Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tiny House Design: color palettes and sketches

I wanted to give a long overdue update on the design process of our new Tiny House.  Though we did work out the plan and do a 3D model of the project prior to building, it’s definitely a design-build project.  We’re letting things like exterior and interior wall cladding and materials work themselves out as we go.  But!  I like to have a concept, even though it keeps changing.

We started the design process by sketching plans to scale on grid paper, then I built a sketchup model.  (well, I built a trailer park of sketchup models!)  Then I printed images and sketched over them to determine window placement and exterior siding options.  Then I drew the plan and elevations in AutoCAD so we’d have some dimensions.  Though the plan is so simple, we don’t actually have any drawings on site.

Here’s our plan:

The total area inside is 162 SF, not including the closet space under the bed platform.  Here are a few sketches of the exterior showing cladding options:

Option: Hardie panel exterior siding in 4'x8' sheets

Option: Rainscreen with 12" wood planks

Option: Rainscreen with varied height wood planks

Our current plan is to go with the 12″ high wood plank rainscreen system.  Sort of modern, and the material is $1/sf, so not too expensive.  Also it is much lighter than the Hardie panel siding, which lists as 2.6 lbs. per SF!  whoa.  We joked about doing strawbale walls… but the interior would have been 4′-0 wide after deducting the 24″ wide straw bales.  haha.  Because Tiny Houses are portable and built on a trailer foundation they don’t seem great candidates for natural earth building techniques like rammed earth, earthbag, strawbale, cob, or adobe.  So, another way to be environmentally sensitive is to use small amounts of conventional construction materials – and tiny houses only use small amounts of everything, instantly minimizing their carbon (and literal) footprint.  Another way to be “sustainable” is to use high-tech materials that are recycled, recyclable, rapidly renewable, or durable to minimize the need to replace or maintenance them.

Enough about that.  Here are the two finish palettes we arrived at:

This first one is more rustic and would utilize wood reclaimed from a tornado:

This second palette (the one we’re planning on) is more modern, using locally available materials that are inexpensive:

We’ll keep you posted on what materializes (ha).  And if you’re looking to purchase a custom built tiny house from Clothesline Tiny Homes, we have many more options and are ready to start the design-build process with you!

Categories: Tiny House Design | Tags: , | 9 Comments

Tiny House Progress: house wrap, exterior trim, interior walls

Well, we’ve been plugging away on our Tiny House and it’s really starting to feel like a house.  A tiny house….  With the walls sheeted we can get a better feel for the space inside, (or absence of space…) and it’s going to be cozy!  Hopefully perfectly cozy. We realized last night that the new Tiny House will be about twice the size of the staircase at our current house.  Ha!  Maybe three times the size…

Yesterday Shane got the house wrapped with a Tyvek house wrap product and the interior walls built, as well as exterior trim installed at the roof line.

The house wrap we found on craigslist for $40 for a roll.  A great find.

The interior walls are built, with pocket door hardware at the bathroom walls that separate the bedroom from kitchen / living room.

There will be a storage loft above the bathroom space that can be accessed from the kitchen side and the bedroom side.  Here’s a photo of the bedroom:

There will be stairs on both sides of the bed with drawers for clothes storage.  Here’s a photo of the living room, showing the front door and the full height windows on the left, and picture window on the right:

Shane did some really beautiful trim work to bring the roof drip edge out as far as possible (without exceeding the 8′-6″ width limitation):

Also, tiny house bling bling!  We just got our kitchen sink in the mail and it is so gorgeous!  shiny chrome / stainless steel with a dish board on one side.  Large enough to still be functional and wash dishes, unlike bar sinks or RV sinks.  It’s from  Really beautiful, and lightweight!  In case we ever have to pack up “everything and the kitchen sink”….

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Tiny Progress – the Roof is sheeted – “sheathed”

Tuesday.  Man, I feel so tired.  we don’t even do daylight savings time here in Arizona, so I can’t blame that.  building a house is a lot of work!  we’ve been working what feels like non-stop for 3-4 weeks.  I’ve been taking Sundays off, but then not really, because we always end up needing to work out design details or shop the internet for fixtures and materials.

The house is looking so great though!  I am so excited to have something of our own.  I’ve been renting places since I left for college, so 14 years or so.  I’ve lived in maybe, well, twelve houses / apartments.  I just counted.  It’s feeling a bit smaller now that the walls and roof are closed in with the plywood sheathing…. but we are both so excited to have our own place!  And our utility bills last month were almost $200, combined with our rent of $900 (which is really low, thankfully!), plus cable internet, cell phones – phew.  Too bad salaries haven’t increased with the cost of living.  In the Tiny House we’ll still have to pay our cell phone bills, a little more to get internet through our cell phone, and pay for propane, in addition to rent and utilities in someone’s yard.  But that will be $200 to $300 a month, so an absolute max of $450 a month, all in.  Right now we’re paying out almost $1,300 a month.

Oh yes, progress.  Shane got the roof sheathed with plywood on Sunday, and built our two interior walls (with pocket doors) yesterday.  we were going to do surface mount “barn door” sliding hardware, but realized we needed the clear wall space.  so the doors on either side of the bathroom with be sliding pocket doors.

