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Topic: Tiny Homes (like Tumbleweed)  (Read 16362 times)
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Lilak Tygress
« on: February 08, 2009 02:59:03 PM »

Hey Craftsters-

I've look and looked and yet cannot find anyone else on here here discussing these.  I've seen a few little blurbs, but nothing substantial.  So lets discuss it...

They are ADORABLE!! I showed them to hubby and he was like "what? We cant live in that, its too small". A month later he was like "you know, thats not such a bad idea". Really, its shocking to think of at first. "You want to live in 160 sq ft? You're crazy!!"  Then... "Hey, that's totally doable." Wow.

What I think about is, I have 20 drinking glasses, 16 dinner plates, 6 sets of sheets, about a dozen quilts, two bedrooms, a 3 person couch, an addition seat... THERE IS JUST TWO OF US!!! Me and hubby.  Yes we want a family, but as the family grows, so can the home! It connects to a trailer, so moving is easy... People say, "why dont you just live in an RV?" Well, thats essentially what we're doing, only it'll look like a home, only mini!

So we're building one. I would like input from everyone about how to make it super efficiant.

So this is a rough drawing of what we're looking at. Left side is the bottom floor, and the right side are two lofts.  Based on this home from Tumbleweed. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses/fencl/

Idea's so far:

- single sink
- RV toilet- or tankless toilet
- 18" dishwasher (I have to have a dishwasher)
- Washer/Dryer combo
- Collapsible containers (bowls, drinking cups, colander)
- Portable burner / toaster over for baking

This dining set is awesome.  The chairs fold up and store inside the table when the leafs are down.  My design has wheels so it can be moved around for additional work space.

I like this idea. The three panels fold up to make a sofa (for the little sun room area) and then if my nieces come to stay the night, it folds out into a little bed!  Hubby designed another that's sorta the same, but had additional storage underneath.

We want to use bamboo for the floors, walls, cabinets and countertops... basically everything!!
We want to be as green as possible.

We figure we can heat our tiny home for $60 a year. A YEAR!!! If we got solar panels, we could make money selling energy back to the electric company.

Anyway, whats right for you may not be right for you, but I think this fits us exactly.  Anyone else interested?  I'd like to hear about others who live in one or want to...
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2009 03:03:43 PM »

I would completely love to do this. Unfortunately, the boy would never go for it  Roll Eyes

I would love to follow along with your plans as the develop! Updates are a must for a great project like this....

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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2009 03:09:15 PM »

I LOVE the idea... but why the washer/dryer?  Everywhere has laundromats and it seems like the weight of it and the energy it takes to run would outweigh the benefits. 

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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2009 03:29:44 PM »

When I first read your post I though, "no way, that's crazy!"
then I read it a few more times....
I think this is a wonderfully crazy idea, alternative ways to live are definitely the way of the future...
I am realistic though for myself, and know I am way to attached to all my "treasures" to give them up, but I applaud you for doing this. wow, and the front porch is too adorable


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Lilak Tygress
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2009 04:02:38 PM »

We want to be green, and earth friendly, but I just need the convenience of having a machine do all my cleaning for me in my home.  We thought about the apt size stackable washer and dryer, but then discovered one machine that does both!!

We're also thinking of using an on demand hot water heater so we're not wasting that energy.   
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« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2009 04:29:19 PM »

I love the Tiny house idea!

I bought a 2 story barn thru Home Depot. My intent was to sell my crafts out of it. But it really would make a cute place to live. Here is a photo   

The barn measures 16 x 18. Under the stairs would be the perfect place to install a small kitchenette. I have seen a stove, refrigerator and sink combo appliance. (here is a link to show you what I am talking about  http://www.nextag.com/sink-refrigerator/search-html )

I finished the inside of the downstairs with hardwood floors, insulation, drywall and electric up and down. I also built a front porch and put in a turbine vent upstairs. All I have left upstairs is to finish the walls and ceiling. 

I don't remember the total cost but maybe $10,000 and they installed the basic barn.

I wouldn't mind living in it.

I love the furniture you are checking out. Do you own the land you want to put this on? Where do you live. Does it get cold?

Let me know how this works out.

« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2009 06:02:20 PM »

i am going through something similar, though not quite so extreme.  i am moving out of a shared house that i had been in for 3 years into a 485 sq ft studio.  there is nothing like downsizing to make you think about what you own and what is important. 
i would just build in a breakfast bar, and use stackable stools to save space.  i also prefer doing laundry in-home than using the apartment's laundry.  instead of getting a wash/dryer combo, i have been considering one of these portable washing machines:  http://www.laundry-alternative.com/products/Wonderwash.html 
they are much cheaper, faster, and practical for a single person or a couple.  i would just designate two laundry days/week to do it, then line dry.  they have spin dryers on the same website, which will take out most of the water for a quicker line or machine dry.
good luck!  this is a fantastic way to save the environment, and $$ too!
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2009 06:45:31 PM »

I love those Tumbleweed homes, I've been looking at them for a few years.  Can't wait to see pictures of yours!!

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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2009 06:51:14 PM »

I really like this idea. I saw a special about it on TV once, i think.
But have you seen those Ikea tables that fold out of the wall? They'd save even more space than the drop leaf tables, since they fold flush against the wall:


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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2009 06:55:51 PM »

makes sense.  Oh this is such a good idea.  But where would all of my books go?!
I know... i know... the greener version is to give them to a library.  But I just can't.

Lilak Tygress
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2009 10:31:13 PM »

I LOVE the sink/fridge/stove!! Hubby seems to think we can make it cheaper though.

I have seen the drop down IKEA counters, thats kind of what got me looking for folding tables and chairs to make them compact and portable.

We live in Seattle, so line drying is not going to be something we can do.  Line washing maybe with all the rain... LOL.

As for books... ebooks.  You can download pert near any book to your iPhone, Palm or whatnot.

Oh, and I've always dreamed of living in a barn! It would have to be red though, because barns are red.  If a barn is painted white, then its a shed.
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2009 12:34:24 AM »

If you're looking for sustainable, easy-to-heat options, this is not exactly moveable (as in, not portable AT ALL Shocked)  -- BUT, we stayed in an Earthship in New Mexico, and it was pretty much the coolest thing ever. (minus the sort of bizarro name.) SO COOL.

They're made of recycled and/or mostly natural materials (tires and sand and cardboard, cement and cans/bottles--for tiny windows, adobe, etc), get all their heating and cooling from the sun and the earth, all their power from wind and solar, all their water from the rain, and are pretty much off the grid.

AND, the one we stayed in, their flagship example ("The Phoenix") was 5000 square feet, and had an indoor jungle in the living room, plus birds flying free in the attached greenhouse -- where they also grew a bunch of food in the garden like tomatoes, broccoli, and BANANAS. We had coffee in the jungle while it was snowing outside, and we were perfectly warm. It was all handmade and an amazing labor of love AND work of art. 

Houses: the ultimate craft! Shocked)

Here's a picture of the living room (all the couches were repurposed furniture; though the slipcovers all matched each other, underneath they were all different:

Here's the greenhouse, doubling as home heater with all that south-facing glass (and yes, that's SNOW outside!):

Here's what the tire/dirt/adobe walls look like, in an unpolished state (this is in the underground part of the house, where cool air comes from -- and a storage area that doubles as basement/garage):

And, here's the inside of the house, looking all pretty: this is the view from one of the bedrooms into a bathroom, with the sun shining on the bottle/cement wall. Pretty!

Cool, huh?
The guy who designed these sells books that outline exactly how to make your own Earthship, ranging from a simple round 200-ish square foot dwelling, up to and beyond the 5000 square foot Phoenix. When we spent the night there, we watched a short documentary of some people building their own basic 200 square foot model; it took them something like 2-4 weeks and cost $2500.

An Earthship info home page: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/earthship.htm

Looked like a lot of work, but the concept (and from what we could tell, the execution) is super cool.

Food for thought! Shocked)

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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2009 01:15:00 AM »

Wow.  That's a really huge step to take, I look forward to reading more about your little adventure.

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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2009 03:53:08 AM »

when I was in high school (grew up in NM) we (a group of classmates & a teacher) went to Taos and helped build an environmentally friendly house that used straw bales as insulation and then had numerous other features like the glass bottle windows, et. al.  It was very neat, though at the time it was very experimental (mid 90's)  I hadn't thought much about it since then but find it very cool that the experiments from the 90's are sustainable and still being built Smiley 

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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2009 07:53:09 AM »

Oh I've ALWAYS wanted one of those! Hubby won't go for it though.

