Way up in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, Nelson Tiny Houses recently finished installing a 380 sq foot tiny house. Bringing a tiny house from our shop to your piece of land is generally a straight-forward event, and while this particular move went smoothly, there were certain adventures involved. Namely, a steep access road that required us to use a front-end loader to pull the semi truck and house up to its final destination. Luckily there was a big loader on site and with a little luck and a little elbow grease (not to mention some big diesel engines), the house climbed the hill and is now perfectly placed on a beautiful piece of mountain property.
After moving a house to your piece of land, several things can happen. If it's a self-contained off-the-grid Acorn, with a composting toilet, all that we do it park it where you want it, and it's pretty much ready to be lived in. If services need to be hooked up, this process can take a little longer. With our V House, we build the roof in sections at our yard and then install it on site. This allows the house to be road-legal (height and width requirements are met) for transport, and the final house has an aesthetically pleasing and protective roof overhang. This is what we did for the 380 sq foot tiny house.
We have just posted a video that describes this procedure. Seth also gives you a tour of the house, in all its tiny glory. Check it out at this link or in our gallery section
As always, thanks for all your support and keep checking back for more cool builds!
Unable to stop building tiny houses because really, they're way too fun to make, Tobias has had little time to edit and post two upcoming videos. Here's a quick teaser shot of an insanely beautiful Acorn House that we drove to Edmonton this fall. This week, we'll upload a video tour of this house, but for now, would you just look at that counter/dining table? It's basically a thing of perfection. Handcrafted with solid fir (the black stripes are fir from an ancient beer barrel), it hinges down to open up the floor space and up to create the dining table. Replete with storage opportunities, this is the magnificent centrepiece of an already stellar house.
Enough self congratulations though; let's get that video posted!
(The aforementioned second video of the 350 plus sq ft tiny house will be filmed on location in Nakusp, B.C., sometime this winter, and posted ASAP thereafter.)
Thanks for your ongoing support everyone! It is much appreciated.
Seasons are changing in Nelson, which serves not only as a reminder to get more firewood in the shed, but also that a significant amount of time has passed since our last blog post. As autumn approaches, we're happy to be finishing up three new tiny houses for three separate clients in BC and in Alberta. Our BC house, which we shipped to a beautiful piece of land on the side of a mountain, overlooking a lake, is our biggest tiny house yet, a 300 plus sq. ft. V House. This house is a thing of beauty. As you can see, we shipped this house without the roof, in order to meet width requirements for the highway. We installed the roof on site, and finished it with a copper coloured standing seam metal roof. So classy. We are still working on a tiny video tour, but we do have a few photos of the move and some glamour shots of the house itself. Check these out.
Our second project is almost ready to ship. It's a slight departure from our previous builds because it is in fact a tiny office, and not a tiny house. The regional government in the Nelson area put out a tender for an office for the local transfer station (what many of us continue to call “the dump”). Our bid was accepted and we're now wrapping up the interior of a 12 foot by 8 foot V House that will serve as the pay station for the transfer station. It's exciting for us to get our work recognized by folks beyond the tiny house movement. Pictures of this are forthcoming.
Our third project is an Acorn House that will soon call Alberta home. At 20 feet by 9 feet, it's a more spacious version of our current off the grid Acorn that is still for sale. We are starting on the interior finishing on this house and will also post photos and shoot a video tour before it makes its way across the Rockies to the flatlands.
Hi to all Tiny Housers out there!
It has been a very long time since our last blog post. It's not that we're done with tiny houses - in fact, it's the opposite. We've been so busy building that the blog took a back seat. Over the past few months, we have completed some impressive projects, among them a two storey tiny house! We will post photos and a video of that job soon. Over the next few months, we are re-vitalizing the blog, bringing in more information and material and making sure that Nelson Tiny Houses stays connected with the world!
The NTH Team.
As part of our job in increasing the function and look of our new building site, Nelson Tiny Houses built a great little electrical/storage shed. One of the challenges with the property is that with the mobile home gone, we need a place to plug in all our tools in the interim. This awesome little shed solved that problem as well as giving us a safe lock-up. It houses our main 200 amp panel, and once we build our shop, we'll run another 100 amps underground to a sub panel there. This will give us 100 amps of plugs for the yard (via the shed) and 100 amps for the shop.
The design is based on the V House look, and we clad it in corrugated steel roofing. This gives it a clean look that will last forever. Our plan is to side the shop in a similar fashion, once we build it, and visitors to the site will be dazzled by the galvanized glory. We re-used the main door; it was the door to a motorcycle mechanic that lived and worked on the property prior to Nelson Tiny Houses.
The back of the electrical shed faces inaccessible forest, so rather than putting metal siding where no one will see it, we up-cycled a bunch of cut-outs from steel and foam doors that we got for free from a local door builder. It works!
Thanks for checking in, more to come again soon.
It's been a little over a month since our last posting, but not for lack of building or progress. It's been busy at Nelson Tiny Houses. Running parallel to the building of our V3 house is an ongoing project of transforming an old derelict piece of land into a functional, efficient shop space and tiny house building-site. We recently secured a lease on a piece of land just outside of Nelson city limits that had an old mobile home on it. Our first order of business was to tear it down and start fresh. It was an unenviable job, but allowed the crew to reflect on the process of building homes in a new way.
While tiny houses and mobile homes (the kind you'd find in a trailer park) serve similar purposes (affordable housing, smaller footprint, built off-site,) we realized in tearing down this old beast that comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges. Even the things we thought were similar, like the aforementioned list, are vastly different.
Take affordable housing, for example. In Nelson, a mobile home starts at $50,000. That's for a used home, in a trailer park, where you still have to pay rent and fees. Our tiny houses start at $30,000. That's for a new house, ready to live in on your land or the land you rent from a friend, or what have you.
