Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tiny Home foundation "issues"

Bad foundation ---->

Foundation is easy to screw up; mainly because it's difficult if you don't have any prior building experience! Whatever you do, don't build your foundation on these bad examples!

Good foundation -----> 

Hello again everyone!

At this moment, Kiah and I are attempting to level the trailer out and create a solid foundation for our tiny home.

We have 4 wheels in the back and two metal structures called the "landing gear". If we were to leave the trailer on it's wheels and the landing gear on the ground, we risk having the tires go flat (and therefore our trailer becoming UNleveled), the landing gear sinking into the ground, and just general tiny-house-chaos.

Oh, and BTW, the ground the trailer is on currently has an incline worth worrying about. Otherwise we would've dug the area and flattened it out before hand.

What we are planning on instead is:
1. Lift the back end of the trailer enough so the tires are off the ground
2. Remove tires
3. Get the landing gear on some kind of concrete
4. Support the middle of the trailer with some concrete
5. Level the entire thing.

Some issues we've run into with this (so far):
1. You can just use any jack stands to keep this baby off the ground. We have to assume the trailer is more than 1 ton unloaded and might be around 20-50 tons (we honestly have no idea what to expect). Better safe than sorry. With that kind of weight, you can't use; wood (if you use the wood with the grain going parallel with the ground, it'll bend and warp), cinder blocks (they are meant to hold a maximum of 2,000 psi (pounds per square inch), or dirt.

2. Paying for someone to come out all the way to Morrison and lay concrete slabs, THEN move them underneath the trailer is way too expensive.

3. The trailer needs to have solid foundation. We can't have it moving on us one day with us living in it.
4. How does one get the trailer off the ground in the first place?

Possible Solutions:
1. If we use enough concrete blocks in specific places, we may be able to disperse the weight so that it all isn't on the axles of the trailer and therefore will be able to get it off the ground and leveled.

2. We won't pay for that kind of service. It just isn't feasible.

3. We won't continue building until we have confidence in our foundation

4. We bought a 30-ton jack. Hopefully the trailer won't be more than that when we are done. If it is, we'll buy a heavier duty jack and send this one back.

This is the kind of concrete block we will be doing more research on -->

Fortunately for us (perhaps unfortunately for the next Tiny House builders), we have to learn the basics of engineering to calculate whether or not several of these grey beauties will hold up our frankenstein. Honestly, that just excites me :)

--October 3--

The jack has arrived! Again, it was about $95 and is a 30-ton jack, should be more than enough. 

Word to the wise; if you're gonna use a jack, make sure the ground you have the jack on is solid or the weight is dispersed with wood or something else. You don't want the jack going straight into the ground, it could sink! We'll put it on a couple of wood boards to disperse the weight.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Blue print (9/26/15)

This post will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back!

Blue Print

Hello again everyone! Another day with the trailer and our tiny house. As you'll see in another post, so far we've only spent about $1,200 (plus or minus $100, I can't remember the exact number right now). This includes the trailer, getting it towed, as well as a tarp we got to cover the entrance for the depths of winter. Winter in Morrison can be pretty unforgiving, let alone Colorado!

We have absolutely no idea how to build, but Kiah and I (Travis) are learning. One of the most obvious steps for us was a specific plan for the build, that way we know what we are up against as well as we will be able to predict some problems and frustrations as far as construction goes. As far as emotional, well, there's no predicting that ;)

After we realized we needed a plan, we figured the best, most efficient and fast way would be to draw the plan (as opposed to creating a 3D model of the trailer). We drew up the trailer to scale and here is the result so far;


Rudimentary? Yes. Remember our experience in building houses ;)

The important thing to remember is that one needs specific goals to follow, otherwise you're just 'winging it' and that usually ends badly.

Like we said in another post, the total square footage in the trailer is approximately 200! Which is good considering some of the tiny houses out there under 150sq ft. like this one >>

Anyways, thanks for checking out our blog. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us via the blog.

--Sept. 23--

We realized last night that we needed physical examples to look at. We used my parents' bathroom and shower as references and figured a shower that's about 3' X 3' would be perfect and a total bathroom space of 3' X 8'. Therefore, the bathroom/shower area will take up the width of the trailer in the "back" (the area above the axles). 

We'll draw up a representation of this soon.

--Sept. 24--


We had a family member reach out to us recently about the possibility of using their software to build a 3D animation of what the house might look like. This is definitely a huge blessing for us! Now we can actually see the house come to life faster than it would take to build.

That definitely points to the importance of treating everyone you meet with respect. This is what we like to call 'karma'. If you treat everyone you meet like crap, how do you expect people to reach out to you in your time of need? Anyways, once we get this 3D animation up and running we'll do our best to post it here! :)

--Sept. 26--

Hey everyone :)

We just bought a 30-ton jack to level the trailer. It was about $95 with in-store shipping. We'll post photos of what the trailer looks like and the jack after we get it leveled.

Total $$ spent: $1,455

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Yesterday was a great day because we wrote up our game plan for what we must do first.  We figured that the trailer needed some TLC before starting to rip everything out.  First we had to take care of the outside before we move to the inside. While we worked on our Game Plan, a thought popped into my head, building a house is like writing a paper.  

First we must start with an outline.  With every successful paper I've written, it started with the outline.  I figured if we want to be successful and achieve our goal of building this thing under $10,000, we must have an outline first, then we can start filling in the details.  

Also, just like in papers, we must think and be able to explain everything we have and want to do, in detail.  Everything we put into this tiny house, we must think of all the details; money, materials, time, work, and patience.  

