Tiny House Summer Camp – Registration is Open!

Back by popular demand! Deek & Dustin Diedricksen are hosting another Tiny House Summer Camp on September 21-23, 2018 in Orleans, Vermont.

The Summer Camp is a fun 3-day event on a 10 acre off-grid location where you’ll get a chance to learn to build by doing, see live demos, participate in campfire tiny house talks, and be treated to guest speakers and panel discussions. This year there will even be fireworks and wilderness survival classes with Matt Gabriel from the YouTube Channel “Animal Man Survivor.”

Reserve your space now, there’s limited availability. Learn more at Relaxshacks.com.

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Tiny House Architectural Stencils are Available to Order

I have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that we missed our goal on our Kickstarter Campaign to fund the mass production of our tiny house design stencils.

The good news is that we’re not letting that stop us… we’re still going into stencil-making-mode.

We’ve opened a store on Etsy.com where you can pre-order the stencils now. They will begin shipping on approximately August 1, 2018. You can find the Stencil Store here: www.etsy.com/shop/TinyHouseDesigner

We also now have metric 1:50 scale stencils for folks that prefer that. International shipping is  possible thanks to the fine folks at Etsy.com for building such an amazing website.

This stencil makes it easy & fun to draw a tiny house design with pen & paper.

Drawing a tiny house design accurately can be tricky since the houses are so small and the design must fit within the legal road limits for a tiny house on wheels. 

This stencil makes it easy to get the exterior layout and elevations of the house designed and includes elements unique to tiny houses on wheels, like the trailer.

When the stencils arrive you’ll find them still covered in their protective paper wrap. They will have a slightly wood smoke smell due to the laser cutting process. The protective wrap peels off easily and leaves no glue residue. Once the wrap is peeled away, you’re ready to draw. 

Lastly… I have a new stencil design to share too. In addition to the exterior and interior stencil, I’ve made a little pocket stencil (in metric and imperial dimensions) that lets you design tiny houses on the go. It’s about the height & width of a large cell phone but only 3mm thick, so it literally fits in your pocket. It has the essentials for drawing a tiny house.

Below are some photos and diagrams of the new pocket stencil.

Stencil Store: www.etsy.com/shop/TinyHouseDesigner

Above: The imperial 1/4″ scale pocket stencil.

Below: The metric 1:50 scale pocket stencil.

Below: The imperial 1/4″ scale stencil diagram shows what can be drawn with the Pocket Stencil. The red lines are etched, the blue lines are laser cut. The material is 3mm tick clear acrylic.

Below: The metric 1:50 scale stencil diagram.

You can find the Stencil Store here: www.etsy.com/shop/TinyHouseDesigner

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Revolutionary Detachable Tiny House Trailer

Build Tiny – a tiny house builder in New Zealand – is using a purpose-built tiny house trailer manufactured by Bay Engineering Solutions to offer their customers tiny houses that detach from their trailers.

The benefits are multiple:

  • House is considered a load on a trailer – not a trailer itself, simplifying the registration and insurance because it would fit in the current norm.
  • Trailer can be removed for aesthetics, inspection, or maintenance.
  • House can be reversed to face away or toward the trailer tongue – useful for positioning a house in a tight space.
  • The trailer and house are made from lightweight galvanized steel making them easy to tow with a wider range of vehicles.
  • House could be more easily sited on a permanent foundation using the standard shipping container locks.
  • The low profile wheels allow the house to have a flat bottom with no fender bump-outs in the floor and wall.

Photos and videos via Build Tiny. Pictured below are more photos of the trailer and The Boomer by Build Tiny.

Above: The trailer is rolled out from under the flat floor deck.

Below: House jacks are used to lift the house off the trailer.

Below: Standard shipping container locks are located at the 4 corners and secure the house to the trailer.

Below: The Boomer by Build Tiny.

The loft inside The Boomer.

Below: The living room and storage stairs in The Boomer.

Below: A fantastic kitchen.

Below: So lightweight the house can be towed by smaller vehicles.

Learn more about Build Tiny.

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Students Build RE/MAX Tiny House

RE/MAX has built a tiny house in collaboration with Students in the Henry Ford College’s Building Science Department. They call it the Tiny Home for Tiny Tots.

