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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

The “Sneaky Pete” Airstream

Or otherwise known as the “shiny tiny” part 2

A new trend is emerging among interior design minded road fanatics. The Airstream trailer is a very popular design. And everyone recognizes them!

Based on a 1954 Airstream Flying Cloud Trailer that once served as a hunting and fishing lodge in Oregon, this completely restored and reimagined trailer (Orvis Timeless Airstream) features a hand-polished exterior, a lush interior that makes liberal use of wood, copper, and leather, all-new running gear to ensure a safe ride, and all the creature comforts you’d expect from a modern tow-behind in a classic package. (Source: uncrate.com)

Based on a 1954 Airstream Flying Cloud Trailer that once served as a hunting and fishing lodge in Oregon, this completely restored and reimagined trailer (Orvis Timeless Airstream) features a hand-polished exterior, a lush interior that makes liberal use of wood, copper, and leather, all-new running gear to ensure a safe ride, and all the creature comforts you’d expect from a modern tow-behind in a classic package. (Source: uncrate.com)

Inspired by innovative airplane designs, the first Airstream trailer was introduced back in 1931. They were built out of aluminum and intended for only the mightiest

of road warriors. Their aerodynamic, rounded metallic designs gave them their badass futuristic demeanor. They’ve since diminished in popularity, but a creative Airstream uprising is just on the horizon.

Lately we’ve been seeing more and more people converting these old-fashioned, outdated contraptions into lavish, comfortable collage1-161road wagons complete with beds, kitchens and even bathrooms. In fact, they’re becoming so popular that even Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey has his very own Airstream trailer that he invested over 200k in.

Here are the benefits of owning an Airstream trailer:

  1. They’re handcrafted in America and built to last a lifetime.
  2. They handle well on the road
  3. They make a great instant hotel room
  4. They are easily recognized as an RV and accepted in RV Parks and campgounds
  5. They can be used for guests at home
  6. They are customizable to ones needs
  7. Their retro look and sleek, aerodynamic design makes for good gas mileage
  8. They put you in an elite community of dedicated Airstream owners

 

We are moving several windows and instead of doing a patch at the old location, we chose to cut out a large section of alumimum.

We are moving several windows and instead of doing a patch at the old location, we chose to cut out a large section of aluminum sheathing to blend the old with the new.

A little catch-up.

The new trailer was built to be the same as the old trailer with few modifications. One being we used a heavier gauge steel to minimize bounce in the frame. We salvaged old parts such as the axles, custom rigging for the axles that allowed for drop pans for the water and waste tank, and the trailer tongue/hitch steel.

Jim is routing out the edge of the plywood as the wall frame require 5/8" sheathing and the Purebond hardwood plywood is only available in 3/4"

Jim is routing out the edge of the plywood as the wall frame require 5/8″ sheathing and the Purebond hardwood plywood is only available in 3/4″

After it was all welded back together, the frame went to the paint booth and painted with a Low VOC primer and paint before it was moved into place to be pushed under the shell. We also ripped Purebond hardwood plywood for the perimeter, front bow, and rear bow. We attached the bow plywood to the shell for rigidity. Since the original floor was 5/8 plywood and we were using ¾”, we had to plane down the edges to fit into the wall channels of the frame.

We used 2 forklifts to lift the shell while we pushed the frame under the shell.

Airstream Lift

Airstream Lift

After lowering it, we pulled the temporary steel supports and bolted the shell to the frame. We then installed the perimeter plywood and screwed that to the trailer frame.

The next step was insulating the floor perimeter with John Mansville foam board followed by installation of the rounded skirt aluminum. The drop pan housing followed shortly after with insulating the water and grey tank before lowering them into place.

In floor Heat

In floor Heat

 

Since we are doing a heated floor system, we installed a false floor for laying the mats and heat cables on. The heat tapes are under the floor so we used the reflective foil to bounce the heat to the flooring of the Airstream . One of the requirements was not to install the heat tape under cabinets and another was do not cut, knick, or damage the heat wires. Once they were installed, we poured a light weigh concrete over the wires and temporarily installed the plywood flooring, followed by building the toe kicks boxes of the cabinets.

