How to get around Building Codes and Zoning for Tiny House Living

Greg Johnson of the Small House Society published a video on how city housing codes influence tiny house living. In a 4 minute video he covers a viewers question, “where can you legally put a tiny house on wheels?” Greg does a great job of explaining the problems we face in addition to different ways you can get around them. He also briefly discusses cities that are beginning to allow this type of housing as completely legal accessory dwelling units. Greg talks about the challenges faced by code enforcement to catch folks sleeping in recreational vehicles, campers, and tiny houses.

I’ll let him do the talking, Hope you enjoy and be sure to visit the Small House Society for more information related to the tiny house movement.

If you want to listen to Greg’s tips on how to get around building codes and city zoning, I encourage you to watch his 4-minute video below:

Alex Pino promotes tiny houses and other small spaces through Tiny House Talk. He currently lives in a 600 square foot apartment and has been downsizing since 2007. In the summer of 2012, he’s going to be traveling through the United States after paring down to what fits in a backpack

Written by Alex Pino — June 05, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   general   off-grid   portable home   Resources  

Join Deek in Vermont


Deek Deidricksen is hosting a Tiny House Summer Camp in Orleans, Vermont on July 6-9, 2012. You can find out more here. Knowing Deek, this will be a blast!

Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 05, 2012

Filed under: green building   home design   small house   Workshop  

What a week on the lot!

Here's an update from our friends over at Boneyard Studios:

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!


Head over to Barnyard Studios to see the rest of the pictures.

Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 05, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   floor plans   green building   green home   home design   home plans   See a tiny house  

Powering Our Tiny House


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.  


Written by Laura LaVoie — June 04, 2012

Filed under: Build it yourself   green building   green home   home design   home plans   Power Station   small house   solar home  

Build Your Virtual Tumbleweed Contest


Our first contest was a hoot and we hope this one will be just as much fun. This time, you can choose between 3 of our houses: The handsome Anderjack Box Bungalow, The über-popular Fencl House To Go and the roomy Harbinger Cottage. So, how does it work? 

  1. Login into Pinterest and start a board with the name of one of these houses in the title. Please include at least one image of the house in your board. Extra love if you link it to the page on our site.
  2. FIll the board with your imagination and dreams of tiny house living.
  3. Send me an email with a link to your board at brett@tumbleweedhouses.com

That's it! If you need an invitation to Pinterest, email me at brett@tumbleweedhouses.com and I will send one your way.  We will accept submission from June 4 - June 8, 2012. Starting on Monday, June 18th, we will post our top 10 favorite boards and our crazy-loyal fans will pick their favorite board. We will announce the winner on Friday, June 22, 2012. One more thing…

The Prize: A limited edition Hollyhock t-shirt, a copy of the Small House Book, the DIY book, the Popomo tiny house plans, the Zinn tiny house plans and the Vardo. What a pack of tiny house goodness! Have fun Tumbleweeders. I can't wait to see what you come up with.


Written by Brett Torrey Haynes — June 04, 2012

Filed under: Box Bungalow   Build it yourself   Fencl   floor plans   house plan   Pinterest  
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