qicat

The reality of Tiny House living

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I've been looking at the land and tiny houses lately. My research had not inspired me for a tiny house living. I think cabin is more practical. Most of the issues seem to come with water/sewage dealings. I have found lots on solar generators/panels for reasonable prices, so this part is covered. However, water availability ( wells/public works/etc) and septic/sewage ( local permits and regulations), seems to the be main issue. I spoke with the realtor and he told me I am better off to buy an old house with land as it has utilities and put whatever I want on the property vs getting piece of wilderness and putting tiny house there. 

 

Anybody here lives in a tiny house? Where do you keep all your books?:P:P:P

 

 

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Too funny Qicat! Just last night I was admiring some tiny houses, and looking at the inside views I said to myself, "All good, but where do I keep the books?"  :P 

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And here from an old thread on living off-grid:

 

"... "tiny houses" are great for off-the-grid, but not so much for "self-sufficient: if you're going to really be self-sufficient, you need a lot of equipment to raise and process food, care for animals, build and repair stuff. So you need space to store it. A lot of space. That, and all the kids (or friends) necessary to do the work, is the reason those old farmhouses were pretty big!

That said, a great site for tiny house dreaming is http://tinyhouseblog.com

Some of my current favorites:
This handmade trailer even has a sleeping porch! 
http://catstinyhome.wordpress.com/ 

Wonderful design details on this one: 
http://tinyhouseblog...rid-tiny-house/

And this adobe house is one of my all time favorites!
http://tinyhouseblog...ns-adobe-house/  "

 

That old thread here: http://www.thedaobums.com/topic/32777-living-off-grid/?hl=+tiny%20+house

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I lived on sailboats - loved it !

 

A tiny home can be added to later.

 

I once designed a home which was intended to be expanded later so the kitchen was full size and the bathroom as well.

 

Lots of great kit homes - most of the "tiny" homes are mobile - if you do not need mobile then purchasing something already out there is a WHOLE LOT LESS work - but work is fun as well.

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I actually WANT to build my house with my own hands and tiny house seemed like a good start. I have taken woodworking classes and I enjoyed it. I was looking at 2 weeks bootcamp to build a tiny house this summer. However, as I started to dig deeper into this, it does not seem tiny house is what I need right now. However, it is fun to look at their designs...

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I actually first heard about tiny houses years ago from a guy who used to built them in texas. "Texas tiny homes" what interested me is that his help was actually volunteer, they got paid in knowledge and experience because they learned how to build themeselves. He also used all scrap materials when he built so his material cost was nothing. Sounded pretty smart to me. Im a woodworker so iv thought about attempting just buy land and to build one,probobly slightly larger than the typical tiny homes iv seen, in line with feng shui but the harder part would be like you said, installing utilities out in the middle of nowhere. But i could see how it could be very fulfilling. If you have alot of books like im sure many here do maybe you could build a whole second tiny home for storage? :P haha.

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I actually WANT to build my house with my own hands and tiny house seemed like a good start. I have taken woodworking classes and I enjoyed it. I was looking at 2 weeks bootcamp to build a tiny house this summer. However, as I started to dig deeper into this, it does not seem tiny house is what I need right now. However, it is fun to look at their designs...

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Hi qicat,

If you have a block of land already,maybe start with a shed first up.

The bigger the better,could keep you out of the weather,esp.for mobile home.

Also for storage of building materials until needed for you self portrait house.

Time wise,new steel shed could be up in less than a week.

Suggest cat2 engineered so less chance of blowing away.

Then when you move into your new adobe abode,you already have a shed and spare accomodation.

And much room for books,those plastic box with lid should keep the mice out.

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Off grid set-ups are not actually that hard to work out.

 

If you have a year round stream or river it is easy to make a water flow generator (and fish traps are very simple).

You can run tubes underground to cool your house.

Solar thermal for hot water is cheap and very easy.

There are tons of great kit homes out there that are good and getting better all the time.

Dome homes are super strong, ultra easy to build and very very wind resistant.

Blem appliances are cheaper and have a full warranty.

 

You can build one tiny house and another and another and pretty soon you have a retreat center - or you could turn the first project into a hands on workshop, get help and charge enough to pay someone to oversee the work.

 

I would very much consider a shipping container(s) building - very strong, very easy and very lockable.

 

Unfortunately - rural areas have very high crime rates regarding breaking, entering and removing everything of value.

If you will not be living in your unit nearly all the time, be sure to look at this. I have a friend that had three hot tubs stollen (Cobb Mountain, California)

Others that I have seen posts on in other areas have their house gutted - all the copper pipe, wires, appliances, carpets, computers, doors, sometimes the whole house - wood and all. these guys come in big trucks and take their time.

Construction sites have wood delivered and then taken by thieves that night.

 

Cameras, alarms and closed neighborhoods are helpful.

 

In many areas creating a basement is easy and adds lots of room - mainly concrete and cinderblock.

 

Renting a backhoe and getting the hang of it is easy. If you are really going rural and intend on growing things, have animals and possibly have snow then buy a backhoe - you will need it anyway and they go for around $12k for a smallish mule.

