design

How to Choose a Toilet For Your Tiny House

How to Choose a Toilet For Your Tiny House

The Toilet – One of the Most Important Tiny House Decisions You’ll Ever Make


Living a “normal” life in a “normal” home, you’ve probably never given much thought to your toilet.  It’s there when you need it, it does its job and it takes care of business with little muss or fuss.

But when you live in a tiny house, your toilet becomes a big deal.  Like, you’ll find yourself thinking about it, talking about and considering the various aspects of it A LOT.

(And consequently - people start ASKING you about your toilets - A LOT!).

It might sound a little ridiculous or even a little uncomfortable for some, but the fact is, when you make the transition to tiny living, you’re going to have to start thinking outside of the norm.  And partaking in toilet talk will just be part of that journey.

What’s the big deal about toilets?

Well, it’s simple… first of all, if you want to be off-grid, you’re going to have to use an alternative to the traditional flush toilet, that’s just a fact. 

You can always upgrade down the line to solar panels and water catchment systems for your other utilities, but if you don’t plan for an alternative toilet from the very beginning, then you will always need access to a sewage hook-up...

 

The Problem with Your 5-year Plan

The Fallacy of the 5 Year Plan

As you probably know, I’ve taught at more then 25 tiny house workshops and events over the past 2 years.

My favorite part is talking with everyone at the workshops, hearing their stories, and helping them start their journey.

Every time we teach a workshop, I end up losing my voice answering so many questions! It’s always fun to stay up late with people who share your values.

(PS - I’m hosting the first and only VIRTUAL Tiny House Workshop this weekend! You can register here and join us!)
 

 

One thing I’ve been noticing more and more while teaching and speaking at these workshops, is that people have long timelines for their tiny house journeys.

I definitely think everyone should follow their own path and work within a time frame that suits their unique situation and life story.

DESIGN/BUILD/DOWNSIZE: The ONLY Virtual Tiny House Workshop

A few months ago I mentioned that my good friend and tiny house builder Dan Louche (author of The Tiny House Design and Construction Guide, TinyHomeBuilders.com) and I were working on something really new and exciting behind the scenes.

Well today, our idea from months ago becomes a reality!


Introducing….

Design/Build/Downsize: The Only Virtual Tiny House Workshop!

 

What is it?

Design / Build / Downsize is a two-day virtual tiny house workshop that includes 8 in-depth lessons, live group chat and discussion, and a live Q + A session with Dan Louche and I!

It's two days, with two experts, and a bunch of your new tiny community friends.


What will you learn?

Dan Louche and I have created 8 lessons on everything from choosing a trailer, designing your tiny home, building methods, and downsizing. 

You can read about the entire curriculum and see all the details here >>>

These are the trainings - plus plenty of extras - that we teach at our live, in-person workshops (that normally would cost more than $500 plus airfare + hotel to attend). 



The workshop is the only virtual tiny house workshop - meaning we’re delivering these trainings and lessons live, but you can watch from anywhere in the world :)

How I Designed My Tiny House

How I Designed My Tiny House

Today I have a super guest post from my good friend and Tiny Transition and Downsizing student Jenn Baxter!

Jenn has been living in her tiny house for some time now, after initially starting her transition to the tiny life in the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course.

I asked Jenn if she would write about her experience designing her own UNIQUE tiny home, and she said she would love to! Not only that, but she has created a free worksheet that you can use to design your own tiny home. You can grab the free tiny house design worksheet below!

Let's get to it! I'll let Jenn take it from here. Thanks Jenn!

One of the main questions I get when people first see my tiny house is, “How did you design this?”  Well, the answer to that is actually pretty easy. 

I thought about what I need every day.

First of all, designing a tiny house in and of itself is easier than designing a traditional home, simply because of its size.  When you are only working with 100-300 square feet, your choices are limited to begin with.

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

PS - TinyCamp, the learning community for people ready to live a tiny life, is now open for registration until February 10th. TinyCamp is 3 months of community, live calls, support, expert guidance, resources and more. So if you need help designing your PV system, or your tiny home, trailer, or RV, and you have lots of questions about this kind of thing - TinyCamp is the place to get answers and personalized help for your unique situation!

If you’re thinking about using a photovoltaic solar power system for your tiny home, trailer, camper, or van, this post is for you.

I have given many presentations and talks about simple solar power (I've spoken at more than 25 tiny house workshops and events in the last 2 years),  and I get the SAME question every single time. Everyone wants to know...

