Thursday, September 3, 2015

Home on the Range: Less is Sometimes More

Home on the Range: Less is Sometimes More: It's the day you've all been waiting for! The tiny house, which I've named Fremont is is finally, after many months, finish...

Less is Sometimes More

It's the day you've all been waiting for! The tiny house, which I've named Fremont is is finally, after many months, finished! Yes! Can you believe it? I know I find it hard to believe, but just over a year ago my husband James and I talked with our good friend Luke Anderson about the idea of building tiny. When we got the go ahead from Luke we started to design this tiny house. Looking back at our first sketches I'm so excited that the finished house looks so similar despite some changes that had to be made for engineering purposes.

The house is nothing short of a master piece, a true work of art. We started building roughly the first week of January and finished in the last week of August. Time is time, some may think it was a long time to build while others might be impressed with the speed but what matters is that it was time well spent. Time used to craft something beautiful. We all felt that it was important to fill this 230 square foot space with top-of -the-line, beautiful appliances and fixtures.  When you're living space is the size of some peoples walk in closet it is imperative to fill it with all things lovely, as you'll see it up closely every day.

 The home is built with standard 2x4 construction in which the studs are placed 16" on center.  When we were looking at insulation we chose to go with spray foam verses the typical fiber glass stuff. This is important because it doesn't allow for any air flow within the wall or ceiling. Oh, and the floors are insulated with EcoBat and reflective insulation and had an R value of roughly 30.  No need to worry about freezing pipes in the winter months.

The exterior siding is tongue and groove cedar which we sealed with a clear coat so you keep the natural color of the wood.  For the roofing we choose to go with tin because the idea is that this home is made to move down the highway. Who has time to deal with shingles blowing off your house as you pull it down the highway?Moving to the interior, the walls are covers in locally grown and milled, beetle killed pine. We wanted to use beetle killed pine because it gives the wood grains these fantastic colors. It is usually a grey blue, but we also had planks with orange, green and purple in them. This livens up the interior and provides a bit of visual interest. So you won't ever find yourself thinking that you live in a wood box. Instead you'll be thinking that your walls are a work of art.

Okay now let me tell you about all the cool features we put in to this house to make it a home. Living small can defiantly be a challenge. I'm sure most people won't even entertain the thought. After all, who would want to come home to a tight, cramped house? I wouldn't. When we came up with our floor plan our goal was to make it functional and livable. Livable for anyone. We wanted to challenge the idea that living small had to be uncomfortable.  Another goal we had that was instrumental in the design was the concept (and hopefully practice) of hospitality.

Most tiny homes are not made to comfortably house more than the one or two people who live in them. That didn't work for us. We wanted people to feel like they could have their friends over without worrying about were they would sit. So when you come into the house you step into the living room, if you will, where we built-in an L-shaped cushioned bench that will fit at least eight people comfortably. Oh, and you can sleep two adults on it so you can have people spend the night too!

Unlike the average tiny house we gave this home a galley kitchen. This allows clear passage from the front door and living space to the back of the house where the bathroom and loft are. This way the linear space is most effectively used. Moving left to right we have a full sized gas range, with about a foot and half counter space before you come to a mammoth white porcelain sink. After another section of acacia wood counter is a full sized stainless steel refrigerator.  Above the counter tops we have five floating shelves.

The lower cabinets and drawers are custom made by a  local cabinet shop to perfectly fit our space. All the drawers are equipped with the soft close feature. To switch things up we choose a gorgeous cherry wood and a soft warm finish and it's not just a vainer, but these are sold wood cabinets. They will not fall apart on you like an average cabinet which is made with partial board. Like I said above it was crustal to have high-end, well-made finishes in this house.
Past the refrigerator we have an compact dryer unit. Yes! It's true, you will be able to do laundry in this house. This single unit compact wash/dryer is the perfect size for this house and give yet just one more functional feature making it more livable. Above this unit is an amazing Rinnai instant gas water heater. With a flow rate of 4 gallon a minute this heater is more than capable to fill all the hot water needs of this house.

Moving past a hand made sliding barn door you come to a spa-like bath room. On the far wall you have a built-in utility closet and a small wardrobe. We left a space for a standard sized toilet at the end of the house. Some may thinks it's odd not to have put one in, but you know toilets are pretty personal. We felt that it was important to let the buyer decide what kind of toilet they want to install. Originally we were planning on putting in a composting toilet since this would allow the owner more freedom as to the location they may end up in. It could also be plumbed for a septic system.
Personally I would prefer the composting toilet. To me  it allows for the most freedom. It frees you from having to dispose of black water and I can park my home anywhere with out having to worry about hooking up to a septic system, but I'll stop there. Their are pros and cons to any type of toilet you pick.

The shower-I love this shower. Now we're facing the front of the home. In the corner is a full sized shower. I chose white sub-way tile because it's clean and classic with a gray grout to make it feel warmer. The floor is covered in small river rocks. Are you starting to feel relaxed yet? If you're not, just wait, you will.  For a shower head we chose a rain shower.
This way you don't have to worry about water spraying all over the place.Yes I know, how luxurious, right?  Exposed copper piping transports the water and to wrap up this super relaxing shower are glass walls!

Now moving to the right from the shower we have the vanity. The cabinet is made just like the ones in the kitchen with a dark walnut stained birch butcher block for the counter top.  On top of the counter we have a white porcelain bowl sink and a sleek stainless steal faucet.  Next to the vanity is another closet, for added storage.  

