Category Archives: News

Diy Outdoor Furniture

I have just published on Amazon a new book. It is about constructing outdoor furniture with distinctive designs, without making complicated cuts, not using complex equipment and no purchasing of expensive materials. All the furniture is made with only 90-degree cuts, utilizing only 1x4s and 2x4s. The book includes 200 illustrations of furniture construction and visual cut lists of the parts.

Outdoor Furniture You Can Make...
Outdoor Furniture You Can Make…Outdoor Furniture You Can Make…

One important aspect of living in a small house, at least for me, is the modernist concept of including the outdoors, or rather, combining the outdoors with the indoors. Therefore, especially if you are a do-it-yourselfer, outdoor furniture designs come in handy. Quite a few are included in this book. Unless you live in the arctic circle, a few pieces of outdoor furniture provides an extra level of comfort. Even nicer is when you can do it yourself stylishly for very little cost.

Nevertheless, the best part of the book is the designs. One chair in particular stands out. It is in De Stijl colors and stands out from the rest. I thought I would share some pictures of this chair. I love the design so much that, like many of the chairs of Mid Century Modern invention, it needs a name to identify its uniqueness.

De Stijl Colored Chair
De Stijl Colored Chair

 

De Stijl Colored Chair with Matching Table
De Stijl Colored Chair with Matching Table

 

Chair with Table
Chair with Table

Tiny House Building Codes

Those who know me know what a dim outlook I have regarding building codes. Most municipal and local codes have gone far beyond the original intent of community safety. In some places the codes almost amount to a legal “taking” of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The notion of a “taking” is a legal principle that if one’s control of a property is so hindered as to render the property devalued, substantially diminished or unusable then proper compensation must be given. Unfortunately, the progressive nature of the Supreme Court since the first half of the 20th century to the present has left this definition so weak as to allow local governments to do just about anything.

A good example of a pernicious code that is not Constitutional in my opinion is the creation of so-called “historic” districts. When a property is sold in such a district, the local government can choose colors, architectural styles and even disallow the sale of a property until certain things are done to the property. Consequently, many properties can sit, unsold because of the excessive expense, rotting and becoming an eyesore. Billions of dollars around the country are spent maintaining an army of bureaucrats, measuring every inch of grass, and forcing people to comply and conform. This is the atmosphere that the tiny house confronts; a large group of people, given the notion that they have great power and strongly conformist motivations, who think they have a right to govern the lives of those in their jurisdiction. To these bureaucrats a house can only be what they live with and expect without thinking. Some jurisdictions, in their arrogance, have even outlawed tiny houses based upon all the usual collectivist excuses that I needn’t repeat here.

One will hear all sorts of objections to what I have just stated, but for most of American history such codes did not exist and only safety was considered. There was no collectivist concept of cities managing who did what where. The city of Houston, Texas today does not have zoning codes and has grown to be the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country. One can take over a gas station and live in it, for instance. Bureaucrats all over hate this with a passion.

I object based upon the idea that more freedom is usually a good thing for everyone in the long run. Where there is great freedom, there is usually a greater level of prosperity.

At any rate, here are some resources for finding out information about tiny houses.

Tiny House Building Codes: Building Code Myths

This is a page that includes different myths associated with tiny houses and what municipalities can do.

How to get around Building Codes and Zoning for Tiny House Living

A video on this link gives some information about tiny houses on wheels.

Tiny House Faqs

Various faqs about tiny houses.

Understanding Zoning And Tiny Houses

Quite a few answers about tiny houses and zoning.

American Tiny House Association

Tons of information, but here a lot of information about building codes with categories by state.

Legally Living in Tiny Houses: Can You Actually Live Tiny?

General information about the legality of tiny houses.

Workshop Follow up-Codes and Tiny Houses

Information about tiny houses on wheels.

Navigating minimum square footage requirements for tiny houses WITHOUT a trailer

Article about size and the International Residential Code.

Codes and the Tiny House

All about the codes.

6 Container Houses, Very Nice, Very Modern

EcoWatch has 6 container houses that are quite remarkable in style. The problem is in choosing the best of the bunch. Take a look at: EcoWatch.

