Tag Archives: RV

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I Had an Idea….

This gallery contains 2 photos.

If you have read my blog much, you know that I have stated elsewhere that I am an idea person, (this is when my daughter runs out of the room screaming, “Oh NO!”). I have not featured any ideas on … Continue reading

Gallery

Safety: Towing the Tiny House- Interview with Andy Lee

This is the second installment of the series about Safety. It will be in two parts, The first is an interview with Andy Lee, (the second part is from Bill Kastrinos of Turtle Shell Home).  I thought it would be … Continue reading

Part Three of Tiny House Safety- Roll Offs…

Part Three: Roll Offs

Well, you can’t stay hooked up to the truck forever. Even if you could, someone could easily disconnect your tiny house and steal everything you own all at once. I know, because someone did that exact thing after hurricane Katrina. All of my stuff was in a pull behind trailer my Dad gave me for my birthday, and we were visiting friends in Diamond Head Mississippi. I got a weird feeling and could not get out of there fast enough. I left behind the trailer chained to a tree and the back-est seat of my Astro van under a huge oak. The trailer was stolen, and the oak split my seat in two when it came down. Because while we were visiting OTHER friends in Sheboygan,Wisconsin, (now THERE is nice town- full of cute loft tiny houses for reasonable prices, too), Katrina happened.

Two and a half weeks after we left, the Gulf Coast was robbed of all the astounding architectural history of the last two hundred years. My daughter and I used to drive up and down the main highway next to the water and say, “I want THAT one.” I kid you not, the day we left, I was in the Gulfport Walmart, and looked out over the road to the water on the other side and said to myself, “I wonder what would happen if a Hurricane came?”

Two and a half weeks later we found out.

Did I tell you I left two and a half months before Ivan destroyed Pensacola? But that is another story. If I tell you I am antsy and feel like I gotta get out of town- RUN!

But I digress. I been thinking about roll offs.  How to prevent them? I know there are devices you can lock the trailer hitch on the back of your vehicle while in tow to prevent it from being disconnected and hooked up to someone ELSE’S vehicle. But what if you want to drive into town and leave the tiny behind? I am sure there are some products on the market, and when I see them, I will publish them here for you to use.

What I thought of, was for the person who is parking their tiny on a spot where they could place a permanent hitch sunk into concrete. The tiny could be chained to the hitch with a padlock. Another thing that could be done to prevent these roll off situations from occurring, is to build a wooden or wire cage box that would fit upside down over the top. This could even be placed on hinges and it too could be locked into position in order to prevent unauthorized unhitching of the tiny house. These boxes would look like a sort of suitcase and would be designed to fit around the hitch area, (not the entire house), to make access impossible. The suitcase lockout device would be portable.

Well I had planned to publish this one after I wrote about the towing safety issue. But since I was scooped on the subject on another tiny house site, (they say great minds think alike), I figured I would go ahead and put my two cents in, for what it is worth…

Please feel free to comment about any products on the market designed to prevent roll offs from happening.

A list, (as they come in), of links to products that will help deter roll offs:

Here is a link for wheel locks that are affordable : http://www.etrailer.com/Locks/Valley/V75712.html?feed=npn

Here is a link for a locking device that prevents hostile hookups from the business end:

https://www.rittenhouse.ca/content/images/big/Balllock.jpg

A Tiny Idea

There is no question about it- I am an idea person. I do not always have the mojo, be it technical skill, energy, or the GREEN to accomplish what I have dreamed. So while thinking about a tiny kitchen, I had an idea, (reader beware, in my house, the phrase, “I had an idea” usually sends my daughter screaming, “OH NO” from the room).

Instead of spending thousands of dollars for a wooden kitchen ensemble, or for a tiny prefab metal one, I happen to know that used restaurant stainless steel can be picked up easily for just a little bit of cash. Hand wash sinks, bar sinks complete with drain board and even sink/table combos can be purchased locally or online for very little money compared to the outlay for the more involved models, even you purchased prefab cabinetry from big box stores.

I searched online and easily found a great 24×48 stainless table on ebay for $125.  An added bonus to that price is that many of the online restaurant equipment stores ship free! A handwash sink wall mounted was about $46 at one online venue, and I suspect that used equipment is even less expensive if you search for local outlets in your town.

