The Stone Soup Tiny House Blog

"...what have you in these houses? And what is it you guard with fastened doors?
Have you peace, the quiet urge that reveals your power?
Have you remembrance, the glimmering arches that span the summits of the mind?
Have you beauty, that leads the heart from things fashioned of wood and stone to the holy mountain?"

-Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tiny House Inspriation

Its very fun to see what types ways other people have designed small spaces. Here are some wonderful ideas from carpenter Bill Chase, who is a very talented and skilled carpenter.
Here is a chicken coop Bill built.  Note the details in both doors.

An amazing greenhouse. There are flowers cut out in the doors of this space.
A beautiful door.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The ceiling is beautiful

We have just finished putting the ceiling in the tiny house. The wood is salvaged, lightly sanded, and oiled. It has a complex, dark amber color, with visible saw marks.
Because the wood was older, it was irregular and needed to be squared up. We used the saw mill to create board of the same height, and then a skill saw to cut the board to the length they needed to be.

The board were ship lapped, using a router. In the image below, you can see one of the ship lapped edges.

There pieces where finished with oil, and installed. It took about three days to do the whole ceiling.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The dream of a home

When I first heard about Tiny Houses, I was very excited and inspired. It was a way of providing yourself with a measure of security and a way to live lightly on the earth. If built on wheels, a tiny house can be easily moved as you find a place to settle. The skills learned while building it are easily applied to building larger houses. So, for the past year and half, we have been researching the feasibly of offering a program to support interested and deserving parties the opportunity to design and build a home.  There has been a great deal of support in the building of tiny houses here, and, the Summer Semester is now primarily focused on building tiny houses on movable trailer frames.

I have found given the time, resources, and space to dream, a home begins to reveal itself in your mind and your heart. It is a home risen from your most honest knowledge of beauty and your most beloved activities of living.

My father told me that other day that the human mind can be likened to an amazing tool which transforms innumerable possibilities into the one reality which you are experiencing. As I build this house, with the help and support of my wonderful friends, I see that is true. What I am building is a self portrait; a projection of the mind and spirit I want to call mine. By building and ordering this home, I am creating a place to truly, finally be at home. To me, a home is a place that irrevocably binds you to the land; by knowing that lumber came from  trees which you once sat with; by holding in your hands the tools which sustain your life; by using materials in a way which honors the spirit in the wood, metal, and stone which we build with.
If we are graced with the simplicity to see it, than we must acknowledge how deeply our destiny is entwined to the earth and to each other, and awaken to the beautiful possibilities that we have only dared to dream.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Salvaging building materials

Anyone who works in the building trades is aware of how much materials gets wasted because it is not financially realistic to pay someone to carefully take apart a building. In modern homes, new windows, doors, and a number of other items can, thankfully, get sent to the Habitat for Humanity store. However, old hand-built homes are one of the causalities of modernity, and far to often a stunningly beautiful house or barn gets  demolished or burned. Sometimes, this is inevitable, because it is too dangerous, or the materials are no good. But, all too often, it is just a lack of time, and people are forced to treat a soulful, sturdy old hand-built home like a problem, instead of a resource.
We have been fortunate to have access to some lovely old homes and barns that were slated for demolition, and take some of the usable materials out. Old boards with deep wonderful saw marks; boards upwards of 20 inches wide; nicely seasoned, dry thick beams for trusses; high quality hardwood flooring - these are some of the things that we have salvaged from these old buildings.  The weather worn house below  is one that we used for salvaged materials. It stood overlooking the ocean for a long-time.

It seems like an important thing to look at the timbers in a house, and remember that the house was a place that children where born, food was made, people lived and died there, long, long before your were here. It a reminder that we are not owners of anything, but caretakers of the precious resources that we are blessed with. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tiny dog in the tiny house

Jimmy got a new P.I.R  or  puppy-in-residence. He is pictured here, next to his grandfather, Zeus. The puppy is named Zy, short for Zydeco.
He is just as impressive as he looks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making the Trusses

The trusses are made from salvaged lumber, which we salvaged from an 1880's homestead. It had a beautiful view of the ocean, and one day, when I was there, I saw a Bald Eagle strike the grass and come up with a field mouse. There where no windows in the house at that time, and the eagle was no more then 10 feet from the house. Thankfully, a lot of nice wood was saved before the house had to be burned.

The wood was sanded slightly- not enough to sand out the old saw marks in the wood. We planned to make the trusses timber framed with dovetailed joints. We decided that it would add a nice sense of space to make a curve in the rafter ( the two pieces which meet at the top) and the collar tie (the connector piece).
After the rafters were cut, we marked the curve, and used a jig saw to cut the curve. These where then sanded.
The collar tie was fit for each pair of rafters, and Jimmy and Daniel helped to do the advanced work with the dovetail joints. When each roof truss was finished, all the exposed edges where chamfored. This makes a very lovely rounded edge and is one of the beautiful little details that add so much, and doesn't take much time when working on such a small scale.
When all the woodworking was done, the rafters where sealed with a mixture of linseed oil and a non-toxic citrus thinner. This gives them a wonderful, deep amber glow.
The final product is something to behold:

Monday, July 1, 2013

The begining of the tiny house

My tiny house started as a defunct recreational vehicle, which was serving as housing for mice, and other small rodents.
We dissembled it.

We where able to save some of the small appliances from the original RV. There was a small propane stove/oven and a refrigerator, which where still in good condition. We are hoping to reuse these appliances in the final tiny house.