Favourite Feature #3: The Stairs

Next up on Matt’s Favourite Features of Tiny: the stairs!

The stairs are a central part of the overall design of Tiny and, like everything else, have to incorporate maximum storage, functionality, and aesthetics. These stairs took a lot of planning and consideration, and were one of the first things designed in the planning process because of their importance, their centrality in the home, and the space they take up.

The treads are made from maple, and the base is made from high-grade plywood. The handrails and trim pieces are reclaimed and repurposed wood, salvaged from various places and sources. The stairs have been finished with oil, followed by two coats of varathane for a smooth and durable finish.

Since the stairs go up to the sleeping loft, which, due to the height, requires you to be on your hands and knees to enter, the last tread before the loft is extra deep. This allows for a comfortable transition from the stairs to the sleeping area.

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!

One Big “Tiny” Update!

Well we are back with another Tiny House update, and we must apologize for the rather lengthy delay in getting more pictures up. Matt has been burning the midnight oil, so to speak, trying to get Tiny done and ready to head off to its new landing site in a few weeks’ time. It’s been a busy time here at Howling Dog Construction, but the effort is paying off, and the results are looking amazing.

This post will bring you up from our last update a few months ago, to what Tiny looks like now, today, on this fine Thanksgiving weekend.

Tiny Updates!

Since the last post, all the interior walls and ceilings have been completed with tongue-and-groove pine, and it’s beautiful. The ceilings have been left natural, but with a clear-coat for protection and to bring out their natural richness. The walls have been painted to add colour and vibrancy, and create an overall atmosphere of warmth and comfort.

The next step was to complete the plumbing, running all the pipes and waterlines along the inside to protect from freezing. Because of the small size of Tiny, there were a few challenges when trying to keep everything compact and minimize the exposed plumbing throughout the home. For example, the main water supply and filter has been contained within the bathroom vanity to keep it hidden. In order to get water to the shower and on to the kitchen, Matt needed to run pipes along the interior walls. To keep them hidden, he designed the couch and baseboards to cover them up. The result? No pipes are visible throughout Tiny!

Once the plumbing was done, it was time to move to flooring. One of the first things the owners purchased for Tiny was Ash hardwood flooring from a local company that was shutting down. Honduras pine was used for the loft flooring, which looks amazing from both above and below, which was important, because it is exposed on both sides, and is the kitchen ceiling. The Honduras pine was finished with a natural oil for protection, and it has become one of the favourite features of Tiny.

Once the flooring was complete, it was time to move to the interior features, such as the stairs and custom couch. Although the stairs were pre-designed when conceptualizing Tiny, each stair was custom-designed for the space to maximize space and storage capacity. The bottom three steps are removable, so that there’s room to get the fridge and other appliances into the kitchen. They are also storage containers themselves, with opening stair treads. The couch area is actually an integrated unit, containing the couch, a folding table and desk, storage units, and a shelf. It was custom built in the garage, and then installed in Tiny.

The kitchen cabinet boxes and drawers were an exciting feature to add into Tiny, as it really gave a sense of the kitchen, and defined the area. These were all custom-built to take advantage of every bit of usable space and to ensure that all of the clients’ kitchen implements would fit.

Once the cabinet bases were complete, it was time to install and finish the solid maple countertop. This is a gorgeous feature of Tiny, and was finished with BioShield Oil, which gives it a beautiful golden glow and a silky smooth feel. Everyone loves the countertop!

And then it was time for hook-ups, including propane for the appliances and heating and electrical. It was exciting to get Tiny all wired up and ready to go, and we are really happy with how the lighting levels have turned out. Kudos to Flux Electrical from Middle River here in Cape Breton for making this happen, and all the hard work it took to wire up Tiny — no easy feat!

Finally, Matt has been working hard on all the finishings, including storage shelves and racks in the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom, ensuring maximum storage space, even when living small. These are looking great, and it’s amazing how much storage can be designed into a tiny space.

Tiny Open House

On October 17th, 2015, we are having an Open House and Goodbye Tiny gathering at our house. Matt is busy doing finishing off the house, with this week bringing the cabinet faces installed and the completion of the much-anticipated doggie elevator!

Leading up to that exciting day, we will be releasing a new post a day, highlighting some of Matt’s favourite custom-made and custom-designed features in Tiny. Each day will bring a new insight into how to design “Tiny”, so keep checking back!

Tiny Home Featured on CTV Live at Five

We are always happy when others are interested in learning about the process behind building — and choosing to live in — a tiny home. Today, we were happy to share with Ryan MacDonald from CTV’s Live at Five.

Ryan came to film on location, and featured Matt as the contractor, and Nicky Duenkel and Judy Pratt, the Tiny Home owners. This segment was broadcast throughout Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick to over 220,000 viewers.

It was great fun working with Ryan and sharing the story of Tiny with the Live at Five audience.

To view the clip, click here.

Here are some pictures of the filming.

Tiny is Featured on CBC

We just found out yesterday that Tiny has been featured on CBC News online, complete with an audio-visual essay containing a clip from the CBC Radio Mainstreet Cape Breton Interview and pictures of the progress, as well as a write-up. There’s also a link to the radio interview where Matt provides an update.

Great to see the interest that Tiny is generating, and to see so many people interested in reducing their ecological footprint and living more simply and gently on this planet.

To check out the article, click here.

Adding the Siding

Well folks, this is the last in a series of five posts to get everyone caught up with where the Tiny Home process is at. Today we are featuring the beautiful Cape Cod siding, sourced and purchased from a Nova Scotia company, Cape Cod Finished Wood Siding.

The clients chose this company because of the local connection, the beautiful high-quality products, and because of the opportunity to order the siding finished in any colour that you choose. The siding is made from lodge pole pine.

This has been a great product to use. It goes on easily, and it comes with custom nails painted to match the colour of your siding, as well as extra paint to touch up ends or any nicks. And, as you can see, the colour is rich and vibrant and really pops next to the white trim, lending to the sense of happiness and celebration that surrounds Tiny.

You can also see in some of the pictures the cedar shakes that will be framing all the dormers. Once the siding is complete, Matt will begin finishing the cedar shakes, and then it’s on to the inside finishings!

While our next updates won’t be on a daily basis, we promise to keep them more up-to-date as the process continues. Stay tuned, stay posted, and check back soon!