Tag Archives: build

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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Do you know about the Yestermorrow Tiny House Fair?

I have an exciting announcement! Although the wheels have been turning on this for a few months now, I want to remind all tiny house and sustainable building/design lovers about the Tiny House Fair that is happening at Yestermorrow School in Waitsfield, Vermont this summer. Here’s the scoop from the Yestermorrow website. And I’ll be there with the COMET, and giving a talk about small-scale solar power for your tiny house.

From the Yestermorrow website:

Yestermorrow is thrilled to host the first ever Tiny House Fair next spring, June 14-16, 2013. Register Now!

Come to the Tiny House Fair to learn about and celebrate tiny houses!  Join leaders of the tiny house movement, including Jay Shafer, founder of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Derek (Deek) Diedricksen of Relaxshacks.

Whether you’ve just begun to explore tiny houses or already live in one, there are presentations you’ll enjoy:

  • how to design and build a tiny house
  • clever cabinetry and finish carpentry
  • design and construction for specific climates
  • finding and building with recycled materials
  • solar power 
  • composting toilets
  • the tiny house movement
  • creating a community

Cost: $300 General Registration, includes all workshops, presentations, and meals.

Dates: The fair starts Friday evening 6/14/2013 with dinner and a speaker, and ends Sunday afternoon 6/16/2013.

Workshop Schedule: See http://tinyhousecommunity.com/fair.htm for a full schedule of workshops and presenters.

Meals: The registration package includes Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast lunch and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch.  We walk the talk of sustainability by purchasing local, organic, nutritious, and wholesome ingredients. The meal plan includes vegetarian options at every meal.

Register Online or call us at 802-496-5545 to secure your spot at the fair. We are limited to 100 participants.

Definitely check out the schedule of workshops over at Tiny House Community….all of the tiny house greats will be at this event. Jay Schafer, Derek Diedricksen, Alex Pino, and so many more.

Here's a beautiful tiny house built by Yestermorrow students.

Here’s a beautiful tiny house built by Yestermorrow students.

And if you haven’t checked out the Yestermorrow website or their course offerings before, you should! I can’t say enough good things about them. I haven’t been there in a month and I’m really missing it up there in VT! They have a Tiny House design course coming up soon, “Less is More”, which is taught by two wonderful instructors.

Another tiny house built by Yestermorrow students!

Another tiny house built by Yestermorrow students!

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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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Tiny House Tour + The Second Wall Goes Up

Okay, so as usual I have just a few minutes to post before breakfast and then getting out to the build site – but here’s what we did yesterday.

In the morning we toured Susan and Emily’s tiny house in Montpelier VT. It’s the tiny house that last year’s Yestermorrow 2 week class built. They finished the exterior since and are now working on interior – plumbing, electrical, and finishes. I really like the details of their tiny house.

 

It was a wonderful tiny tour.

 

Also, back at the Yestermorrow ranch, we finished the floor (the finished floor – I’ll talk more about that later. There’s a few issues I have with the way we’re building this house, but I’ll go into it at a later time). We got our second wall up too!

This is me at the chop saw. Best tool ever.

 

All photos courtesy of Timothy Ettridge. Thanks Timothy!

Timothy had this posted next to the picture of Linda and I at the chop saw:

“Mariah is the unofficial fourth instructor, for whom several of us have already expressed particular appreciation for her presence in our class. Though only 21, she already has more knowledge about tiny dwelling design and construction than many of us ever hope to attain. Working with her reminds me of working with Huw Fernie years ago on the Velux 5 Oceans sailboat race, for whenever he would come up with a MUCH better way of doing something I was doing, I would always say, “It’s not that I’m dumb. It’s just that you’re a frickin’ genius.”

What a compliment! Thanks Timothy! Timothy and I are on similar paths. He is living in a trailer that he has re-done right now as he begins to build his tiny house on wheels. I think it’s a good approach!

