Models

Tiny Timber Goes Tiny

 
 

Tiny Timber has big news to share! But before we get to that let me give a very brief overview of what we have been up to the last half a year: building, building, advocating for quality affordable middle-income housing in Tompkins County, and building some more. Things have been going well for us. We have kept busy. You may have witnessed some of our homes going up on West Hill, out Ellis Hollow Road, and right outside of Brooktondale. In the flurry of operations however, we feel that we have slightly lost sight of our original concept and mission: to create quality affordable homes through innovation.

The cost of housing in Tompkins County continues to rise. Demand for housing continues to go up and the added supply to housing stock is not keeping pace. Thus, the rising cost. A large part of the issue is that the cost of new construction is expensive and even with the added demand, there is little incentive to delve into single family home construction, especially in the middle-income price range. Construction of low-income housing is made possible by grants and housing assistance. Construction of high-income housing is possible for reasons I’m sure I don’t need to illustrate. This leaves out middle-income housing. This is referred to in the housing world as the “missing middle.”

We were on a trajectory of needing continually to raise prices on our homes to viable. This is not something that we are willing to do because we care about addressing a community need and not limit ourselves to selling only to affluent folks.

So what’s the big news? Why is this preface so long?? Well I’ll get right to it. As you may have gleaned from the title of this post, Tiny Timber is going small! We are going to transition into being a modular home builder. This will allow us to provide housing to the aforementioned missing-middle that is so in need. We are releasing an entirely new set of models between 400 square feet up to around 1,100 square feet priced between $150/sqft and $200/sqft. These homes can be finished entirely in our mill and delivered to site on trailers. Very soon we will be rolling out this new line on our website so stay tuned!

We are currently finished up our first concept model as seen in the photos above. It’s just a taste of what’s to come. This Tiny Home is up for sale! The home is 330 square feet and priced at $75,000. If you are interested in purchasing the home, please feel free to drop us a line! We also have a home currently listed in Brooktondale for those who are interested. The listing can can be found HERE.

The Cottages at Fall Creek Crossing

We are thrilled to announce the release of our new website for The Cottages at Fall Creek Crossing (at www.cottagesatfallcreek.com) formerly known as Varna Tiny Timber. These homes are now officially on the market and ready to be sold! I urge anyone who is interested to peruse the new site and the listings posted on Brent Katzmann's Warren Real Estate page. We are very excited about what we have put together and hope you like it as well.  Thank you to those who have been waiting patiently for this news. It turns out that site plan and storm water management take a bit of time to iron out.

We have also significantly updated our model selection. Take a look! We added a few new models and phased out models that we don't think work as well. The "Models" tab has been changed to "Example Models" because the list of models is an ever evolving list. We don't want to give the impression that we are restrictive with model options and interior layout.

To be honest, the naming of models has become surprisingly difficult. We want to keep things as straightforward as possible in the way that our model options are organized and separated into series. There has been so much design overlap that it is difficult to categorize what we have. The easy thing to do would be to name our models arbitrary names like "The Charlotte." I'm not too fond of the idea but there are only so many iterations of cube names that we can come up with. It does make me very happy that we have a model named "Cuboid." It sounds like an 80's arcade game character.

We have posted two new galleries of completed homes on the Tiny Timber website. You can view them HERE. We are proud of the craftsmanship of our crew and the finishes on Tiny Timber homes continue to get better and more refined. I continue to be impressed by the way that our stairs are coming out. The big wooden homemade block treads, homemade railings, steel spindles, and steel stringers all come together so nicely. In the words of our fearless leader Buzz, "dude, these are cool."

There are a couple of new building methods that are also worth mentioning. Firstly, we have started doing our basement ceilings a little differently. Instead of using traditional floor joists and dry-walling the basement ceiling, we have started using rough cut hemlock beams with hemlock boards on top to create the same aesthetic as the ceiling on the first floor (see top right). Secondly, we have just started fabricating entire wall and roof sections in our mill (see bottom right). The wall sections will then be shipped to the job site to be assembled using picks and a crane. We are really excited about this change in method because we think (fingers crossed) that it will be much more efficient and save everyone time and headache. Our crew is pretty happy about it too because they get to work in the warm mill and not in the freezing cold out on the man lift. Win, win!

That's all for now. We here at Tiny Timber hope you all had a lovely holiday season!

We Completed a Big Cube & Varna is On The Way

Hello all! It’s good to be writing some news again. It’s been a little while, I know, but it’s hard to get to writing when there are so many homes to be built! Since my last post we have finished our first Big Cube and three more are under construction. We have been working hard to keep up with everything. Tiny Timber houses are the hotcakes of homes apparently. Subsequently we have brought on board an electrician and a plumber as partners in our company. We now have the capability of building a home from start to finish all with our own people. Sub-contractors? Who needs ‘em!

