Posts Tagged ‘Article’

Toronto Man Wants City To Let Him Live In Tiny Home

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Anthony is in the Toronto Tiny House Facebook group.  Looking forward to following his story and hopefully meeting up with him at a local Tiny House gathering/meet-up.

 

A Toronto man is trying to get the city to embrace his pint-sized housing plan.

The proposed home will be cubelike, trailer-sized and wheeled — although not for the purpose of driving — and completely self-sustainable.

The problem? On paper, it sounds exactly like a standard travel trailer, and city zoning is clear: You can’t live out of a vehicle.

In reality, Anthony Moscar says his home will be anything but.

“Trailers are these temporary places . . . there’s no sense of having to be concerned about anything for the long term, because eventually you’re going to reconnect to a power source,” he says. “The tiny house isn’t any of that.”

Moscar’s home will be 11 metres long and between 2.5 and 3.7 metres wide. It will operate using rainwater and solar panels and will even feature a composting toilet. He’s been considering the idea for almost a year, and this spring, he intends to make the self-sustainable home a reality.

The 29-year-old naturopath and his supporters, who include one of the tiny-home movement’s Canadian experts, regard his home as the next frontier in living small. They also expect it to be a viable alternative for today’s youth as housing prices soar. (Moscar expects his home to cost around $30,000 to build.)

But first, they have to see if they can change the city’s mind.

A spokesperson for the city’s planning department declined to discuss ways in which Moscar might get approval to live in his house, or who he might speak with about it, saying only ‘there are no exemptions.”

“Toronto hasn’t really had to deal with that type of situation, and they don’t want to,” Moscar says, which he thinks is unfortunate.

He’s considering asking local eco-friendly organizations to allow him to locate his house on their property for a year or two as a way of showcasing sustainable living. As a backup plan, he’s checking with municipalities in a one-hour radius of Toronto to see what their policies are.

In places like Stuttgart, North Vancouver and a growing number of cities across the United States, the tiny-home concept is gaining traction, in large part because it responds to environmental and fiscal concerns.

That’s partly why Andy Thomson, an Ottawa-based architect and a Canadian tiny-home expert, started experimenting with small living years ago.

“You don’t really need to build 2,000 square feet because you can’t possibly occupy all of that at one time,” Thomson says. “Building smaller and more efficient buildings is kind of the sensible thing to do.”

Back in 2007 Thomson designed a miniHome, whose prototype was produced by Northlander Industries in Exeter, Ont. It’s exactly the type of home Moscar now plans to build, and once again, Thomson has provided the design and is helping Moscar navigate the zoning bylaws.

“The way to implement such an exemption is through a councillor, based on carefully reviewed merits and for a limited time period,” he says. “Just because there is no exemption, does not mean there cannot be one.”

Moscar is hopeful.

The idea appeals to his environmentalism and the timing is perfect. After living at home to save money through several degrees, he’s ready to finally move out.

It hasn’t been simple.

Every aspect of the home, from walls and doors to running water, heating and cooling and waste disposal, has required careful planning.

But after Moscar posted an online ad soliciting advice and potential land offers, emails from people ready to embrace the little home came flooding in.

They’ve offered everything: emotional support, help with the building process, wood for walls and custom-made frames, and advice on eco-friendly plumbing.

Moscar is their test subject for how to create tiny dwellings in Toronto.

Angelina Young, a contracts administrator in Toronto, emailed to offer moral support, while Jennifer Halpern, a local graphic designer, offered to help build.

“I would love for this movement to take off here,” said Young, although two young kids make it hard for her to test it out herself. “The possibility of a homeowner in an inflated housing market like ours finding a way to live without any house payment or rent and be content in simple surroundings and be able to save incredible amounts of money. It blows me away.”

For Halpern, it’s the perfect experiment. The simplicity the movement entails is something she thinks the city is ready for: “It makes you look inward.”

As soon as the weather gets nice enough, she’ll be out — with Moscar — to start building.

Thinking Tiny | Living Without Sacrifice: Solutions to the Top 5 Tiny House Limitations

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Just wanted to pin this here. So many great Tiny House Blogs for inspiration and reference. Cheers! Dan

by Gabriella Morrison (from Tiny House Blog)

Do you want to live tiny but are worried about having to make too many sacrifices in space and comfort? We were too but can say with total confidence and from experience that with the right design and house size choice, you can go tiny and still live extremely comfortably. We will assume DSC_0131that if you are reading this article on TinyHouseBlog.com that you share some (if not all) of the same dreams, goals, and values that we do. Living a life that is mortgage/rent inexpensive or free, that is abundant in time for travel, hobbies, family and friends, that is peaceful and harmonious is what we have been working towards for decades. We were so committed to creating that lifestyle for ourselves that we took a risk and built a tiny house (221 SF on a 28′ trailer + 128 SF in lofts) rather than a more conventionally sized home. We were prepared (and willing!) to make significant sacrifices in square footage to achieve our life goals.

