Monday, February 15, 2010

Can I build a teeny tiny house?

Here's another one of my adventures in acquiring DIY skills in my workshop (other projects are my electric kart and my biochemical lab).

I live in a brick and mortar house. All of my neighbors do. And generally speaking, most of us around here (in Belgium) live in brick houses. My dad and my wife are both architects, and almost all of the plans I've seen on their desks are brick designs. In the States, however, most houses are built using wooden frames and panelling as a finish, which is quite different from our style of building. As I have no knowledge of how wooden houses are built (in contrast with brick and mortar construction), I want to learn about it. And the best way to learn a skill is to actually do it.

Lately, I've fallen in love with so-called tiny houses. These are extremely small houses (usually starting at about 2mx3m) built on top of a trailer with all modern amenities, such as a (small) living room, a (small) kitchen, a (small) toilet/wet bath and a (small) loft that serves as a bed room. A bunch of people are actually living in these kind of houses, my favourite ones are built by Jay Shafer and his team. It would be great to build one of those, just for the fun of it, and maybe even drive around and sleep somewhere like you would do with a caravan.

However, I don't have the budget nor space to build a house, even if the size is minimal. What I can do, however is to build a small model of a small house, building it according to the construction text books, but just do it on a smaller scale. My wife has been building many doll's houses, now I want to build a little house as well, while trying to stick to the book while learning about this fascinating, but commonplace construction method.

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