Small Homes

A Unique Folding Home

We’ve seen a lot of homes that are quite unique in the tiny home movement, but this home has a trick that is quite impressive. How can you not love a home that bills itself as The Folding & Transportable Home?” That is a tough one to top.

Habitaflex is a Canadian based homebuilder that has some really novel ideas for the tiny home universe. They have three different sizes of homes, but each is foldable and transportable. Now, a foldable home is certainly something that we haven’t seen much of before in the tiny home world or the building world in general. The folding of a Habitaflex home is a five-step habitaflex 300×165 Habitaflex A Folding Homeprocess that appears to work very well. How is this possible you ask? The system is based around a series of hand cranks that allow homeowners to unfold their portable home to wherever they wish to go. “Cranking” ones home and unfolding it is bound to raise some eyebrows. Sections of the Habitaflex home slide into one, this in turn allows for this tiny home to be compressed and easily transported. Once the home has been extended with the cranking system, it is several times its collapsed size. The core concept of a collapsible home is a bold one, worthy of some attention. It certainly adds a new wrinkle to the tiny home concept.

Once in its collapsed size, the Habitaflex homes can be transported in a variety of ways, even pulled by a heavy-duty pick-up trick. These tiny homes can be put on ships for transport, or even flown via helicopter to remote locations. Habitaflex has kept the dimensions of shipping containers in mind when designing this tiny home, just in case you need to transport it long distances.

One of the more surprising aspects of the Habitaflex concept is that the concept accommodates different sizes of homes, including one fairly large model. The largest model is even large enough for three bedrooms.

One has to appreciate the possibilities that the Habitaflex underscores. With their design it is possible to quite literally pick up your tiny home and take it wherever you need to go.

Small Homes

A Low Cost Eco Friendly Cabin

The C3 Cabin is designed by Vandeventer + Carlander Architects. The cabin is has a footprint of 16 x 22 feet, with 352 square feet on the main floor and 128 square feet in the loft.

The C3 makes lovely use of light and is designed with doors opening on three sides to better connect it with the outside. Both of these features help to make the space feel much larger than it actually is. The main floor hosts the main living space, kitchen, and bath. The sleeping loft sits over the kitchen and bath area and has a view of the floor below. Windows are also thoughtfully positioned throughout the house to promote cross ventilation.

The C3 has also been designed with low-cost, easy-maintenance external materials (fiber cement and metal panels) and also easy construction in mind.

Small Homes

Shepherd huts for Unique Tiny Spaces

Plankbridge Shepherd Huts has a really cool take on tiny spaces. Their huts are envisioned as being more of workspaces, studios and de facto add-ons for homes. However, these huts do a great job in showcasing how tiny spaces can be versatile, adaptable, and just plain cool. These huts may be small but they do have a lot to offer. Each hut has a lot of charm, as it is something of a cultural heirloom, as the people at Plankbridge like to put it. The designs of their huts are based upon the designs of huts from well over a hundred years ago. Yet, there are some significant additions.

The biggest difference between todays Plankbridge huts and those of the past is technology. While many of the traditional hand-crafted elements are still present in the design, many new design elements have been incorporated as well, for example, insulation. The Plankbridge huts are eco-friendly in that they use wool, or Thermafleece sheeps wool, for roof and floor insulation. The huts also come with double pane windows to help keep them warm and make the most out of furnace heat.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Plankbridge huts is how they have chosen to show how these tiny spaces can be used and adapted. It is possible to add bunk beds and built-in desk, as well as storage benches, cooking stoves and heating stoves. While there are lots of tiny space options on the market, one really has to give a nod to Plankbridge Huts for being uniquely charming. Part of that charm is the quality of material, and the hand made touch that goes into each hut.

Plankbridge Huts highlights an aspect of the tiny home and tiny space movement that is often overlooked. With tiny spaces and tiny homes it is much more possible to have a home or workspace that retains an element of craftsmanship that is slowly disappearing in our mechanized and industrial age. One has to appreciate Plankbridge Huts efforts. They have even done restoration on old huts and breathed new life into them.

Small Homes

A Look into Blu Homes

Blu is a builder with some positive selling points for those looking to build a tiny home, green home or anyone just wanting to save a little money. Blu homes have building costs that are 45%-75% lower than a traditionally built home. That in and of itself should be enough to open most peoples eyes. Yet Blu is also very focused on building green and ecologically friendly homes. Their construction methods produce homes that cause 50% to 70% less carbon emissions than traditional construction, making these homes much more environmentally friendly than other forms of traditional construction.

