Monday, November 11, 2013

12 x 28 Tiny Texas House

I believe this 12 x 28 floor plan has the perfect layout and floor plan for us. I bought the plans from Tiny Texas Houses, where they create lovely works of art in the form of tiny houses built almost entirely from salvaged wood and materials. I love the 3D sketchup model that came with the plans. It makes it possible to view the house inside and out with 3D tools, remove each layer; roof, lofts, siding, etc. Just as they do in their house deconstruction business - his sketchup plans were carefully created so each layer could be removed, really making it possible to see each step of how this house was constructed.

This little cabin only has about 336 taxable sq ft - NOT including two sleeping lofts and two porches which will add so much more living space. The sleeping lofts are intentionally designed with ceilings slightly lower than can be considered as taxable living area. 

Tiny Texas Houses builds with 99% salvage. Everything you need, kitchen, living area, bathroom, built-in bookcase. Did you notice the two lofts? There's a large one above the kitchen and bath with salvaged doors for added privacy, another over part of the living room is smaller and and has railing to let the natural light from the loft window inside.

Below it's decorated Cowboy Cabin style! Seeing a room with furniture in it makes it so much easier to visualize living in it. It's roomy enough for a sofa and two comfortable chairs. The owners of this home did a nice job decorating it western style. Notice the vintage wood heater, they come in all styles from vintage looking wood stoves to faux fireplaces, some run on electricity, and other propane or LP gas. 

It's awesome to see photos of the very same house unfurnished first, then decorated and 'lived-in' by two different sets of owners. Notice how the owners below placed their bed on the main level and let guests and the grandchildren enjoy the loft. I thinks it's a very versatile cabin for it's size.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Village and Salvage Market - The Mountain Video

I think this is pretty cool. You could live above your own little shop.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Barn Loft Guest Apt - Collage

This a collage of the studio apt we built in the loft of our barn. It's just one part of a whole 'off-grid backyard retreat' we're working on. We'll be adding a bathroom to the barn and a funky greenhouse/outdoor shower that can use conventional or solar hot water. Someday we plan to build us a tiny sustainable off-grid home, so in the meantime we're learning and trying to become more sustainable here. We've been hit by two hurricanes since we moved here - both times going more than five weeks without power. We'll add a few more tiny cabins/sleeping quarters that use solar and other alternative energy. In the aftermath of another hurricane and power outage we'll move out of the big house, and into our backyard retreat, where we can efficiently generate enough renewable energy to keep our tiny cabins lit, cooled, completely functional with or without city utilities.

I love Pickmoney it's a photo editing site. You can create collages and nice Pinterest pins too. Here's another using the same photos.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

My Ice-Chest A/C For Tent Camping

It's easy to make a cheap air-conditioner for your camping tent. Cut one hole in the top of the cooler to match the size of the small fan you plan to use. Expecting electricity on my trip to Tiny Texas Houses in Luling, I chose this small fan which lay face-down on top of the hole. The air is pushed down, past frozen water bottles or frozen ice packs placed inside, cooling and condensing it as it circulates before being pushed out the 2nd hole you need. Mark carefully around the 'vent' you choose. I used a PVC elbow joint, cut my 2nd hole and pushed the elbow in place, now I can direct the flow of cold air coming out onto me instead of straight up.

Plan A - The Idea
I was anxious to put it together to prove to my skeptical family it would work. They just smiled politely as I explained to them how it would work but said very little. I plan to cut 2 holes in the top of the cooler, one to snugly fit the 4" pvc elbow, and another just a bit smaller to fit this little $8 fan placed face-down over it. The fan will push the air into the ice chest past the frozen water bottles and out the pvc elbow. Only because I knew it was going to be flimsy to transport did I decide to wait till I actually got to my destination to cut the holes and put it all together and I'm glad I did. 

