How do we simplify? Let us count the ways.

For nearly 20 years I lived in a 330 square (round) foot diameter yurt in a tiny Wyoming village. Now I live in a 1350 square foot house with a full basement in an Indiana college town. And of course, stuff expanded to fill the space available. Now I rarely shop for what I won’t use up soon (like food), and when I do, except for shoes and underwear, I go to swaps and recycling stores. Meanwhile, I keep a box by the front door that I fill up regularly for recycling. It took me ten years to collect all this stuff. I wonder how long it will take to divest. Meanwhile, I hungrily check out tiny house ideas.

Here are a few, all from the tinyhouseblog.

1948 Trotwood Tiny House Project

by Kent Griswold on January 9th, 2013. 2 Comments

by James Kinkaid

I have been working on a tiny house project since June, when I found a 1948 Trotwood camper for sale alongside the highway here in Ohio. I purchased it, complete with original ice box, for $350.00 delivered. I renovated the inside first, then had my neighbor Tim help me drag it out into the woods behind my house. I painted the outside and built deck from reclaimed lumber from the Habitat for Humanity store near me.

trottwood camper snow camp

I am a teacher, so I got some of my techie kids involved in designing and building off the grid energy technology for the project. They built a pop can heater designed to heat the inside space with passive solar heat, a solar panel to charge a 12 volt battery for lights, an outdoor wood-burner to channel warm air into the camper, a water collection canopy and filtration system, and an outdoor privy. Continue Reading »

Whittled Down Caravan/Gypsy Wagon Video Tour

by Kent Griswold on January 8th, 2013. Add a Comment

Hey all, a belated happy new year, and here’s a brand new video mini-tour of “The Whittled Down” Caravan, which made a guest-structure appearance at our Tiny House Building Workshop in Massachusetts this past November (one of five tiny shelters, structures, houses, we had on site!). It was built by Tristan Chambers and Libby Reinish (now of Easthampton, Massachusetts) for a mere $1,500 – trailer and all. They drove it to Massachusetts all the way from New Mexico, where it was originally built. This little wagon also had a full page photo spread in “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks.”

By the way, some guy named Kent Griswold ( will be trekking cross-country to speak and hang out at the next workshop that I’m hosting alongside Steven Harrell ( in Wilmington, North Carolina (April 26th-28th). Other speakers include Laura LaVoie from, Dustin Diedricksen (environmental engineer and smallhouse dweller/builder), Alex Pino of, and more….its almost becoming a tiny, “tiny house convention”. We’ll ALL be building a tiny guest house too, and holding campfire discussions at night. Its limited to 25 people to keep it more intimate.

We’ll have the full roster/event poster out soon, and keep you updated. You can also sign up for this three day, hands-on, workshop.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

whittled down caravan

Asian Pop-Up Tiny Houses

by Christina Nellemann on January 7th, 2013. 4 Comments

With nearly 130 million people living in Japan alone and over 1.3 billion people in China, many Asian architects have been working on a few unique ways to house their inhabitants. Just like Japanese ramen, even some of their tiny homes have become “instant”. These two designs are a few examples of what are being labeled as pop-up houses:


The Tricycle House

This tiny wheeled house from the People’s Republic of China is beneficial to people who may not be able to afford a city apartment or a home with land. The portable house is towed with a bicycle and can be configured in several ways. It’s constructed of translucent polypropylene plastic using a CNC router, it retains its strength during folding such that it can open up and expand for increased space and connection to other units. This tiny structure contains a kitchen with a sink, a bathroom with a small tub and a water tank, a living/ sleeping area with storage and even an attachable outdoor garden. Continue Reading »

January 7th, 2013and filed in Uncategorized

868 Ogden Utah

by Kent Griswold on January 6th, 2013. 14 Comments

The following is not a tiny house, but it is creative use of a small space so I thought I would let Stew share it with you.

By Stew MacInnes

I thought that your readers might like to see the photos of a cool little project that we just completed. This is a little 780sq ft building in downtown Ogden Utah. The property is located in a rather run down part of town, which the city is really trying to improve. The area has all the trappings associated with urban blight, rampant drug use, gangs, crime…you name it, it has it! In fact, when a family member and I purchased the property, the front window had six bullet holes, the planter had hypodermic needles in the bed, the front door had been kicked in and the furnace was destroyed after vandals went in and ripped out the copper coils. – Interesting side bar, I still had to fight the city council on numerous fronts regarding my plans to renovate the property, much like most tiny home owners find when dealing with city hall!