Vintage Trailer Hotel: Visiting El Cosmico in Marfa TX

Vintage Trailer Hotel: Visiting El Cosmico in Marfa TX

One of the awesome places we got to stop and stay at as part of our Tiny House Road Trip 2014 (Part 2) was El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas.

Marfa is a weird town. Matt and I were kind of not cool or hip enough to "get" it, it was a very ironic place. The pizza place on the corner (there's one corner, if you've ever been through Marfa you know what I mean) has a "CLOSED" sign perpetually posted in the window, even when they're open.

You can tell that behind the main street facade of hipster art galleries and $15-a-glass juice bars there was a real town that was probably pretty awesome at one point. We ate breakfast at a place called Buns and Roses, a flower shop combined with a donut place.

Our night spent at El Cosmico was pretty magical. It was my very first foray into any type of desert landscape. We ate grilled cheeses at the only affordable restaurant we could find, then went down the highway a bit to catch the Marfa Lights.

"California Design: Living In A Modern Way" at the Peabody Essex Museum

"California Design: Living In A Modern Way" at the Peabody Essex Museum

Last weekend Matt and I went to Salem, MA for a special exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum. I had never been to the PEM before, and had no idea how beautiful it was (and it's only an hour away! I'll definitely be returning). I love Salem - I like the witchiness, the ocean, and the Willows. We ate delicious burritos at Comida Mexican Taqueria right next to the Museum. My burrito had pickled radishes and other fermented treats in it - it was fantastic.

The exhibit I was so keen on catching was called "California Design 1930 - 1965: Living In A Modern Way", and we saw on the last day it was at the PEM. I'm so glad we made it! The Exhibit was incredibly well done. It included a fiberglass car and a gorgeous Airstream Clipper, along with lots of examples of furniture, swimsuits, and home designs/floor plans. It really encompassed all aspects of mid-century life in California, and it made me miss being in that part of the country on our road trip! There is definitely something special and unique to the design of that place at that time.

Tiny House Tour: A Yestermorrow Design/Build Project

Does anyone feel like tiny houses are EVERYWHERE these days? I've been seeing ads for tiny house TV shows, tiny homes in the news, and when I got home from our tiny house road trip, I had a stack of local newspapers waiting at my door with an interesting cover story: tiny houses!

I'm glad that more people are being exposed to tiny homes and the larger world of alternative, responsible design and architecture. But I am also wary of tiny house TV shows and the like that show people living in their real, actual homes as if it's a kind of novelty. I see more and more people treating it like it's a piece of theatre - something to be gawked at. Whenever I see a news story on TV about tiny houses, I can't help but roll my eyes at the way the news anchor presents the story and the ridiculous questions they ask the tiny home owner. Making a novelty out of the small home really diminishes it's potential as a real solution to a real series of problems we face today.

Tiny House Q + A: What should a beginner know before building a Tiny House?

Tiny House Q + A: What should a beginner know before building a Tiny House?

The other day I did a Q + A session online about tiny homes. Everyone had really interesting questions, many of which I’ll answer in greater detail on the blog in the next few weeks. I figured that these answers might shed some light on things that you guys have questions about too. Feel free to send me your own question by contacting me, and I’ll answer it!

Question:

I'm still in college but I'm really attracted to the idea of a tiny house. The only problem is, I don't have any experience building or anything of the sort. How hard was it to learn all the technical stuff?

 

Answer:

Find a friend or "mentor" that you can learn building basics from. There are also groups that are always doing group builds/barn raising type style stuff. I recently saw this and thought it looked really neat: http://thepoosh.org/. It is a group that connects people who want to learn how to build hands-on with building projects that they can join. It is a great program! Look and see if someone in your area is building a tiny house and ask if you can help (look at the tiny house blogs and search your city, or post on craigslist). Or you can take a tiny house building workshop. Yestermorrow Design/Build School's 3 week Tiny House Design/Build class is AWESOME, you build a tiny house start to finish.

"Technical" stuff like electrical and plumbing is actually super easy. My advice is to look at youtube videos. Dan Louche of tinyhomebuilders.com has an awesome, very technical book and video series. Electricity is like water and plumbing IS water so it’s very relatable. Tiny Houses can be set up very simply, which is an advantage we have!

Inside The Comet Camper: I love my tiny house

Inside The Comet Camper: I love my tiny house

Okay, okay, so I know I'm still trying to catch up the blog with the progress in a chronological and step-by-step fashion - but I can't help it. I love my little house (even though it's unfinished) and I want to share what it looks like with you all at this point! So let's look into the future-present at the most recent photos of the COMET. Give me your feedback in the comments! We'll get back to the progress updates later - unfortunately this did not all happen overnight :)