Blueprints

I’m not a decision maker, it’s not a thing I’ve ever felt like I’m good at. Thankfully, however, I seem to have arrived at a point I didn’t think I’d ever get to – finalising the design of this tiny wonder!

I did the usual, trawled through endless pictures of shipping container houses, wood cabins, caravans, high tech and low tech options, feeling overwhelmed by choice. The possibilities really are endless. The Hollyburton workshop helped me settle on the Tiny House on Wheels option – spending a weekend immersed in the smell of pine, the warmth of the wood and the connection with the whole structure confirmed my first tendency towards them. I was tempted momentarily by the shipping container option, especially after seeing this segment on Better Homes and Gardens. The design was simple and even the construction didn’t look too hard!

But honestly, the impermanence and mobility of the THOWs appeals to me as much as the natural materials. Not to mention the difficulties in council regulations for fixed dwellings like this container home…but that’s a story for another day.

Tonight I mainly want to share my floorplan! After speaking to a draftsman friend about framing plans, I finally got around to drawing my finalised floorplan for my tiny.

IMG_7399

It’s nothing complicated and nothing fancy, but it already feels like home! A lot of tiny house blogs advise you to consider your needs when designing the space – what do you do on a daily basis and what will you need to have in your house? For me it was all about the kitchen, having lots of light and connection to the outside world, and keeping space open and flexible so I can share it with others. Whether that’s for eating, relaxing, visitors to stay or setting up for a jam session, I don’t want to feel cramped or restricted. I know many people probably think those are the first two things you would feel in a tiny, but there’s a spaciousness and freedom in the simplicity of this, for me.

This drawing maps out the lower floor, I will also be adding in a sleeping loft above the bathroom and kitchen, to where the dotted line runs on the plan. I’ve mentioned Vina’s Tiny House before, and how much her design has inspired my own plans. Hopefully this image helps translate my floorplan into something more tangible…

vinas-simple-life-in-a-diy-off-grid-tiny-house-on-wheels-0003-600x399

Either way, word is that my trailer will be ready in the next week or so. Framing plans will be underway soon so I can order the timber needed for that and I’m having dinner with an amazing carpenter friend tomorrow night, who I might be able to wrangle on board for some hands on help. After that, I have one week off to get some practical tiny jobs done before I start a new full time job with a hefty commute involved, essentially shifting what has been until now an incredible work/life balance in a whole new direction. So while it feels a bit like slow progress at the moment, I also have a strong sensation of tiptoeing up to the edge of a diving board, getting closer to the point of complete saturation…

Only one way forward, right?

zaezt79s3ng7c

 

Advertisements

Hollyburton Building Workshop

When I got home from Portland I knew it was time to sink or swim with this building business. The only way to find out sometimes is to jump in feet first. As someone who hasn’t really built anything before, I had a bit of jumping to do.

Luckily I found a 4 day tiny house building workshop filled with creative, supportive, ridiculously cool people.

hollyburton group

There is so much to love about what Rob from Hollyburton is doing, I can’t sum it up here. Over four days we all got a taste of tiny living , staying in tinies built by previous workshops and soaking up the farm in all its glory.

IMG_5819

Some of Rob’s glorious Hollyburton Tinies

So many people embarking on tiny house have inspired me with their stories of building, of giving it a go with no previous experience. Why not me? Sure, I have no tools, nowhere to build, very little experience (none before this workshop) and approximately zero spatial awareness…but when has common sense ever stopped me before? If I’ve learnt anything in my 27 years it’s that the world is full of people who will give, and you honestly just don’t know how far you can get if you don’t ask and tap into that generosity.

So now, here I am. Spending plenty of time with my friend, YouTube: the teacher of all things in life. Trying to read back over the copious notes I took at Hollyburton and having very little to no clue what I was talking about. Having regular crises of self doubt and wondering if I’ve completely lost the plot…but also surprisingly making progress. I’m calculating the pitch of my roof and estimating the height of things like king studs, lintels, top and bottom plates, researching flashing, sheathing and cladding – things I’d never heard of a few months ago. I’m having sensible conversations with draftsmen and builders about MGP10 and how much weight my studs need to bear, can they be placed over my wheel wells or not. I’m drawing framing plans for my trailer, and whether they’re accurate or not, it’s still something I would never have even attempted last year.

So much pride in one little architrave!

So much pride in one little architrave!

Progress sneaks up on you, like children growing up. When you’re surrounded by your miniscule efforts everyday it’s hard to see change. Looking back two years ago though, it’s hard to believe how far those little offshoots have grown already.

