TinyHouse43's Building Blog

From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three

Let the (research) games begin!

Yay! Our construction video from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company came in yesterday, and we popped it in while eating dinner last night to get a quick preview. RAD went to bed early since he missed his nap time during the day (they went to my dad’s to help with a project, and RAD got too distracted playing to sleep…. /sigh) and I was late coming home from work again (never fun when your relief shows up late, meaning you can’t leave until they do, and it happened to me two nights in a row), so it was just the two of us scarfing down Brussels sprouts and chicken Marsala while we previewed the framing and trailer prep areas. I have to say, it was definitely nice to see Brandy’s face light up as he recognized building methods and tools he’s familiar with, and he has also concluded that he will use a different kind of sealant for the water barrier around the wheel wells. We’re definitely blessed that he’s had so much “buildings & grounds” and construction/remodel experience with his previous jobs, because it will definitely make the actual construction far less intimidating once we get there. I insist on attending an official Tumbleweed workshop myself since my building skills are FAR more limited than his, but I really think he could wing it and be fine. Now we have to start thinking seriously about which plans we want to use so we can start deciding on fixtures and interior layouts, which brings me to my slight dilemma.

As I mentioned in our first post, we are looking at Tumbleweed Tiny House’ Cypress 24′ plan to build. We’re still torn between a couple of different interior layouts, but now that I received confirmation via e-mail that the basic build plans don’t come with the specific details to build every variation they offer in their house-to-go models I’m now thinking we might just rearrange the inside all together to fit our specifics needs. Since we are two grown adults (5’6″ and 6’5″!) and have a rapidly growing toddler as well, we have to think longer term about how to make the most of every inch of our house as well as to take a realistic inventory of the possessions that are non-negotiable vs. potentially replaceable, disposable, donate-able, and live-without-able. We’ve also got to think about just how off-the-grid we can/should go and what backup options exist (i.e. still having the ability to function as an RV with electric hookups when available). I downloaded their free house-to-go build guide and noticed the Cypress Equator (our initial first pick) and Horizon models (the one I’m leaning toward now) that they build have three different kitchen options, and the Horizon version also has a second bath option that creates a BIG (by TH standards any way) closet that might be perfect for the one modern convenience I DREAD getting rid of: a washing machine.

Having done the laundromat thing many, many times before as a single gal and later as a couple and hating it immensely, I can only imagine what a royal pain in the arse it would be doing it with a little kid in tow. Call me frivolous, but I just L-O-V-E the idea of not having to brave the sketchy environs of the laundromat in favor of having a mini washer and sturdy drying lines to wash & dry our stuff on our schedule (which has to be pretty frequent because I’m an ER nurse and MUST sanitize my scrubs, and Brandy will be in scrubs around that time, too). Plus, anyone who has children knows that no matter how hard you try to keep them clean, kids will usually have at least one wardrobe change a day in addition to changing into jammies at bedtime. RAD does a pretty good job of staying clean right now, but he’s only two… it just gets worse from here! We actually bought a mini washer from a furniture rental place in 2006 for $100 and got the matching dryer for $25 more, and those two out performed the mid-line front loaders we have in our house now that cost about $2k total in 2009. Now I wish I hadn’t given the little ones away to my sister-in-law! I’m definitely going to try to find a good deal on a mini washer if we do go that way in our plans since the ones I’ve seen online so far have been $500+, but it really would be money well spent from my perspective at least.

The next big issue to tackle, though, will be what to do with the gray water that remains from washing clothes, a problem the laundromat would certainly negate for us specifically (I’m guessing city sewers take care of that problem for them…. ugh!). If we choose to use an RV toilet and rely on more on-the-grid options we can likely find a way to divert the drained gray water from the washer to flush the RV toilet. If we use a composting dry toilet like Nature’s Head, there’s no need for that water supply there any way. Obviously we can drain that water into a tank to be emptied later, which is what we’d have to do with any sink/shower water anyway I imagine, but it would certainly be nice for it and all the other gray water to be reused first somehow. I guess now I should add trying to find a way to filter and reuse gray water to my research list.

In addition to the construction video from Tumbleweed, I also bought their book, “The Small House Book,” which definitely has some good ideas in it. I’m also researching as many online sites as I can find and will put links to the ones I find particularly useful on the Links page for reference. Tiny Texas Houses has inspired me to be a bit more willing to use reclaimed materials for non structural surfaces (which I was really okay with any way, but I had forgotten just how adorable they really are with their intentional hodge-podge feel), but I’ve got to see just how sturdy and safe they would really be in a house-on-wheels since the Tiny Texas Houses are stationary once completed (they will deliver them to you, but they aren’t on actual trailers to be pulled behind your vehicle). The Uber nerd in me would love to find a way to channel Hayao Miyazaki’s film version of “Howl’s Moving Castle” (if you haven’t seen it, DO IT!) and go for a spliced together junkyard salvage look with a dash of steampunk for good measure, but again… it has to be roadworthy and safe. Not entirely sure I could get this licensed as an RV:


(“Howl’s Moving Castle” image rights belong to its creator & was used strictly for illustration purposes and found on IMDB)

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