Snails Away: the Fine Art Tiny House

Crazy carpenter and compulsive customizer, Daniel Weddle, has built a tiny house on wheels so that he can pursue his dreams as a traveling musician.

Daniel Weddle’s tiny house on wheels is Snails Away: the Fiddlin’ Snail, a mobile recording studio tricked out woodcrafter style with custom rock star amenities. (The house’s name stems from a rounded roofline that was inspired by the scroll figurehead of Daniel’s violin.) With his partners, The New Hoosier Broadcasters, Daniel plans to hit the big-time playing old time folk music around the Midwest.

The house rests on an early 90s, 16-foot car trailer, which Daniel reinforced with steel. He framed the walls with 2×4 and 2×6 reclaimed wooden studs, excluding the north wall, which joins fluently with the roof to provide extra strength to the structure. Daniel chose to fully eliminate the use of plywood by implementing a framing technique called let-in bracing, whereby a diagonal support member is included in the construction of each wall frame section to prevent the shell of the fiddlin’ snail from flexing and twisting while jamming down the road at high speed. Reclaimed sine wave steel roofing panels were harvested from a local demolition project and recycled in Daniel’s home.

Daniel harvested poplar, cherry and maple from his own farm and asked his Amish neighbors to mill it for him into 3/4” car siding, which he used to sheath the exterior of the structure. White oak, red oak and cedar were added to the mix for the specially cut 5/16” interior siding – he had it milled thinner to reduce the overall weight of the mobile home. The wall is built with an efficient, ecological design in mind, known as the Rainscreen System. It works by allowing for a gap between the wood siding and a moisture-resistant air barrier applied directly to the exterior sheeting. This gap creates a capillary break, which permits healthy drainage and evaporation of accumulated moisture while keeping the house cool with the aid of improved air circulation. Daniel insulated the walls of his home with Black Mountain sheep’s wool.

Many crank-operated wooden windows adorn the walls of Snails Away, lending a spacious feeling to the home as well as providing easy access to cross ventilation in the warmer months of the year – one of the beauties of living in a mobile home is that it can be moved into the shade. Daniel handcrafted his front door using hickory harvested from his farm, which he inlaid with tempered glass.

A kitchen, bathroom, music studio, sleeping quarters and storage areas have all been expertly accounted for in a little less than 180 square feet of interior living space. The structure is about thirteen feet tall, allowing inhabitants to stand anywhere inside the house despite two split-level lofts at the anterior and posterior ends of the trailer, which are accessible via custom staircases. The overall built weight of the house is around 7500 pounds.

Daniel’s kitchen will be equipped with a large toaster oven, mini-fridge and custom-made expandable dinner table that seats up to six, while a freezer is to be accessible from the outside. A propane-fueled on-demand water heater will provide hot water to the home. Daniel also plans to use propane to heat the space in colder months along with a 3-burner stove. He chose to install a full size tub, and a composting toilet is stored outside the building, which can easily be pulled through an opening in the wall when needed.

“Like many crazy carpenters, I chose to move in before I was finished,” Daniel told me. “The kitchen and bathroom still aren’t done, but it’s just me living here right now, and it’s great – I am well-served by the space. I get to play a lot of music, and I am enjoying the mobility and the freedom to sketch out different lifestyles.” To learn more about Daniel and his artistic adventures, make sure to check out his website: Carpenter Owl.



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