The Comet

Interior Floor Demolition!

This is what I was doing the last few days. Later on I'll post pictures of what it looks like now, with the new framing, insulation, and flooring. Basically the entire rear floor, under the bed/couch under the window, had been destroyed by a combination of water damage and termites or carpenter ants. There was no framing left in the rear 4 feet of flooring, it was just dust at this point. We ended up pulling out an entire wall's structural members and floor studs: there was a lot of day light coming through. This is the most structurally-intense renovation/repair I have ever had to do in a trailer, but it was similar in nature to the repairs I had done to fix water damage in other trailers, so progress has been going very quickly!

I'll walk you through peeling back the layers of rot. Don't let this discourage you  if you're considering repairing your own vintage trailer. If I can do it, anyone can. Oh, and a big thank you to my friend Matt for helping me out in these hectic weeks before Tiny House Summer Camp, and all the other weeks he's helped as well.

On Design: Goal Articulation (What do you really want?)

Hello! Core is going GREAT here at Yestermorrow. Vermont is beautiful. The class is AWESOME (and extremely intense). Totally crazy coincidence: my instructor is moving into the Whittled Down Caravan (check out their blog) that I saw at Derek Diedricksen's workshop last summer. The tiny house scene is a small world (har har - pun intended.)

Anyway, here's what I've been thinking on the last day or two:

I think I'm going to start getting more conceptual on this website sometimes. It's my platform for expressing everything that goes into The COMET - which is so much more than solar panels and recycled materials and new technologies. My heart goes into it, my dreams (mostly daydreams) go into it, all of my time and energy. A lot of THOUGHT goes into it - more than can be measured. It's completely consuming - and I love that about it. In a single, life consuming project I get to explore a world of possibilities and techniques and processes. An entire history of changing attitudes about the way we live. (Being at Yestermorrow gets me really excited about this stuff - maybe that's why I'm feeling this way at the moment.)

So here I can express some of the THOUGHT and process that goes into the Design of the COMET as an educational tool, a classroom, and a home. More than just design iterations of program and diagramming, there is a mental and emotional process that goes into designing your own home. Here's what I learned about myself as a designer today:

Solar Module Placement

Hello again! I just got some really great questions about the off-grid systems that the COMET will have, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of these infographics and design concepts I've been working on.

Where do you put three 185-watt solar modules on a 16 foot trailer with limited surface area?

Here are some of my ideas:

Exterior Paint Design Concept

Good morning!

I've been working on some paint schemes for the exterior of the COMET. I think that because I'll be towing it around so much in the next few months, going to Tiny House Summer Camp With Derek Diedricksen in July, and the KOA vintage trailer rally and sustainable weekend event in Brattleboro, VT, it's really important I have the outside looking nice and giving people some info about the project.

I love the little stripe details that reference a comet in the seafoam section. I'm also going to put a seafoam colored atomic-looking comet shape behind The COMET text, to tie it all together. I still need to figure out where to put the website and other info.

What do you think? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

 

Marmoleum Click flooring SketchUp model

Hello!

Yesterday I received my pallet full of goodies from the wonderful Green Building Supply. I got the UltraTouch denim insulation (which is so soft and squishy I want to make a bed out of it), lots of no-VOC paint for the interior and exterior, and my Marmoleum Click flooring! I'm really excited about the Marmoleum flooring - it's antimicrobial, all natural, and really nice to step on. I know the flooring doesn't go down until everything else is done, but I made up these models in SketchUp so I would know exactly how to lay out each panel (the Marmoleum I got comes in 12" x 36" planks).

I chose the black ("Lava") and white ("Arabian Pearl") because I felt like it would go with whatever color scheme (or lack there of, haha - I like to mix and match whatever I can find) I choose for the interior. I also think it's a nice nod to the past, as many vintage campers had the classic 50's-style black and white checkered linoleum floors. This design is a modern, updated version of those classic black and white tiles!

Thank You TIMBUCKTU RV!