There are several advantages to using the stainless option. For starters, I am pretty sure that pound for pound, it would be lighter weight to haul stainless counters in your tiny on wheels than the same footage in custom wooden cabinets. Secondly, you could dramatically reduce your monetary outlay by being able to do it yourself, rather than have your builder go the custom route for you. I think a novice could most likely handle the metal tables. Another advantage of these tables is that you get a great design plus for your tiny house- inexpensive stainless countertops.

If you compare used tables to new stainless countertops, you will discover the vast difference in price- a couple hundred for the entire set up as opposed to the THOUSANDS you would spend on the counters alone.  And too, if you wanted to build in cabinets later, viola, stainless countertops are already in place!

Stainless adds to the look of spaciousness, as any reflective or shiny surface increases the feeling of largeness in design. Also, with the undersides being open, this also contributes to the feeling of increased area of the home. Some many not like the idea of the shelves being open underneath, but you cannot have everything…. A solution to this problem would be of course to hang curtains under the counters, English Country Cottage style. Square Baskets- metal weave or other type material, say wicker, would also be a way to hide your bottles and cans in the open shelf underneath.

However you personalize it, used stainless restaurant tables and sinks are a way to have a great look with a fraction of the expense of wooden cabinets. And it is repurposing an item that would definitely inhabit the land fill for a very long time.

 

 

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Tiny House Myth #1- I Cannot Do Tiny Because I Have Kids

On my weekly looong trek to the bank sans vehicle, as I am these days, a bit of the old light bulb came on over my head. Many times I have read something to the effect of, “Of course tiny houses are for singles and close couples,  as families with children would not be able to use them.” Heck, I have even stated this myself on this humble blog!

When said light bulb came on over my head, two things also occurred to me. First I said to myself, “Wow, I have never seen a halogen light bulb over my head before!,” and two, “Why the heck NOT?”

Yep, that is what I said all right, right before the IDEA hit me. OF COURSE YOU CAN- YOU JUST HAVE TO THINK OUTSIDE THE “BOX”!

You see the problem is Dear Reader, we are thinking like STICK BUILT people! We are thinking SQUARE FOOTAGE thoughts and trying to convert them to the new language of TINY. If you ask anyone they will tell you, when you learn a new language you have to think in that language!

So for your consideration, I present to you, The Pod People Concept.

The Pod People do not think about housing as a static situation, but a flowing one that changes with needs to be addressed and then reevaluated as the players age, move or needs change.  So just how would say, a family of four live as Pod People and have a Tiny on Wheels?

Lets start with the “main” tiny house, say 120 square feet. This one has two lofts, like the Slabtown Creations AnneMarie with a loft over the front porch. When the children are really tiny, they need to stay on the first floor, say on a fold out in the main “living” room that converts at night. That is after they have had a crib. Until the child moves around a lot, a cradle is convenient in a loft house. Of course the house should be child proofed and maybe a ladder that pulls completely into the loft would prevent falls from a climbing toddler.  Once the child can be safe to do so, a second tiny house is moved next to the original one. While the main home has a kitchen and full bath, the second may have only a bathroom and the future kitchen area may have desks for study and shelves for extra storage of toys and books. The second tiny could even be made to attach at a side door so the parent is as close, (no a LOT closer), than a regular house.

There is lots of room for the second tiny to become a bedroom with two lofts, and playroom and have a second bath- a luxury many larger houses enjoy. During these years of growing up, these tinies could be altered as needed to accommodate the current desires of the family. Then, when the kids are grown, this tiny house can go with the kids to college and even into beginning a career or family for themselves! A new take on empty nest. Dad pulls up stakes and takes kiddos to college in their own home! Talk about money saving convenience! I know there are considerations that would need addressed, but we are just thinking outside the box here. It is doable!

Then the family is aging. Again needs have changed, kids gone and there needs to be a caregiver for Dad, or Mom gets a job caring for another at their home. Enter the new caregiver cottage, or change it around and Dad stays in the back yard of one of the kids!

You see, the possibilities are endless if you think in POD, instead of PED, (ped- as in FEET- you know…. oh never mind).

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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….

 

 

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Hello To New Visitors, (which is just about everybody….)

Please excuse the headache inspiring twirl of experimental layouts and designs, etc.