Students were given practical work experience in this semester-long tiny home project. Students participated in every stage of the process including design, structure, and systems. The Henry Ford College (HFC) is located in Dearborn, Michigan.

The goal was to raise money for longtime RE/MAX charitable partner Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals), which provides care for more than 10 million children treated at 170-member hospitals across the U.S. and Canada.

The house is 24-feet long, 8′ 5″ wide, and 13′ 3″ tall. The walls were built with 2×4 wood framing and the roof uses 2×6 rafters. It’s insulated using spray foam insulation and has a standing seam metal roof.

The exterior is pine and cedar with PVC trim.  The interior is sheathed in sanded birch plywood panels and white pine trim. There floor is covered in bamboo flooring. It’s fully wired for a 50-Amp service, and has a residential style toilet.

I think the students at the Henry Ford College did an outstanding job building this tiny house. It looks like a high-quality professionally built tiny home.

It’s also great to see more schools using tiny houses as learning opportunities. Tiny Homes give students an opportunity to experience every aspect of the construction process from concept to completion while ending-up with something someone can actually call home.

Learn more about the tiny house auction on the RE/MAX website. The bidding begins July 26, 2018 and runs through July 28, 2018.

Kudos to RE/MAX and the Henry Ford College for collaborating on this Tiny Home for Tiny Tots. Photos by RE/MAX.


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Bullet Journal Brainstorm #1

I had this idea for a tiny house design in my head, threw it into my bullet journal, and took it all the way into SketchUp. I thought I’d share the process with you – and start a new blog post series at the same time. I hope you like it.

I began just sketching a quick outline of the size house I wanted. Then added some approximate locations for all the stuff I wanted in the house, which was:

  • Space to sleep a family of four
  • A lower level bedroom that doubles as a living room
  • The bedroom needed to have a closing door, but open wide when used as a living room
  • A dedicated and private home office
  • A large bathroom with a soaking tub
  • A flexible yet simple table for work, crafts, home schooling, and meals
  • An ample kitchen
  • A fair amount of storage
  • A porch
  • Plenty of windows for views and light
  • Aerodynamic tongue side of the house for easier transport
  • A tall shed roof or shed dormers to open the space up to the maximum height
  • 32-foot triple axle bumper-pull trailer.

Here’s the initial sketch. It’s very rough because I only intended it for me to see – and I was just trying to place all the required stuff. I did several iterations. I don’t think I’ll use a fat Sharpie in the bullet journal again – it bleeds through the paper (but not through multiple pages luckily!).

The next step was to work out the details in more detail – to see if everything fit. Since I’ve got stencils, I used those to roughly block everything in. Again I wasn’t worries about how it would look because I didn’t intend to show it to anyone.

I’m showing you now because I think it’s good to see that any rough idea is worthy of putting on paper – even it you think you can’t draw. Don’t worry, your drawings can be just for you… so let the ideas flow!

The advantage of this bullet journal is that it gives you guidelines to quickly draw a tiny house on wheels to scale, with or without stencils.

I was digging the design a lot, so I threw it into SketchUp. The advantage of using software like SketchUp is that you can continue to iterate… but for getting the basic idea started I prefer putting it down on paper. Starting with paper also helps to make the SketchUp work go much faster.

Above is the floor plan of the lower level.

Below is the living room with the U-shaped sofa bed. These sections would slide around and reorganize into a bed without much effort.

The kitchen and large table are in the center of the house with the tallest ceiling. The table has two sections that fold down so you can choose how much of it to have open at once.

The bathroom is large enough to move around easily, get dressed, and would feel like a normal bathroom. The tub is 4-foot long.

The home office below is really a must for most people these days. I’ve been working from home for over a decade and really appreciate the door sometimes. Most tiny houses don’t have a dedicated space for work. This one is super small, but I could see making it work.

The little room to the left is an exterior accessed utility closet for the water heater, solar electric gear, and similar stuff you typically want out of the living space.


Below is a peek inside from the living room.

Below is a look from the bathroom toward the living room. Notice the cabinet above the sink doubles as a drain rack.

I decided to use a hip roof on both ends with two shed dormers in the center. The hip roof provides a lot of aerodynamics on the tongue side and looks more nicely balanced if it’s on both ends.

