“The Big Tiny” Book Givaway!

Dee Williams’ new book, THE BIG TINY: A Built-It-Myself Memoir, is about to hit the bookshelves. But guess what? We’re giving you a chance to win your won copy of this book for free!

Read on below to enter…

THE BIG TINY: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dee at the beginning of my tiny house journey. In fact, it was a weekend workshop she put on with her company Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) that gave me the confidence and inspiration to take the leap and go ahead with designing and build my own tiny house. This book is great in that it details her personal story and gives an in depth insight into her process of rethinking and downsizing her life.

Entering this giveaway is super simple.

First, make sure you’re signed up for our mailing list below:

If you’ve signed up in the past, you don’t need to sign up again.

Second, you must comment on this post…

In your comment, please include a brief description of your favorite thing about what The Tiny Project has to offer. Complete transparency: What we’re really asking for is a good testimonial about our plans for sale, our photo book, or something else about the Tiny Project website you find helpful.

Show us some love, and maybe you’ll win a great free book!

Selecting a winner

One week from today, one winner will be randomly picked from all those who have met both of the above requirements. The winner’s free, brand-new, hardcover copy of the book will be shipped directly from the publisher.

About THE BIG TINY

THE BIG TINY is a graceful and inspired memoir about building a home from scratch and discovering a true sense of self – in just 84 square feet.

Ten years ago, Dee Williams was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, and she soon realized that she wanted to make some changes. In the wake of her health problems, and considering the burdens of homeownership, Williams began fantasizing about a simpler life. THE BIG TINY follows Dee from the early days of her diagnosis through the increasingly-confident building process (Dee constructed her entire house on her own – with help from a few friends), and ultimately finds her in present-day Olympia WA, living with her dog in her tiny house in the backyard of friends.

Although most of us don’t imagine our lives unfolding within such tiny dimensions, there is something universally appealing about the way Dee lives: simply and efficiently, with awareness for her community and environment, and with an open mind. Without escaping to the wild or going off the grid, she’s achieved a happy balance of the normal and the radical, and created a model for simple, practical living.

Panasonic Whisperwall Exhaust Fan Product Review

Panasonic FV-08WQ1 WhisperWall 70 CFM Wall Mounted Fan

Panasonic FV-08WQ1 WhisperWall 70 CFM Wall Mounted Fan

First off, let me say that having an exhaust fan in your tiny house is a must! They are not at all expensive in the grand scheme of things, are fairly easy to install, and will help you in many ways:

  • Reduce/eliminate any bathroom odor from composting toilet
  • Reduce/eliminate any water vapor build-up in the bathroom/house during or after showing
  • Exhaust cooking fumes (and water vapor) created by propane stove
  • Help circulate air throughout the house (helps to cool down loft with loft window open)

It is especially necessary to have a means of moisture control in a house like mine that is very tightly sealed with spray foam insulation. Very little air gets in or out of the house unless a window is open, so the exhaust fan helps just to allow the house to breathe a bit.

For all these purposes the Panasonic Whisperwall has been fantastic. Here’s why:

Cost

This model costs a bit more than some of its competitors (Braun), but is well worth it (you’ll see why below). I was recommended this model by my spray foam installer and very happy with the purchase.

Performance

What’s great about this exhaust fan is that it is both QUIET and it moves a lot of air. With the cheaper models, you’ll get one or the other, but not both. This fan is aptly named in that is really is nearly whisper quiet. You can barely hear that it is on. In fact, we leave it on almost constantly throughout the day and never notice it.

Installation

Another great thing about this model is that it comes with all the pieces necessary to install with relative ease. It comes with the vent mounted on the exterior of the house. It comes with a circular mounting plate and guide to cut a perfect whole in your wall. And of course it comes with the fan unit itself and the simple white grill that covers the interior. It has the wiring for easy electrical hookup. The package is clean and simple.

Looks

Another thing I like about this fan is that it’s small, and it looks nice. It doesn’t try to add any other features (a light, for example). It just does exhaust fan, and it does it very well.

Durability

We’ll have to give it some more time before I can speak from experience, but from the reviews I’ve read, many people have had this fan running constantly for many years and they report that it’s still going strong. When my fan does eventually give out some day, I just hope they are still making the same model so I can just swap out just the fan unit itself with a new one.

So far I honestly can’t think of anything negative to say about it.

