Archive by Author

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.
Goethe

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?

5456
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”

1966108_10153365589384937_3958702924510469456_o IMG_20141029_102214_820IMG_20171003_180009116

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!

Save

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.

Article contributed by Healthline.com

Ravenlore 2017

A larger Ravenlore Tiny House

Under construction

Specifications;

  • 8′ x 24′
  • 2 lofts
  • storage stairs
  • birch handrail
  • custom color; green, purple, pink, blue
  • Castletop metal shingles
  • Gothic details
  • Gothic window with butterfly grids
  • Reclaimed front door with insulated glass
  • Reclaimed barnwood siding/paneling interior
  • Corrugated Wainscot
  • Reclaimed copper wash basin
  • Hammered Copper sink
  • Copper counter tops
  • Insulated Tempered Windows
  • Hardwood Floors

 

Save

Save

Save

FYI, Tiny house news

FYI,

Tiny House, trailer

Tiny House Trailer

We have 1 opening for building a tiny house through the rest of the year. Minnesota state rules are that we can only license up to 5 trailers a year without a dealers license and that the trailer title has to be in the companies name and sales tax paid on that purchase.  Since we have already licensed 3 this year, can only do one more.

To get the dealer license for trailers we have to have a display area that can display 7 trailers.
If you want to build a tiny house this year with Tiny Green Cabins you will need to contact us soon.

This does not affect Airstreams or trailers provided by the customer for us to build on.

We will also not buy and sell just trailers until further notice.
Thanks
Jim

Are we RVIA Certified? A customers question

questionA tiny house question often asked;

Are you RVIA Certified?

No, we are not RVIA Certified. We tried about 5 years ago and were told that we would have to conform to all specification of materials which would have meant eliminating our welded steel frames and nontoxic units we build. Unless of course we would pay for research and studies that proved our concepts were acceptable to all the members, manufactures, and board of directors involved in RVIA. We would need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to do the studies required. We are a small tiny house builder and do not have those kind of funds available to take that on.

Plus, we would have to build them for seasonal use only as people cannot live in a RVIA certified unit year around or full time! And that will never change.

Since one of the selling points of tiny houses and our units are they are built for full time living, and as time progresses, more and more areas are allowing tiny houses for as a legal full time residence. Even building codes are changing to allow this.

So, we chose to build to our customers specifications and needs rather than to an industry standard that forces all members to adhere to their rules and regulations. We feel we can and do deliver a far superior product than the RVIA Certification would allow.

 

Hope this helps

Jim

Save