Category Archives: Books & Resources

Life Emulates Tiny (A Biomimetic Approach to Living Tiny)

An emerging approach for sustainable solutions to human challenges is to emulate nature’s time-tested phenomena, patterns and principles. This process, often referred to as biomimicry, seeks out and incorporates lessons learned over nature’s 3.8 billion years of innovation.

This methodology¬†can be a great source for inspiration when designing tiny. Applications in rain water harvesting, heat-dissipating surfaces, energy¬†creation, and even collective resource generation through intentional pocket-neighborhood master planning and more all have their place. Simply put, nature has already figured out how to live synergistically with it’s environment, we only¬†need to get out of our own way to see this.

Like nature, we need resilient, zero-energy, zero-waste, regenerative environments that are aware, responsive and can learn to adapt to their occupants and surroundings. Why can’t tiny homes be a part of this too!

I posit that biomimicry in the built environment is a wellspring for the tiny home movement. It’s just going to take the voice and guidance of nature to be heard, moreover the skills of listening from the people to see this perspective an usher it into¬†fruition.

A few examples to get the gears turning…

Wastewater Mitigation and Reuse – John Todd Ecological Design = wastewater treatment through purposeful treatment solutions using plants (Pocket Neighborhood Integration)

Energy-Sharing Micro-Grids РBased on the collective energy sharing of most all ecosystem types this method of collaborative consumption creates resilient self-sufficient communities. (www.philogic.co)

energy-sharing-Pocketneighborhood

 Super-Superior Materials Р(the mollusk shell!) Could be used on anything from roofing shingles, windows, and trailer structures.

It’s as strong as steel and tough as a bulletproof vest, capable of withstanding the same amount of pressure it takes to turn carbon into a diamond. Scientists have discovered nature’s newest strongest material, and it comes from … a sea snail.

The list goes on and on! If you’re inspired to research this more feel free to reach out to Phi Logic, and take a look at www.asknature.org for quite an extensive list of animal niches.

Cheers, Rob

Come See Us!

Be sure to catch us at the Tiny House Jamboree in Colorado Springs, August, 7-9th, 2015. Looking forward to meeting everyone! This is going to be a HUGE event. The first of it’s kind with spectators, designers, suppliers, and builders from all 50 states and 5 countries!

Check out the event here on their page: https://www.tinyhousejamboree.com

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Guidelines for Tiny Houses

If you’re like most tiny home dreamers and owners the debate on what code should be used for the safe construction of your tiny home has been one fraught¬†with confusion. Mostly, because code recommendations for tiny’s don’t exist.

Many are building to Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) code just to have some semblance of safety and order in the off chance their home gets picked out of a tiny home lineup for inspection…

house collapse

On the Tiny Home Community blog we found their recommendations and overview writeup for Tiny Home Guidelines.

These guidelines provide a path for documenting the construction of a tiny house on wheels, demonstrating that it meets specific standards and is intended for use as a permanent residence.

They do a goo job at hitting the main safety topics for most mechanical, electrical and structural concerns. Check there page out here: http://tinyhousecommunity.com/guidelines.htm

Denver Tool Library

A new paradigm in the sharing economy has been rising in tool rental libraries. This¬†uptick in local tool rental libraries around the nation is a direct reflection on the need for the¬†access to tools otherwise expensive to own to be offered through a rental program. Benefits to these services range from instant use of a tool you need that day, or piece of mind knowing that you don’t have to budget for large tool purchases for projects.

DTL website screenshotHere in Denver a new organization called the, Denver Tool Library is helping to pave the way for one-time use tool rental. Being a budding tiny home designer and builder these types of services will most certainly come in handy for those hard to find, or expensive tool needs when it comes down to construction.

They have nominal membership fees and are an additional great source for other local creatives, workshops, and knowledge. If you’re like me and don’t want to bear the capital costs for purchasing construction tools, take a look at what’s going on there. Maybe we’ll bump into one another. ūüôā

Onilne: http://denvertoollibrary.org

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DenverToolLibrary

 

 

“Tiny Nest” Couple Talks 3D Modeling & Construction

Just came across this couple in progress of making their tiny home. They’re out of Canada and if you check out their 2nd episode they touch briefly on their experience with importation¬†of the trailer.

