Monday, November 26, 2012

Tiny house alternative, 36 ft Catalina sailboat

We have the delightful opportunity to go sailing over the holidays in Florida (one of the many perks of the sunshine state! I know a bunch of Minnesotans just groaned sadly somewhere) and although I have never been sailing, it's got my brain thinking about all the folks that live aboard for several months out of the year and even full time! Sailboats really are the original tiny house and many tiny house people use marine appliances and design concepts when tinkering away on their own tiny places and spaces. Check it out:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Places to find used tiny house building materials and appliances

Locating second hand materials and building supplies for our tiny house is a treasure hunt of it's own. Although it's nice to walk down the isles of Home Depot and see all of the shiny new things you could take home right that instant, we are finding that it is much more satisfying for both our minds and wallets if we rescue used or leftover material and repupose it for our tiny house project.

Our wood flooring we found on craigslist for the tiny house!
1. Craigslist - So far we have had pretty good luck working with craigslist. We have sold multiple items from our large 'stuff' collection and we scored our beautiful wood floors from craigslist last weekend. We found someone who had bought bamboo flooring for their house and had leftover flooring. Bamboo is a fairly green material, solid as a rock (bamboo is a very hard wood, it will eat up saw blades, and can be difficult to nail), and since it was left over we bought it at a steal and saved it from going to the dump!

2. Habitat for Humanity Re-Store - If you aren't familiar with the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store they are basically goodwill type stores, but for appliances, building material, and home furnishings. The one in Tallahassee is slightly outside of town, but the folks that work there are so kind, they will give you a run down of their ever changing stock if you call - this has saved us gas for sure!

3. Marine Salvage suppliers - Tiny houses are often described as sailboats on land - but with wheels. Unfortunately some (not all) RV appliances are made for short term use - tailgating for the weekend, a week long campout, etc. - not for everyday all day rugged use so you have to research a lot about their quality. Sail boat appliances and other marine appliances are usually a much higher quality and made to stand up to rugged use, humidity, and everything the ocean can throw at you short of the loch ness monster. This quality is of course reflected in the wallet depleting prices, but as we live in Florida, a boating mecca, we have found several marine salvage places that we are keeping an eye on.

4. Ebay - We found our incinerating toilet on ebay surprisingly! Ebay is great for used household items, and for marine salvage items, but obviously the bigger the item, the more it costs to ship. I would rather not mention how much that toilet cost to get to us, it makes me wince a little.

5. Curb Alerts/free listings/ - Who doesn't love free stuff? These you really have to keep an eye on and put a lot of energy into sometimes, but hey the price can't be beat and these are the saves that are really helping to keep stuff out of the landfills.

6. Family and Friends - Know anyone building a house, or doing a remodel? They might have an extra sheet of plywood or two which may not seem like much to them, but hey that could be our whole kitchen wall!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Throne

Ok, one last post about toilets, and then we are done with the toilet talk, I promise! Honestly, never in my whole life did I imagine I would be devoting this much energy and time into thinking about a toilet.

The good news is the amount of time I have devoted to this topic is about to decrease dramatically as we have finally decided on a toilet! Hooray! We chose to go with the ECO John Waterless Incinerating SR5 toilet. It requires no holding tank, or emptying of said yucky holding tank, it uses propane to burn everything to ash and the ashes only have to be cleaned out every couple of months. Win!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

what to do with all the waste?

So as we are knee deep in research and studious discovery of all things tiny house, we are starting to see a pattern in the questions we get about  the general design of the house from people (this is of course, once they have calmed down enough to stop calling us crazy for the umpteenth time). They usually flow a little something like this:

What are you going to do about the....
1. Kitchen?
2. Appliances?
3. Electricity?

We tend to field this questions well enough, even though we are still in the works of deciding what method of electricity to use and whether to use propane, electric, or alcohol appliances. What we are having the hardest time deciding on is question 4

4. The Bathroom?

Well, the shower is obviously a no brainier. But what everyone is tactfully trying to ask about is the toilet.

Oh yes. That.

We know from classic Children's literature that yes, everyone poops. The question is, what to do with all of the poop, um waste, as we like to refer to it here in tiny house land.

Source: via Cathy on Pinterest

There are several options in the arena of waste handling that the fine people of history have already figured out for us.

1. Daniel Boone style, aka an outside water closet of sorts, or sans closet if you are out on the trail (Don't worry folks, this one is best left to history)
2. A composting toilet
3. An RV or marine toilet that has a waste tank
4. An incinerating toilet
5. Hookups that require being connected to sewer utilities at all times (which would defeat the purpose of the whole house being on wheels)
6. Chamber pots (also an option best suited for history and people with english accents)

Right now we are considering an incinerating toilet. They have been used in space ships, which automatically makes them the coolest toilets ever invented. But more practically, they run on propane and the waste, which is really just ash, only has to be emptied every six months or so!

The upside is that your mini house won't reek (even though some folks say there is a slight odor pumped outside), and you never have to worry about pumping any waste out, or dealing with sewer tanks.
The downside is that they are incredibly expensive, like, space craft parts expensive. Usually starting around $1800 and going up from there. Ouch!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We're selling our stuff!