At the time of purchase, the best price I found was from Amazon.com. (I’m not selling these, nor am I an amazon affiliate or making money off this in any way — I just really do like this product a lot!)

What do you use for moisture flow and air circulation in your tiny house? Are you happy with your decision?

 

Answers to your frequently asked questions

Hello everyone. Due to the overwhelming number of inquires I’ve received recently, I am trying to streamline the reply process by putting up answers to a bunch of the questions that seem to be asked over and over. You can now find a Frequently Asked Questions page here. I will continue to add to this page with more questions and answers as they come up. I hope people find this useful!

Photo Book Now Available!

We’re super happy to be offering a comprehensive photo book for the Tiny Project!

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This book includes 62 pages of photos, almost 200 images in total. It covers the entire construction process, from start to finish, including:

  • Trailer Details
  • Subfloor Construction
  • Electrical & Plumbing
  • Wall framing
  • Sheathing & Housewrap
  • Window installation
  • Rainscreen Details
  • Fascia & Roofing
  • Insulation
  • Cedar Siding & Metal Cladding
  • Plywood Walls & Painting
  • Flooring
  • Appliances/Fixtures
  • Cross-country Moving/Travel
  • Completed House Photos

We’re offering both a PDF version and a printed version from Blurb.com

This book is a great companion piece to the Tiny Project Construction Plans. The book offers photos and insights into most every step of the construction process, providing a level of visual support that could not have been included in the plans themselves.

Get yours today!

Get up to $50 off your plans purchase with the 30/30/30 Challenge!

Have you been considering buying the Tiny Project construction plans?

We feel the normal price is very reasonable, considering all of the research, planning and experience that went into their creation. Even so, we want to give you a chance to save.

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You can now save up to $50. Here’s how:

Step 1 - Make your purchase now

Purchase your copy of the plans

To be part of this promotion, you must purchase the plans before April 1st, 2014

Step 2 - Share with others

Share this link with your friends, colleagues and other Tiny House enthusiasts:

Or simply use the code below:

Choose Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or your preferred way to share with friends. The more the merrier, as you will soon find out. The more who buy the plans, the more likely it is that you will save.

Want to share images too?

Choose from the images at the bottom of this post.

Step 3 - There’s a good chance you’ll get $50 back

There are no guarantees, of course, but if 30 people buy the plans in the first 30 days (March 1st – April 1st), EVERYONE who made a purchase will receive a $30 refund via paypal (That’s the 30/30/30 challenge!) The more you help spread the word, the more likely it is that enough total sales will be made this month for you to receive your $30 refund.

But there’s more…

If anyone enters your name in the referral field when they make their purchase, you’ll receive another $20 refund, for a total of $50 saved!

Start by getting you copy of the plans today

Image to share:

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Tiny Project House Construction Plans

Tiny House Construction Plans Now Available!

Tiny Project Tiny House Construction Plans Now For Sale - Click Here

The Tiny Project is proud to now offer…

Complete Tiny House Construction Plans

These construction plans offer complete blueprints to build your own tiny house — to the exact same specifications as the original Tiny Project house featured on this site.

The plans include almost 40 pages of:

  • Trailer specs, dimensions & modifications
  • Precise framing diagrams w/dimensions
  • Window and door sizes & specs
  • Elevation drawings w/dimensions
  • Detailed floorplans w/dimensions
  • Electrical, plumbing, propane & safety systems design
  • Materials list, including suggested appliances and fixtures
  • Interior finishing suggestions & images
  • Plus – A complete, editable SketchUp model, for you to view, take apart, or alter as you wish

Click here to check out all the details and get yours today!

Preview of Tiny Project Tiny House Construction Plans

Preview of Tiny Project Tiny House Construction Plans

 

Save hundreds of hours when you purchase these plans!

Countless hours of research, planning, consulting, drafting, and reworking when into the design of this one-of-a-kind house. The price of this complete set of plans is a bargain, considering the hundreds of hours you can save if interested in building this house or a house of similar design.

Get the Plans – Click Here!

“It is with great confidence that recommend Alek as a up and coming professional in the creation of Tiny House living. His do diligence, drawings and construction abilities are excellent. As a licensed construction professional for many decades I have rarely taken notice of such young exceptional talent.” – Gary Bute, TinyHouseSystems.biz

Stories from the inside — Part I

Alek has offered such a stellar description of the practical and structural components of building and living in a tiny house over the life of this grand blog. I couldn’t help but title my own contribution: “stories from the inside,” given that I will be exposing a bit more of the “inner life” of tiny house living (not to mention I’m in graduate school for counseling psychology, and have a boundless interest in the ‘inside experience’ of human beings in general).

