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The Light Box

“The Light Box”- a tiny house on wheels that was group-built at Deek’s hands-on building workshop in November.

The following is a guest post by: Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

Hey all, I just wanted to share with you a few photos of a translucent wall I built in a three-season tiny cabin on wheels, that I’ve dubbed “The Light Box”, for obvious reason. By doubling a layer of this white Tuftex roofing, and leaving an air void in between, I could effectively create a somewhat insulated wall, but for my purposes, I don’t yet need that. Also keep in mind, small spaces are VERY EASY to heat, and this cabin, without the loft, is only 45 square feet in size- TINY!

Anyway, this is the front wall/window (very cost effective) of a tiny house we worked on at last months’s Relaxshacks.com Tiny House Building Workshop in MA that I hosted (we have another HANDS-ON one coming up in North Carolina too, which I’ll mention below). The overall idea was to make this front wall almost art-like at night when illuminated, and the reverse during the day, when light came into the small space and lit the interior. The roofing is affixed to a 2by6 frame (the supports also serve as a ladder to the loft) with hex-head, neoprene-washer, screws, and they’re beyond easy to drive. I’ve never seen a “light box” wall like this before, but was inspired to try it out after I used this type white poly roofing on an A-frame shelter/tree house I recently built for an upcoming DIY Network show that I’m now hosting, designing-for, and building for. I’ve also been very busy sketching, designing, and building, for an upcoming follow-up to my book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks“- if you have cabins, forts, tree houses, tiny houses, or playhouses that you built, or photographed, I’d love to see them and possibly include them in the book- email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Anyway, the wall has worked out, and I like it so much that I plan on using this same approach on a tree house I’ll be building for someone down the road. With a material this light, in tree house applications, you can actually pre-build entire wall sections of your project, and then single-handedly hoist them up to you platform. This saves a ton of time, not to mention avoids some dangerous aerial work.

As for the other workshop…..   April 26th-28th – Wilmington, North Carolina – Three Days of HANDS-ON building, guest speakers, a trip to a tiny house most likely, demos, campfire discussions, and much MORE! www.Relaxshacks.com has all the sign-up details. We’ll also film some of this build for Make Magazine and my youtube show “Tiny Yellow House”.

Steven Harrell of TinyHouseListings.com and TinyHouseSwoon.com is also co-hosting this event….AND We just added tiny house dweller/builder Laura LaVoie as one of our guest speakers (MANY more to come!).

We’ll all be building a small 100 square foot guest cottage together, and trying some new, funky, unusual, and daring designs and approaches- I can’t wait! Click HERE for workshop sign-up info.

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I have five signed copies of my book to giveaway. Tiny House Floor Plans is quite literally a book of floor plan drawings that can help you visualize how a tiny space might be organized. You can buy a copy on Amazon.com and an ebook version right here. If you’re feeling lucky you can enter for a chance to win a signed copy (U.S. residents only). For international winners I’ll send you an electronic copy of Tiny House Floor Plans and one electronic copy of one of my house plans.

My last giveaway was so popular, and so many people still hoping to enter, that I thought I’d offer another right away.

Enter Here

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Enter here is form above doesn’t appear.

Increase your chances to win by a factor of 10. If you’ve already done some of these things, like following the Tiny House Design Facebook Page, be sure to give yourself credit by clicking ‘do it’ above.

Details

  • Prize: A signed copy of the book Tiny House Floor Plans (U.S. residents only). International winners will receive an electronic copy of Tiny House Floor Plans and an electronic copy of one of our tiny house plans. 5 winners will be selected.
  • Open to: A valid email (and mailing address for U.S. winners) is required so we can notify you and send you your prize if you win. We will not share your email address with others. Void where prohibited.
  • Giveaway period: Starts at 12:01 am on September 15, 2012 and continues until 12:01 am on October 1, 2012. All times are Eastern.
  • How to enter: Rafflecopter – Log in with your name and email or Facebook.

If you’re viewing this in email you’ll need to visit the website to enter. If you’re on the website and the rafflecopter form doesn’t appear, please wait a minute for it to load.

A suggestion for Tiny House Design affiliates: feel free to leverage this post & giveaway widget on your websites. View page source to grab the javascript or email hidden; JavaScript is required for more info. Don’t forget to swap your book links for mine.

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Dan Louche at Tiny Home Builders has been busy building another tiny house and recording the process in an instructional video series. The videos are now available through his website and show how to build a tiny house step-by-step. Dan tells me:

“The library is currently has 22 videos and over 3 hours of footage. I expect this series will grow to about 40 videos in the next 6 weeks.

