Tag Archives: green

Tiny House in your backyard? Help a friend in need!

Hello again!

It’s evening and I just spent a while going through all of the tiny house blog posts around the internet that I had missed in my tiny hiatus. I think I’m hungry for something new. Something really game changing. Anyone got any links to cool things they’ve seen lately? Be picky, I want to be inspired.

I got my wisdom teeth out last week and holy shit is that an awful experience. I still can’t eat food and my mouth still hurts like a bitch! How long does it take to recover usually? I’m on day 7 and am quite done with all this wisdom teeth nonsense. Now that I’ve had it done I’m pretty sure it’s all a hoax and a scam – your body definitely wants to keep those little guys INSIDE! I haven’t been able to move or read for a week. Ugh. Like I said when I first woke up from anesthesia, “What a bullshit!” (I have this moment – along with many other funny ones from after the procedure – on tape).

Anyway enough about me! I have some important news to share with you all on behalf of my friend Dave.

Dave and I met at Deek’s summer fun time Tiny House Summer Camp 2 years ago. Then he moved to Worcester (where I live) to build his tiny house! Then he stayed. Then he moved out of the city. For the past few months, he’s been living in a little backyard, but it’s time for a big change!

Dave lives in a nice tiny house that he built himself (I’ve seen it, it’s wonderful). He is looking for a new place to live in his tiny house. Are you interested? Would you like a nice person living in a neat little house to live in your backyard or on your land?

I can vouch for Dave being good company and totally not a nuisance. He is ideally looking to park his tiny house in New England somewhere, preferably Massachusetts, but he seems pretty flexible.

Please enjoy the two lovely photos of his house below. If you or someone you know are interested in having a tiny home on your property somehow, please get in touch with him!
You can also contact me and I’ll put you in touch, but probably emailing him is easiest.
Here’s his email address:
dave@st.germa.in

 

Cute porch! Even cuter house!

Cute porch! Even cuter house!

Off grid! Solar panels! "Bling bling".

Off grid! Solar panels! “Bling bling”.

Okay, one last thing. I learned how to set up coupon codes in my store just for you guys :) As I mentioned in my last post, I am raising money to complete the COMET by selling items in my Etsy shop Planet Queen Vintage. Every dollar you spend goes to the COMET, helping me to buy some final things like exterior paint, some photovoltaic components, and a few other things. Of course, you can always donate to the COMET over at the Donate page, but why not get something awesome and vintage in return to remind you of your incredible contribution? So, for you guys my amazing and supportive readers, you all get 15% off any purchase using the coupon code COMETCAMPER at checkout. Go use that coupon code! Do it! Thank you all you are amazing. Don’t forget, it’s COMETCAMPER  at checkout!
So if you find this blog entertaining, useful, helpful, or just kinda weird please consider getting something really cool from www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com. Thank you! I am sincerely grateful for all of you readers and you all inspire me and make me happy.

Thanks for reading and please get in touch with Dave at dave@st.germa.in if you can help him find a place to live! Thank you!

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New Video and oh hey I missed you guys!

I’m back!

What a wild trip! Just to remind you all, for the past month I was traveling around the US (car-camping in my Element, which worked out great) interviewing Tiny House people and doing tiny house stuff. In the coming months (it takes so long to edit this stuff!) you’ll see my interviews with Laura Lavoie of Life In 120 Square Feet, Dan Louche of Tiny Home Builders, Alex Pino of Tiny House Talk, Sicily of Le Petit Maison, Steve Harrell of Tiny House Swoon and Tiny House Listings, Andrew Odom of Tiny (r)Evolution, and Hari and Karl of Tiny House Family. What an awesome community of people we have! Turns out everyone lives in a tiny house for very different, unique reasons, and it was amazing to see so many people who had really found a sense of fulfillment through small living. More on all this later!

Also, Kent Griswold told me that I had a video up on YouTube, maybe some of you have already seen it? I just found out about it while I was away, and I’d love it if you guys checked it out and “liked” it if you feel like it! Here’s the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uKCnIBOhpw

I’m getting excited about Tiny House Fair in June. Matt and I have one month to complete the COMET. I anticipate 12 to 16 hour days and lots of exhausted yelling! Haha! If I’m absent for the next few weeks, you’ll know it’s just because I’m working my butt off to get this hunk of vintage metal ready for it’s big debut.