 

We now have a list of what will be going into this airstream, that I am calling

“The Sneaky Pete”

  • New Trailer
  • Custom layout
  • Relocate 3 windows
  • Relocate door
  • Add window to bath
  • Add 2 skylights
  • Move rear bath to center of Airstream
  • Natures Head composting toilet
  • Move water tank and grey water tank top between axles
  • DC Lighting
  • AC Appliances
  • Electric in-floor heat
  • Insulate airstream with Johns Manville Foam board
  • Subflooring to be Purebond Hardwood plywood
  • Character grade hickory paneling
  • Maple cabinets
  • Quartz countertops
  • Antique copper end caps
  • Ceramic floor and ceramic bath
  • Custom lift bed frame/mattress
  • Built in benches
  • New stove and microwave
  • LG Washer Dryer Combo
  • Electric fireplace
  • Flat screen TV
  • LED Lighting
  • Panasonic Whisper Quiet Air Exchanger
  • Dakien Heat Exchanger
  • New canvas at awnings
  • Polished Exterior
  • New Underbelly and side pan wraps

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The Shiny Tiny; Airstream Update

The Shiny Tiny, part 1

In October, 2016, we received a phone call asking questions about building a tiny house that resembled an RV as they did a lot of relocating for their work and wanted to be able to stay at RV parks. However, they were experiencing a lot of pushback from RV parks about tiny houses, with one park owner saying “if it looked like an RV, say an Airstream, there would be no questions or issues.”

They then asked if we could renovate an Airstream to a nontoxic unit. They admitted that they called numerous places and no one could or would take on the project. They then asked, if I would consider doing it for them. I cautioned them that it would be out of our norm, but since we knew about nontoxic and chemical free tiny houses, we would do it. We set the budget and started looking for an older Airstream that could be gutted and rebuilt.

Criteria;

  • Price had to be under S15,000
  • No major denting of the roof
  • Few major leaks, All airstreams leak.
  • Within 500 miles of the shop
  • Not a “shiny turd”
  • No tail separation

A “shiny turd” is an Airstream that has been polished but not updated in any other way. It is shined up to get a higher sell price from unsuspecting buyers.

Shiny Turd

Shiny Turd

Another key difference is that a restored, renovated, or modernized Airstream will have documentation to prove that trailer has been repaired, a new axle installed, or the flooring replaced. A “shiny turd” will have none of that. A shiny turd is like a sign that says “buyer beware.”

Tail separation is when the tail end of trailer frame has separated from the main trailer, usually in connections to the trailer frame at the axles. A simple way to check this is to stand on the bumper and move up and down while noticing if the body of the trailer also moves or just the frame does. It is costly to fix and at this point, we were not considering rebuilding the trailer.

What we found was a 31ft 1983 Excella Airstream in fair condition. There was dent in the roof, the top was balding, it smelled slightly musty, and some of the appliances did not work. Since we would be gutting it down to the shell and tossing everything, the trailer appeared doable for the project, so we made a deal.

1983 Excella

1983 Excella

We towed it to the shop and started gutting it to the shell, and found that the floor had rot, which since all Airstreams leak, it was not a surprise. What we encountered next did surprise us. We removed the flooring and found the musty smell was strong. The pink fiberglass insulation in the floor had absorbed moisture with mouse droppings scattered on the top. Mice!!!IMG_20161117_103714750

Upon removal, we found that the underbelly had holes that allowed mice to get inside as well as many mouse carcasses. Upon closer examination, we decided to do a separation of the shell from the trailer so we could work on both. Once we had separation, we could see the holes in the frame from rust and corrosion as well as broken welds in outriggers. The trailer needed some major work.

After consulting with the buyers, it was determined to rebuild the trailer with heavier steel while reusing the axles, step assembly, tongue and hitch, as well as tank enclosures.  The rebuilt trailer cost $800 more than trying to fix the old frame.