We have started the process of selling all of our stuff. What hasn't gotten any bites on craigslist is going up on ebay! Little did we know running an ebay/craigslist outlet is another part time job altogether. Phew!

Take a look at our ebay items HERE and see if we have anything that strikes your fancy! We have bikes, bags, mics, and some music equipment up at the moment. We will most likely continue to list items over the next several months until everything is gone, so keep checking in :]

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Doing the Math

So far we have introduced both Joe and myself but there is another Rawley family member we have yet to introduce! Joe and I are going to be sharing our 160 square foot palatial tiny house with our dog, Marty McFly.

We plan on building our house to roughly 160 square feet, if you do the math, that's 53.33 square feet per mammal in the Rawley household. That is roughly the same size as my khaki cubicle I'm contained in at work for 8 hours at a time.

Only our tiny house will not be quite as bland and mind numbing as my cubicle at work. It will be light, and bright and airy! I like to think of it as a tree house, without the tree of course and with wheels instead!

This is one of our favorite tiny house inspirations, it captures just how homey and bright a tiny house can be.
Image via 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mobile Home vs House on Wheels

When we tell people we are building a house on a trailer they always say "like a mobile home", No a Tiny House on a trailer is not a mobile home - and yes, in case you were wondering, we still have all of our teeth.

The Why

     Let's try and start at the beginning. Kaitlin and I graduated from Florida State University in the Spring of 2011 and married in September. We were fresh out of college and were lucky enough to find jobs in Tallahassee. The first few months of our marriage were a whirlwind, we had moved all of our stuff into our small rental home and were trying to figure out married life, while settling into our new jobs.

     I consider the two of us subscribers to the puritan work ethic, work hard and good things will come. When work started to get difficult we buckled down and worked through it. Everytime one of us would feel down about their job the other would be there to help them through it. All the while we accumulated more stuff. Sometimes I would have a hard day at work and I would come home to Ebay and find some great deal on something, decide I couldn't live without it, and buy it. Somehow I thought this would make me feel better. Heck, if I was working so hard to make this money, I may as well buy the things I wanted.
     I feel as if we really started to get into a rut. We were just running on auto pilot, working to pay the bills. We decided we needed a change and started to look for options. One of our biggest expenses was our rental house. After about an hour with a calculator we realized we needed to get out of the rental game. The first place we looked for a solution was the housing market. With the way the economy is we found out we could buy a pretty decent house for under $200k. So $20k down and a thirty year mortgage and we could be on our way to the American dream.
     In the middle of all of this decision making, I was lucky enough to talk my boss into letting me take five weeks off work to ride my bicycle from Maine to Florida. This has always been a dream trip of mine so I jumped at the opportunity. Kaitlin, being the awesome wife that she is fully supported my adventure. Riding 2000 miles by yourself affords you the time to think about a lot of different things including asking yourself "what do I really want out of life".
    When I got back, Kaitlin and I really started to put our heads together and started thinking of what we were going to do. Our first thought was a Dodge Sprinter Conversion Van. This seemed very appealing, enough space to live and it was mobile. We could get jobs that we could work from home and travel the country. The only downside was the price, we were looking at $70k-$90k to get the van and set it up the way we wanted.
      We went back to the drawing board and mulled it over for a few months until we came up with a "Tiny House" which is a sub 200 sq foot house usually built on a flat bed trailer. We started doing as much research as we could. We found "Tiny House" people from all walks of life. People like us that wanted to live simply, not become a part of debt culture, all while reducing their carbon footprint. Needless to say we were intrigued, the biggest question was could we do it? Were we willing to give up our current lifestyle in exchange for financial freedom?
     After long conversations of going back and forth we decided that at this point in our life we needed a change and we were at least willing to try it. If worst comes to worst we would sell the Tiny House and start renting again.
     Well once we decided what we wanted it was on. Since then we have done hours and hours of research and began selling the majority of our possessions. Today we decided to go public with our decision, telling friends and family. It has been received with mixed emotions but people always seem to end with "That is crazy". I was blown away by how many people came out of the wood work to call me. It always started the same "hey how are you, it's been so long" but quickly transitioned to "so whats this I here about you and Kaitlin building some small house". It did feel good to talk to others about our desire to simplify.
     My sister (she thinks we are nuts) said that if we do this we have to start a blog to document our transition.  We plan on using this blog to share ideas we have as well as show the transition from "normal living" to "Tiny House living". We are not sure how this will work out but that is what makes it exciting. Let us know your thoughts, we would love to hear from you.

Welcome to our tiny house journey!

Hello All! Welcome to our tiny house journey.

A few introductions are in order. We are Joe and Kaitlin Rawley, and we are newlyweds who live in the sunshine land of Florida. We have a lot of stuff, MUCHO STUFF, but as our tiny house journey continues we will tell you all about it. 

Feel free to stick around and ask us some questions, we promise we don't bite!
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