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Tiny Houses on the Cheap?

or

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

 The road less traveled

 

Over the last few years, we have seen tiny house builder start-ups and seen some of their efforts littered on Craiglist, Tiny House Listings, or listed on blogs about tiny houses, as well as on Facebook pages.

The tiny house movement simply put is a social movement where people are downsizing the space that they live in. And this movement has created a lot of cottage businesses related to the tiny house movement. In the movement you find the purist, the DIY person, the back yard mechanic, the wannabe builder, project manager, and the builder; all with their wanting a sense of community, to be around or associated with like-minded folks.

For instance;

Purist;

“a person who has very strong ideas about what is correct or acceptable and who usually opposes changes to traditional methods and practices”

The purist is a person that downsizes for many reason of austerity, ecological, simplifying, and often feel that they and others must build the tiny houses themselves for as small an investments as possible. This group searches out the best deals, recycled products, pallets and does all the work for themselves.

DIY’er;

“the activity of doing or making something (as in woodworking or home repair) without professional training or assistance; broadly : an activity in which one does something oneself or on one’s own initiative”

The DIY is a person that downsizes for many reasons and often feel that they must build the tiny houses themselves just for the joy of creating and being able to look back and say, “I built that” His costs may also range from $47 to $166 per sqft foot and more. S/he cost will often exceed this range in they will make changes because they want something different and this more costly.

I have noticed that just about anyone that can pick up a hammer thinks of themselves at least as a DIY individual. I developed a lot of my skill sets from the many projects I did over the years; remodeling 3 homes, building 1, and often learning new skills because of the attitude, “I can do that!”  So, the following song is one of my favorites, as I started many projects with just a tiny idea and would see it morph into a huge project that was really fun and creative to do. It gave me a sense of pride when done.  This tune by Johnny Cash is for all the DIY and Purist tiny house people out there.

Back Yard Mechanic;

A worker who is skilled in the use of tools, machines, equipment, etc.

The back yard mechanic often works outside the rules, carries little to no insurance, offers no guarantees/warranties on workmanship or products. He often works on the project in his spare time, evenings, and weekends and does not carry or maintain a license. He may or may not have training to fulfil the crafts involved and will often “wing it” The risk side is definitely on the buyer and should trigger a “buyer beware” warning.

And one can find some great companies and groups have started a thriving business in their garage; Amazon, Apple, Intel, Disney, Google, Harley Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Lotus Cars, Maglit are just a few that have made it big.

Wannabe Builder;

I added this group as some build tiny houses with marketing, websites, and social media much like a builder, and yet have not made the commitment to take it to the next level. They often are trying to earn a living, put food on the table and are willing and boast about undercutting competition by thousands of dollars. They, of course, turn it around that they can save you thousands of dollars. But more often than not, they are attempting to work at a livable wage standard. They often work with a handshake or verbal agreement.

Project Manager;

The PM has the primary responsibility of planning a particular construction job and overseeing its progress along the way.  A construction project manager sets up the estimates, the budgets and the construction timetable for the client and develops the construction strategy. He selects the subcontractors and workers, and provides required explanations for the builders and other professionals associated with the project. When delays or problems occur – as they always do – the construction manager is the project’s first responder, ready to make the changes required to move the project past the issue.

In a tiny house, the project manager would represent the client throughout the project, estimate the budgets, set the schedule, retain the craftsman and sub contractors to build the tiny house.  Often with a project manager, there is a budget set and a fee for the project management services. Some may refer to this as a cost+ contract or a type of AAIA contractual agreement.

Builder;

a person or group who builds, especially one who contracts for and supervises the construction or repair of buildings.

They are the professional with often years of training in their craft and related venues. The builder provides a product/building to the consumer with all the associated, known and unknown risks involved, via a written contractual agreement. Our definition of a builder is one the meets the insurance requirements and a sustainable business model.

The insurance premiums impact the costs of a tiny house or any home in direct proportion to gross revenue. The liability package runs 12%, workers comp is 11% of wages paid out, theft insurance and risk insurance. Everything being equal, one could expect to pay 20% to 25% more for a tiny house purchased through the builder than a back yard mechanic and wannabe builder.

But are things really equal? Not really.

The wages are large factor as the lower 4 levels either pay themselves nothing, nada, zippo or often pay themselves a low wage. We recently saw a wannabe say his labor rate is $12 per hour  as he links it to liable wage, whereas a reputable builder will often be paying more…. a lot more.

