Chase and I are going to be moving our tiny house this October, before the winter sets in. So this month we’ve been focusing on finishing the siding, and reinforcing the structure as much as possible to roll about five miles down the road.
Things are coming together well. We have a huge mattress in the loft and a new inverter to replace the old, LOUD inverter we were initially using. There are still some small-scale painting projects inside the house that I am hoping to finish this month (painting two window sills, and staining the beams above the wood stove). Chase scored the siding we’re using from an old barn built in 1810. He’s almost done putting it on and framing everything out (pics to come!). After that the only things left to do are put a clear stain on the house and finish the porch – but that can wait until after we move.
Moving can be stressful, but I am really excited!
You can see my first post about the start of construction on my tiny house here.
Chase began construction on my tiny house in August of 2013. His friends Jimmy and Brian helped, and we had other friends who came to visit and help out with carpentry, insulation, and painting when they could. My former landlord donated some old wood from her 281 year old Colonial Dutch house that we used to make shelving in my kitchen. The house was finished enough for me to occupy four months later (January 2014).
Little did we know that winter would be the coldest winter on record in the northeastern United States. We had a lot of snow and temperatures remained below zero with frigid wind chills for weeks straight. Schools had to close down well beyond their allotted “snow days” for the year. And I was in my tiny house by myself for a large part of that time.
I can’t express enough the importance of good insulation and an efficient wood stove. Those two things brought me through the worst winter in memory. Our friend Carin had saved rigid foam insulation left over from a kitchen remodeling project, and with that we were able to insulate almost 90% of my tiny home!
My wood stove is from Morso – their smallest model, the Squirrel 1410 – and it was invaluable. Due to Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, many of my friends who were property owners had fallen, dead trees on their land that were well seasoned – they just needed to be cut and moved. Chase and his friends cut the rounds for me, and I quickly learned how to split them, and how to bank my stove so I stayed toasty at night (and the house held the heat during the day while I was at work).
My water and electric system are very simple. Chase set up a gravity fed water system with a holding tank. At present I still use a pressure tank and pump, but I am hoping that, in the coming year, we can simplify the system even more. I’m completely off-grid. I use a compost toilet for all waste. My tiny house is run on a d/c system powered by one solar panel and, in the beginning, we used an old inverter that Chase’s friend Brian found in his shed so that I could charge a/c electronics like my phone and laptop.
The layout of my tiny house includes a back room (“guest room”) and for that winter it was the storage space for everything I’d tackle in the spring. I kept my old daybed wood frame back there and decided to put the mattress up in the sleeping loft for the winter (I’d upgrade to a larger mattress the following spring).
Winter 2013 was rough, but inside my tiny house it was nice and cozy.
Updated pictures on the finished tiny house coming soon …
I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’ve wanted to build a tiny home for quite some time. My boyfriend Chase and I had many drafts of the type of small cottage we wanted to build, but then we happened upon a picture from Jay Shafer’s The Small House Book, and it inspired us to create our own plans for a tiny house on wheels. A house that was mobile and could not, in theory, be taxed because it was not a permanent structure was very appealing. Through our local Transition Town group we connected with a small scale commercial farmer who was open to the idea of land leasing. The farmer was looking for help to ease financial burdens and needed help with the neglected property. He liked Chase’s ideas for using the land to try out various permaculture techniques and the idea of land leasing. The farmer had an old RV rusting away on his property and so we agreed to do a work exchange for it- replacing his barn roof in exchange for the RV to customize. The farmer agreed to let us use his fields and build our tiny house on his land in exchange for help towards his yearly taxes in the form of low monthly rent.
Chase began building the off-grid tiny house in September with the help of two friends who had built houses in the past. The fact that this house would be completely off-grid was exciting to all of us involved and, through the help of our local Transition Town, we met others who were inspired by our project and helped by donating materials and encouragement.
Below are pictures of the initial stages:
More pictures to come …