My photos and article featured in Volume 2 Issue 28 of the Tiny House Magazine!
After building and living in The Tiny Bathhouse for a year it is finally time to get back to the Tiny Is Home book! If you live in the Pacific Northwest a would like to see your tiny dwelling in the book please get in touch. We’re including anything from trailers to tree houses and yurts to teepees. If you live in a bus, wagon, truck or tinyhouse we want to photograph it!
Hope to hear from you!
You will notice that I do not have a toilet in my tinyhouse. I currently use the toilet in the house of which I am parked in the yard. A lot of tinyhouses have their own toilets, and I fully support the composting toilet movement. If I were not parked at a stationary house in the city I would build a composting toilet outhouse or put a little one in my tinyhouse. The reason I did not put a toilet in my tinyhouse is due to where I drew most of my inspiration from. In the summers of 2011 and 2012 I spent a lot of time on Cortes Island, Canada. This is where I saw my first tinyhomes, none of which had toilets in them. Many of the stationary homes on the island also had outdoor toilets. This mode of bathroom use really grew on me, and I felt like I had a better use for space in my house than for a toilet. I also really enjoy the privacy and quite of going outside to use the toilet. I do use a chamber pot in my tinyhouse at night, but this isn’t much different than a composting toilet. Because you must keep the urine and feces separate to control odors, most composting toilets that don’t smell have a separation system in which you must regularly empty and clean the urine container. For now I’m fine with having a toilet outside of my house, but if I ever change my mind it wouldn’t be difficult to add one in- composting of course!
You can also create a really simple composting toilet without separating the urine and the feces. Here is a great how to make a simple composting toilet with instructions for covering the smell.
All for just around $12,000.
My father and I built The Tiny Bathhouse with help from the community mostly on weekends over 10 months in 2013-2014. We spent most weekends and 1-2 evenings a week working together with occasional helpers, but the majority of the time it was just the two of us. I will say though that all the volunteers and friends that came to help made a huge difference in the time it took to complete the The Tiny Bathhouse!
I had access to most of the tools I needed and only bought a drill set, speed square and level. The rest of the tools required were things my father already had- table saw, skill saw, chop saw and nail guns for example. I did not have to pay anyone to do electrical or plumbing, because we did all the work there were no labor costs. Though I did feed people that came to volunteer and that cost is not listed. I didn’t think to save those receipts, but I would imagine the cost of food for all my wonderful volunteers could easily have been between $600-$1000. I couldn’t have done it without all that help, and especially not without my dad so whatever I spent on food is fine with me!
Above is my cost breakdown spreadsheet. The total I spent on materials is $11,933.04. The blue font at the bottom shows my costs with tools and the dehumidifier. I installed a wall fan but wanted to make sure I sucked up more moisture from showers and cooking so I bought a used dehumidifier from a friend.
You can see I obtained a few windows for free and the rest for a great price at the Rebuilding Center. Love that place! The claw foot tub was free as well, it had been sitting in my dad’s back yard for 15 years. My dad built the loft ladder from salvaged wood he had lying around and a few long pieces of old fir we found in a friends free pile.
Next to the trailer cost, all the pine for the ceiling, loft walls, floors and cabinetry was my highest cost. I would have liked to have had the time before building to collect salvaged lumber for free or cheaper, but it just wan’t in the cards for me. I love the pine look- so it worked out, but I have to wonder how much money I could have saved in that area given the time to collect used materials. I have seen some really beautiful reclaimed wood walls in a few tinyhomes. Salvaged lumber has become popular and costly, but if you know where to look maybe you can still find it for free or at least a better deal than new pine.
This project might be the home I will live in for the rest of my life, but I still did my best to save pennies at every turn. Like a lot of people I have student loans to pay off and pay, among other bills. Part of building a tinyhouse is wanting to live simpler, with less stuff- but also wanting to have a lower cost of living. Whether you have debt or not owning and living in a tinyhouse promises that you can afford to travel more, relax more and hopefully work less. By working less I don’t mean being lazy! To me working less means having more time with family, friends and the community in general. Being able to garden and cook more, read books and work on projects.
