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We build north woods tough!

Ravenore safe outside

Ravenore safe outside

I recently saw an ad for a tiny house that said they build tiny houses for temperatures from 47 degrees to 147 degrees and the picture showed a cabin in snow storm. Snow at 47 degrees? Maybe they meant  -47?

Our cabins and tiny houses are built for many different climate for instance; the desert southwest to the frozen tundras. Each one has a different level that needs to be met for that climate. The multiple climate zones for building are;

Marine - A marine climate meets is defined as a region where all of the following occur:

  • a mean temperature of the coldest month between 27°F and 65°F;
  • a mean temperature of the warmest month below 72°F;
  • at least four months with mean temperatures over 50°F; and
  • a dry season in the summer, the month with the heaviest precipitation in the cold season has at least three times as much precipitation as the month with the least precipitation.

Mixed Dry – A warm-dry and mixed-dry climate is defined as a region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.

Hot Dry – A hot-dry climate is defined as region that receives less than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis)or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year.

Hot Humid – A hot-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and where the monthly average outdoor temperature remains above 45°F throughout the year. This definition characterizes a region that is similar to the ASHRAE definition of hot-humid climates where one or both of the following occur:

  • a 67°F r higher wet bulb temperature for 3,000 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year; or
  • a 73°F or higher wet bulb temperature for 1,500 or more hours during the warmest six consecutive months of the year.

Florida, Southern Texas, South Mississippi, South Alabama, South Georgia are some states that fit this zone.

Mixed Humid – A mixed-humid and warm-humid climate is defined as a region that receives more than 20 inches of annual precipitation with approximately 4,500 cooling degree days (50°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 6,300 cooling degree days (50°F basis) and less than approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) and where the average monthly outdoor temperature drops below 45°F during the winter months.
Tennessee and Kentucky region and neighbor states fit this zone.


Cold Climate Zone – A cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 5,400 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater and less than approximately 9,000 heating degree days (65°F basis).

From the New England states through the Midwest through the Rockies are in this zone, including the southern half of Minnesota.

Very Cold – A very cold climate is defined as a region with approximately 9,000 heating degree days or greater (65°F basis) or greater and less than 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis).

Northern Minnesota, northern North Dakota, and the southern half of Canada are in this zone.

Sub Arctic Zone – A subarctic and arctic climate is defined as a region with approximately 12,600 heating degree days (65°F basis) or greater.

Each of these different zones requires different criteria in building envelopes as well as higher R Value assemblies.  Insulation plays a critical value in tiny homes. We have heard from some people that I am already reducing my carbon foot print or energy consumption substantially, it does not matter.

Does it? Fifty years ago, building a home with no insulation did not seem to matter, and yet 50 years later it really does. What will energy prices do in the future is anyone’s guess, and yet leading indicators would suggest using the technology now to create a personal environment and home that will meet your needs now and then.  Housing is becoming high tech and why skimp on something that can enhance your living experience in the future.

Anyhow, how about some winter cabins eye candy. We build our tiny house for our very cold zone as well as everyone else’s climate zone.

Ravenlore Tiny House Update

The Ravenlore exited the building as firefighters and trucks showed up to fight a fire in the dust collection system and main collection point of the woodworking shop we share the space with. They had 6 trucks and a hook and ladder there while the firefighters fought the blaze.

Great Tiny House Communities by Kris Lindahl REALTOR® CRS CLHMS

How Tiny Home Communities Across the Country are Helping People Get Back on Their Feet

Despite existing for quite some time now, some Americans see tiny homes as a somewhat foreign concept. However, to residents of the many tiny home villages sprouting across the country, community life is the key to getting back on their feet and enjoying a life they never thought possible.

The Rise of Tiny House Communities

Over the past four decades, the size of the average American home has grown more than 1,000 square feet.  This means each homeowner has roughly twice the living space of the average in the 1970s.  The tiny house movement is rapidly attracting wishful homeowners frozen out of a market where an average home is about 2,600 square feet and costs nearly $300,000. On top of the rising costs of homes and a lot of potentially unused space, there are plenty of unexpected costs that come with ownership as well (especially as the home gets bigger).

