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Woman Converts Van Into a Cozy Full Time Home

Atli, a transit bus driver from Vancouver, Canada has converted a van into a comfortable full-time home. Her main reason for the decision to ditch a regular home for a van home were the rising rents.

The home Atli lives in now is a converted 2016 Ford which she nicknamed T-Rex. For insulation they used fiberglass and rigid foam insulation, which aren’t especially sustainable but they are inexpensive.  They also installed a vapour barrier to help prevent condensation from forming, while most of the interior is panelled in wood, which helps keep the interior temperature more comfortable, while also giving the home a more homey feel.

The home part of the van is dominated by a large open space which is used as the main living area. There is also a small kitchen, with a two-burner propane stove and a small sink with a water pump. The home also features plenty of storage space.  The kitchen will be complete as soon as Atli installs a bamboo counter and some additional cabinetry.  There is also a closet in this space.

The bed rests atop a raised platform, which offers even more storage space. This space also has an extra door, which hides Atli’s sitar. They also place a Hypervent mat under the bed, which can be purchased in a marine supply store, and which prevents condensation from forming under the mattress. The table can be rolled out when needed and stored away when not needed.

The van has three skylights, which let in plenty of light. Two can be opened and one is fitted with a mechanical fan to aid ventilation. The van has no other windows, which is something that suited Atli very well since she likes her privacy.

The home also features a combination carbon monoxide and propane gas alarm, and there is also an extra wall and door between the home and the driver’s seat part of the van.  The van has no bathroom, but Atli uses the one at her gym, as well as public bathrooms.

At the back, there’s additional storage space for Atli’s bike, inflatable kayak and other gear. The home is powered by a sola panel that is connected to a Goal Zero inverter, a 100-AmH AGM (absorbent glass mat) battery. The latter is also charged using a solenoid connected to the van’s AGM truck battery.

Downsizing to a van home has allowed Atli to go from being a full time to a part time employee, which has freed up her winters for travel to warmer climates.  There is no word on how much she spent for the conversion, but there is no doubt that she is saving a lot of money by not having to pay rent.

By |June 25th, 2018|CONTAINER HOMES, Renovation, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Micro apartment turned into a family home with transformer furniture

Using transformer units to make the most of the available space in small and micro apartments is not a new idea, but it’s always nice to see new approaches to it. One such is certainly this renovation by Spanish architect Angel Rico who turned a micro, 215 sq ft (20 sq m) apartment into a family home for three. He installed transformable, multi-functional elements and furniture, which makes this apartment much more spacious and comfortable.

The apartment is located right by the ocean, so one of the key considerations was maximizing the view. To achieve this, all the storage spaces, such as the closet, pantry and even the child’s bed have been placed on one side of the tiny space, and hidden inside a wall transformer unit. This wall has more than one layer. A part of it hinges out and reveals many smaller compartments, which are used to store various items to keep them out of the way. The child’s bed can also be hinged down then moved out of the way during the day.

The top of another part of this transformer wall can be unfolded to open up the kitchen, which can also be hidden away when not needed. The fridge is also stored inside this wall. The bathroom is separated from the rest of the space by another hinged wall, which is also a closet. This set up allows the occupants to shower and dress in the same space. Above the bathroom is a loft, which the mother uses to take naps in, since she works late shifts at the local hospital, though they might turn it into a kid’s bedroom eventually.

The living room features a sofa-bed, which is where the parents sleep. They also use this space for entertaining, since it can fit up to 11 guests. This is where they place the extendable table and chairs, which are otherwise hidden in a hatch in the ceiling. The apartment also has a balcony, which works to extend the living space of this micro apartment and makes it appear more spacious.

All in all, these renovations and clever uses of transformer furniture make this apartment appear much more spacious than it is.

Micro Tiny Home is a Minimalist’s Dream

Italian architect and engineer Leonardo Di Chiara recently designed and built a prototype of a micro tiny home, which is seriously small yet still wonderfully functional.  The so-called aVOID tiny house measures just 96 sq ft (9 sq) and is easily towable.  Given its diminutive size, it also presents some unique downsizing solutions.

The home rests atop a double-axle trailer and has a wooden frame, metal cladding, and plenty of glazing. The interior is comprised of a single room and a bathroom. To make the most of the available space, most of the furniture is hidden inside the walls. The home features a Murphy-style single bed, which can be pulled down when needed, and stored away during the day. It can also be turned into a double bed. The dining table also features a pull down design and can easily be stowed away when not needed.  There is also a small, but functional kitchenette, which features a sink, a two-burner induction stove, and some shelving for storage.

The aVOID home also features a rooftop terrace which is accessible via a ladder.  It is great for lounging on sunny days.  The bathroom is tiny and features a shower, composting toilet and some storage space.