I am trying to get this to the place I like it, and that is a work in progress, so hang on and colors and images will soon stop flashing before your eyes. I promise.

A Look Ahead… 2012

“What is inside you can get you through anything that is outside you.”

Many make New Year’s resolutions and others state what they think is going to happen in the New Year. I want to start this year with a game plan. In light of the recession, unemployment and housing crash of the last two years, I want to put forth the following for your consideration. The world will not blow up, (I hope), if you do not heed my advice, but I do hope that you will in order to be ready to face the next year in the uncertain times in which we live.

The word of the year: FLUID
1. Please lets all make it a priority to get ourselves fluid! This means that we are not so attached to worldly possessions that we are unable to make minute by minute adjustments if necessary.
2. Get out of debt.
3. Got off all forms of dependency on jobs, government or otherwise.
4. A mobile tiny house makes sense. If you can and you do not have a large family, consider it for its affordability and mobility if there should be any social unrest or natural disasters.
5. Consider having supplies on hand in case of the later. I know that in some ways that seems to contradict the “less is more” philosophy I am recommending, but if you think about it, food is more important to have than junk. The whole base of the simplicity movement is to consider what you NEED,  and I would think that food would figure prominently as such.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year! Full of Light and Love and PEACE….

 

 

 

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

A Link to a Brand New Video to Air on BBC

This may give the reader a little more clear picture of what types of dwellings we are discussing on this blog.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16348594

What IS a Tiny House?

This is the blog of a Tiny House enthusiast. I LOVE tiny houses! My Blog originated here: http://mytinyhome.blogspot.com/ which I still operate. Someone who gave me feedback about the site stated that he did not actually know what a tiny house is.  So a fitting start to this Shiny New Blog is a definition of what TINY is all about.

In light of the recent economic spiral down, people are beginning to evaluate what they really need to live well.  As housing has crept up feet wise over the last decade, housing prices have sky rocketed forcing families to over-commit themselves fiscally, physically and with their time.   Although smaller dwellings have been the way of life overseas for years, Jay Schafer re-invented tiny, American style, about 12 or so years ago.  For myself and others, it was his Tumbleweeds website that followed his trek across the country living in an 84 sq ft home, that caught my attention.

Tiny homes are built either on a regular foundation or on a trailer which can be towed behind a vehicle. Thus being used more like wooden RVs, they are most often considered as such by insurance providers and local ordinance. Given the tight restrictions placed on stick built houses, the mobile option is the only one viable for most.  This is because the roughly 50-250 square feet contained in many tiny houses is below the local codes for stick built houses to be plumbed and include a kitchen.

These houses are used for a wide variety of purposes. They become terrific vacation aids, retirement cottages, workshops, offices, “personal time” spots and full time residences for singles and couples. There are some cases where small families find them comfortable to share with a kid or two. There are medical purposes, including use as a “therapeutic” playhouse, and also for those who are sensitive to toxic emissions from treated housing materials.

As varied as the purposes these tiny homes are used for, the motive behind seeking this type of shelter also varies.  Many people are building their own from totally recycled and dumpstered materials.  Others save the money to have them built by professionals, but do so to reduce their impact on environment.  Many people do not want to continue to collect “stuff” and just want to simplify.  They are easy to clean, easy on the budget and easy to heat and cool.  They just plain make sense.

For examples of what tiny houses look like, just Google Tiny House.  Jay Schafer has Tumbleweeds, there is a company called, “Portland Alternate Dwellings” (or PAD for short), Scott of Slabtown Tinies is the very most affordable that I am currently aware of, and Dan Louche has recently brought Tiny to Florida.  Tiny Texas uses totally reclaimed materials that are fabulous, and Derek “Deek” Diedricksen, um, well, he just does what he wants. 🙂 There are endless lists of builders and most likely you will find one in your area doing something awesome if you look.  I know I left out most of them, but I hope to include a list on this page with active links for your convenience.

So there you go. You CAN downsize, reduce utilities costs, reduce waste, recycle, live sustainably avoid a mortgage, and live in a home made from the very best materials with low chemical emissions!  Whew! With all of that going for them, I believe tinies are going to be gaining in popularity for a long time…

© Annie Blair and Tiny House Wisdom. WordPress.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.