Living Big in a Tiny House Our Traveling Tiny Home In North America

Over the last few weeks we have been working like crazy together with the team from Tiny House Chattanooga to build our North American tiny house on wheels and today I am so excited to be sharing the finished home with you. The builder that I chose to work with on this project was Mike Bedsole from Tiny House Chattanooga. We actually met at the North Carolina Tiny House Street Festival and just got on ridiculously well. We were up till about 4 o clock in the morning one night just geeking out over tiny house designs and sketching up concepts and at one point I remember just looking at him and saying, we have to build a tiny house together. This tiny house is amazing result of that incredibly fortuitous encounter. So I’m really happy to have met Mike and I am just so incredibly impressed with the quality of work that both him and his Tiny House Chattanooga team have done in realising this project. Over it’s lifetime our tiny house is going to be covering a tremendous amount of ground, so right from the beginning the design was really focused around how we would be able to travel well with the home.

Living Big in a Tiny House Our Traveling Tiny Home In North America Photo Gallery

Without a doubt one of the most important aspects of this tiny house, or any house on wheels for that matter, is the trailer that it sits on. So we have a trailer here, this is a 16′ bumper pull trailer from Foundation Trailers and this really is the cornerstone of our tiny house on wheels. Because this house will live it’s life on the road we didn’t want to compromise with the quality of the trailer and so this was a really important part of it. When it comes to the exterior design of this house I was really largely inspired by so many of the homes that we visited in Japan and I wanted to create something that was really small, really easy to travel with but that looked beautiful. So one of the things that I really wanted to do was add this feature where we could break up the roof line. Mike actually does this in another one of his model homes called The Lookout and when I saw that I thought it was a really nice feature, and I think especially in a house this size, when you’re dealing with a 16′ tiny house it’s so easy just to make it look like a box so I think anything you can do to actually break up the lines of the house and just make it a little more visually interesting is a really great thing. So I’m so happy with how that little inset turned out.

The exterior cladding of this home is standing seam metal together with TruCedar from Quality Edge, so this here is actually a steel product. This is foam backed which gives it an insulation value and making the cladding out of steel just makes it a little more resistant, it’s lighter weight and I think it’s actually a perfect product for tiny houses for that reason. Our windows here are from PlyGem, these are double glazed vinyl windows and they’re also made from tempered glass just to give it that little bit of extra strength when the house is traveling on the road. Now as I mentioned before this is a tiny house that is really designed to move, so you’ll notice that we actually have all the standard RV hook-ups. This home is actually RVIA certified which means we can pull into any camp-grounds here in North America and we’re legally allowed to park there so we’ve got a 50amp power hook-up we also have water as well as an out for our grey-water there. So that’s the outside of the tiny house, let’s go have a look inside! So I designed this tiny house to have this little porch area just because, even though it’s such a small house I think it’s really nice to have a little bit of an area where you get a break from the rain, so when you’re coming home if it’s pouring with rain you can just have a little bit of shelter when you’re opening the door. Speaking of the door, we also have key-pad entry into this house to make entering and exiting really simple without having to fumble around with keys.

You would be amazed at how useful this is on a traveling house. So, let’s continue inside! Welcome to our home! This whole space was really designed to keep it open, light, airy and spacious. The whole house is only 16 x 8 ft or roughly 5 x 2.5 meters. Now that means it is a really, truly compact house. So right off the bat to make it feel open and spacious I made the decision not to have a loft space. A loft is a really great idea in a space because it can provide a lot more usable area but for me I really wanted to keep the expansive feeling of the home in tact and having anything intruding into that level would have made things very difficult.

One of the other reasons for not having a sleeping loft in this house was to be able to lower the whole profile of the house making it again easier to transport. This house, because it’s designed to move it’s going to be having to fit under bridges it’s going to have to fit under low-hanging power lines and all that sort of thing, so by not maxing out the legal height dimensions we were able to actually make it more functional as a traveling home. Immediately upon entering, we have the shower to my right hand side and the toilet to my left hand side. Now I wanted to break those up in the design firstly because I like the way that it visually works with the entrance way here but also because for me it was a practical decision. I like the idea that one person can be having a shower and the other person can be brushing their teeth or even on the toilet so breaking those up actually made the room a little more functional. Now the shower was immediately one of the most challenging aspects of the whole tiny house. We really wanted to create this whole thing as a wet-room and water proofing isn’t always super simple.