Here are a few images of the Cube that we have recently completed. Out of respect for our client’s privacy, I have omitted photos showing most of the interior. She needed to hastily move into her new home and situate her belongings in the house after construction was finished. Take a look!

LED recessed light

Cherry floating tread stairs

There are a couple of features we are very excited to show. The first being the recessed LED lighting in the cross beams as you can see above. We feel that this really adds some class and a nice ambiance to the space. The second being the floating tread, cherry staircase that we installed. This will from here on be the standard for the staircases that we build. As with many of our construction details, we weren’t keen on doing the traditional method of construction so we decided to do something a little different and make a unique looking style of stairs with our own Tiny Timber flair.

A couple images of the exterior:

Big Cube exterior east view

Big Cube exterior north view

 

Big Cube porch view

Sadly, I was not fortunate enough to spend any time in that hammock with a cold beverage but life goes on. In the image to the right you can see the long driveway that we needed to build leading to the home. We had to set the house far back on the property to avoid the wetland at the front. The road across the street is named “Shudaben Road.” So our client decided to unofficially name here driveway “Isa Road.” This is the kind of humor that we appreciate here at Tiny Timber. I very much hope she makes her own sign to stake at the end of her drive.

In other news, we are very close to releasing a full site plan for Varna Tiny Timber! We have finally received approval from New York State for the Home Owners Association. We have everything in place to move forward. We are in the process of working out the final details of the project before we list the lots and publicize. We want to have a fully comprehensive plan for which models we will use for the pocket community and which models we will place on which lots. Our intent is to create a site plan with a diversity of models. We want to incorporate models with varying numbers of bedrooms, sizes, and styles. Here is a rough sketch of what the community will look like upon completion.

Varna Tiny Timber render

You may notice that there are some unfamiliar roof lines in this rendering. This is because we are also on the verge of releasing seven or so new models and floor plans! Many of these models are designed with Varna Tiny Timber specifically in mind. Buzz continues to think up new models and expand our library. He’s insistent on keeping our friends at STREAM busy! We are continually evolving and responding to the needs of home buyers and creating homes that will fit these needs. Here is a sneak peek at the models that we will be releasing on the website soon:

It’s worth mentioning that two of these models are already listed on lots on Hector Street in the City of Ithaca. You can find these listings HERE.

Lastly, I wanted to let everyone know that we will be participating in the Green Buildings Open House organized by the Cooperative Extension on September 30th. We are excited to offer our support in raising awareness about the importance of green building. Please check it out. They will be releasing details about the homes that will be included in the tour soon. Hope to see you there!

New Models!

At long last we have released our full design portfolio! Our friends over at STREAM have been working quite hard to get us these drawings the last couple months and we very much appreciate the work they have done for us. This brings our total number of models to sixteen! We have designed these different models to accommodate the various needs of our clientele based on feedback that we have received. We hope to have a suitable design for whomever walks through our door whether they are a single person looking to age in place or a young family of five.

We have organized our models into series: the Cube Series, the I Series, the L Series, the T Series, and the Vacation Home. Since there is more content than would be appropriate to put in this blog post, please visit our models page to take a look! www.tinytimber.house/models

We are also proud to announce that Stream Collaborative and Tiny Timber recently won an Award of Merit for design from the American Institute of Architects Southern New York chapter. We visited the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel last month to except the award and had a lovely evening. We were served a tasty dinner of ham and roast beef, we mingled and we presented our projects to the architectural community among the likes of Holt Architects and Chiang O'Brien Architects. I could get used to this.

 

American Institute of Architects Award of Merit

 

In other news, we have been working through the winter constructing a Tiny Timber home in Hector for our first clients. We are moving along slowly but steadily. It just so happens that construction can be difficult when weather flip flops between 45 degrees with mud and frigid windy snowstorms but we persevere! All it takes are some chains on the wheels of our heavy equipment and some good quality long johns. On this model our clients decided to go with green corrugated metal roofing instead of asphalt shingles which adds a new look to our designs and we liked it so much that we will now be offering it as a basic option. Here are some pictures to show our progress. This model is the L Large Lofted.

Our goal for 2017 was to build ten homes. As of now we have 5 homes to build on our queue. In other words we are growing fast. I think it's about time to bring a few more people onto our crew! Our goal come springtime is to have the capacity to build a home every 3 weeks. Thank you everyone for your support so far in helping us make Tiny Timber come to life and helping to make affordable and sustainable new housing in Ithaca a reality. Until next time, keep your eyes peeled for us driving through town!

