Category Archives: design

Building a Window Header

A light rain was falling early this morning as Joseph and I drove to the airport.  He will be in New York until the end of the year, and I’ll be joining him there soon.  We left our tiny house behind, parked snug in the barn on the sheep ranch.  We had a lot of sheep-related work in the past few weeks, which probably slowed down our housebuilding.  But it all feels like part of the same life-building.

Yesterday while we were fixing and clearing the electrical wire that runs all around the sheep pastures and protects the sheepies from coyotes, I made up a new phrase, which will be quite useful in ranch life and building life.  We were looking at a little plastic piece which snaps onto a fence post and holds a groove for the electrical wire.  This little piece is perfectly designed to attach to the fence and to hold the wire the right distance, the right height.  It’s “Just Right Tech.”  It’s not high tech; it’s a simple plastic piece.  It’s not low tech; it’s been manufactured to snap onto a fence post in just the right way.  We’re calling it Just Right Tech, and looking forward to opportunities for adding more Just Right Tech to our tiny house.

While we are away, we’ll be updating a little less frequently but we do have some build videos all set for you and ready to send out.  Today’s video shows the process of building a header.  The header is the structural piece which distributes the weight of the roof down the studs, rather than that weight resting on your window.  We’ve built a number of headers (for just about each of our windows), and we’ve gotten pretty good at it.  Check out the video for the step-by-step process and Joseph’s explanation of headers.

And if you’re wondering about the photo at the top of the post… yes, we did bring our Lambie over to visit.  Lambs are pretty dirty, so she won’t be able to visit once we’re further along.  But we wanted her lovely lambie-ness to have been inside our home!

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Beauty and Functionality: Ideas for Tiny House Design

by Sarah

I didn’t realize when we started planning for our tiny house that it would change the way that I look at the world.  I hadn’t paid much attention to architecture before, besides an appreciation for Victorian houses (I grew up in San Francisco) and colonial/ Spanish-style architecture (lots of years in Latin America.)

La Candelaria - Wikimedia Commons
I’ve always loved the colonial architecture in La Candelaria neighborhood, Bogota, Colombia.
San Francisco Victorian houses are so pretty, and are my earliest understanding of what a house looks like.  But all of those details are flourishes are not so applicable to tiny house design...
San Francisco Victorian houses are so pretty, and are my earliest understanding of what a house looks like. But all of those details and flourishes are not so applicable to tiny house design…

Now when I look around me I notice dormers, asymmetrical roofs, cedar shake siding, and trim.  Likewise, I’ve always had my preferences about interior decoration but now I am paying a lot more attention to functional details—does it fold away?  Is there space for storage underneath? How heavy is it?  Although we bought our plans from Tumbleweed, we also want to adjust them so that they are unique and serve our specific needs.

It’s fun to feel my eye develop.  I’ve been keeping a file of some of my favorite design solutions – the ones that are beautiful but also extremely functional (there’s not much room for beauty and non-functionality in a tiny house) and I thought I’d share a few of them here.

Here are a few inspiring exteriors:

http://moleculetinyhomes.blogspot.mx/
This is definitely the dream for someday… From Molecule Tiny Homes.
www.livetiny365.com
Little details like this purple door give this tiny house personality and individuality. From livetiny365.
http://munrosheadesigns.wordpress.com/2013/05/23/musician-marie-moreshead-living-above-the-clouds/
I loved the funky, recycled sensibility of this house. It’s a very different aesthetic from Tumbleweed, and good for me to remember the many style options out there! From Munro Shea Designs.

I’ve also been noticing all houses more, not just tiny ones, and paying attention to what I like. Here are some ideas from non-tiny houses that make me wonder how we can incorporate some of what they’ve done:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/theentiremikey/4610380493/
This is the interior of an Earthship. I love all the plants – in the Earthship they function as part of the internal ecosystem – and want to bring some (fewer perhaps!) into our tiny house. Photo from Santi and Laura’s Flickr.
tumblr.com
First, I love a cozy window nook. Second, in tiny houses it’s good to have a variety of levels that you can be in. From Tumblr.

And here are few interior tiny space ideas that really catch my eye:

http://chrisandmalissa.com/
Beautiful interior wood siding from Chris and Malissa’s Tiny Tack House.
Christopher+Merete's
Lots of people have their dish-drying area above the sink – saves space and time! This image is from the Apartment Therapy article on Christopher and Merete’s tiny house.
http://tinyhousetalk.com/252-square-feet-tiny-apartment/
I like alternative ideas for getting up to the lofts. Here it looks like they have both a ladder and steps on the wall. We’ve been talking about monkey bars or a zip-line between our lofts! Photo from Tiny House Talk: 252 sq ft.