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)
Take a look at an article about the PV system in Home Power Magazine. It will give you everything you need to know about setting up a solar power system in your home.
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 4×8 solar water heater panel 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 have rusted 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 with ultimate self sufficiency and off grid as a basis to start and off we go!
I love the look of the rusted steel, but was wondering how hot it gets to the touch? Also, do you have difficulty with moderating temps in the house?
Yes the steel gets quite hot from the sun, but there is a 1/4″ air space between the steel and the house. Plus I have R15 insulation in the walls and R30 in the ceiling and floors. The house actually stays quite stable in temp swings. Of course with 200 square feet the inside temps will change rapidly with windows and doors open etc!
The house can of course get warm in th summer months, so I have invested in a small but very efficient evaporative cooler. (sits in the roof and uses power from the solar system) It cools the house very quickly and with the doors and windows closed it stays quite cool even on the hottest days.
Hope that answers your questions!
Thank you for responding so quickly. I never thought about small home, quick temp shifts. It’s good to know the metal doesn’t impact inside temps as I am considering using metal to clad at least part of my tiny home (it’s still in the dream stages, but I sure want to build one. Hmmm).