However, the development of tiny house communities has already proven to be about more than saving money and reducing carbon footprints.  Communities of these easy-transportable small structures, typically 100 to 400 square feet, are providing life changes for the homeless, single parents, seniors, and those just down on their luck.

Starting in Detroit

Residents of The Motor City who earn a minimum wage can own a home and become members of the tiny home movement.  Thanks to a rent-to-own program created by Cass Community Social Services, those with a yearly income of just $10,000 might be able to purchase a newly built home.

  • Rent is only $1 per square foot.  After up to seven years of payments, the tenant becomes a mortgage-free homeowner.
  • Houses are 250 to 400 square feet in size.  They usually represent the first asset a resident can call his own and pass on to his children.
  • Foundations and private donations fund the project.  Professional builders construct the foundation, exterior, and utility hookups.  The price tag:  about $50,000 tops plus very inexpensive utilities.

Community life centers on residents getting on their feet.  They must take classes in home maintenance and financial literacy.  The Cass headquarters sits nearby and offers educational, mental health, and nutrition programs.  Built on two vacant lots on Detroit’s northwest side, the community has brought hope and excitement to a blighted neighborhood.

Conquering Homelessness Across the US

A number of tiny house communities around the country have been formed to solve the problems of the homeless.  For residents of Quixote Village in Olympia, WA, community living means safety and a path to both stability and an improved quality of life.

Funded by a grant and private contributions, Quixote Village provides tiny homes to locals who are experiencing homelessness.  Although the simple 144-square-foot houses fulfill shelter needs, living in the community adds the peer support and mentoring residents need to get back on their feet.

Staff and residents work elbow-to-elbow.  Residents have proven tough survivors successful in getting jobs and an education.  They work with full community support in overcoming any physical or mental health issues.  Living in a community where each resident has a lawn and an individual porch creates a pride of ownership that fosters hope for the future.

The victim of child neglect, 51-year-old Penny left home for good at age 10.  While living on the streets in Austin, TX, she heard about Community First! Village from food truck volunteers.  She now has a permanent home in the 27-acre tiny home community.

Community First! is more than buildings.  Walking trails and a community garden encourage peace of mind.  Residents have places for worship, fellowship, and study and a medical facility.  Micro-business opportunities enable them to earn an income while they heal.

Though it began as a way to save on housing costs and simplify life, the tiny house movement has evolved into much more.  Across the country, tiny home communities with the specific goal of helping the homeless and others needing a fresh start are forming.  They provide far more than safe shelter.  For so many, they offer crucial first steps on the path to a better life.

RE/MAX Results
2407 109th Ave NE Suite 110
Blaine, MN 55449

Don’t Forget to Check Out My All New “Minnesota Moving Guide“!

Snowflake tiny house – under construction

The Snowflake tiny house, a custom welded steel frame tiny house.


  • 8′x24′
  • GVW 9000Lbs
  • Sleeps 1-2 people
  • Welded steel frame 16 gauge cold formed steel studs
  • All connections welded
  • Stainless steel floor
  • Stainless steel shower enclosure
  • Stainless steel sink
  • Copper waste and water lines
  • Fabral steel siding exterior
  • Fabral steel siding interior


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Tiny House Kitchens

The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn’t simple.
Doris Janzen Longacre

Everything is both simpler than we can imagine and more entangled than we can conceive.

Joys come from simple and natural things: mists over meadows, sunlight on leaves, the path of the moon over water.
Sigurd F. Olson

Which tiny house kitchen do you like the best?

