Category Archives: Wisdom- (Everything Else)

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An Even Smaller House…

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I personally am looking at ideas to downsize tiny. This one is 8×8, and has a sleeping loft that runs length-wise instead of width. The kitchen and toilet areas are behind fold or swing out doors to one side. All … Continue reading

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Safe, Natural Pest Control for the Tiny Dweller

If there is one “tiny” thing we do NOT want in our small dwellings, it is pests. As we repurpose, re-use and re-package here in Florida, it is a very real possibility that we may be introducing tiny intruders along … Continue reading

About These Tiny House Types- a Letter from Brad Kittel

That, in a short time, I have engaged in conversation with leaders of the Tiny House Movement who are dreaming with me by email, is nothing short of shocking. I am a person who watches others and tries to get a feeling for the people I see. Although I cannot see these people, physically, I am “seeing” them by the words I am reading. For Dear Reader, I am nothing, if not a READER. I read nature, and intent and passion. What I see here are passionate and brilliant people.

I am learning that Tiny House people are not alike. Some tiny house builders are engineers, like Bill Kastrinos, and some are poets, as is Jim Wilkins. Jay Shafer is a scientist,  Abel Zimmerman is an artist, and Brad Kittel is a pioneer . Of course I could go on, there are philosophers, salesmen and dreamers, and each one brings a unique veiwpoint. All are craftsmen, and all are zealous about their mission. These are inspiring, wonderful people who are creating and rebuilding our country and even pointing the way for sensible living.

I tried to keep the comments in the post regarding the most important thing to consider when buying a tiny house short. I could see the passion in these builders and other knowledgeable folk, but tried to pare down the words to a terse, “juicy” tidbit. I am going to make one exception. Brad Kittel wrote to me a piece that I want to share with you and there is no “paring.” I am going to give it to you in its entirety, and I believe you will be inspired by this modern day “pioneer” as much I was when reading this.

He wrote:

“What to you is the most important stage of Tiny House construction?”

“This is a great question, as it addresses the very foundations of what we believe in. Each individual must consider the quality and cost of the materials we build with, the impact of the toxins that are used to create the materials, the out gassing released from the products for the first year or two, and the cost to the planet.  Each must calculate the resources available in terms of fuel, environment, and human energy. Each person has to evaluate the importance of values from the standpoint of physical, mental, and immune systems conditions, spiritual, political, and Earth oriented perspectives. Affecting the choices of materials and size, will be your personal goals. If you want to build a house to live in for the rest of your life, make it portable, or leave it as your legacy, then you will need to consider size and mobility.

You must take into account that importing from other countries is sending our wealth to other places. Global corporations make their profits on cheap foreign labor, resources, manufacturing, and transportation to Americans. Our money and our jobs go as well.

Buying local encourages employment. If you want to create work, hire local people to create what you want. If you want to be free from toxins, the United States is rich in pre-used American made materials, like lumber from virgin forests, or bricks from clays loaded with iron and baked hard at high temperatures. This will last for centuries, as will hardware made from the finest iron, brass, copper, and zinc that was ever mined in the United States

If you want the quality America was once known for, buy repurposed goods, instead of the foreign made items that are built-to-break. Use your hands, your minds, and your imagination, to build a house from the recycled materials from houses, buildings, and barns that already exist, and these virtually for free. You can do it without shipping across oceans, by reclaiming the 51% vintage building materials that comprise our landfills each year. This means your decision saves resources that are sorely needed. You can save 99% of the materials already mined, smelted, formed, porcelain coated, and shipped all around the country, ready to use, like a giant home depot, that is practically free for the picking.

Lets teach our children how to survive without foreign imports, cheap labor, oil products, energy waste, or toxic health issues. Lets avoid a breakdown in family, community, and the old fashioned simplicity that modern marketing has nearly extinguished. At the same time, you will also help our planet, our species, and our environment socially.  You will be thinking, not only of Tiny Houses and Pure Salvage Living Villages, but also about the kids who need to know that all the materials they need for the future, that made this country great, are still hidden before our very eyes.  At the same time, we must provide a safety net for the 76,000,000 baby boomers hitting the wall.

To be fair, I am a purist at the fringe with the elements used in my artistic world of 99% Pure Salvage Tiny Texas Houses. I have pioneered to push the envelope of what is possible. We can achieve sub zero carbon footprint, a sustainable, portable, healthy, 100+ year lifespan, with import free housing that is built entirely in America. I am biased towards my solutions. These ideas can create sustainable societies that will survive without taking, but instead give back to the local community and the entire planet. That said, and with my bias exposed, the most important thing you can do is decide what you want to be happy.  If that means making the individual decision, to do things that will benefit you, the species, your parents, friends, children, and the generations to follow, then this is what is important in the final score. Decide for yourself if sub zero carbon footprint, all natural, organic, items forged with the energy of our forefathers should be handed off to others to appreciate or thrown into the dump. Lets preserve and respect these materials that have lasted for hundreds of years.

