Tag Archives: Tiny House

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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Where have I been? What’s going on?

Where have I been?
It’s a good question! I’ve been really busy the past two months, but haven’t made a ton of progress on the COMET. Other vintage camper people out there, have you ever tried polishing the pitted, foggy aluminum back up to a mirror finish? It takes forever! It also requires a large angle grinder, which I’m embarrassed to say I can’t really lift up in the first place (so it becomes Matt’s job). We’ve been working on it little by little, but it takes many hours and is a crappy job. It’s the one thing standing in between me and a beautiful exterior paint job (also Matt’s forte because he used to do fancy pin striping and decals on cars).

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION ALERT:
www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com
The reason I have been so busy is because I really need money to complete the COMET and I had to put a lot of time and energy into my Etsy shop, where I sell awesome vintage clothing. My shop is called Planet Queen Vintage (based on the T Rex song but also referencing awesome ladies that do cool stuff to positively impact the planet) and I would be so grateful if you guys took a minute to check out all the new stuff and hard work I’ve been putting into the shop the past few months. I added 100+ new items, took better photographs, and increased the overall awesomeness content. Bet you guys didn’t know I run a business on the side in addition to the COMET?! Vintage fashion is my secret weakness ( and vintage furniture, and sunglasses, and campers). All of the profits from the shop right now go DIRECTLY (like, every penny) into finishing the COMET. If you see something you like and decide to buy it, you will be helping me buy some non-toxic exterior paint, some photovoltaic components, and some other little things needed to complete this project. Take a look even if it’s just to give me a critique on the shop, I’d appreciate that too! If you see stuff you like, you can check back often because I add multiple new items every morning. Thank you nice readers!
www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com

Over the summer, after the Tiny House Fair, I found myself really struggling to figure out where I fit in (me and the COMET both). What am I doing with this? Am I making a difference? I wasn’t really sure if I fit in with tiny house movement, after getting those discouraging comments (yes, I know the COMET isn’t a cedar sided 6-12 pitch roof home on wheels – who said it had to be? and yes, I know there are not yet solar panels on the top, its’ not finished!). I started getting frustrated and questioning my work and my whole life really (uh oh). Am I just another over privileged college kid doling out sermons about things I can’t possibly be know all the answers to (life lessons, how to be greener, how to be happy)? Do my blog posts and carefully curated photographs add to the fetishization of simple lifestyles that I’m finding make me more and more uncomfortable? Are tiny houses just becoming another commodity for consumers to purchase and own in addition to their “big” homes? It sounds kind of negative, but I just had to reflect on what I was doing and why, and how to be more honest with you guys and myself, and accept the limits to what myself and the COMET can accomplish. We’re not perfect, and that’s a hard thing to admit. I have to tow the camper with a gas guzzling truck, so is that trade off worth it? I want to educate people about sustainability in a fun, hands-on way with the COMET, but at the same time in order to spread the word and talk to all of these wonderful people I have to use a fossil fuel burning machine. There are lots of contradictions, I just have to be able to articulate them and then wait to see if a reconciliation can ever be reached.
On another note, I have been receiving lots of nice notes / messages from all of you, and I want to say that if I haven’t responded yet it is truthfully only because I want to give each and every response the time and energy it deserves. Sometimes that means it takes me a while to get back to your messages and emails, but I honestly appreciate and love each and every time someone takes a moment to email me. Let me know what you’re up to, ask a question, give me some feedback. I will respond, I just want to be able to give my full attention to all of your awesome inquiries. Keep ‘em coming! Thank you everyone for reading along with this journey that is WAY longer and WAY more complex than I thought it would be!! You all keep me going with every comment and email message I receive. You remind me why I have to stick out the difficult parts (angle grinding / polishing) so that I can do the awesome parts (meeting you all on the road, talking to you, and sharing camper stories!).

I also watched “Chasing Ice” the other day, and it filled me with urgency and purpose. It’s a very good documentary.

The past few months Matt’s been getting excited about survival techniques and survivalist skills – which is really awesome because we’ve been making lots of fires from scratch and improving our fire cooking cast-iron skillet skills. We’ve been talking a bit about the similarities and differences between “Survivalist” an “Sustainability” movements. I think after living out of the Honda Element car for two months in the spring we both just got into “survivalist” mode, and even though we’re back in the city currently we still like to do all the stuff we do when we’re camping for a long period of time.

