Favourite Feature #4: Crafty Cupboards

Cupboards are essential for any home; but in a Tiny Home, they are even more essential. Matt and the clients wanted to find ways to maximize every available space in the kitchen, creating a kitchen area that is not only spacious, but stores a surprising amount of items.

All the cupboards were handmade and custom built to space, out of plywood with a maple face, and finished with varathane to give a smooth, durable, and natural finish. Some of the interesting features of these cupboards are drawers at the bottom of each cupboard where the toe kick normally is, avoiding 4 inches of wasted space. The drawers feature full extension sliders, to easily access all parts of the storage space. The drawers were also specifically designed to accommodate all their kitchen appliances and pots and pans, ensuring that every item had its place.

The bank of drawers next to the desk function as office supply storage, with the top drawer containing an inner charging station to avoid unnecessary clutter from electronics.

Finally, to allow two people to easily work together in the kitchen, a custom fold-up countertop was designed, maximizing the working and chopping space in the kitchen.

Favourite Feature #2: The Ladder

Our next featured design from Tiny is the Ash ladder leading up to the second loft above the bathroom.

The final ladder design emerged after testing out several different prototypes. In the original plan, the ladder was incorporated into the shelving unit itself. But, as the building progressed, and different designs were tested, it was decided that this was too complicated, and the desire to have a simplified design led to the current version.

As you can see from the pictures, the ladder is designed to slide behind the shelving unit, in a space between the bathroom wall and the shelf. The ladder has wheels on the bottom that are only engaged when it is in the upright position to facilitate sliding back and forth. At the top is a simple hook and eye system, allowing the ladder to be slid out; when pulled into position, the hooks automatically engage, holding the ladder securely in place.

The ladder itself is made out of Ash, from Windhorse Farms‘ sustainable woodlot on the mainland of Nova Scotia. We love how it turned out!

Favourite Feature #1: Integrated Couch, Desk & Table

As promised, here is the first installment of Matthew’s favourite features of Tiny. First up, the integrated couch, desk, and table set that was designed specifically for the needs of the owners and for the space.

This unit is a big part of the central house design, and is not only a main decorative feature, but is also a critical piece of the living space. This unit incorporates multiple storage spaces, a shelving unit, a permanent desk and foldaway table, and a comfy couch.

The whole design was a challenge, given the space requirements and the multiple uses and functions the unit had to perform. A lot of thought and prototypes went into this design, and we are so pleased with the results.

The shelf unit functions not only as a needed storage unit, but also as a way to hide the sliding ladder leading up to one of the lofts, and cover the sliding door to the bathroom.

It was important to maximize the storage capacity of the couch unit, by building in storage units under the sitting space. These units also add a great accent of colour and can also function as extra seats when guests are over.

One of the hardest parts was the design of the desk and table unit. The challenge: the desk needed to be a permanent fixture, but the table needed to be able to be stowed when not in use, freeing up the couch space. This design enables the table to be pulled out, while the desk is in use. Matt went through multiple designs and prototypes of the leaf system, finally settling on the one you see in the pictures, both for strength, durability, and ease of motion and use.

The custom-made upholstery adds the final finishing touch to this unit, and creates a very comfy couch and extra bed. It also adds a bright pop of colour to the unit, creating a warm and welcoming space. Overall, this has become one of the most eye-catching and innovative parts of Tiny!

Raise the Roof!

The Great Roof Raising finished last week, starting with the placement of the ridge beam (2 ply LVL) on the newly-erected frame. The ridge beam runs through the centre of the house, and is designed to carry the load of the roof. We choose this design to allow for the cathedral ceiling, which maximizes interior space.

Once the ridge beam was in place, infilling the roof joists went quickly, giving the full shape of the Tiny House roof line. Since the house is designed to be mobile and on the road, there were a few additional items that had to be added to the roof to ensure it can stand up to the rigours of transportation and conditions on the road. You will see in the photos all the metal hangers and ties, which help hold everything together, nice and tightly, whether in motion or in one place standing up to wind and weather.

Sheeting the roof between snow storms was an exciting moment, as it not only gave the full sense of the height and width of the Tiny House, it brought some much-enjoyed shelter from the storms.

And Then There Were Walls… and a Floor

Things have been a little bit quiet here on Howling Dog Construction website over the last few weeks, as Matt has been focused on building the Tiny House and getting as much done as possible in between the blizzards, storms, and freezing rain that have frequented Nova Scotia this winter.

Despite the unpredictable weather, the Tiny House is really taking shape! Once the spray foam was finished, the subfloor screwed to the frame of the trailer. Once the floor was laid, it was time to stand the walls. But first, they had to be dug out from two feet of snow!

Standing the walls was an exciting moment, as it really gave a sense to the shape and size of the Tiny House. And it was a bit of a relief that everything fit together so well, given that each wall had been pre-built.

Then came the sheeting of the walls, which enclosed the Tiny House and brought further stability to the frame of the house.

Next up: putting in the ridge beam and framing the roof, with pictures coming soon.

And the Building Has Begun!

It’s been a busy week here at Howling Dog Construction, with construction starting on the Tiny Home.

Despite the cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, we were able to successfully spray foam insulate the trailer frame, which will become the floor for the Tiny Home. In order to meet the conditions required for spray foam installation, a temporary structure had to be built around the trailer to keep the weather out, and the heat in (there was a lot of ice on the trailer to melt!).

Matt also got started on the walls, starting construction outside with the long walls, and then moving into the garage due to weather to complete the end and dormer walls. Here are some pictures from this week’s progress:

Up next this week: laying the plywood for the floor and attaching it to the trailer, followed by the standing of the walls! It will be an exciting week of transformations and development, all in our driveway.

Stay tuned for regular updates and pictures as the construction progresses. And if you are interested in learning more about the process of downsizing to a Tiny Home (or the adventures in ‘right-sizing’ as they describe it), please visit the blog kept by the soon-to-be Tiny Home owners.

Tiny Home Building

While I enjoy all sorts of renovation and construction challenges, over the last six months, I have been working on an exciting new project to design and build a Tiny Home for a great couple who are on a quest to downsize, simplify, and live in a more environmentally-sensitive way. This has been a great learning experience, that has stretched my learning and design skills to a new level, and challenged the way I look at houses, housing solutions, and space usage.

We are now moving into the construction phase, which I hope to start by the middle of January, pending the completion of a custom-made trailer that is currently being manufactured by Kerr Trailers in Quebec. Given the size of this Tiny Home (175 square feet, 25 feet long by 7 1/2 feet wide), I’m going to be building it in my driveway here in Coxheath. For more information, check out my Tiny House Project page, where I lay out more details and share some photos.

Stay tuned for pictures and videos as the project continues.