In public policy, a living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their needs that are considered to be basic. This is not necessarily the same as subsistence, which refers to a biological minimum, though the two terms are commonly confused. These needs include shelter (housing) and other incidentals such as clothing and nutrition. And yet it is not the wage of someone that has a skill set of tools or knowledge to build a tiny house.

For instance on the average a livable wage;

In California a livable wage is $12.34 for a person of one and  for a person with a child it is $25.27. For a construction trades person the average wage is $23.55

In Minnesota a livable wage is $ 9.69 for a person of one and  for a person with a child it is $20.64. For a construction trades person the average wage is $23.80

In New york a livable wage is $12.75 for a person of one and  for a person with a child it is $24.69. For a construction trades person the average wage is $23.99

In South Carolina a livable wage is $ 8.72 for a person of one and  for a person with a child it is $16.98. For a construction trades person the average wage is $15.48

California may be upwards of $40 to $50 an hour, in the Midwest $25 to $40 an hour for craftsman plus labor burden. This labor burden number is often 50% to 150% higher than the gross hourly wage. As costs are often used as the basis for pricing services or products, this is why it is so critical to obtain an in-depth understanding of the true cost of an employee.[1]

The builder also tries to price with a net profit of 2% to 5%, this profit is often what the builder uses as seed money for developing new products and expansion.

You will notice net is highlighted and underlined. It is not the gross profit as gross profit has all the cost associated with the project and running the business.

We have seen companies fail mostly for not understanding the costs of labor burden as well as not understanding what their overhead really entails.

From Wikipedia

“In business, overhead or overhead expense refers to an ongoing expense of operating a business; it is also known as an “operating expense”. Examples include rent, gas, electricity, and labor burden. The term overhead is usually used when grouping expenses that are necessary to the continued functioning of the business but cannot be immediately associated with the products or services being offered (i.e., do not directly generate profits).[1] Closely related accounting concepts are fixed costs and variable costs as well as indirect costs and direct costs.

Overhead expenses are all costs on the income statement except for direct labor, direct materials, and direct expenses. Overhead expenses include accounting fees, advertising, insurance, interest, legal fees, labor burden, rent, repairs, supplies, taxes, telephone bills, travel expenditures, and utilities.[2]”

A reader commented recently; “Seems some companies are out to get rich off a concept that is based on a way of living with minimum (even minimum money). “

This reader is obviously making a comparison that a purist = DIY = a builder. They are also missing the fact that a livable wage in New York  is 46% higher than South Carolina.  We are getting used to getting “slammed” by others about our pricing structure or taking advantage of others. Seems it is one of the road hazards we have encountered from time to time along this road less frequently traveled. Our opinion remains the same, we provide a quality built tiny house fairly priced.

There are associated risks at each level for buying from the purist through the builder levels and most of the risks involve consumer being at risk. And this is by far the biggest difference in the levels, as the builder takes on the majority of risks to protect and provide a product promised to the consumer, while the lower levels often is a trade-off for savings vs. risk.

And within all of these communities, you will find subcultures and sub-communities….and each with their own set of values and rules that are acceptable to them.

JoAnn, a friend of mine, made this comment,

“Last night I caught the movie about the founding of FB and thought how many different sets of rules there are. One of the benefits of a small community was that you knew what the rules are/were. Those who went to a much larger community and the various schools all had many sets of rules. No big revelation, but something that I’d not thought of so much previously. Multiply that times worldwide communities and it might be overwhelming if we were given that all at one time”

Given that, in the tiny house movement, there are many smaller communities and all feel that their rules should be the ones used as the “model” of the movement.

But in truth, it seems unfair to compare a purist against a backyard mechanic or a wannabe builder against a builder. The tiny house movement is about people downsizing and desiring to be more conscious of their lifestyle and expenses. There are many roads to achieve their goals and some would rather buy a turnkey unit rather and use their time for other things rather try to build one. And some take great pride in knowing they did it themselves, by their self, and they should be proud of their accomplishment.

A typical tiny house, if there is such a thing, is about 120 sqft and Tumbleweed Homes website notes that the typical material costs would be around 20K. Some take great pride in material costs being 5-10k or less. And they should feel proud for accomplishing this feat as it is not an easy task and involves a lot of time to find those “deals.”

