Posts Tagged With: design

Inspiration from my Granddad

On July 21, 2015 at 10:10 in the evening my Grandfather passed away peacefully. His name was Ron, and he was a great man. The best Grandfather anyone could hope for. He never forgot any of his grandchildren’s birthdays and always made the holidays extra special with his child-like enthusiasm. He’d end every conversation letting me know how special I was and that he was proud of me. And now that he is gone it has occurred to me that I’m not sure if I ever let him know just how much he inspired me.

My earliest memories are explorations around my Granddad’s river house. It is one of, if not the oldest, original house built in Brevard county. Built in 1786 along the Indian River in Sharpes, Florida, it is a two-story river house with wrap-around balconies, rope swings hanging from huge magnolia trees and a long dock out into the river. My two younger brothers and I spent our early childhood growing up in this old house. That grand river house had character, but it needed repairs. My granddad restored the house with help from others including my Dad. It was truly a sight when completed.

Ron also built an A-frame in Port St. John, Florida with the aid of a government grant based on his environmental design. I was still too young to help with the construction at this time, but my Dad and a couple of his brothers were put to work.

I remember going with my Mom and brothers to the site and bringing lunches. The stages of building a house looked so much like a life-sized version of the same forts my brothers and I spent our days building out in the woods.

My family moved from the river house into a house that my Dad built almost entirely by himself. I remember helping alongside my Mom and brothers as we swung hammers, soaked bricks, and played under a hand pump in the backyard. My granddad helped with this design as well. Passive solar winter heating, and convection currents were employed to make our house more energy efficient.

Memories of Granddad

It’s been two years since I’ve said goodbye to Grandfather Ron. He continues to inspire me to this day. His memory lives on.

Categories: Green Building, Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Loft Storage

Much has happened since my last post. We have been busy finalizing designs and building the cabinets for Arborion. The first of these cabinets were ‘foot lockers’ for loft storage. I call them foot lockers because they are one foot high by one foot deep and used for storage. They also create a nice shelf just below the gable windows.

Foot locker frame and pieces

They are constructed from solid maple stock for the face frames and cleats, along with 1/2″ maple plywood. There is also a 1/2″ walnut plywood top on each.

Assembled and clamped up

There is a center partition for reinforcement which compliment a pair of bi-pass sliding doors.

Ready to transport and install

Storage loft locker

Sleeping loft locker

 

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Modifications & Personalizations

The Arborion design has evolved since my last posting. Several of the changes involve more storage, higher quality roofing and larger sleeping loft. The effects of these changes have also altered the general appearance of the the tiny home both inside and out.

Looking a bit more green.

Looking a bit more green.

The storage loft and sleeping loft now extend out from the main building an extra foot. This creates room for extra storage closets at both ends of the house without eating up interior space and provide a convenient ledge or shelf below the gable windows. In addition to the increased storage area I also just like the look it gives to Arborion from the outside. The sleeping loft has been extended an extra foot to be flush with the top of the wardrobe and upper kitchen cabinets.

Insulation wall

Insulation wall

Room has been allocated in the kitchen for a tall, slim fridge/freezer as well as a small propane oven/range. I have plans to install a reclaimed copper sink and faucet beside the oven and in front of the kitchen window. The shower I’d like to cover in micro slate tiles. These are composed of super thin slate adhered to polyester and capable of being bent along curved surfaces. The ability to use actual stone, but at a fraction of the weight. However, it is not cheap. Luckily nothing in a tiny home is all that big.

Passive solar wall

Passive solar wall

The utility closet located over the tongue of the trailer will be divided into left and right sections. The left will hold the circuit breaker access panel, controller, inverter and batteries. While the right section will hold the propane tank and tankless water heater. The roof will be covered with hundreds of interlocking aluminum shingles. Both light-weight and very durable, these shingles are incredible.

Utility closet located over the tongue of the trailer.

Utility closet located over the tongue of the trailer.

More on my roofing choice in my next post.

Categories: Green Building, Tiny Home: Arborion | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Tiny Home Design: Arborion

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It was a few months ago that I finally committed to building a Tiny Home. The prospect is daunting to say the least. But after following the likes of Jay Shafer, Dan Louche, and countless tiny home blogs and newsletters for 10 years now, it was about time to get going if I was ever going to make this happen.

This may be a good time to briefly explain the main reasons I have for choosing this lifestyle. The main point is simplicity. I like the idea of less stuff and more freedom. Next would be the efficiency and consequently the reduced impact on the environment. Finally, I wish to live the life I believe in and share it with others that are interested. I would not be at this point now without many others who have graciously shared with me their knowledge and passion for tiny homes. My sincerest gratitude to each and every one of you.

I have attended a tiny home design workshop a few years ago and a tiny house tour recently which provided me invaluable insight into what truly to expect when building on a trailer and at that scale.

I initially started crafting and refining my design on paper. Then I quickly moved on to a simple 3D layout and design program. The excitement of designing my own tiny home kept me up late at night and early in the mornings for many weeks. Even now it is still an evolving design. I call it Arborion.

Once I had a visual concept in SketchUp, I was able to get an idea of what I could fit inside an 8′ x 20′ structure. I could step through many of the design features and layout ideas in this mode. Several critical areas for consideration were the narrow walkway between the cabinets in the split kitchen, loft (kitchen ceiling) height, wardrobe size and location, storage areas, bathroom & shower size, door size, number of windows and various other relational distances. Some of the choices helped me to arrive at other decisions, but a few I struggled with for many days. When in doubt I lean toward what will make the home stronger or last longer, then what will look closest to my initial visual concept.

Much time has passed since I first dreamt of building my own tiny home and the decision to start the process. All I can say is I’m glad to finally commit to building my dream home. It will take a year or more to save the money needed to start the physical build, but in the meantime I have several other steps that I can take to refine my design. (See future posts)

The build will consist of two main phases. Phase one will be everything from the trailer to drying it in. This includes the sub floor, framing, sheathing, house wrap, metal roof, windows & door, and cedar siding. Phase two is anything after drying it in and will mostly be interior work like wiring, plumbing, insulation, flooring, cabinetry, shower and lots of finish work.

I’ve included a link for the PDF of the initial layout and design concept below.

Early Study Plans: Arborion

Next up – Life Size Floorplan

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