Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Living Small


Tiny Green Cabins was asked to be a part of an exhibit on sustainable shelters at the Bell Museum of Natural History. They shot over 2 hours of video at our location and many more hours of University Professors before opening the exhibit and releasing the video. We are proud to be a part of this exhibit and know that you will enjoy the video as well as the other related videos that are part of the exhibit.

Check our website for more information and stop by the Bell Museum of Natural History for a tour.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Our CO Emissions, Housing and Tiny Bubbles

Or not so “tiny bubbles” but huge balloons as our carbon footprint

Mid 1800's house CO Emissions

Mid 1800's Home and CO Emissions in pounds

The mid 1800’s home in this time period typically was home to 7-8 residents including children. The calculation of CO per person would be a better unit of measure as per person CO emission would be about 500 pounds per person.

1950's Home and CO Emissions

1950's Home and CO Emissions in pounds

The mid 1950’s home in this time period typically was home to 4-5 residents including children. The calculation of CO per person would be a better unit of measure as per person CO emission would be about 1200 pounds per person. This is also the start of the technical age where electronics such as TV’s, radio, refrigerators and other household gadgets start to enter the home.

Today's Home and CO Emissions in pounds

Today's Home and CO Emissions in pounds

Today’s home in this time period typically was home to 3-4 residents including children. The calculation of CO per person would be a better unit of measure as per person CO emission would be about 4000 pounds per person, unless you lived here a lone occupant, then the CO emission would be 12000 pounds. This home is features a huge list of gadgets such as TV’s, radios, stereo systems, washers & dryers, dish washer, internet connection, ipods, phones, can openers, toasters, ovens - small and large, electric grills, hot plates, ceiling fans, security systems, garage door opener, computers, and many other electronic and electrical items.

This home is also home in 50% of the study inhabited by 1 resident. It would have a 2 car garage, 2.5 baths and 3-4 bedrooms. Most of the space is just to house the stuff that we accumulate. A friend that toured the exhibit with Jim commented that she never thought about the impact of her living in this typical home alone and is now going to take a new look at living large.

Using the math and computing what a Tiny Green Cabin Wildflower and Breathe Easy emission would be approximately 576 pounds of CO emissions when inhabited by 1 person. And I will agree that not all people would enjoy living in a tiny house, and yet the the disparity and CO emission would lead some to reconsider living smaller than what is a typical home today.

The photos are from the Bell Museum of Natural History exhibit on Sustainable Shelter. Tiny Green Cabins assisted with the exhibit and is featured in some of the videos put together by the Bell Museum.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

So, you are thinking of downsizing...to a Tiny House

The Tiny House movement written about by Small House Society, Tumbleweed Homes, Tiny Texas House Company, Tiny House Blog and many other people in the tiny house movement is not a new concept.

Our forefathers came from Europe in ships that ferried people from the old country to the new places, such as South Carolina and other locations along the east coast of North America. They came in ships that packed people in the cargo holds, and if you could afford a berth, you had a carpenter build you a bed in part of the hold that your family could call their own space. Otherwise, the passengers found a place to sleep in the hold as they claimed a piece of the floor as their own.



Upon landing, say at Plimouth Rock, the people debarked from the boat and set up communal areas, and eventually small places, such as cabins and what we would call tiny, primitive log houses. The folks that did business out of their homes had a small area of the cabin as their work space (it was generally the front part of the cabin) and had a shingle hanging over their door so people knew who they were and what they did.

Thomas Jefferson had a small cabin on his plantation that sat to the front of his property and this was his office and lawyers’ office. From Plimouth Rock Plantation to Daniel Boone, to Abe Lincoln, to the soddies on the Plains, to mountain man cabins, to hermitages, to space exploration and colonization, small has been the rule. Make less do more, and create dual-purpose spaces.

In the pursuit of small, however, living big came into being the focus; keeping up with the Jones, bigger is better, living in high-rise condos that spew light into the night, etc. All for the sake of attempting to say, “See what I have, I am better than you!” without saying a word.

The size of a home varies around the world: while some families live in one room huts, others have gigantic homes which seem to never end. Whatever the case, homes tend to grow with their owner’s prosperity. Since 1970, the size of the average new American home has grown by 50 percent. This growth trend is similar in most Western countries. For every trend, however, there is a counter-trend. In the case of home size, more and more people are choosing to live in small homes. Most who downsize opt for more modest quarters, while some homeowners take this trend to a new level, choosing to live in tiny homes (and we mean tiny!). These tiny homes can be as small as 90 sq. ft. complete with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, and living quarters.

For our definition at Tiny Green Cabins, LLC, small housing is anything less than 1500 square feet. Tiny House living is generally thought of less that 800 square feet. Living really small or wee living could be thought of as less than 300 square feet, and this could encompass tiny cabins such as Tiny Green Cabins.