Art of Living

The art of living does not consist in preserving and clinging to a particular mood of happiness, but in allowing happiness to change its form without being disappointed by the change; for happiness, like a child, must be allowed to grow up.
Charles Langbridge Morgan

Cultivate your garden… Do not depend upon teachers to educate you … follow your own bent, pursue your curiosity bravely, express yourself, make your own harmony In the end, education, like happiness, is individual, and must come to us from life and from ourselves. There is no way; each pilgrim must make his own path. “Happiness,” said Chamfort, “is not easily won; it is hard to find it in ourselves, and impossible to find it elsewhere.”
Will Durant

Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.” “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll

It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it.
Soren Kierkegaard

Thoughts from Jim;

The American culture has glorified the benefits of materialism and trivialized the heavy price that many of us pay for unthinkingly going along with the other sheep who perennially strive for ever more stuff. If you travel around the world, or speak to people who’ve done that, you will find folks in other nations who have much less money and stuff than we do, yet they are far happier. I have been involved in service projects in the Appalachians and got to know folks with a lot less stuff that were far happier than a lot of my friends and myself were in Minnesota years ago. So what do you really want? More and more stuff, or more time to enjoy what you have?
Living small in a tiny house, microhome, or tiny green cabin can give you the freedom and time to make some really creative choices. Want to write poetry, a book, take up painting, going back to school, or the freedom to live in the North Country and then move your home south when the snowbirds head south, or follow a whisper from Spirit to see where it leads.
Let your mind explore the possibilities, and maybe, just maybe you will have a lot of fun doing what you always dreamt of doing.

Slamming on the brakes!!

Our epilogue on Airstream Renovations

Or I tried something new!!

???????????????????????????????????????????????????Last fall, I received a request to renovate n Airstream to a chemical free status and having never worked on an Airstream, I expressed my doubts, and also saw some positive points to consider.

  • We know about building chemical free tiny houses
  • Jim has 50 years of building experience
  • The crew has 75 years of experience in construction
  • We do build tiny houses
  • We could learn if Airstream renovation had potential as a new business opportunity
  • We would learn about space management from a RV perspective

Things that we learned from renovating an Airstream

  • The aluminum frame and skin flex ALOT!
  • Windows and doors are rounded because the shells flex
  • They all leak
  • Belly pans are an ugly nasty stinky place
  • Our skill set and knowledge base of Airstream units is limited
  • They are extremely light weight
  • Trailer Frames can rust out badly and compromise its integrity
  • Very little aftermarket products
  • Parts are expensive and ordering is confusing
  • A shell off is time consuming and expensive
  • Appliances MUST be sized correctly
  • How to do copper end caps

I am not going to spend a lot of time on the reasons for considering, but more so on what I learned.

1. The aluminum frame and skin flex ALOT!
The shell of the airstream is built with light weight aluminum sheets and ribs. These are flexible and move as stresses  exert pressure on the shell.

2. Windows and doors are rounded because the shells flex
Since the shells and frame flex quite a bit while moving, walls are curved with the hooped ribs as well as curving around from side to front and rear The windows are then also curved to avoid any sharp corners so that the aluminum does not tear from metal fatigue.

3. They all leak
There are approximately 5000 rivets in an Airstream and some will loosen up from movement. The rivets are “buck”/ “solid” rivets and “pop” or “blind” rivets, and each one is used differently.  Buck rivets are used to attach the exterior aluminum skin to the ribs of the trailer. They are also used to fasten windows and parts to the exterior of the trailer. Pop rivets are used in the interior to attach the inner skin and other parts to the interior side of the ribs. For added protection against leaks, they smear caulk on all the seams and rivets that penetrate the exterior skin. Over time, some of these buck rivets leak and the shell allows water to enter. Most of the water runs down the inner skin and collects at the bottom and trailer frame.

Riveters Class  A side note on the buck rivets, they are all installed by trained workforce that spend countless hours learning the skill.  They even hold contests between the pros and DIY visitors at the Ohio plant.

To do this requires a team of two people working together like dance partners.

How to buck a rivetThe outside installer holds an air-powered rivet tool, which is sort of a miniature jackhammer that pounds on the mushroom head of the rivet.

The inside installer holds a shaped metal tool called a “bucking bar” that is pressed against the tail (or stem) of the rivet. The rivet gun very quickly hammers the rivet, pushing it inward and squashing the tail against the bucking bar, which causes the tail to get shorter and wider. This fills the hole and locks the two pieces of aluminum together very strongly. Under normal circumstances, this rivet is in place forever, and it seals so tightly to the body panel that sealant is not needed for the rivet to be waterproof.

