Going Tiny Seems Perfect!

Alexis Haifley used to work as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service, which meant moving around a lot. After getting used to the nomadic lifestyle, her and her husband would joke around that a Tiny House would be perfect. The thought of focusing on Family, friends and experiences rather than things appealed to her. Plus she loved the fact that she could customize them however she wanted.

Although they don’t live in it full-time yet, she said the financing and building wasn’t what she was expecting. The things she thought would be difficult, were simple, and there were challenges she never thought would lead to such a domino effect.

They are right now in the process of downsizing and say it will be interesting to see what they’ve paired down to.

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The “Superhouse” Completed!

You may or may not recall my post about the “Superhouse” from back in March, but it was about half complete. Well now, it is completed, and has been delivered to site!

Here are some pics from the rest of the build by Finished Right Contracting, the finished product, and a video of the owners seeing it for the first time.

The best part of this may be the reaction from the owners…enjoy!

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Helga the House Box

When you are looking to convert an existing unit into a tiny house, you probably don’t think about using an old horse-box (vehicle for transporting horses). This next tiny house was converted from just that. Helga, as she’s affectionately known as, came complete with hay and horse manure.

Then she was gutted and completely and redone, with the design and style ideas of her new owners Simon & Gemma. The results are the beautiful rustic unit you see in the photos below.

Photo credit to Will Bunce

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Check out their Facebook post and page for more info.

Tiny House…Boat?

So there I am, scrolling through my Facebook feed, when I suddenly see something that catches my eye immediately. It’s bright red, and very hard to miss! Then I see that it was posted on one of the many Tiny House groups and pages I follow. A tiny house boat on the water. As it turns out, this little red gem has quite a story as she was converted from an old boring boat, to a bright red star.

It began as an old 1969 Cobia Mini-Yacht, originally bought as just a gutted shell on Craigslist by Katie Trinket Hartwright.

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Katie spend a lot of time and effort to design, and restore her to the bright and beautiful tiny house boat she is now.

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Katie named her ‘Petal’. Sadly, the Emeryville Marina and Safe Harbor called the boat “an eyesore” and Katie was forced to get rid of it by the Harbormaster.

‘Petal’ was purchased from Katie by a woman named Cindy Hanson O’Neil, who now co-owns the boat with her daughter Brittney Vinculado. They have aptly re-named her, and now call her ‘Betty Boop’.

You are sure to find ‘Betty Boop’ in the San Francisco Bay Area near Oakland where she is docked and ready any time Cindy is up for a quick and easy getaway.

Tankless Hot Water

As most of you may know, I was at the Edmonton Home & Garden Show last weekend with Steve Zaleschuk from Finished Right Contracting who had one of our current builds on display. One thing I noticed he kept repeating to people when talking about our radiant in-floor heating was, “Just because you live in a tiny house, doesn’t mean you have to go without luxuries!” He’s absolutely right, and most people agreed.

People were amazed when we told them that radiant in-floor heating was in our tiny houses. Of course, you don’t have to have it if you don’t want to, but, why would you not? The pros far outweigh the cons.

The tankless propane water heaters we use are from Noritz Canada and save you up to 40% off your water heating costs, last up to twice as long as traditional hot water tanks, and use recycled parts so there’s less waste.

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Think of it like this, traditional hot water tanks heat all the water in the tank. Then as the water sits there it cools off. Then the tank heats it again. Then it cools off…etc. Traditional tanks heat water when it’s not even being used. Tankless systems have hot water on-demand. It only heats water when the taps are turned on and you need hot water.

The systems we use have two separate outputs. One is your domestic water for showers and doing dishes, and the other is for the in-floor radiant heat which contains glycol. Both are set at different temperatures too!

The only con really is the up-front cost. The system costs around $4000, but the amount of space and money you will save on heating costs make it well worth the initial investment.

 

The “Superhouse”

Ever since Steve and I have started working together we have been naming the Tiny Houses we work on. This is the “Superhouse” which is the first house we worked on together. It’s not quite finished yet but it’s getting close.

It’s an interesting one for a couple reasons:

  1. It’s for a Family of four that includes Mom & Dad and two kids so we had to make it essentially a three bedroom model (you’ll see how in the photos)
  2. Dad is 6′-7″ tall so we had to raise the lofts an extra six inches than usual.

Once finished, the “Superhouse” will be on display at another Tiny Open House on Steve’s property where he builds them in the next month or so.

For now, just enjoy some photos…

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The blank canvas!
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Framed like a house, not like a trailer!
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Sheeted with plywood, not OSB…T&G Fir plywood on the floors. She’s solid!

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Cedar shake upper, T&G Cedar on lower…she smells beautiful!

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3-1/2″ of spray foam on roof, walls & floor = R22, vapour barrier & fire resistance!

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The sliding barn-style doors are hot right now!
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Kid’s loft divided into 2 ‘Bedrooms’ if you will.
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Mom & Dad’s loft above the Living Room that will have custom built-in bench seating.

Home Show & Bylaw Progress

I was at the Edmonton Home & Garden Show on Saturday, helping out Steve Zaleschuk from Finished Right Contracting. He had a tiny house on display, only at the lock-up stage, so people could see how they were constructed. We had some mixed reaction from people. Some just peeked their heads in, commented that it wasn’t finished, and then went on their way. Others enjoyed the fact that they could see the craftsmanship that goes into constructing a home.

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Steve doesn’t use any O.S.B. or any particle boards in anything. Exterior sheeting is done with plywood and the sub-floor is done with tongue & groove Fir. Wall framing is done on 16-inch centers and the sheeting is glued & screwed on every stud. Loft and roof framing is on 12-inch centers, so once sheeted they are solid.

Once the framing and sheeting is on, and the wiring is run, we do 3 – 3 1/2 inches of spray foam. This is a bit more expensive than batt insulation, but well worth it because it gives us an R-22 value, gives us some more rigidity, acts as a vapour barrier, and is fire resistant.

We also use tankless hot water on-demand units to heat the domestic water as well as the radiant in-floor heating. Just like the insulation, this is more costly from the on-set, but will save you a lot more money in the long run, and saves space.

These are just a few of the examples of the craftsmanship that goes into every tiny we build. Although the units are classed as RV here and as such, are not regulated by building codes, Steve meets or exceeds the building codes on every unit.

Now, some things I also learned about at the Home Show that I hadn’t known about yet are:

  1. The town of Big Valley, Alberta has designated 22 lots to build a small Tiny Home Community.
  2. Sturgeon County (just north of Edmonton) is re-writing their by-laws to accommodate and include Tiny Houses.