I have an article coming out in a regional magazine called Spirit of Change soon, so I’m looking forward to that.

Here’s some photos from the trip for you to look at:

At the tiny house workshop in Wilmington - Steve Harrell had this awesome sign, I want to make one now too!

At the tiny house workshop in Wilmington – Steve Harrell had this awesome sign, I want to make one now too!

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Thanks for reading! Talk to you all soon!

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I love my tiny house.

Okay, okay, so I know I’m still trying to catch up the blog with the progress in a chronological and step-by-step fashion – but I can’t help it. I love my little house (even though it’s unfinished) and I want to share what it looks like with you all at this point! So let’s look into the future-present at the most recent photos of the COMET. Give me your feedback in the comments! We’ll get back to the progress updates later – unfortunately this did not all happen overnight :)

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I'm in love with this little custom hand-made soap holder that Matt made for my kitchen. It keeps the soap off of the valuable counter space and also covers up some irreparable damage on the original back splash so that I could re-use it!

I’m in love with this little custom hand-made soap holder that Matt made for my kitchen. It keeps the soap off of the valuable counter space and also covers up some irreparable damage on the original back splash so that I could re-use it!

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Step into my office...

Step into my office…

Humanure Deposit Receptacle - With Urine Diverting Action

Humanure Deposit Receptacle – With Urine Diverting Action

My new, very modest, closet.

My new, very modest, closet.

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If my cat were in the camper that's the sunny spot she would be sleeping on!

If my cat were in the camper that’s the sunny spot she would be sleeping on!

The couch in the back is also my bed – it folds down/pulls out to be quite comfortable (awesome fabric from Sew Fine Fabrics on Etsy). You can see the Marmoleum click flooring that I used (courtesy of GreenBuildingSupply.com) and the turquoise Marmoleum sheet good countertops (which everyone mistakes for being original – which means I picked the right color!). At first I thought all the colors were a little much, but I like them now. It fits my style. I’m happy with my little fold-down desk area in the back, made out of salvaged 1950′s cracked ice Formica. We used scrap Marmoleum from the countertops to make the bathroom floor, and some panels of cork flooring from the ReStore for the kick-plates in there. The rounded piece of the counter folds up and down too, which has come in handy!

Oh, and I just updated the PHOTOS page too, with these pictures. I updated a few other pages too – check out the new “SUSTAINABILITY” page under the “ABOUT THE PROJECT” header.

Well, it’s not finished, but it’s quite homey, and I love it. I had to share. Thanks for reading!!

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TEXAS! – finding the TINY in the “everything is bigger” state

Woah, what an amazing trip.

We’ve been back for a few days, but are just getting some time to reflect/catch up now that we are snowed in for the next few days thanks to this “nemo” storm we’re experiencing in MA right now (there’s a driving ban, so we couldn’t go anywhere even if we wanted to!).

TEXAS has more TINY going on than one might think, considering it’s the state known for the slogan, “Everything is Bigger…”. We had an incredible, inspiring time hanging out with the Engineering class at the Ann Richards School in Austin. Those girls are the coolest: they love math and science, the love engineering, and they were wise beyond their years. They were so engaged with their Project Ventura, they came in on Saturday and every day after school. I was super inspired by the work these girls were doing. We learned a lot from each other! You can all go check out their blog: http://projectventura.wordpress.com/. AND, you can help them out because their KICKSTARTER has just LAUNCHED! Please, please, please support these awesome girls by donating if you possibly can – they are the next generation of great innovators. I’ll keep reminding you throughout their campaign, but why wait? Go to their project page now, and donate some $!

Me (in the pink shirt), Matt on the other side, with the ARS class.

Me (in the pink shirt), Matt on the other side, with the ARS class.

In a moment of wonderful fulfillment of life-goals and awesomeness, I also got to talk extensively to the ARS AP Environmental class about radical menstruation (a topic some of you will not be surprised to learn I am very well-versed in and passionate about). It’s an all-girls school, so they were all interested, and they asked! It was the highlight of my life – at least for that moment. I think I had a lot of those moments with the ARS girls. But seriously, I hardly ever get a chance to change awesome young ladies’ lives, but by the end of that talk no one was going to use a tampon again!