868 building completed

I purchased the property with the intent of using it as my office, which I did for most of this past summer. Then when Maximus Extreme Living Solutions started to take off, I decided to sell the building since I had moved my office into our production warehouse.

The property once housed a small chiropractic office; the good Doc practiced there up and into his 80’s. After the project was just about complete, the former owner’s daughter and son-in-law stopped by and asked if they could come in and view the renovation. They were very complimentary and said that their dad would have loved what we had done to the place!

I would like to give credit to the commercial contractor that I hired on this project, his name is Mike Smith of Stature construction and he was fantastic to work with. I also used a gentleman by the name of Mic Allen to do the custom steel work that you see on the front of the building (I designed images that were consistent with Ogden’s past and used a 1930’s font for the street address of 868, that you see on the fascia of the building). Lastly, I’d like to credit my business partner on this project, my mom Sue, she is great to work with!

Dan’s Lithuanian Small Home Update

by Kent Griswold on January 4th, 2013. 16 Comments

So my building season has ended. The outside, barring a few details, is finished.

The last article ended with me getting ready for the roof. They do wood roofs quite differently here than in the USA. My roof is a blend of the two systems. The only problem encountered was to make the person installing the shingles understand American methods, which I preferred for aesthetic, and other, reasons.

Still, in some details I deemed the local wisdom to be better than the American approach – doing things as quickly as possible- and although language was a barrier we still ended up producing a wood roof which I consider to have the best of both country’s methods incorporated.

As an example, where in the USA such a small roof would be completed in one day. This person and his helper worked a full seven days on the roof and as much time splitting the shakes. He seemed to care where every shingle was placed. The roof is made of Aspen, a tree similar to the American variety in leaf, although the bark is darker. It is a traditional roofing material here. I am not completely convinced that its lifespan will be equivalent to Western Red Cedar. We shall see. They tell me that such roofs can easily last 35 years which will certainly be long enough for me!

rainbow over roof

As the roofer was progressing I began the task of siding. This began with a layer of 2 in. extruded polystyrene insulation set between 2×2 furring strips. This was followed by a layer of wind/moisture barrier and then additional furring strips to create an air-space behind the siding. Lithuania is a wet climate. Taking extra steps to keep things dry is essential. Taking extra steps to keep things warm is also essential. Continue Reading »

January 4th, 2013and filed in Stick Built

My Boat Roofed Shed

by Kent Griswold on January 2nd, 2013. 17 Comments

The shed roof is made from a clinker built boat that is 14ft long and 7ft wide at its widest point. The boat is an inshore fishing boat made between 1900 – 1910. It was placed on a frame of 4 telegraph poles with cross beams. Once in place the walls were filled in using aluminium windows from a 1940′s caravan and single glazed windows from our 400 year old farm house.

boat house

The windows are from the early 1980′s and we replaced them last year. Other walls are made of wattle and daub, a mixture of mud, clay, and straw stuck onto a woven frame. It is heated by a French enamelled stove also from the 1900′s in which I burn wood. There is also a 20w solar panel trickle feeding a leisure batter which powers 3 pairs of ultra-brite L.E.D. Lights and a 12v sound system. There is also a 12v refrigerator and a bottled gas cooker with 2 burners, a grill, and an oven. The shed is made from recycled materials except the 12v system. Continue Reading »

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1 Response to How do we simplify? Let us count the ways.

  1. We did a roofing project a little while ago using Fabral Galvulume Standing Seam roofing and we liked the system well enough to use it on our tiny house. Typical standing seam roofing is fabricated on site; however, Fabral’s comes pre-formed from the factory and is designed to “snap” together. One nice thing about this style of roofing is that it has hidden fasteners. This means that no mechanical fasteners, like screws or nails, penetrate the roofing, which is great since no holes means no potential for leaks. Another great characteristic of this roofing is that it is 100% recyclable. Finally, the roofing is very substantial. The gauge of metal it uses is much thicker than your average box store metal roofing. Any thicker and this stuff would be unmanageable from an installation point of view. We’ll most likely order the shiny silver Galvulume finish. I don’t know why they can’t just call it “galvanized”, because that’s what it is. It should last for at least thirty (and more like 60) years.

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