The solution that Tiny House Chattanooga came up with was actually to use this galvalume material here and we’ve warmed up the metal by also using the tiger wood. So tiger wood is incredibly resistant to moisture and it’s a great option. Firstly it’s important to talk about the shower. We have a limited hot water supply in this house of only 7 gallon electric hot water heater. Limiting the hot water supply really just comes down to the point that I like to avoid using gas if possible so if I can electrically heat water then I will. That being said, 7 gallons is not a tremendous amount of hot water to have on hand, but it is made possible thanks to this particular shower-head here. This is a Nebia shower, the Nebia shower system is a water atomising system so it uses only .

75 gallons of water a minute which is incredibly low. To cover the wheel-well in this room we’ve actually also included a little shower seat which I think adds just a little bit more functionality to the space. So, little things that can make all the difference. Let’s go check out the bathroom. Now this was a really challenging space to work in there is not a tremendous amount of room in this space but I feel that it’s turned out really well. We have a really small low-profile sink a nice back-lit vanity mirror and on this side we’ve actually covered up the wheel wells by building in some functional shelving which I think is actually a really nice little addition to the space. We’ve chosen to use the natures head composting toilet in our home and the reason for that is because I think it is probably the best option for when you’re a traveling tiny house.

Basically what the natures head does is it separates your liquids and your solids, that’s really good when you’re a traveling tiny house because it means that you can go for a longer period of time without having to empty out your solid waste, which I think is a really valuable feature. That being said we have also plumbed the tiny house so that if we want to in the future replace the composting toilet with a flushing toilet we’re able to do that. And now let’s go check out the main part of the house! One of the things that I really like about the design of this house is the way that when you walk past the bath-rooms everything just kind of opens out in front of you. These little insets are set high up enough that they don’t really intrude in your space in any way and I think it really again provides a really nice visual feature from the inside of the house, just allowing you to look out at that little glimpse of sky either side I think is a really nice touch. It also just kind-of makes the whole room more interesting on the interior and again stops it from feeling just like a little box. Over one side here we have the desk area. So the desk area is obviously really important to us because we travel as YouTubers posting for Living Big in a Tiny House and so having a comfortable work-space in the area is really essential to us.

This here is also where our whole electrical system is stored. So we have access to our fuses and control panels back here. We also have the battery monitor information showing the current voltage of our battery system. So this is a tiny house that is designed to primarily be on-grid, but it also has off-grid features and capability as well. So the way that this works is when the house is connected to power we have use of all of the systems in the home. That includes anything which requires AC power like our television, or our induction cook plate or even our smart-home lighting system. When we’re not connected to AC power however the house also has a small house battery which is able to power our essential items.

That includes our refrigerator, our composting toilet, our DC lighting circuit as well as our lunos system. Now the battery can be charged either via the AC power when it’s plugged in, via the vehicle alternator when the house is moving and being towed or it also has the ability at a later date to be hooked up to a solar panel, so we’ve actually run the solar wire underneath the house and if we chose to get a solar panel to connect it to all we need to do is hook that up and it’s ready to go. Over the other side here we have our kitchen. The kitchen again is such a charming space and it’s so important to me to have a nice kitchen. Obviously this is not a very big house and so we had to downsize and shrink the size of the kitchen but I still feel it’s a really comfortable working area. We’ve got some really nice maple cabinetry that’s been built in, a good amount of storage here we have our knifes and forks and everything in this draw, we have jar storage which is in here and as you can see these pull out to actually have quite a lot of storage space in them. I know to a lot of you it might not look like a lot of storage space but when you’ve been living out of a back-pack for 10 months this is palatial! You may notice that there is no cooking element actually built into the kitchen.