Last night I gave my lecture on Tiny House design and the details of my own project, as well as explained some tiny-house scale off-grid systems. It was really fun! I hope to come back and talk again at future tiny house courses at Yestermorrow.

Alright, back to work!

 

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I’m BAAAACK! And it’s crunch time for The COMET.

Hello Readers!

Thank you all for your patience these last 2 weeks while I was at Yestermorrow fulfilling my Core curriculum in a VERY intense 3 weeks of classes. I was doing 20 hour days in the studio every day while I was there (not complaining – it was the most fun, creative, an productive 2 weeks of my life!) and just couldn’t keep up with blog posts on top of studio time and the occasional few hours of sleep. I love Yestermorrow, and would recommend it to anyone looking to further their knowledge in sustainable building, permaculture, or woodworking. What an awesome learning environment! And Vermont was gorgeous. Below you can see some of my designs from the final week of class: it’s a camper and a tiny house – the camper docks into the tiny house and one wall of the camper swings open and becomes one of the walls of the house. Pretty cool! Maybe in the future I’ll build something crazy like this.

My model of the tiny house component. It’s supposed to look space-age!

However, now I’m back in Massachusetts and it’s time to put the pedal to the metal with the COMET, because Tiny House Summer Camp is in 16 (16? 16??) days (that’s it, 16 days? – and check out the nifty countdown at the bottom of the page). I have tons of catching up to do here on the website (I saw many interesting things while I was in VT these past few weeks, and can’t wait to share stories and pictures with all of you) and in The COMET. I have to have this thing that is very much mid-construction in somewhat presentable shape for the workshop in VT July 6th-9th (Tiny House Summer Camp hosted by Derek Diedricksen of Relaxshacks.com). Luckily (and I’m being facetious here) every time you are about to fix one thing in a vintage camper, you find 2 other things that are broken or damaged. For example, yesterday while I was getting ready to re-frame the rear wall in order to support a bumper garden, I found that the floor of the rear of the camper, under the bed/couch which is just storage, was totally soft. I pulled up the laminate and the floor just disintegrated underneath me, down to the frame. The joists disappeared. It was either termites of carpenter ants, but all they left was dust. So now I get to replace the floor of half of the camper and replace all of the rear floor framing around the two back corners. I’ve done this sort of repair before, and it’s always touch to get in to these spaces retro-actively and replace the structure that was put in first.

LUCKILY (and I mean it this time) for me I have the greatest friend in the world, and I’ve enlisted my friend Matt (inventor, fabricator, builder, designer extraordinaire) to help me with the COMET the next few weeks in preparation for Tiny House Summer Camp. He did tons of body work yesterday while I pulled out rotten floor, and the exterior of the COMET looks good as new. All of the holes and scratches are filled and dents are pulled. Loads of pictures to come!

Another HUGE thank you to Timbucktu RV in Worcester (1047 Southbridge St, phone # 508. 459. 1132), for the water tank and all of the other goodies for the COMET. If you’re looking for appliances for your tiny house or camper, or need any type of repair, give them a call. They’re the greatest.

 

OH! And don’t forget about the vintage camper/tiny house rally on July 20-22 in Brattleboro VT at the Brattleboro KOA. Go to the Brattleboro KOA website to register your vintage camper, and all unique mobile dwellings get a discount! We have about 20-30 vintage campers already, it’s going to be a great weekend. Check out my EVENTS + APPEARANCES page on this website to see more details and find out about registering.

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Yestermorrow Design/Build School: Ecological Design in The Built Environment

Hello!

As some of you readers may know, I attend Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont for certain workshops and courses throughout this year as I work towards my Certificate in Sustainable Design/Building from the school (also, as I receive credit at my college). It’s not a full-time school like traditional college, but instead I take a few weeks here and there throughout the year to do very intense, immersive, hands-on courses. My coursework here helps me with The COMET – each class that I choose to take is directly related to an aspect of the project.