What if you were told that Blu homes take about four weeks to construct? In fact, a Blu home takes about four weeks to construct and this is only the beginning of the flexibility that Blu Homes offers. They offer what is called Blu Flex Designs. Blu Flex Designs is likely to be of interest to anyone looking to build a tiny home . Flex Designs allow a home owner to easily add space to their existing home. Often young families worry that a tiny home might not be for them as they are worried about running out of space when they have children. Lets face it, even the biggest fan of tiny homes might be a little worried about two kids, a dog, a cat and a visiting mother-in-law in a 400 square foot home, or even a 900 square foot home for that matter. A concept like Flex Design is definitely a good one for it allows homeowners to add on additional space if needed. Currently, they are offering a media room added with stadium seating, but other room add-on designs are on the way.

The Blu Origin home comes in a three model, a studio, one bedroom and a two bedroom. The studio model is between $50,000 and $65,000 and is between 280 and 400 square feet. The one bedroom model is between 420 square feet and 600 square feet and runs between $70,000 and $90,000. The larger two-bedroom model can be as large as 800 square feet with a cost between $99,000 and $120,000. All their models are dedicated to being more energy efficient and producing less carbon emissions than your average home. Blu believes that the Origin produces about half of the carbon emissions of a traditional home and uses about sixty percent less energy as well.

Small Homes Sustainable

Shipping Container Home Designs

This week I wanted to focus on some builders who are doing cool things with green housing, even if that housing isn’t necessarily tiny. The first thing that comes to mind is shipping containers which I have written about before. The more I think about it, the more I am enamored by what is being done these days with shipping containers.

A lot of very bright people have really jumped on board with the concept and realized that thousands of unused shipping containers already exist. Currently there are somewhere in the sneighborhood of 18 million shipping containers worldwide. They are highly durable, easily transported and make great elements and building blocks for modular designed homes. Since the shipping containers already exist, shipping container homes are a great way to build inexpensively while going green. A shipping container home is by its very nature, partially green and sustainable, due to the fact that the single largest component in a shipping container home is already built. There are also cost savings with building. Separate components don’t have to be trucked in from points all across the world or country. Instead a shipping container can be sent out to the construction site in one piece.

While shipper containers may only be slightly less expensive than building from wood and other traditional materials, the cost savings really comes into play is during the construction process itself. Homes built using shipping containers can literally be built in half the time.

One of the companies involved in building shipping container homes is SG Blocks. The company name stands for Safe, Green Blocks. This company provides code-engineered cargo shipping containers with an eye toward green construction that is highly sturdy and built to be used for decades to come. SG Blocks realized that modular construction was a major cost savings for construction of all sorts, and they have built their entire company around this notion. The SG Blocks are designed to be impressively strong. For example, each corner post is constructed in such a fashion that they are able to withstand 153,000 pounds of vertical load-each. This makes the design so strong that it is actually highly hurricane resistant.

If you are considering building a shipping container home, SG Blocks might be a good place to begin the process. They have taken a lot of the guesswork out of the process. They are in the business of taking shipping containers and modifying them so that they are very safe and durable. This durability is definitely part of the appeal of building with shipping containers.

Small Homes

A Look at a Creative Approach Towards Architecture

Blue Sky Homes is taking an approach that is easy to like and one, which is encouraging to see more and more companies beginning to use. About 70% of the material that goes into a Blue Sky Homes creation is recycled and 100% of the material is recyclable. Keeping with this greener edge, the Blue Sky Homes concept is one where the reduction of waste is critical. To this end they have set up a factory fabrication process that eliminates much of the building waste that can occur using traditional building techniques. (Often on a traditional building site up to an amazing 40% of the material used is wasted.)

While steel can be energy intensive material to create, it is also true that steel is far more durable and longer lasting than wood. Blue Sky Homes uses steel for all of their construction for this reason. Keep in mind however, that 70% of all their building materials are from recycled sources. This is most definitely a good step in the green direction.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Blue Sky Homes is how they keep their home designs from looking like modular homes. Unlike many modular homes, Blue Sky Homes does ship out completed modules. Instead they ship out sections. This gives them more flexibility in a variety of directions. While it may not be immediately obvious, modular homes that are sent out in a single piece are definitely at the mercy of logical constraints. The width of the highway is a good example of a constraint that might hinder the process. By using sectional design, Blue Sky Homes is able to bypass this limiting aspect of the modular process.

Watch the animated movie on the Blue Sky Home website. Seeing the different ways they can configure their core pieces is really an eye opener. The basic core piece design allows for the same parts to be used in a variety of different home constructions and in remarkably different shapes and sizes. Their prototype home built in Southern California is a good example of what the Blue Sky Homes team is capable of doing. This difference of perspective could really make Blue Sky Homes one to watch in the green building world.

Daily Life

Cat Life Jackets

Baxsters water life vest just arrived in the mail today. I decided to go with a design from Ruff Wear. I liked that their design used actually flotation material rather simply air inflation and also that it had a handle to haul him out of the water if he ever got into trouble.