Timing is critical. Stopping too early means the rivet won’t fully deform and thus it won’t fill the hole for maximum holding power. Hammering too long will flatten the rivet too much, which also lowers its strength and can look cosmetically awful on the exterior.

The difference between “too short” and “too long” is less than a second, so the riveters rely on their experience and the tone of the hammering to know exactly when to stop. Then, as a pair, they move to the next rivet without delay. Good teams can put in a perfect rivet every three or four seconds.

4. Belly Pans are a nasty ugly stinky place
There is no way to say this, you will find rusted parts, mouse droppings, mouse nests, mouse carcasses, and insulation that is moldy and stinks.018 The underbelly often has small holes from wires  entering and mice find these entry points by following drafts from heat escaping. All a mouse needs is a hole the size of your small finger, and in it goes. The underbelly skin is thin, so a mouse can also chew his way in by enlarging an existing small hole. Over time, the inside of the trailer frame of the Airstream starts stinking badly and reeks of mold. If you are mold sensitive, the floor has to come out along with the fiberglass insulation.

5. Our skill set and knowledge base of Airstream units is limited

Moving Windows

Moving Windows

When we said ‘yes’ to renovating out 1st Airstream, we knew nothing about all the parts, wiring, plumbing, curving walls, and how it all worked. Since everything flexes it becomes difficult to build custom cabinets, partitions and placement of all the parts. let alone changing the layout and moving windows and door opening. Windows had to be ordered and in one case, we had to create a custom operating window for a bath.  Since windows were moved, it meant cutting out skins and replacing with new skins, so it did not look like a patch hack-job.

6. They are extremely light weight
A typical shell weighs in around 2lb per sqft. and that may amount to 600lbs for the skins. However, the trailer frame is steel and that would weigh in around 2-3000 lbs. The Air Force and Nasa loved the Airstream trailers because of their weight and size. It was easy to fly state of the art centers and living quarters around the world in their cargo jets.

7. Trailer Frames can rust out badly and compromise its integrity
As a result of leaks – the frames often start rusting and outriggers welds start breaking. They also may have what is called as separation, which is when the tail of the Airstream trailer breaks away from the frame in the area of the axles. At times, the trailer is compromised and must be repaired or replaced and this will require lots of work or a shell off. If it requires a shell off, the process adds significant costs to a renovation.
Unlike the rest of the Airstream that is all aluminum, the frame is steel, so we found issues where aluminum met the trailer frame. We found rivets that corroded from the steel aluminum reaction of metals, so keeping mice out becomes a challenge.

8. Very little aftermarket products
Sometimes, the only way one can find parts is to find them in another badly compromised trailer. Airstream does not keep a stock of parts of past years, even though they seldom change the designs. The curve of walls has been a constant as well as windows parts and curves.

9. Parts are expensive and ordering is confusing
I am used to ordering a window for a tiny house that includes all the parts. Not so, for an Airstream. If you can find a used window, it usually just includes the glass and aluminum sash around the glass. It does not include the frame, the turn buckle locks, arms, gaskets, and related parts for attaching the arms to. You can find glass and parts online from Vintage Trailer Parts, out-of-doors mart, and air stream supply.

10. Appliances MUST be sized correctly
The standard door opening of an Airstream is only 26″ wide with the door removed. Unless you frame and fabricate a larger curved door, or add framing a conventional opening such as a 32″ door and frame, one is limited to only using an appliance that is 24″ in width or smaller.


Dead End streets and cul-de-sac’s

In business, one learns about avoiding dead end streets and cul’de’sacs – which are one of the same. They take ones focus off of the core business model while one focuses on something new. We had no idea, that the Airstream we took on that was to be a 3-4 month project would require 4 months to get thru the fabricator and into our shop where it would take another 5 months to out the door.  As a result, it severely affected our tiny house production as we did not have enough staff to do both. The project grew from a 75k project to a 200k project which meant a lot of changes and more time to invest.  The people we did hire, decided they did not like working with metal, aluminum, curved walls and all the other things involved in an Airstream.

In summary, Jim has decided that while he learned a lot about Airstreams, his knowledge base and skill set is lacking and we are choosing to re-focus on tiny houses and smaller crafty projects.

