Wednesday 28 October 2015

trailer sneak peek

Today we had a first peek at our soon-to-be trailer. It looked huuuge! Maybe it just seemed big because it was raised off the floor, but I feel that we can hardly call it a "tiny" house on wheels. More like small-ish house on wheels.
Now that we have the measurements we can start planning our subfloor. We first thought we'd space our suspended timber joist evenly (in line with spanning tables to support our floor), but then it occurred to us that we will need to put joists in particular places to support some bracing elements we have just added. Here are a couple of pics!

Anz writing down some measurements... though by the time we got
home we weren't quite sure anymore what measurements they were. Oh dear. 
First cuddles with the trailer!

Sunday 25 October 2015

bracing/racking issues

We realised that our latest design was insufficiently braced against racking because the bay in the front of the house was basically one large opening that could not be sheet-braced. So we re-visited our model and after lots of going backwards and forwards with our ideas (steel frame instead of timber frame? scrap the bay-view window and go for the "box" look?) we decided on the following:

1) We made the windows at the shorter sides much smaller so we didn't have to break between horizontal stud lines;
2) we added knee-braces below our two lofts;
3) we included some trusses below the raised floor to act as down-braces as well as a support for this sitting area;
4) the dividing wall to the bathroom will be sheet-braced instead of lined with tongue-and groove pine;
5) we increased the sheet-braced area above the bay-view window and decided to use thicker material to sheet-brace the two smaller walls.

Here it is, let send us a message if you have any feedback :)

... and thanks to everyone in the "Tiny House People" facebook group and also to our friend Robert for your suggestions and inspirations!

Saturday 17 October 2015

the most recent sketch

This is the most recent, obviously incomplete, version of our SketchUp design. There are still many open questions, like what material thicknesses and what spacing to use for the timber frames, most roof construction details, insulation and general airtightness and so on...

We have currently decided on 450 spacings, 430 pink batts and 90x35 structural pine but we are unsure if 600 spacings and/or 70x35 would be sufficient. The timber framing standard AS1684.2 is of some help but is quite a hard read. It's basically learning carpentry theory while drawing :)

Please comment if you have any advice for us !

Friday 16 October 2015

books, blogs and more books

At the moment it's lots and lots and loooots of background reading for us. Thank goodness for inter-library loans. Even our librarians are getting excited about the tiny house project now!

"Tiny Homes Simple Shelter" by Lloyd Kahn is my favourite coffee-table book out of the lot. So many projects to explore in there, and quite often he provides the websites or contacts from the original builders. "Tiny House Floor Plans" by Michael Janzen was a little disappointing to be honest. I had seen it advertised quite a lot on other tiny house blogs but for me it was of little help. Lots of floor plans in there obviously, though no innovative ideas, no comments on the pros and cons of those floor plans and no measurements provided. It looked like he just had a play with an interior design app. 
"The Australian House Building Manual" by Allan Stains provides a great general overview of building and framing and will come in handy I think. We might buy the latest edition, as the library one seems a little old. 

Another document we have been finding quite useful is - surprise, surprise - the Australian Timber Framing Standard (AS 1684). Though some of the information may not apply to tiny houses, it got us thinking about what wind loads our home will need to withstand when towing it and how to brace it and tie it down accordingly. So far we've settled on something between level N2 and N3, which corresponds to building safely for windspeeds between 120 and 180 kph.

We'll keep you posted on more resources that we come across. Feel free to add any that you have found helpful, interesting or inspiring in the comments!

Saturday 10 October 2015

looking for land

There is a massive backyard and a decent size workshop in our current share house. However, we can't build our tiny house on wheels in our backyard, as the house we live in was built stupidly close to the neighbouring properties. Well... we could, but we wouldn't be able to get it out once finished. So we had to start looking for a place to build.

We circulated some ads looking for land via emails, facebook, flyers and local noticeboards. The amount of positive feedback and offers for both help and land we received from friends and strangers left us completely humbled. We thought it would be near impossible to find a place, but after a couple of weeks we had a good handful of offers. Faith in humanity restored! 

We looked at places from Yanchep to Chittering, one more beautiful than the other. When we stopped at a little shop on our way home to ask whether we could put up our ad, the lovely lady behind the checkout said: 

"Just build it here, I'll show you, it's perfect!

How awesome! 

After much umming and aaahing we decided to accept her offer, as the shop is a) the place closest to us and b) they have an industrial licence which means we can make some noise. It was one of the hardest decisions we ever had to make, as everyone we visited to look at their land was so generous and genuinely wanted to help us. We thought it would take months and months to find a place and all of a sudden so many people were interested in our tiny house project and we didn't even have a plan for our tiny house yet. Better get started!

One of the lovely properties we
were offered in the Perth hills

This is the site we've picked, in the backyard of a little shop

Saturday 3 October 2015

our history of tiny homes on wheels

'Lord Raglan' - our first van back in New Zealand in 2008
We first fell in love with the idea of a tiny home on wheels in 2008, when we bought our first van after arriving in New Zealand. We fitted it out and travelled the country in it for nearly a year. The original plan was to return home to Germany after that, however we had both caught the travel bug and found ourselves living in Australia in a very similar van only a few weeks later. He was our steady companion for a good couple of years.

Our second van (2009-2012), tucked away
at a lovely camping spot in Tasmania

In 2008 it turned out that we were going to stay put for a few years, so we decided to treat ourselves and refurbished an old caravan, which was our humble abode for the next couple of years in the East Kimberley.

Our old caravan looking all lonely. It got a lot more
crowded during tourist season though!

When it was time to move on again, we travelled down the coast of Western Australia in the "Silver Bullet". It felt like we were selling our soul when we traded it in for a fuel-efficient little city car once we got to Perth. 

After two years in lovely share houses in Perth we feel like it is the right time to take the next step and build our own little house. On wheels :)

The "Silver Bullet", in which we explored Western Australia