The price for access to the library ranges depending on the bundle that the customer selects but the base price is around $269 with discounts provided if purchased with plans.”

Dan also gave me a peek at the videos themselves, and I’m happy to report they are very well done. His explanations are clear, the video is crisp and clean, and the sound quality is high. Each video focuses on a specific topic so it’s easy to focus-in on the topics you choose to review or watch the entire process from beginning to end.

In many ways this instructional video series delivers a lot of the same kind of information you might get from a tiny house building workshop. So while there is no substitute for a hands-on experience I think Dan’s videos are a lot better at delivering the information than many classroom based workshops; especially since you can go back to the videos and review the topics you as you’re building your tiny house.

Dan also has offers a Tiny House Construction Guide and tiny house plans. Currently there are three designs available.

So if you’re planning to build a tiny house, or building one now, you should take a peek at what Dan offers… you may find the answers to your building questions in his construction guide and video series.

This is the kind of information the wider tiny house community has needed for years. I’m really grateful that Dan has taken the time to produce such a valuable resource.

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I regularly hear folks asking for tiny house designs without lofts. Climbing ladders and limited headroom isn’t for everyone. So when I began drawing the floor plans for Tiny House Floor Plans I kept that in mind and included lower level sleeping options in many of the layouts.

Typically the need for lower level beds are fulfilled through the use of a sofa bed / futon sofa, but in some examples where the house is long enough, I’ve included a bedroom. Below are some sample floor plans from the book. While each house is shown with a loft, one could build a single level tiny house from any of these examples and still have space to sleep.

There are 230 floor plans in the book ranging from 8×12 to 12×24. Many of them offer lower level sleeping options.

Buy a print copy through the publisher now for $24.95.

Buy the ebook version (.pdf download) for $14.95.

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I’m happy to announce that I’ve just finished a new tiny house book called Tiny House Floor Plans: Over 200 Interior Designs for Tiny Houses.

Inside you’ll find over 200 interior designs for tiny houses – 230 to be exact. Each chapter focuses on one size footprint to show what can be done inside each size space – 14 in all: (8×12, 8×16, 8×20, 8×24, 8×28, 8×32, 12×12, 12×12 + Loft, 12×16, 12×16 + Loft, 12×20, 12×20 + Loft, 12×24, 12×24 + Loft).

The book has about 300 pages, measures 6×9, and is mostly illustrations with a short introduction. A detailed legend shows you how to read the floor plans making the drawings easy to decipher.

If you’re considering simplifying your life, extreme downsizing, arranging your tiny apartment more efficiently, building a cabin or inlaw unit, and/or building your own mortgage-free tiny home, this book can help give you a head start on making your goals a reality.

Buy a print copy through the publisher now for $24.95.

Buy the ebook version (.pdf download) for $14.95.

Below is a video walk-through of the book.

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Brian “Ziggy” Liloia just finished a book documenting the process of building his tiny cob house at the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The book is titled The Year of Mud: Building a Cob House.

Ziggy began construction in April of 2008 and moved in on July 11, 2009, but the story didn’t end there. He quickly learned what worked and didn’t work with his original design and made changes to make the home more comfortable. For example a novel bed design heated by a rocket stove didn’t work out as expected – so Ziggy got out his pickaxe and shovel and replaced it with a tiny wood stove before the winter snows came.

The lessons folks like this learn through their explorations can help us all make better choices for ourselves. I’m really greatful to those that share their experiences through blogging and who take the time to put it in print.

You can buy this cob building book online at Blurb.com. Be sure to use promo code “NEWBLURB” to receive a 20% discount.

Read more about The Year of Mud: Building a Cob House at Ziggy’s blog.

 

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Michael Thompson at rammed-earth.org shared a copy of his new book with me, it’s called DIY Rammed Earth Manual, How to build with DIRT! I was really happy to find it packed with real DIY information. The first section covers all the basics you’ll need to know to build a rammed earth home including the tools you’ll need, how to build formers, lay your foundation, and test soil for suitability. The next covers the building of a small earthen building from start to finish.

If you dream of building a tiny house on a trailer dirt won’t work, but if you dream of a tiny homestead dirt may be the way to go. Rammed earth is the process of compacting dirt to form walls. It’s slower going than framing a house with lumber but the thermal mass an earthen wall provides can help you get a comfortable quiet home the old-fashion way. For over the last 200,000 years humans have been creating different ways of building with earth. Here are just a few of the most common methods.

