Build Yourself Homes
Home Is Where The Tiny House Is: The 130-square-foot "Fencl" is one of the (very) small homes offered by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company in California. The homes are available for purchase ready-made, but plenty of DIYers are choosing to construct their own. Tumbleweed Tiny House Company hide captiontoggle caption Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
The only thing tiny about the tiny house movement is the size of the houses themselves. There are a slew of websites devoted to the scene, and tiny house evangelists based in California and Vermont are busy traveling around North America helping people build these little homes.
"I'm just a freelance, insane guy working out of his backyard building stuff for people when the need arises, " says Derek Diedricksen, 33, a tiny house enthusiast who lives outside of Boston.
Diedricksen's backyard resembles a junkyard with piles of unlikely building materials and a handful of already-completed structures. His web video series, Tiny Yellow House, might be described as Wayne's World meets This Old House.
Diedricksen uses discarded building materials for much of his construction. In one shack, called the Gypsy Junker, the side of an old washing machine serves as a table. The bed platform is made of forklift pallet wood. In one of his videos, Diedricksen boasts that the Gypsy Junker, which is just 7 feet by 4 feet, can sleep three people.
"So if you want to have Shaquille O'Neill for a sleepover — I'm not sure why you would — someone up to 7 feet long could fit in this structure, " Diedricksen says. "It is possible to sleep three people in here, but just beware if it's family burrito night."
Diedricksen may come off as a wacky guy, but architects have taken notice of one of the designs in his book, Humble Homes, Simple Shacks, and a small cabin he built in Vermont will be featured in a forthcoming book about tiny houses.
Vermont happens to be the home of another eccentric figure in the tiny house movement. Peter King, 51, lives off the grid in a geodesic dome and has several tiny houses on his property.
"I just like the sense of economy, " King explains. "The sense of: you can't put a lot of stuff in there, so you have to be careful of what's important. And another beauty of the tiny house is that you can put them almost anywhere. They are moveable at this scale. You can easily put them up on rollers and pull them around."
King runs weekend workshops in which participants turn a pile of lumber on the ground into a tiny house. Four students pay for the experience, and a fifth person pays for the wood and has a new house at the end of the weekend. Most of King's students find him on the Internet thanks to a web video series called Stuck in Vermont.
On a recent weekend, King was working with students to build a 10x10 foot structure in Woodstock, Vt. The 100 square foot house will serve as a home office for a freelance writer and will cost a total of $6, 000 or $7, 000.