As I mentioned in my last post, I was in the Pacific Northwest at the end of last year. One of the stops was to Portland, Oregon, which is widely known for its big Tiny House community. But when I heard that there are about 6000 Tiny Houses in that area, I was really surprised about the number. Before I had come to Portland, I wasn’t aware, of how big that Tiny House Movement in the U.S. really is. There are two or three different regular shows on TV covering that topic, from following a person or family in their journey to get their very custom-fit amazing Tiny House, to realtors specialized in “Tiny”, looking for tiny and small houses to buy.
As I mentioned in my last entry , I finished my tiny house mostly because I set myself a deadline. Aside from the final result, this really shows how good I work with a deadline and a little pressure ;-). And it wasn’t just a random deadline.. It was the date of my (tiny) house warming party!
Over the years I spent some time with project lifecycles and especially systems like the one in Dragon Dreaming and the natural cycles of the medicine wheel resonated with me. Within Dragon Dreaming, there are four recurring phases in the cycle:
My tiny house project was hibernating for a while. But when I decided to put a deadline on finishing it, the motivation came back and rebooted everything! The big parts that were missing were the kitchen and the bathroom.
For the kitchen I wanted to have at least a small area where I could cut or otherwise temporarily place ingredients, etc. I had a few different ideas of accomplishing it, most of them needing a lot of building material and time and energy, because I would build most of the rack myself. While thinking about how to get the wood for building it and how this could actually be created, I had an idea that was so much easier. I didn’t have to build anything, just put an existing cupboard, an IKEA rack and some small trays together, and voilà. That’s how it looks now:
To get myself some luxury in my tiny house, the next thing on my bucket list was to build a rack for the sink. The idea was to have some kind of canister for water storage connected to a tap, the sink, and a bucket below to catch the greywater. My goal was to produce a system that was as simple as possible while still serving all the needs I had.
This was the enamel sink I found on the internet months ago and fell in love right away. perfect size (38×40 cm), perfect weight, and most importantly: exactly the style that I was looking for. I didn’t want plastic because that’s just cheap, doesn’t look good and … well I don’t really have to list all the reasons why this just isn’t an option. Ceramic would have been okay, but it’s extremely heavy and didn’t fit into my tiny house stylistically. Metal wouldn’t have been perfect, but was the only other option I could live with, but luckily didn’t have to. The funny thing is, that the sink wasn’t only perfect for all the reasons I already mentionned, but it was also the cheapest option, because the guy selling it had a few of them and didn’t know what to do with it.
Since I’ve been asked some questions about the composting toilet I built, about how it works and what’s the goal of it, I decided to share some of the research I’ve been doing. Warning: I will not sugarcoat this topic, so if you don’t want to read about shit, just stop reading.
So what’s the difference between the good old outhouse and a composting toilet?
The outhouse was – as the name suggests – outside, so the problem of it being smelly didn’t really exist or at least wasn’t a focus. You just dug a hole, put a “house” over it and used it until it was full. In the early days they probably just dug a different hole at some other place. Later on it was emptied regularly.
Even though I wrote before that I needed the toilet to be fully functioning for me to move in, the whole process of building my toilet overlapsed with moving in, since I just couldn’t wait any longer. So the big question was: What do you really need to live?
Well, “need” is defined a little different by each person at each point in time. But since I experienced that being too radical or fast in certain steps of a transformation can turn me off the path completely, I did “allow” myself to stretch the meaning of “need”.
or is it?
I do like the motto of the Stark family in the Game of Thrones books, and I do like winter, but the season have been in transformation for some time now. This year, winter seems to be especially undecided. At christmas it had +15°C, only a few days later it was below 0 and looked like this:
Only a week after that, it was sunny and warm again.
I read a while back in a book called “The Vanishing Face of Gaia” (by James Lovelock) that the climate change will result in extremes. I guess that means that not only are spring and fall cut short, but also during the seasons the temperature changes rapidly and unpredictably in any direction. No adaptation periods. I can only guess, but this can’t be good for neither plants, animals or any other living creature. Well, we’ll see what’s to come when it’s here… What did you notice about the weather and climate in your area?
After sleeping in my new little house for two nights in a row, it became apparent pretty soon that the next thing before really moving in had to be the composting toilet. There is a house right next to my new home where I can use the toilet, but it’s winter, and I do want to have some luxury…
I found some leftover wood in the attic so I started to build my wooden box for the toilet. The separating toilet seat I had already ordered and received months ago from Separett .
So I started to build the box for the toilet. I’m sure that any carpenter would be horrified by the way I did it, but being pretty or doing it the “correct” way was not high on my list of priorities. I just wanted it to be stable and do the job. First, I built the frame.
The walls are built, the roof was already there. The part that was missing up until now was the floor. I wanted to have a nice wooden parquet floor, but didn’t want to pay too much. So I turned to the internet once more and found small amounts of different types of parqet floors. Leftovers from flooring projects. I got a few squaremeters maple, walnut, and oak – all new – for €90 all in all (probably half or less of the original price). Still not cheap, but a price I can live with.
after putting up a wall not so long ago, I decided that one of my inner walls should be cork. Even though technically the cork grew before and then I bought it, but I see it as a first step to growing a wall.
The cork – compared to the clay – was a rather easy job. First I tried out some cork tiles that were already used once and still had glue and plaster residue on them and on top were lacerated on some of the edges. To say the least, I wasn’t really happy with that.
But soon after putting up just a few of them as a test, I found someone selling new cork tiles for a good price from a sharing platform. The amount he sold was just right for the part of the wall I wanted to cover. Definitely a great gift.