There is so much I could say, but to begin, I’ll tell you that living in this beautiful house has been incredibly enjoyable! For the most part, transitioning to this lifestyle has been easy and even…graceful. The house truly does feel like a home. Because Alek (and helpers) designed and built it so consciously and carefully, it has what we need as a couple.

I was able to make suggestions and requests along the way, and we have found ways to meet nearly all the needs I could think to have. I needed a desk (and had always wanted a standing desk), so I asked if we could make it happen. We could! I had a vision for maximum storage space (so we added thoughtful shelving). I realized last minute that I would need to hang longer clothing items, e.g. one nice dress (I really wanted to have everything I needed within the home, rather than relying on having family members ship specialty items on an as-needed basis) – and it could be done! The list goes on. Together, we carefully thought through each of our needs and found ways to meet them. I feel very grateful to have been able to participate in designing a living space at my age.

My childhood neighbors and best friends!

My childhood neighbors and best friends!

Entertaining

We both have had the privilege of having visits from some of our closest friends (and even family in my case). Though we spent most of these visits outside of the house, we also entertained inside the narrow walls without feeling too cramped! I plan to write further blog posts on hosting visitors as we develop friendships here in Sebastopol.

Our Hosts

I don’t believe I could write such a glowing review of tiny house living if we didn’t have a terrific relationship with our hosts. I am a sensitive and empathic person, and go pretty darn nuts when unacknowledged tension and resentment exists between people living in close proximity. I couldn’t feel happier about the lovely family we share property with. They are kind, unendingly generous, community gatherers, and inspirational on many levels.

Challenges

Floor space: I have had a hard time coming to terms with not having space for yoga (inside, that is). I really, really miss having a spot on the floor to roll out my mat — and space to stretch my body in all directions! I have also long been a fan of impromptu dance parties, and this isn’t so possible anymore (by the time the table is tucked away, the ladder is hung, doo-dads are stashed, the spontaneity is gone).

A door to a room of my own: This is a biggie. I try to plan my meditation and relaxation time around Alek’s schedule, but more often than not, he’ll be working downstairs (which means he’s really just 15 ft. away in the same room). Authentic alone time is obviously hard to come by. I must say, however, that we have become pretty skilled at meeting each other’s needs for space. We certainly have a lot more adjustments to make to find a rhythm that satisfies both of us (but what would total satisfaction really look like anyway? Living with other people is inherently a dance of compromise).

This being said, I am well aware that these are all pretty minor inconveniences. I feel entirely blessed to be living such a cozy life.

An Observation

Living in the tiny house itself, as a whole, hasn’t felt like a struggle. I want to underline this. The reduction in square footage feels like a non-issue (I would say that floor space for yoga and dancing would fall in another category). How radical is that? I didn’t know what to expect prior to moving in, but I certainly didn’t anticipate that would be the case. Perhaps it’s because we already lived a simple lifestyle as a young couple with not-too-many possessions… My hunch though is that we are all much more adaptable than we think. We weren’t especially eco-conscious folks from the start (though we have both shared a love of sustainable practices, adore the great outdoors, and don’t think twice when we have to pee in the woods on a hike). This has made me realize that almost anyone could live in a tiny (or tinier) house! What a wonderful notion! Living in a tiny house can be a wonderful way to reduce one’s carbon footprint substantially while still indulging in many modern comforts.

Look for more stories and strategies of Tiny House living … from a woman’s perspective … in future posts (coming whenever they come)!

Acquiring Sponsorship for My Tiny House Build

This article was originally written a few months ago for my friend Drew’s new book, GAINING CORPORATE SPONSORS for your tiny house. I reprint it here with permission. See more about the new book at the bottom of this post.


During my tiny house build, while I didn’t get anyone to just “give me” things for free, I did receive some meaningful discounts and made some great connections in the process.  Even now, in our search for the perfect place to park, I am realizing that the process of gaining “sponsorship” for my tiny house boils down to a few simple things.