The purist per square foot cost could start at $40 per square foot while the builder turnkey price would range from $205 to $ 485 per square foot for a turnkey tiny house. Using Tumbleweeds figures this could range from $47 to $166 per square foot for material alone.

RVs can start at $100 per square foot and I have seen custom ones (Spacecraft RV) top out at over $478 per square foot. We built a custom RV that came in around $500 per square foot as it had a lot of backup systems and stainless steel water tanks meant to take the RV off the grid for extended periods of time.

Tiny Houses turnkey built by a manufacturer can start at $200 per square foot and run up to $500 per square foot.

Larger custom built turnkey fish houses seem to range from $209 to $350 per square foot.

The chart below consists of numbers for different scenarios for tiny houses and RV’s. The 1st 3 are examples of DIY material only and should give those something to think on for a tiny house material costs. Minimotives and Tiny r(E)volution numbers are spot on as they kept accurate records and do not contain labor. The numbers should provide you a basis to benchmark what material costs are possible.

See Chart;

Tiny House Price Comps

Tiny House Price Comps

All the numbers are based on websites published information and unknown specifications. Do your research diligently folks.
Special thanks to Macy Miller from Minimotives and Drew Odom from Tiny r(E)volution for the DIY number examples

We can live as the early humans did or we can live in a quality built turnkey tiny house. The choice is yours and yours alone. What’s your choice?

Car Sized Armadillo

Car Sized Armadillo

Wildflower II

Wildflower II

If you desire more information on purchasing a tiny house that is priced fairly and by YOUR specifications, please drop Jim an email at jim@tinygreencabins.com


 

Sawhorses and Slideouts

A Readers asks; “How do you make your sawhorses?”

Tiny House Sawhorse

Tiny House Sawhorse

You can make a pair from five 2 x 4 x8  cut into six 32-in. lengths and eight 26-1/4-in. lengths. Screw the 32-in. pieces into I-beam shapes and attach the legs to the I-beams with 3-in. screws. These screws, along with the upper edge of the I-beam, stabilize the legs. And when you need another workbench, just screw a piece of plywood on the sawhorses and you’ll have a stable table. By screwing the pieces together, it becomes easy to change the part, especially the top I beam member.

Another readers asks; ” What is your pricing on slide-outs?”

Slideouts

Slideouts

An 11 ft by 34 ½” slide-out adds about 350 pounds of weight to a tiny house for  each slide-out. A 6-10 ft. module costs approximately $7,900. A 10-13 ft module would be around $9,850, and a unit over 13 feet would be approximately $1,000 per lineal foot. In this picture, there are 2 slide-outs, the master bedroom would cost about $ 7, 900 while the living room/dinette slide-out would cost about $9,850.00.  This does not include a roll out canopy over the slide-out.

 

What is a Cabin?

 

Winter Morning Wildflower

Winter Morning Wildflower

What is a cabin? How do we distinguish it from a house, let alone a tiny house?

Dale Mulfinger lists four cabin characteristics. He did a speech on Cabinology 101 and he knows cabins, especially Minnesota cabins. And I suspect that anyplace that has cabins has the same four cabin characteristics.

Dale Mulfinger is a Minneapolis architect and author of 2 great books on cabins he has designed or admired: The Cabin and The Getaway Home.  He describes a cabin as a place not to live, but a place to escape to them. Which is not far from what a tiny house is; a place to escape from the demands and monies that a large home requires, to a place to escape to so we can be able to “live like giants”

1.       The site is chosen for its natural beauty.

One of the challenges is taking advantage of the views that some sites offer. With a transportable tiny house/cabin, the choice of views and directions faced becomes a non issue.  As the seasons change, the views often reveal something new and a transportable tiny house is able to enjoy all the different views. Or maybe, you are a writer, and enjoy the sun shining on the windows. Mount the cabin on a turntable as George Bernard Shaw did and spin the house following the sun throughout the day. He even named it “London” so his staff could say he went to “London” and be able to say it truthfully. Shaw’s cabin allowed him to take advantage of the sun for passive solar heat.

 2.       A cabin provides simple basic shelter. It isn’t fancy. It doesn’t try to make a social statement, as houses often do.  A small efficient floor plan is all it needs.