Perhaps then decide on what you want to use to build. Consider how big, and how longlasting you want it to be. How healthy do you want to be once you move in? Environmental causes for illness are now being recognized for numerous ailments, (and that without even discussing cancer). We must see the big picture and respect the human energy, resources, and ingenuity with which we have been gifted. What our forefathers built centuries ago, without benefit of electricity or gasoline; these things can not be ignored, under valued, or forgotten. If so, we no longer deserve to be taking more from the planet. I believe that the right answer is, reuse, recycle, make it last, re-invent, reconstruct, pass it along, and never ever throw it away until there is nothing left to save.

I have proven solutions are easily within reach, and no one else has to strive to prove these ideals are possible. Now the trick is to let everyone know there is an alternative. The only cost is in human energy, imagination, ingenuity, community, and many other qualities we have an abundance of inAmerica. Best of all, if we join together, this passion is a fuel for hope. We will find self sufficiency; self respect, freedom from debt, and a way out of the rat race when we arrive at the end. It is at this time when we need a tiny resting spot the most. Thank you for being part of the dialogue about Tiny Houses. I hope my vision for a Pure Salvage Living Movement  will make solutions possible, even faster and for more people.”

Brad Kittel
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This Was an Awesome Interview

I had to share this interview with my readers, in case you did not catch it. Awesome and hysterical! TWAAIBYMFDAOFD- (This Was An Awesome Interview With My Friend Drew And My Other Friend Deek!). http://www.tinyrevolution.us/2012/01/23/humble-homes-simple-shacks-cozy-cottages-ramshackle-retreats-funky-forts-the-book-review/

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A Mountain “Bridge” House

This story “ain’t” never gonna be finished, nor could it be… If you ever wondered why the, “Smokies,” are so called, it becomes obvious standing on the side of a holler at the break of day. As the sun kisses … Continue reading

The Most Important Stage of Building a Tiny Home

An Idea in Blogging- Tiny House Interactive

As I consider my own tiny house, dreaming, (and waiting for the funds), I have many questions.  I think likely these questions are what OTHER tiny house dreamers are wanting to know, too.

I wrote about 20 or so of the leading Tiny House Builders, (as well as other knowledgeable people), and I have a few more in mind to contact. Rather than wait until each one responds, lets have an ongoing compendium, just for fun. I will update this as the comments come in, in order, with the most recent at the top. Readers can comment at the end in the appropriate section, as well.  The info coming in is astounding! So without further ado:  I posed this question:

“What to you is the most important stage of Tiny House construction?”

20. Steven Harrell:  “The most important part of a tiny house’s construction is before it starts in the planning stage. Selecting the layout, determining where materials will come from, how many reclaimed materials, (if any), will be used, determining the location for building the tiny house and lining up the people that will be assisting in the tiny house’s construction.”                                                                 -www.tinyhouselistings.com

19. Laura M. LaVoie:  “For me, the most important stage of tiny house construction was actually starting it! It was a little terrifying, but we couldn’t plan it forever – eventually we just had to break ground and start.”                              –http://120squarefeet.blogspot.com/

18. Macy Miller:  “I would say ‘ACTION’ is the most important part. Mistakes will be made at all phases, don’t be discouraged, keep going forward and keep ‘doing’.”      -www.minimotives.com

17. Christopher Smith and Merete Mueller:  “I would say that the most crucial part of building a Tiny House is choosing a design and sourcing materials that reflect your values and style.”
www.tiny-themovie.com

16. Kent Griswold:  “I think it is a decision to simplify your life. You need to be able to get rid of the things that clutter your life and figure out what you really need to live and be happy. You also need to see if you can live in that small of a space, so it is necessary to try it out.  Create a space in your current home and try living in that space for a while.  Or go on a vacation and stay in a cabin or something of similar size.  Anticipate changes that may come to your life and work through them.  If possible, get rid of debt and only pay cash up front so you are not tied down to a mortgage or loan.”                                                                         -www.tinyhouseblog.com

15.  Dan Louche: “Planning is definitely the most critical step.  Without proper planning you can waste a lot of money, time and then perhaps not even end up with what you had envisioned.  Anyone considering building a tiny house should spend the time up front to plan everything out to save themselves a lot of trouble.      -www.tinyhomebuilders.com

14.  Michael Veil:  “The most important thing in building a tiny home, is preparing it for your climate zone. I am in New England and the temps can be brutal. I heavily insulated the roof and walls with R13 insulation, and used expensive foam for the floor. Its easy to change some things once you’ve built, but insulation is not one of them. You must take the time to silicone and caulk all cracks and voids if you want to keep it warm-or cool with little effort.  An opening window is the best way to clear cooking odors or to just get some fresh air.”                                 -michigan-mike