What do I do? I put myself out there. There’s really nothing to lose, so if I want or need something, I simply ask for it. I even cold-call or “cold-email” companies I like, asking if they would be interested in helping. When doing so, I am clear and honest in presenting my project and my needs, and friendly and passionate in my tone. Usually the uniqueness of the concept is enough to pique peoples’ interest and motivate them to help if they are able.

I always offer something meaningful in return. As a web designer by trade, I ask myself, “Can this individual or company I am approaching use my services in any way?” I maintain a fairly comprehensive website/blog for my project, and always offer a spot on my sponsorship page, if nothing else. If I’m happy with the product I receive, I always write praise for my sponsor on my blog and on facebook – sharing my fondness for their product with the wider tiny house community.

Networking: by this I simply mean to take full advantage of each connection you make. One offer to help can quite easily connect you to a few others who may also find inspiration in your project.

Want a few concrete examples of the points above?

In an unusually rainy spring in Iowa, I realized at the beginning of my build that I would need an indoor space to work if I was going to make any progress before summer. So what did I do? In a meeting with Joel, the owner of Green Building Supply, I casually mentioned my desire for indoor workspace. Joel told me that GBS rented some space in a warehouse/manufacturing building – Creative Edge Master Shopout in the industrial park. The president of Creative Edge happened to be a friend of my parents’ from back in their university days. I called him and told him what I needed. I mentioned to him that his website could use some work, and he agreed. With that, I had a small corner of the warehouse, and Jim at Creative Edge received some free website consulting in return. I got my house done more quickly and comfortably, and Creative Edge was able to make to make important changes to their website, increasing traffic and conversions for the business.

Creative Edge uses water jets to cut elaborate flooring installations and medallions. They sell their granite and marble scraps at a great discount and have the machines and manpower to easily cut them to size and polish them to be installation-ready. It was my good fortune that this connection led not only to a great indoor space, but beautiful high-end, custom-cut counter-tops for my tiny house kitchen, at an excellent price.

I am very fond of the blue-stain, beetle-kill, old growth ponderosa I used to finish my ceiling and loft floor. How’d I find it? I wanted to use as many sustainable products as possible. A quick Google search on sustainable lumber led me to—you guessed it— the Sustainable Lumber Company out in Montana. I simply emailed them through the contact form on their website. Ryan, the owner, replied the next day and we exchanged a few emails. They offered me a discount on in-stock T&G paneling (cut as flooring, so not beveled). In return, I listed them as a sponsor, and on multiple occasions I let my blog readers and Facebook followers know how much I loved the beautiful wood. I came away with a unique and beautiful product, and they received some passionate praise and exposure to the tiny house market from a real-life user who wholeheartedly supports their business. Win/win for all!

So ask around, put yourself out there, share connections, treat your new friends well, and show them how much you appreciate their support. You will likely be surprised by the generosity you receive.


Alek's SectionMore about GAINING CORPORATE SPONSORS for your tiny house

“We’re building a tiny house – 240 square feet – and we are hoping to construct it out of non-traditional home construction materials and we have identified your product as being one that will not only offer us the structural integrity we need but will also be attractive right out of the box. It would be great to have you on board.” And thus began our venture into gaining partnerships and sponsorships for our Tiny r(E)volution home.

With over 11 years of marketing experience author Andrew Odom couldn’t help himself when it came to letting the world know about the tiny house he, his wife, and eventual daughter would inhabit. Along with cold calls, emails, and handwritten letters, Odom made visits, talked to countless receptionists, and Skyped his way into the inner sanctums of nearly 13 corporations of varying sizes. Now he is prepared to help you do the same. In Your Name Here, Odom talks about everything from the value of social media marketing in your presentation to the traditional 30-second elevator pitch. Laying down his Mechanix Utility Gloves (it’s about marketing people!) and picking up his computer he shares some incredible tools and resources that will help you get started in gaining corporate sponsors for your tiny house project (or almost any other project!)

Buy the Book

Product Review: Seaward Princess 2-burner stainless steel range

Now that I’ve lived in the tiny house for almost two months, I plan to begin posting reviews of the many appliances and products I chose to furnish our house with.

