Monday, October 14, 2013

Minim House

If you have read my last few posts, you know I am thinking of building my NH tiny house with a 10' width, since I will be building it on concrete piers instead of on a trailer. The 10' width gives a more specious feel to the house and I should still be able to handle all the lumber and building by myself. I recently came across the Minim House which is slightly wider at 11'. The picture below gives an idea of the increased space. Although the many windows open up the space, I won't be installing as many, due to my cold climate.

The Minim House looks to have a roof pitch of 3/12. I plan to go with a bit steeper pitch of 9/12 for more headroom, but still safer to work on than what seems to be the standard 12/12 roof pitch for tiny houses. The Minim House does not have lofts due to the shallow roof pitch. I am thinking of building 10' high walls in my tiny house. With a loft at 7' high, this would give me about 6' of height at the peak of the loft. The picture below shows the Minim House roof pitch and the rainwater collection system. I also have rainwater collection on my list of requirements.

With a 10' width, I will need to rethink where I put the bathroom. I was originally planning to put it across the back end of the house. A 10' long bathroom would waste valuable space in a tiny house. I am now thinking of putting the bathroom across from the galley kitchen, something like this:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Northeast tiny house meet up

A cross country tiny house meet up was held today under the shadow of the Big Idaho Potato Tour giant spud.  Kristie Wolfe of Tiny House on the Prairie and Dave Raftery of Sonoma Shanty attended the event. Discussions included looking for undeveloped land in NH, off grid power, installing septic systems, insulating exterior cladding for tiny houses and the logistics of building a tiny house in Hawaii.

As many of you know, Kristie has been touring the country for the past 6 months as part of the Big Idaho Potato Tour. The tour is raising awareness and funds for the Meals on Wheels organization to feed seniors, as well as reminding everyone that the best potatoes in the world come from Idaho! Kristie gave me a tour of the inside of the giant potato. At about 30 feet long and 12 feet in diameter, this giant spud is larger than many tiny houses! There is a lot of room inside there. It is built on a steel frame, covered with foam and then a finish coat of concrete which makes up the exterior. There is a round door in the end of the potato which opens for access. I felt like I was going into a submarine!

The event was held at a senior center and a 3 piece band played for the occasion. Everyone had a great time and the weather was a beautiful early fall day in New England. And 2 tiny house enthusiasts, living 2000 miles away from each other, are now friends thanks to a big potato. It was a good day.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Barn shed tiny house

This ties into my last post about a tiny house disguised as a shed.

The door is disguised as a barn door and there are windows on only 2 sides. You can see additional pictures of this tiny house at this link.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Floor plan for tiny house disguised as a shed

In many rural places, sheds up to 200 sq ft do not require building permits. This is my current thinking of a floor plan for a 10' x 20' tiny house disguised as a shed or small barn.

All windows would have lockable shutters. The window behind the couch would be covered by 2 barn doors on the outside. A wooden ramp would placed below the barn doors to suggest that a trailer, lawn tractor or boat could be driven up and stored inside. No waste piping would protrude from underneath the tiny house, indicating that it is not being used to live in.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Nemo pictures and thoughts on a 'stealth' tiny house

A couple of weeks ago, winter storm Nemo came through with high winds and dumped 30 inches of snow on my town. At least I know that my Sonoma Shanty is pretty solid, having survived both Sandy and Nemo! Here are a few pictures of my Sonoma Shanty under a blanket of snow.

I've been thinking of how to disguise a tiny house into looking like a small barn or shed. So here is my scenario: buy some land in a fairly isolated area of the country (NH for me), no utilities, forested with only a dirt road onto the property. The tiny house would only be used for about 6 weeks of the year, a month in the summer and a week each in the spring and fall. The design would have to offer some security in the form of shutters when it is not occupied. Since most towns allow storage buildings up to a certain square footage to be built without a permit, that would be the design goal. If the tiny house looked like a small barn and had no outward signs that it was occupied, there would be less likelihood of problems with the local town. So how to make the tiny house look like a small barn / shed? Maybe have a fake 2 piece barn door that slides on tracks on the short end of the house or just opens out with hinges on the top and bottom of the outside of the doors. When the barn door is open, a picture window is exposed on that end; when the door is closed, it just looks like a small barn. Make a ramp that runs up to the fake door so it looks like you can move a tractor or boat inside. You could even have a beam with block and tackle at the roof line like old barns have to raise hay. To top it off, have a cupola on top of the roof with a weather vane! Figure out how to make best use of the fewest number of windows. (1 in kitchen, 1 small horizontal casement in bathroom, 2 in main living area, 1 upstairs in loft). All windows on ground floor would need removable, lockable shutters. The windows should let in enough light, while still not looking like a house. Don't have any pipes coming out of bottom of the house (or hide / disguise them); or just use a bucket under sink and come up with some way to drain shower. Propane line would go through the side of the house, directly to kitchen stove from outside tank. Since the tiny house / barn would be permanent, the dimensions could be 10' x 20' or 12' x 20' in size for more space than the standard 8' width for trailers. Might have to forgo the small deck off the entry door; that would make it look too much like a house.

My plan would be to spend  3 to 4 weeks on site to build the tiny house and get it weather tight. Camp out in the beginning with a tent and canopy. Move inside when the roof goes on. Get a small generator to run power tools. Build on pier blocks, with 2 or 3 main support beams. Put 6 inches of gravel under the blocks to reduce frost heaving. Build the platform and insulate underneath with 12" fiberglass. Put screening on bottom of the platform to keep out critters and maybe ply scraps around the perimeter for rain splash. Would need to cover the platform with a tarp in rainy weather until roof is on. Build the wall sections about 8 feet long so they are easy to raise. Sheath the wall sections while on the deck, so everything is square when it goes up. The entry door, with deadbolt lock, would be along one of the 20' walls. Use Sonoma Shanty framing for the top plates and the roof. Build scaffold on each side with 2x4s for roofing work. Finish inside at my leisure. Rig up solar panel and batteries for power; store them inside house when not occupied.

What do people think?