In German, Volkswagen means “people’s car” and back in the 1930’s the German auto maker rolled out the first Beetle. Since then, automobiles have come a long way in technology and overall look. But the people’s car maker has, for the most-part, kept the same shape and exterior look of one of it’s most popular models…like a beetle.
In the 1970’s, people wanted the Beetle to be more ‘functional’ off-road. I know, weird right? Queue the birth of “The Super Bugger”, a cross between the Beetle and an RV built on a 1968 Beetle chassis. Back in 1975 (the year I was born) a third-party builder named Super Campers out of Costa Mesa, California built and sold the Supper Buggers for $6,000. They were constructed of fiberglass paneling and only had a small kitchen and seating area.
(Photo credit: MyStarCollectorCar)
So while scrolling through Facebook I came across a photo that immediately caught my eye. It was an odd looking bus/RV conversion. Upon further inspection, it became more interesting. Then upon further investigation it got very interesting!
Back in 1987, a group called ‘The Twelve Tribes’ took a 1950 Aerocoach and a 1961 GMC Motor Coach and merged them into one fantastic hippie-mobile, travelling around to concerts and festivals ans basically just living, “a life of love and unity”. The original Peacemaker is on it’s third paint job, third transmission, third engine and numerous tires.
In 2005 the group merged a General American Motor Coach and a 1955 GMC Scenicruiser to create the Peacemaker II.
Read the Twelve Tribes story HERE.
Read a write-up about the original Peacemaker HERE.
More photos and information HERE.
Sure, you’ve taken great care and consideration in designing and building your tiny home, but have you really considered everything? Truth is, up here in Canada and even down into the northeast United States, it gets damn cold! Many people don’t know this but, if it gets cold enough, your propane will not vaporize which means it will not work properly to run appliances which are essential to keep you warm.
Propane has a boiling point of -44F and as a result, if the temperature drops below -40ish F/C, it will not vaporize and your tank will freeze! Now if the temperature does not get that cold, but still drops well into the minus temperatures, the propane volume still shrinks, which in turn decreases the pressure in the tank which may still cause problems. Here are a few tips to care for your tank in cold weather:
- If you worry about using heat tape on the tank itself, try to heat the space the tank is in somehow. This is probably the safest and best option.
- Try to keep the tank full. Sure, you may have to fill it more often or have a couple spares around to swap out, but it beats not having any heat at all!
- If you don’t want the hassle of trying to keep the tank full, use a safe heat source to keep the tank warm. The best heat source is heat tape. Wrap your tank with heat tape and even add a blanket over top of that to keep it warm. Heated propane blankets are good, but only heat the tank itself. You need to also keep the valve and regulator warm.
Water Line Care
It doesn’t take much for a water line to freeze and burst. In fact, if you even keep a kitchen window open in the cold, the water in your faucet and lines could freeze. Here are a few tips to protect your water lines:
- Just like caring for your propane tanks, try to have your water lines in a warm area if possible. Run the lines inside the outter shell of the house if possible.
- Protect lines from freezing by using the proper insulation or heat tape.
- If you have a hose connecting from a water source to a connection on the outside, there are heated water hoses available, but be careful. The heat source in the hose doesn’t run all the way to the ends of the hose so make sure to insulate or heat tape the ends.
- Another option is to keep the water moving. Not continuously obviously, but every once in a while, open the furthest faucet from the water source and let run for a few seconds.
- Remember your gray water lines too!
Storage Tank Care
Most fresh water, gray water and sewage storage tanks are outside the heated shell of a tiny home so taking extra care to make sure they don’t get damaged is also important. There are two things you can do:
- Use round tanks rather than square/rectangle. Round tanks have a smaller surface area for the same volume, causing less heat loss.
- Insulate the outside of the tanks. While this may be effective, it is still not 100% guaranteed to keep them from freezing and cracking.
- heat tape or heating elements inside the tank are probably your best options here.
Got more tips or comments to help keep the Tiny Home community warm? Drop them below!
On of the most interesting ideas I have been following lately is the Tiny Town Association which is a Non-Profit founded by Ed Peterson. Ed’s idea is…
To build towns for THOWs (Tiny Houses On Wheels) within commuting distance of host cities. This Tiny Town model adds appeal to the host city by increasing the available, affordable housing options, without affecting the space occupied by traditional homes.
Ed has done a lot of leg work on the idea and has even built one of the models of tiny home that would be offered.
The Logan is a 32-foot tiny home designed on a single floor to accommodate seniors as well. The design is the result of many trials and boasts a one-piece acrylic walk-in shower with seat and a convenient second exterior door.
Ed has been able to secure some sponsors who have helped him build The Logan, including Timbercraft Tiny Homes who sponsored the set of plans for The Logan and Longevity Acrylics who sponsored the one-piece acrylic shower.
But not only has Ed come up with a model tiny home, he has also come up with a lot of statistics to go along with his vision.
To get an explanation of these stats and to read more about the Tiny Town Association and it’s new charity 24Pillars which is focusing on providing tiny homes to the homeless, check out these great resources:
Tiny Town Association website
Tiny Town Association Facebook page
I love Tiny Homes enough as it is, but when I see a tiny with a twist I am mesmerized! When it comes to saving space and making the most of what you got to work with, nobody compares to Europeans. I stumbled across the company Optinid based out of Rhône-Alpes in Southeast France. When you see their designs, there’s no doubt Eric, Christopher, Jonas and Yoann are creating some unique tiny homes.
I have to begin with my favourite part, albeit the part that would never be viable in Canada. They call it a “Sunroof” and they aren’t far off. If you live in a sunny climate, this is a feature that will have you sold! They are the first to ever introduce the idea of a retractable, roof allowing you to sunbathe by day, and stargaze by night!
What they do on the inside to conserve space and make sure everything has a purpose is amazing as well. From utilizing a tabletop as part of the stairs to the seating area transforming into a bed.
Looking at the exteriors of their tiny homes is also a treat. They utilize low sloped double roof lines in most cases to maximize interior space. Their selection of materials and colours also makes for a beautiful exterior.
Here’s a short video of the sunroof in operation.
Check out their Facebook page for more photos of their designs.
I have seen literally thousands of Tiny Homes. For the most part a lot of them look the same. Basically a small house or shed. But every once in a while I see something different. This is one of those different tiny homes.
It is a beautiful ‘cottage’ type home with stone work on the outside, something you don’t often see on tiny homes due to the weight, however, this is faux stone. On the inside…breathtaking woodwork.
It’s a creation by SimBLISSity Tiny Homes. They describe it as a “Mountain Sanctuary” with large windows, aesthetic ambiance and comfortable sitting/gathering area. It’s 8’x24′ and measures out to roughly 250 square feet of tranquility. But, I’ll let you be the judge!