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 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.

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.

Tiny Solar Power

So one of the biggest decisions you need to make when deciding to follow the Tiny House Movement is whether to go on or off the grid, or both. For many, getting off the grid and out in the wide open spaces of serenity far outweighs the option of ‘hooking up’ at an RV park or wherever it may be.

The most costly, and perhaps the most important part of planning to go off-grid is your power source. Solar is a very popular option, and some even go with wind and water turbine power sources. This post is dedicated to solar power.

Here are some links to some articles, posts, and websites  you may find handy in planning and making your decisions.

As always, if you have any experience with solar power or any tips or tricks, let us know.

Articles & Posts

How Solar Power Works – Solar Wholesaler

Best Solar Panel Kits for Your Tiny House – Tiny House Blog

Tiny House Solar – The Tiny Life

Taking a Tiny House Off Grid – Home Power

Solar Power for Tiny House RV’s – Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Tiny Home Solar Power – Sol Solutions

Tiny House Solar Panel Kit – Go Green Solar

 

Resources

Off-Grid Solar Panel Calculator (This is from an American company so the Sun Hours/Day Zones are in the U.S. but you can estimate your area in Canada looking at the map)

Appliance Power Demand Chart

Sun Hours Per Day Chart (U.S.A.)

 

Websites

Solar Wholesaler (Canada)

Solarwyse (Canada)

Wholesale Solar (U.S.A.)

Solar Direct (U.S.A.)

Sol Solutions (U.S.A.)