Cinder Box is a MicroDwelling inspired by a desire to produce a prototype for small scale living and working. The 200sf unit includes a general living space with corner sliding doors opening up to an exterior porch. There is a desk alcove for a small office, a storage closet and a bookcase that doubles as a ladder to the bed loft over the desk. As a prefabricated structure, dimensioned to be easily transported, the dwelling can be placed on any lot, as a rural cabin, or as a secondary structure on urban and suburban properties.
The exterior is clad in Japanese shou-sugi-ban style burnt wood siding. The weathered exterior massing is “cut” to expose the inner “flesh” of clear coat plywood. A steel window system set back to create a porch encloses the interior space while opening up the corner.
The design aesthetic was inspired by the dichotomy in desert life. Cacti, such as the saguaro, have rough exterior skins that can handle the intense environment while the interior plant flesh is often soft and wet, designed to hold moisture and the essentials for desert survival. The design plays on this duality with a rough burnt wood exterior contrasting the soft clear wood interior. The shou-sugi-ban provides a long term finish that doesn’t require maintenance as it is fire and rot resistant. Wabi-sabi is the Japanese aesthetic that is exemplified by the natural, simple, austere beauty in weathered materials. This raw aesthetic perfectly transposes to the Sonoran Desert’s inherent character. These diverse inspirations intersect to produce a simple and efficient design for modern living.
To help make the cinder box a reality go here
Small is Beautiful is a feature-length documentary exploring the tiny house movement. It’s a collaboration between Australian filmmaker Jeremy Beasley and Oregon native Kelly Nardo.
This is not the first documentary to focus on tiny houses, however, after exploring what was out there, Beasley saw there was a gap. He explains:
“[Most films out there] seemed to be all about the aesthetics of tiny houses. I wanted to go deeper; I wanted an understanding of why people were making this choice, and how living tiny affects people’s lives.”
As the filmmakers point out, the lower costs associated with the tiny house life (building costs are typically less than a tenth of those of an average American house, and two thirds of tiny house people have no mortgage or credit card debt) give the occupant the freedom to pursue the life they want.
Small is Beautiful focuses more on what the tiny house lifestyle enables than on the houses themselves.
The project is a work in progress (Jeremy and Kelly are crowdfunding to complete it), but already the team has collected an impressive variety of stories from tiny house people throughout Oregon.
Take Karin for example, who has chosen to live tiny because it allows her to gift medical care to people one day every week – in line with her commitment to living in a gift economy.
Or Nikki and Mitchell, who are hoping their tiny house will allow them to trade the 9-5 for a different kind of life; one where they spend their time on life-sustaining activities like growing food for themselves and their community.
Read more about the people featured in Small is Beautiful here.
We’ll be looking forward to Small is Beautiful – definitely one to watch.
by Andrew Odom
During the course of our nearly 3-year tiny house build we spent a lot of time thinking about the inside. Where would we sit? Where would the bed go? How would the kitchen work best and in what layout? But what we didn’t think about was what colors our walls would be. We never asked ourselves if the house would be too bright with our large skylight. Besides the electrical outlet placement in specific spots for things like our small computer/TV monitor, the pump for our SleepNumber bed, and the hidden plug for our iPad and iPhone charging needs, we didn’t once think about whether or not we would hang pictures anywhere or what kind of window coverings might work best for both energy efficiency and style. And I think this is fairly common in the tiny house community. Due to necessity of design so much time is spent thinking about the design and build that little energy is given to how the house will transform into a home.
The author Jane Austen once said, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” But how comfortable are we making our tiny houses? And therein lies the reason we have recently published our first Tiny r(E)volution e-Book entitled How To Decorate the Tiny House.
A 48-page digital download, How To Decorate the Tiny House is a guide for helping tiny house dwellers and small home aficionados figure out what will turn their four walls into a nest of comfort, style, and emotional well being. Complete with space-saving tips, color tricks, psychological and physiological effects of decor, and some of the best top tiny tips, How To Decorate the Tiny House is more a passion project than a task of authorship.
The motivation behind our writing the book truly came from a 2-hour online workshop we taught on the same subject. During the preparation for the workshop it became obvious that the landscape for tiny houses sort of ended with design, wood product, and space saving ideas. There was little to be found on color choices, furniture selection and placement, and even style development. Curating dozens of photos of small houses, model homes, and tiny spaces, we were able to put together a sourcebook that we think is worth far more than its $4.95 price tag. It is that guide that helps us all find our comfort in our home and the tranquility in our decor decisions.
This 100 square foot tiny house which my girlfriend and I built is now our beloved home. We live on a farm with several other tiny houses in central Texas. For the construction of our tiny house we utilized only readily accessible and simple materials, such as roofing aluminum, plywood, and dimensional lumber. All of the framing and support lumber was reclaimed from a previous project we had worked on, and the bookshelf, desk and counter top are constructed from stud, loft and floor scraps.
The floor was made from 1x12s and the walls are simply painted plywood, excluding the plywood in the kitchen, which had aged in our friends back yard and we felt would add an interesting texture to the kitchen. We were really surprised at how it turned out. As for utilities the only concession we have is electricity, we do not utilize running water or indoor plumbing. The majority of our furniture is moveable because we do like to redecorate and change things up from time to time. We have braved the hot and humid central Texas summer and so far have loved every minute of it, now that the weather is becoming cooler I can only imagine our love for tiny living will continue to grow.
Downsizing our clothing was an interesting task, I never realized how many items I never really wore. Our rule of thumb for clothing was if it has not been worn in 6 months it can probably be donated. As far as our running water and indoor plumbing “experiment” is going, we have an outhouse on the property with a plumbed toilet, and we shower at our city rec. center. A yearly membership at the center is actually cheaper than having a water bill and keeps us active.
Having to collect water for our bottles and canister is somewhat of a chore, but is still nowhere near what some people in the world have to go through to get water and we realize now how those luxuries can be over looked.
I hope you enjoy the pictures, because we sure do love our little home.