Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Longing to start building...

I feel like I'll never get to build my tiny house! I'll never have any money! Waa! Okay, I'm done whining now. My current design is on a 12' trailer. It's just like my SD House, except the trailer is 2' longer, so I put an extra 6" in the bathroom, and extra 6" on the front porch, and an extra foot in the great room/kitchen area. Some of the details:
Gravity fed water system. I plan to have a very small water heater (5 gallon) in the loft above the shower. This would be filled by hand, and then you would wait for the water to heat up before taking your shower. My first idea was to just use a bucket and have to lug hot water up there, but that seemed like it could be a little dangerous. And I do like hot water! I could also heat a pan of water on the stove and use it at floor level to wash with. But it would be nice to have a final rinse with a shower, since there wouldn't be room for a bathtub. I've given up the idea of trying to use a koi tub, and least in the traveling model, because I don't want to have to hook up to water, and I can't really carry that much. I really want to be entirely self-contained.

Yeti cooler instead of a fridge. I've done some research on these coolers. The insulation is twice as thick as your average cooler, and they can keep ice for up to 9 days. Again, I want to avoid having to hook up, and refrigerators use a LOT of energy. Ice is easy to get. You can get it anywhere you get gas or propane, two other things I will have to buy as I go.

Battery lighting. There is so much in the way of LED and flourescent bulbs these days, it is amazing. The energy you have to use is getting to be less and less, while the batteries are getting better. I may use some AC lighting, since I will want to be able to charge my phone and computer, so I will need a deep cycle battery and inverter. I guess I have to do more research on just how much energy all these things use, and how long a charge can last on a deep cycle battery.

Solar. I'd like to have solar, but when traveling during the day, it's hard to know which side of the roof to mount it on to get the best sun. Seems like it would vary. If I were staying put, I could keep it unmoungted and just set it up toward the sun. But I like driving during the day. I had considered one on each side of the roof. That way one would always be getting pretty good sun. I'm going to need input from an expert on this.

Sleeping arrangements. One of the things I felt was important was to be able to have a guest sleep over who doesn't sleep with me. So I want to furnish my living room with a couple of those flip-fold futon chairs. They are a little big, but they're comfy, and they fold out to a mattress. I've had to move my front door off-center to accommodate them, but I think they are worth it. That way, one of my daughters, or a platonic traveling companion can have a place to sleep. Also, if I get a little creaky in the bones, I may abandon the loft and sleep on them myself!

Kitchen People, I don't really cook. I can, if necessary, but I'd rather not. I heat things. I make sandwiches. I eat cold cereal or oatmeal. None of this requires a full kitchen. I need a sink, a burner or two, a cooler, and some counter space. My needs are minimal in this area. I could easily live off ceareal, canned soup, and sandwiches. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Subway sandwiches. I am not a gourmand. So my kitchen will be part of the great room, like in Jay's Lusby. But my lower cupboards will have to start 18" off the floor, so my futons can spread out to sleep. And my counter will only be 18" wide. The sink will be one of the smallest I can find, and I may go with just one propane burner. My sink can drain directly into the shower area, so I only need one drain to the outside.

Bathroom. My toilet will be a portable composting toilet. They have one called the Luggable Loo that looks perfect. It can sit right in the shower area and be moved out of the way as necessary. Or it could just be used as a shower seat. I believe it snaps tightly shut, although I'll have to look at one to make sure. Accross from the toilet I have a set of shelves that double as a steep staircase to the loft. In those shelves is where I plan to keep a few towels and washcloths, my sawdust for the toilet, my few toiletries. Behind that is the closet, which opens to the great room. The closet only reaches up to 6', while my loft is 7'2". This is so I have a platform on top of the closet to set my water jugs on while I climb up to put water in the water heater. I thought long and hard about entering the loft through the bathroom. It seems kind of gross. But, I have decided, I'll just have to keep it really clean. My Loo can be curtained off in the corner when not in use, so the part you go through to get to the loft will not seem so much like a bathroom.

Gotta stop for now. More later!

Friday, May 6, 2011

more tiny house musings

I cannot believe how many hours I actually spend musing about tiny houses. Drawing them. Redesigning them. My newest design is about as small as I can go. The trailer would be 6' 4" x 10'. And it would have a tiny porch in front, a little less than two feet deep. The square footage of the house, not counting the loft, is 50. Since the loft is only 3' 6" high on it's center, it doesn't really count as square footage. But you can sleep in it. I decided (for now) on this tiny design for two reasons. One, it is the cheapest to build. Two, I would never be able to afford to travel lugging around a 6000 lb. house with me! As nice as it would be, it just doesn't seem practical. So I'm going with something about half that size. I've decided to make it as simple as possible. Then, after I've had my fill of traveling, and want to settle down, I can build a bigger one with more amenities and park it somewhere. It would still be able to be moved, if I wanted to move, but it wouldn't really be for traveling.
I really enjoy toying with all these ideas. I still like my 'Smallerton' (that's a play on words, parodying Jay Shafer's Tarleton) design, which is intermediate in size, on a 14' trailer. Who knows, maybe I'll get so good at this I'll start designing them for a living! Seems like a nice retirement business. Especially if you don't really need any money. Let's hope I can get to that point one day! Just do it to keep busy, and if something sells, great! I have a few years to go to get to that point, though. I'll be 53 in 9 days.
I wasn't able to find a way to put a link in here for my designs. YOu can find them if you go to Google Sketchup Design Warehouse and type in SD house. That stands for 'smallest design', meaning the smallest design I could come up with that would meet my individual needs. It isn't the first thing that comes up. It's a few down. I'm not worried about anyone stealing my designs if I publish them, because...nobody reads this blog! LOL!