Are you ready to go up in the loft yet? Going along with the theme of livable tiny home we choose to give you stairs  instead of a ladder.  The stairs are made of angle iron and each step is welded on. The idea for these steps was to make them feel like they were floating. So you can see through them and it gives you the feeling of openness.  This loft is roughly 8' by 9'; large enough to fit a queen sized mattress.   Flanking each side of the bed are reading lamps with individual on/off switches.  Since we love big space in our tiny house we made sure that the slope of the roof was tall enough so you could sit up comfortably in bed without worrying about hitting your head.

Coming back down to the main floor a few feet for the end of the stair we have what is probably my second favorite thing this is house. I call it my coffee table. Basically it's a fixed table coming off the wall which looks through a huge picture window.  I can just imagine myself sitting there with my cup off coffee writing or working a sketch.  This space was also built to double as extra counter top space and a kitchen table.  Or for any other reason you can think of.

To heat this space we chose a Dickinson boat heater, which also runs of propane. This heater is a real space saver since it is mounted to the wall. I was a little worried that it wouldn't fit in with our rustic modern look, but it fit right in with everything else in the home. It sits on the wall to the right of the door as you walk in.

Congratulation, you just finished the basic tour of the Fremont. What do you think? I hope it challenged your perception of what it means to live tiny. We wanted to prove that living tiny could also mean living well, even luxuriously.  As you see it doesn't have to be cramped or uncomfortable. You don't have to give up your social life to live in one of our tiny homes.

Living small is one of the best ways to live large. Once you realize it isn't the amount of materialistic things you own that makes you content it allows you to focus less on yourself and more on others. It allows you the freedom to spend time creating experiences rather than just taking care of all the stuff you've collected over the years. After seeing all the amazing features and hard work we poured into this house the price shouldn't shock you. The starting price of the Fremont is $95,000. This house is an investment that will not deprecate like a luxury fifth wheel RV does as soon as you drive it off the lot, this is a home. If you are interesting in living tiny but aren't sure this floor plan will be your needs please feel free to email Luke Anderson at or call (307) 714-7505

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Home on the Range: Washakie Pass

Home on the Range: Washakie Pass: We woke yet again to a kind of quite that can only be expressed by wilderness. It's a soft calm silence. It's gentle with nothing ...

Washakie Pass

We woke yet again to a kind of quite that can only be expressed by wilderness. It's a soft calm silence. It's gentle with nothing harsh about it. It eases you from sleep beckoning you to see what's lying just  outside your tent. This is the best way to be woken up by silence and sunlight peaking into your tent. This morning went smoothly as both James and I fell into our roles.

James went to go fill up our drom and began to heat up water for our oatmeal. While'll I started start to pack up the tent. After breakfast James went to back his stuff up while I started to divide and pack up our food. By day three we'd really become quite efficient. It was great to wake up and be ready to go in 45 minutes verses an hour to an hour and half.

Today we both started off with a trekking pole, since the common consensuses among the other hikers that we meet along the way seemed to be that this section of trails were especially hard on ones knees, despite how in shape you were. We were off. Our first  mile and a half was down hill through woods which was big change from most of yesterday's hike. It was very pleasent. It had been about a half hour before we left that a group of boy fly fishes pasted our camp site all waves and smiles, we weren't too worried about running into them since they had a whole half hour on us. Sadly I was wrong.

Once we came all the way down we had our first river crossing. And there we came upon the group of young fly fishers. Now it was very apparent that we'd be play leap frog with this large group; which, to say the least is very disheartening for a few reasons. For one it slows you down a considerable amount and two it takes away from the remote experience of the hike.  Our solution to the problem was to out hike this larger and slower group.

Our plan worked until we had to stop to take off a layer of clothes and apply sunblock. As we were doing this 20 boys along with 3 adults passed us. Our only hope was that they would not be going as far as we were.  Thankfully  having this large group in front and sometimes behind us didn't ruin the hike like we had anticipated.  We were soon distracted by all the lakes.

Now I don't know about you, but generally when I think about mountains I don't associate lakes with them. The longer we hiked the more lakes we saw and they were large lakes. Each lake fed the lake below it like some giant water feature. With each step higher the view of the lakes became more astonishing.

while we did drink the water right out of the stream I would not recommend anyone do this unless they are able to verify that it is all snow melt and even then it can be risky. 

 We were fast approaching Washakie Pass. The closer we got the more we would see the slope of the land. It was as if it was all slanted down creating the masse movement of water down this side of the Continental Divide.  The lake at the top just before what looked to be like an almost vertical assent spilled over it's edge and slipped though a low bolder field where it filled the next lake. Which in turn fed the lake below that and the cascade effect continued it's way down unlike you lost sight of the water in the trees.

There were small glacier like in the picture above which fed the streams all the way down the ridge. I know I keep saying it, but I don't think that I'll be able to say it enough. The views were so fantastic!  I mean just look at that! The pass started out lush and very grassy and the grass was sprinkled with small white flowers.  To say the least it was enchanting.  It went from enchanting to desolate quickly with the elevation gain. Washakie Pass stands at a  height of 11,611ft. which isn't quit as high as were were the day before but it still quite high.

It was one of the best things to come to the top of the pass and cross the Continental Divide and see the word just open up for hundreds and hundreds of miles around you. It was like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time - jaw dropping. I'm not usually an emotional person, but when we crested the ridge and saw mountains and range land that was hundreds of miles away I had tears in my eyes. You're looking at what you know is real, but your mind is unable to comprehend it.

You know it will be beautiful, but you are unprepared for how beautiful it actually is and you're left there just trying to grasp it's vastness so you can put words to what you're seeing, but you're simply unable to come to terms for what your eyes are telling you. This photo will not bring tears to your eyes, but if you could be there and see if for your self the view just might bring tears to your eyes.