School Bus Gets Good Grades!

My last post featured a Tiny Fire House, designed & built to teach Fire Safety. This time we are going to have a look at an old School Bus transformed into a Tiny Home.

The idea & transformation comes from a man who says,

I have never built anything. Ever. I’ve helped paint a few houses on mission trips and I helped install some plastic lattice once, but that’s about it.

My background is in graphic design and illustration. I always wanted to build a tiny house and I always wanted to travel. So I spent years playing around with tiny house designs in my spare time.

Ultimately I decided upon a school bus because I thought “Hey, there’s already for [sic] walls and a roof. Throw some wood and some light bulbs in there and call it a day.” How foolish of me. I ended up doing a complete build on the back of the bus.

He purchased the bus for $2000 from publicsurplus.com. He got it so cheap because the busses were being sold on a new site and not many people had known about the switch yet.

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Although he doesn’t mention how much he spent on the transformation, he did get some really great deals, as he mentions in his posts which were published in this article.

The Tiny FireHouse – Station #9

Just when it seems like I have seen everything the Tiny Home Movement can throw at us… a Tiny FireHouse comes along!

It’s the brain-child of John & Fin Kernohan and was designed and built to help teach fire safety and fire prevention. It is 148 square feet and of course is complete with a fire hose, hydrant, fire gear, and of course…a pole!

The house is also equipped with working fire extinguishers, smoke & carbon monoxide detectors and a ladder fire escape.

The house was featured by the Today Show and as mentioned, tours around teaching fire safety & prevention.

Have a look at some photos and let me know what your thoughts are!

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To see more photos, check out their Facebook page!

Special mention to Nature’s Head Composting Toilets and Trailer Made Custom Trailers used in this build.

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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Tiny Home Community Being Planned

One tiny village in Alberta may set a huge precedence for the Tiny Home Movement. Big Valley is village of about 350 people, roughly 220km Southeast of Edmonton (East of Red Deer). It’s in that tiny village, council decided to change their bylaws to allow 22 lots measuring 30 feet by 80 feet in one subdivision.

Big Valley

“Putting them all together in one subdivision will give unity to the area and a community-type feel.”   – Michelle White – Chief Administrative Officer

The only catch…the tiny homes will have to be on a permanent foundation, be connected to municipal water and sewer, and have hook-ups for gas and power. They had to actually look at regulations from the U.S. because they couldn’t find any in Canada. That needs to be rectified!

Council in Big Valley will now go through the processes of passing the new bylaw, engineering the land development and figuring out how much the tiny lots will cost.

You can read the full story HERE.

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.