The trailer was built for the Airstream in the background making sure we followed the old trailer design so that the shell could be reattached. This Airstream is being modernized to a nontoxic chemical free status. The couple chose the Airstream model over a tiny house as it would be accepted in RV parks for long stays without question.

Some have said that there is not much left of the original and while that is true, the most important parts are left; the RV certification and the shell which says I am an RV, and an Airstream! And it will provide a “safe” home for the owners to live in year around.

The new trailer

The new trailer

It has been said that you have not renovated an Airstream until you stood on the ground while inside the Airstream.

Stood on the ground

Stood on the ground

Airstream has a lot of different meaning for its’ parts such as “banana peels”

The floorplan;

Airstream Retorfit 5_2

If you want to follow the place we post pictures of the build click on the link Airstream Build

Come back for the next update to learn about that and more.

 

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Airstream as a tiny house???

Updating a 1984 Excella Airstream

As a leader in builds for nontoxic and chemical sensitivities, we also will convert RV’s to  the same standards. In this case, we are updating a 1984 Airstream Shaska model to one our highest standards for chemical and environmental sensitivities. We are gutting this RV and salvaging the aluminum frame and axles. From there it will be a total rebuild of the interior with some movement of windows and door.
This couple wanted the ability to move around and park easily in RV parks and not be challenged by the legality of the unit. Their solution was to purchase a used Airstream trailer and have it converted.  They might be onto something.
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Update on the Ravenlore Tiny House

or a tiny house can appreciate in value

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Some tiny houses do appreciate in value, and the Ravenlore did. Nicki changed her career path which required a relocation to California and flying as a stewardess for Virgin Airlines. With that, she had to make a hard decision about her tiny house. Rather than take it with her, she decided to sell it as she would seldom be home, but traveling the globe.  So she put it up for sale and the Ravenlore sold quickly………..for more money that she paid for it. Like several thousands of dollars more.

We send Nicki best wishes for her new adventures. And if you are thinking of buying a Ravenlore tiny house, we can create one just for you. We do have a Ravenlore starting the “que” in production within 30 days for a customer that decided to purchase one before the price increased.

 

A tiny house named “Spirit”

Tiny House at Lochness Park for a photo shoot

Spirit has 238 sqft on the main level with 138 sqft in the 2 lofts. There is lots of storage in the smugglers holds, sliding spice rack, 7 -toe kick drawers, cabinet bridge, and stairs with built in storage.  Speaking of the cabinet bridge, it is constructed so that a guest could sleep on them, if needed. This tiny house also has a Airport Ball air exchanger to exhaust the stale house air and moisture to the outside while bringing in fresh air.

Tiny House Minnesota photo shoot, Tiny House Minneapolis, Tiny Green Cabins

Tiny House transport rounding a corner on the way to the photo shoot

Tiny House Minnesota photo shoot, Tiny House Minneapolis, Tiny Green Cabins, hOMe design

Parking the tiny house

Tiny House Minnesota photo shoot, Tiny House Minneapolis, Tiny Green Cabins, hOMe design

Tiny House photo shoot at the park

Tiny House Minnesota photo shoot, Tiny House Minneapolis, Tiny Green Cabins

Tiny house in the park

Tiny House Minnesota photo shoot, Tiny House Minneapolis, Tiny Green Cabins

Tiny house in the trees

 

Tiny house view thru the windows from the entry

Tiny house view thru the windows from the entry

Tiny house Airondack Recliner

A view of the tiny house Adirondack recliners built above the water storage tanks

 

Tiny House Cabinets

Cabinet bridge with cat sleeping areas, and a view of the Adirondack recliners built above the water storage tanks

Childs Loft

Loft for Wyatt

Tiny House Master Loft

Tiny House Master Loft

Fully functional tiny house kitchen

ully functional tiny house kitchen, with space saving dishwasher, range with oven, 7.2 cu refrigerator/freezer and table

