Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sorry for the long hiatus....

I'm so sorry to have been neglectful of my blog for so long but I've been doing a lot of research for different things going on in my life right now.   I'm doing a lot of research & fact checking on the candidates in the upcoming elections.   I believe the future of the tiny house movement has a lot riding on who wins for many different reasons. 

That said I'm planning on attending the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Orlando on January 26th & 27th.  After that I'm going to buy my trailer & get started!!  My goal is to have my tiny house completed  by June of 2015, a few months before I semi retire when I turn 50!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company's XS House

I do a lot of searches for photos & videos of all different kinds of tiny houses.  I've changed my mind a few times about which plans I'll use, but luckily I'm just in my planning stages & still have plenty of time to settle on which one I really want.
I know in one of my earlier posts I stated that I'd settled on the Tumbleweed Lusby model, but as I look around I'm really starting to warm up to the XS House!  Partly because it's much smaller & more affordable to build but also because of how cozy it looks.  Jay Shafer built one for himself & instead of a traditional ladder he used a tall step stool to get into the sleeping loft.  I really love the idea of sleeping in a loft, it's just sooo comforting...  It's almost like your bedroom is hugging you to sleep.
Here's a photo I found with the floor plans & a photo of the outside:
Another plus is the fact that it's so small I'd be forced to downsize even more than if I had a Lusby.  I really want to simplify & was thinking about the fact that I probably won't be cooking & baking like I do now because it'll just be me.  I'm starting to like the idea of eating more simply, like having more soup & sandwich type meals.  That means just having a kitchenette would be more practical & you can find all sorts of appliances that run directly off of 12 volt DC current instead of having to have a power inverter.  I'd just have cigarette lighter type outlets instead of regular outlets.  That way the solar powered option would be more efficiently utilized.  
PS, it also means even less to have to clean, LOL!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More of my reasons for living tiny & sustainable

I make my living as a self employed house cleaner & I work in a large variety of homes from a 1,000 sq. ft. townhouse to a 6,000 sq. ft. home.   I often wonder why some of these folks want 5 or 6 bedrooms, 2 or 3 living rooms, 2 dining areas, 6 bathrooms, etc., for 2 or 3 people.  These homes are gorgeous, but have an empty feeling to them for me...  Don't get me wrong, I love my clients, they're all wonderful, generous people & I love working for them.  But I worked in a bathroom "suite" today that could actually fit my tiny home I'm going to build inside it!  Maybe more than one, that's how big it was...
I wonder what kind of shell shock some of these people would experience if they had a health or financial crisis & had to downsize.  I'd be more than willing to help them find resources & show them how it's possible to house, feed & clothe themselves on very little.  I'm a single mom & have had times when I had to get by on less than $600 a month, which included rent, utilities, food, etc...
If I suddenly came into a large sum of money I'd start building my tiny house immediately while looking for a piece of land large enough to put it & dozens more.  Then I'd start a tiny house gifting foundation with what was left over after putting away enough to live comfortably the rest of my life & a little for my daughters.  Instead of living in a house big enough to fit 50 or 60 tiny houses (that just blows me away when I really think about it) I'd want to help 50 or 60 people or more to have a place where they'd always have a roof over their heads & maybe start a little general store for the tiny house community I'd help build!!
What do you think?  If you won the lottery or came into a large sum of money would you still want to live tiny?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Expanding outdoor living space with a screen house

When I was a kid we had a summer place in the suburbs of Philly where we spent our summers.  I talk about it in more detail in my "Why I want to live tiny" post.
We had a screen house & I went searching on the web to see if they're still being sold.  Well I found them & this one's my favorite by far.
It's called the Casita Screen House & looks exactly like the one we had, but a bit smaller.  It would be ideal for an outdoor living/dining area to use here in south Florida for the 6 or so months out of the year when we don't have heat indexes topping off at over 100 degrees.

I can picture my patio set & a picnic table or outdoor dining set right alongside my tiny house!!  Plus they're pretty reasonable at less than $600 at BJ's!  You can find them here.

Tiny living & bicycling

It's been a couple of weeks since I've made an entry into my diary, today I want to talk about my mode of transportation...

