Tiny little self-sufficient mobile homes

Discuss lifestyle changes to better survive disasters. This category is for topics pertaining to being self reliant such as DIY, farming, alternative energy, autonomous solutions to water collection and waste removal, etc.

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Ellie With An Axe
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Tiny little self-sufficient mobile homes

Post by Ellie With An Axe » Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:39 pm

http://www.helpishere.us/index.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Ran across this company while poking around the HGTV website.

http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Saw this guy on Oprah a while back. His houses are *really* nice.

I really like that HELP home, but I think I'm really into the WeeBee floorplan on the Tumbleweed site.

Just think... no rent, no mortgage, no utility bills unless you want them. And for the Tumbleweed homes, not having to abandon your home in a disaster, no living in hotels when traveling, going wherever you want. These little homes, especially the HELP home, are self-sufficient, although the HELP home doesn't have wheels on it so it can't be moved on the fly. The HELP home does have a solar energy system, I believe. I'm sure the Tumbleweed homes can be fitted with them, like any other home.

Personally, if I had the cash, I'd be looking into some land and a Tumbleweed home. I've seen some prices of other prefab tiny homes and you can't really beat the workmanship and quality for the price.

Some other prefab tiny homes:
http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/06/22/top" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... ny-houses/

More about the small house movement:
http://www.resourcesforlife.com/groups/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ... sesociety/
Last edited by Ellie With An Axe on Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by malaprohibita » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:11 pm

Love these.

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Post by Jamie » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:20 pm

I had a great time building a 96 square foot cabin on the back of our land...it cost me about $2500 in lumber and supplies...

If my wife ever gets sick enough of me to chuck me out, I'll find a tiny piece of land and put a cabin this size (or a retrofitted cargo container) on it and live simple...

I've always wondered about building one on a trailer bed to schlep around...food for thought, and for sometime when I've got a bit more disposable cash laying around...

Thanks for the links!

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Post by AwPhuch » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:33 pm

Those would make KILLER deer lease shacks

I wonder if a 10x10 conex box would be good too?
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Post by spartan » Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:37 pm

Those are some awesome links. I looked at the Tumbleweed site before because it ties in with my future desires to build a "family compound" when my wife and I move out of our current house.

We would like to build a small house for ourselves and children, with smaller cabins around the property to allow our parents to retire to as well as allow friends to stay in when they want to get away for a while.

Use filtered rainwater for drinking/cooking/bathing, recycling grey water for toilet use, with PV panels on the roof for electricity, solar hot water. Each little cabin as its own stand alone home.

That is to be combined with a central dining hall for community meals, which is to contain a woodfired stove so we can provide heat and hot water to the building should we have a serious problem.
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Post by CavemanSam » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:49 pm

Thanks for posting this Ellie. I had no idea about these things, but I'm really drawn to the concept.

One of the things I'd be worried about is storage. If you were moving the house, where would you keep all your equipment like cisterns, yard tools, weapons, or outdoor gear?

Also, it would be nice if the fireplace was also wood burning, but now i'm just nitpicking :P

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Post by michelle » Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:59 pm

I <3 Tumbleweed homes. Also, I believe it's Home Depot (though maybe Lowes) that offers Katrina homes, which are similar in nature. I'd love to live in a tiny house, but I'm not so sure Kyle (or our cats) would be down.
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Post by Erik » Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:09 pm

What neat little houses! Of course, they look great in the Tumbleweed advertisements, but how cramped would you feel in person?

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Post by Ellie With An Axe » Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:42 pm

Erik wrote:What neat little houses! Of course, they look great in the Tumbleweed advertisements, but how cramped would you feel in person?

-Erik
Oprah was interviewing the guy, they followed him out to where he has his house, and went inside with him. There is actually a huge amount of room - more than enough for 1 person. He had a full-sized desk, two sofa chairs, full-sized bookshelves, a kitchen and dining setup, a full-sized shower, a toilet (at the time, he didn't have the flush toilet in, so he was using a chem toilet), ample lighting, ample windows, an attic big enough for a double/queen bed AND storage of stuff, and a front porch.

And it'd be one thing if you had 100 sq. ft. of space and no idea how to maximize your storage opportunities while also making it a lovely and homey living space. But he apparently has spent a lot of time and thought into how these homes should look on the inside. And his homes are gorgeous. The stainless steel + pine feels both homey and clean and simple. His walking tour inside his own home did not seem small at all. But honestly, how much room and junk does a person actually need to live happily. I live in a large studio apt. but it feels cramped because I've not maximized my storage and designed it efficiently. I'm working on that, though, in recent months I've been teaching myself some basic carpentry and interior design principles so I can make my place feel less like a dorm room and more like a home. The Tumbleweed homes are fascinating to me because Jay's taken all those principles and condensed them and it works.

Here he is giving a tour of his 96 sq. ft. home:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=SbRvsWuWNUM

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Post by TheLastRifleMan » Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:19 pm

I could stay in one of these. No problem.

Those look slick! I should look into one and put it in my parent's back yard. My own house, just enough for one!