I feel like when I wrote papers, it made me a better person and a smarter person as well.  I feel like with building this tiny house we are only going to grow.  We'll also be able to say that we built this on your own, that will be one of the biggest accomplishments I'll achieve.  I have no fear of success. I've pictured having a tiny house for years and I can't wait to see it come to life.  It will be difficult and we will always have obstacles and haters, but we will be stronger in the end.

--Sept. 20, 2015--

We got the dimensions of the trailer from the inside and found it to be a length of 25 feet, a width of 8 feet 2 inches, and a height of 9 feet 2 inches. This is of course with the wood still inside.

That gives us approximately 205 sq. ft. to work with. Thats not too bad! That, of course, is calculated by multiplying the length and width of the house. Don't multiply it by the height, I did that and came out with a much bigger place :)

Time for the blueprint!

Neither Kiah nor I (Travis) have any idea how to draw up a "professional" blue print, so we're gonna just draw the trailer to size and see what we end up with. You'll see a photo of that soon if you stay tuned!

--Sept. 22 2015--

Hello everyone! We have officially made our Game Plan! It consists of;

1. Measure the inside of the trailer, as well as the space between the ground and bottom of the trailer. DONE

2. Draw up a blue print

-Plan out the order of what will be built first, second, so on.

3. Level the trailer

-Mow the lawn around and under it
-oil the axle, wheels, landing gear, and landing gear crank
-get the tires off the ground

4. Remove the wood from inside the trailer, then cut out the doors and windows

After that we can't plan because we need the blue print done. We are in the process of that now. I'll create a separate post for the making of the blue print.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hey Everyone!

I see that Travis has introduced us and I'm really happy you all have decided to check out our blog and see all the shenanigans that we're getting our selves into! This is the first picture I took of the trailer.  I wanted to get pictures and videos of the process of moving the trailer onto the property, but..... unfortunately it was late at night and I was feeling stressed, so I thought it was best to try and be helpful.  Which in the end I was not because I broke one of my moms favorite camping lights, oops! :/

Anyway, my original idea was to have the trailer be parallel with the fence, but the only way our amazing truck driver could get the trailer in without damaging anything, was to park it diagonal to the fence. The truck driver who brought it up and backed it in for us, was such a patient and sweet guy.  I wish I knew his name.  Once I find out, I will be sure to let you guys know, so that if you guys ever need a truck driver, you'll have his name.  

And like Travis said before thanks for stopping

by and I hope you guys enjoy this adventure with us!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Game Plan

The Game Plan
How is this done?

We bought the trailer!!!! Here's our first pictures:

 .... not in the best shape, I know. But it's literally perfect. This bugger is 28 feet long! We expected this to be the most expensive part of the entire project. We figured if we could get this down far enough, we'd be able to spend more on the solar panels where it mattered the most.

Total cost: $1,360. <-- just on the trailer only. To go--> $8,640.

Essentially, we've drawn up a list of steps that we need to accomplish to get this whole thing built. This is what it looks like'

1. Measure inside and outside of trailer. Also measure the distance between the ground and the bottom of the trailer so we can draw up a blue print.

2. Draw up the blue print.

3.blackLevel the trailer, mow the grass around it, de-rust the bottom so the wheels will still work, and get the wheels off the ground somehow (to avoid further damage to these old thangs).

4. Remove the wood inside...? < We might not do that. Cut out windows and door(s)

5. (waiting for blue print).

We also have a running list of materials we need as the project develops. And of course a running budget. We'd like to keep a log of how much time we spend building this in total as well. Keep in mind, WE HAVE NO BUILDING EXPERIENCE!!!! haha this is supposed to be doable for the average Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.

The Couple... who are we?

Thanks for visiting!! Here you'll find Kiah and I embarking on an adventure to build a tiny house for $10K or less.

Who are we?

Kiah and I (Travis) are both people who live in Colorado. We both grew up in the mountains and we literally started out with no building experience whatsoever.

Luckily, we're both highly motivated and ready to make a difference in the world.

Truth be told, Kiah got me into Tiny Houses when we first met. Her mom lives in an unbelievably small house. I grew up in a much larger house (probably 3 times as big as hers). Whats interesting to see is the lifestyle difference between the two houses.

1. The bigger house tended to waste more stuff.
2. The bigger house, with all its extra storage, tended to have a lot of stuff not used.
3. Her smaller house had closer relationships and more meaningful interactions when people came to stay over.

How is it that these things came to be? It is my opinion, because when we as humans are offered more space than we really need, we fill that space up like we do our lives, so we aren't faced with the reality of how empty it all really is; the stuff gives us an illusion of substance.

This isn't to say my house was empty of human interaction and love. My parents are great people and I don't regret growing up there. However, there are stark differences in living in a small house versus a big house.

Who we are NOT
1. We aren't extreme; we don't make our own clothes, grow our own food, or walk everywhere without shoes.
2. We aren't experts in construction, we are probably more closely related to the stage before a beginner at this point.
3. We definitely aren't rich or ridiculously more privileged than the average American. We don't live near a construction site (nor do we know anyone who is in construction.... yet), and don't have a lot of stuff.
3. Lastly, we aren't crazy. We just want an affordable home (under $10K), and be able to save the planet as much as we can. We aren't crazy environmentalists (not to say all environmentalists are crazy), but we do love the Earth more than anything.

Help needed?
Like I said above, we aren't experts (at building or blogging), but we do try and we are learning everything on our own. If you need help, feel free to contact us on the blog and we'll do our best to get back to you.

Thanks again for visiting!