When I was growing up, we often saw tiny cabins dotting the roadside by farmer’s fields and along the rivers and streams. They were basic; a place to sleep, single pane windows, a small kitchen often with a water pump and small sink, wood stove, and a lofted area or small bedroom with bunks. The latrine was always outside, set back into the trees.

The tiny houses and cabins now often are quite larger than the cabins of old.  When one decides get back to the basics, a lot of space is not needed.  However, some things moved into the cabins; double and triple pane windows, insulation, and the latrine aka bathroom.

Tired of the distractions of modern living, Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to live a deliberate and simple life. He borrowed some land near a pond called Walden from friend Ralph Waldo Emerson and built himself a simple 10′x15′ shack for $28.12 and furnished it with a bed, a table, a desk, and three chairs.

Smaller cabins and tiny houses do make a social statement it seems even if not their intent;  low carbon footprint, living sustainably, I don’t need a big space to live and more. The use of cabins are expanding; they are no longer in the mountains, found is hidden nooks or valleys, but coming into mainstream life.  They are sprouting up like wildflowers in a spring time meadow as writer huts, sewing dens, garden retreats, hermitages, proverbial “dog house,” back yard offices, student dorm rooms, mother or father in law quarters, nanny quarters, or caretaker cottages.  As times change, so will the zoning laws allowing for more uses in denser population centers.

 3.       Overlapping activities take place within compact quarters.

Living small means living smart and using space for dual purposes;  great room becomes a study area, relaxing space, work space, eating space. The kitchen while its primary function is cooking – one can actually cook healthy in a tiny kitchen instead of running daily to the store, burger and noodle joints for  fast food seems out of context for living small and in a tiny house. If one does not cook in, except for the occasional add hot water, the counter space can be used as a desk top for work, writing, or just pondering why I am living in a tiny house/cabin. The loft besides sleeping is a great place to read or day dream listening to the rain drop hit the metal roof or watching out through the loft window as wildlife plays just below you.

4.       Everybody feels at home right away. A cabin furnishings are simple, often treasured family hand me downs. It is sleeping lofts, tucked under the eve, evokes memories of childhood. It fireplace or stove provides physical and emotional warmth.

Cabins are magical!  Climbing into the loft each night became comforting and cozy. The Wildflower and the loft had become my nest and “safe Place’ to rest, sleep, and relax in. My pillow was at the awning window and I could look out into the night and see creatures of the night moving about; deer ambling thru the yard and cleaning up the seeds below the feeders; the skunk that found the ground bees nest and savory honey; to the owl and mouse drama that resulted in a flurry of wings; the dancing of the shadows of the moonlight dancing across the grass;  the wind whistling around the eves at night; the rain drops pelting the roof all bring about childhood memories of sleeping in under the eaves in the old farm house of my parents.

Most of my days of childhood were spent outside the house, in the woods, haymows, and forts that I would build in secret places. The tiny house is similar to those places, a friend used the term to describe a tiny green cabins as a ‘power fort!”

For me, my cabin or cottage is about making a choice; living smaller and sustainably so that I can live large and enjoy the experiences that this new freedom form ‘stuff’ brings me.

 

We build north woods tough!

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 zobne.

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.

Wildflower Meditation Chapel – Under Construction

The following pictures are from a client that is building a meditation retreat. We asked to provide the plans for this project and we had great fun creating them. It is always nice and feels good to see the project as it is being built. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Meditation Chapel Site in Southern California

Meditation Chapel Site in Southern California

Meditation Chapel Floor Framework

Meditation Chapel Floor Framework

Meditation Chapel Wall and Roof Framing

Meditation Chapel Wall and Roof Framing

More Meditation Chapel Wall and Roof Framing

More Meditation Chapel Wall and Roof Framing

Side View Meditation Chapel Wall and Roof Framing

Side View Meditation Chapel Wall and Roof Framing

Climbing that Mountain

The Inspiration for The Denali Tiny Green Cabin

The Inspiration for The Denali Tiny Green Cabin

Today is your day, your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.
Dr. Seuss

Denali, or otherwise known as Mt McKinley is in Alaska and many a novice mountaineer has dreamt of climbing it. The word Denali also means the Great One.  It is also a mystical mountain, hiding in the clouds and peeking out from time to time. The mountain is so large and positioned that it creates its own unique weather patterns and wind currents. Locals in Alaska seemingly do not see the mountain for weeks at a time, my son who lived there for 5 years on the Copper River, never saw it on his trips from Anchorage to the Copper River settlement where he lived.