What a wonderful surprise! I came across an outdated catalog for Timbucktu RV in Worcester, MA that my father had given me when I started getting into vintage trailer restoration, and found that the catalog had ALL of the camper parts that I needed to replace in The COMET. I picked out a few things in the catalog and called Timbucktu RV in Worcester, explaining my project and what parts I was missing. They said I should come on down to the store and see what I could find that I needed. I ended up leaving with everything I needed to begin repairs on the COMET. The people at Timbucktu RV are so helpful and friendly, and engaged with the project, which was wonderful. I got lots of good advice from the people at Timbucktu RV, who have been repairing campers, motorhomes, and trailers for many years. The store and catalog both have a GREAT selection of parts - hitches, jacks, lights, even water tanks and toilets - all the larger items that not all RV stores stock in their stores. It was great to be helped by a person that new what they were selling and understood what I was trying to do with The COMET, as opposed to guessing what I needed and ordering it online, hoping that it would be the right part when it got here. Timbucktu RV has experience in all things camper related, and they even have a couple of vintage Airstreams on the lot. I fell in love with a little Globetrotter in the parking lot. They also have an extremely rare vintage Airstream diner, complete with glittery vinyl seating and bar. It's one of 8 ever made. It was gorgeous! They literally have everything under the sun camper-wise, and every part you could ever want - new or retro. And all of the appliances that they offer would be ideal in a tiny house on wheels! I now have a new jack, roof coat, a rocket hand-pump faucet, a new inlet, replacement teardrop running lights, a solar-powered vent fan, and about a dozen other things I needed, thanks to Timbucktu RV (1047 Southbridge Street, Worcester, MA)! Timbucktu is in the process of moving their inventory and getting a new website, so when that gets updated I will add that information as well! For now, please call 508-459-1132 for a catalog.

Simple Solar Showers for Summer

Simple Solar Showers for Summer

Good Morning!

Last night I perused the web for the best, simplest solar shower devices on the market. I was looking for something affordable and convenient. The COMET doesn't have room for a shower inside, so she will have a solar shower outside, with some sort of portable, collapsible, privacy shower set up that I can pop up behind the camper (I like the idea of a little teak platform with a circular curtain rod made of metal piping that can break down easily when I'm on the move, and some sort of hook to hang the solar shower on once it is heated up).

Here are my favorite finds from the my solar shower research!

Great used building materials resource: DiggersList

I came across this really great resource for finding used/extra building materials for sale in your area. It's basically a Craigslist just for home improvement/building materials/appliances, and it's called DiggersList. Just type in your area/town and DiggersList will find anything for sale/free in a 50 mile radius. I really like the name, because as someone who loves to find used materials in the dumpster or in piles on the road, or even in piles on the internet, I think people like us really are "Diggers!" If you check out DiggersList and find something great to use in your tiny house, camper conversion, or other project, let me know in the comments!

(And on the flip side of acquiring great used/unused extra building materials for free or cheap, you can also post your own leftover flooring, old fridge, or salvaged lumber on the site so others can take it off your hands!)

Tiny House Summer Camp with Derek Diedricksen of Relaxshacks.com!

It's official!! I'm SUPER EXCITED to be a speaker at Derek Diedricksen's tiny house design/build weekend workshop this summer. Deek just announced the workshop last week, and there are very few spots open, so sign up fast!! It's going to be called "Tiny House Summer Camp", and it's taking place the weekend of July 6-9 at Derek's home-built cabin in Vermont. The weekend will be full of tiny house tours, solar cooking, camping out, tiny house building. designing, idea swapping, and geeking out about all things tiny. As a participant you get to sleep in a cabin, a treehouse, a tiny house, or something else cool that will be at the workshop (depending on what state The COMET is in, I might be able to accommodate a few campers!) The COMET will be coming with me to the workshop, and I'm going to be showing it off (mid-construction) and bringing along lots of interesting sustainable building materials and other things. I'll be showing off my free and recycled finds that will be going into The COMET, explaining why vintage campers make great tiny houses,  talking about how to save $$ in your tiny house by having an entirely DC photovoltaic solar electric system like The COMET, and more!

Other speakers at the workshop include WILLIAM ROCKHILL of Bear Creek Carpentry, who builds Tiny Houses for Tumbleweed, TRISTAN & LIBBY and their WHITTLED DOWN CARAVAN (an amazing vardo/caravan they towed from New Mexico to Massachusetts with a little sedan!), Derek's own HICKSHAW CABIN, and more!

Quick COMET update

Hello!

Today I have a lot of grant-related things to do for The COMET. I'm going to be "pitching" the project to a panel of judges that will determine if it's a good fit for their funds. I'm really excited about it! I've been practicing my intro, and it made me realize how incredibly complex The COMET project is. It's just so far-reaching and multi-dimensional. This grant is particularly interested in how it socially engages with a community, which is what I love about The COMET: it's engaging people all over the world through this website, and it's benefiting my local community as people come to me for help doing their own  sustainability projects. I've gotten lots of offers from volunteers that want to help me with the build process and in return learn the skills associated with tiny house building, interior finishing, and photovoltaic installation (to name a few). What I'm most excited about is the prospect of building my own small vacuum form, and then designing and fabricating my own urine diverter kit. This will allow me to show you all an awesome DIY project, and it will avail me to holding local workshops with my community where I explain how to build a DIY urine-diverting toilet, and I can give people the urine diverters (easily reproduced) to take home and build their own waterless toilet in their house!