Living in The Tiny Bathhouse is one of the most satisfying things I can imagine. To have built this home with my father and my community is truly gratifying. Thank you so much to the all the people that came to help over the build- especially in the last few months of chaos: Alex Blackmore, Kenny Bravoso, Seth Walton, Stephanie Lacy and Alex Fitch. Huge thanks to my landlord for letting me park at his house and live close to all my lovely housemates. Thanks to my lovely housemates for letting me use the toilet in the big stationary house!
If you would like to learn more about The Tiny Bathhouse or talk tinyhomes you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to share more of my resources with you in an informational packet for a base fee of $30 + $20 an hour for any consulting you might need. I am available for phone and in person for consulting. I would like to offer quarterly workshops at my tinyhouse. If you are interested in attending a 4-hour workshop on a weekend this winter 2015 please get in touch!
It’s been 6 months since I updated here! It all happened under the pressure of needing to move into the tinyhouse by May 1st, 2014. But it wasn’t done or close enough to it. So I moved into it unfinished and kept working on it while living in it. What a crazy time! Somewhere in the span of the last 6 months I finally figured out a name – The Tiny Bathhouse. The claw foot tub is a dream come true and one of the main features of the house.
We tried to complete all the major projects before moving. My dad sprayed all the wood work with clear matte finish. He set up a spray room upstairs in his garage. I brushed and rolled the exterior siding with Penofin- huge thanks to help from Kenny Bravoso! It only took me forever to build the angle shelf under the ladder, but it was worth all the frustration and do-overs! Finally the day arrived and we moved the The Tiny Bathhouse. I will spare you the details of the Uhaul disaster and just say my dad called a friend who I paid for use of his big truck. And we did it, we actually moved it and nothing bad happened. I’d say one of the scariest things to a tinyhouser is moving your house for the first time after you just build the whole thing. What if it just falls apart going down the road? What if all my sheet rock cracks and I have to redo it? What if my claw foot tub slides around and puts huge dents in all my woodwork? But it was all fine.
My first few weeks in the The Tiny Bathhouse I was on a mission to finish all of it quick. I know how long projects can go untouched if you leave them for too long. I worked on finishing touches in the kitchen- accessories and hardware. There was a lot of plumbing and venting for the tankless propane water heater that required my dad’s knowledge and skills. Despite wanting to get everything finished the first few nights sleeping in the tinyhouse were incredibly satisfying. More pictures of the finished interior and cost break down coming soon!
It’s been far too long wince my last update! We’ve been working like crazy on the interior wood, pressing under a deadline to finish by May 1st, 2014. The reason being that the property where I currently live in the little Aloha trailer is going on the market in June. I’m hoping to find a place to plant the tiny house and ground down with some good strong roots. Granted I never thought it would take quite this long to build a tiny house, but when you’re working full-time and building on the weekends that’s kinda how it goes. You can’t anticipate for three weeks off here with a neck injury and three weeks off there because the whole family got the flu at different times. Timelines change. But now we’re hauling. And hoping. And sanding like crazy. All this pine.
We’ve been working inside for most of the winter, but there was one warm sunny weekend that allowed us to get some exterior window and door trim on. We used the same salvaged cedar from the boat house that was meant for building a skull boat. You can see in the above photo the tiny cedar trim around the windows and doors and some of the battens are up on the left side. Eventually I will power wash and paint or finish the plywood siding.
The pine for the floors, walls, ceiling and shelves came from Shurway and Mr. Plywood. The brackets for all but the large kitchen shelves are hand made. The triangle bracket used for the kitchen shelves are 7 1/8 birch brackets from Ikea that cost $3.00 a piece. This is the only thing I have purchased from Ikea for the cabin so far!
We built the kitchen cabinet frames out of finished plywood. The drawers came from the Rebuilding Center. We will replace the drawer fronts with pine and make the cabinet doors from pine as well. Pictures of that soon to come!