Have you seen these? Just eye candy really.. far to expensive, and not on wheels. http://www.freespiritspheres.com/

If you need good information and inspiration for a tiny roving "house" check out this guys web site - or better yet, his book. I just bought his book for my step dad. It's mostly about house trucks.. but it is really helpful info for any kind of tiny home. http://www.housetrucks.com/maindex.html

I envy you Smiley

Oh, another thing is there are lots of great books and websites on tree houses. While it's not on wheels, the same tiny space and super efficient living applies... so they have a lot of good pointers. Also lots of stuff on keeping it light weight, which will really help your fuel bill when you have to move your home Smiley
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009 07:55:20 AM by Wildfyre » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2009 08:17:36 AM »

Good luck :-) It sounds like an amazing thing to do. Not for me, though - I need my real, tangible books and my vast wardrobe. But it's a great idea!

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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2009 10:37:08 AM »

Ok, some of these ideas seem a bit "out there" for me.  But in looking at the larger Tumbleweed houses ... I'm in love!  DH and I have been talking the last couple of years how our 2600 sq ft house is just WAAAY too big for the two of us (and the dog).  We'd really like to downsize drastically.  Our biggest problems at this point are 1) the housing market stinks so it would be tough to sell the current house and 2) we love our lot - we'd definitely have to get someplace with land.  Oh, and I suppose 3) we have oodles of stuff that we'd have to get rid of first.
But ... since we built our current house, I'm sure we could build one of those 700 sq ft jobbers pretty inexpensively and maybe have enough in the "budget" to purchase a nice hunk of land besides!

« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2009 11:06:01 AM »

Okay, first of all let me just say how excited I am about how interested everyone is in these houses! I'm in college studying architecture, and they're really pushing the earth-conscious initiative on us.
A few things that might help you out:
1. a cistern. collecting rain (were you the one who lives in seattle?) can really make a difference! of course, you shouldn't drink it, but we use so much water every day. add it up for a week and be surprised! i'm living in south carolina right now in one of the top 3 worst drought conditions in the country. we definitely are aware of the water we use!
2. as for space issues, theres a place here that sells these mobile unit bedrooms, which are probably horrendously expensive, but they have some excellent ideas for having storage and sleeping, even a small office in a small area. you can definitely get some ideas from here!  http://www.tumidei.it/home_eng.htm  http://freshome.com/2008/09/19/bedroom-ideas-for-kids-tiramolla-loft-bedrooms-from-tumidei/
3. the tumbleweed homes are adorable, but you will use so much less energy if you have more windows (skylights, etc.) allowing natural light into the home will not only save energy, but it has been proven that natural light makes you feel better on the inside, and sleep better as well. Smiley
4. don't forget to garden and eat seasonally! shipping vegetables across the globe is awful for the environment, and you will feel better eating fresh and delicious vegetables that you grew yourself Smiley

good luck with everything! i can't wait to see how this turns out! Smiley

Procrastinators unite!!!
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2009 02:11:39 PM »

I can't wait to see how this turns out! So fun!

« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2009 04:58:07 PM »

Hi!  I'm Lilak Tygress' hubby.  Here are some more details on things we were thinking of:

Washer/Dryer Combo (Splendide 2100XC Vented)
18" Dishwasher (or possibly, table-top)
On-Demand LPG Water Heater
Small (3-4 cu ft) Refrigerator/Freezer
Toilet with in-wall carrier (more expensive but much smaller)
Very small modular stairs
11 Windows & 2 Skylights (to open up the small space)
Bathroom door that has shelving on it and slides out
Love seat that doubles as storage AND a bed
TV that is rotatable/slidable among both downstairs and lofts
Small electric heater (micathermic from Soleus)
Recycled/surplus tile (from Habitat for Humanity ReStore)
Either bamboo plywood or recycled stone kitchen countertop
Storage along the sides of the bed in the large loft (for clothes)
Metal or asphalt shingle roof

I'll upload the sketches/plans of stuff when I get a chance!  I think the difficult parts are going to be the love seat/storage/bed and the sliding bathroom door/storage cabinent/shelves.  Oh, and the dining table/folding chair set (though we at least have a photo to go by for that idea).  You can expect a TON of photos of everything as we start building!

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« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2009 04:59:31 PM »

Welcome to craftster, Matt!  We look forward to those pictures...I can't wait!

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Lilak Tygress
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2009 11:30:37 PM »

Well, well. I didn't know Mr. Tygress would be joining our discussion! Lol.