Tiny House Boxout window over the sink

Tiny House Boxout window over the sink with custom mason jar lighting fixture

Tiny House Table

The drop leaf table in the kitchen

Drop leaf table

Justin and his father enjoying a cop of joe

Tiny House Kitchen

Tiny house kitchen view from the great room

Tiny house birch branch rail

Tiny house birch branch rail

tiny house, Minnesota tiny house

Tiny house Hobbit stove

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12494847_10107462053182540_874695345449073016_n (2)

Tiny House Bathroom

Tiny House Bathroom

 

Tiny House Bathroom

Tiny House Bathroom

Tiny House Smugglers Hold Hatch

Smugglers Hold Hatch

There are 3 hatches with 6 peach crates inside of each hatch, and that provides 18 peach crates under the floor for storage.

Smugglers Hold Storage, Tiny House Minnesota photo shoot, Tiny House Minneapolis, Tiny Green Cabins

Smugglers Hold Storage

Tiny House spice and storage rack

Tiny house sliding spice and storage rack at the head of the stairs

 

 

Good night tiny house

Good night tiny house

The next post will show you how we made the Adirondack recliners and followed up by the step by step of making the mason jar lighting.

 

Freedom Tiny House Series

Ponderosa Tiny House

Features;

  • Custom tiny house trailer
  • Size 8′-6″ x 26′-0″
  • Sleeps 3 – 5
  • Curved Bow for aerodynamics when towing
  • Sunken Living Room
  • Full Sized tub
  • Space for washer dryer
  • Vanity at bath
  • Dual Lofts
  • Dual Stairs with storage
  • Fold up deck
  • Fold down deck canopy
  • Sliding patio door with grids
  • Wood framed (steel optional)
  • LP Smart Siding shingle panels
  • Corrugated Steel siding
  • Steel roof, guaranteed 50 years
Rustic Traveler Tiny House

Ponderosa Tiny House

Rustic Traveler Slice

Ponderso  Slice

Rustic Traveler Slice

Ponderoas Slice

Pricing starts at   $68,019.53

 

 

New home in Massachusetts for this tiny house

Parking found in Massachusetts

This tiny house has found a great place to park at in Massachusetts. It took a while but the owner never gave up on finding a great place to live in it. Massachusetts is probably one of the states that can make it difficult to park and live in a tiny house. But, this owner never gave up his search and kept asking a question, ” What do I need to do so I can live in it?”  He finally found a location and town that was willing to work with him. It shows that if one town or city says “no” just move on until you find a town or area that will help you out.

 

Tiny House Lakeview Tiny House Parking Tiny House view of lake

The Move

Or Growing pains for the shop

A month ago, we were informed that our space that we were sharing with Pete’s Fabrication and Repair was ending as he was terminating his lease with the buildings owners. Our 1st thought was to rent the whole shop out for Tiny Green Cabins, but after running numbers, it was proving to be more than I wanted to undertake at this time. Some of our ideas for using the extra space;

  • Rent out some space for a private party to build their own tiny house
  • Host a series of workshops on building tiny
  • Rent out space for someone needed a shop for a weekend or short project
  • Move to New Ulm, MN for a less expensive shop

In our search of New Ulm we found a place that was for sale and inquired about it. The building was for sale and it could be leased.

After asking questions about utilities, we learned that the heat bill was over a $1000 a month through the winter. That heat cost made the New Ulm space more expensive that what we were looking at in Blaine. We made an offer on the lease asking for the owner to pay for 50% of the propane costs for the 1st winter and we would do a 2 year lease. He declined .

So we decided to stay in the Blaine area for the foreseeable future.

Then we had a visit from another shop owner that did welding and fabrication whom asked if we would be willing to switch spaces. He had 3000 sqft and we had 6000 sqft. The numbers were a wee bit more friendly, and after some thinking and discussion with family, I decided to make the switch. That meant tow shops that were working plus one that was closing needed to switch spaces. For me, that was an easy task as my work had not accumulated a lot of stuff….yet!!

Our part of the move was easy. The fabricator has a lot of specialized equipment and a mezzanine to move. He said he had built the mezzanine so he could take it with him. This we had to see.