How about smaller footprint? It's true, a mobile home is smaller than your average house, but the one we tore down was so inefficiently designed that even its 12'X68' (816 sq. ft.) layout felt cramped, dark and claustrophobic. It didn't help that the previous owner smoked like a chimney and never cleaned anything, ever. Our tiny houses, at 100 to 240 sq. ft. feel bright, open and airy compared to a mobile home. Heck, we think they feel bright and airy compared to some 3000 sq. ft. homes we've been in.
And size doesn't even begin to address environmental footprint. Tearing down that mobile home was a lesson in inefficiency. 2X3 walls mean an irrelevant R value, meaning your heating costs go towards heating the area just outside of your house; single glazed aluminum windows help with that, too; interior wall panelling that literally said “Made in China” on it do nothing to promote the local economy... the list goes on. In our tiny houses, we focus on efficiency in our insulation and windows and use reclaimed or recycled real wood material as much as possible. For V3, we installed a hemlock ceiling that was milled across the road. We delivered it with a pickup truck, but truth be told, we could have carried it over, had we had the time.
And yes, both mobile homes and tiny houses are built off-site, at a production facility of some sort, but as we tore this old mobile home down, we could see nothing of the three most important ingredients in a beautiful building: quality material, craftsmanship and love.
Money can't buy love, it's true, but when you see a beautiful building, you know that love is inherent there. That's what we love about Nelson Tiny Houses.
Check out this video to watch an excavator assert itself!
Winter seems to be digging in a little bit here in Nelson. We've had a lot of beautiful snow, below-freezing temperatures and some good blizzards. The only thing right now that hints at spring is the ever-increasing daylight and the steady forward progression of our building schedule. Our current build, V2, which this blog has mainly focussed on, is almost finished and has started a late-winter hibernation. All that are left to do on it are tasks that require warmer weather. In the meantime, we've started on our next house, a beautiful 24' x 10' V House, unimaginatively (and only in the interim) named V3.
Building V3 will be a similar process to V2. This house will eventually be moved from our building yard via trailer to a new, semi-permanent location. Like V2, this house is being built on temporary supports which we will remove once a trailer is ready and once the house is prepped for moving.
We started with the floor, which is 2X8s on 16” centres insulated with about 5 inches of rigid foam that we got from a roofing company from a renovation they did. Next, we stood the tall front wall (with the help of a few local strong-men – thanks guys!), the shorter back wall and then placed the massive header/beam that runs the length of each wall and ends with the “wings” that Nelson Tiny House enthusiasts like so much.
The roof structure for this house will be different than anything we've done. We are building an insulated ceiling made of 2X4s that will be clad on the inside with local hemlock 1X material. That ceiling structure will then be temporarily tarped, shielding the whole house from snow and rain. We will build the 2X8 rafter system on the ground, and in modular parts. This will allow us to transport the house without the big shed roof that would greatly increase the house's length and width and pose all sorts of logistical problems. Once the house is in place at its future home, we will put the rafter system up in a short time and the whole thing will be warm and weather-proof. We'll post pictures of all of that once we've built it.
Thanks for reading. Here are some current photos.
Things are wrapping up with our current build. Time flies when you're building tiny! For this week's post, we want to show some of the final touches we're adding. In the next few months, we'll post a tiny tour video of this incredible build. You've seen the work-in-progress video – we're excited to show you the finished product.
As a side project, we put together a short video on Seth's composting bucket toilet that he uses in his own house. We want to explain the simplicity of the system with this video and we've already received a lot of good feedback. A few clients have requested this same system in their tiny houses; it's simple and effective. Check out the video.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this next post is worth that many at 24 frames per second. At the end of last week we filmed a quick tour of our V House in progress and are happy to share this video with you. Check it out!
Meet Mr. Tiny
Also, here's a look at our Spring 2014 ad campaign. When you say it like that, it makes it seem so professional. Tobias created our new mascot – aptly named Mr. Tiny. Over the next few months, Mr. Tiny will use his muscles, bulk and moustache to convince people that downsizing can indeed be uplifting, and that yes, tiny is the new sexy. We have a few more ads on the way. Do you have any catchy slogans that you think we should use? Comment on this post or on the facebook page.
Have a great week!
Building a tiny house poses the same logistical challenges as any other construction project, but we learned today that a major one is working in a 230 square foot house with three guys and a dog. The solution is careful footwork and clear communication. Footwork to save Scout's tail and communication to make sure that our tasks don't all converge on a particular corner. Something must be working properly, because we made some good progress again this week.
The first major step is drywall is up. Now the place really feels like a house. Without the exposed framing that you can see through, there's a clear separation of bathroom and bedroom from living space. Tobias hung all the drywall and Seth taped and mudded. Mike followed a few days later with excellent sanding skills and followed that up by priming and painting everything. The majority of the walls now have their first coat of paint.
As a note, we have opted to keep our water lines in the bathroom exposed and will be going with copper pipe. This is the first tiny house that we have done this with and is a bit of an experiment. Our main reasons for doing this are to ensure a near-zero percent chance of the pipes freezing, ease of installation and to play around with the aesthetics of it. We think it will look pretty cool.
All the interior window extensions and trim should be finished by the end of this week which will then allow us to put in the floor and start making and installing the built-in furniture. We are going with a hybrid look for the trim details, combining our reclaimed-rustic look with a more elegant moulding look that is replete with shadow lines and offsets. All of our window extensions in this house are fir, while the sills and trim are all maple.
Check back next week to see our new advertising campaign and hopefully a tiny video tour of our work-in-progress!