This is a blog solely to catalog the journey from ideas on screen, to actual productivity. Supplies, dimensions, diagrams, weights, reference lists, etc, will be made and maintained. There's tons of really good blogs, stores, and suppliers, but this one is my journey. A journey of a weird woman who loves novel things, people (even when I don't like them - the two aren't mutually exclusive, y'know), and entrepreneurial stuff.

- Tiny House Design This blog has lots of entries, free plans, and some very pleasant, affordable plans. Lots of problem solving too. It's a good foundation place to go.

- Tiny Home Builders The plans on here are pricier, but popular. But that's not why this site is so important. Tiny Home Builders has superlative trailers that will act as a wonderful foundation (and measurement) for your potential tiny home. They have up to a 10,000lbs haul weight, meaning that your home can weigh up to that amount, and still be safe for the road. They are some of the most affordable, sturdy, and easily modified trailers I've come across. And I've looked hard. For under 4,000USD, you can get their biggest trailer (a 24ft x 8ft) trailer, with a capacity of 10klbs. That's a deal you can't beat with a stick. Not only that, but the trailers are built specifically to accommodate the build process without you having to fuss.

- Drywall Calculator This is a lifesaver. It helps you figure out the amount of drywall necessary to use inside your tiny home (or studio, or cottage, or, hell, anywhere really), which you can then figure out the poundage, and how much it will all weigh. Weight is a key factor in everything about tiny home building.

- Metal Weight Calculator Another lifesaver! This lets you figure out the weight of your siding if you go the metal route. (I'll discuss why I'm going that route in a later post.)

- Truck and SUV Towing Capcities This is vital information if you want your home to be mobile. Otherwise, you can always rent a UHaul/moving truck (or get a friend who has a vehicle with the proper towing capacity) to move your tiny home (or office, or granny flat...the list is endless.)

- Rain Water Harvesting Calculator Off grid, or even supplemental water, this place will help you get an idea of how much water you can collect. Use this in conjunction with monthly rainfall averages of your area.


- Water Storage Tanks If you want to be off grid, or even just supplement your water supply, or have an easily worked with septic/sewer thing, this is where to go. They even have tanks that are good for deep freezes and still function without the worry of regular plastic rain barrels and other catchments.


- Defender This is a supplier for RV and marine appliances (amongst many other things.) From heaters to ovens to water purifers, this place has it. Not always at the best price, but always good quality. It lets you get an idea of how to handle things.

- Craigslist Almost anywhere in the world, you can get supplies, appliances, and even assistance (dude, plumbing, yeah? Get a contractor if you're not up for it! Costs less than if you fubar) sometimes for free, and almost always for far, far less than what you would pay from a big box store. Craigslist is your friend.


This is of course not a full comprehensive list. There's always Amazon, eBay, etsy, big box stores, and many others. There's also flea markets that you can go to, those are always great.

And for those who aren't real into Do-It-Yourself, I'll make an entry solely with links to builders/suppliers who will deliver and make the home for you. Of course this often winds up costing much more than doing it yourself, but skills, labour, and your time are also worth money, so sometimes it's best to have a professional do it.
Update - downloaded some extremely reasonably priced plans as a guideline Tiny House Design by Mr Mike Janzen. I'm only using it to check how some of the joisting and trussing is done, and what to do about wheel wells. For under 10usd, it's perfect for me to use as a study guide.

Also corresponded with Mr Dan Louche from Tiny Home Builders about trailers. I can't say enough good things about him and his team. They are more than happy to build more than their four standard trailer sizes (standards: 12ft x 8ft, 16ft x 8ft, 20ft x 8ft, 24ft x 8ft) for the same wonderfully reasonable price. (I requested a target for a 26ft x 8ft, and a 28ft x 8ft.) As of this posting, even the 28ft x 8ft is under 4,000usd, not including shipping. Not only that, but as soon as his CAD/Sketchup files are finished, he'll be offering a 3D model for those working on their own plans. How awesome is that? As if that's not enough, his quotes for going over drafted plans or CAD/Sketchup files is phenomenally reasonable. About 60usd per hour, I mean, I just cannot gush about Mr Louche and Mr Janzen enough.

Come Christmas/Festivus/December, I'll have a good file drafted that I'll go ahead and splurge on getting Mr Louche to go over for structural integrity etc. I figure that having it done once, I'll be able to learn what I may have done wrong, so that in the future, I can draft similar plans without fuss. I think it's worth it to have someone experienced double check, that'll limit any possible fubars.

In light of all that, I am starting another set of models - one that I'll be building on as soon as Phillip and I return to the States. Okay, so that's a couple years off, but hey, why not? Never too early to start. And I would like to have a tiny home ready for travel as soon as possible, so that Kidlet (and hubby) can find out first hand that living small doesn't mean living bad.
Okay, so, last time I figured out what was necessary for The Nest, and since then I've had a few ideas that are pretty big in scope. Actually they're old ideas, but now they may actually bear fruit, but I won't get into that today.

Today, it's pros and cons of frames and foundations!


Trailer vs permanent park foundation...
Read more... )

Okay, so foundation was easy, that was silly, what was I thinking?

Frames though, frames are important.