I live in a small town on Florida's Treasure Coast & clean houses for a living.  I haven't had a driver's license for a long time because I lived in Philadelphia before I moved here & having a car in a big city with public transportation is kind of a waste of money to me.  I've been riding a bicycle as an adult since getting one to get to work when there was a threat of a transit strike in '03 and have been riding ever since.  Because I haven't had a car or license for so long the cost of insurance would be very high for me.  I like the idea that I'm reducing our household's carbon footprint while also getting free exercise outside in the fresh air.  Another benefit is repair costs, for less than most auto repairs I could buy a new bike if need be.

I think that I'll be riding a bike, and later on an adult tricycle, for the rest of my life.  It's a very sustainable mode of transportation & has lots of benefits.  It's nice to be able to really look at scenery & get fresh air & exercise while going to work or to run errands.

With this in mind I'm aware that I'll need to find a piece of land that's within a reasonable distance of grocery stores, pharmacies, libraries, etc...  I also want to live close to a flea market or farmer's market so I can have a table to sell the beaded jewelry & tote bags that I make for a small income.  That way I'll have the money I'll need to live on, although I don't anticipate needing that much because I already live very frugally on about $1200 a month or so...

I really love the idea of living tiny using solar & wind power, composting, having a vegetable/fruit garden & some fruit trees.  I'm also thinking about raising chickens for eggs & a great source of protein.  I can picture myself on my tiny solar homestead, working the earth, planting, harvesting, canning, collecting eggs, etc...  It just seems like such a peaceful, productive way to spend the last 30 or so years of my life.

Being able to slow down & enjoy my life will be a very welcome change for me after my youngest daughter is out on her own, it'll be nice to not have to worry about keeping up a 2 bedroom apartment!!

In conclusion, I feel that continuing to ride a bike for transportation will add to living a more sustainable lifestyle!!

What are some of your thoughts about this subject?  I'd really love to get some feedback about it...

Just thought I'd add a link to an eBay listing for plans to build a bike trailer that has a solar generator built in.  I could use this for carrying stuff to the flea market for selling & always be able to have my cell phone, laptop, and handheld TV fully charged!  It's here

It would also be great to take a cooler & stuff to the beach or on a bike camping trip...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tiny living for two?

My youngest daughter just started the 10th grade today.  She's really bright & a very talented artist.  I'm wondering what secondary education & the job market will look like in 2 or 3 years when she graduates.  She may have to stay with me for a few years instead of going away to college.

I've thought about how I'll handle the housing situation.  Should I put my plans on hold?  Should I wait to live my tiny, more sustainable lifestyle?  NO!  I'm not going to wait!  

I've already discussed it with my daughter & told her I'll make room for her to stay with me but if she wants to keep a lot of stuff she has to rent a storage unit for herself or we'll discuss building a shed for storage for her.  

For this reason & a few others I've chosen the Lusby Tumbleweed Tiny House design for my final choice.  It's a practical design because as I get older I'm not going to want to climb a ladder to get into bed & my daughter & future grandchildren could use the sleeping loft & I could use the tiny bedroom that's on the main floor.

The Lusby also has a decent sized kitchen area, which I'll be using a lot!

I'm also going to encourage my daughter to build her own tiny house so she'll always have a roof over her head & a place to call her own!

Living tiny means owning less...

I'm starting to downsize my possessions to get ready for the reduced amount of storage I'll have in my tiny house.  I'm not a fashion conscious kind of girl so I really don't have a lot of clothes.  I'm ready to get rid of even more to pare it down to the bare essentials.  I'd like to buy my land somewhere here in Florida because I love it here & that also means I can wear most of my clothes for at least 3 seasons out of the year. 

My biggest problem is in my kitchen...  I love to cook & bake so I have a lot of cookware, bakeware & gadgets.  I think I'll go through serious withdrawal if I have to give up too much of my kitchenware!  I know I'm going to have a nice sized kitchen area because I'll still be doing a lot of homemade meals.   I enjoy it plus it's inexpensive & healthier.

Some things I think I'll use in the kitchen are; a hanging fruit/veggie basket, a hook & bar system, pot hanger, corner shelves, slide outs & I definitely want to figure out a pantry configuration for food.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Design & amenities I'd like to have

I've narrowed down my choices in the design of my tiny house to 4 sets of plans; 
Tumbleweed Tiny House's Epu which is 89 sq. ft.,
Tiny House Design's 8' x 12' which is just the framing & I'll design the inside, Tiny Home Builders' Tiny Living  & Humble Homes' JS Bell Porch designs.  Just click on the design names for a link to take you to the web page they're on.

