Building Construction Illustrated

Picked this little number up to brush up on my build skills before we broke ground, err, trailer.

A great resource for basic overviews on construction techniques. What to expect and details on proper installation methods…

ISBN: 978-1-118-45843-1
ISBN: 978-1-118-45843-1

Interior Wall Structure & Treatments

I’ve been racking my brain at to what I’d use for the interior paneling in the TinyGiant. There are many options out there. It really comes down to two main questions; what is the aesthetic look I want to create while helping me achieve the functional rigidity demanded of travel?

First, let’s deal with function.

Functionality: This may all be obvious, but you’re building a home on a trailer that can bend and twist in transit and on-site prior to dropping your footers. That said, the home will be moving with the trailer and movement equals racking.

You want to choose an interior material that will move with the home without cracking, or buckling. Needless to say, gypsum (drywall) is definitely out of the question.pine wood interior - tongue and groove

One popular material is 1/2 pine tongue and groove board. If you happen to like the look of tongue and groove board this may be an option for you. I particularly do not, plus the idea of having this cover  my entire house, walls and all, is a bit aesthetically distracting and it’s a crap ton of wood everywhere.


Another route would be to use 1/2 plywood. Plywood comes in many different finish grades and veneers, which can be great if you’re particular like me about wood grains and coloring (tonality).

One thing to keep in mind is how the boards line up. You should be staggering the boards as they go up, so you will have noticeable seem transitions. Now, you could stay raw with the seams (keeping in mind that you want to leave 1/8″ gap between them for expansion/contraction/movement), but you could also borrow techniques like board and batten to cover seams. While this technique can be seen dominantly on exteriors it can create nice eye movement from low to high making the home feel a bit more spacious.

24"x24" alternating plywood interiorMy particular choice for interior finishing will be a 24″x24″ cut 1/2 ply arranged perpendicular to each adjacent piece. To me, it breaks the monotony of single large boards and doesn’t make the space as busy as tongue and groove board would.

Another option is reclaimed boards from old barn and shed structures. Forewarned, however, these will require a lot of rework to arrange them properly in the space.

Aesthetics: Creating a space you want to live in is paramount to your living experience. We spend a lot of time in our homes and creating the look and feel that fits your personality and lifestyle should be addressed. After all, this space IS tiny and you’ll never be further 4ft from any wall. 😉

There are numerous finishing applications for your tiny interior. There are innumerable stains, varnishes, paints, and everything in between on the market. Choosing a final application can be daunting. Below are a few thoughts…

Color: In my personal opinion I have seen many dark finishing treatments in tiny homes and I’m not a fan. A small space accented with a dark color will make the space feel even smaller. I guess if you are going for a cozy hibernation vibe this might work.

white interior with plyFor me, the brighter the better. Tiny homes have the advantage of having an exponentially higher square foot to window size ratio than any standard home. This lends itself well to having a ton of natural daylight. Why would you want to stifle such photonic relief with dark woods on the walls and ceiling.

So, you can probably guess where I’m going with this – White. White. White. White. There’s nothing more liberating than stepping in to a space that is slathered in white treatments. It not only makes the space feel, well, more spacious, it also reflects light around the home in much greater efficiencies. A splash of color here and there is great, but to me 70%-90% of white in your tiny home is where you want to be. Arguments for keeping white clean is a moot point me…keep your place nice, keep it clean and you will fall in love with your tiny every day you live in it.

AC/DC Electrical Panel/Wiring Set Up For a Tiny House

I’ve been doing some research on power distribution for my tiny home and because I am wanting the option of being totally off-grid with solar charging it meant that for efficiency sake I would want to have my lighting on low-voltage DC while still being able to have the refrigerator, other appliances, and outlets running on AC all at the same time.

In short, I found this great video highlighting this nifty AC/DC all-in-one power box. Enjoy.

Here are the spec’s:

PD4000 Mighty Mini Inteli-Power Panel Specifications

Moving From Material-centric to Life-centric

Life is a struggle between what we see and what we do and the measure of a person is solely based on the doing. We all wish to be a part of the greater community of humans, but somewhere along the way we have confused conformity in thought with conformity in action.

Now, rising above 6 billion people on the planet this ideology of material things tying us to our social status and therefore our worth as a person is quickly consuming the very things we depend on to survive; clean air, water, biodiversity, rich ecologies that are tied together and not severed by pavement byways and concrete city jungles.

Of course, each generation believes they are at the brink of some epic clash between nature and man. With the sea levels surging into seaside cities now regularly with the tied and CO2 levels higher than the earth has EVER seen. I think, unfortunately it may be true this time.

Eco-Anxiety cover
Eco-Anxiety coverI Chin

There are so many things outside of our ability to control or change. Plenty magazine coined the phrase, Eco-Anxiety in one of their magazine articles that referred to the overwhelming feeling people would get thinking about all of the environmental degradation plaguing us today coupled with the feeling of helplessness. The problem is huge, but there is hope yet.

The tiny home movement is a golden example of shifting the thought process from conformity in material-centric living to a more life-centric focus. That is to say, working to live, rather than living to work. Artists are a great example of this life philosophy.

When you remove the clutter (literally and figuratively) and parse your life down to the things you need, like to play with, and enjoy being around you clear the way for a life to lived for others, yourself and the community around you. You become AVAILABLE to those that matter and those that love you. Not to mention, your bills and expenses become a fraction of what you’r’e used to paying, so you can send it on more frequent vacations and outings with family and friends.

What’s not to love about that?!

So I say to you, challenge your beliefs, your things, and think about what you’d rather be doing than working another double at work.

A Small Case for the Tiny Home Movement

Victor Papanek stated, “We have learned to think of large cars as gas-guzzlers; similarly we must learn to see our homes as the space guzzlers they are,” in his book, “Design for the Real World.”

This is the back deck show with outdoor furniture and pergola sunshade
This is the back deck show with outdoor furniture and pergola sunshade

 While space has become an issue as populations increase in a non-linear fashion, other driving factors such as increased mobility, ownership without the mortgage, semi-permanent camping and tourism, and last but not least, the displacement of ‘the material’ for the benefit of simplicity, savings, and a reconnection with others and environment.

“We are designing these homes to empower the owner and offer abundance through a more sustainable lifestyle,” says President and Principal Designer at Phi Logic, Rob Irwin. “Foresight plays a huge factor in designing for the people, for the future. As the older demographics find themselves at the psychological cliff of retirement and the connotations that come with it, they find themselves in a position of choice and most of the time they want solace, simplicity and the opportunity to maintain a high quality of living without the overhead of a mortgage, or the maintenance that comes with owning a large home.”

In addition to the allure of tiny homes with the aging population, younger professionals are too finding themselves in a position to maintain a high quality of life, be near their place of employment while being near the progressive bustle that a city brings without the high costs of renting.

These ‘coming of age’ professionals also have a very distinct outlook on life and their place in it. No longer is the world seen as an immense sphere of endless resource offerings, clean air and crystal clear water. To many, living in a tiny-home is a statement about who they are and a physical externalization of their beliefs about wanting to live in a clean, safe and sustainable way.

The implications of continuing the malignant spread of cities and meandering communities of pavement cul-de-sacs into the very biodiversity we rely upon is certain disaster. While there are other overarching systems in place that top the loss of habitat, this is at least one thing you can take a stand and do something about.

A tiny home project.

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