Around this time next year, Louisville’s Nancy Bohannon thinks she will be getting ready to move into her freshly built tiny house. Right now, she has a reinforced trailer, a stash of salvaged building materials, a schedule for collaborative building, and a growing following of folks who are also interested in learning about creating their own tiny houses.
Bohannon, who has been planning her house for a while now, shares progress reports and ideas on the Tiny House Project Louisville Facebook page and at workshops, like the one she recently gave at the Whippoorwill Festival in Berea. She has found that folks interested in other sustainability efforts, like energy efficiency and gardening for food, want to know more about the benefits of tiny house living: lower initial costs, lower ongoing costs, less maintenance and upkeep, mobility, repurposing of materials and “green” features.
So-called tiny houses, which may be around 200 square feet or smaller, are built using “all the same standards as a house on a foundation,” explains Bohannon. Materials going into Bohannon’s home include 2x6’s and 2x4’s left over from other building projects, salvaged wood windows that will become cabinet doors, sheep’s wool insulation, and a lavender tub, “my favorite color,” says Bohannon, that she was offered by friends redoing a bathroom. The house will be a Vardo style, with a curved metal roof made of car siding, a material used in railroad trains.
For the kitchen, Bohannon wants a “two-burner propane portable stovetop instead of giving four square feet for a stove, because I don’t cook.” A 24-inch wide refrigerator, either propane or solar, has a spot reserved.
Flexible solar panels, a composting toilet and a gray water collection system will keep costs down.
Collaborative planning, repurposing and building are a big part of making tiny house projects like this one a reality. Bohannon, who has many years of experience in home building and construction materials, is excited to share that knowledge with anyone who wants to come to the build site to see what the concept is all about. To get involved at the Old Louisville build site, check the project’s Facebook page. All are welcome, but Bohannon makes safety a high priority, so read the requirements for what to bring (safety glasses, closed toe shoes, etc.). Children, properly supervised, are encouraged to observe.
Photo: Shutterstock Copyright: Vaida
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