Frames on a tiny home don't have to be graded quite the same as a regular home, due to size and weight constraints. If you think about it, a small shed can shed snow loads, water, etc, far more easily due to where the walls are placed, than a house that has a big roof. Supporting the weight of a regular sized home's roof is some heavy duty stuff. But tiny homes are small enough that most snow loads can slide right off with a helping hand (or rake, or shovel) or even on their own, long before they become so weighty that you have to worry. But to err on the side of caution, a very strong frame overall is necessary. At least at the corners, the long pieces of the frame, and a center support. This would distribute the weight more easily.


And yet there's the issue of overall weight. Wood, as good as it is, is heavy.

Then there's metal studs that are basically 2x4's. Those are ultra lightweight and super easy to work with - as well as very strong.

Now, it's possible to go with an entirely metal frame, but it does tend to leave things a bit wibblywobbly if you live in windy areas. Or if you're trying to haul it rather fast. And let's face it, Kidlet will be young, impetuous and have a heavy duty truck to haul it. Wibblywobbly = bad.

So, as the taco girl commercial says - why not both?

My current design (for fun and learning) uses a combination of steel and wood.

- 4x4 posts at the four corners are wood
- the long parts of the frame will be standard 2x8's
- the center support length of the roof, will be another 4x4
- roof frame at the ends and in the center will be 4x4
- roof trusses at the ends and outside of the loft, will be 2x2

Studs, floor supports, most roof beams, will be standard steel 2x4's


This maintains stability, strength, and reduces the weight. Steel of course has another drawback, but mitigation of energy loss/entrance of weather will be covered during insulation/siding discussion
Alright, I love tiny homes, the idea of them, etc. But because of how things are currently, no tiny home for me. Yet there are some important things to consider when it comes to deciding you want a tiny home. Those things dictate what you need for the tiny home.

Now, big things to consider:

01 - What is the purpose of the tiny home?
a) A studio
b) A yard structure to chillax in?
c) A travelling, seasonal residence?
d) A granny flat/mother in law suite/accessory dwelling?
e) A permanent residence?
- will it be long term parked?
- will it be short term parked, and moved semifrequently (more than twice a year on average)

02 - How many people will utilize it?

03 - What's the sort of weather/climate you want to use the tiny home in?

04 - Off grid, on grid, or mixed?

05 - Do you have a vehicle to tow it, if it's moved regularly? (And does the vehicle have a good tow rating?)

06 - How much stuff you want to put into the tiny home?

07 - Will you be building it, or a contractor, or going to a company that specializes in tiny structures?

08 - How do you want to obtain your materials?
a) Do you want to predominately dumpster dive/recycle/reclaimed/freebies/found/craigslist
b) Do you want to go to stores and get it all?
c) Do you want to work with prefab kids?
d) Do you want to use a mix of free/low cost + retail?
e) Do you want to use a mix of free/low cost + retail + some prefab?

09 - What's your budget?

10 - Are you doing this solo?

11 - How urgently do you need this? (i.e. what sort of timeframe, do you have housing currently and for awhile?)

12 - How 'upscale' do you want the place (e.g. washer/dryer, tub/shower, composting/flushing toilet, mini/full fridge, stove/hotplate/oven, full stairs/ladder)

13 - How small can you personally live?

Now, these sound like a lot of questions, but they help you get a target idea.

For me, the answers took a little thought.

- Permanent residence

- Young adult, single. Perhaps when s/he is older, a live-in, but that's still just two people.

- Universal climate (it must take 120F summers, and -50F winters)

- Completely off grid, but with hookups for grid power and water

- An F250, super crew cab, with single set of rear wheel tires can haul up to 14,000lbs.

- Efficiently squeeze stuff in until it squeals (enough to satisfy a teen turning into a young adult)

- (Future) Mama and Kidlet (child is now hereafter referred to as Kidlet, comprende?) shall build, perhaps call in an expert if we wind up in over our head on something small

- I'm a hodgepodge person, some things will definitely be from Craigslist, some things (OH HEY IS THAT A NICE WINDOW?!) will be dumpster dived (oh, I forgot, the community calls it "reclaiming"), and some will be purchased at *gasp* the Home Depot or some other store.

- Budget? What's that? I believe long term quality, service, beauty that is form and function, are worth paying for. With the truck, trailer, and all the nice stuff, I won't be surprised if it costs 48,000usd. But remember, this is the total with a truck added to it. Most folks do not add in the cost of a vehicle to the cost of their tiny home, which is plum foolish if you're gonna be moving it around.

- Kids equal slave labour, gotta earn their keep somehow, yeah? So, Kidlet and I shall build it. Semi-solo.

- I need it within the next 17years. I have time to dicker.

- Luxury? Darlin', if I didn't have a dishwasher, dishes wouldn't get done. A washer and dryer isn't a must, but it's nice. A tub would be wonderful, but a shower would be better. And everybody loves fresh baked cookies, so throw in that damn oven. A small one. And with the fact that Big Not Yet Mama (me) is a former chef, well, Kidlet will (probably) like food. So a full fridge. And who needs television when you've got a good computer? But they don't need full stairs. It's a really tiny mobile home. Not a bungalow. Space is at a premium. A nice slanted ladder will do.

- Based off of an average of myself and my husband, a minimum of 190sqft, but that's tight, 200-250 would be better.

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