I digress! While in TX, we also visited some other inspirational tiny house innovators. We hung out with Brad Kittel at Tiny Texas Houses for more than a few hours, which was wonderful. I filmed a great interview with this visionary man, so once that’s all edited you guys can see it. We also interviewed Garrett Finney – designer of the Cricket Trailer – a personal inspiration to me and the COMET. Right in Austin city limits, we visited and spoke with Tracen Gardner, the man behind the modular tiny house company Reclaimed Space. We’re working on editing all these interviews/tours now, hopefully they will be ready soon-ish! Tiny is becoming a big deal in Texas – and these are just a few of the leaders of this movement for smarter buildings.

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Updates, Updates! Plus: Vintage Trailer Eye Candy

Hello!

I need to apologize for my lack of uploaded photos of the COMET progress from the past month. It’s so frustrating, because I really want to share them with you all, but I am having technical difficulties with the camera, alas! HOPEFULLY I can resolve the issue soon and we can get back on track!

Until then, I have some other news:

1. Just got back from a 2 day “Greenhouse Design” workshop at Yestermorrow Design/Build School, where I finalized the design of my “bumper” garden – a mini, lightweight greenhouse mounted to the back of the trailer, supported by the bumper. It was great to learn about the different material options for building a greenhouse. In order to be as lightweight as possible, I’m going to go with aluminum framing and polycarbonate  sheets – a structural panel. Can’t wait to get started on the fabrication/building of that!

Greenhouse made from recycled windows, as seen on Apartment Therapy. Such a good idea! I also thought of upcycling an old carport into a small greenhouse.

 

2. Lloyd Kahn, my favorite tiny house/alternative dwelling author, is coming out with a new book and guess what it’s all about? Campers and houseboats! yay! He recently released his Tiny House book, which had a full page spread about mobile dwellings, but I can’t wait to get a hold of this book dedicated to unique camper houses and house boats. I think it is going to be titled “Wheels and Water”. If you live in an awesome trailer or houseboat, he is looking for submissions too for the book. Head over to http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/ for more on that!

3. I’ve been on a fermentation rampage the last few weeks. Saurkraut, Curtido (Salvadorean suarkraut for papusas), and Kombucha have been filling the fridge and the dark corners of the basement. I’ve been experimenting with double fermentation of the Kombucha and have been perfecting the Curtido recipe (which is extra magical as it uses whey as part of the fermentation process). I have more Kombucha mothers than I know what to do with at this point, but it’s nice to have enough to try all different flavors with. My first batch turned into straight up vinegar, but I have been planning on using that for salad dressings and other vinegar drinks that I have recipes for from the book “Making It” by Kelley Coyne + Erik Knutzen. I will share my super affordable, DIY $5 fermentation set up and some recipes soon!

4. I’m addicted to looking at Pinterest pages that are all about vintage camper eye candy. I have 4 new ones to share with you. It’s such a high concentration of vintage camper pictures in one place, it is almost overstimulating. Each one is full of good ideas for design + storage too.

Here we are:

Trailer Parks + Trailers I LOVE!

My Vintage Trailer Restoration

Creative Camper Interiors

Fun Little Campers

Some of them have some of the same photos, but for the most part each one is worth checking out if you love vintage trailer eye candy!

I am always trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (I feel like the answer will always be “Everything”). While at Yestermorrow, I get so excited about each subject I learn about it’s like a new career path unfolds in front of me every other week! I’ll be a solar house designer, I’ll be a Greenhouse builder, I’ll be a tiny house builder or a teacher. I made use of the drafting tables at Yestermorrow while I was there and after class did some “architectural” drawings of camper designs of the future (We can all agree that most modern RV designs are terrible and tacky, right?). Maybe I’ll be an RV designer and try to usher in a new era of campers that look like old campers! While I work towards the silliest degree in the world (I think I’ve explained my major before – vintage trailer restoration and the culture of mobile dwellings?), I try to see how I can apply it to the future of our culture and the planet. Not sure where I’m going with this, but that’s okay once in a while right? One step at a time! Sorry this was a bit of a rambling paragraph.

 

Anyway, I really hope to have the camera situation fixed very soon and then I can share more COMET progress and trailer restoration how-to’s. Until then, have a lovely day! and THANK YOU for reading!

 

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Before + After: Replacing Rotten Framing in a Vintage Camper

Like I said, lot’s of catching up to do!