Plan B - The Reality
When I arrived with my tent, I couldn't resist the generous offer to spend my week there in a tiny house, even if it meant having no electricity to run my fan. Luckily I had decided to wait until I got there to actually make the thing because I simply cut a much smaller hole to fit the little battery powered personal fan I had brought with me as well. It worked like a charm! I saved the piece I cut out for the elbow, and kept it to plug the pipe and saving my ice when I wasn't running it.
When I got home and used my electric fan it worked even better.

Plan C
I'm planning to build another one using this old ice chest. I'll add some baffles to ensure the coldest air gets circulated well before exiting the vent. At first I planned to place 2 of these 4" elbow vents on this one, but having had a discussion at TTH I now realize I need more air to come in than can come out to further condense and cool the air. I may place two much smaller elbow vents on this one. Thank's guy's! So that's the plan... I'll update with the reality soon....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Free Camping Space For Houston Salvage Certification Seminar

I'm interested in gathering a team and working as a PSL outpost, creating our own 'tiny village' of salvage miner's and salvage 'artists/crafters/builders' right here in Dayton. I'm offering free camping space to participants of the TTH Houston Seminar this weekend and the next.

I live in a rural area about 40 minutes east of Memorial Park. It's a straight shot down Hwy 90 which merges with I-10 and the Memorial Park area. I have 2 1/2 acres and a barn outback with power, water, and plenty of room around it for campers, tents, trailers. There's an apt in the loft with a bathroom available (no hot water heater yet).

If you are interested in camping here, send me an email at c_sweat at with "Camping" in the subject line. I'll get back to you with our exact location and answer any questions.

Email me as well if you're interested in the possibility of living here, being part of a salvage team, living simply, building simple livable portable structures (like the loopholer camp cabin concept), and working on sustainable living projects, so we can talk more in depth about our plans.

To learn more about the Houston Salvage Mining Seminar follow this link from Tiny Texas Houses.

  Plenty of room.
Room for several campers or tents near the barn for power.

There's a small apt with a bathroom to use in the loft of the barn. 

There's space for tents behind the barn as well.
 Fire pit to keep the bugs down.
Another camper space we can get power and water to.


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Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Loopholer Camphouse Workshop at Tiny Texas Houses

I attended the 'Loopholer' Camp House workshop at Tiny Texas Houses in Luling Tx. Led by Brad Kittel, we were involved not just in the building but also in the creative process of designing around the elements we had on hand, which was salvaged sections of tongue and groove walls removed intact from a previous house deconstruction.

The camp cabin concept is as Brad said about 'perfunction' not perfection. It was just four of us ladies and Brad. We all had a turn working with the different tools and each process of building involved.

We had fun working together, sometimes laughing at each other's awkwardness with an unfamiliar tool or mistakes (I got a little crazy with the nail gun), but it was all in good fun.

I felt like friends by the end of the week, which more than made up for the seriously intense 100 degree heat of a Texas July.

We didn't get it finished but did get the sleeping loft in place, and learned alot.

Here's the windows we chose to go in it. He has other houses in differing stages of completion all over the place.

So here we are, the sun setting on us the last day of the workshop. We put the planking up on the last wall ourselves and got a window in. I think we all felt good about what we had accomplished with nothing more than salvage, sweat, a few basic tools, and Gatorade! I can hardly wait to see our little camp house's continued progress.

I had doubts about my ability when I arrived, but feel empowered now. If I can do this, anyone can.

The Essay House at Tiny Texas Houses

It felt strange to pack my truck for a week-long workshop at Tiny Texas Houses. It was the first time I've been anywhere alone in a long time. I looked forward to attending the building-with-salvage workshop in Luling by Tiny Texas Houses and also some time just for me.

Though I packed my tent prepared to camp, Brad offered me the little writer's cabin they call the Essay House for my stay. It's a sweet little cabin in the back and like all his tiny houses - it's built with love and 99% pure salvage.