New Zealand Beach House
New Zealand Beach House

If you would like to look into even more container houses take a peek at these:

http://www.containerhomeplans.org/2015/04/what-i-wish-id-known-before-building-my-shipping-container-home/

http://freshome.com/shipping-container-homes/

rad interior

poteet container huest house

https://www.offgridworld.com/10-prefab-shipping-container-homes-from-24k/

Video on container houses:

http://videos.hgtv.com/video/modern-shipping-container-home-0200750

Mute or ignore the music in this one, but the ideas are nice:

And here is some book suggestions:

Container Atlas: Practical Guide to Container Architecture

20+ Beautiful Staircases – Design Milk

This is a wonderful article on staircases, which is of keen interest to tiny house creators and dwellers. Many of the designs are quite unique, if not artistic. See these on Design Milk: http://design-milk.com/20-beautiful-modern-staircases/

Alternating Stairs

Here is a short video:

Here are some others that should lead you to the idea that stairs have a greater design flexibility than you would think:

Modern Shed

This is a link to a commercial website called Modern Shed that sells and designs small structures. Some of the configurations are quite nice and have a great deal of potential. They offer three models of 10′ x 12′, 10′ x 14′ and 10′ x 16′, but apparently can customize to a great degree. Check out their photo gallery for some extremely pleasing small structures. A quote from their website:

“Modern-Shed provides solutions for limited living and storage space problems. You might be considering a home addition, converting current space such as a garage, bedroom, attic, basement, bonus room or even enclosing a carport in order to give you the extra space you need. You may not have even considered a detached separate structure in your yard. Modern-Shed provides the ultimate solution, as it provides not only more room, but private space only steps from your main home. If you need more room for a home office, an exercise room, craft space, art or music studio, man cave, diva den, photography studio, hobby room, writers den, meditation room, a play room or just a place to hang out and relax in your garden, Modern-Shed was the first and is the highest quality structure of its kind. Pre-fabricated panels can be carried into or around tight spaces for fast assembly. Instead of converting your garage or transforming your carport or turning your spare bedroom or basement into your new, needed space, consider a new style of shed – from the originator of the Modern-Shed concept, completely separated from your home. Imagine a quiet space for yourself or a space to send the kids to play.”

 

Tiny May Qualify for Scaled Down Sales and Use Tax Base

Tiny Homes May Qualify for Scaled Down Sales and Use Tax Base | Bloomberg BNA

This is a detailed examination from Bloomberg about the tax situation that some may find themselves in, especially if one is going with the wheeled model. The information is useful in also considering advantages one might take in using the rules to work for oneself. Also, though the information is primarily for an American audience, much of the information probably has a general relevance to many other countries municipalities.

Included in the article is a link to another on Salon that describes various matters (including codes) about living in a tiny house titled: Living large in 150 square feet: Why the tiny house movement is taking off.

Marketwatch.com: Why you might retire to a tiny house — by choice

A wonderful article at Marketwatch.com on the reasons for going tiny as one gets older. They mention these things:

  1. Less expense.
  2. Less cleaning and maintenance.
  3. Can be used to get closer to locations and family.
  4. And easier to get around and do daily functions.
  5. Weed one off of the collecting things cycle.

These are really valid reasons for anyone wanting to go tiny. Some people find spending the greater part of a weekend cleaning, doing laundry, and mowing grass very onerous, preferring to minimize the chores in order to pursue other things, for instance. Most people work hard enough as it is than to have to give up free time for such things.

Why do we need any more than this when we are older and less capable of physical effort?

Here is a video on just this subject:

Illegal Tiny House

Illegal Vancouver Tiny House
Illegal Vancouver Tiny House

 

Here is an article on Small House Bliss about a house up for sale in Vancouver as the result of permitting. I note this particular article because of the revulsion I have in terms of the oppressive codes in so-called “free countries”. I won’t go into that here and will wait for a future article devoted to codes and regulations, but I like to point out that some places are so repressive that it is almost impossible to build a tiny house. This is why when one views TV programs that feature such structures many times the houses are on wheels to skirt central authority.

I know that many might say that codes are necessary to protect the neighborhood due to safety issues. However, that is where the codes should stop! Most go well beyond practical considerations and are meant to assume power over individuals as well as subjugate the populace into conformity. I am not saying this description is appropriate in this case. It is reasonable in a neighborhood to expect inspection for safety pitfalls and such. Nevertheless, the remedy is too punitive and severe as to result in the structure’s sale.

At any rate, this article has several pictures about what can be done to turn a garage/storage shed into an extremely nice dwelling at an affordable cost.

 

http://smallhousebliss.com/2015/12/13/illegal-vancouver-tiny-house/

Tiny house, big benefits: Freedom from a mortgage and worries — and stuff – The Washington Post

via Tiny house, big benefits: Freedom from a mortgage and worries — and stuff – The Washington Post.

An in depth article in the Washington Post about living tiny. I wish that it would be made more clear that unreasonably restrictive codes many times causes tiny houses to be built on trailers. For me, this is the result of the desire of government to control people, to have power over as many things as possible in order to control people. Living tiny is not the business of government. The whole notion of “pursuit of happiness” is under assault with the present level of interference.

 

Alternative Toilets style=