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A well-designed small house makes life much simpler!

 
Kaarina Kreus
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I  have  noticed most people here have pretty big houses. And they cannot live without electricity, either from the grid or other technologies.

I would like to challenge our paradigm about how much space we really need. Especially on a homestead, where you spend a lot of time outside or tending to animals.

I have been an avid sailor for 40 years. A sailboat is a perfect place to learn how a well-planned small place can be enough.  We had a very expensive yacht designed for 8 people, but still it did not have much floor space.

So I designed my farm house like a sailboat. 200 square foot has
- charming bedroom
- living room with kitchen, dining table, a couch
- a foyer with ample shelving

Just  a couple of weeks ago we spent a great evening with 8 people around the dining table (it is extendable and I asked my neighbors to come with their own chairs). When we were building the sheds, 3 people comfortably lived there for almost a week.

I should probably add that we have a separate sauna as is the custom in Scandinavia. That is the wetroom for bathing and laundry. So the house has no plumbing. We carry the little water we use for cooking . An outhouse, of course.

The house has no electricity. We have kerosine lamps, a wood stove, an Italian Moka pot for coffee. Dishes washed by hand. Root cellar under construction, but for 9 months a year the outside temps are like a fridge.I can just leave the foyer door open for a while and ithe foyer becomes our fridge!
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Bedroom
Bedroom
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Living room couch extends to a double bed
Living room couch extends to a double bed
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Foyer is a storage
Foyer is a storage
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The house
The house
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Kitchen
Kitchen
 
Jane Mulberry
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It's beautiful!

We also live in a one bedroom house, but very poorly designed.
 
Kaarina Kreus
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Thank you Jane ❀.
I am extremely satisfied with this little gem. But most people see it as a smalll playhouse! "Nobody can possibly live in so small quarters! " or "you cannot be serious, no electricity??"  Or " WHAT, an outhouse??"

My father lived on a farm where they had no electricity until he went to university. Half of households in my home country had no running water 70 years ago.

And suddenly everybody is sooooo picky and pampered?
 
Jane Mulberry
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It's amazing how fast expectations of what is enough have changed!
 
Rich Rayburn
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Karrina,
It's so refreshing to hear about your tiny house, it's not often you hear someone expounding the virtues of not having electricity and actually enjoying it.
We built our log home over 30 years ago, it's about 20 by 20 and two stories, with an attached shop and a root cellar underneath. We also carry our water from a sand point well, cook and heat with wood and have the classic outhouse.
Not sure what all the fuss is about with that electricity,  as it's a relatively recent invention and I think most people lived quite nicely without it when it was not available. I was raised in the suburbs of Saint Paul Minnesota so I'm quite familiar with electric.
Again, nice to hear your story,
Best wishes.
Rick and Rose.

.
 
Kaarina Kreus
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Rich Rayburn wrote:Karrina,
Not sure what all the fuss is about with that electricity,  as it's a relatively recent invention and I think most people lived quite nicely without it
Again, nice to hear your story,
Best wishes.
Rick and Rose.



Fully agree ❀

I found a fascinating British documentary, where five historians and archeologists spent a year on an old farm, living like they would have lived in 1620's England! It can be found on YouTube.

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Heather Staas
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It's adorable and practical, love it.

I've been contemplating a move to another state and putting in a tiny home.    It's amazing how creative we can get to make small spaces work well.  

Right now I'm in a house that is 675 sq ft.   Last year I closed up the 2nd bedroom,  shut off the heat, insulated the door.   So now I'm living in 580 sqft.    It's just me and 2 big dogs.

I'm always looking at the space and thinking how much I could shave off and still *easily* be comfortable.    Without the 2nd bedroom, the hallway is really useless space, and half of the lviing/dining area is just open space.   I could get rid of that and be down to 460 sq ft.   Smaller than that and I'd really have to make some bigger adjustments to storage solutions and living space use.   That all includes utility  and bathroom areas (no basement or attic).  

 
Anne Miller
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Kaarina

Your home looks like it was well thought out before being built.

To live in such a small space a person must be well-disciplined and orderly.

And not have unnecessary items.

We bought someone else's dream so the outer wall had been built and we were able to finish the interior the way we wanted it based on the existing design.

The pantry/office was to have been the kitchen.

My kitchen was to have been the bedroom.

Our bedroom and laundry room/storage are in the garage.

This works well for us except we have too much stuff.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful home.
 
William Bronson
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I like the idea of a small, well thought out home, but I don't see the advantages of doing without electricity, especially for tool use.

I have a garden separated from the lot my home sits on by about 1000 feet of street and other peoples yards.
Not having electricity there has slowed my development of the property  considerably.
Just trying to work by headlamp and lantern has been problematic and even dangerous at times.

