Tag Archives: recycled

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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Tiny House Summer Camp with Derek Diedricksen of Relaxshacks.com!

It’s official!!

I’m SUPER EXCITED to be a speaker at Derek Diedricksen‘s tiny house design/build weekend workshop this summer. Deek just announced the workshop last week, and there are very few spots open, so sign up fast!! It’s going to be called “Tiny House Summer Camp”, and it’s taking place the weekend of July 6-9 at Derek’s home-built cabin in Vermont. The weekend will be full of tiny house tours, solar cooking, camping out, tiny house building. designing, idea swapping, and geeking out about all things tiny. As a participant you get to sleep in a cabin, a treehouse, a tiny house, or something else cool that will be at the workshop (depending on what state The COMET is in, I might be able to accommodate a few campers!) The COMET will be coming with me to the workshop, and I’m going to be showing it off (mid-construction) and bringing along lots of interesting sustainable building materials and other things. I’ll be showing off my free and recycled finds that will be going into The COMET, explaining why vintage campers make great tiny houses,  talking about how to save $$ in your tiny house by having an entirely DC photovoltaic solar electric system like The COMET, and more!

Other speakers at the workshop include WILLIAM ROCKHILL of Bear Creek Carpentry, who builds Tiny Houses for Tumbleweed, TRISTAN & LIBBY and their WHITTLED DOWN CARAVAN (an amazing vardo/caravan they towed from New Mexico to Massachusetts with a little sedan!), Derek’s own HICKSHAW CABIN, and more!

There will be a bunch of tiny dwellings in one space, and it’s sure to be quite an experience!

Right now there is a special early-bird price of $399 for the 3-4 day weekend, which includes some meals and lots of tiny stuff. If you want to register, email Derek at kidcedar at gmail dot com and head over to relaxshacks.com to find out more about the workshop.

 

 

Also, I’ve been working on getting The COMET concept across using words and pictures, and here are some early attempts. I’m working on an all-explaining infographic that combines everything The COMET is all about, but it’s not finished yet! Coming soon 🙂 I have a couple more infographics in the works, one with price tags on the big-ticket systems items and one that highlights the “green” materials being used in The COMET. All in time!

If you have any cool ideas for infographics relating to The COMET or tiny houses, let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

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COMET Update – Documenting Progress

Well, the weather has been steadily improving here in Massachusetts, and I’m getting really excited about “breaking ground” in the COMET. I’ll be moving her away from her factory parking lot home to my house where I can work on her. Soon I’ll be peeling back the walls to see what surprises wait for me there (most likely a rotten wood surprise). Then I’ll be testing the electricity and looking at the wiring to figure out how to best implement my totally DC solar system, while fixing up the tow wiring/lights.

This may be a little premature, since nothing has really been set in stone yet, but I’m VERY excited and honored because Derek Diedricksen, fellow MA tiny house guy and artist (check out relaxshacks.com) asked me to bring the COMET to his summer Tiny House Workshop this year, and give a little talk about the project and show it’s progress. It’ll be great for people to be able to feel the space and see my work in progress: a behind the scenes sort of thing. The fact that I’m going to be towing the COMET around while it’s being worked on makes me think I should work backwards: design and repaint the exterior first, then work on the inside. I want to have a really eye-catching and informational exterior design so that people know what the project is all about, and maybe put the website on the side so people can find more info about it. Anyway, more details on the COMET’s live appearances this summer will follow.

This past week I have been reflecting on the progress of The COMET so far, putting together a very large and detailed presentation about what I’ve done in the last few months. There’s so much research behind the scenes, behind every blog post. It’s so interesting to look back on my preliminary project ideas, my first grant proposals, and other material from a few years ago, when the COMET was just a dream, and then look at how much progress I have made in terms of the concept and what the project really means and needs to accomplish. It’s also amazing to see how much my knowledge of sustainable sciences, materials, and systems has increased and grown from a general interest to a real understanding.

One thing that I have been thinking about in particular is the pros and cons of using newly manufactured “eco-products” versus recycled and repurposed materials, which may not be “eco” per-se, but would have otherwise ended up in the landfill. In my mind, it is better to use an existing material (reused, recycled, or just leftovers) than purchase something brand new, because no matter how sustainable the new product is, it has to be manufactured using some form of energy, it has to use fuel to travel, etc. I think instead of using as many “eco-friendly” products as possible in The COMET, I am going to focus on the repurposing and recycling of existing materials, and whatever I can’t find used, replace with eco-friendly new. I’ve been thinking of innovative ways to re-use things that I already have in order to make what is currently missing in the COMET.

