by Ben Barthell
The house (called the steely cottage) is designed and built from scratch on a 24 x 8.5 foot flatbed trailer. It has taken just under a year to complete. The charter I used to build it is pretty simple, “everything I need, nothing I don’t”. The house is fully off the grid, all electrical is generated by a self contained solar system (PV panels/control center and batteries for storage)
Water is pressurized and stored in the house, I just add water to the on-board storage tank every week or so from a hand pump well on the property (rain catchment as well). The bathroom has a fill size shower, sink/vanity and composting toilet. All “grey” water goes to watering the gardens. Hot water is generated by the vacuum tube solar water heater that circulates hot water to the hot water tank. The house is plumed just like a “normal” house. There is a small clothes washing machine that will do full loads and I dry on the clothes line outside.
As you can see by the photos, there is a full size kitchen with a LP stove, 24v fridge/freezer, lots of storage and room to prepare food. The bedroom has a queen size bed with closets at both ends and a chest of drawers under the bed. There is a small drop-down “office” for my computer and I am currently designing a sofa/table unit for the living area. The house is mainly heated by the wood stove, but passive solar keeps the house quite warm!
The outside of the house is clad in recycled cor-ten steel sheets. (hence the steely cottage name) These will/are rust to a lovely color and then be maintenance free for pretty much ever.
In short, this 200 square foot house has all the creature comforts and amenities of a “normal size” house, just smaller. I have no utility bills, mortgage, or a big house money pit.
It is interesting that in this country we call these “tiny houses” when in most of the rest of the world my house would be a castle! so I like to call mine a “world house” For not really that much money, a small family with a modest income could thrive in one of these. So I am trying to help spread the word and I have the resources and ability to construct these lovely houses (in lots of design options, not just like mine) with ultimate self sufficiency and off grid as a basis to start and off we go!