 

Tiny Timber Truck Logo

 

Ramping Up

New work truck: Ford Super Duty F780

New work truck: Ford Super Duty F250

At the beginning of the week, Buzz and I drove all the way to to Lima Ohio to pick up the trucks seen above at Magnam Truck & Equipment. While we were there we serendipitously stumbled across a decal shop in the back of a gas station and deli down the road from the truck shop. We had these made up to put on the doors of our new trucks. Keep an eye out for us driving around town town! I've been procrastinating on putting them on though because it's cold outside and the application process isn't exactly easy.

 

Tiny Timber truck decals

 

We drove the Volt out to Ohio and ended up towing the car back behind the red truck. Everything went swimmingly other than the dense fog which slowed us down and the over-consumption of chain restaurant food. As a guy who normally drives a Honda Fit, towing a car behind me with a large truck made me feel simultaneously nerve racked and tough. Truth be told I'm glad to be back in my little car again but acquiring these trucks will help us stay on top of things as the springtime housing rush hits. This brings our total number of company trucks to 3. I personally think that's enough to start calling it a fleet.

We have been kept very busy in the last month listening to feedback from potential home-buyers and figuring out what works and what doesn't in our designs. We've been modifying our designs and creating new designs to accommodate for what folks need and want in a home. In the next week or two we hope to completely update the "homes" section of our webpage. We will be adding multiple new models and improving old ones. Here is a taste of what's to come. The first is a single story, 2 bedroom home. We will also be offering a one bedroom version of this home which will omit the wing on the beck side.

The second is what we call the "Big Cube." The cube design that we have already released on our website is an 18 foot by 18 foot square footprint whereas the Big Cube is 21 foot by 21 foot square footprint. This adds over 100 square feet per floor and we think really opens up the layout. We are really excited about this design because the layout is beautiful and it's about the best square footage price you can get for this size home.

We are looking into offering 3D virtual reality panoramic views of our homes as well. It's amazing what we can do with technology these days! This feature will literally allow folks to visualize how each model will look from the inside. Hopefully not too long from now we will have these to view for all of our models on the website.

Finally, I wanted to let everyone know we will be changing our pricing schematic soon. We will be changing our base price to include a finished basement. We've decided to go this route because although it does increase the cost a little, the square footage price drops dramatically and we think it's in most folks best interest to include the finished basement. Suddenly our little homes don't feel so little anymore! That being said we will still be offering an unfinished basement option or the option of omitting the basement entirely if that's what folks would like.

As always thank you all for reading and have a lovely day! Stay tuned for more!

Wall Construction Detail and Open House Thanks

First and foremost I wanted to sincerely thank everyone who was able to make it to our open house. We were pleasantly surprised and excited that so many folks came to see what we are doing. I certainly had my work cut out for me keeping all the cheese and crackers stocked. It was great to hear all the support we had from the community. I also wanted to give a huge thanks to Mark and David of our construction team for working extra hard and putting in extra time to get everything ready. Thank y'all!

We have recently added a wall detail to our "design specifications" tab. For those who were able to make it to our open house, this is the computer rendition of the mock wall section that was on display. For those of you who couldn't make it, I hope this is illuminating. This detail acts as a great visual aid in showing how we put everything together and how our design is so effective.

wall to foundation detail

As you can see the insulation is continuous throughout, even through the hemlock beams. The copper flashing goes in and up and is taped to the ZIP sheathing keeping moisture out. No joinery is used for the siding as they are simply slid into grooves and airspace behind the siding keeps everything nice and dry.

That's all for now! I'll be posting more updates soon. Until then, here is a teaser of the latest model we have been working on to be released soon! It's a two story, two bedroom square with a hipped roof that is especially compact and efficiently spaced. 

new tiny timber model rendering

New Model Renderings

Our friends over at Stream Collaborative have put together some lovely Computer generated renderings of the four models that we have so far. They really give a great perspective on how the finished homes will look and feel and allow you to visualize the size difference, More information about model can be found under our homes tab. For visual comparison, all the pictures of prototypes taken for the blog and the homepage are showing the Tiny Timber Two model design. Here are the model renderings:

Tiny Timber One single story one bedroom one bathroom

Tiny Timber Two two story loft one bathroom

Tiny Timber Three two story 2 bedroom (or 1 bedroom and loft) one bathroom

Tiny Timber Four two story up to three bedrooms and two bathrooms

Thank you as always for reading!