The shed dormers give you the most volume in a tiny house. The pitch on the dormers is 3/12, the hip gable roof is 10/12. The transom windows at the top should be operable for ventilation.

There are two lofts, one under each hip roof. The loft over the living room is deeper and could actually handle a queen size bed. The other loft is better sized for a twin.

The house would be built on a bumper-pulled 32-foot triple axle trailer.

A fold-down porch connects the two doors. The door on the right is the office. I continued the slope of the hip roof down the roof over the bump-out. This should be a fairly slippery design rolling down the highway – and it’s looks like it belongs too.

I think I might add this design to the Steel Tiny House Kits I offer and the Wood Framed Tiny House Plans. What do you think… is it worthy?

You can pickup the The Tiny House Bullet Journal and Tiny House Design Stencils here too. The bullet journals are on Amazon right now and the Stencils are currently on Kickstarter.

I’ll continue this series if people like it. I’ve got tons of tiny house designs in my head that often never get this far. Now that I have a place to jot them down, and a blog to share them, I think it might be a great way to share.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.




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10 Benefits of Steel Tiny House Kits

10 benefits to consider when choosing to build your tiny home using steel framing.

1. Higher R.O.I. — Your return on investment is better because with wood framing most of the cost is in the labor. This is either carpentry work you pay someone else to do or work you do yourself. Wood might be more inexpensive to buy, but it requires a lot more work to build than steel framed kits. With steel tiny house kits, 80% of your investment stays in the quality permanent materials, not lost as a labor cost.

2. Lightweight & Strong — Steel’s strength-to-weight ratio is 25-times higher than wood. A steel tiny house frame is 40-60% lighter than wood and 10-times the strength of a comparable wood frame. So it’s half the weight and exponentially stronger.

3. Quick Assembly — At the factory the steel framing is all pre-assembled into wall and roof panels. Once delivered to your job site you can assemble the panels in a day or two with the help of friends.

4. No Special Skills Needed — The pre-assembled steel frame tiny house kits don’t require an experienced framing crew. Since the kits are made directly from precise CAD (computer aided design) drawings, the panels are designed & built to simply screw together. All the screw holes line up perfectly square every time, there’s nothing to cut or measure. All you do is fastening panels together at square angles and attach it to your foundation.

5. Pest/Rot/Rust Resistant — Galvanized steel comes with a barrier to moisture and rust and makes an incompatible environment (or meal) for pests like termites.

6. Thermal Bridging Defeated — Modern sheathing options like ZIP™ Systems provides the thermal break, structural sheer strength, vapor and air barrier all in one application. Thermal bridging is a thing of the past – even for steel frames. Read more about thermal bridging.

7. Stonger Than Your Average Steel — The structural quality 20-22 gauge sheet steel in our kits is rolled through a series of dies and formed into c-sections. It’s ‘cold-rolled’ so no heat is required to form the shapes. As the steel is rolled, each c-section is cut to length, punched, dimpled, crimped and labeled. You can feel confident the structural elements will be sound and not be subject to fragile fold points.

8. ICC Complaint — The cold-rolled steel process used to produce these steel tiny house kits is ICC-compliant and IRC-compliant. This means you have verified proof that the technology producing your home’s steel frame is proven and produces the highest quality product. Read this ESR-2361 PDF for more information about the FRAMECAD technology.

9. Highest Quality — An engineered frame means you can sail past the design phase and avoid the risks for cost increases and delays. With the design done and the frame erected, it is easier to get a fixed budget, whether you are doing the work or bidding to subcontractors. Independently certified by the world’s most recognized quality assurance systems and organizations, our roll forming technology and manufacturing processes can be used for building throughout the United States.

10. Experienced Designer & Manufacturer — Michael Janzen has been designing tiny houses since 2008. He’s well known in the tiny house movement for advocating smart & frugal choices for tiny house living. That explains why Michael has chosen to work with the best manufacturer in the tiny house movement to product these Steel Tiny House Kits. Volstrukt uses the industry leading cold-rolled steel framing technology to produce tiny house frames and have been recognized by people all around the tiny house community as the leader in this space.

Photo by Volstrukt.

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