Edited by Spotless
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If you have a year round stream or river it is easy to make a water flow generator (and fish traps are very simple).

 

I would very much consider a shipping container(s) building - very strong, very easy and very lockable.

 

Cameras, alarms and closed neighborhoods are helpful.

Reality check - although rural land is far cheaper than urban lots, a lot with a running stream on it is going to cost a lot more.

 

Not to mention, it's a huge step to live entirely off-grid with no utilities.

 

Shipping containers also get extremely hot.

 

Lol, there are no gated hoods out in the country!  And if there are - I can guarantee their HOAs are not going to allow you to build tiny houses in them!

 

Etc, etc...

 

 

Has anyone actually visited someone successfully living in a tiny house permanently?  I only seem to see these hyped on TV, but they are nearly impossible to find in real life?  And most of them aren't actually lived-in permanently, but rented out like hotel rooms as B&B's.

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Tilt up house building is super strong, cheap and cool.

I saw an entire housing development being done in New Zealand.

 

Basically this is how it is done:

 

You create one largish backyard patio concrete slab. Then on it you lay out forms for each of the walls and one by one you pour them on top of the existing pad with a releasing agent in between - when done you crane them off the pad and into place. One at a time - you even do the roof slab.

 

Inside you create some walls with plumbing and electrical runs. Very fast and simple.

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Some of the biggest problems with new methods is getting past the local design ordinances, building codes.

The sky is the limit in areas without codes.

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If I recall correctly it use to be West Virginia didn't have a mandatory building code may still not?

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Reality check - although rural land is far cheaper than urban lots, a lot with a running stream on it is going to cost a lot more.

 

(Spotless- Not true in many areas like Northern California)

 

Not to mention, it's a huge step to live entirely off-grid with no utilities.

 

(Spotless - Not actually a huge step)

 

Shipping containers also get extremely hot.

 

(Spotless- Easy to insulate, put a roof on and all sorts of stuff)

 

Lol, there are no gated hoods out in the country! (Yes there are) And if there are - I can guarantee their HOAs are not going to allow you to build tiny houses in them! (Some do)

 

Etc, etc...

 

 

Has anyone actually visited someone successfully living in a tiny house permanently?

 

(Spotless- Yes)

 

I only seem to see these hyped on TV, but they are nearly impossible to find in real life?

 

(Spotless- Easy to find)

 

And most of them aren't actually lived-in permanently, but rented out like hotel rooms as B&B's.

(Spotless- you are pretty new to all of this) Edited by Spotless
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The house we live in,is large old fashioned.

Moved from Melbourne on the back of three trucks,by the previous owner his wife and ten children.

Easily a hundred years old,came from Balwyn north.

Several of the houses in our street and more within the little township have been relocated from elsewhere.

Plenty of need for upgrade,insulation,replastering,remodelling,painting,we just finished renos on the kitchen.

Just one shower room left to refurbish,then we would have done the whole house.

We moved here in 1992 so it has been a while.

Much of our renovations has been without permits,mainly to save thousands in inspections,and cause we didn't really have any fixed ideas on what we were going to do,so we just started knowing it was going to be different.

You can get away with that sought of thing in the countryside away from the burbs

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In my experience and opinion inspections serve as protection for the consumer / end user. I live in a wealthy county were I suspect less than 5% of hot water heater replacements are permitted and inspected. Only upon failure (reported by end user does the County become aware of failings). And thereafter exert pressure on the miscreant to straighten up.

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(Not true in many areas like Northern California)

 

(You are pretty new to all of this)

So, how did your tiny house residents living off-grid get enough water for their personal needs and to grow food during the recent 6-year drought in NoCal?

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Drought-Conditions.png

01-12-2017-drought-map-6.jpg

Were rainwater catchment and/or wells alone enough to suffice?

 

And what size shipping containers were these folks living in?

43d31d2330724edbcc691cec6c674482.jpg

Because even the largest ones are less than 320 sqft inside.  For reference, this is about half the size of a single-wide mobile home.

 

I mean, we're talking about the actual REALITY of tiny house living here - not vague TV infomercials to drum up more B&B renters...  So, let's talk about all the nitty-gritty nuts & bolts!

Edited by gendao
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Actually, you can run a well pump on solar... certainly enough for household use.

Might need a lot of solar to pump enough water to grow crops... but people living in tiny houses don't necessarily grow their own food. Some do, many don't.

 

Have a look at Lehman's Hardware Store (USA)... Amish non-electric equipment of all kinds. Was a major Wish Book for me back in the day. :D Not so much tiny house, but gives you an idea what's available to support off-grid life. 

 

https://www.lehmans.com

 

 

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Actually, you can run a well pump on solar... certainly enough for household use.

Might need a lot of solar to pump enough water to grow crops... but people living in tiny houses don't necessarily grow their own food. Some do, many don't.