Anyone want to buy some birch mason jar lights?

Below is a collage of the project

Collage Sneaky Pete


Painted Lady’s

By definition from Wikipedia

Carpenter Gothic, also sometimes called Carpenter’s Gothic, and Rural Gothic, is a North American architectural style-designation for an application of Gothic Revival architectural detailing and picturesque massing applied to wooden structures built by house-carpenters. The abundance of North American timber and the carpenter-built vernacular architectures based upon it made a picturesque improvisation upon Gothic a natural evolution. Carpenter Gothic improvises upon features that were carved in stone in authentic Gothic architecture, whether original or in more scholarly revival styles; however, in the absence of the restraining influence of genuine Gothic structures, the style was freed to improvise and emphasize charm and quaintness rather than fidelity to received models.

We did mention that possibility in the previous post that we would be designing and building carpenter’s gothic homes, and Tiny Green Cabins has built 2 carpenter gothic  that we also call “painted lady’s”

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The history of the Carpenter Gothic style started in the early 1800′s via tents, and most notably the Methodists camp-meeting grounds. The largest of these camp meeting grounds was at Martha’s Vineyards off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. These tents evolved into canvas topped, wood framed, wood sided, and candle lit structures that glowed in the night. They are an interesting link to Carpenter Gothic designs and homes of the later 1800′s.

As time progressed, people dressed up the front of the canvas roofs by designing unique cutouts in the front flaps and adding carvings to the front to stand out from each other. The sides and rear remained simple and plain. So, in a nutshell, Carpenter Gothic homes have carved and unique decorative moldings/features on the front and few, if any, on the sides and rear.

This style works well on a Tiny Green Cabin as one could design their cabin with their own unique personal style and ideas without breaking the bank. Just think of the possibilities that your mind could play with. Are you a hermit – then play around with the door and other features, a person that loves moose – then create a moose motif, so many possibilities…..

Call Tiny Green Cabins TODAY to start your personal design of your own tiny house!


What makes a healthy home

What Makes A Home Healthy

Home should be a place where you recharge and nurture your health.  In today’s blog post, we’ll look at a few ways you can make your home the healthiest place it can be.

Get Plants

The energy efficiency of modern homes may be great for the planet and your budget, but one unintended side effect of insulation is lack of air flow that may contribute to health problems like asthma.  Not to worry, this problem can be offset by plants.  Plants not only create a welcoming and beautiful visual environment, they also clean the air.  NASA recommends 8-10 potted plants for every 100 square feet.  Plants also have a mental health benefit—they are proven to help with relaxation and productivity.

Consider Pets

Studies have shown repeatedly that furry friends are great for mental health.  If you’re considering adding a dog or cat to your home, it’s worth considering the positive impact doing so could have on your psychology.  A recent study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” examined just how beneficial pets can be.  Lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio noted. “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”

Get Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that can be deadly if inhaled in substantial amounts.  Potential sources of carbon monoxide leaks may be all over your home, including kerosene and gas space heaters, gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, automobile exhaust, and tobacco smoke.  To prevent illness or even death, carbon monoxide detectors should be placed near all bedrooms and checked regularly to make sure they’re in good working order.  You’ll also want to make sure your appliances and heating system are serviced regularly to make sure they’re in good working order.

Test Your Home for Lead

If you live in a house that was built before 1978, there’s a good chance your paint contains lead.  Lead paint can lead to serious health problems especially for children and pregnant women.  Although new lead paint was outlawed in 1978, it’s still present in millions of older homes, often under layers of newer paint.  Deteriorating lead paint is a medical hazard and needs immediate attention.  Don’t try to remove lead based paint yourself—hire an EPA approved professional.

Manage Mold

Mold can trigger respiratory problems and should be regularly removed.  Any damp area with poor ventilation in your home likely contains mold, and should be cleaned regularly.  A non-ammonia cleaner or dishwashing soap can usually take care of the problem, but for a larger mold issue, you may need to hire a professional. When cleaning mold, you’ll want to wear gloves, a respirator, eye protectants, and clothes that cover your whole body. Mold and spores can be dangerous for your health, so you need to take the appropriate precautions before exposure.

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