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YourAdministrator, eh?
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http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/from-teepee-to-tiny-house-calgary-man-lives-radically

From teepee to tiny house, Calgary man lives radically

Connor Ferster's 120-square-foot home feels spacious compared to where he lived last January.

His new digs are also warmer and rodent-free.

After spending last winter battling mice in a teepee he built on rented land near Calgary, Ferster sold his tent lining and poles in the summer and began work on a new abode.

He spent three months and approximately $20,000 building and furnishing a tiny house he moved into in November.

The tall, blue, tiny home is located on the same spot as the teepee, surrounded by trees near a farmer's field, on the southeastern outskirts of Calgary.

"It's a significant upgrade," Ferster said of his new dwelling.

"In total square footage, the teepee was actually a little bit bigger, I think, but in terms of usable square footage, this is way bigger … You can have eight people sitting in here … The teepee, it was tough just to be able to entertain two."

Ferster designed the mini space with the help of his girlfriend, Sydney Schwartz, who works as an intern architect, and together the pair ensured every metre of space would be as functional as possible.

The home on wheels, which measures in at 120 square feet including the loft, features a tall ceiling, a loft large enough for a queen sized bed, several windows, a kitchen, toilet, closet and even a sitting area, with two benches that can each fold down so Ferster has enough free space to practise karate.

The abode is heated with a Dickinson Marine heater (a favourite of tiny house enthusiasts, says Ferster) and the home is powered by a single solar panel.

The toilet is similar to what Ferster used in the teepee - a thermophilic composting system, also known as a "humanure composting system," that eliminates smell, allows for natural processing and renders human waste harmless, eventually turning it into fertilizer.

"This is really what sustainability looks like," Ferster said of the toilet.

In addition to carefully designing the inside of the home to make the small space as useful as possible, Ferster had to ensure the home's structure was suitable for Calgary's sometimes chilly climate.

While tiny houses are increasing in popularity around North America, many are designed for warmer locales. Ferster and Schwartz struggled to find tiny house plans suited to Alberta.

So, they scrapped the pre-existing blueprints they had found online, and instead designed their own pad, being sure to double the amount of insulation found in a typical tiny house and choosing to leave out a sky light.

"It's nice getting to design your own space the way you want it. The layout of the space is something I've been thinking about for probably two or three years," Ferster said.

While Ferster hoped to complete the home in three weeks, it took him more than three months to finish the residence.

Construction coincided with his first semester of school in SAIT's civil engineering technology program, and after framing the place with family and friends, Ferster spent his days in classes and his evenings at his rented land, working on the home late into the night.

He had little time to study, but building the abode served as good hands-on experience for his future career.

Ferster moved into his handmade tiny house in November, just in time to focus on studying for school exams.

The space is a significant upgrade from Ferster's electricity-less, difficult to entertain in, mouse-infested teepee, which he called home from September 2013 to April 2014.

And, the teepee experience helped Ferster build a better tiny home.

"The tiny house was the original plan from the beginning but I couldn't afford it," he said.

"The teepee allowed me to get lived experience. What's the minimum structure required to live comfortably in a Calgary winter?"

For Ferster's girlfriend, who doesn't live permanently at the tiny house but visits often, designing and building the digs was a valuable learning experience.

"I think it's a cosy, charming space to be in. I love it here," she said.

After spending last winter in a teepee, followed by this winter in a tiny home, Ferster said he doesn't plan on building any new structure to call home next year.

"I'll be planning on living in the house for three to five years and then we'll see what happens from there," he said.

He's also hopeful that perhaps one day the City of Calgary will embrace and welcome alternative forms of housing, such as laneway houses or tiny homes, allowing him and others to legally move and park their tiny portable homes inside city limits.

"Tiny houses can relieve a lot of pressure on the market, and it can create a lot of new vibrant communities," he said.

"They're cute and people like living in an environment that makes them feel good."
I am hoping that Connor Ferster gets a chance to visit our site and explain more details on his new home!
 