I’ve got to go back to 5 weeks ago and bring you all up to speed on the progress of the COMET. She was a MESS before we went to Tiny House Summer Camp, but if you saw the article on Deek’s website, you saw some pictures of what she looks more like now – less of a mess.
Anyway, here’s the first installment of catching up the website to where the COMET stands now.

BEFORE:

Some serious demolition. After stepping around the back and almost falling through the trailer floor onto the pavement 3 feet below, we decided to replace EVERYTHING. This demolition was made 10 times easier by the use of the SoniCrafter, using the plunge-cut blade to remove rotten wood to where it was solid again.

We cleaned out all of the wood-dust (used to be framing) and insulation from the floor. Under the floor, above the chassis, is a layer of sheet metal for protection. Everything had been destroyed by the termites/carpenter ants and water damage.

Daylight is never a good thing!

The photos above show where we removed the original rotted out 1 x 1 (yes, 1 x 1) framing from that rear of the trailer to halfway under the door frame. We had to remove up to the next joist after the wood became solid, so that we could have something to screw the new subfloor into. We removed the floor framing, then, using the SoniCrafter, we cut the wall studs at a line 5.5 inches above the metal trailer frame. We decided to replace the old 1 x 1 framing with a big 2 x 6, hence the 5.5″ height.

Spongey floor spots, be gone!

AFTER:

The solution was to replace the rotten frame piece with a 2 x 6, so that we were rebuilding the trailer better than it was originally built.

 

This 2 x 6 is the length of the beam we just removed and is marked to be notched out for the framing around the door frame, which we wanted to save.

We knocked it into place with a few hammer swings and it fit like a charm.

We ended up shimming a bit of this, but it fit nicely for the most part, and we didn’t have to rebuild the door frame!

Bolting the new frame piece to the chassis. The 2 x 6 is notched so the drill bit would reach the top, because it wasn’t 5.5″ long.

Somehow Matt was less excited about the new framing than I was. Thanks for the relentless help and support, could not have done this without him!

 

View from interior, all bolted in down the line.

Sistering on some new floor studs/joists.

Reframing around the wheel-well for the new subfloor.

I was a happy camper by the end of this little part of it. Next, we re-framed the entire back, raised the rear bed up 6  extra inches, re-insulated with the denim insulation, and more! More pictures of that part soon.

Oh, and all the lumber I used is FSC certified :)

As always, thanks for reading!

If you like the blog and would like to help me continue working on the COMET, please consider making a small donation over at the DONATE page of this site :) Thanks!!

 

 

 

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Lots of Catching Up to Do!

Hello Readers!!
No, I have not died or given up on the project or the blog, I am just finally, for the first time in weeks and weeks, finding a free moment to do a post. Things have been CRAZY the last few weeks, trying desperately to get the COMET in shape for Tiny House Summer Camp and then the Brattleboro KOA Vintage Trailer Rally. Basically I have not had a moment to myself since I got back from Yestermorrow on June 15th. Every single day (no lie!) for the last 6 weeks has looked a lot like this: wake up at 6 AM, be outside working on the COMET by 6:30 AM, work work work, take a 10 minute lunch break at 1, then back to work until 9 PM or sometimes later if I had to. All just to get the COMET in towable, working order (not pretty) for Tiny House Summer Camp (which was amazing) and the rally a week later. Did I mention the temperature has not gone below 95 that whole time? Needless to say, by 10 pm I was exhausted and I knew I had to put the blog writing on hold if I was going to make it up to Vermont for these two events.
I want to THANK YOU for bearing with me the last few weeks as I put the pedal to the metal with the COMET in terms of progress, and was away from the website. It was actually really good to have a deadline and serious motivation for getting certain things done, and pushing myself that hard for the last 6 weeks makes the rest of the project, what still needs to be done, look like a breeze!

Tiny House Summer Camp – this photo is so tiny!

Inside of the COMET at Tiny House Summer Camp

But now I finally have a break, and no COMET events in the very near future, so I will be doing a LOT of catching up and filling you guys in this week. Expect to see step by step how the COMET went from a carpenter ant’s palace to a real, functioning tiny home (though it still needs a lot of work, I can at least stay in it for an extended period of time comfortably). I’ll also post about Tiny House Summer Camp and the KOA Vintage Trailer Rally, both of which were huge successes for first time events, and show lots of pictures!! It’s really interesting how the COMET fits into all of these different worlds and subcultures, somewhat seamlessly. Anyway, I’ll be catching up on the website this week so check back!

