The Devil's in the Details

Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life website has been keeping us posted about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. In addition for guest writing for Tumbleweed, Ryan has been blogging about simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible lifestyles on his website: we think he's awesome!

The devil is often said to be in the details, and this couldn’t be any truer than in a tiny house.  Many times I have made the argument over at my blog that tiny houses are more complex and intricate to build than your standard McMansions.  This is because in a small house, you have so little space to work with that the small facets seem to jump out at you. 

cornerCareful corners

When it comes to traditional homes, mistakes are easily covered through various tricks of the trade, but they have one major thing in their favor, lots and lots of space.  With that space you can easily hide the mistakes. Compare that to a Tiny House, and the tolerances are so small that sometimes being off by 1/8th of an inch means re-doing hours of work. 

levelKeeping level-headed

It is here in the details that tiny houses have made a name for themselves, because you have to be so intentional about how you use space.  Here are 5 tips to help you make sure the details given the reverence they deserve.

1.      Make a list of the most important activities your home must be able to handle, form should follow that list

2.      Tape out your floor plan to scale and act out a day in it. Be sure to have extra tape because you’ll be changing it a lot!

3.      Stop looking at other Tiny Houses, make your house for you.

4.      Consider storage for all your things, including often forgotten things like trash, recycles, and dirty laundry.

5.      Obsess over the look, feel and form of everything in your house to make sure it fits in well. 


Good luck! 

Written by Guest Blogger — January 29, 2013

Filed under: build it yourself   builders   building tips   diy   guest post   home design   house plans   small spaces  

Making Time to Build

Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life website has been keeping us posted about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. In addition for guest writing for Tumbleweed, Ryan has been blogging about simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible lifestyles on his website: we think he's awesome!

Like many of you, I have a lot on my plate.  So when it came time to build my tiny house, I started to wonder when I’d fit it time in to actually finish my house.  Right now I am juggling three jobs, running my blog over at The Tiny Life, writing a book and on top of it, building this Tiny House.  For many of you, children are part of the equation, but there are plenty of people building homes with kids.  So the question in your mind right now might be: how can I juggle everything in my life and build a tiny house? 

Ryan buildingMaking time 

The answer is actually part of what I call The Tiny Life; building a tiny house isn’t fix-all cure that some wish to believe.  In fact, in some regards building a tiny house is the simple part.  In a way it plays into our consumer culture, why go out and buy something in an attempt to fix something.  It is the lifestyle that many find difficult to adopt.  We all know you have to reduce the amount of stuff we have, but along with the small house and the sparse possessions we must bring focus to the life we wish to live in that house. 

It was at the point where I had decided to build my house that I sat down and wrote what was truly important to me, these were things that I felt were worthy of my time.  From there I ordered them in terms of importance.  It was this list that I then took and considered where I spend my energy and time. 

Through this process I realized that some things simply couldn’t be achieved right now because other things were more important to me; it meant that I had to say no to some things, which isn’t a word often in our vocabulary in modern society.  It was surprising to see how things that were a lower priority for me seemed to sneak into time that would be better used for more important things.

So take a few moments, even if it is on the back of a napkin on a coffee break, to write down your top 10 things that are most important to you and then consider how a shift if your time and energy might be needed. With this you will have to learn to say no to various activities.  In this list you can begin to see where building your Tiny House will fit in and what things have to go in order to make the time.  You might find that building your house is lower on the list, which means it will take a few years to complete, and that is okay because you are intentional about it.  In the long run you are able to focus on what is truly important in your life and begin living The Tiny Life. 

 

Written by Guest Blogger — January 23, 2013

Filed under: build it yourself   diy   lifestyle   resources   time management   tips  

Recipe Tips for Tiny Kitchen Cooking

Katie Butterfield recently graduated from UC Merced with a degree in political science. While finishing her degree, she discovered her passion for sustainability. She also loves food! These two passions led her to create her own blog about the food movement. Her goal is to educate people about the problems in our current food system and give examples of how to make it more sustainable- check out her awesome recipe tips! 