DSC_0159Here’s the kicker: to our surprise we have not felt, at any point, that we have had to make any compromises or sacrifices in our self designed and built home. Not once have we felt that our space was too small, that our needs weren’t luxuriously met, or that we didn’t have enough space to run our home business, entertain, cook, bathe, watch movies, play guitar, wrestle with our dog, or store our clothes and belongings. Not once have we been uncomfortable, hurt our backs in the lofts, struggled on our stairs, felt like our fridge or kitchen sink was too small, or felt that we didn’t have enough space for an item.

Here are the common areas in a conventional tiny house that typically pose significant compromises/sacrifice and how we found a solution for each:

Tiny StairsSTAIRS: I would venture to guess that this is one of the top 3 reasons that someone would not build tiny. We’re youngish, strong and healthy but we don’t want to haul our bodies up and down dinky ladders to get to our bedroom each day. And what if we have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom? Not only do ladders to bedrooms sound miserable but they also seem like a bad idea for someone like me who fumbles to the bathroom with eyes nearly shut at night. We designed our house, which we loving named “hOMe,” specifically to accommodate Andrew’s modular stair system. The ratio between the treads and risers is set up so that going up is as easy and comfortable as coming down (even with my middle of the night fumbling). Further, there is 25 SF of storage space beneath the stairs and even enough space for a washer/dryer combo unit. Personally, we are using that large washer space as our hanging closet as it can easily hang 20 items of clothing. We also store all of our shoes, hats, winter apparel, dog accoutrements, keys, and purse in the modular system. It is a treasure trove of storage.

Tiny Kitchen 1KITCHEN: We are all for rustic living and have certainly done our share over the years including living in an 80 SF historic, off grid log cabin in the Colorado Rockies, tons of long term back country camping and spending 5 months traveling in a pop-up tent trailer in Baja with our 12 year old daughter. We know we CAN cook in a tiny kitchen with two burners, wash dishes in a tiny sink, and cram all of our food into a dorm sized fridge, but we don’t WANT to. Not in our home that we plan on spending many, many years in. In order for a space to feel like a home to us, there has to be a spacious kitchen. Ours is 56 SF and it is perfect. Andrew and I can easily cook together without bumping into each other. Our propane range/oven is a standard, full size unit which has 5 burners including the center griddle component. Our fridge is a super energy efficient, 18 CF model which we have yet to really fill up, and our sink is a standard, deep, single bowl with a built-in drying rack.

Tiny Kitchen 2We have lots of cabinets and storage galore: frankly, too much of it. More than half of our cabinets and drawers are empty because we have gotten really clear on what is necessary in our kitchen and eliminated unnecessary gadgets. I wouldn’t trade in that extra cabinet storage because we love how much counter space it provides. It also makes for excellent overflow storage should we need some extra space for a special occasion. Further, creating a U shaped kitchen was one of the best decisions we made in our house design as the work triangle is just the right size.

Tiny Bathroom SinkBATHROOM: Again, I know that we CAN brush our teeth in a mini-sink and shower in an 18″ x 18″ stall, but in our home, we really don’t want to. During our build we made a significant and vital design change that increased our bathroom length by 2′. This extra space allowed us to install a regular sized sinkand shower unit. Now the bathroom feels spacious, even with our giant Sun-Mar composting toilet. I mean, that thing is obscenely large and easily twice the size of a regular toilet.

Tiny bathroomWe have an abundance of storage space in two full drawers under our sink as well as a floor to ceiling storage cabinet. All of our toiletries, first aid supplies, vitamins and supplements (yes, we are those types that take about 20 natural supplements per day, so room for all that is no small thing), soaps/shampoos, cleaning and laundry supplies only use up about half of our available storage space. I should mention as a side note (read EXTRA benefit) that both the kitchen and bathroom, which are located beneath the lofts, have ample head room and do not feel cramped at all. That’s easy for me to say, but Andrew feels the same way and he is 6′ tall. Furthermore, our bedroom loft and our secondary loft both have great headroom as well.