Today I start the most intensive course in the Certificate program (so I’ve heard), we call it “Core.” It’s technically titled Ecological Design in The Built Environment, and it is the basis of the curriculum here. It focuses on permaculture and sustainable community design, as well of the principles of design and basic design and drawing tools. It’s basically a semester long Design Fundamentals course packed into 3 very intense weeks (I think we have one day off).

Just wanted to let you guys know what I was up to for the next 3 weeks. I probably won’t be able to post as much while I’m here, but look for some updates and a few posts about stuff I’ve been meaning to talk about for a while. It’s very beautiful up here in Vermont this time of year, especially at Yestermorrow campus.

Wish me luck!

Thanks always for all of your support!

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Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop is right around the corner!

Hey all!

The highly anticipated Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Boston, MA is coming up this weekend. I’ll be speaking at the workshop and doing a little presentation. I’m honored and very excited! (Personal achievement alert: When I applied for field study at the beginning of this semester, I wrote down all of the workshops that I was hoping to attend as a student. Now I get to tell my advisors that I actually guest spoke at those workshops!). I’m going to be speaking about campers as tiny houses, how to save money in your tiny house, solar powered tiny houses, and some other off-grid and eco-friendly systems. I’m excited about all of the other speakers and our special tour of the very FIRST Tumbleweed tiny house! The workshop is led by Derek Diedricksen of relaxshacks.com. You can go to the Tumbleweed website to sign up for the workshop, if you haven’t already.

 

If you are reading this and are planning on attending the workshop, let me know in the comments!

See you all on Saturday in Boston!

 

Also, if you’re a tiny house nut like me (which you probably are, and if you’re not you will be soon!) sign up for Derek Diedricksen’s TINY HOUSE SUMMER CAMP! Go over to relaxshacks.com to sign up. It’s a 4 days weekend in July of tiny house fun!! I’ll be bringing the COMET to that one, so you can see her in all her mid-construction glory!

 

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Yestermorrow update + The Greenest House in LA

Hi!

I have just arrived at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in VT for my Solar Electric Design + Installation course! I am very excited, and the class begins tonight, so we are jumping right in. I’ll be here for 5 days learning how to design and install a PV system for The COMET. My experience here will also come in handy when I help Beth Ferguson of Sol Design Lab (check out the pumps!) install a solar powered bus stop installation on campus at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA next month.

 

 

Okay, here’s a cool project!  “On Begley Street”

On Begley Street

For all of you sustainable design/green building fans: I was listening to “ACE On The House” (Adam Carolla’s carptentry/construction podcast) the other day and heard Ed Begley Jr., celebrity/environmentalist who was driving a solar powered car way before it was cool, talking about his new building project. He and his wife Rachelle are building a LEED platinum home (I believe it is net zero energy?) in place of their existing one. They have had their original home completely deconstructed so that each piece can be re-used in some way. Their new home will be “The greenest home in LA” and will be an example of sustainable building practices. They hope that others in the neighborhood will follow suit!

I think this is a great idea. If more celebrities had more gardens and less lawns, people might be inspired to follow their lead.

You can support their green building project via Kickstarter. They are asking for funds to be able to have a webshow that details “How to build a LEED platinum home”. I can’t wait to see the upcoming episodes!

 

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Yestermorrow Design/Build School – first workshop this week!

I realized that I hadn’t written a post about the Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont, and that I should introduce you all to the place since I have my first class there this coming Sunday. Yestermorrow School is a design/build school that focuses on hands-on teaching and sustainable building practices. They offer workshops that range from 2 days to 4 weeks (and they have a sustainable building semester program with UMass Amherst). Topics range from Green building materials, woodworking, and tiny house building workshops, to architectural design and drawing courses and stained glass making workshops. I found out about them last year and when I read their “Philosophy” statement I was SO HAPPY to find a place that shared my values exactly. All last semester I had been talking about closing the gap between designers and builders, and wasn’t really getting any support in doing that. So I left my college for some time to attend Yestermorrow for the next year, through their Sustainable Design/Build Certificate program. Basically with the certificate program (and they offer certificates in other subjects too)  you choose a handful of week-long, 3-week long, and weekend workshops from a long list of amazing classes. I chose the certificate over the semester program because of the flexibility and that way I could work on The COMET at the same time. I’ve heard the workshops are really intense and totally awesome, and that a 3 week workshop feels like an entire semester. I’m about to find out!