Em trying to ease the poor little guy into it slowly. Baxster was showing signs of stress as it went on, so for his first wearing, it stayed on just long enough for me to grab a quick photo with my iPhone and for him to receive some encouraging cuddling and a treat for suffering through such indignity.

I think I’m going to have to get him to start associating wearing the vest with getting to do cool things like I had to do with his halter.

I promise more pictures once he starts to get a little more comfortable in it. Clearly, I need to adjust some of the straps so it fits a little better on him. But I think it should work with a couple of tweaks.

Daily Life

Thinking but Not Saying

What would happen if we started being honest with ourselves about what we really want?

What if we started being ruthlessly real? What if we actually said the things that we think about, but are afraid to say?

Our egos may shrink and squirm, afraid to face reality as it is; afraid to bypass all the pretense; afraid to confront the shear nakedness of authenticity.

But maybe if we could evade the grip of our ego-based fears, we could embrace unfiltered, unmediated reality.

Maybe, just then, we’d start to come alive.

This quotes comes from Jonathon most recent contribution and it really resonated with me today. You can read the rest of Jonathons article here.

Probably the biggest benefit Ive noticed from my week-long media fast is that it made it impossible NOT to have to come to terms with some things which haven’t been working in my life. (Plus it freed up a heck of a lot of time to actually address those areas.)

More on this particular subject later. However, heres something to consider in the meantime what, in your own life, aren’t you telling the truth about? What do you think but not say to others? And what are you afraid to say even to yourself?

If you really give it some thought, I bet you come up with some interesting answers.

Daily Life

Taking a Media Fast

One of the first things I did upon moving up to the city was to join a Artists group.

It is a program of artistic recovery and involves a twelve-week structure of exercises. I first did the program roughly a decade ago when the book first became popular in writing circles. I find it useful to repeat the exercises every couple of years. Moreover, I really enjoy being part of a group because they tend to attract a fascinating mix of people I enjoy getting to know and spend time with.

The one thing I dread in the program is Week #4 because one of the exercises for that week is a week-long media fast. That means: no books, magazines, NPR, TV, movies, music with lyrics, email that is not work-related, frantic reading of the back of cereal boxes, etc. The point of the exercise is to disconnect from the constant stream of information our modern brains are constantly bombarded with so that one can more easily listen to ones own internal voice.

Now, I don’t own a TV and I can fairly easily go a week without that or movies. Music is slightly more difficult as I really enjoy it, but Ive got plenty of music without lyrics. However, I love NPR. And I’m thoroughly addicted to the written word. I am a voracious reader. Books are my sustenance and connection to the outside world. The thought of going without them, my news feeds, or non-work-related email for a week sends me into fits of anticipatory withdrawal.

Which, I’m afraid, also means its likely Ill learn something worthwhile from the exercise. Its hard to say, though, as Ive never actually made it the full week before when Ive completed the program. I’m going to give it my best shot this time, though.

Because I received a decent amount of email related to this website, I will be checking my personal email twice daily.

The good news is that this exercise should free up some time to both work on my house and also to do more actual writing (rather than my obsessively following every bit of news related to the small home movement). Ill keep you posted on how things progress.

Small Homes

Easy to Build Structures

Solargon Structures is a rather innovative Fort Collins, Colorado company that is really trying to make some waves in the tiny home universe. They have three sizes of homes: a 20 diameter that is 309 square feet, a 30 diameter that is 695 square feet with 8 walls and a third model that is 695 square feet with 10 walls. The reason that their concepts and designs are so interesting isn’t the sizes of their tiny homes, but how they approach building and design.

The Solargon Structures concept is designed to be quickly assembled using a yurt design and SIPs, which stands for Structural Insulated Panels. These SIPs are essentially designed to be prebuilt wall and roof panels that can quickly be laid in place once homeowners receive their building kit. This design gives homeowners a variety of benefits including being able to quickly erect the structure, work on the structure on their own, transport the structure into remote locations and have a small environmental footprint. These panels are made from all natural materials as well meaning that no VOCs are used in the construction of the panels. No VOCs means no formaldehyde for example. which, This principle of course, translates into results when it comes to your indoor air quality.

These panels, the heart and sole of this building concept, have high R-values. As a result, homeowners will have reduced heating and cooling costs. The wall panels are a very respectable R28 and the ceiling panels are R42. But saving energy is only one the ways that these Solargon Structures tiny houses are green and environmentally friendly. They are designed with an eye toward passive solar heating and all the materials used in their construction are from natural materials that are also renewable.

There are some other benefits to a design like Solargon Structures, which might not be instantly obvious. Being able to build a home quickly means less overall expense, as families do not have to carry the cost of two homes simultaneously. This is one of the tiny extra benefits that can make building a tiny home really worthwhile in a variety of significant ways.