And he did it. I am impressed!!!

However, Pete was swamped with trying to finish up his back log of clients and others that heard he was closing and wanted that last minute car repair done by him.

So we loaded our trailer and moved it to the new place and then moved the hOMe out of the shop to its new place.

So, now it was up to sort things out, pack up what he wanted, and toss the rest. He tossed out a lot, and he still has a lot to sort and liquidate. In the meantime, he is using some of our space and will be having a fire sale over the next month..

We are just about finished with the hOMe bound for MA, and have the other custom hOMe started. And that is all we can fit in the shop until Pete moves his stuff out. In a week or so, we will have room to start the Prairie Rose for the workshop class we will be holding the end of October.  And when Pete moves his stuff, we will have room for a 3rd tiny house.

The start to finish of the move took 8 days, with the weekend included in that.  Now we need to organize the shelves and shop so we can find stuff easily.

If anyone wants us to build or start one in the next month or so, I would suggest that you book that slot. Otherwise, the next slot after that would be early spring of 2016.

Tiny House Builder, Jim

Tiny House Builder, Jim

 

Window Installation

We install windows at Tiny Green Cabins using the following steps for all of our tiny houses.

Tools Needed: Hammer, caulk gun, slap stapler, level, tape measure, utility knife, work gloves

Materials needed: Butyl Caulk, Dupont Flex Wrap, Dupont Straight Tape 4″ wide, Shims, Great Stuff Window spray expanding foam

Step 1;  After the Tyvek house wrap has been installed and wrapped into each of the windows opening, cut

Wildflower Tiny House Bunkhouse Model

Wildflower Tiny House Bunkhouse Model

the Tyvek house wrap at the window rough opening top corner diagonally about 4″ upward and away from the window and tack back.

Step 2; Cut the Dupont Flex Wrap 12″ to 16″ longer than the window sill. Peel off the paper backer centering the Flex Wrap in the opening and full width of the sill. Press into place across the bottom and up the sides of the window – minimum up each window side is 6″.

Step 3; Peel the paper off the back of the flex wrap hanging outside the window and starting at each window corner, pull the corners outward and stretch while adhering it to the walls, then pull and press the rest of flex wrap into place.

Step 4; Using the shims, lay a shim at each window sill corner for creating a space to insulate used in step 10

Step 5; Caulk up the sides of the window frame, across the top of the window rough opening and down the other side to the sill. Warning, DO NOT CAULK ACROSS THE BOTTOM OR WINDOW SILL  – EVER

Step 6; Insert the window into the rough opening, center the window on the opening, and nail at one top corner of the window flange. Level the window and after leveling nail the other top window corner.

Step 7; Plumb the window sides   Tip: Square the window and check the reveal spaces where the window meets the window jamb. To square, using a tape measure, check the measurements diagonally from each corner to the opposite corner – they should be equal.  Also check the window edges from other features of the wall, such as wall corners or fascias to make sure things are set correctly. On a tiny house, since other features are close to the window, this is a check that everything is spaced correctly. After this check nail the window in place and around the window perimeter, nailing through every other hole in the flange.

Step 8; Install the corner flaps at each corner of the window.

Step 9; Cut the butyl tape for each side of the window and across the window head. Each piece should be cut 8″ to 12″ longer than the window. Install each side, and then install the top piece of Butyl tape.

Step 10; Do not install Butyl tape across the bottom window flange – EVER. This flange is left without butyl tape and caulk to allow water and moisture to escape in case it ever gets behind the window.  This is why the flex wrap is used as a sill pan flashing.

Step 11; Pull the Tyvek that was tacked out of the way, fold it down, and tack in place, cutting just short of the window head. Tape to the butyl tape and Tyvek together to seal them tight.

Step 12; insulate the window jambs cavity to wall opening. We recommend Great Stuff as the expanding foam seals the cavity better than a stuffed fiberglass can. Plus the foam does not allow mold to grow if the window leaks.

Here a good video that follows our best practices