I woke that first morning imagining this is what it must have felt like to be a settler on the Texas frontier. A fog had rolled in during the night, I could just make out the faint shape of deer taking advantage of the cover the fog offered. 

The cabin has no electricity or water right now, though it's fully equipped for it when it finds it's final resting place. I enjoyed sitting and napping on the porch. It feels especially remote tucked in among the Prickly Pear Cactus and Mesquite trees, shrouded in morning fog.

A ladder leads up to the loft and bed. Everything you could need packed into a tiny space that still managed plenty of room to move around.

It has a kitchen and a drop down table for writing or meals.

A shower and a tiny sink of course. There's a shuttered pocket door to hide the the bathroom while still allowing a sweet cross breeze thru the house.
It was very easy to imagine living in this tiny house. A simple life unburdened by all the non-essential 'crap'. A home like this would beg you spend time outside too.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

'Little Red' - 8'x16' Cabin

Here's s another version of  an 8'x10' cabin that fit's Tiny Texas House' newest "Loopholer" design. I finally figured out how to get the arched roof on this one, not exactly right yet but close. The total height from floor to roof peak is 12' 4". I understand a cabin of this size can be loaded onto a 16' trailer (or even built on it) and transported yourself, without permits. This is only the first phase of a house to be constructed in three phases.
The second phase of construction will be adding a downstairs bedroom wing off one side, and the third phase a larger living area off the other side. What will at first be used as living area in this cabin now, will become a large kitchen and dining area after the next two phases are complete. I need to work on it more, and don't have the actual framing in this model, but I imagine it should be designed and framed up in such way that the windows will become interior doorways to the other sections when complete.

SketchUp Link:

I tried to stay as close as possible to Brad Kittlel's floor plan of his latest 'Loophooler' design.
Just enough room for a small kitchen, full bath, and 10'x8' living area.
The sleeping loft is apx. 8'x8'.
I made a 'Gypsy Wagon' type roof for the cabin, it gives lots of space in the loft above.
A tiny old fashioned kitchen fits well, but I think I'll forgo the stove, and use a crock-pot, induction plate, and toaster oven in my cabin.
A three piece bathroom fits in the corner. 
The arched roof gives the loft a height of just over 5 feet.
Cute platform for a bed, made with wood pallets.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Designs for a Loophole Cabin - 1

If you have Google's free SketchUp program
you can download this 3D file for a virtual 'walk-thru' here:

The idea behind this design is it allows the option to build this house in 3 phases, but livable once the center unit with sleeping loft is complete. The bedroom and living room units could be added later.

I designed these with SketchUp and 'skinned' it with the very rustic materials I have available here now, rusty tin and salvaged barnwood. I should have stopped and got a screenshot of the basic floor plan before I got this far but no doubt this is just the first of many arrangements, styles, and materials. Next time I'll get a screenshot of the floor-plan.

Three rooms with a loft in the middle. NO, those are not skylights! Lol. I cut panels out to see inside. 

I added a false 'western' style front to the top mostly because I'm a pioneer at heart, and I struggled to get a rounded roof to overhang properly.... . I gave it a name and added a Texas star just because it needed something. I should have called it Rusty Ranch, maybe the next one.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My 'Hide A Camper' Cabin

I've been toying with the idea of building a false front to disguise a camper trailer to look more like a cabin. I see cheap campers I could gut and remodel if necessary, but they are usually really ugly outside as well. My thinking is a deck and false front would hide the ugly exterior and a covering over the whole thing would resolve any future leaky roof issues and serve as additional 'living' area if I screen it in. I did these drawings using SketchUp from Google, it's free and easier to use than expensive cad programs. 

I'm sure there are ways to build something like this to fit most any camper, maybe larger screened windows on the false front? If this were on a vacation property somewhere I could imagine adding a bedroom, maybe even a funky semi-outdoor shower. We could pull a small camper up and basically 'dock' to our little cabin in the woods. Just thinking out loud.....