This post was really scattered, but I just wanted to give you all a general update 🙂 Thank you to everyone who has been reading along and following the progress of The COMET. Contact me with any feedback you may have or ideas you think I should be incorporating into the project!

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G Green Design Center in Mashpee

Friday, two days ago, was an amazing day. I drove a couple of hours out to Mashpee, MA to meet with the lovely people at G Green Design Center, an eco-friendly and people friendly one-stop shop. I went there to meet with the manager, see some samples, and get some info about which materials might be best suited in The COMET. G Green Design Center has everything from countertops and flooring, to bedding, rain collection systems, paint, and upcycled handbags. If it’s green, they’ve got it. The showroom is gorgeous and super fun to explore. One of my favorite things about sustainable building materials and interiors, and especially things made from recycled materials, is the visual texture of those products. I love when you can see the little bits of broken mirror that went into the recycled glass countertops, or when you can feel the variation and softness of the cork flooring. I think visual and textural things like that are really engaging, and definitely something I want to incorporate into The COMET (like the UltraTouch denim insulation, for example, you can see little pieces of blue jeans in it and that is so neat!).

recycled tableware, plates made from plant starch

I spent hours and hours looking at Marmoleum and cork flooring options, feeling the super soft UltraTouch denim insulation and sheeps-wool insulation, and lusting after the BioGlass countertops (way out of my price range, but so gorgeous). It was incredibly rewarding to touch and see these things in real life that I had been researching and looking at pictures of for the last 8 months. It’s such a different experience than shopping online, and really nothing compares to having the most knowledgable and invested people helping you choose the right thing for your home. Paula, whom I met with, was incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions with ease. She took the time to show me everything in the showroom, which was awesome.


The other great thing about shopping at a place like G Green Design Center is the comfort of knowing the quality of the products you are looking at. And not just durability or performance, but also the social and environmental responsibility of the product. When you see something online marketed as “green” or “eco-friendly”, you’re not exactly sure in what way or how “green” that thing really is. At G Green Design Center, you know that each item has been rigorously researched and personally chosen by the owner, an that it made it into the showroom because of it’s high integrity as an eco- and people- friendly product.

A cross-section example of Paperstone

We were looking for a few specific things for The COMET. I know I need flooring, countertops, some wood-like material to build a convertible table out of, fabric, paint, insulation, and some paneling in order to complete the interior. All of the countertops were beautiful, but I learned that some require more maintenance than others, which is a consideration I needed to factor in. Also, the recycled glass and cement countertops were heavier than the Paperstone and Richlite countertops (both of which are made from compressed recycled paper), and weight is definitely important when we’re talking about a mobile house.

I love the layers and stripes in this countertop

I looked at the sustainable flooring options: cork, Marmoleum, bamboo, and wool carpet. I had always liked the Marmoleum, and the Marmoleum Click line is good for a mobile situation and is DIY: super easy to install. Both the cork and the Marmoleum natural linoleum came in click panels, so basically it’s a matter of what colors I like!

This would look great with some LED lighting illuminating it from underneath

We touched all of the different types of insulations and spent a good amount of time with the tableware and other accessories. I got some really good ideas for finishing touches in The COMET. And G Green Design Center has it’s own paint mixer, so you can get any color of paint under the sun mixed into the no-VOC paint right there!


It was great to talk to some like-minded people in the green building business. We talked about how small spaces, tiny houses, and mobile living is a great way to make these green building materials, which are still relatively expensive, attainable for everyone on a budget. Maybe you couldn’t afford to put a 20 foot slab of BioGlass countertop in your home, but in a tiny house, 3 feet of countertop is suddenly do-able.

We also talked about how green building and green interiors have influenced our lives way beyond our built homes. I was saying how all of my research into green building practices has lead me into the world of sustainable homesteading, self-sufficiency, and has lead me to rethink my diet. Another girl working at G said she too had that experience when she began working at the Green Design Center: she bought all of her family recycling bins and a tabletop composter, and it’s totally changed their daily behavior.

If your in the area, I highly suggest you check out G Green Design Center in Mashpee, MA. It will be well worth your while!

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