Monday, March 17, 2014

Becoming Tiny House Smart(er)

The best part about being a tiny little part of the Tiny House movement is the sense of community that I discover when corresponding, or talking, with other Tiny House enthusiasts.  And the one thing I keep hearing over and over is that, above all, thorough planning is the key to success when building a Tiny House. 

(or, money, but I don’t have a lot of that so………I digress)

In the best interest of doing said planning I reached out to a local company who builds them, and this past weekend I had the opportunity to tour Tiny Smart House; and visit with Nathan The Founder.  (Yes, I am aware that appears to be a Viking-like way of introducing him….but it suits him well.)  It was my first opportunity to see a Tiny House in the making….and I was not disappointed.   

Building Tiny Houses requires a diverse set of skills, and while I have many of them, I felt more than privileged to be in the company of someone who possesses those I do not.  Nathan showed me around his unassuming but very functional space which features not one but TWO trailers in progress.

Since I am at the very beginning of my build (ie; still firmly mired in the aforementioned planning stage) my intention for visiting Nathan was primarily to learn more about the foundation; ie; the trailer.  During the course of our discussion, however, the conversation also wandered to subjects like siding, walls, insulation, venting, timeline and even my budget. 

So, what did I learn?

1)      If I install a certain type of composting toilet, all of my male guests will have to sit down to pee.  (Who’d thunk?!)

2)      Putting a bedroom loft over a bathroom or kitchen requires additional venting / moisture control steps to avoid the creation of a mold-rich-environment under the mattress.  (Ick!!)

3)      1/8” bead board for my walls isn’t the best idea, because it bows. (Darn.) 

4)      Spray in foam insulation adds significant stability to the house.  (Good to know!)

5)      Putting the door on the side of the house means that I will need to plan for lot of extra bracing and strapping near the door to minimize adjustments that will need to be made to the door after the twist-inducing transport. (Hmm, I would have never guessed it.)

6)      Lots more stuff that I should have written down so I would remember them.  (Sheesh!)

So, what does Nathan specialize in?

If you are looking for an all-around good guy who knows a lot about building licensed Tiny Houses, Nathan is your guy.  His consulting fees are more than reasonable, his knowledge base is deep, and he’s quite flexible with figuring out how he can help while also saving DIY’ers like me; money.

Tiny Smart House can also rent you a dry space to build your own house or they can build you a trailer to put your house on.  They can consult with you on design challenges, sell you one of their model homes, or design and build one that suits your needs. 

Just think!  All you need is a vision, a bit of money, some of Nathan’s great advice, patience, passion, a little luck, a dash of get-er-done, and……TA DA!!!……you’ll have a Tiny House all your own.

So, last but not least, why am I sharing my “secrets” with you?

My day job requires that I sit in a cubicle all day long.  It’s tedious but pays the bills.  If I sound positively enthusiastic (maybe a bit TOO enthusiastic?) about all of this Tiny House "nonsense" (as my parents would call it) it’s because I am quite literally giddy about getting out of my padded grey box to creatively collaborate with helpful (and nice) people like Nathan. (cubicle comparison to solitary confinement comment, intentionally withheld.)

And, by the way, Nathan didn’t ask me to write this review.  I offered to.  I firmly believe in this movement, the dedicated people in it, and how much work there is to be done in advancing the “Less is More” philosophy.  If this glowing recommendation of Nathan and his humble company beside the freeway in Albany Oregon helps someone else realize their Tiny House dream, then my work here is done.

Tiny House Planners Unite!

P.S.  I'll try not to use so many parenthesis next time, but no promises.

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