A lot of climbers either start at the base of the mountain or hire a helicopter to ferry them up to a plateau just below the summit, which is then an easy walking distance to the peak. The distinction of climbing Denali does not matter on where one starts, once you have made the peak. This later method is turning out to be a good business for a few pilots.

And there is one person that is known in the climbs and he made the Homestead Climb. Todd came to Alaska and loved backpacking, fell in love with the country and on his many frequent backpacking trips, he thought he saw Denali; thinking to himself -  he would someday climb that mountain. One day, out hiking he rounded a path and while sitting on a ledge, he thought he was seeing Denali, not realizing he was only seeing a lesser peak of the mountain. Then the clouds and mists parted and he saw “Denali” and knew in that instance he had to climb it.

His homestead stake and cabin in Alaska is about 30 miles from the base of Denali and Todd decided he would start his climb from his homestead rather than the tradition of starting at the base, thus earning the name for this climb; “The Homestead Climb.” He knew he could not carry all the provisions needed for his climb with him; so he set up packs and set them along his route he would be taking to reach the mountain.  His camp at the base of Denali held all of his climbing gear needed for the ascent of Denali.

Helmut Schmidt said that “whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps,” and this is what The Homestead Climb story shows us.

This is also how we build homes, and tiny houses. We see the larger picture of the elevations etc, and then visualize the steps needed to build the house. The bigger the house, the more crucial these steps are; for myself – I see the rooms as boxes and how each one relates to the other. Then stepping stone goals can be set up assuring one of reaching the final push to the summit; the planting of the flag; and the celebration of accomplishment.

Todd set out and accomplished his goal of standing on the summit of Denali. He is now a featured speaker for guests arriving at Denali, Alaska, via Regent Cruise Lines. Todd had what we call a vision, tenacity, focus, and using stepping stones to guide him and reach his goals.

The “Denali” Floor Plan

8×24′ with 14*8 loft above with fold up aluminum deck. This cabin has a main floor bedroom! This home is fully insulated, even the floors with John Mansvill Foam Insulation Board, Energy efficient Anderson Silverline Windows, single panel French door,18 Gauge steel frame, LP OSB wall and floor sheathings, Tyvek house wrap, energy star electrical boxes with basic electrical package, Pro-Rib Steel 29 gauge panel – Emerald Green – Energy Star rated, Trex Decking (recycled plastic and wood fibers) ” Cedar Valley Shingle Siding, RS Fir Soffit and Fascia, Oak 1×6 Character Grade end matched paneling, oak flooring, energy star electrical boxes,  Fiberglass shower, and low VOC paints, Acrylic caulks.

Options available are;

Wavy Edge Cedar Wainscoat w/Cedar Valley Option
9/16 Cedar Lap Siding
T&G 1×6 WP4 Soffits
White Ash End Matched T&G Character Grade Option
Pine Paneling T&G 1×6 WP4 Option
Cedar Paneling T&G 1×6 WP4 Option
Newport Propane Fireplace Heater P12000
Solar Tripod
Incinerator Electric Incinerating Toilet
Holding Tank for Potable Water

Felling Trailer Option

Call for Pricing

Does not include cabinetry, appliances, or freight/shipping

At Tiny Green Cabins, we believe that our customers needs and desires are priority and we are here to serve you. We will partner with you in determining the level of “green” you would like to achieve from slightly “green” to green “Green.”  For that we have a list of options to customize your Tiny Green Cabin to your preferences and comfort. For more information visit our website information page or call us today.

A $2000 deposit will reserve your production date for your home.  50% deposit/payment required 3 weeks prior to production date, with the 40% balance due at midpoint of production and balance due upon delivery of your Tiny Green Cabin.

Tiny Green Cabins have many models to select from and options to make the model selected reflect your taste and desires. Since we started Tiny Green Cabins as an idea, and created a business from that idea, we also understand that what we have as a model may not fit your desires. With this understanding, we can partner with you to design a Tiny Green Cabin from your idea or thought – bringing it to form.