Di Chiara is still working on the home, and plans to install solar panels and a greywater system, which will make it independent of the grid. The home is currently on display at Berlin’s Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design, but DiChiara lives in it full time otherwise, with the goal of learning all he can about tiny house living. He says it’s not much different that living at home with his parents, in a small bedroom which must also serve many purposes as one grows up.

Tiny Home Design With a Hidden Bed

The tiny home builder Cubist Engineering, which is based in Greenwich, New York has created a very interesting tiny home, which has no standard bedroom. Instead, the bed is stowed away under the ceiling in the living room and lowered with the press of a button when needed.

The so-called Sturgis is a 21 ft (6.4 m)-long towable home, and despite its very small size it is quite spacious. Most of the space is gained by not having a standard bedroom, but the rest of the layout was also carefully planned with maximizing the available space in mind.

The Sturgis tiny home features a CLT (cross-laminated timber) structure, and has a cypress wood siding, which was treated by the Shou Sugi Ban method to preserve it and deter pests.  The home also features a fiberglass roof. The home has a total floor space of 170 sq ft (15.8 sq m) and much of it is taken up by the living area, which is equipped with a modular sofa, some cabinetry, and a coffee table.

The kitchenette is small but functional. It features a butcher block countertop, and a two-burner induction stove, while there is also enough space for a fridge and freezer. The bathroom is also quite small, but big enough for a shower, toilet and sink.

The Sturgis has no lofts, the queen-sized bed is simply lowered down by the flick of a switch when it is time for bed.  The mattress is supported by a steel frame, which is wrapped in maple.   According to Cubist Engineering, the bearing and railing system used to raise and lower the bed is the same one that is also used to load fuel rods in nuclear plants.

There is also a so-called “bonus space” in this tiny home, which was created by a raised space next to the living room. It can be used as a reading nook, or storage space and is big enough to store a motorcycle. It can also be used as a utility area, storage space, and more. This storage area can also be accessed from the outside via a gull-wing door that is operated by a remote control.

For power the tiny home uses a standard RV-style hookup, though a solar power system is an optional add-on to the basic version.  Other add-ons include a rainwater collection system, an exterior deck, a security package comprised of cameras and motion sensors, as well as a remote management system, which allows for controlling the lighting, etc. using a smartphone app.

The basic version of the Sturgis home without any add-ons costs $99,000. Apart from homes, the firm also offers different versions of this tiny dwelling, which are suitable as retail space, studios and more.

Holland to Get Its Own Vertical Forest

Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale idea has really taken off. Now the city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands will get it’s own vertical forest tower.  Similar buildings have already been built in Paris, France and Lausanne, Switzerland. The tower in Holland will provide affordable inner-city social housing.

The so-called Trudo Vertical Forest will be 246 ft (75 m) tall and have 19 floors. The façade will feature 125 trees, 5,200 shrubs and more than 70 species of plants. These will help cleanse the air, improving its quality, as well as provide a pleasant environment to live in.

The basic design of this tower is different than the previous versions of Bosco Verticale.  The exterior is covered in concrete planters and terraces, which jut out from the sides.

The tower will feature 125 apartment units, intended for young people looking for an affordable place to live. Each apartment will have a balcony with one tree and 20 shrubs. The Stefano Boeri Architetti intends to prefabricate the sections needed to build this tower and then assemble them on site.

The project appears to still be in the planning stage at this time, and there is no information about when construction is set to begin, nor by when it will be finished. Although given the fact that this is a prefab building, it should be erected quickly.

Tiny Home – Micro Camper

Living in a 250 sq ft tiny home would be downsizing enough for most people, but Richard Ward of Terraform Tiny Homes from Dallas, Texas recently traded in this “mansion”, as he calls it, for an even smaller home. He spent the last four months traveling the country in this “mansion” and has now traded it in for a 54 sq ft micro camper.

The camper is called Terraform 3 and it was built atop a boat trailer. It can be expanded into a 120 sq ft home when stationary. Richard bought the trailer used for $175 off Craigslist.  The home itself was built out of 16-gauge, 1-inch square steel channel framing that was welded together. The structure is so sturdy that he could install a small rooftop deck, which is a very nice addition to the home. And this choice of framing also left more interior space to work with.

The interior is reminiscent of a large teardrop trailer, and features a bed, a desk, a sink, some storage, and a small toilet. There is also an outdoor shower and an outdoor kitchen, which is stored away for transport using a hinged door at the back of the home. Ward likes to do most things outdoors, hence his choice to incorporate so much of the outdoors into his new home.  The deck and outdoor kitchen are perfect for that.

This new home is also a lot more mobile than his previous, larger tiny home was.  Much of Terraform 3 was constructed and furnished using repurposed and recycled materials.  For example, it features a countertop made of wine corks, and the floor is covered with pages taken from a vintage 1940s book of drawings.

Terraform 3 is very small and most people probably couldn’t imagine downsizing to such a drastic degree. But then again, how much space do we really need to live comfortably?

By |February 16th, 2018|Affordable, Design|0 Comments