I really like the foyer with ample shelving.
There are lots of items that don't need to live entirely  indoors, but should be under cover and close at hand as one  comes and goes.


 
Kaarina Kreus
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I ordered a house from a builder fully done (we call it "they give you the keys")
I made several alterations to make every square foot effective. Main point: it has to be small so that a wood-powered fireplace can heat it effectively.

Now we have frost, temps outside freezing and snowing. I am so happy I have a compact home to heat!! It takes a quarter of an hour to heat this home up to a tropical temperature.

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Kaarina Kreus
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Rich Rayburn wrote:Karrina,
We built our log home over 30 years ago, it's about 20 by 20 and two stories, with an attached shop and a root cellar underneath.
Rick and Rose.
.


I would love to see some pictures!?
 
Rich Rayburn
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Kaarina, apologies for misspelling your name last post.
I would send a picture but I have been having trouble figuring out how to upload it on this format, anyone have suggestions?
 
Kaarina Kreus
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Rich Rayburn wrote:
I would send a picture but I have been having trouble figuring out how to upload it on this format, anyone have suggestions?


Just "reply" go to the bottom of the message ATTACHMENTS  and "choose file" and submit. That should upload πŸ™‚
 
Jack Adam
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The builder for my house did not like me, but I got 100% of the house I wanted.  At the time I was living in the pottery that he had already built on the property and I would walk the job site 3 times a day every day.  Being a 3 minute walk away there was no point putting off any issues and I was all about fixing stuff on the spot.

We had a lot of issues with our design fighting what we need, want, efficient, and being wheelchair friendly.

I takes a lot more up front thinking to a house design to get something that you can age into and still have a good usable house.
 
L. Johnson
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Kaarina, I adore your home!

I am also a big fan of simple and well thought out. I also really like seeing examples of organizational systems.

I would love to see and hear about individual details of other places in your home that optimize the small space, much like you mentioned using the foyer as a fridge and sizing so the woodstove heats the entire house. Other details would be very intriguing to me!
 
Rach ael
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I have to admit that while the idea of a tiny (or maybe just small!) house appeals to me from an environmental perspective, I dread the thought of spending winter days in one. We have 2 kids under 5, and another on the way.

I know that thousands of families lived in far smaller places throughout history, and we're quite spoiled now. But I still can't quite get my head around how it would work when outside is being inhospitable.
 
Rich Rayburn
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Our cabin in the woods.
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Rich Rayburn
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Finally got the picture to upload, apparently I just didn't wait long enough before.
The cabin was built in the early '80s to the early 90s. Rooms were added on as time and finances allowed. The main structure is built of Aspen logs that were felled on site. My wife and I did all of the work ourselves by hand (with apologies to my chainsaw).
It was hard work but we feel it was well worth it as it involved no mortgage payments ever.
Over the course of the years we have accumulated all of the tools and acquired the skills to accomplish all of our daily activities from gardening to shop work to housework without electricity.
40 years later it's still a lot of work, however we wouldn't have it any other way.
 
James Alun
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@Rich Rayburn How much of that lovely firewood do you need through the winter?
 
Rich Rayburn
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James,
regarding your question about the "lovely firewood".
That's a little tricky as we use firewood also for our wood cook stove and that runs all year round, we've made an estimate of around 8 chords. Calculating the exact amount has never been critical as we have a large acreage and we can't even keep up with the dead trees for firewood, as policy we never cut down a live tree unless it's needed for construction purposes.
 
Kaarina Kreus
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L. Johnson wrote:Kaarina, I adore your home!

I am also a big fan of simple and well thought out. I also really like seeing examples of organizational  details would be very intriguing to me!



Here are some.

When people plan a house, a lot of attention goes to flooring materials, kitchen layout or wall treatments. But I think the small details are most important. If you struggle with doing dishes 3 times a day, a beautiful tapestry is not going to make you happy πŸ˜„
 
Kaarina Kreus
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My house has no plumbing or running water. The water fountain is 20 feet from the house, but the water has to be carried inside.

Hot water is always available from the huge kettle I have on my wood stove. The wood stove is on most of the day in winter.

So here I have the dishwashing corner.
A wall-mounted water container. You can fill it with hot water or cold.  You can wash your hands, rinse dishes using a very small amount of water.

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Kaarina Kreus
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As there is no running water, the bedroom has a wash station.
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Kaarina Kreus
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The farm creates a lot of work. Often I am all sweaty when I return home. Even in the winter frosts!

So it is important to be able to dry your woollen undies.