I learned to cook in a large kitchen with ample counter space, multiple ovens, and perhaps the largest, fully stocked pantry you've ever seen.  When I went to college, this changed dramatically.  First I lived in the dorms, then in a house with six people sharing a kitchen.  Now my husband and I live in an apartment with a limited kitchen. 

We have found that the best way to make cooking dinner easy is to perfect the base meal that we cook. By base meal I mean that one dish that we make whenever we just can't think of anything else to cook.  Changing our base meal to fresh vegetables and rice was not only beneficial for the size of our kitchen, it was also a step toward eating more sustainably.  We found that it is simple and quick to make and turns out a little different every time because we use different vegetables and sauces.

 Rice and Veggies:

  • Cook some rice (we use about ½ Cup of dry rice per person).  Follow the directions that came with your rice to make sure that it cooks properly.  Different types of rice have different cooking times. We use a rice cooker because we make this meal so often. 
  • Next chop up your vegetables and sauté them in a pan with a little oil and a pinch of salt.

  •  Serve vegetables over rice with salt, soy sauce, or other sauce. 

Often we eat this with cheese sauce.  Changing the sauce is another way to make this simple meal different every time.  My husband and I both love peanut butter, so we have created a peanut butter cheese sauce.  If you'd like to get creative with this meal and you like peanut butter, here is the recipe. 

Peanut Butter Cheese Sauce:

1/2 Cup peanut butter

1/2 Cup warm water

pinch of salt

hot sauce to taste (optional)

1 Tbl. Honey (optional)

3 thick slices of cheese (we like cheddar best), cut into small cubes

  • In a bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water, salt, hot sauce, and honey.

  • Once fully combined, the mixture should be smooth.  Transfer to a small pot and place on medium high heat on the stovetop.  Once the mixture is simmering, mix in the cheese, stirring constantly. 

  • When all of the cheese is melted, pour this sauce over your rice and veggies and enjoy!

I don't know too many people who have been brave enough to try this, so if you are one of them, don't worry! You can make this with out the cheese and have a nice Asian-style peanut sauce.  Or make your own wacky sauce, or normal sauce if you prefer.  It is important that you cook food that you like the taste of so that you want to keep cooking- no reason living in a tiny house should make this difficult! Get creative and find something that you love! 

Written by Guest Blogger — January 22, 2013

Filed under: cooking   diy   food   guest blogger   recipes   sustainability   tiny kitchen   tips  

Tiny Tree Solutions

This year, my mom decided she'd rather not deal with a Christmas tree. At first, I was crushed-I'm not a Christmas fanatic, but I have some pretty solid positive associations with the smell of pine and the warm glow of colorful lights. 

Then I thought about how crazy it is to buy a dead tree, and how little time we'd actually use it before throwing it in the alley, and how many needles trees leave all over the place. Avoiding all of those complications started to make a little sense. 

Still, I had one remaining objection- I'd made ornaments as Christmas gifts for my family. If we didn't get some kind of tree, we'd have nowhere to display my creative generosity and artistic skill!

I don't live in a tiny house, but I figured that this would be the time for a tiny alternative tree. Here was our compromise: 

Tiny TreeCheck out that style! 

It's actually a rosemary plant, which is pretty great- it smells awesome, and we can put it in our garden in the spring. We found it at Trader Joes for under $10. 

Here are some other tiny tree ideas that I brainstormed. They can support ornaments, smell good, and are cool year round:

-The cut top of a tree, stuck into some foam or a pot of dirt

-A brussel sprout stalk

-A multi-armed cactus

-A bonsai tree

-A beautiful branch

-Other small potted trees- living trees that can be replanted outside are a great idea 

It's probably too late this year, but whether you live in a tiny house, apartment, dorm room, or normal sized space, a tiny tree is a great alternative. To me, my tiny rosemary tree represents simplicity, responsibility, and future possibilities of roasted potatoes. It's about time. 

Written by Nara Williams — December 21, 2012

Filed under: christmas   diy   downsizing   holidays   tiny house decorating   tree  
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