Fencl School Project Underway

Bob St. Cyr teaches construction and woodworking classes at Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (KCI) in Ontario, Canada. Normally the classes might build sheds, but this year the 45 students ranging in age from 15 to 19 are building a Fencl. Not only will they be building a tiny house on wheels, but the project will raise the student’s awareness of environmental issues and consumerism. It’s the perfect assignment for students because it covers all elements of building: reading architectural plans, ordering materials, framing, exterior work, insulation, plumbing, electrical, roofing and interior finishing.

Bob has been busy putting together a materials list and ordering. Susan been busy figuring out what kind of cupboards, siding, finishes, etc. Do we get propane for the burners and fridge or just go with electric? We've got to make decisions about how to customize things and it is all fairly anxiety inducing. What if we make the wrong decision? Is it fixable? It is important to remember nothing is set in stone and learn to breath again.

One decision we made that is definitely right is to use a new trailer. We trekked out to a farm to look at a used one, and by the time we put on new tires, new suspension, new electrical, sandblasted the rust off and painted it, it would have cost only marginally less and since it is already at least 20 years old who knows what the true condition of the axle is.

The axiom -- a house need "good boots and a good hat" -- is true in this case. If the trailer represents the boots, it better be the best one around.

I've had lots of great discussions with students and teachers about why I'm doing this. The most common question is "why not just buy a real trailer? Second hand ones are cheap." Yes, but they're all metal and plastic and not remotely anything I'm interested in living in. I'd stick with a tent before I'd move into metal. Heck I've tented for 27 years on my gram's property and it is doable, but a tiny house on wheels will be a home.

Written by Susan with Kitchner-Waterloo

Written by Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School — March 09, 2010

Filed under: Build it yourself  

Inside the Bodega

Over the years, we've accumulated a catalog of interior photos for our tiny house on wheels. However, since we don't build the larger houses (250 square feet or more), but only sell the plans, we simply haven't had the photos to show. We've begun creating 3d drawings of the interiors, and will add more photos for our other "small house" over the next few months.

Written by Steve Weissmann — March 05, 2010

Filed under: Build it yourself  

Logo contest update

In just over 1 day, we've had over 30 entries to our logo contest. Some really great ideas there. And we've been providing feedback to help refine the logos for our final 3 choices.

...more entries using our favorite pictures

However, almost all the logos have been of the same style. We are hoping to have more entries using our favorite pictures. If you're thinking about designing a logo, but don't feel the creative style, please work with these suggestions. 1. Create a logo using one of our 3 favorite images: the gothic window, the Weebee at Sunset, or the Lusby at the Valley Ford Rush Minute. 2. Create a long horizontal logo that will stretch across the top of our website that has our name and 3 of our houses, so it looks like a scene. Here is a really bad example. Obviously, the backgrounds would need to blend together. It could be set against a night sky with all 3 houses shown.

All the files needed are available at 99designs.com Good luck! Can't wait to see the results.

Written by Steve Weissmann — March 04, 2010

Filed under: Business  

Tumbleweed Logo Contest

Over $1000 worth of cash and prizes to the top 3 logo designs.

We are holding a contest for our new logo on 99designs.com. Prize money is $150, $100, and $50 cash prize to our 3 favorite entries. After we have selected the top 3 choices, they will be tested on our website for 2 weeks with the winner of that contest earning a free set of home plans to build a Tumbleweed Tiny House (details listed below).

Rules: Visit 99designs.com for the "brief" on the logo contest.

All designs must be submitted to 99designs.com in order to be eligible for the cash prize. Once we have 3 designs, we will create 3 different homepages for our website. Each homepage will feature a different logo. We will use google website optimizer to rotate the 3 pages and measure the click through rate of the 3 different pages. Whichever page has the best click through rate at the end of 14 days (or when 1 design reaches a 90% confidence level as the winner) will get their choice of plans from the following list: XS-House, Epu, Weebee, Lusby, Tarelton, Fencl, Bodega, Loring, Harbinger, Enesti or B-53. We will pay up to $25 of shipping cost. Anything over $25 to be paid by winner.

Written by Steve Weissmann — March 02, 2010

Filed under: Business  

High School to Build Tiny House

Sue Danic spent summers in her gram's pre-World War I cottage and ever since, she's wanted a tiny house. She's seen it all: straw-bale, cob, rammed earth, cabins, sheds, tree-houses. Or, at least, she's bought the book, visited the website or attended the workshop. In 2009, Sue traveled to New York City to attend our tiny house building seminar. Eureka. She hit gold. Since, she couldn't build on her gram's land, a tiny house on wheels would solve her first problem. Problem Number two was building the thing. Sue has almost zero talent in building. Sure, she's built a table and even a bench, but a project of this size was beyond her grasp.

Enter Bob St. Cyr who teaches construction and cabinet making at Kitchener Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (KCI). This was a project that Bob thought his construction and cabinet making classes could accomplish under his guidance. The plan is to build the entire structure in one semester. The students will not only build and finish the interior, but they will blog about their accomplishments while building the Fencl.

Written by Steve Weissmann — February 28, 2010

Filed under: Build it yourself  
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