The first purchase

There’s only so long you can talk about these things before it’s time to take the plunge. I knew from the start that any tiny house of mine was going to be designed around space for creating and sharing food. At first I was considering practicalities – I want to be able to bake and I know that the house would need a heat source, but making room for both an oven and wood fire seemed impossible. So – porque no los dos?

IMG_7124This my lovely Nectre Baker’s Oven, bought second hand (but looks pretty brand new!) from Ebay. Designed and manufactured in Australia, super good looking, and should more than meet any baking and heating requirements – I was sold. They sell selling is 80% emotion (source: Telstra Call centre training circa 2007). The emotion connected to cooking and food makes this stove the heart of my tiny and it certainly got me across the line from dreaming to spending.

Weighing in at 120kgs of cast iron, it wasn’t a walk in the park to pick it up and move it. Well, actually, I was pretty lucky and had amazing help at either end so it couldn’t have been a whole lot easier. But that certainly has been a learning curve for buying things online – sometimes they’re a total steal, but it doesn’t matter how much of a bargain something is if you need four people to travel four hours to move it for you.

For now my Nectre is safe in its temporary home – massive thanks to you, Noelly, for helping wrangle it off the truck and for finding room for it in your shed. Big thanks to Dad and to Steve from Ebay (who thankfully borrowed a forklift to load it for me) as well – you’re both awesome!

 

Decisions, decisions

There is a lot to choose between when you want to make a tiny home. You can go down the shipping container route or something on wheels, you can go super tiny or relatively large, there’s timber, steel, the list goes on and on…

After lots of deliberation I’ve decided to make a tiny house on wheels. The trailer will be 6.5 metres long by 2.8 metres wide, which will technically make it an oversized vehicle for towing. After speaking to Vic Roads I decided the extra width was worth the temporary permit that I’d have to purchase if I ever want to take the trailer on the road.

IMG_7099

I visited the trailer manufacturer and had a look around – this isn’t my trailer but it was a similar size and helpful for getting a sense for how much room I’d have to play with. The height of the frame will be about the height of the sleeping loft, but my trailer won’t come with the steel frame. Timber all the way!

I’ve borrowed lots of ideas from lots of places but my main source of practical inspiration lately has been Vina’s stunning tiny, by her design company Sol Haus. I thought about purchasing her plans to use but there were a few things I wanted to do differently and I’ve (probably stupidly) decided to give it a go myself. This means not just designing the house but also figuring out how to frame and construct it in a way that is structurally sound…worth a shot, right?

Something tells me that I’m not going to run short of people to thank in these posts, the more people I speak to the more people I find who seem willing to come along for the journey. Shout out to my wonderful go to gal, B-rob, who came with me to visit the trailers and listened to my gabbled excitement before and after the trip. It certainly wasn’t the first time and something tells me it will be far from the last that you’ll have to listen to my excited raving! xx

Tiny House Mecca

Fast forward a year and half, to July 2015. After lots of reading and drooling over pictures of tiny houses,  TH Mecca was calling to me – Portland, Oregon. After an incredible three weeks in Canada, I made my way down to Portland and stayed with my wonderful friend Sean and Ramona for a week. While there, they helped me hunt down any tiny house related event and dwelling. We researched, met tiny house gurus and got thoroughly engrossed by the tiny house vibe. I swear, it’s contagious!

IMG_5144

I came home with some practical connections, questions and leads to follow up. Couldn’t have done it without you guys, Seani and Ramona. Thank you for helping me on my adventure, now for some real time updates…

Where it all began

I think it’s safe to say that my tiny dream really took shape almost 2 years to the day, after a visit to the Cathedral Ranges. Maddy’s Dad was building a new house on his block and in the meantime had put together a temporary man shack, a mish mash of an old dairy, someone’s old garage, and a few other building bits and bobs he had found for free. It was…well it was kind of heaven.

Inside was cosy and welcoming and free of all the excess that so many houses have these days. It just hit me right in the heart somewhere, that this is how I wanted to live.

The man shack

We cooked on an outside fire pit, the loo had a view over the farm that was hard to beat. I snuggled to sleep up in a loft next to Mads and the potbelly fire kept us warm all night long. Hard to forget the feeling of peace that weekend left me with.

Plus the bath! Words can’t quite do it justice. If you’ve never had a steaming hot bath under the stars of a crisp, clear April night – do yourself a favour. I knew then and there that when I had my own place, the main condition was that an outdoor bath could be installed.

Best bath everI’m pretty sure after that weekend I started looking at Cabin Porn and it wasn’t long till I came across the tiny houses. What can I say? The rest is history.

Thanks Mads, and thanks to your Dad! You made a longing that I’ve always had suddenly tangible, and there’s been no looking back.