Monday, June 23, 2008

Come On-a My House

KBAB as American Gothic

We spent some time outside today in the spot where we plan to build our tiny house. We decided we actually need some sort of official plan before we can start looking for/amassing materials and costing out the project. Logical, right? Being logical is not necessarily our first instinct, but we're making an effort here.

We started out with this basic plan we found in a book about tiny houses.

Then we modified it. This plan has (3) 4'x8' wings off the main 8'x8' space, but we don't need that much room. According to our rough plans and if our architect approves the design, our house will have a main living area of 8'x12'. Well, 8'x8' like you see above plus a 4'x8' wing on one side. Then the upstairs will be a sleeping loft with cantilevered deck that's the same layout only rotated 180° with a step out deck facing north. The bolt and beam construction should be easy enough for Keith and I to manage on our own.

likely future building site

We won't have indoor plumbing in the conventional sense---most likely some sort of composting toilet and a shower head in the same room as the toilet and a drain in the floor. Totally Mexico style. I found information on integral passive solar water heaters (just say "ipswah" for short) so we'll put on of those on the roof of the 4'x8' section. It will feed our shower and possibly the kitchen sink, although it'd be easy enough to set up a smaller tank that runs, gravity-fed, into the kitchen. All the water draining away from the house will be set up for gray water collection.

Eventually we'd like to have

Waiting for the baths to fill.
an outdoor bathtub kind of like our friend Bob has,
but, again, that will be down the road...because it will require a much larger water tank.

We won't have any sort of wiring, either. At least not at first. It'd be nice to hook up an electrical source from either solar panels or some other kind of "off-grid" set up, but that can happen down the road. We will put in as many windows as possible while still maintaining thermal efficiency, so light shouldn't be a problem. We have headlamps. And candles. And flashlights. See, you don't even need electricity. [Okay, well except to run the laptop which we plan to use to watch movies this winter. Or maybe we'll just cheat and watch my parents' big screen. Or run an extension cord. We're all kinds of creative around here.] No fridge to start with. If we need one, I'm voting for a dorm-size (propane?) fridge.

So since this is the place where we're documenting Our Plan, here's a crude Paint mock-up of the house floor plan, with a total of 192 square feet on 2 levels. Blue dots are windows. Brown dots are doors. It's Paint--don't judge.
main floor (8'x12')
(the outside eating area on the left/north will be under the step out deck off the sleeping loft)

sleeping loft and step out deck (8'x12' total)

The two storeys will be offset so looking at the house from elevation you'll see a kind of Z-shape. You zig, I zag.
Today George Carlin died. My parents have Class Clown on vinyl. We were thinking of giving it a spin this next weekend. His take on environmentalism (YouTube link) makes me laugh even though in part I'm one of the people he's making fun of. [Although I'd like to think my desire to live a simple life and make a smaller footprint isn't to "save the Earth" per se. I'm more selfish than that.] Everyone has to die, I guess. But it's still sad that people like him go.


Kahless said...

Looks a great site.
I have an outdoor hot-tub and its brilliant. Especially to go commando in the outdoors!

Recess said...

You are living my dream. I have read so many articles and visited so many sites on tiny houses. I have a whole folder of bookmarks dedicated to them.

April said...

tanya---yeah we fell in love with them the first time we saw them...seems silly to do it any other way

megan said...

this is so encouraging & inspiring. thanks for writing about it all. very excited for you guys.

Lisa said...

I hope you dont mind my link to you. We are doing much of the same things. We have been building our house (although admittedly its much bigger than we originally wanted) for 3 years now and still no running water or electricity but we are starting the solar stuff soon!!