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Jack of all trades?
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I don't see why it cost $20,000?!?!? :confused: :confused:

The "Bucket Toilet" is right behind the entrance door... not even a curtain around it = fail

He could have planned it better.
There's a LOT of images a person can find by searching "Tumbleweed homes" or "tiny house" to get good ideas.
He should have implemented them more.
 

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Cowboy
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Shower?

Two 3/4" (?) sheets of plywood for a bed base with shelf brackets to carry the load?

I'd agree it's several steps up from the Teepee!

For $10,000 a good used travel trailer leaving $10,000 in the bank. But designing and building is a whole lot more fun!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would love to see the interior.
If you click on the link to the local newspaper, there are more shots of the trailer ...

I don't see why it cost $20,000?!?!? :confused: :confused:

The "Bucket Toilet" is right behind the entrance door... not even a curtain around it = fail

He could have planned it better.
There's a LOT of images a person can find by searching "Tumbleweed homes" or "tiny house" to get good ideas.
He should have implemented them more.
The base for the tiny-house probably cost him as low as $12,000 if he hunted long enough locally. Then $8,000 for wood, tin, glass, fasteners, etc doesn't sound too far-fetched to me, and that is even if he used as much recycled materials as possible while doing it.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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The base for the tiny-house probably cost him as low as $12,000 if he hunted long enough locally. Then $8,000 for wood, tin, glass, fasteners, etc doesn't sound too far-fetched to me, and that is even if he used as much recycled materials as possible while doing it.
My "base" B-O-L is 8'x12' and cost less than $1000USD to build with about 60% new and 40% "repurposed" - fully insulated and finished with a loft. I added a 12x12 addition (framed, sheathed & roofed only - about 50%n/50%r) for a lot less than that!

It really is not that hard. Granted, he started with a trailer, but a good used 16' tandem-axle trailer in Texas is well under $1000. I bought my 16 foot trailer brand new in 2005 for $850 on eBay from a camper dealer.
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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First of all a 10K traveltrailer would be an Ice box in our climate.

I have had the misfortune of owning a built in tennesse Quality trailer, gives made in the usa a really bad name.

Tandem "car" trailers in this market are almost as much to buy used as new, and if there is a wheeled device that should be bought new it is a trailer.

you can move a 12'7'' wide load in Alberta with a $15.00 permit without pilot vehicles, so cantilevering it over the trailer would have given a lot more space for the initial effort.

I seriously Don't see Calgary allowing micro homes in residential areas, but who knows.

Adding the width is about the only real change that I see and maybe a curtain for the humanure potty, (how does one compost crap when the pile is frozen.??)
 

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I love the smell of Argon in the morning
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20 and 30 somethings have been buying these mini homes and then putting them on their parents property. This maybe a sign of future housing.

We moved from a 3600 sq foot home to our current home of 2200 sq feet and for just the 2 of us this seems larger then what we really need. I think we would be just as comfortable in 1000 sq foot home.
 

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I watched the tiny house show and it amazes me that people spend $30,000 on a building that is 300 sq. ft. or less.
$100 a sq. ft. and up is a lot of money for what they get.
Maybe in the frozen North a motor home or camp trailer would not be practical but most other places I think it would be OK.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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YourAdministrator, eh?
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My "base" B-O-L is 8'x12' and cost less than $1000USD to build with about 60% new and 40% "repurposed" - fully insulated and finished with a loft. I added a 12x12 addition (framed, sheathed & roofed only - about 50%n/50%r) for a lot less than that!

It really is not that hard. Granted, he started with a trailer, but a good used 16' tandem-axle trailer in Texas is well under $1000. I bought my 16 foot trailer brand new in 2005 for $850 on eBay from a camper dealer.
That would be a great price in this neck of the woods ... my wholesale cost around here on a single 6,000lb trailer axle is about $700 and 7,000lb units reach towards $1000 - trailer not attached!

Cheap plastic sheds from Costco list at $1000 ... wooden sheds of 10' x 12' start around $2500 - basic hardware / wood included. Shingles / siding / etc are all extras. I know of ways to cheap-out on building materials - by snagging scrap-wood and such from work, but, not everyone has access to that kind of stuff - and - it sounds like Connor is a student, so, he wouldn't have access to my shop-space
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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Life here is different, in almost all aspects, Linctex, you know all of those Murray and Cozad lowbeds you see hauling down there, they break in half up here hauling their rated loads, My Peerless rail bed weights twice as much, but it will live (already has) hauling bigger loads under winter weight permits,
People see how much we make here in the patch, but they forget the cost of living here.

