This young man's mortgage-free home includes an interesting self-built version of the rare species known as the heated ceiling.
Some are rightfully lamenting what seems to be the increasingly high price tags for tiny houses. After all, isn't the whole tiny house movement supposed to be about affordability and not taking on debt for a roof over one's head? But it's important to keep in mind that those more expensive tiny houses are usually from professional builders -- if you want to go cheaper, it's better to build it yourself.
That's what Tyler, an engineering grad, has done with his tiny house, which he built himself using plenty of reclaimed materials -- all for about USD $15,000 (CDN $20,000). Watch this tour of his home via Exploring Alternatives:
Tyler built his home over a 20-foot-long trailer base that he purchased used (one of the big-ticket items in his total budget). It's clad in lightweight and low-cost metal siding, and is insulated with reused rigid foam insulation. Coming inside the 140-square-foot space, one sees that the layout is straightforward: hand-cranked elevator bed and sitting area at one end, bathroom at the other, and a big kitchen and multipurpose counter in the middle.
Taking a closer look at the kitchen, we see that Tyler has created a functional area to cook with an induction stovetop, and a generous double sink for washing dishes. From the Much of the items here -- such as the exhaust hood, sink, backsplash and cabinets -- are reclaimed and have been refurbished to keep costs down.
Seen here, combining the sitting and sleeping areas is clever, as that allows Tyler to put in a comfortable sectional sofa underneath, and a big bed stacked into one space, without losing too much headroom, as it often happens with a sleeping loft. The bed-lifting mechanism, which uses a manual winch and a block-and-tackle system, has been designed by Tyler, after numerous other not-so-satisfactory iterations.
The bathroom has a vanity sink, fibreglass shower and composting toilet, and is located above a platform that holds the 88-gallon water tank, piping and booster pump, to give better water pressure.
Adjacent to the bathroom is the utility closet, which holds the electrical panel, hot water heater, heat recovery ventilator, and the heated ceiling system, which will circulate hot water through a series of flexible piping under the ceiling cladding. Tyler explains that he chose to heat the ceiling instead of the floor as the ceiling is more open, and the floor could only be heated so much before his feet would begin to perspire. The system incorporates long aluminum plates and 10 inches of insulation to help keep the heat from dissipating up and out of the roof.
Tyler explains how he came to choose tiny living, and how he makes it work:
Financially, it makes sense for me. I was paying $1,000 to rent a basement apartment that didn't have much natural light. So I wanted to be in a space that was more financially accessible, but also where I wouldn't be shrouded in darkness all the time.
I found an RV park that's close to where I work and that's open year-round, and allows me to have a short commute. My monthly costs are now lower, so I get to save more money, and I get to put more money too towards my social experiences. Environmentally, it forces me to think about how much water and electricity I'm using, and my impact on the space around me.
Not everyone will take up the challenge of building their own home, much less simultaneously take the leap in changing lifestyle habits that tiny living entails. But Tyler has confronted the task wonderfully, and will no doubt translate these precious life lessons into other new experiences as he goes forward, no matter what they may be. To see more, visit Exploring Alternatives.