13.  Jim Wilkins: “The most crucial piece is the process; communication, known expectations, documented specifications and build plans. A good, well drawn set of plans goes a long way towards getting what someone wanted, and yet leaves a lot of room for,  unexpected “surprizes.” The carefully thought out plans connect specifications with the process of building which become a living document that communicates the spirit of the “build.””                                                       -www.tinygreencabins.com

12. Bill Kastrinos: “(Whether stationary or trailer), the foundation is the most important aspect, including how the house will be attached. The trailer IS the foundation, and how it is attached is critical. Best to involve an engineer in either case. Tiny houses weigh more than RVs, so the simple bolt through is not enough. The design of the floor, the rodent shield, and the attachment to the trailer is very important. A house going down the road at highway speeds, into heavy winds, hitting a large pothole, you can quickly get 2 or 3  gs force applied to the hold downs. So that means a 7000# house now weighs 21000#(7000x3g)! Get at least ( 4) 10,000# simpson mst straps welded to the trailer, AND attached to the studs or corners of the house.”                                                              -www.tortoiseshellhomes.com

11. Ethan Waldman: “I’d have to say: Design,” (Ethan’s Fireman rescue window is pretty vital too).  -www.thetinyhouse.net

10. Jay Schafer: “A tiny house would be particularly vulnerable to condensation problems if you didn’t use the right insulation, venting and/or vapor barrier. ”     -www.tumbleweedhouses.com

9. Stephen Marshal: “Deciding if you want your house to be primarily nomadic or stationary is a crucial consideration. If it is to be roadworthy it needs to be trim and not too tall. If it is to stay in one place for a year or more, you have the freedom to design a wide load that will require a permit to travel. Stationary houses that will be moved occasionally, can be taller, heavier, and designed with comfort over speed in mind. Give thought to what level of mobility you need.”     -www.littlehouseonthetrailer.com

8. Andy Lee:  “The most important thing is for you to have the right attitude. Can you really live in one of these things? Knowing what you want to accomplish is the first step. Do the research, talk to the people who have built them and are living in them and see what worked for them and what didn’t. There are maybe a hundred questions you will want to answer before you begin. Adopting the right frame of mind and doing that initial planning are two of the most important things to begin.” -www.myandylee.com

7. Abel Zyl Zimmerman: “For any tiny house that is meant for fulltime living– determining its relationship, (impact), to zoning and utilities where you site it! For some this is easy, but for others it is a deal-breaker.”    -www.zylvardos.com

6. Alex Pino: “The most important step if you are just starting is to shed as much of your stuff as possible. Pare down to what you really love because that’s all that will fit and you don’t want to worry about owning and storing the rest.”           -www.tinyhousetalk.com

5. Lloyd Kahn: “I don’t think you can designate any one step as more important than all the others. I’d say a number of things are critical, like a good plan, sensible design, solid foundation, good craftsmanship, roof leak-tight, etc.”             – Author of “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” http://www.Shelterpub.com

4. Tammy Strobel: “We didn’t build our tiny house, we hired someone to do the construction for us. So I would say the most important part in the process was designing our little home. It’s a crucial step because the space is so small.”                   – http://www.rowdykittens.com

3. Andrew Odom:  “The most important step – the most crucial, if you will –  to building a tiny house is preparing yourself mentally for the process of downsizing and maintaining a minimal lifestyle. Most anyone can construct a house. But preparing oneself for the psychological, emotional, and physical transitions is what is truly the most crucial step.” – http://www.tinyrevolution.us

2. Kevin Coy:  “Commitment. Commit to your project and  take “no” or “I can’t” out of your vocabulary. Failure does not exist unless you quit. Be a solution minded person. There are no problems only opportunities.”  -K                                                                            -http://kevinsmicrohomestead.wordpress.com/

1. Derek “Deek” Diedrickson:  “The most crucial step? Having the materials! No, while that is imperative, and assuming that one has the money or materials for said project, its really the planning phases, before, and often during (when confronted with a problem or when caught in a carpentry bind that you need to work around) a build, that are the most important. Poor planning will result in wasted, time, energy, materials, and often makes for a lousier end product. Planning, and even just thinking things out in your head before you make a move, might be a pain, but its truly important. ” – Author:
“Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts: And Whatever  the Heck Else We Could Squeeze in Here”   Available on Amazon.                               – http://www.relaxshacks.com

Thanks to everyone for participating! These are excellent responses. Every bit of it is useful and will help those of us as we think about building our tiny houses.

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Thanks for 1,000 Clicks in the First Three Weeks!

