Wee Houses Notes #1

These tiny, micro houses have a strange appeal to me and every now and then I get the urge to read about them.

Here are some quick notes:

To Trailer or Not

Costs are yet another reason why many seek to build Tiny Houses on trailers. With the elimination of building codes, you by proxy take out contractors, inspectors, permits and certified tradesmen. The average mark up of hired help is roughly 40%. Permits can run a few bucks to several hundreds or even thousands of dollars! Finally, inspections are also removed by pursuing the trailer route. With them in the equation, construction can easily come to a screeching halt quickly and bring lots of worry to the build site.

I’ve seen Habitat for Humanity build people some pretty small places. Aside from the volunteer labor aspect of that, how do they get around the entrenched costs cited above?

Excerpts from “The Small House Book” on How to Build and Design a Small House

The only other special building consideration, after the foundation and bracing, for a little house on wheels is condensation. Unless they are insulated, sealed, and vented properly, small spaces are prone to a lot of condensation. It simply takes less time to fill the air in a small enclosure with the moisture caused by bathing, breathing, laundry, and cooking than it does to fill a large one. If that warm, moist air comes into contact with a sufficiently cold surface, it will condense into water. That is the reason that cars come equipped with defrosters, and that small houses need to be equipped with the right insulation, vapor retarders, and ventilation.

I hadn’t thought of that. These things get awfully complex for something that’s supposed to be so simple.

Tiny House Furniture #6–Folding Utility Chair

This chair works great for multiple uses because it’s completely adjustable. It has 13 different height settings and it folds flat for easy storage.

Having been an urban grid rat all my life, I like the idea of a small place without the encumbrances of “normal” homes — intractable neighbors, noise, too damn much to maintain, the threat of an overdue tax bill allowing the State to steal a home, too damned much stuff to buy to fill it, etc.

One of the dangers in me writing about all this, however, is the idea people might get that this is the Kaczynski Syndrome.

No. I like technology and I’d like a proper frikkin flush toilet and shower, not an outhouse or compost bucket. And high-speed Internet access. And I like the idea of no huge financial burden — rent, mortgage — hanging over my head.

Note: I had to add a bunch of P and BR tags here because the Preview formatting in Firefox 2.x was all wrong. I’ll have to investigate this further.

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