Tiny House OfficeHOME OFFICE: I have worked from home full-time since 2004 and Andrew since 2007. We are both self motivated, passionate about what we do, and wouldn’t trade our jobs for anything. We have tried working outside of our home but have found that we are most productive and love our jobs best when we are working from within our own walls. No commute, we create our own hours, and pay no rent for an office space. Creating a functional office area in hOMe was a necessity and we feel we accomplished that. By creating a Tiny House Office 2paperless office (you can watch a short video on how we did that here), we eliminated 75% of the space we used to require to run our business. We found two folding desks that do double duty between office/work desk and eating table. Our printer and scanner are stored in our cabinets and all of our office supplies fit in just one tall cabinet unit. We also have overflow work space in three other areas in hOMe: our bedroom loft (we bought two bed loungers so that we can comfortably sit up in our bed), our TV/hang out lounge (lots of pillows create a wonderful cradle to prop us up) and the built in sofa. So if one of us is working on something that requires a lot of concentration without disruption, there are choices of work spaces.

Tiny House StorageSTORAGE: The hOMe design centers around a long and tall series of cabinets from Ikea. Even though we have freed ourselves from about 90% of our belongings over our last 3 year downsizing process (you can read more about that here), we still own some material objects. Again, we know that we can live with nothing more than 4 changes of clothes, a couple books, a laptop, toothbrush/floss, and a set of very basic cooking essentials, but in our own home, we need space to store some of the items and heirlooms that we don’t want to part with. Our cabinets provide us with 82 SF of storage shelving surface area, more than enough for our belongings and to house our favorite books, camping supplies, linens, etc.

Tiny Privacy WallPRIVACY: Andrew and I are super compatible. We have been partners in life since 1993, still love each other’s company, and are glad that we don’t work separate jobs in different places only to see each other for a few hours in the evening. That said, I don’t want to hear or see him every single Tiny House Privacysecond of my day (and I’m sure he feels the same about me!). So, we have been happily surprised and delighted at how much privacy we can find in hOMe. Because our bedroom loft is pretty large and has a wall that separates it from the open area below, it really feels like a separate bedroom. When one of us is up here, it feels like we are in totally different rooms. Perfect!

In sum, we have been ecstatic with hOMe and living tiny. Truly it is beyond expectation and our wildest dreams. The months of planning and design paid off and at this point there isn’t a thing we would change. By identifying and addressing each of the common tiny house limitations that we weren’t personally willing to live with, we were able to find solutions that are working. Because we chose to build tiny rather than a larger house, we were able to pay for the materials in cash and now have the security of knowing that we will always have a place on this planet that we can live for free. And being that it’s off grid, we aren’t bound to utility bills and the system. If you are considering making the move to tiny, we highly recommend it. If we can do it, so can you!

hOMe

Own Less, Live More: 700 Sq. Ft. Small House of Freedom | Tiny Living

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

KLand sent me this article. Just wanted to share. The link to the full article is at the bottom.

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When it comes to small houses planning and design really counts.

This couple began creating ideas for their future “perfect” home early in their marriage.

They wanted a home that was big enough for just the two of them (and their dogs).

This way they’d have more time and money for their personal interests.

own less live more 704 sq ft of freedom aaron leitz 004   Own Less, Live More: 700 Sq. Ft. Small House of Freedom

See more of Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel’s small house below. They’re the couple behind this 700 sq. ft. house of freedom.

 

And the home is environmentally friendly, too. They use a rainwater system to reuse water and hydrate their plants. They also have a 550-gallon rain barrel on the property.

Cleaning is a breeze since you can plug the vacuum in at one spot and reach the entire house from there.

own less live more 704 sq ft of freedom aaron leitz 001   Own Less, Live More: 700 Sq. Ft. Small House of Freedom

It’s a one room design with a curtain for privacy to enclose the bedroom when desired. The home was completed in 2012 with costs of about $135,000 to build (including labor and materials).

A Rais wood stove that swivels is what keeps the place warm.

They were also able to include an office area for the both of them.

Along with book shelves throughout to store their collection of literature.

own less live more 704 sq ft of freedom aaron leitz 002   Own Less, Live More: 700 Sq. Ft. Small House of Freedom

Another one of their smart design moves was putting the washer and dryer in their clothes closet so that doing laundry is quick, easy and painless.

Genius, I say.

own less live more 704 sq ft of freedom aaron leitz 003   Own Less, Live More: 700 Sq. Ft. Small House of Freedom

If you head out back on the property you’ll also notice two storage sheds with living roofs.

One of the sheds is like a workshop with tools, bench and garden supplies while the other holds their recreational stuff like their kayak and other outdoor gear.

And yes, they actually have the spare time to use this stuff thanks to their less demanding home.

“There’s so much personal freedom in going smaller,” says Mr. Kennel in the article at the NY Times.

Read the original article here.

See more by taking a complete photo tour of their 700 sq. ft. home here (click on View Slide Show when you get there).