Friday, August 24, 2012

Alternatives to the traditional tiny house methods

Prefab Shed/Tiny House
I think I will be going with SIP panel homes for our first tiny house build for ease of build, and surprisingly, overall cost. I found the one on the left available through Direct Buy for $2500. Of course you have to have a membership to Direct Buy, so hat is not accessible to everyone. One manufacturer who has created a light weight, highly insulated and relatively low cost SIP is SING core panels. You can find them at and are one route I was considering for this first build. First I am working on a cost comparison from start to finish of the build.

So far the cheapest build I've seen is 8,000 for a tiny house that was built using traditional materials, some of them scavenged, reclaimed, recycled, or upcycled and that home is not finished yet. However, alternative build methods seem to be finding even cheaper ways of building a tiny home.

Pallets and Plastic $500 Tiny House
Some people have been working on building an entire tiny home out of pallets. One man and has 2 designs he's working with for that idea that he says would be free to build and can be found on his website but he is currently in a holding pattern. One would be  bit too drafty and not strong enough for my liking, the other has a bit more potential, and of course you could use the dip cloth method of dipping a material such as fishing net material, burlap, or other material that is natural fibers and has holes in it, in a sustainable, light weight cement like mix to put over the pallets, and you'd have a non traditional looking tiny home. This would not work for a tiny home on a trailer, but since the first home we'll be building will be on a cement slab in someone's back yard, I thought we would look at all alternatives.

Straw Bale Tiny House
A slightly modern looking take on the tiny pallet house is found on Lloyd's blog and pictured above: and cost $500 to make, so certainly the cheapest method. The version pictured above seems to be using some sort of plastic to make the place less drafty and more private although I believe the original was built. Unfortunatley Lloyd did not link to the original article.

Another low cost alternative method is straw bale building. Sometimes these are built by an individual, a couple or a whole community. A friend of mine is going to be setting up a trip for a group of us to go help build a sustainable farm some of her friends are working on in exchange for education on their sustainable practices a place to stay while there, and vegan meals. I may need to bring some alternative food sources to keep myself healthy while there due to my allergies, but I think it's worth a shot. I may not be able to contribute as much physically as others due to my disability, but I'm stubborn and persistent when working on projects, and I'm creative and get things done. See my food blog, if you're curious about better healthy through yumness as I like to say. More on that later. If you'd like to try living in a tiny straw bale house, check out this straw bale village:

Well there are more, but that is all the time I have for now. So expect an alternative building methods part two post in the near future as I continue investigating, planning, pricing and generally doing the prep work for our upcoming build. Please post any links to low cost tiny house building methods in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ideas I Love from Other's Tiny Homes

This video was just shared with me today by another tiny house enthusiast, and I love some of the creative ideas! Especially the "Garage Door Bed" and "Basement Bath" plus it's a cute tiny guest house with some other good ideas:

Which brought to mind other links I haven't yet shared here of other people's tiny homes which I find inspirational. I especially like the combination of useful, sustainable practices with aesthetic appeal. The following have some great information and good people willing to share their experiences:

There is of course the Tiny Tack House, which has it's own FB group: and Melissa Tack posts great 3d graphic designs for tiny house lay outs frequently which are just wonderful. If you're planning to build a tiny home, I highly recommend this page.

Then there is the Tiny r(E)volution which I've mentioned in a previous post about his podcast. Tiny r(E)volution is run by Andrew and his wife who are building their own tiny home and eventually plan to build some other tiny add ons to create a still small and beautiful space to share as a whole family. Their facebook page is here:

Andrew recently shared about some people who are new to the tiny house community, Together Simply. Of course, I love the name. You can find them on blogspot here:

I would also recommend you check out as well as and

Oh and I shouldn't neglect to mention Tiny House Design: who have a post about a tiny house builder whose tiny home on a trailer was parked behind a farm that burnt down, and thus BURNT DOWN. Tragic! So if you would like to donate towards her rebuilding her tiny home, please do so! I did, and will continue to contribute whenever I can. The tiny house community can be very supportive of each other, and that's one of the many things I love about it. Some day I will build my own tiny home and be able to commune with my fellow tiny house neighbors around the world via the internet!