Looking ahead, I am working on putting together and curating an exhibit at the Madsonian Museum of Industrial Design (in Waitsfield, VT, right near Yestermorrow Design/Build School). The exhibit is all about the designs that make up our summer vacations – think vintage picnic baskets, a plaid Thermos, canoes, swimsuits, and more. The exhibit will have a one day grand opening, with a show that includes vintage boats, cars, surfboards, a vintage swimsuit fashion show, vintage trailers, and more, followed by an exhibit in the Museum that will be up for a few months. If you have any vintage Summer Vacation items that you would like to see in a museum exhibition, get in touch! Also, if you have a vintage trailer that you would like to bring to the one-day show (or a teardrop that would fit into the museum) do get in touch! The event is scheduled for September 16th.

Besides that, there is another vintage trailer rally in Salisbury Beach, MA in October this year that I’m planning on taking the COMET to. And another Tiny House Workshop with Derek Diedricksen in November (I think the dates are 2-3) at his home in Stoughton, MA. By November the COMET will be mostly complete – solar panels, bumper garden, and all the details of a lived-in tiny home. I’m looking forward to showing a more completed version of the COMET to people. I’m always a little nervous when people see her in the construction/mid-renovation state, I feel like I have to frantically explain that she will look better when she’s done, and that she isn’t complete so don’t judge it yet!

Anyway, lots more in the coming days. I’ve missed my daily writing routine and can’t wait to get back in the habit, I have lots to share!

**And a HUGE thank you to Derek Diedricksen of relaxshacks.com for making Tiny House Summer Camp so awesome, and another huge thank you to Beverly Kenney, owner of the Brattleboro North KOA, who planned and organized a very fun, super successful weekend of vintage trailer fun. If you are ever in the area, I highly suggest camping at Brattleboro North KOA. It’s gorgeous, less than 5 minutes from the wonderful downtown Brattleboro VT, and they have a pony that lives on the premises! Oh, and the game room has a Star Trek pinball machine. We were in heaven!**

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Solar Module Placement

Hello again!

I just got some really great questions about the off-grid systems that the COMET will have, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of these infographics and design concepts I’ve been working on.

Where do you put three 185-watt solar modules on a 16 foot trailer with limited surface area?

Here are some of my ideas:

 

And how do you maximize solar collection when you are parked, and minimize drag when you are driving? See below:

 

 

I’ll post some of my rainwater collection system graphics later, which will explain how that whole thing works!

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Exterior Paint Design Concept

Good morning!

I’ve been working on some paint schemes for the exterior of the COMET. I think that because I’ll be towing it around so much in the next few months, going to Tiny House Summer Camp With Derek Diedricksen in July, and the KOA vintage trailer rally and sustainable weekend event in Brattleboro, VT, it’s really important I have the outside looking nice and giving people some info about the project.

I love the little stripe details that reference a comet in the seafoam section. I’m also going to put a seafoam colored atomic-looking comet shape behind The COMET text, to tie it all together. I still need to figure out where to put the website and other info.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Marmoleum Click flooring SketchUp model

Hello!

Yesterday I received my pallet full of goodies from the wonderful Green Building Supply. I got the UltraTouch denim insulation (which is so soft and squishy I want to make a bed out of it), lots of no-VOC paint for the interior and exterior, and my Marmoleum Click flooring! I’m really excited about the Marmoleum flooring – it’s antimicrobial, all natural, and really nice to step on. I know the flooring doesn’t go down until everything else is done, but I made up these models in SketchUp so I would know exactly how to lay out each panel (the Marmoleum I got comes in 12″ x 36″ planks).

I chose the black (“Lava”) and white (“Arabian Pearl”) because I felt like it would go with whatever color scheme (or lack there of, haha – I like to mix and match whatever I can find) I choose for the interior. I also think it’s a nice nod to the past, as many vintage campers had the classic 50′s-style black and white checkered linoleum floors. This design is a modern, updated version of those classic black and white tiles!

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Oh, and here’s a teaser for the DIY vacuum form table step-by-step DIY project, which is coming to CometCamper.wordpress.com very soon! It’s taking me a little bit to get the instructions and materials list together, because I’ve been so busy out in The COMET working every day, but a full DIY guide is on it’s way, I PROMISE!

That’s me, cutting out the frame for the plastic. Photo credit + moral support credit: Matt Carroll. Thanks, buddy!

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