The walls are sheathed, as well as the roof now.

You can see in that photo that we’re adding a deck on the back.  this will be storage for bicycles and motorcycle while the house is in motion, then they’ll get parked under the gooseneck hitch when we’re parked at home.  The trailer had pull out steel ramps (as it was a car hauler) so there are four steel c-channels under the frame that we’ll weld some 2×2 tube steel onto for the deck platform.  we though about making a folding deck that would close up while we’re moving the house, but it’d be nice to have somewhere to park Shane’s motorcycle. (that’s not the living room – ha)

Tiny House Roof is sheathed

You can see the deck and porch overhang in the photo above.  The porch overhang might go…. we haven’t decided yet.  Was quite the discussion figuring out how that porch should be.  Ahhh, the age-old differences between architects and builders.  I wanted an angle to match the angle on the roof in the back.  So the peak of the porch roof would project 3′-0, the sides only 2′-0.  Admittedly, it doesn’t make much sense other than aesthetics.  Which is maybe “bad” design.  Architects are typically trying to make things look simple and clean and effortless (as well as utilizing design principles like rhythm and balance) – not realizing that it is actually more difficult to build something in a way that looks … well, unbuilt.  as if it was extruded from a lump of porcelain!  kind of funny.  if you’re in a good mood.

Next post I’ll put up our materials palette options.  We were looking at rough-sawn siding, maybe board and batten, but now we found a rain screen look that’s nice and clean, less expensive, and modern looking.


Categories: Tiny House Construction, Tiny House Design | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Simple Sunday

“The amount of electricity you use is directly proportionate to the long-term damage your lifestyle inflicts upon your ecology.  Cultivate an outdoor life, rich in experience rather than gadgetry.  Go outside and garden.  Go for a walk.  Stretch.  Sing.  Play an instrument.  Write poetry.  Tell jokes.  Talk to your neighbors.  Daydream.  Hang out with dogs and cats.  Watch birds, go swimming.  Take a nap.  Cook.  Read.  Play with children.  Dance.  Make.  Love.”

— H.C. Flores, Food not Lawns

Categories: Simple Quotes | 2 Comments

Tiny House Progress: roof framing and exterior wall sheeting

Hello!  happy saturday!  we have been busy building our tiny house on a trailer – a gooseneck trailer (see previous post on our foundation – the trailer)  The walls are framed, the roof is framed and we just put the plywood sheeting on the exterior yesterday.  here are a few photos and a time lapse video of the construction progress so far:

the roof is framed

roof framing

the front of our new Tiny House (or the back, if you prefer...)

the inside of our Tiny House looking back toward the bedroom

interior view from the bedroom

the front of the trailer (the rear of the house) showing the bedroom platform elevated over the gooseneck

hope all is well, and we’ll keep you posted as we sheet the roof next!

Categories: Tiny House Construction | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Deep Thoughts Saturday

“It’s easy to sit there and say you’d like to have more money.  And I guess that’s what I like about it.  It’s easy.  Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.”

— Deeps Thoughts by Jack Handey

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Tiny House – we have walls framed

We have walls!  Yesterday we got two side walls framed, after finding windows at the local salvage yard.  huge 2’x6′ Low-E windows for only $40 each.


I made a short time lapse video of our progress so far:


Categories: Tiny House Construction | 6 Comments

Second Step – Sewage system.

It’s a fact of life, isn’t it?  that we create waste?  Well, in planning out this Tiny House I just wasn’t super excited about hauling around 55 gallons of septic waste, and then finding somewhere to put that ____…  “Say, is that your sewer clean-out there?  Would you mind if we just connected this hose?  Or worse, somehow filling a bucket with waste and then manually transporting it somewhere.  True, if we stayed in RV parks it’d be no problem, just plug in and forget about it, like we’ve always done.  But we’re in our thirties, not our sixties, so we’re planning to try to stay on someone’s land or in someone’s large yard, rather than a commercialized park.  I also feel a bit of a cringe when I think about traditional sewer systems – contaminating our drinking water.  doesn’t seem brilliant.  but it is so clean and so odorless.

So, the options:

– a 5 gallon home depot bucket with a toilet seat and some sawdust inside.  (which poses the same problem of asking our hosts if they’d mind if we just started a little human waste pile out back by their kids’ playground.  “don’t worry, it just takes a year!”)  I would totally do this if I had my own land, because it’s free, and it creates compost.

– a Clivus Multrum or other similar composting toilet

– or an Incinolet incinerating toilet

we ended up finding this beauty only a mile away here in Prescott:

It’s an Incinolet incinerating toilet, which are normally $1800 or so (what?!) but we got this for less than half price.  So, no sewer system required, no tanks, no fresh water needed to process our sewage.  It turns it into ash.


























we’ll let you know how it goes…  😉

















Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

Simple Sunday


“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.  It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.”

— E.F. Schumacher

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Deep Thoughts Saturday

I thought I’d start a tradition of posting a Deep Thought by Jack Handey every Saturday.  here’s the first one:

If you’re pretty happy, but you have a little Chihuahua that’s always biting you on the ankles, still that’s pretty good isn’t it?  I’m going to go ahead and keep you in the “happy” category.

— Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handey

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