Friday, May 18, 2012

Planning my shed - Part 2

The SS plans call for building an insulated platform of 2x4's with plywood on top and bottom. This platform can be fastened to a trailer or attached to three 2x6 girders which rest on concrete piers. Since my SS will be used as a shed, I don't need the insulated floors and I would rather not go with the big girders. I am thinking instead of building a platform with PT 2x6 floor joists which will rest directly on 9 concrete blocks. I'll put 5/8 ply decking on the top and leave the bottom open to breathe. This appears to be how most of the 'better' sheds are built in my area. (Some are just 2x4's on blocks.) I will put two 8x16" pavers under each concrete block. This will increase the block's footprint to distribute the load over a larger area. I can also add additional pavers to help in leveling the 'foundation'. My lot slopes about 1 foot over the 15 foot length of the SS, so it won't be too difficult to level it.

I wrote to Stephen Marshall with a few questions that I had on the roof panels. He emailed me back with answers right away. I'll explain more when I get to building my roof.

I need at least 1 window that opens in my shed. I see that Lowes has a vinyl single hung 24x38 inch window for $100. That should work for my needs. The cheapest window I saw at HD was $150.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seen on the road today

I saw this while driving to work today. Not exactly a tiny house; more of a shed on a trailer. Looks like someone was moving their backyard shed. I wonder how they got it on the trailer. I thought it was neat.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Planning my shed - Part 1

I was at Home Depot today looking at their sheds. I went inside one that was 8' x 12' - only 3 feet shorter than the Sonoma Shanty. Boy did it look small inside there! I'm glad I'll be building my Sonoma Shanty shed as a 'test bed' to get an appreciation of how much room is really inside a little house. The side walls were about 6' high in the HD shed and then the roof rafters began. The Sonoma Shanty side walls are 7' 5" high to allow extra room in the loft. For my shed, I plan to reduce the wall height to about 6' 5", since I don't need the extra height for a loft. This will make my shed 11' tall instead of 12'; I don't want my shed too tall in my backyard. My neighbor's shed is 10.5' tall, so I should be ok.

I also looked at exterior steel doors. They had a 36" x 78" six panel door for $120. I noticed that on the Sonoma Shanty plans, the rough opening height is 6' 4" for a 6' 8" door, which is incorrect. The 6' 6" door that I looked at today requires a RO height of 80.5". The reason I was looking at this, is if I reduce my wall height by a foot, I want to be sure I can fit in a standard door. I plan to put the door in one of the end walls, so it will fit. I will just raise one of the horizontal plates in the middle enough to fit a standard door in.

I looked at 3/8" Texture 1-11 for my exterior walls; it is going for $25.50 per sheet. I see it has shiplap edges on the long sides. What I'm not sure about is the triangular pieces on the top portion of each end - how do I seal the seam between the upper and lower pieces of T1-11?

Monday, May 7, 2012

So why am I interested in a Sonoma Shanty?

Eventually I would like to get some land off the beaten path in New Hampshire or Vermont and build a small cottage. A Sonoma Shanty would fit the bill nicely. If I can get away with treating it as a shed, I would build it in place. If I have to deal with zoning laws, I can build it on a trailer and tow it to my land.

In the mean time, I need to build a backyard shed to store my outdoor stuff: lawnmower, snow blower, rakes, hoses, garden supplies, etc. I plan to build a Sonoma Shanty for this shed. This will give me some building experience close to home, so I learn what things work and don't work. I can then transfer this experience in the future to my Sonoma Shanty up north. For my shed, I plan on reducing the wall height by 1 foot, so my shed doesn't look too tall.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

So what is a Sonoma Shanty?

I'm glad you asked.

A Sonoma Shanty is a small building which measures 15 feet long, 8 feet wide and 12 feet high. It was designed by Kent Griswold and Stephen Marshall to be easily built at a low cost. Since it has a floor area of 120 square feet, it is considered a shed by most building codes.

But don't let that fool you. The Sonoma Shanty was designed to be a tiny house. It could be used as a shed, a vacation cabin or a place to live. The tiny house movement is about simplifying your life, letting go of excess possessions and living with only what you really need. One result of this is downsizing the size of your house as much as possible. Many tiny houses are in the range of 90 to 150 square feet in size. Since the majority of zoning laws in the US, prohibit building houses of this size, the tiny house movement resorted to building houses on trailers, which can be moved and thus get around the zoning laws. Two of the constraints of building a house on a trailer are that it can only have a maximum width of 8.5 feet and a maximum height of 13.5 feet, so that it can be legally towed on the road. So that is where the width and height limits of the Sonoma Shanty came from.

So what can you fit inside a tiny house? This is a typical floor plan for a Sonoma Shanty.

As you can see, there is room for a small living room, a small kitchen and a small bathroom. Sleeping arrangements usually consist of a loft over the bathroom / kitchen area for a full size mattress.

Here are some examples of Sonoma Shantys which have been built.

This is an example of a Sonoma Shanty built on a trailer. This particular version is 20 feet in length.

So where do I get plans to build a Sonoma Shanty? Kent Griswold offers the plans for sale on his website. The plans show a foundation on concrete pier blocks, but it can also be built on a trailer.