 

Have a look at Lehman's Hardware Store (USA)... Amish non-electric equipment of all kinds. Was a major Wish Book for me back in the day. :D Not so much tiny house, but gives you an idea what's available to support off-grid life. 

 

https://www.lehmans.com

We get water from our roof,collected in several water tanks,one concrete 10,000 gallon others are plastic smaller.

Several times during summer,we have run out of water,that's manly when the kids were younger.

Teenagers tend to shower for ever,we have a family joke called showercation.

Anyway if we run out of water,we would get water delivery for about $250 each time of about 5000 gallons.

2006 drought we had two deliveries,have not run out since then.

Recently with kitchen renos,we installed a micro filter to the cold water kitchen tap.

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Actually, you can run a well pump on solar... certainly enough for household use.

Might need a lot of solar to pump enough water to grow crops... but people living in tiny houses don't necessarily grow their own food. Some do, many don't.

Problem is, I believe aquifers across the country have dropped several hundred feet over the last half-century due to WEIRD civilization.  Which is even worse in California, where some must dig 1000 to 2000 feet to hit water now.  Which is also only depleting these aquifers even further, btw...

 

But again, I think the only one posting from actual experience here is AussieTrees, who doesn't even live in a tiny house, just semi-off-grid?

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Actually, I lived off grid-for five years. And that was without solar! Talk about primitive!  :D 

The house was not "tiny".. but pretty small by modern standards. Spotless lived on a sailboat. That definitely qualifies as off grid and tiny. I have friends in a nearby ecovillage living in mostly small houses, totally off grid. This is in North Carolina, not California, but doesn't seem necessary to limit the discussion to CA drought conditions...

 

People ARE doing it!  :) 

Edited by cheya
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This is a bit off topic, but if you allow a little stroll down the memory lane...

 

So...  I'm back in the USSR...  you don't know how lucky you are, boys...  and so on.  I was a city girl but I spent my childhood summers at my grandmother's in the rural part of a town that had an urban center and a rural periphery.  There was a kitchen and one room.  Electricity (one light bulb), no water (had to be brought home in buckets from a communal well), two wood or coal-burning stoves indoors (one in the kitchen for cooking, another one in the room for heating), one stove outdoors for summer cooking -- all summer long there was a huge copper pot sitting on top with fruit preserves being prepared for the winter.  Strawberries, four or five different kinds of cherries and sour cherries, three kinds of apricots, pears, "apples of paradise" -- the size of cherries, delicious and edible whole, raspberries, black and red and white currants, gooseberries, plums, and the exotic ones on occasion -- rose petals, whole green walnuts, wild forest strawberries and bilberries. 

 

An outhouse for adults (served by the town, the "shitmobile" would show up at regular intervals to pump out the contents), a potty for the child.  For bathing, a banya (bathhouse) for adults, a tin basin for the child, which was put outside and filled with water in the morning so that the sun would warm it up in the course of the day, and around 6 pm I'd take a bath in it.  Chickens.  A plot nearby where my grandmother grew vegetables.  Fruit trees in the yard, I climbed them pretty much every day and ate whatever was ripe.   A flower bed in front of the house.  Behind it, an earthen cellar where ice (available commercially, sold in huge blocks) kept throughout the summer without melting due to its bulk and the natural refrigerator properties of the cellar dug to the depth of, well, can't say for sure, I was forbidden to go there, but there was a ladder leading into its depth way deep.  All perishables were kept there, and also home canned stuff.  Raw milk, butter, cream, cottage cheese were bought at the market, or from neighbors who kept a cow or goats.  In the kitchen, there were necklaces of dried wild mushrooms, chiefly porcini and chanterelle, hanging off hooks on the wall, also large garlands of braided onions and garlic, and dried herbs in bundles.  My grandmother was not a country woman, she was more like neither here nor there, the least educated member of a hyper-educated family (her brothers and an older sister graduated from some of the most famous universities in Europe) -- a medical school dropout turned nurse.  She had a job at the hospital in the urban part of the town (reached by a tram), so the rural lifestyle was happening on the side, it was not a farmer's life at all, and yet...

 

...damn.  Nothing ever tasted or smelled or felt as "human," for lack of a better word.  Even though it's nothing like nostalgia for childhood, my childhood was nowhere near idyllic (if you knew my grandmother you'd know why :D ), it was just...  well, alive.   Everything was alive.  Every single day me and all the other free-roaming kids in the neighborhood had interactions with every bird and bug and lizard and butterfly and grasshopper and fish (there was a little brook where you could catch a little fish if you tried hard enough), and of course cats, and all the chickens digging for worms all day long even though at the time I ignored the chickens completely.  I think I'm so lucky to have grown up away from things that are not alive. 

 

Hard to explain to anyone who never lived under alive circumstances...        

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I had a friend who lived on a house boat for a couple years in Minnesota.

 

After the first year's freeze in, he realized his mistake in not inviting friends over to sleep on the opposite side of the vessel...

he lived all that long winter at a slight tilt.

 

The next year, we all took turns sleeping over on his boat during the week of the freeze, so he could live on a more even keel.

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