Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones! Here are inspirational videos about living in transformed small spaces – living compact, well and efficiently. It looks like we will close on our tiny home in January 2013. We are feverishly doing research and writing out our favorite small design ideas from our own RV travel/life over the last 18 months. Soon we will begin our own transformation/remodel on the 500 square foot house. Here are two amazing videos demonstrating creative, multi-functional use of small spaces in New York. The first one is about Treehugger.com founder, Graham Hill, who transformed his own 420 square foot apartment. The second video shows Rosa and Robert Garneau’s Chelsea apartment of just 550 square feet of usable space – with a bedroom just 8 feet wide. Both videos are produced by Kirsten Dirksen and faircompanies.com – a company documenting eco and small footprint living. (faircompanies.com) Enjoy.
6 rooms into 1: morphing apartment packs 1100 sq ft into 420
NYC “Swiss Army Knife” apartment’s walls open, fold and slide
Thanks to Katie White from DIY Mother for this great guest post!!
￼ Reducing your footprint doesn’t have to be uncomfortable
One of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact is to limit the size of your home. Small homes use less land and raw materials, cost much less to heat and cool, and you’ll be less tempted to fill them with things you don’t need. Still, if you’re feeling a little stir-crazy in a smaller home, you’re not alone; so here are a few little tricks to give yourself some breathing room without actually knocking down walls.
Big changes are underway. We put in an offer on a 500 square foot 100 year old house in Alameda, CA. The home inspection was 11/17/2012 and now we are waiting for escrow to close. We are looking forward to taking on an entire eco remodel. We plan on doing a majority of the work ourselves.
We have big plans for this little house. Some ideas we want to explore are a vaulted ceiling, adding up to 200 s.f onto the house, a reclaimed wood floor or a concrete floor with radiant heating, rain water collection, low flow toilets (maybe a composting toilet), building a loft, open concept living space, installing solar panels, using LED lights, building a mud room/indoor garden room at the back of the house, using solar tubes, rebuilding the rotted wood porch, building a swim spa and back deck. In the yard we want to create a retreat like planting extravaganza by sowing flower seeds and working on a veggie garden. We also want to have espaliered fruit trees along the fence, low water plants and grasses, an area for composting, vine trellises for privacy and more. We will attempt to use recycled materials as much as possible and document our progress every step of the way.
This is our attempt at a small footprint homestead in the city.
Barring any unforeseen issues we pan to close on the house by the end of the year. Stay tuned.
So sorry to have been gone for over a month… things have been busy and sad for us recently. We have had family sickness and emergency travel to Alabama. Our step dad is still not out of the woods and will have a long, hard recovery. We are now back in Alameda, CA (in the San Francisco Bay area) – this is where our home base RV pad and shed are located. Brenda and I have been talking about our future and what is next for us. Continue traveling, settle into one area, do a combination of both? We absolutely love this area of California and decided we might want to invest in a tiny home that needs an eco remodel. We curently don’t own property and are excited about this possibility and the idea of another small project. We are looking at homes under 1,000 square feet and today we are actually putting in an offer for a 500 sf home in Alameda. See the map below to get a sense of where we are:
If you chose to edit your life and get rid of excess how would you go about it? We have been inspired and challenged by this question for the last few years. We once owned tons of STUFF – homes, several cars, things to fill the homes and of course let’s not forget debt. Brenda and I were inspired by Graham Hill (founder of Treehugger) and his “Less stuff, more happiness” TED talk. Check it out below.
We just realized we don’t have many posted pictures of our awesome traveling companions. We travel with our 9 year old golden retriever, Faith, and our 14 year old kitty, Luna. I looked for some pics with both of the girls together, but couldn’t find any – bummer. Here they are living the life…
The beauty of Banff – our recent September 2012 visit
In the fall of 1883, three Canadian Pacific Railway construction workers stumbled across a cave containing hot springs on the eastern slopes of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains. From that humble beginning was born Banff National Park, Canada’s first national park and the world’s third. Spanning 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles) of valleys, mountains, glaciers, forests, meadows and rivers, Banff National Park is one of the world’s premier destination spots.
I found this article on Food Babe and just had to repost. We try to eat vegan most of the time and this information is invaluable!!! If you eat vegan/vegetarian or are thinking about it, you must check this out. Knowledge is power.
Think Twice Before Buying This Type of Burger
…by Food Babe
4th of July is right around the corner and I really can’t think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day than a good old fashioned BBQ. But I have to be honest here, attending a BBQ produces a bit of anxiety for me every time. Will the host serve only beef hamburgers and hotdogs? (I don’t eat beef or any type hot dog.) Will the meat be organic? Will there be vegetarian options? Will the cook char the meat to death and produce heterocyclic amines that are known to cause colon cancer?
Needless to say, I am honestly a little disappointed when the host decides to serve things I don’t eat but get even more anxious when they offer to pick up some veggie burgers from the store for me. I am downright frightened of the ingredients in those frozen meat flavored patties. My response to their offer is always “No, thank you, I’ll bring a dish” and here’s why:
Neurotoxins & Carcinogens – The majority of store-bought veggie burgers contain some form of soy. Non organic soy is extracted using hexane, a chemical byproduct of petroleum refining. The food industry uses the hexane extraction method because it is cheap. Several studies have been published about the neurotoxicity of exposure of humans and animals to hexane, but the most alarming ones link exposure to brain tumors. Currently the FDA sets no limit to the amount of hexane that can be used in non-organic soy products and no one knows for sure how much residue is being consumed by the American public. If you want more info on this – the Cornucopia Institute released an excellent report about several popular veggie burger brands that use hexane. To quote top researcher Charlotte Valleys, “The bigger picture here is that hexane is being released into the atmosphere—since it’s an air pollutant. It leads to smog, which is ground-level ozone, which leads to a whole bunch of health problems, like asthma in kids. These effects are very real.” I don’t want this in my body or in the air I breathe – do you?
*Image taken from Cornucopia Institute’s report on hexane in soy
We had the opportunity to visit the Ohio Airstream plant recently. We were invited by their VP of Marketing, Mollie Hansen. We stayed at the facility for a week as we had some much needed repair work to be done (hole in the underbelly, broken water pump, hole in the roof). We had an opportunity to meet with the CEO, Bob Wheeler, as well as Mollie and the VP of Engineering and Sales. We showed them our green retrofits and they spoke about their sustainability efforts at the production plant.
You’re a traveler. Whether you drive to the supermarket or fly to China on business, you’re a traveler. And while the phrase “how you travel” used to refer to what mode of transportation you use, it can now refer to how green your travel habits are.
Luckily for us all, our phones and tablets go with us everywhere, so we have resources and apps to help us travel in a more eco-friendly way.
Not all of us drive smart cars or a Prius, but greenMeter can make you feel like you’re driving one. This app views your car’s fuel and oil consumption using the iPhone or iPad’s accelerometer. Just enter a few details about your car, what kind of fuel you use, and what the weather is like outside. Then sit back, wait for the results, and you’ll be able to adjust to get the most mileage out of your car.