a story about living small

How-To

Powering our Tiny House, Off the Grid: The SolMan Portable Solar Generator

Perhaps one my favorite things about our tiny house (other than falling asleep to the sound of rain on a steel roof) is that it is entirely off grid.

Christopher and I are both environmentalists of sorts, having spent chunks of our lives studying, researching, and telling stories about humans’ interactions with our natural resources and waste. Part of this tiny house experiment has always been about learning to lessen our own impact.

And there’s also the practical side of things: 40 miles from a major town, our tiny house doesn’t have access to a “grid” of any kind. No gas lines. No power lines. No water lines or sewage system. We’ve had to figure out our own solutions for each of these utilities.

Park County, Colorado gets an average of 246 sunny days each year, so solar power was an obvious choice for our electric needs.  Throughout the building stage, Christopher looked into rigging up a system of his own design, but when we heard about the SolMan portable solar generator, we decided it was be worth it to purchase a professional, pre-made solar unit than to build our own. Continue reading “Powering our Tiny House, Off the Grid: The SolMan Portable Solar Generator” »


Tiny House Construction Update: The Hardwood Floors.

sweeping tiny house hardwood floor "tiny a story about living small"

With the installation of the hardwood floors, we’re proud to say that now (almost) every inch of the tiny house interior is covered with some sort of semi-finished surface. No more unsightly plywood or insulation sticks out, and each day it’s looking more and more like a real house. (Except the bathroom—the tile floor will go in later this month.)

We’re finding ourselves asking questions that have seemed far away for so much of this process. Questions like, “How deep should the built-in shelves be?” or, “Should we put a desk or a dining table under the front window?” These are Finish questions, and our minds are drifting to thoughts about curtain materials and light fixtures…

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Ahem. Back to the floors. Continue reading “Tiny House Construction Update: The Hardwood Floors.” »


Tiny House Construction Update: A Year of Photos, Step-by-Step.

Whew! It’s hard to believe that our last official construction update was posted almost six months ago, back when the house was still a plywood box topped with skeletal rafters.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

Since time has gotten the best of us, if you’re interested in following the step-by-step progress on the house, we invite you to check out our Construction Process photo album on facebook. Pictures speak louder than words, and we’ve added captions so you can track our work through the months of May through January and beyond.

If—like Christopher—you’re thinking about building your own tiny house or learning as you go, here are a few of our favorite blogs and sites that offer step-by-step photo albums and more in-depth D.I.Y. tiny house How Tos:

Chris and Malissa’s Tiny Tack House

Steven Wolverton’s tiny house in Texas

Kevin’s MicroHomestead on Youtube

The How-To Section at TinyRevolution

And if you know of other favorite how-to building resources, let us know and we’ll add them to the list!

 

~ Merete Mueller, 1/25/11

 

 

 


Tiny House Construction Update: A Porch is Born.

My favorite part of the tiny house’s new porch has been watching Christopher figure out how to build it.

Because of the house’s cantilevered porch (Chirstopher’s invention, to maximize floor space inside the house), the design was a bit trickier than your standard tiny house deck. When the house is stationary, the 3-foot section of the porch that hangs suspended over the edge of the trailer is supported with jacks. But when the house is transported, there will be nothing but air beneath this section. Most porch designs would have put too much weight on the ends of these beams, so Christopher had to get creative. Continue reading “Tiny House Construction Update: A Porch is Born.” »