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tumbleweed houses

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Jakeman, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

    These things are awesome. I am actually tempted. Such a cheap way to live. You could save tons of money and not have to work very much.
     
  2. Wiezzen

    Wiezzen Peasant

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    Haha! Those are awesome! I don't think I'd be able to live in such a small building though, I'm a person who needs a little more space. It'd be awesome to use while on a road trip, camping sucks and hotels never have comfortable beds.
     
  3. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I went to Jay's open house (the owner of the company). I toured his tiny house, asked questions, etc. The house is smaller in person, but it's about what I expected. Overall I was impressed.

    The main sticking point is where to put the tiny house. Basically the options are:

    1) Buy land.

    2) Rent space at a mobile home park.

    3) Park it in a friend's backyard.

    Land is expensive. Rent at mobile home parks isn't much less than my current apartment. And I don't have any friends to ask who have accessible yards (that might be an awkward situation anyways).

    It's not a significant savings if you have to rent land, unless you are currently living large which I am not. So I can't justify the expense / savings ratio right now.
     
  4. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  5. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    btw, I went to Jay's building workshop recently in San Francisco. I learned a lot but I am still not confident in my building skills.

    I got some more information about these guys. They build tiny houses on wheels very similar to Jay's houses. The prebuilt tortoise homes are much cheaper (roughly $25k - $29k equipped) than Jay's prebuilt tumbleweed homes ($39k - $54k). The tortoise homes are also much simpler inside. I don't generally see lots of cabinets and integrated furniture in the tortoises. The layout of the tortoises is usually one big room with a mini kitchen, a small bathroom in the corner, and a loft. The tortoises also have an option for a codding steel frame which is stronger and lighter than the wood frame (weight is very important for these homes on wheels).

    Blog posts with pics and stuff:

    http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/tortoise-shell-nursery-visit/
    http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/do-it-yourself/
    http://tinyhouseblog.com/pre-fab/the-box-turtle/
    http://tinyhouseblog.com/tiny-house/tortoise-shell-home-bargin/

    The tortoises are 8x16 feet. He is also working on a 8x32 model:

    http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/new-tortoise-shell-home/
    http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/new-tortoise-shell-design/

    I emailed them asking for more pics, info, prices, etc. I got this:

    That's neat you can actually rent one in Bodega Bay to see what it's like to live in one.

    Their site sucks, but I found these pdfs with more specs and prices and stuff:

    http://tortoiseshellhome.com/OptionsPricing.html
     
  6. Wiezzen

    Wiezzen Peasant

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    Someday I'm just going to buy on of these and just park it in the yard of a family member's place. Paying house bills would be easy as they'd only need to charge me for hydro and electricity.
     
  7. Calendryll

    Calendryll MSC Commander and Donator

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    If I were single then these would be perfect. I wonder if the resale value increases like a normal house or decreases like that of a mobile home?
     
  8. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I imagine they decrease. The flip side is that your cost of living is nothing, so it's a savings to your bottom line that saves you money every month. Invest it or save it how you want.
     
  9. Calendryll

    Calendryll MSC Commander and Donator

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    If you were to put it on an actual foundation (this would be cheap and easy) then you might increase value. I don't see any difference between that and an ordinary house. I'm actually amazed at how nice these are inside.
     
  10. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    You can definitely do that. I personally wouldn't put it on a foundation because then you are subject to the bureaucracy. Suddenly you have to get a building permit, meet code and inspection, pay property tax, etc. If it's on wheels then there are only zoning laws.
     
  11. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    Also you would be subject to minimum size standards. None of these tiny houses are big enough to be a legal residence. This and other querks are addressed in Jay's book:

    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/books/

    One thing that Jay did to get around the law is he got a mortage on a place and rented out the house to pay the mortgage while he "camped" in the backyard with his tiny house which is legal on your own residence.
     
  12. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  13. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    I just rented one of these in Bodego Bay. I stayed overnight on Saturday just to see what it's like. I was very impressed.

    I rented the Galapagos model which is 8x17 with an attic for sleeping or storage. It was quite roomy since the tortoise homes only come with the basics (no integrated furniture and whatnot). It had a mini kitchen with propane burners and a little fridge and sink. And it had a full-sized bathroom with a pretty big stand-up shower. I could fit in one of these houses no problem.

    There was a 40 gallon water reservoir in the attic. You don't need a reservoir if you hook up the water line to a garden hose though. There was a windmill on the roof to charge the car battery which supplied power to the lights and fridge. A windmill works well on the ocean because there is constant wind. It also had a propane tank for the stove top and heater. The heater actually ran exclusively on propane so it just radiated heat instead of using an electric fan to move the air. The propane tank and electrical systems were nicely mounted in a metal box that was attached to the side of the unit. The box also had easy controls for managing the electrical systems.

    It had a standard RV toilet with a septic tank. I would probably get a compost toilet myself. The gray water (shower, sink) just drained onto the ground.

    The house was very sturdy and resilient. It was raining while I was there so it obviously weathers well. The sound and thermal insulation were pretty good. I "kicked the tires" so to speak, and everything seemed very sturdy and well built. There was nothing cheap or chintzy about it.

    I was going to meet with Billl Kastrinos (the guy who makes these homes) during my trip but that didn't work out. Instead I talked to him on the phone. One thing I learned is that he doesn't recommend these homes for RV use. While these houses are built on wheels and can be towed, they are built more like a regular home and not as a portable residence like a RV. He recommends hiring a professional towing service if you need to move the house.
     
  14. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  15. OsIriS

    OsIriS Peasant

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    I would prefer to put solar panes on my roof than to just use white reflective panels....what deters me from actually using solar panels down here in Florida is the threat of Hurricanes. The last one to hit us -- Wilma, was pretty bad and I'm not sure how insurance would handle destroyed, very costly solar panels my guess is they'd just blame water damage and tell me I'm not covered, despite them being on the roof, and well, unless a previously uncategorized hurricane hit, like say a Cat 7 no storm surge or flooding would ever reach the roof.
     
  16. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  17. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  18. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  19. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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  20. Jakeman

    Jakeman MSC Founder and Donator

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    lithium iron phosphate batteries are godly:

    http://www.batteryspace.com/lifepo4batterypacks.aspx

    they appear to be about 4 times the price per unit of energy storage when compared to conventional lead/acid batteries, but the advantages more than make up for the difference in price:

    http://www.metaefficient.com/rechar...tive-lifepo4-batteries-electric-vehicles.html

     

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