sketching floor plans ever since. With pencil and graph paper in hand she’s more than ready for the next phase of her life. Her Tiny House, aptly named “My Empty Nest”, is the culmination of a life spent dreaming of a tiny reclaimed space, all her own.”

Facebook Page Link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Empty-Nest/494081560700467
Blog link: mytinyemptynest.com 

Tiny House in the Aspens

by Juana Gomez

Gently placed in a mature aspen grove among the columbines, a little mountain getaway provides year-round comfort for two families.

cabin columbines

Who knew when this little cabin was built, that Tiny House would become a Thing!

cabin porch

A couple of years later, a wrap-around deck of reclaimed wood doubled the living space.

lantern

the loft

A loft sleeps up to seven people