This rack is close to the wood stove, but far enough not to create a fire hazard.
When not in use, it can be flipped so that it is flush with the wall.
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Kaarina Kreus
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The bedroom is tiny but a "real bedroom". The bed is the most luxurious bed I have ever slept on!  Woollen mattress 4 inches thick. Duck feather blankets.
As the room was pretty small, I did not find any side tables that would fit. Instead, small wooden ones.
As I have no electricity, petroleum lamps and led "candles" that work with rechargeable AA batteries.
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Kaarina Kreus
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The Kitchen revolves around the wood stove. My Italian Rosetta has a cast iron flat stove, an oven, a wood-burner with a window (like a beautiful fireplace)
Next to the omnipotent wood stove there is a side table where I prepare the food.
There are shelves on top of it. The shelves have a lot of hooks for things used daily.
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Kaarina Kreus
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I have a collection of books I need to reference often.
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Kaarina Kreus
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The foyer has ample space for storing food. From autumn to spring, the weather is so cold I can just keep the door to the living room shut and it is like a fridge.

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Kaarina Kreus
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The foyer also has all my clothing and linen.

There are all necessary chemicals like vinegar, soap, disinfectant, tar, baking soda etc.

Note the iron: an old-fashioned one which is heated on the wood stove!
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Kaarina Kreus
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The wood stove is a Rosetta and I have written a review here:

https://permies.com/t/193980/Wood-stove-La-Nordica-Rosetta

Rosetta is powerful enough to heat the entire house. I have a wood storage, but I keep a bit of firewood inside at all times.
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Kaarina Kreus
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https://permies.com/t/193980/Wood-stove-La-Nordica-Rosetta
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La Nordica Rosetta wood stove
La Nordica Rosetta wood stove
 
Kaarina Kreus
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Rich Rayburn wrote:Kaarina, apologies for misspelling your name last post


Good heavens Rich, no problem!
I would love to see pictures from the inside.
And I challenge everybody to post pictures ❀
 
Kaarina Kreus
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As I have no electricity, wood storage is important.

Last spring, I got a huge amount of firewood when an area of the farm was cleared. However, the firewood was dumped in a pile and I had nowhere to store it.

We just finished the wood hut yeasterday. I will be carrying wood to the hut for the next two weeks!

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Hut finished
Hut finished
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Carrying firewood to the hut
Carrying firewood to the hut
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This is how the firewood was stored ��
This is how the firewood was stored
 
Jay Angler
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Wow - that's an awesome wood-shed!

I'm just wondering if you've planned for any dividers to help support the wood in ways that allow you to refill some portions with new wood that needs a couple of years to dry, while still being able to access the oldest wood without having to move and restack everything?
 
Ara Murray
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How I love this house. Small houses discourage you from keeping so much "stuff". We recently moved house and although our new house is smaller than the last one, it is still really too big for 2 people. I thought I had a lot of belongings but was amazed at how much Mr Ara has aquired and deems necessary to keep. I'm not sure I would like living without electricity and other home comforts as I get older. I am becoming lazy as I age.
 
Kaarina Kreus
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Jay Angler wrote:
I'm just wondering if you've planned for any dividers to help support the wood in ways that allow you to refill some portions with new wood that needs a couple of years to dry, while still being able to access the oldest wood without having to move and restack everything?



All this wood is dry already. But the shed has slits in the walls so I can stack new firewood to one wall and let it dry.

This shed stores approximately 4 year's firewood πŸ™‚
 
Rich Rayburn
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Kaarina,
Your woodshed certainly looks top notch, I was intrigued by the construction method used. I've never seen squared timbers set diagonally used in the same manner that traditional log cabins are built with. Whoever built it really knew their stuff by leaving those spaces to better dry the wood. I'm sending along a photo of one of our several wood sheds, they are built with on site Burr oak poles and chainsaw "hewn" beams. I'll send a couple of interior pictures of our cabin when time permits.
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Kaarina Kreus
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Rich Rayburn wrote:Kaarina,
I was intrigued by the construction method used. I've never seen squared timbers set diagonally used in the same manner that traditional log cabins are built with.



Actually, this is an ingenious way to construct a firewood shed. The wood should be ventilated as much as possible.

With this construction, the Wind speeds up when blowing into a narrowing tunnel. These diagonal wood blocks create this tunnel effect.On the other side, the diagonal blocks create a whirl. So we get a maximally windy firewood storage!
 
Rich Rayburn
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Kaarina,
Thanks for that little science lesson on the wind tunnel effect of your woodshed. That's really quite interesting, is this a standard type of construction used in Scandinavia as I've never seen it in the states?
As you can see from the photograph our wood sheds get maximal wind effect, although with a little less science involved. 😊
 
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