News about my blog and coming articles, and general TINY housekeeping…. Thanks to all who have visited my blog! I apologize for the “tiny” brag, but I am shocked that this blog received aprox. 1,000 hits in its first three … Continue reading

HOT OFF THE PRESS! Book Review!

TINY HOMES: SIMPLE SHELTER, by Lloyd Kahn  is soon to be available. I was asked to write a review, (I am sure I am not the only one), and it will be out in the next few hours. So stay tuned and I will have this out for you as soon as my little fingers can type….

A teaser quote, “Clocks are useless here…”

It is GORGEOUS folks!

Annie

Coming SOON- Tiny House Myth # 2: I Can’t Live Without My Stuff!

Yes Dear Reader, I am writing another installment to the Tiny House Myth series. This time I will investigate the question, “Can I live without my stuff?”

I will get comments from a couple of surprise guests about whether they are living well in their tiny houses without all the “stuff”.

So stay tuned! This article should be ready in a day or two.  In the meantime, take a look around and check out my site!

 

Annie, (is IN the loft).

Taking Some Time, Creativity and a Tiny Rant…

Here at the start of a brand new shiny year, I am poised for what ever comes next. and also taking a little bit of reflective time. I have not truly updated this with any new material for a couple of days, as yesterday I was tweaking the functionality of  this blog that I started as an extension of sister site, mytinyhome.blogspot.com.

I usually start a new year, not by making resolutions, (I see no point in those), but rather by listening. I like to be quiet and form an impression regarding the direction the wind is blowing. So my blog has not really been tended to properly for that reason.

And that dear reader, to me is all about downsizing. When we are caught up in a whirl of meetings, deadlines, schedules and such, there is no time to just reflect and use one’s sensibilities. I do have a goal for this year: simplify. I would love to see my, “bottom line” reduced dramatically. I am tired of the obeisance to Gulf Power, Ma Bell and the Gas company.

And now for the daily RANT!

Ok, Ok, I don’t believe I have ever RANTED on here before, but I feel one coming on. Let me say though, that I am striving to keep both of my blogs free from political input. I do not want for people learning about tiny houses to get the impression that everyone has to feel a certain way about the environment, or the economy, or have a particular political view. I personally come from an artistic, creative, and cant-throw-anything-away, stance. One of my early memories was of me taking the beads out of a bead necklace kit and instead of following the directions, (DIRECTIONS? Are you KIDDING ME?), and making a necklace, I glued the beads on tiny boxes in flower patterns that delighted me.  So all these pieces of things laying around my moderately tiny home need to find a new home or else I just need to go ahead and do all those projects swirling around in my head.

BACK TO THE RANT:

I have decided that I am mad at Career Builder! Take THAT Career Builder! The state of the economy is all YOUR fault! Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for ingenuity. I think that I carefully place everything in the recycle bin instead of the trash can, just because I am so impressed with the folks making cool things out of milk cartons and soda bottles. How is that for American ingenuity? Say WHAT? You have an awesome growing business making cool stuff from JUNK? Awesome. I love it. Ben Franklin loves it. He would make a new proverb just for you today if he were here. But Career Builder I think is responsible for the separating of jobs from those who need them. This disaster was further careened off course by the fact that many jobs can now only be found ONLINE.

Think about it. One day a guy said, “hmmmm,” I think I can make money if I get all of the people who have jobs to have to come to me to advertise. Then, all of the people who need jobs will also find it necessary to use my service! I will make them pay for things like a bank charges fees for things that are really free, and I can make them have to come to my website to find those groovy jobs I tout.”

That man was evil. I don’t know if he realizes it or if he even cares, but now HE has become the owner of the jobs and HE brokers them! The result of this type of business, (people selling things that do not need to be sold), have pushed the job seeking arena further and further into cyberspace that now a person HAS to apply for a vast majority of jobs online. GONE is the personal interview between the nice old man and the fresh out of college nervous wanna be. GONE are the days when the nice old man sees a spark of something he likes in the applicant that makes him want to give the young person a chance. GONE are the days that you can get a job right out of college with a handshake. Now you filter down to the bottom of a virtual application holding pool that only promotes people with a certain number of years of experience. No one else is even seen as they sink downward watching undulating figures in the bright light of the surface and the net is lowered to scoop only those who come up on a SEARCH ENGINE. Two years and thousands of dollars wasted getting the degree for a job you cannot get because the numbers in your online application do not attract the fishing hook lowered by the Human Resources Specialist.

And that, my friend is why America is jobless. Yes I love SIMPLIFYING. Yes I love the businesses that have as raw material that which came from recycled trash. Yes I love repuposing. Because we are still a scrappy bunch that is going to make it through. We just will have to get rid of some stuff….

 

 

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