As for the tree homes, we have seen them.  We thought those would be really cute for tree house for munchkins some day. The natural homes sound amazing!! I was mentioning to Matt that my uncles home is partially under ground and he saves a lot of energy because of it.

The house trucks are interesting... for someone else, lol.  Like I said, whats right for me may not be right for anyone else and vice versa.

And nightal- those kids lofts have some AMAZING ideas!  Thank you so much!  These stairs:

are exactly what I was picturing!!  Of course I also was interested in these stackable stairs :

from this guy http://users.mssblue.net/baka/index.htm He'll send you plans for $30, and said he also has an eBay store.  Very helpful gentleman.

Like he said, we'll try to post some of sketches up.  We're looking for the trailer now, but we probably wont actually start construction until June-ish.  Thanx for the input.  Keep it coming!!
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« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2009 12:26:03 AM »

Actually you can drink rainwater. In australia it is common, people have large tanks, the water is filtered and treated with UV to kill any bugs. There are many trace minerals in rain water that are very good for you, plus no chlorine or flouride. Both of which are not particularly good for you

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« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2009 01:09:54 AM »



That's a DESK and that's a DOUBLE BED and there's all that STORAGE and...I am in love. Want! Want want want!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2009 02:01:14 PM by jungrrl - Reason: Please do not hotlink images - thanks! » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2009 09:56:26 AM »

OMG me too!  I need a loft like that!

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« Reply #25 on: February 10, 2009 12:06:50 PM »

Can you *imagine* how many craft supplies you could fit in the drawers under that bed? [grin]

When she was good, she was very very good - but when she was bad she was fabulous.
« Reply #26 on: February 10, 2009 02:25:03 PM »

OMG, those are so SMALL!   Shocked

I can't imagine living in a 65 sq ft house... where would I put my SHOES?! haha
(smallest model)

Those space savers look like a good idea for dorm rooms etc though, and I always love a nice spiral staircase.  Cute!   Wink

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« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2009 03:13:26 PM »

Wow, that is so tiny!  I am very impressed with the idea of paring down this far, especially because I don't think I could ever do it.  I lived in a 450 sq. ft studio apartment with my boyfriend for three months, and then we were quite ready for a bigger space. 

Links you may find interesting, or maybe have seen already Smiley  http://unicatamericas.com/en/index2-Special.html  Specialty custom trucks turned into RVs - great images of interior organization, all drawers and pullouts and flip-downs...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/garden/15hongkong.html  a highly transformable small space, everything slides and changes. 

I will watch with fascination as you 'tetris' yourself and your things into this space.   So many cool opportunities for efficient storage and multi-purpose stuff!
« Last Edit: February 15, 2009 03:18:06 PM by cute_anarchy - Reason: I only WISH I could spell... » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2009 07:20:41 AM »

This is amazing.

I had seen those Tumbleweed homes a few years ago, but I'd sort of forgotten about them.  I remember when I first saw them I dreamed about owning one.  I just love the idea of it.  We all (well, most of us) live with so much more than we really need... I love the idea of living more simply and not taking up so much space.

Good for you guys for doing this.  Please do update us on your progress.  I'm very interested in seeing how this takes shape.
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2009 12:15:06 PM »

this is just like my vardo  which i bought a couple of years ago (from a romany guy) with the intention of making livable and....well living in !! but now im off to uni for 3 years so i will probably have to sell her to afford it and then buy her back or find another when ive graduated.


shes 6foot by about 12 foot and is really light weight  so a car or even a small poney could pull her ( a mule was my original idea!)

look out, it's behind you AAAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!
« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2012 09:59:30 AM »

I love that fold-up couch! Where did you find it?
Thanks so much!
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2012 07:07:02 PM »

Wow it's been a while since I've posted..

My boyfriend and I built a house out of a shipping container. Ultimate DIY  Grin The finished living area is ~250sq ft.

Our blog is at http://www.lifein320.blogspot.com and we're coming up on the year anniversary of starting our project.

We love it. It's not much different then living in a regular house, and the only things we really got rid of were clothes that were really screwed up, pots and pans we never used, and the little tiny pieces of flotsam and jetsam you don't get rid of unless you have a good reason. We have a buttload of storage underneath our bed (in big tubs), so my crafting stuff wasn't downsized at all (I did donate some yarn that I hadn't used for years, and didn't have any plans or wants to use, but that had nothing to do with moving).
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