Guys on patch jobs drive for an hour or more each way because the cost of heating and maintaining, even built for winter travel trailers is too high in the colder months.

A few guy have built skid homes, that are moved with scissornecks and winch tractors but you need resourses for that to work.

If Fernster did everything right, which has been called into question already, his plan might be ok, until a neighbor complains and he has to move to a new location.
 

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Woodchuck
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I thought $20,000 US was a bit over the top also. Especially with no septic field ($10,000 +) or well ($5,000 +). I wasn't thinking about price differences due to location until the local boys up thar brought it up, thank you gents.

I would also not think of making it 'mobile' if I were to build one. Yeah, the puppy and I can live in a small space and be fine. But I would need a few outbuildings to store supplies in. Then the root cellar to store canned goods in, in a 'tiny home' they must have to make a lot of trips to the store for supplies. They didn't plan on space to even stack cases of jars, or extra 12 packs of TP or.....

EDIT: then there is the garden! How could you ever have a garden if you were always moving? Anyplace I have lived it has taken a few years to work the soil.
 

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... humanure potty, (how does one compost crap when the pile is frozen.??)
Outside of city limits, very easily. Simply add a bit of cover material after dumping the container (assuming adequate material has been added while in use). Odour is not an issue at all if done right, it is strange how well it works.

In regards to the prices, for anyone who hasn't been in a good "tiny home" (and I am not suggesting anyone hasn't, I have no idea) it has a completely different feel than a travel trailer. I have spend a lot of time in R.V's and they just inevitably feel cramped compared to most tiny homes. Heating and cooling is definitely an issue with R.Vs as well.

A lot of finishing stuff, like the tiny marine wall heaters for example is very pricey but well built and space saving.

As to mobility, if one is going to build a tiny house or any building really, I don't understand why anyone wouldn't prefer having it on skids at the very least.

The way I see it, I know many people who have spend many thousands of dollars on hotels, rental houses, and tiny apartments and have exactly $0 to show for it. If they could have bought something in this category (tiny home, rv, converted rv, etc.) they would be infinitely ahead.
 

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The way I see it, I know many people who have spend many thousands of dollars on hotels, rental houses, and tiny apartments and have exactly $0 to show for it. If they could have bought something in this category (tiny home, rv, converted rv, etc.) they would be infinitely ahead.
I agree. I've a life long friend, lives in the far northern US. Last year he bought 20 acres. It has 2 sources of water, one is a spring, the other is a large stream that has trout. It has a 70ft horse barn, pasture, large walnut orchard, wooded area and a 12x12 cabin (no power or water). It was sort of a prepping desire. He had no idea of the value of the orchard! Medicine, syrup, a great source of iodine and sugar not to mention the protein. The price, all he had to do was sell the 2 ski boats he owned at his lake side home near Chicago. Got the place for a song, a prepper gold mine!

He is using "tiny house" designs to redo the small cabin. The photo's he's sent so far are amazing.

The only mistake, my op, he didn't want the 60's IH diesel tractor and equipment… It was sold separately. :cry:
 

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RockyMountainCanadian
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we (wife, son and I ) spent 6 months living in a 32' fifth wheel, from February til August, it wasn't fun , and ate a pile of propane in the colder months, While I agree a tiny house would feel different (better) I have no urge to do it again, A couple of nights in the sleeper of a heavy haul tractor is more than enough time in a cramped space for me.

Here is an example of a Canadian trailer built for our conditions
http://www.rainbowtrailers.net/inde...nttrailer&catid=39:captify-content&Itemid=146

these trailers go through our winters and salty road without any electrical problems for years, The C&H Quality trailer made in Tennessee had lights out before it even made it here.

Although trailer etc designed for our climate might not survive well in a hot climate, and if you don't have snow and salt to corrupt the wireing it probably lasts just fine.
 
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