Nineteen-year-old Jonathan Von Reusner was a sophomore going to college in his hometown and living at home. Looking for an affordable way to move out, he decided to buy a bus and build himself a tiny dorm on wheels.
He paid $2500 for a bus he found on craigslist. Then he began to home-ify it: he stripped the seats, added a hardwood floor, a futon couch/bed, a desk, a kitchen (small fridge, water cooler, gas stove) and photovoltaics. The final cost (including PV) was $5600. It doesn’t have toilet or shower facilities, but as a college student, he has free access to all that at the campus gym.
His school, Bard College (2 hours north of New York City), lets him park the bus on campus, but he can’t live in it. Wanting something more permanent, Von Reusner is now camping out- with permission- in the parking lot of the local Buddhist monastery. Since he plans on many more years as a student (he hopes to go to medical school after his final two years of college), he expects to be living in his converted bus home for many years to come.
* Video filmed by Bard film student Elisa Caffrey.
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/teen-converts-bus-intof-grid-5600-photovoltaic-tiny-home/
Lulu is a single mom who’d gone back to school and didn’t have the time or interest in working full-time to pay for rent. So when she had to move out of her more conventional home, she decided to move herself and her daughter into a shipping container.
With no building experience, Lulu spent just one month cutting windows and a door and installing insulation and a basic kitchen (complete with propane-powered campstove and on-demand water heater).
Then she and her daughter moved into the 8 by 20 foot square foot home, fitting a bed, couch, bookshelf and kitchen cabinets into the 160 square foot box.
When Lulu decided they needed a bit more space, she went from shipping to trucking waste and began to build their bedroom on a used flatbed trailer.
“It’s really mostly built like a shed. It’s a nice looking shed, but it’s really an 8 by 16 shed with windows in it.”
Using only recycled building materials- including used floorboards, windows, cabinets, doors, bathtub, toilet and sinks- she built the entire thing for about $4,000 (trailer included).
Original story here: http://www.faircompanies.com/videos/view/california-shipping-container-tiny-home-cargo-trailer-room/
Music credit: “I Am a Man Who Will Fight for Your Honor” by Chris Zabriskie (http://chriszabriskie.com/)
Designer Ryan Frank wanted a semi-mobile home for a small plot in a “sensitive area”. He thought about yurts and domes, but settled for an open source design he found online. Often called a “boathouse” or “gothic arch” structure, it was originally developed by a boat builder; it’s centerpiece are the wooden support ribs.
Frank built the home for about 1000 euros in roughly 100 hours. He now lives in it full-time with his girlfriend, though they use a separate camper as a kitchen, as well as a separate composting toilet and outdoor shower.
Ryan Frank: http://www.ryanfrank.net/
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/1000-small-home-built-in-100-hours-from-open-sourcesign/
Author Richard Heinberg once taught a course on sacred geometry, and he’s written nearly a dozen books related to society’s balance with the natural world so when he and his wife built a tiny cottage in their backyard they embedded the Fibonacci series in the windows as a nod to the importance of the golden mean on nature’s patterns.
Richard Heinberg has written 10 books on energy issues, most notably oil depletion, and the backyard of his modest home in Santa Rosa, California reflects his belief that we need to go back to basics: he has a large veggie garden, chickens and a tiny cottage. The wee house is an experiment in natural building and a nod to the tiny house movement.
The windows in the structure reflect the Fibonacci series because “there’s a harmony in nature and we wanted to symbolically represent that in the design of our little house”.
The home is slightly less than 120 square feet which means it’s a “building of no consequence” so the Heinbergs didn’t have to get a permit from the city or country to build it.
More info on original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/fibonacci-tiny-house-reflects-natures-golden-ratio/
When Matt Kirkpatrick and Katherine Bovee bought a half-sized lot in Portland, Oregon, instead of filling the reduced area with their home, they designed their living quarters to stack inside a compact, wooden box, leaving terrain outside for trees and a garden and ample space inside to live large in 704 square feet.
The home was pre-fabricated with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and assembled on their 50-by-50-foot lot in inner Southeast Portland. They moved from a similarly-sized home nearby, but their new home uses space more efficiently, mostly by stacking functions: the kitchen doubles as the dining room and living room, the bedroom doubles as both their, and their one-year-old daughter’s bedroom as well as her play space, Bovee’s home-office (in the lofted bedroom area stacked on top of their closet and sink) and access to their rooftop garden/summer dining area.
Since Kirkpatrick is also an architect he was able to custom-design spaces like the nested, two-way shelves that house their extensive book and record collection on the living room side and their toiletries on the opposite wall inside the bathroom. The bathroom is custom-finished with a water-saving greywater toilet/sink combo and a large soaking tub. The kitchen/living room furniture was custom-designed to create unity within the space-expanding elements like a kitchen table and side table that fit together for larger dinner parties. They do have the option to build out a bit larger as their daughter grows, but for now they’re happy with their compact space.
Design for Occupancy Architects: http://www.designforoccupancy.net/
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/small-portland-prefab-home-stacks-space-to-fit-family-3/
A few years ago, a group of carpenters (and friends) began building tiny homes on a property in southwest France using material from the woods, tools from the past (and present) and the freedom afforded by relying on their own labor.
Today the forested land looks straight out of a fairy tale. There’s a tiny mud house with a living roof, a handcrafted caravan home perched above wagon wheels, a wood-heated bathtub (and a jacuzzi run off timber scraps), a bicycled-powered wood carving machine, an earthen bread/pizza oven, an underground wine and cheese cellar (AKA the “hobbit-iere”), experimental gardens and a chicken coop treehouse.
Menthé was one of the original homesteaders, who along with his friend Yogan (the landowner), built the original mud cabin for winter; they created large doors on both sides of the structure so their cars could be connected as heated bedrooms.
Now the property is peppered with tiny shelters and the independent carpenters (AKA copeauXcabana) are building themselves a workshop with hand-milled beams from the surrounding woods.
Original story (with links): http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/french-carpenters-craft-whimsicalf-grid-tiny-house-hamlet/
When Chris and Tanya bought their property in Petaluma (California) 15 years ago, it was what most people would have called a teardown. Since Chris is a carpenter and contractor, the couple decided to convert the old structures into livable shelters.
Chris began converting a shack into their main home, but it was a project that would take 10 years so to avoid paying rent during the remodel, he quickly transformed an old chicken coop (the property used to be a chicken farm) into their “temporary” home.
For seven years, the couple and then their daughter and finally their son shared the small space. It had just one bedroom, but when their new home was ready, they weren’t prepared to leave it. “Life actually seemed less complicated when we were living in here,” explains Chris.
While their property is no longer a commercial farm, they do have chickens for eggs and goats for milk. To make milking easier, Chris created an automatic milker, using a motor with a wheel and air piston and a vaccum switch meant to control a car’s automatic transmission.
Original story: http://faircompanies.com/videos/view/converted-chicken-coop-as-small-home-for-norcal-family/