I want to share some cool links with you all that I’ve been collecting the last few weeks, check them out if you have a moment:

This first one is a really awesome interview from the Etsy blog from a while ago. The interviewee is Frankie Moore Lappe, author of “Diet for a Small Planet”. She hits the nail on the head in talking about the problem with how we currently frame sustainability with language and diction like “reduce”, “avoid”, “limits”, “minimalize”. I’ll let you guys read the article then maybe I’ll post the essay I wrote two years ago about the problematic language of the sustainability movement so you can see the similarities + differences.

https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/an-interview-with-frances-moore-lappe/#comment-880359

The next link is to a video of a guy’s conversion van (Sprinter) that I think is pretty neat. The one thing I don’t understand is having a toilet. I lived out of a car for months and I never once missed a toilet (THANK YOU P-STYLE FEMININE DIVERTER!) and I think it would make your living space more unpleasant than pleasant. Other than that, it has some neat ideas. Theoretically, I am sort of getting over the “squeeze as much into the tiny mobile thing as you possibly can” idea, but it’s cool nonetheless. I’m really into the mint green paint job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR0-Y5nHvQ8

Also, the amazing Robin Hayes from Build Tiny (http://build-tiny.com/) is hosting a workshop soon (October 10-13) in VA and you all should check it out. Robin is a really inspiring lady who I have met at multiple workshops all over the place. She is a carpenter, plumber, doer, maker, and all around amazing person to learn from. Everyone loves her and her skill and energy are sure to give you the start you need to get your tiny house or other building project on track. Also, dear friends Dee Williams and Lee Pera (Boneyard Studios) will be there helping out, and you need to meet these incredible, smart, (dare I day gorgeous?!) ladies. You won’t regret it!

http://build-tiny.com/ for more details.

Last thing:
I’m writing a book.
There. I said it out loud. Now I really have to do it.

I seriously wanted to steal this sign from Steve Harrell's house (tiny house listings, tiny house vacations). I'll have to paint one myself!

I seriously wanted to steal this sign from Steve Harrell’s house (tiny house listings, tiny house vacations). I’ll have to paint one myself!

love you all, keep me updated with your cool projects and thank you for reading as always

<3 Mariah

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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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Neon Victorian Tiny House (that’s right, NEON PINK)

Finally! Finally I have found a picture of one of my favorite tiny houses! I have walked by this little gem a hundred times, and I always forget exactly where it was or how to find it as if it was only a dream. But no, it’s real. It’s located in Newport RI (my parents have a trailer in Newport on a beach – the whole trailer thing sort of runs in the family) so I’ve seen it in real life and it always makes me swoon. It’s so detailed – from the colored shingles to the gorgeous bay window out front. Next time I’m in Newport I’ll take some detail photos, but for now feast your eyes and be inspired by this house. More tiny houses should be painted these colors…in my opinion. Death to boring houses!

neon victorian house

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A New Year, and a Winter Small Space Experiment

I can’t believe it’s been one year since I first launched cometcamper.wordpress.com, and since the COMET began to come to life after years of imagineering prior. I’m so grateful for all the help I’ve had along the way (yay, sponsors!) and all of the amazing people I have met as a result of the many places the COMET takes me.

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Now that it’s January, winter has officially arrived in Massachusetts. There’s a  few feet of snow on the ground, and it’s not going anywhere for a while. Confession time: I really wanted to live in the COMET over the winter this year, but I couldn’t get her weatherproofed in time. The hole in the wall where the fridge will end up going has a large vent, and without the fridge installed it was like sleeping outside! It ended up getting too chilly, and until I seal up the cracks and insulate the vents and install the fridge (and find an acceptable heat source) sadly I will not be sleeping in the COMET this winter. However, I took this opportunity to try on another tiny space living situation for fun and to see what I can learn from it.

While I’m not living in the COMET, I’ll be living in a tiny closet under the stairs in a collective house. The “room” is about the size of a twin bed, but the previous dweller made such good use of the space that it feels cozy, not cramped. There’s a bed on a platform so I can store things underneath. There are two drawers installed directly into the wall as built-ins at the foot of the bed. There is a desk that nests in the wall and unfolds when you need it, and the bed becomes your desk seat. She even installed a nifty bookcase tower. There’s also a tiny window on an exterior wall, so you can see outside and get some fresh air. I will have to post some pictures!

I enjoy living collectively and am looking forward to seeing how effective collective  and shared space can be. When you live in the closet, you spend time in the shared space more than someone in their own larger room. I anticipate making good use of the shared library and other common spaces. I wonder how a collective house of many tiny closet-sized rooms would function, if the collective space was ample? Something to think about! Anyway, it’s interesting to see how multi-functional a single room can be, and how comfortable a closet can be when it’s so efficiently and elegantly designed.

 

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Found: Tiny Retro Tube House

If I’m going to build a tiny house (which I will as soon as living in a trailer gets too silly and I need to have a shower), it is most definitely going to be something totally weird. Something retro-futuristic, or something space-age, or something unrecognizable as a house. Maybe like a big unicorn that I live in? Who knows. But I love odd, unique houses…that’s where I’m going with this.