  • Earthbag – Bag filled with dirt and tamped into place.
  • Adobe – Dry mud blocks stacked into walls.
  • Cob – Wet mud blobs stacked into walls.
  • Rammed Earth – Walls formed in place by tamping it into a reusable form.
  • Compressed Earth Block – A cross between adobe and rammed earth.
  • Wattle and daub – Mud filled woven lattice.

Michael’s book is available in print an as an ebook. He also teaches workshops in Europe. Visit his site to learn more about DIY Rammed Earth Manual, How to build with DIRT.

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Lloyd Kahn is currently working on a new book on tiny houses, and recently contacted me about possibly including a piece on my Tiny Free House. It won’t be long before I’ll need to move my pallet house project closer to home, and having it nearby will make it a lot easier to finish it up.

If you’re not familiar with Lloyd, let me introduce you. Lloyd Kahn has been building, living in, and writing about alternative handmade homes for decades. He lives and works in the tiny coastal town of Bolinas, California. His publishing company is called Shelter Publications, and is well known for publishing books and software designed to improve the quality of life.

His most recent book is Builders of the Pacific Coast. He sent me a copy last week and I’ve been pouring over the pages in a trance. The book is absolutely amazing. It’s filled with stories of homemade homes from San Francisco to British Columbia. Over a two-year period Lloyd made four separate trips up the coast meeting people and photographing their amazing homes. All that work is now captured in the pages of this 256-page book, packed with color photos.

In my humble opinion, Builders of the Pacific Coast is an incredible bargain at less than thirty bucks (check his website for current pricing). Below are some sample photos from the book.

Shelter Publications

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I’ve written about this Simple Solar Homestead before but LaMar has made some improvements to his website including the addition of videos and photos of cabins built from the plans in his book. His book is called Simple Solar Homesteading and its 196 pages and costs $19.95. He also sells a $5 ebook called Off-Grid Solar Power.

The  structure of the 14′ by 14′ cabin below can be built for about $2,000 in materials. His book is packed with all sorts of ways to live off-the-grid on a low budget. Back in 2008 I bought an earlier version of this book (as an ebook) and was amazed with all the information inside. It’s exciting to see LaMar expanding his online content and offering and update to his already amazing book.

Visit Simple Solar Homesteading

Photo credit to LaMar Alexander.

Update: The day after I posted this LaMar posted this great little video slide show of how this little cabin was built.

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Derek Diedricksen’s new book is everything I expected it to be and more. It’s also got what might be the longest book title in history, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here!).

Inside you’ll find about 90 pages crammed full of what flows from Derek’s wild imagination. It’s part comic book, notebook, and alternative living encyclopedia that’s mostly hand written and illustrated. Virtually every page is crammed full of black and white drawings and notes that describe a vast array of ideas and solutions for simple living. This is a must have book for those that appreciate extreme (and wacky) simple solutions.

It costs $15.95, which includes shipping inside the USA. Shipping for outside the USA costs a little more. If you’d like to buy a copy contact Derek directly at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Pictured here is the author, Derek Diedricksen standing in front of a wall covered with pages from his book.

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Derek posted a little more information on his 24 square foot Gypsy Junker on Instructables. This micro house sleeps two and was made mostly from discarded lumber. It fits on a trailer and will probably be hauled up to his place in Vermont to serve as a micro guest house next to his bigger little cabin.

Derek’s book is now in print too. It’s called Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, Cozy Cottages, Ramshackle Retreats, Funky Forts (And Whatever The Heck Else We Could Squeeze In Here!). I’ll post a complete review once my copy comes in the mail but in the mean time you can read more about this tiny house book on Derek’s blog.

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First I want to thank everyone that entered the Free Drawing for the Tiny Prefab ebook. There were tons of great tiny house ideas and dreams in those 39 comments… definitely worth a read if you’re curious to see what’s cooking in other people’s imaginations.

To select a completely random winner I used a simple service called random.org and it picked Jan’s comment! Congratulations Jan!

A total of 90 pages and two new additions in the 2nd Edition of Tiny Prefab:

  1. The interior wall sheathing can now be removed after the prefab structure has been built thanks to a suggestion from Malcolm. Thanks again Malcolm!
  2. The prefab system now supports a 16-foot wide building with an 8/12 Gable Roof.

Continue to see some illustrations from the new version. I’ve also sent out a free update to everyone who has already bought the ebook. When you buy Tiny Prefab you are entitled to free updates so as I add more pages to the book and features to the design you’ll get updated automatically without paying more than the original $19.99.

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Tiny Prefab, A Do-It-Yourself Prefab Building System

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