That’s for a couple of reasons. Firstly you’re not always using it and I don’t think it makes sense to built it in and take up space when it doesn’t need to and the second thing is we’re not always connected to power, so we do have an induction plate that we can bring out and use to cook on when we’re hooked up to power and then the idea is that when we’re not hooked up to power we’ll probably use a little gas cooker or maybe an ethanol burner. We’e got a really nifty little fridge that’s been built into this tiny house as well. This here is the Dometic CR-50. This is a fridge which is really designed for marine and RV application. One of the things that makes this fridge perfect for our tiny house is that it’s designed to run off of both AC and DC power meaning that when we’re on the road we always have things nice and cold in the fridge. And over here we have the bed.

The bed is a really important part of this house because it’s not only where we sleep, it’s also where we relax and just hang out. There is no lounge in this house so this bed area becomes everything in that respect. Also, in a space this size you still need some storage! So we’ve actually pretty much maxed out all of the space under this bed for a tremendous amount of storage. The bed lifts via hydraulic actuators which helps to assist in the lift so it’s not too heavy and then underneath we have the entire space free for storage which easily allows us to keep absolutely everything we need and a lot of stuff that we don’t. When you’re designing a tiny house quite often you have to do without some things but I think it’s really important to design in features that you can be really excited about in your home and one of those things for me is the TV lift. So when we press a button the TV lift actually raises a 43 television which doesn’t sound like a big television but when you’re only 6′ away from it, it’s pretty huge. It’s just nice to build in a few of those things that can really give you a nice, homey experience and for me cuddling up and reading a nice movie is definitely one of those important things to be able to do.

Climate control features inside the tiny house are really important as well. Especially because we’re going to be covering a lot of ground and we’re going to be living in this home in a lot of different temperature areas. So we have our AC heating and cooling unit from Aura Systems, that is only available to us when we’re plugged into AC power, it’s a 12,000 BTU unit which is definitely overkill for the size of this tiny house, but it works incredibly well for us. We also use our Lunos system, so the Lunos heat recovery ventilation system acts basically like a pair of lungs for the house. One fan is always breathing air in, while the other is breathing air out replacing all of the air inside the tiny house and making sure that the air quality inside the home is equal to the exterior air quality. Our tiny house has actually been built using mainstream corporations healthy tiny home package. What that includes is the non-toxic insulation which is in our walls keeping us nice and warm as well as a system of building wraps and breathable membranes that allow the walls to perfectly regulate the moisture content inside the house eliminating the possibility of mould build-up from any excess moisture.

That’s extra useful for our system as-well because we’re also using steel frame, so with the steel frame system it actually means that if any moisture does ever condensate on the steel, the vapour barrier system is able to draw that away from the steel frame and outside of the house. While we’re talking about the unseen materials in the house one of the things that I can’t skip over is the use of Volstrukt steel framing. Steel framing I feel is a perfect product for tiny houses and there’s a whole multitude of reasons why but primarily it helps to keep the weight of the house down while also being incredible structurally sound. Another thing that I’m really excited about in this tiny house is the smart home technology that we’ve incorporated in it. Our tiny house is actually controlled by Amazon Alexa via our Echo Show unit which is a really handy tool. For example I could say Alexa, what’s the weather like today? In Chattanooga Tennessee it’s 65 degrees with mostly sunny skies, tonight you can look for mostly clear skies with a low of 42 degrees. And it also acts as the central control unit for everything else we’ve built into the house.

Being here now inside this tiny house just feels incredibly surreal to me. It was such a wonderful project, you know, it’s very very hard to articulate the feeling of sketching something out on paper and then reading the whole thing just come to life in front of you. Being in this home now just feels incredible. One of the things that has always really motivated me in life is a love of travel. I love seeking out new places, new people, new experiences so a life on the road for me is absolutely what I want and a tiny house on wheels is something that can facilitate that. It’s a home that gives me all of the security that I need and all of the comforts of home while still having the ability to hitch it up to a truck and tow it to my next destination. So, you know, for me, one of the most exciting things about this tiny house is the fact that the view out of those windows can constantly change and always be something new and interesting and different and I think that there are very few housing options that can give that to you.

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