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!
Recently, we posted
an article about J.T.'s modified Walden. It started a great conversation- blog readers responded with over 160 comments! J.T. has done his best to answer some of
the questions you asked.
Alexis asked: When the septic tank gets full, is there
somewhere to empty it or does it go to one of those sewage processing plants?
J.T. says: Black water is
collected in an 18 gallon waste water tank by Thetford. They make a lot of RV
supplies. The tank is on wheels and sits directly below the toilet under the
trailer. This can be dumped at any RV park that offers a sewer dump station. For the grey water I use a separate waste-line which collects and drains daily onto topsoil/mulch pit and vegetation.
Peatstack asked: Can
the house harvest rainwater, does it have a tank/filter, does it generate
electricity or use a battery system with solar/ propane generator? Can it
accomodate a composting toilet that the house needs no septic system? I would
like a house that can sit on open agricultural land without any systems
connections, the occasional propane tank and grey water drain accepted.
J.T. says: The roof's surface area is
quite small, but you could divert rainwater into a collection tank for
irrigation: a standard rain barrel would be overkill, but a 10 gallon tank
would work. I have a 25 gallon drinking water tank onboard with a water pump. I
can also hook up to a 3/4 inch garden hose. Make sure you put an RV/Marine
drinking water hose or your water supply will have an off plastic odor. Water
heater and pump are powered by 12v batter. 120v comes from a 20 amp extension
cord into a 30 amp circuit breaker box using around .5 to 1kw per day.
Annette asked: This looks like it would be the PERFECT portable office for
our mounted drill team. I do have a question regarding using solar power as an
energy source. Has anyone installed a solar set up and if so, what did they use
and how is it working to help out with their energy usage?
J.T. says: A Solman Action Packer System could run this house
easily. A plug and play system is the solution for a tiny house- something for
sure in the near future. I am considering A. 2 fixed panels on the roof of the tiny house. Orientation
to the sun could be limited when a new location is found. The Solman Action Packer could easily fit in the loft area above the front door or B. 2 fixed panels on the top of my truck with the Solman
system in the back of my truck. It could be parked daily in different spots to
optimize sunlight, then plugged into my house daily to charge on board batteries.
Stove and Oven:
Erica Gott asked: In mine, I want a full stove, with range
AND oven, even if it's small. I love cooking and need one. I can't wait to have
my own tiny home.
J.T. says: I have a 2 burner propane stove by Suburban. No oven, though a typical RV
oven would fit in nicely. I use a 20 gallon propane tank under the trailer,
which runs about $6 a month.
Libertymen asked: Is the refrigerator too small?
J.T. says: I have a 3.1 cubic foot fridge under standard
counter height. A 9.9 cubic foot fridge takes up the same foot print and stands
around 50 inches high. You would lose useable counter space, but gain storage
asked: How does
he keep things from falling off the shelves when he is moving? As well as the
furniture sliding around?
J.T. says: It takes about 10 minutes to pack everything up, and
it all goes in a box!
Jan Dregalla asked: Love the customization, especially the up-lighting towel window shades, kitchen shelving and Ikea shelving. I'm
curious, does the 2' addition on the front affect towing?
J.T. says: The extra 2 ft and added weight is on the rear, actually
distributing the weight more evenly. The standard design has a lot of the weight
on the towing hitch
Thanks for your great questions!
I try really hard to be a
loving granddaughter: I visit my grandma as much as possible, take her out to
lunch as often as she'll allow, and occasionally even help clean out her
basement. So naturally, I've always had reason to believe I was the model grandchild.
That is, until I met Jonathan Black at
the Tumbleweed workshop in LA.
A former CalPoly student, 26 year old Jonathan chose to seek a different
educational path after several unsatisfying years of school. He currently works
as a server at a restaurant in San
Luis Obispo, and says he's much happier dealing with
"life stress" than "school stress." Now, he's setting out on
a whole new meaningful adventure: tiny house building for a cause.
Jonathan's grandpa has
stenosis, and is trying to plan ahead for the unfortunate possibility of needing to use a wheelchair.
His house in Morgan Hill,
however, is not wheelchair accessible. To solve this problem, the family has hatched a brilliant plan: Jonathan will build a wheelchair accessible wing on
his grandparents' house.
There's only one problem: to work on the house, Jonathan needs a place to
stay. His grandparents owned both a motor home and a shed, but neither was an
option. The motor home needed too much work, and grandpa had already converted
the shed into an office.
The perfect solution? A Tumbleweed
Tiny House for Jonathan.
Jonathan loves the idea of avoiding
debt, and is excited to integrate his tiny house into a larger meaningful
project for his family. He purchased the Fencl plans before coming to LA.
Brainstorming at the workshop
Jonathan played around with many different designs at the
workshop, getting input from his mom, Bethany, and other helpful attendees.
He will build the Fencl in
January, hoping to use as many found
and donated materials as possible. He will be blogging about the
process as he goes, as well as checking in with us here.
After he completes his tiny
house, he'll begin work on the wing for his grandparents. "My mom doesn't
want it to look like a disabled
wing," explained Bethany.
"We want Jonathan to do something that doesn't look ugly, because it's a
sensitive issue." Jonathan will be mentored by a local building inspector
who is also an ADA
inspector, seeking ways to make the wing both aesthetically pleasing and wheelchair accessible.
By the end of next year, he'll
have not only blown me out of the water in the best grandchild competition, but will have completed a little house of his own. Two birds, one stone anyone?
Jonathan with grandparents and mom
Right now, Jonathan is
looking for trailers in the Morgan
Hill area, so please let us know if you can help!
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