I just came across these awesome vintage house/cabin plans on Etsy. It’s like a tiny tube house and I think it has loads of potential. I love it! So here’s our retro tiny house inspiration for the day:

 

 

These plans are available from the Etsy store RetroHut here. Has anyone out there built anything like this? Or this exact cabin? I’d love to hear about it in the comments. And if you have any of your own retro, vintage, or space-age tiny houses you’d like to share, send me an email and I’ll be happy to post ‘em up!

Oh, and happy Turkey day, gobble gobble!

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Tiny House Design Build Recap, and Looking Ahead

I can’t believe it’s fall, for real it’s fall!

In Vermont, the leaves went from barely changed last week when I was there building a tiny house, to almost all fallen this past weekend when I was at Yestermorrow taking my final Sustainable Design/Build Certificate course, Super Insulation for Zero Energy Buildings. Got me thinking about building a super insulated tiny house. Tiny houses already use so little energy to heat (or cool, depending on where you are), but super insulation would be a great option for a tiny house that was on a foundation. Why spend money on heating fuel if you didn’t have to by designing your home this way? Very interesting stuff.

 

So here are a few more photos of the tiny house build at Yestermorrow from last week. I’m not going to go into great detail about how we built the house, because I still have so much to catch up on writing about the COMET’s progress and other things, but please ask questions if you have some burning things you want to know! Now I can officially say I’ve built a tiny house on wheels.

 

You can see the 4 x 4 supports that hold the house together and form the framing of the loft floor. TerraNova, the lovely lady from Boston that I met at the workshop, and hopefully a longtime tiny house buddy, is problem solving.

Here you can really see the loft framing and spacing of the 4 x 4s.

The rafters are up, and the gable ends are on. While people were working on the roof, I was on my back underneath the trailer, under both axles (yes, I was terrified) screwing the house into the trailer. But I’m used to rolling around under the chassis of a trailer, so I volunteered!

That’s me, in the pink scarf, scared to death nailing in the roof while Terra holds me up on the scaffolding. Thanks Terra!

We put on as much siding as we could by the end of the last day. We had installed all windows, all trim, decking on the porch, and a few other details. I think much of the exterior trim/siding was salvaged from Detroit.

What an awesome team! We did it! By the end of the day, we were all ready to eat some pizza baked in the earth-oven next to the Quonset hut.

Thanks Timothy for all of these pictures!

 

Me with the tiny house, in my famous Ritz crackers sweater. Everyone called me “Ritz” for two weeks. Photo courtesy of Swan Moon.

 

And there you have it! 10 people built a tiny house in 10 days. After the class, the instructors finished up the siding and now the house is set to go back to Detroit to it’s new owner.

 

I’m doing a segment for spaces.tv this weekend, which I am super excited about and SUPER busy getting ready for. The COMET will look pretty rad by then, and then I think I’ll do some sort of unveiling (it’s not done, and won’t be till November 2 – Tiny House Workshop with Deek in Boston – but it’s looking pretty good!).

Thanks to everyone to continued support and thank you for reading along!

 

 

 

 

 

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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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New Event Added to Events + Appearances, and a call for vintage campers + Tiny Housers

Hey everybody!

I mentioned about a week ago that I was planning, in conjunction with the Brattleboro, VT KOA (Kampground of America), a vintage trailer + tiny house rally/event for the weekend of July 20-22. I’ve added the event to the Events + Appearances page of this website, so check out full details there!

In celebration of their 40th anniversary, the KOA of Brattleboro, Vermont is hosting a rally/event to honor vintage campers (and any other unique mobile dwellings). We are looking for vintage campers, tiny houses on wheels, gypsy caravans, custom buses/vans, and any other unique dwelling on wheels that could fit into a campsite to attend the rally and display their camper/etc. Enthusiasts are also welcome! Bring your restoration, your custom caravan, or your vintage vehicle. There will be many interesting one-of-a-kind mobile dwellings, and the weekend will be full of cool caravans of all kinds. Please get in touch with me (via the CONTACT page) if you are interested in attending with your little home on wheels. Those who display their camper (or any other vehicle/trailer) get a special discount for the weekend!

The COMET will be there, on display, and I’m really excited to show off it’s progress!

Now check out this awesome vintage trailer!

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Tiny House Summer Camp update + full roster

Hello!

Here’s the official Tiny House Summer Camp flyer and the full roster (as of now). I’ll be there, and you should be there too!

Head over to relaxshacks.com to see more details. Camp takes place July 6-9, Northern Vermont.

I’ve updated the Events + Appearances page accordingly!

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