Monday, February 15, 2010

Starting a 1:4 model of an "8x8 tiny house"

While looking for plans for the most simplistic houses around, I found this plan as a PDF of a 8 by 8 foot tiny house from Tiny House Design.

I'm building a ~1:4 model of this house, following these plans. I'm making a few small changes (e.g., I'm building a mirrored model) but I'm trying to stick to the methods used when building bigger houses with this construction approach. The end result would fit in a 60cm by 60cm by 90cm box. The closest I could get mini-lumber to the "2 by 4" lumber that is commonly used in construction was 12mm by 18mm wood, so I'm using that as my mini 2x4s.

For now, the floor framing and three of the four walls are ready, as shown by the following picture.

At the front is a wall with a door (the model door will be 20cm by 50cm) and a window (20cm by 20cm), there's a wall with no windows leading to a back wall with a window. There'll be an extremely small living room at the front of the house (think of it as being 1 by 2 meters in it's real size). A model of a small kitchen and wet bath will be installed at the back of the house. A triangular roof on top of it will house a small loft where one person could sleep.

I can only spend a few hours, every few days a week on the model, so progress will be slow but steady. I'm really a newbie when it comes to constructing something straight and sturdy in wood, so the learning curve is currently hitting me, but I've already learned a lot about construction using wooden frames while working on this little project. Bring on the experience points, I want more and I'll need more when I'll move closer to having to build the triangular roof ...

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.