The Scrap House

They spinnin’! | June 26, 2010

Just a small update today-

We finished the kitchen floor. I’m really pleased with how it looks. The kitchen floor is made entirely from the scraps from the living room floor, so it cuts down on waste. But the pattern Dad chose was really clever as well. Because it spirals inward, the pieces become increasingly smaller, and thus it lends itself to being made from scrap. While you might only have a few 18″ pieces to start, as you progress you’ll have more 12″, then from that 6″ and so forth. It worked swimmingly.

Terrible picture, mainly because it gets dark here at night(take that Alaska!) but you can see roughly what I’m referring to. Everything on the ground is what we had left from having done the living room and kitchen. Almost nothing; a few tiny pieces and some that were cracked. That’s it. Wonderfully efficient.

Alright… I most likely have a lead on some fabric for the walls and ceiling, but I won’t know until tomorrow evening so I’ll try and post an update on that. Until then, bask in the comedy of Steven Wright.



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  1. Your kitchen floor looks awesome! I’ve been following you guys for a little while, and I’m hoping to realize my dreams for a tiny house in the near future.

    I really like the floor layout of your design — it looks like you can actually have friends over in 96 square feet! What are the dimensions? It looks like 8 feet wide by 12 feet long.

    Comment by Steve W. — July 5, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

    • Thanks for the comments. Yeah, we were really happy with how it turns out. Hopefully by the end of the week we’ll be back in town and be able to sand and polyurethane it so we can see the finished product.

      I’m really happy with the layout as well. You’re right, it is 8×12. I’ve been surprised by how much space there is. We’ve had three people working in it and noone gets in anyone’s way. Once it’s finished I think 4-5 people could comfortably sit and converse with no issues. One thing that I think helps is the offset walls. If you look, the wall to the right(if you’re standing looking into the front door) is farther back than the wall to the left(the bathroom wall.) This creates a small corner nook under the loft. It doesn’t really compromise how much space the kitchen has, but it makes the living room feel larger because it’s not just a square. The little bit of complexity gives the illusion of more space.

      Because we dropped the loft 6″ below the top line of the ceiling, there’s a lot of space up there as well. We’ve had four people sitting up there talking and there was a ton of room. Conceivably you could have 8 people in the house without much problem, the space functions extremely well.

      Where are you located? If you’re ever in the Outer Banks area you’re welcome to drop by and see the house.

      Comment by austinminiman — July 11, 2010 @ 9:16 am

      • Actually, I’m in northwest Ohio, so I’m a little ways from the Outer Banks!

        I did think about getting the Sonoma Shanty plans (the structure is 8×15), and getting some ideas from you. I like the fact that you made your loft area spacious — is it going to cover the entire length of the house?

        Steve W.

        Comment by Steve W. — July 11, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

    • If you wanted to get plans, that’s fine I suppose, but I’ve always wondered why. Obviously this house, being scrap, was built using rather loose standards. It’s solid, it looks fine, but it’s not 100% “right.” That being said, we never even wrote a plan down. There’s a rough floorplan on the first page of this blog, but other than that, we didn’t make a single plan. For something this small I’m just not sure why it’s necessary. Studs at 16″ on center, doubled around windows, etc.. it’s extremely easy to build as you go. I’d get the dimensions of the plan you want, I’ll give you my plan dimensioned if you’d like, and you should just start building. Pick out your windows, doors, etc and account for that. Your money would be better spent picking up a book on building, such as the Reader’s Digest Guide To Home Repair(It’s called something like that.)

      The loft is as it’s going to be. It extends over the kitchen and a little bit over the living room. It’s 7′ long, so a little more than half. I wouldn’t want to do a full length loft as it would make the living room pretty claustrophobic. The loft is essentially built as a free-standing structure. We put up all the walls, and then used separate studs to hold the loft platform up, then we tied it in. Dropping the loft floor 6″ below the ceiling level makes a HUGE difference, and the kitchen/bathroom still has 7′ ceilings, which is fine.

      Oh… and if you do build one, I’ll give you a simple but important piece of advice. Put your shower in first. We built the outside walls on the ground and then stood them up and nailed them to the floor. We were about to put up the final wall, and a maintenance guy at the school walked by and said “Don’t you think you wanna put the shower in there first?” If we hadn’t we’d have had no way to get it in. Random, but important. 😉

      If you go through with building please one let me know if I can help in any way.

      Comment by austinminiman — July 11, 2010 @ 6:33 pm

      • Thanks so much for the tips! I probably need to go back and read all your earlier posts, because I know people build tiny houses with reclaimed lumber — where exactly did you find your stuff again? I imagine you can find quite a bit at the local dumps, yes?

        Comment by Steve W. — July 11, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

    • Sorry for the slow reply… frankly I just forgot.

      As for finding materials, it really depends on two things: your location and your standards.

      A fair amount of my materials just came from the dump; I’d say about half. The rest came from building sites, and a small amount came from donations. The trick is to find the nice area of town. I’m lucky(in some ways) to live in a tourist-driven area. Because of this, there are a lot of big homes. When you’re building a 1.2 million dollar rental house, some lumber waste isn’t going to cause you to leave sleep at night. So a lot of my longer lumber came from the nicer housing projects. I pretty much went out every night and just browsed to see what I could find.

      In some ways I made it hard on myself. For example, I really wanted cedar shake siding. This is probably one of the most expensive sidings you can find, and thus was hard to find. It was one of the things I had to ask people to donate, which was fine given that it was a school project, but nonetheless I would have liked to avoid that. About half the siding was donated and half was found. If you’re fine with T111 or clap-board siding it would make your life easier. Another example is the floor… ripped 2×4’s look awesome but are tedious. I found vinyl flooring, and had I used it, I would have saved a lot of time.

      Just be open with people and explain what you’re trying to do. I ended up being great friends with the dump employees. They knew me, knew what I needed, and had my cell number. Occasionally I’d get a call and they’d have asked someone to put a material aside for me to collect. Your community is your friend.

      Finally, set out a definite goal. I wanted to build a house for free. Being semantic made that difficult. I’m still under $10, which I’m happy about. But in the big scheme of things, it caused a lot of extra work and delays. If my budget had been something still relatively small, say $3000, it would have saved a lot of grief. It all depends on your goals.

      I really do hope you end up building a tiny house; it’s a wonderfully rewarding experience. I should have a pretty big update tomorrow so stay tuned. Thanks for reading.

      Comment by austinminiman — August 20, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

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This blog is dedicated to an experiment a group of three other fellow students and I are doing at our school in Buxton, NC. My Drafting III class and I set out to see if we could build a house for free. It's small, but functional. All the materials come out of dumpsters. And most of all, it's working.







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