Lone Hansen has some
beautiful views about tiny houses. She lives in Denmark, and is a Buddhist, member of the Royal Danish Navy, and tiny house builder. She's shared the following details on her plans to build a Fencl in Denmark.
I have a small plot of land on the island of Zealand
This is where I would like to build a small house. Not just any normal house,
but rather a house that does not impact the environment more than necessary.
Being a Buddhist, it is important for me to leave as small
an imprint on the environment as possible. Since we are all interdependent,
then there is no reason to bring any aggressiveness into our dealings with our
I will build a small passive solar house with solar power
and solar water heating. There will be a solar venting system on the roof. Off
the grid. Small because it leaves the smallest footprint on the environment. It
does not take much to heat it, since it will be well insulated with triple
glazed windows (low energy windows) and thick layer of insulation under the
floor, in the walls and roof. And easy and quick to clean ;-)
I've worked in the Royal Danish Navy for 3.5 years. So I got
used to living in small spaces with one cupboard and one drawer. The interior
design of boats is an inspiration for practical solutions to hold all the stuff that one can gather in a lifetime. The question is how much space one needs to
be fully satisfied and content and how much stuff. If the space is well thought
out, then it is possible to live in a shoebox.
However, I needed inspiration for my small build. I looked
all around the internet and came across Tumbleweed, The Tiny House Company.
These houses seems to fit my needs very well, and are filled with practical
solutions and ideas. I fell in love with the Fencl and Whidbey house and bought
When I got the drawings, I realized that they were in feet
and inches. It is however almost impossible to get any kind of ruler with feet
and inches here in Denmark,
since our entire industry is based on the meter system. Recalculating all the
measurements seemed a little daunting and could possible lead to mistakes,
since I am not that skilled in the imperial system.
Tumbleweed to ask if they happen to have a metric version of the two houses.
Shortly after, I received a mail, that they would be so kind and make metric
versions for me. I've just got those yesterday. And they look just fine and
seems correct at the first glance. So I thank Tumbleweed very much for doing
the recalculations of the drawings. It has been a time-consuming work.
Now I just need to make some redrawing of the house plans,
so they are according to the Danish building code. This means that the Fencl
will become a bit wider with more insulation in the floor, walls and roof. The
Whidbey will be lower (too tall for the area it would be build) and also a bit
wider with more insulation in the floor, walls and roof. Both will have 200 mm.
minimum of insulation in the floor, 300 mm in the walls and 400 mm in the roof
area. This might need some recalculation of the strength of the structure. I
will add some extra big windows on the south elevation and roof to get more
passive solar heating compared to the original drawings.
I expect to start building the Fencl next spring when the
frosty weather is over!
We've got a lot more great posts coming your way. We are grateful for our many quests bloggers and look forward to sharing the best information we can to help you get started on your own tiny house. Grab your own tiny house plans here.
I left for Brazil just as everything started happening on the lot. I promised I wouldn’t disappear for a month but try and stay engaged in the project while here. Thus, I write this from a hammock in rural Northeast Brazil where we’re staying with an amazing community leader and learning about the Xukuru’s fight to regain their territory here in Brazil. While feeling grateful for the opportunity to be here, I’m also sad that I’m missing out on all the work that is being done on the lot. Fortunately, Tony and Brian have been keeping me updated via photos, email and Skype.
Here’s a recent update I received from Tony about the past week:
What a week! We took delivery of the shipping container on Monday, we’ve set most of the fence posts and Brian and Jay picked up their trailers on Friday. We should have the fencing up by the end of next week and, hopefully, we’ll have your house on the lot in about a week. You’re not gonna recognize the place when you get back!
It took some doing to get the trailers on the lot, but everything went well and we learned a lot about the logistics of moving and siting them. Once they are built up, it’s going to be even trickier to move them around. There’s not enough room in the alley to back them all the way into place with a truck. We ended up situating them by hand. We’re going to look into getting some type of hand dolly for future use. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up renting a small tractor to move them on and off the lot. One nice thing about the lot is that the yard slopes down perfectly to meet the back of the trailer. You’ll probably be able to step out of your back door directly onto the grass without stairs.
Brian and I have spoken to a lot of people passing through the alley and the feedback we’re getting is very positive. People are excited about the garden beds and curious about tiny houses. I know you feel like you’re missing out, but a lot of what we’ve been doing is dirty, sweaty grunt work. The good news is that we should be ready for the fun part of designing and building out the interior of yours when you get back.
Check out the photos below – they’ve really made progress, and I’m excited to get back and start working on this project again!
One of the most common questions we are asked is how did we set up the electricity in our tiny house. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not that familiar with all the technical aspects of our system so here is what we said about it on our blog:
“We designed the solar for our cabin by first minimizing our needs - energy hogs like electric stoves, fridges, washer / dryer, air conditioning, water heaters, microwaves and such were ruled out. Our system provides lights, small fans, and plugs for small appliances. When we need to run construction tools or other items with large power needs, we use a portable generator. The generator can also recharge the batteries if we need it to.”
We both work from our tiny house. I use a laptop computer which probably draws the most power. Matt is able to do most of his work from a tablet which uses a lot less energy to run.
We don’t have a traditional refrigeration system. We did find a great invention called the Coleman Stirling Engine Cooler that was used by long haul truckers and boaters. Coleman doesn’t make them any more. Even at its coldest setting it draws very little power. We don’t use it as our primary cooling source, however. We set it on freeze and put ice packs inside which we then transfer to a regular cooler. We also changed the way we buy and eat food. We bought into a CSA and we make frequent trips to the farmer’s market to get fresher ingredients that we use faster.
We also didn’t install the recommended propane fueled boat heater in our tiny house. We live in the southern Appalachian Mountains and during the summer it will never get cold enough to need it. For now, we don’t plan to live in our tiny house over the winter months because we’ll take that time to travel and see family in other parts of the country.
Next time, I’ll share our water systems and how we have a pressurized shower without any indoor plumbing.