Tiny House in a Landscape

Walt Barret's wood working shop

Walt Barrett, who has shared several stories about the tiny homes he has built and lived in, sent this photo of a tiny house he forgot he had. I’ll let him tell you more.

I don’t know why I never sent this photo to you a long time ago. This house is located on the lot next to mine overlooking the lake that we live on. It was built in the 1930’s by my late grandparents who are long gone. We purchased this from them in the very early 1950’s. The interior was in very bad shape and it was not insulated so we gutted it right back to the walls and I now use it for my wood working and Inventing shop. It is approximately 14′ X 20′ and I really enjoy working in it in the nice weather.

Have a great day!

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Janet - March 29, 2013 Reply

What is the siding? Is that something similar to asphalt roofing?

    Walt Barrett - March 30, 2013 Reply

    It was originally covered with tarpaper and My late Uncle upgraded it for my grandparents in the mid forties. It could very well contain asbestos in the siding, but I’m not sure.The siding is asphalt rectangular shingles. The roof is quite solid, but cosmetically it doesn’t look so good. They didn’t have any money and used 2 X 4 rafters. When you are poor you do what you have to do including living in a “Shack.” We liked to call it a cabin. If you never lived in the thirties you probably do not understand the culture. We spent most of the time being cold and hungry. It’s was not like it is today. I’m not ashamed that I grew up in the other “Shack” next door.

    negócio em 21 dias entrar - July 17, 2018 Reply

    Estou pensando no fazer no abdome.

John Woods - March 29, 2013 Reply

Walt, Do you know what is under the asphalt siding? I have seen several old homes with old asphalt siding which when removed revealed the original clapboard siding in good condition. There may be an old gem underneath or removing it might just make it easier to replace it with something new that you like.

clark - March 29, 2013 Reply

asbestos shingles.

alice h - March 29, 2013 Reply

We used to call that stuff Insulbrick. Used on all the best uptown tarpaper shacks.

Janet - March 29, 2013 Reply

Even though I’d be curious about what’s underneath, I like the asphalt shingles! In fact, I’d like to build something quite like this. Is that sway in the ridgeline something to worry about?

    billy - March 31, 2013 Reply

    yes it is. the lines should all be straight. it’s not really unsafe. it’s just old. the chimney may have settled. something had to give for it get where it’s at. now i should also add that i have seen where the ridge beam was framed with the crown down. it will have the same result. peace. billy

Patrick - March 30, 2013 Reply

I was born in the 1950’s and throughout my childhood remember seeing numerous structures dressed with faux brick asphalt siding, particularly, lakeside cottages. Of course, some of these buildings remain today. I’ve long entertained the idea of constructing a small house and cladding it in such asphalt siding, to recreate that vintage look. However, to my knowledge, there is no manufacturer now for this material. There are other faux brick overlays available today – of more durable, interlocking panels. But these simply would not recreate the look and feel of the asphalt brick siding of yesteryear. If anyone knows of a contemporary manufacturer for this vintage siding option, please post the details about it to this blog. I’d love to get my hands on some, to proceed with the building of a small, quaint-looking, faux brick cottage!

Doug - March 30, 2013 Reply

Hello all. I’ve been studying up on tiny houses for the last couple of years and I think I’m ready to take the plunge. The only thing is that I have a not so tiny home.
I own a couple pieces of property. On one of them, I have a 1200 sqft shell of a house. I used to live in it but it needed an extensive overhaul. Currently, it is completely stripped on the inside and the outside is basically finished. I’m thinking about using it for my tiny house. I’ve looked at a lot of plans but haven’t settled on any. I was wondering if any you had any suggestions. If possible, I would like to find a 3 bedroom plan being that I have a small family.

Thanks for any help!

PS. on my other property, I have an old home from the 1940s. I’m thinking of using it for reclaimed wood and such. Should I be concerned with lead paint and such?

    jamas - March 31, 2013 Reply

    Builded a smaller one inside your gutted/outside finished one.
    you would end up with a partial covered yard, double roof, ?? haven’t seen it. I can picture it, maybe the right post/beam work, maybe some walls open/windowed/shuttered or old garage doors.

    I saw a house where the whole front opened like a garage door and inside a spacious compound with various rooms that were more than likely enviro. controlled.

    So you have doors all around that you could open an close for light/air/security ? and inside your cozy bungalow.

    Walt Barrett - March 31, 2013 Reply

    You might consider dividing the home up into micro apartments and renting them out. I believe the USA is heading in that direction anyway.

      Doug - March 31, 2013 Reply

      I’m probably going to keep it at 1200 sqft because the roof line doesn’t support a lot of the “tiny house” designs. Plus, I need to large enough to fit my family of four. It will sit on 4 acres that I will setup aquaponics on.

      I’m concerned with getting the floor plan just right. I want to maximize my space without having to add on. Also, I’m a little worried about the reclaimed wood from the other house. I don’t want lead poisoning, lol.

        billy - March 31, 2013 Reply

        a lot of the fha prefab were less than 1000 sg ft. 3 bds. google “1200 sq ft house plans”. that will keep you out of mischief for awhile. peace. billy

    Henry - April 4, 2013 Reply

    I have a house almost that size and things I consider when rennovating: Seek an open floor plan where possible. This allows for flexibility as your needs within the house change. Anytime an interior wall goes up, it could be a storage wall (even a load-bearing wall can have storage between the studs). Don’t think bedrooms, think sleeping nooks separated by closet walls. If ventilation is a concern, do not extend closet walls to the ceiling. You can put doors on the nooks to give each person their own private space. For a bathroom(s) think modular–where possible, separate sink, toilet, and tub/shower areas with doors so someone can use sink or toilet while another takes a shower. This may sound strange, but it will reduce a large family’s need for multiple bathrooms.

Ryan - March 31, 2013 Reply

It seems that it isn’t really that uncommon to find older tiny houses. There were a couple of them in my area, but they were all tore down to make space for regular houses. Renting prices are skyhigh where i live and land to build on is really scarce. I remember this one tiny house in my old neighbourhood which was inhabited by this really old woman who always stood by her garden fence, watching, waiting…One day, the house dissapeared….:(

I wish i would have taken a picture, but this was long before i even knew anything about tiny houses.

I’m really glad i have found your blog because i also plan to move into a small house in the future. I’d prefer to live somewhere with a lot of trees, rather isolated and with a tiny house this dream can come true 🙂

Earl - March 31, 2013 Reply

Growing up in the 50’s, I can report that asphalt siding was common as dirt in the midwest. I mean that in both senses. Anyhow, it will deteriorate as seen here, but IF it is protecting wood siding, you might want to leave it in place to continue to protect the siding and insulate the house. The clapboard may be more aesthetically pleasing, but exposing it to the elements means all of a sudden you have another maintenance issue.

Lisa - April 1, 2013 Reply

Couldn’t you leave the asphalt siding in place and just cover it with aluminum siding? An added layer of protection and certainly improved aesthetics. Eventually, with a new metal roof, it could end up someone’s tiny home.

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