One of my favorite things about my tiny house is our great little propane stove and oven. Many, many people have asked for details about what model it is and where to get it. So let’s get that done right off the bat!

kitchen_stove3

The stove (well, range really — it has an oven too!) is a Seaward Princess 2-burner model. It is a marine-style range, designed for use in sailboats. However, it also comes with the “built-in” option (geared toward RV use), instead of the gimbaled option used most commonly in boats. Gimbaled means it hangs on a single pivot point on each side of the range, so the range can move with the rocking of the boat to stay as level as possible while cooking even on the open sea. I however, got the built-in option which forgoes the gimbals and offers a stainless steel trim piece to finish the edge around the counter top. I chose the stainless steel option for both the top and door instead of the black option. I assume the black option is a black enamel finish, but I’m not sure.

The best price I found for the stove was a Sure Marine Service. The website lists it as out of stock, but if you call them they can order it for you directly from the manufacturer. Their price (including the freight cost) was the best I found at the time. Other good sources for marine stoves are Defender and West Marine. In addition to Seaward (probably the most economical of the bunch), the other major marine range manufacturers are Force 10 and Dickinson. The are all quite pricey, but I think the range we got is well worth it. Here’s why:

Build Quality

So far I am very happy with the overall build-quality. I can’t find a single piece that does not seem very sturdy and well built. The stainless finish (designed to withstand the salty ocean air, among other abuses) is very attractive and easy to clean. More on that later. The oven is enamel coated and the door is sturdy and operates smoothly. The whole thing is quite heavy, but for me that is a plus — I know it is built to last.

I’m sure one of the plastic knobs will be the first thing to go (the only plastic parts, as far as I can tell), but at least those can be replaced quite cheaply and easily.

Features

This range has a simple push-button starter. It has two 8,000 btu burners and a 10,000 btu oven and broiler. The oven includes a adjustable rack, a properly sized baking pan, and another meshed baking/grill pan. It has a thermocouple gas shutoff to prevent any gas leaking when the stove is not lit.

Easy Cleaning

What’s great about the stove is how the burners are sealed and constructed of separate pieces that can lift off to be cleaned easily. There are very few cracks or places where dirt and grime can build up. I imagine that with some regular cleaning, the stove will continue to look nearly new for quite some time.

Performance

The stove and oven have both performed well. For someone who eats almost every meal at home, it’s great to have a range that is very functional, even at such a small size (more on that later). The burners are quite hot — plenty of heat for anything I’ve cooked so far. I’m not much of a baker, so can’t comment on the subtleties of the oven and/or how it performs in every situation, but the temperature seems fairly accurate and it heats up quickly.

The only negative I can think of is that the burners actually burn too hot. You have to turn the knob almost all the way down to get the heat down to a medium or low setting — and the lowest setting is a bit too hot for a simmer. But I think this is actually a problem with my propane supply, and my guess is that the stove requires a different pressure than I am giving it. I’ll have to read through the installation instructions again to be sure, but I think I just need to get a different inline regulator to reduce the amount of propane going to the stove. Then I think I will have a better heat range, with a proper middle and low end.

I’ll report more on this later, once I have time to tinker with it a bit.

Size

Those who are serious bakers or who want to cook an entire bird for Thanksgiving dinner will or course find fault with the size. But the small size is what makes this such a great option for tiny house dwellers who want the complete package without it taking up their entire kitchen. I would never have considered even the most compact traditional 4 burner ranges, as they would take up too much precious square footage. But Seaward (and the other major brands) also offer 3-burner stoves similar in size to my 2-burner, for those wanting that extra burner. I chose a bit more counter space instead.

The oven is small and fits what I think of as a half sized backing pan, or maybe even less than half size. But still, we make baked potatoes and things like that all the time, so it’s great unless you want to make dozens of cookies or something like that. The stove top is perfect for 2 medium or smaller sized pots/pans at a time, but if you have a large 12 inch fry pan or wok on one side it leaves hardly any room to use the other burner. So it’s not very practical for your really large size cookware. But perfect for 1 or 2 people cooking a simple dinner!

Conclusion

All-in-all I am very happy with the Seaward range so far. It is solid, simple, no-frills range that seems like it will last a long time. For those who do a lot of eating-in, I’d definitely recommend a stove with an oven as well. Living in a tiny house does mean making some sacrifices, but if you love cooking, you definitely do not need to give it up!

One thing to remember: because propane does not burn completely clean, you will need to have an exhaust fan near the stove to pull out some of the products of combustion — or least always keep a window cracked. We have an exhaust fan in the bathroom that we leave running whenever we are cooking. It serves a double purpose; eliminating moisture from the air while showering and for venting the stove.