Anyway, here’s their philosophy you you know what I mean:

“Yestermorrow’s courses are specifically designed to demystify the designing and building processes using hands-on, experiential learning to teach students the art and wisdom of good design and the skill and savvy of enduring craftsmanship as a single, integrated process.

This creative process offers students unique insight into the oftentimes disparate worlds of the architect and the builder. Architects are routinely trained without any building experience that might inform their designs, and builders are trained to execute without a sense of the overarching purpose or design of the project.

Combining design and building offers numerous advantages and promotes the creation of intentional and inspired buildings and communities that enhance our world. From the professional design/builder to the do-it-yourself design/build homeowner, every designer should know how to build and every builder should know how to design. This philosophy sets Yestermorrow apart from other educational institutions.”

There you have it. I was in love!

Anyway, this coming Sunday I go up to VT for my first workshop – a 5-day intensive called “Solar Electric Design and Installation”. Just in time, too, because I just bought 3 solar panels! I specifically chose workshops that would help me with the skills associated with designing/building/making the COMET. Once I take this workshop, I’ll be able to install my own photovoltaic system, and show you all how I did it step by step!

Also, if you haven’t seen it already, you should check out this video of the tiny house that the Semester program just built/finished. It is gorgeous!! (see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5mD3iwOb2w)

I encourage you to check out the Yestermorrow website and browse through their courses to get an idea of how awesome the place is. When you attend a class there, you can either stay in the main building, stay in a cabin, or just camp out. I’m really excited! Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to stay in the COMET when I’m up there!

 

Also, on the topic of workshops, I just signed up for the recently announced Tumbleweed Tiny House building workshop in Boston on May 19th and 20th, with Jay Schafer and fellow Massachusetts tiny house guy Deek Diedricksen. I’m really looking forward to it. Personally, I think the Tumbleweed houses are a little too traditional for my style (what can I say – I like recycling junk and using used materials!), but I’m looking forward to building one! Is anyone else planning on going to the Boston Tumbleweed workshop?

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Ian’s Tiny House

Hey everyone, good morning!

I wanted to point out another blog that I meant to include in yesterday’s post. My friend and fellow Worcesterite Ian Anderson has been working on his timber-framed tiny house for some time now, and it’s finished and looks beautiful (I think it’s finished? I feel like our homes are always a work in progress…). Anyway, he’s done a wonderful job and I think you all will appreciate his work and craftsmanship. As far as I know, he milled all of the wood himself.

Photos from Ian’s blog: http://littletimberhouse.blogspot.com/

Tiny House in Worcester

Little red stove. Little red house. http://littletimberhouse.blogspot.com/

Also, a funny thing to note: Ian built most of his tiny house indoors at The Firehouse, a punk collective in an old fire station (the big engine garage is easy to fit tiny houses into!). He built his house in the same spot that one of my other campers is in right now! That space has some serious tiny house energy.

Where tiny houses are born

That spot has some Tiny House energy.

I’m going to either have Ian write a guest post for me about his tiny house and his thoughts on tiny houses, or I’ll write a more detailed post about him in the future. So keep an eye out for that. Ian and I are also supposed to make a Tiny House TV show episode for our local TV station, which I’ll post here when it’s finished, so watch out for that too! For now, I just want to point you in the direction of his blog:

http://littletimberhouse.blogspot.com/

More to come later on today, stay tuned!

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