When you are thinking of downsizing, it’s a good idea to first get the feel of what that means to you. Start by seeking out Tiny House builders and ask them to tour one of their tiny houses, and if possible, ask to use one for the weekend. They just may be open to renting one out on site for your curiosity. Tiny Green Cabins has a model and would rent it out for those that want the unique experience of living small. Another option is to find a resort that has tiny cabins/houses for longer stays. You may find that you absolutely love it, or decide that “Gee’ this is nice, but not for me!” As one our visitors emailed us after a visit, “We can’t thank you enough for your time and information - and for letting us into the world of this special little home

On the West Coast, Tumbleweed Homes would be an excellent starting point. On the Gulf of Mexico, Tiny Texas Houses, and on the east coast Vermont Tiny Houses. In the heartland of the Midwest, Tiny Green Cabins is ideally located for all to visit. Based in Minnesota, they are built tough to withstand the wide temperature ranges, from Siberian cold to summer hot, and Tiny Green Cabins are also energy conscious.

At Tiny Green Cabins, we will customize a plan, construct it in the most energy efficient way, build it non toxic, build it to live partially or completely off the grid, or build it so you can finish it yourself, or build it turnkey. With more than 40 years of carpentry and builder/remodeler experience, we have learned to enjoy being different, and that means we can respond to what you want easier than builders that only do business “their way.” You are the customer, so we do business your way.

No frills, no gimmicks, we just love what we do!

Monday, April 12, 2010

It Is Spring!! YES!!!

Rumi says: "What dies in autumn comes up in spring because this way of saying NO becomes, in spring, your praise song YES." Where do you need to say NO so the song of YES can be heard, the seed of YES can flourish? Sometimes they need to be said internally so old habits die & new ways of being are cultivated. Sometimes they need to be said out loud, so the world can hear them.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I am entering a new chapter in my life, and still being like the caterpillar, I am morphing /changing some beliefs, thoughts and discarding some old archaic ones that caused more grief than created joy. Oh, they were good, as they did kind of protect me, and yet they allowed the same old patterns to repeat themselves. Have you ever read Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping? It is a good read, and if you find yourself repeating some things over and over again, purchase the book and then contact Rev Sher about it.

I was in a game 15 months ago with her and uttered the phrase, “Oh, here we go again!” not realizing that my intuition was trying to convey a message to me. 6 months later, the relationship I was in - ended.

So, I found myself creating the same pattern in my life over 40 years! For the 3rd time! The last time around – last fall, when a relationship ended, I decided that it was imperative to find out why and figure out how to think anew! I have been working on this via journaling, therapy, meditation, and listening to the whispers so if I chose to do a repeat, it is a conscious informed choice rather making an unconscious choice. While I knew that each obstacle or time for growth can be painful and yet be a blessing, I needed to learn to walk the talk. I am learning that each event is blessed and I am grateful for all the learning opportunities I have had. I can let go and know that while I may not approve, I am at peace with the outcome. Life is indeed “Great” and as Rumi says what dies in the fall is also saying yes to what becomes, in spring. Where there is death, there also is life, and that means change. So, I welcome the new life and possibilities that are manifesting now in my life as well as what I am co-creating. And since this is spring – I am welcoming my new life!

On a lighter note, tonight my son and I went roller blading and bike riding. He used the roller blades and I used my bike. He pushed his son in the cart and we were making excellent time. For a while there, I rode ahead and slowed down at the intersections, checking for traffic and then would yell “Clear” so he could roller blade through safely.

After a bit of this, it occurred to me that when I lived in Sioux Falls in the 70’s, I rode around with the police officers on the 11 to 7AM shift. I often referred to it as a time of play, and later developed a respect for what the police did each night. Some nights it was so boring, making rounds, stopping at coffee shops, checking businesses out that it would create a long night…..until all of a sudden something would happen….a car running a light that turned into pursuit driving; or a code coming in that an accident with fatality had just occurred;…then the adrenalin would course through our arteries and trigger the flight or fight mode. Of course, there was no flight…just fight! So as a civilian in the squad, I had the chance to watch for traffic on the passenger side and yell “clear” as we approached intersections.

Now my life is a little calmer as I build a business called Tiny Green Cabins or consult and work with my son undertaking remodeling work for Redeeming Restorations LLC.

Tiny Green Cabins are earth friendly cabins, tiny houses, and small homes ranging is size from 48 square feet (Mini-Sota model) to 252 square feet (Denali Model) The Wildflower Cabin is 120 square feet and built with green certified materials, reclaimed products as well as recycled materials. The Breathe Easy is a toxic free cabin for those that desire a safe house or safe home to live in. The insulation used is Ultra Touch Cotton insulation made from recycled blue jeans or Air Krete foam insulation. Even the floors are insulated!

Redeeming Restorations is a neighborhood Builder / Remodeler serving the twin cities metro area. We provide many services including remodeling, restoration projects, decks, new construction, handyman services, and custom art murals.