Tiny Green Cabins Work Zone

Dreams are the touchstones of our character. ~ Henry David Thoreau

The sequence of pictures starts with a picture of the shop after a snow storm and the material sitting waiting to become The Wildflower – a Tiny Green Cabin. As we journey down this path, we are accumulating knowledge; from “greenwashing” to how green do we want the Tiny Green Cabins to be? For instance, the closer to us the lumber is cut, milled and delivered to be used in a Tiny Green Cabin – the more “green” it is in energy consumption. Thus the opposite is also true, for us the build a green cabin here and ship it to Texas – would nullify some of the green in a cabin as trucking and fuel would consume more energy that the green used in a green cabin.

“Greenwashing” is a term used when a business says they are green and only a small sliver of the business is actually green. Our intent is to be in harmony with the earth, by using earth friendly “green” products. We are hereby aligning, committing, and dedicating Tiny Green Cabins to being “green.”

After the lumber was delivered, being Minnesota – it needed to come inside to acclimate to the building process. After the ice melted off the material and lumber thawed, the building process started with the framing of the floor system and installing the treated plywood to the floor. We have to build the system upside down to install the TTD sheathing, then flip it over, to insulate the floor system with the Ultra Soft Touch(cotton – shredded blue jeans), then install the vapor barrier and the plywood subfloor. The vapor barrier needs to go to the warm side of the insulation.

Once the subfloor was installed, the framing of the exterior walls start, and we chose to “balloon frame” the end walls to the underside of the roof deck The 1st wall is framed and Monday, we will frame the other end as well as the side walls. Then sheath them and start framing the roof structure. The roof structure is constructed for a 50lbs snow load.

Where is the trailer you ask? It is sitting, waiting for The Wildflower to be rolled out of the door in a couple of weeks. Building the Tiny Green Cabins, without the trailer being involved, allows us to protect the building process from the weather, keeping everything dry with climate controlled conditions. Once we start your cabin, we can frame it, install exterior and interior finishes including painting and staining. The Cabin is complete once rolled out the door. With this particular model, the clearance from the door to the top of the Wildflower is less than 3 inches!

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Introducing “The Wildflower”

In wilderness is the preservation of the world. ~ Henry David Thoreau

The first tiny green cabin to be built will be “The Wildflower” and built to resemble Thoreau’s cabin at Walden. The picture is a draft elevation of the finished cabin that will be sized 8′ x 15′ approximately with earth friendly products, recycled and reclaimed materials, in keeping with simplify, simplify, simplify. Follow the blog as elevations and construction pictures are posted over the next couple of months.

“The Wildflower”

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Tiny Green Cabin Material List

Standard Items

  • FSC Cert. Mixed * SW-COC-000669 Lumber
  • Ultra Touch Cotton Ins 6X16 – Recycled Denim (cotton) Insulation – (Blue Jeans)
  • Finger jointed 2 X 3’s and 2 X 4’s
  • Recycled & Reclaimed Lumber
  • Anderson Silverline Windows
  • Pro-Rib Steel 29 gauge panel – Emerald Green
  • Trex Decking (recycled plastic and wood fibers)
  • Low VOC paints.
  • Acrylic caulks.
  • Energy Star Electrical Boxes
  • CDX roof and exterior sheathing
  • Tyvek Exterior building wrap
  • Vertical OSB substrate “Smart Panel” exterior siding
  • Rebond (recycled) carpet padding
  • Insulated windows (low e on some models both in recyclable aluminum and vinyl)
  • Type 6 nylon carpet from Shaw.

Optional Items

  • Recycled tires and axles.
  • I-beam manufactured from scrap, recycled steel.
  • OSB Floor, Wall, and Roof Decking
  • “James Hardie” Cemplank exterior siding
  • Title 24 interior lighting
  • Insulated fiberglass (50 year warranty) exterior entry doors.
  • “Rinnai” tankless gas water heater
  • PEX water systems (recyclable with no solvent connections)
  • DR 24 PVC and ABS drain lines, less materials with recycled contents.
  • Gypsum panels (recycled paper)
  • Energy Star appliances (most standard models and all up grades)
  • Programmable thermostat
  • 2×6 S4S Cedar Porch Decking
  • Spray foam exterior wall insulation
  • Electric Fireplace
  • Cordwood Simulated Siding/Wainscoat
  • Wavy Edge Rough Sawn Cedar Siding
  • Water saver toilets, tub and shower diverters.
  • Quick recovery water heaters
  • Aluminum (recyclable) mini-blinds.
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Simple, Small, and Sustainable

Go Confidently in the directions of your dreams! Live the Life you have imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

Henry David Thoreau

Simple, Small, and Sustainable.

When considering aspects of your life, career, home; a good thought to remember is to keep it simple. It is important to take into account everything that might make your life more stressful or more expensive. There are trade-offs in everything, from owning a big home to a tiny cabin or small house ; from a long commute wearing expensive suits to a short bicycle ride to a low stressful job; to living green in an earth friendly environment or living in a high rise condo that spills energy into the night. These are all choices, and we are each investing in our thoughts that will produce the life of our choice. Let’s make a smart choice, and rethink our bigness to one of living in harmony in earth friendly products.


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Simplify….Simplify….Simplify

Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves,
dispel the clouds which hang over our brows,
and take up a little life into our pores.
Do not stay to be an overseer of the poor,
but endeavor to become one of the worthies of the world.
from the chapter “Economy” in Walden
Henry David Thoreau

What does simple mean to you….to me…it means following a vision…a path to a peaceful coexistence with nature and living in harmony and balance. And reality sets in and one still needs to live, and to do that I have started a business called Tiny Green Cabins, LLC. The tiny cabins will be built by myself, my son and fellow craftsman in my pole barn, but let me start at the beginning.

I have suggested to my eldest son that I should build a tiny cabin or small house of about 65 to 100 square feet on his property for me to stay in when I visit him in western Minnesota. Then others of the family could stay there also. In the last couple of years, I have gotten used to small as being good and really like the idea of living in harmony with the environment and off the grid. It could even be rented out during the hunting season.

A new search started for employment a month ago, and being long of memory, the thought passed through my mind that creating one’s own work is the way to go. But what???

At a retreat with some close friends in November of 2008, this discussion came up, and Tiny Cabins were mentioned by me in jest. The names started flowing such as Jimmy Tiny Cabins, Jimmy’s Cabins, and Jimmy’s Green Cabins. Before long, the name had changed to Tiny Green Cabins and we had a list of possibilities, and a very short list of obstacles. The mind mapping of the business showed the possibilities and it is all encouraging. Owning property with a office area for designing small house plans and a pole barn in White Bear Lake, which is perfect for building tiny houses and small houses as they can be built inside the shop, displayed by Hwy 61, and the tiny green cabins, small houses can be made transportable as well as for a foundation. It just feels right for these times, as we reevaluate our priorities on bigness and start thinking anew.

Tiny Green Cabins, being built green, with reclaimed, recycled material as well as ecologically sound materials, solar panels ,  other earth friendly products (Denin Blue Jeans shredded for insulation), and Airkrete, will be there with the motto – simplify, simplify, simplify… much like Thoreau wrote while at Walden.

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