Nice links Ellie. Thanks!
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Post by Trioxin » Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:01 pm

I'm gonna have to say that anyone who pays $30K for a 10x10 house needs there head examined. If you have any skills at all you could build this for a fraction. I built my entire house for under $10K and its over WAY bigger than 10x10.
I'm not knocking the idea, I just think the prices are WAY crazy.
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Post by phoenixmastm » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:03 pm

Trioxin wrote:I'm gonna have to say that anyone who pays $30K for a 10x10 house needs there head examined. If you have any skills at all you could build this for a fraction. I built my entire house for under $10K and its over WAY bigger than 10x10.
I'm not knocking the idea, I just think the prices are WAY crazy.
They're for those who want to go green and who arent all that picky on spending to get there. They sell the house plans for like less than 200 dollars if you want to build them yourself.

I'm really digging the Tarleton house, (3rd largest), definitely fits my needs perfectly, though I have my heart set on another smallish home.
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Post by Jonas » Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:13 pm

http://toolmonger.com/2007/10/18/shippi ... -workshop/

shipping containers seem like they would be a good choice.
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Post by Vindex » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:15 pm

Here's a Tricycle House:
gizmodo.com/344750/tricycle-house-it-is-almost-a-good-idea

Didn't Gypsies live in wagons?

edit: Gypsy wagon kit - http://www.amvardo.com/caravan/
and a bunch more - http://www.enslin.com/rae/gypsy/camps.htm

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Post by jay_imok » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:31 pm

ooo
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Post by Steev » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:47 pm

And where do you put your reloading equiptment, gun safe, stored food/water/ammunition. How about the deep freezer for the deer you killed the week before and haven't managed to eat it all, or failing that where do you put enough salt for the deer and then room for the meat.

The 70 sq ft one doesn't have a toilet!

I give these 120 and under sq ft homes a B+ for creativity and a C- in practicality. In my opinion YMMV etc.
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Post by Lurch » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:48 pm

Steev wrote:And where do you put your reloading equiptment, gun safe, stored food/water/ammunition. How about the deep freezer for the deer you killed the week before and haven't managed to eat it all, or failing that where do you put enough salt for the deer and then room for the meat.

The 70 sq ft one doesn't have a toilet!
I'd build the thing on top of a concrete storm shelter and put a freezer, valuables, supplies down there, with a lockable door. You could even put hooks in the walls of your cellar for hammocks.

As far as a toilet, you really don't want to share the air in that small a place, with a toilet. Think outhouse, or a second building with a shower and toilet.

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Post by Ellie With An Axe » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:23 pm

The goal of the size and design is simplicity. Obviously if your thing is to have lots of stuff, this won't work for you.

I, myself, have too much stuff. I'm also in the process of simplifying a lot of my life, as far as style and needs. Partly because I feel I should, but mostly because I just want to. And it's like you said, YMMV.

And besides, anyone with the impetus can start figuring out ways to lodge extra storage space into these little houses while still maintaining the look and feel.

The bathroom Jay had has a sliding plexiglass door but it had a big window in there also, so I doubt odor would be much of an issue. Plus - matches and a candle, anyone? I doubt odor would cling much to the shielding he chose, anyway, and the fact that it doubles as the shower would make it moot about keeping the toilet area clean and stinky-free.

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Post by BAD BOY » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:20 am

Apparently I need to go into the really small ass house business. 50K for 100 sq. ft house :roll:

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Post by AwPhuch » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:27 am

BAD BOY wrote:Apparently I need to go into the really small ass house business. 50K for 100 sq. ft house :roll:
Wow..you wanna partner up..dang I have a 1200ish square foot house build back when Jesus ran roadguard for the 25th infantry...and I only paid 50K..dang!

Funny how $3-5K in materials becomes 50K dang!
Last edited by AwPhuch on Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Obiwan » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:52 am

I guess it can work

My office is only a little more than 100sf and I practically live here :D

Actually 100 sf strikes me as the equivalent of living in a garden shed...which makes them seem pricey

I have been in those little cabins they rent at KOA's and they are not that bad....but they don't have bathrooms either :shock:
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Post by URBAN ASSAULT » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:45 pm

While those tiny homes look great, I think I would prefer a used 40 foot conex reefer box. That's over 2000 cubic feet to work with.

I would prefer an insulated unit because of the heating/cooling advantages. With some thinking and planning, I could probably come up with a very livable space designed with the features I want.

Some of those features include a large bathroom with a full-sized toilet, double-shower stall, king-size bed, full-sized couches, lot's of storage, solar panels on the full length of the roof, a rain catchment system, and a small separate workshop area that is independent of the general living quarters that could also be used as the battery storage area.

A concrete slab underneath the box would be a must, but I don't think I would permanently anchor the box down. I like the idea of being able to drag my "house" up onto a flatbed trailer, and move to another locale if the whim strikes me.

I like building things, so turning an entire conex box into a comfortable home would be a wonderful project.

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Post by Ellie With An Axe » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:22 pm

Ya know, you can just buy the plans from Tumbleweed and build it yourself. If you pay $50k, you're paying for the professionally built house, complete and ready to be moved into, delivered to you. Seems like a few of you are missing that.

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Post by CommonHighrise » Wed Jan 16, 2008 11:01 pm

God damn if I didnt have a girlfriend who requires things like open floor space, toilets that go whoosh, and consistant electricity. Id pick up something similar to this, buy a little splotch of property out in the wet wilds, and be happy as a clam. Woe is me. :(
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