I definitely want to use solar power & propane for my electricity, heating & cooking options; a wet bath similar to the ones in boats to save space; a composting toilet & greywater filtering system for sewage;  an on demand water heater; a real propane rv stove/oven; a roof mounted rv air conditioner; a ceiling fan & exhaust fan.  I want to use recycled denim for insulation & have a metal roof.

I'd like to use as many recycled & re-purposed materials & parts as possible.  I got several ideas from other tiny house builders.  One is buying an old rv that doesn't run but still has working appliances & electrical parts & taking them out to install into the tiny house because they run on 2 way or 3 way power.  2 way is 12 volt & 110 volt & 3 way is 12 volt, 110 volt & propane (for the refrigerator).  Solar power runs on deep cycle 12 volt batteries so that's less to run through an inverter that would convert 12 volt to standard 110.

I have more ideas coming so come on back & see my progress!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tiny house first ideas

I'm in the beginning stages of planning my tiny house & am surprised by the many options I have for every aspect of the design & materials.  It's a lot of fun deciding which type of tiny house I'll build.  

The amount of information & resources online is fabulous!  It's great to be able to look for my land, plans, trailer, appliances, materials, etc. sitting in the comforts of my living room.

I was pleased to see the there's an actual option for stairs to a loft area instead of a ladder.  I'm thinking that it would be a better option for me because I'm planning on living the rest of my life in my tiny home & don't think I'm going to want to, or be able to, climb a ladder to get into bed.  Then again there's always the option to have a daybed setup in the main living space for guest sleeping space & then switching it to the loft as I get creakier...

Lots of windows/skylights are a must for me!  I'm thinking about those windows that have the blinds or shades built into them.  I'll have to figure out if they'd be cost effective but that will depend a lot on where I purchase my land lot(s).  

We have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore where I live so I'll be using them as a resource for materials, fixtures, hardware & possibly appliances.  Our area has a lot of new construction going on & there are still lots of people who are remodeling so I'm sure I can do well finding lots of cheap materials there & in other places.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Why I want to live tiny...

I'm almost 47 & have 2 daughters ages 15 & 24.  When my youngest turns 18 I will have been taking care of my girls for a length of nearly 28 years, mostly  by myself.  I'm a self  employed house cleaner.  I don't own a car now nor have I owned one for the majority of my adult life because I've mostly lived in cities with good public transit systems & ride a bicycle.  I moved here to Martin County, FL from Philadelphia, PA 5 years ago with my 15 year old.  
My 24 year old still lives in Philly with her husband of 4 years.

We've lived in several efficiency apartments as a family & I didn't mind so much because I've always felt that small spaces were very comfortable.  Maybe that's because I grew up in a tiny 2 bedroom rowhome in North Philly with my whole family.  Me, my parents, 2 older brothers, younger sister, grandmom & even a foster brother(kind of).  

We spent vacations in the summer at a 14 acre property in Montgomery County, PA on the Perkiomen Creek called Bluebell Acres that was owned by friends of our family.  We lived in 2 modified truck bodies, used an outhouse, had no running water & no electricity for a couple of years until we got power service.  We had no telephone there so we had to go out to a payphone if we had to make a call.  I adored "The Perk", as it came to be called, & have missed it since we stopped going when I was 18 or so.  Living simply was one of the greatest gifts my parents gave us.  Taking us out of the city like that made me a country girl at heart & I've been trying to get back to it ever since...
I believe that dream will be within reach when I build my Tiny House!!

First entry

Good morning everyone!  This is my first entry into my online diary about my journey of building my tiny house.  I found Tiny Houses by accident when doing some research for yurt living & decided that out of all of the options available I really love the Tiny House most of all.  I did a project in high school for a graphics class & designed a 10' x 10' house with a loft & always thought about it as an option for when I retire or semi retire.  I like the tiny house idea much better because I could take my house with me & just own small lots or rent a space.  It's the ultimate snow bird lifestyle!!  I'm in the planning stages right now trying to decide the size, layout, types of appliances, power, water & sewage option, etc...  

Thanks so much for taking this journey with me!  My next entry will be some background info about me.