In this video they talk in detail about the design-build process as they walk thru the SketchUp model. This is a nicely detailed video and very informative to all of you wondering about the process of construction and things needing to be thought of prior to the first swing of the hammer.

2015 Tiny Home Workshops

The TinyHouseTalk people and, Alex Pino just sent me over a booklet for tiny home builders to peruse regarding upcoming workshops. ¬†I thought this might be of interest to the group, so here’s the link:¬†https://s3.amazonaws.com/tinyhouseworkshops/2015-tiny-house-workshops-catalog.pdf

2015 Tiny House WorkshopsDisclaimer note: I do not work, nor have I been paid to share this link. Just spreading the tiny love.

Rob

Trailer Width Talk

During my initial research on utility trailers for my tiny home I wondered why, if DOT trailer width limitations allows for 8’6″ don’t they make a trailer deck to that width?

When you’re thinking about your tiny home design, you must keep in mind a couple of factors where you do not want the trailer deck to extend to the maximum allowable width.

First, keep in mind that the depth of your walls, if you use 2×4’s (1.5″x3.5″ real measurement) for your wall construction and then there is an additional exterior rated sheet goods, plus a vapor barrier (depending on your climate), and siding or shingles you’ll end up with a wall thickness of somewhere between 5.5″-6.5″. That being said, you’ll have an additional 1″-4″ extending beyond your structural wall components.

Will you have a roof overhang?

You options will vary depending on the slope of your roof. This brings up not only roof overhang factors, but also overhead factors. Some roof coverings require an overhang of at least 2″. Other require more. Check with your manufacturers for these specifications.

My rule for making sure you are within legal size limitations is to check here; http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/trailer-dimensions/

…then subtract 2-3″ from your state’s¬†listed¬†height (trailers fluctuate from tip to tip depending on how level it is in-tow), subtract the installed depth of the chosen roof covering. For the tiny home width calculation, work backward from the needed roof overhang minus maybe 1″-2″ to be safe on your states width limitations, then subtract your chosen wall covering, you’ll have the exterior framing dimension – This will be your actual trailer width dimension.

For you interior dimension you then take the number you’ve arrived at above and subtract the 3.5″ (2×4’s width) from both sides (=7″) and you’ll have the actual tiny home interior dimension.

There are many existing tiny home plans out there. You may want to choose one of these to make things a little easier.

Here’s an example from the tinyhousetalk website;

lusby-tiny-house-floor-plans

http://tinyhousetalk.com/130-sf-fencl-tiny-house/

Choosing The Right Foundation for Your Tiny

Ok. So, there are numerous trailer types out there. Some are outfitted for large industrial use and some for lighter duty transport.

There are a few factors in choosing the right trailer for your tiny home and knowing some of the basics can go a long way to making the right decision for your tiny home foundation.

Trailer Types

Trailer Types

There are many options available, but when you factor in efficiency, safety, and load limits the choices are narrowed quickly. Above are many trailer types, but the two or three that you would ultimately narrow it down to the low-boy, utility trailer, or tilt trailer.

Additional Trailer TypesEach of these have slightly different specifications. A few things to note are trailer deck height, overall trailer deck width and length, making sure that the axles are rated according to the demands of the home (dual 5K axles =< 18′ / dual 7K axles =>20′), running lights, electric brakes (a must have), high load radial tires, and minimally curved fenders around the wheels. Other great added features are drop axles and galvanized and coated under flashing to deter road debris, as well as rodents and weather.

Check out TinyHomeBuilders custom trailer overview video…

Tumbleweed Trailer AnatomyKeep in mind that DOT has regulations on trailer size limitations and these vary from state to state. link for more info http://drivinglaws.aaa.com/laws/trailer-dimensions/

Feel free to toss up any question below and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Construction List Spreadsheet (Numbers format)

Here is a current (12.18.14) Construction List for my Tiny Home. It is a modified spreadsheet from Reece and Beck from Tiny Abode. I’ve built it out a little more than they had it including parameters for calculation cells for “Upfront Costs” for sizing prior to the start of your build. Knowing some of the dimensions and requirements for utilities is a must have. ūüėČ

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1m_GiMQ3utXemJ5N1Q1VXBaWkE&authuser=0

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