And in case you just can't get enough of looking at tiny homes, don't forget the Tiny House Blog, which is not in itself so tiny. Tons of photographs, articles, and more:

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tiny Home Thought Process

Kit for Shed I think would make a great tiny home
For a few years now I've been watching people build Tiny Homes and wishing we could have one of our own. We are not quite ready to do that yet ourselves, but I am still moving forward with my investigation and planning. We ended up spending the money I was saving for tiny home living on a car. Not sure it was the best choice in my life, and maybe I'll discuss how I feel about our choices and which car we ended up with in a later post.  I am living as best I can in what we currently have, which is a large house we rent, and as if we will some day have a tiny mobile home. 

For now, I have decided to continue my pursuit of building a tiny home, and to continue my goal of building it for as low a cost as possible by doing the ground work necessary before we could build one.

At the same time, I am investigating the possible ways to help a local non profit build a tiny home for minimal cost. For now I will focus on a non-mobile tiny home, because it turns out the non profit's area does not allow for RV storage, and even tho it would look like a tiny home, or in some people's mind it would look like a shed even if it were mobile, they are not wanting to push those boundaries. They are however able to build on a concrete slab, and have the skills to build one.

The tiny house would allow them to have a separate space for the house manager to have her (or his) office and living space. I have decided a multi-phase building plan may be best for this particular situation. Step One: Build the foundation and shell. For the purpose of this blog entry, I'm only going to focus on building the structure, not it's foundation. This would actually mean we would need to build an air conditioned structure with finished windows, window screens, a door, and a finished look over all. The finished look is important in this case for the purpose of keeping neighbor appreciation & cooperation by adding to the property value rather than taking away from it.

It would have the added benefit of being a beautiful separate space for the house manager. A place to call their own, have private one on one meetings with clients or volunteers as needed, and possibly encourage clients to work towards having a tiny place of their own, while having the smallest impact on the world we live in as possible. It could also be used by the non profit to educate neighbors, friends and others about the wide variety of possibilities with tiny house living. This structure could be easily turned into an office and/or living space without cooking space or restroom either by building furniture out of free sources (such as pallets) for the cost of the hardware, or with a few trips to stores like goodwill if we chose no to finish the interior any further.

Since I've been doing the research anyway, I will post soon with a list and cost comparison between the various options I've found for tiny homes.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vacation in a tiny home?

We have a thing for visiting California. Especially the sunny southern beaches. Unfortunately,  we often find the prices do us in. So during this visit to my mom's i asked her to take us to the back bay cottages. They aren't cheap, but we have been wanting to try living in a tiny house before committing to one. This seems perfect!

They have 3 styles and sizes. Prices vary depending on what is included, size, and time of year. If we each save a couple hundred bucks we could have a relatively low cost vacation and see how we feel about tiny living. More photos and a url to come.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to feed a vegetarian.

How to Feed a Vegetarian

We are going to start having meatless mondays, and i found this article useful for how to make my vegetarian friends feel welcome.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Finding healing through food

Cure for Diabetes: The Benefits of Artichoke in Diabetes Mellitus

I would like to try these in my yard. We will see how they do. It would be interesting to see if they are helpful in my quest to live without diabetic complications while getting off pills.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Trying something new

Sorry for the long delay between posts, we had a challenging month with some hard decisions. It seems despite my desire to pare down, i am pretty caught in a web of consumerism. But more on that later.

For my birthday i asked people to try something new. Give me no gift, or if you must, something practical. They were not ready to give me nothing, so i got all practical gifts including this hammock to replace the futon we gave our friend with no bed. I much prefer this hammock to my own bed. It's more comfortable, and i sleep through the whole night!

If you are in the market for a new mattress, consider a hammock instead.