Finding another vantage point

Denali

Denali

The ocean can look very different, depending on whether you are standing at the shore, soaring above in a plane, or swimming beneath its waves. Likewise, a mountain can look very different relative to where you are standing. Each living thing sees the world from its unique vantage point. While from your window you may be seeing what looks like a huge shrub, a bird in its nest is getting an intimate view of that tree’s leafy interior. Meanwhile, a beetle sees only a massive and never-ending tree trunk. Yet all three of you are looking at the same tree.

Just as a shadow that is concealed from one point of view is easily seen from another, it is possible to miss a fantastic view. That is, unless you are willing to see what’s in front of you through different eyes. Seeing the world from another perspective, whether spatially or mentally, can introduce us to all sorts of hidden treasures. The root of the discovery process often lies in finding another way of looking at the world. The common human reaction to insects is one example. Spinning its web in a dark corner, a spider may seem drab, frightening, and mysterious. But seen up close weaving silver snowflakes between the branches of a tree, they can look like colored jewels.

Sometimes, there are experiences in life that from your vantage point may seem confusing, alarming, or worrisome. Or there may be events that look insignificant from where you are standing right now. Try seeing them from another point of view. Bury your face in the grass and look at the world from a bug’s vantage point. Explore your home as if you were a small child. Take a ride in a small aircraft and experience the world from a bird’s eye view. Just as kneeling down sometimes helps you see more closely when you are looking for lost treasure, so standing back will help you appreciate the broader picture of your life. In doing so, you’ll experience very different worlds.

When I visted Alaska several years ago, the weather had been rainy and cloudy for many weeks and Mt Denali (McKinley) had been hidden by the clouds. A friend and I were on a tour of Denali National Park, and the highlight was to see Denali. Denali means “the great one”Inspiration for The Denali Tiny House

We saw moose and caribou parading in the parking lots, grizzlies sunning themselves on the hillsides, and some peeks of blue sky. We learned that the reindeer that guide Santas’ sleigh at Xmas are all pregnant, as reindeer loose their antlers by then, unless they are pregnant.

And no sight of Denali, which is not really unusual, as seeing Mt Denali is unusual. My son lived in Alaska on the Copper River for 5 years and never sighted Denali on his treks from Anchorage and Fairbanks to Copper Center.

We made our way on the tour bus to the overlook of Denali, and all we saw was clouds obscuring the horizon. Sigh…disappointment from everyone.  On the way back down, we saw immense valleys, sharp drop offs that tumble to valley floors a thousand feet below us, and the weave of the rivers.

As this day progressed, the sun started peaking through the clouds and glimpses of the mountain range starting appearing from the clouds. Would Denali appear?

Rounding a bend in the road, a glimpse of a large mountain appeared…could it be Denali? “No”, said the tour guide “that is a range just before Denali, and I doubt we will sight Denali today.”

The Inspiration for The Denali Tiny Green Cabin

The Inspiration for The Denali Tiny Green Cabin

As we rounded the next bend, Denali finally arose from the clouds for that afternoon. It was huge! It was a magical time as our perspectives continually were changing as we drove out of Denali National Park with the realization that life also changes from different points as we awaken to our life’s journey.

At Tiny Green Cabins, we have learned to be open to possibilities and while we had a vision of a Denali Tiny Green Cabin, it alluded us! Until this week, then it sprang to life on the drafting board, just as if we had rounded the bend in the road and sighted Denali.

Personalized Work Space – close to home

Would you like to commute to your office every day by just walking through your yard?

Looking for a Mountain Cabin Office, but want something a bit different?

Do you want to start practicing living “green” at work or in your own personal work space?

The way people work is changing – the cost and inconvenience of commuting to work everyday is increasing, whereas advances in computer and networking technology are making the viability of working from home a realistic alternative to traveling to an office everyday. Linkedin is also saying that in the next 10 years, most people working will be contractual. You may find the necessity of having your own tiny office

In fact, there is more to working from home than just convenience and lifestyle improvements, there can be huge benefits to working in a Tiny Green Cabin garden or mountain cabin office, including:

  • Saving on travel time and costs.
  • Reducing road congestion.
  • Separating ‘Work’ time from ‘Family/Home’ time.
  • Reduced heating bills (you will only need to heat Tiny Green Cabin while you work, rather than a whole house).
  • Mountain Cabin Feel
  • Very quiet space – outside noise is minimized.
  • Minimal bureaucracy – unlikely to need Planning Permission or Building Permits

Working from home is easier than you think.

Give Tiny Green Cabins a call today at 651-788-6565