Completion of the First Tiny Timber!

In mid May of this year we had a race against the clock to finish the first model. The house was booked for Cornell and Ithaca collage graduation. I guess there's nothing like a little pressure to expedite a project. It was the four of us bustling around trying to get the final details taken care of. I can tell you from experience, it's a daunting task to paint with so much potential for paint splatter on bare wood. It all got finished though.

We are happy to announce that the first rendition of a Tiny Timber house is complete! And in our humble opinion it looks marvelous. Even though this model, at around 500 square feet, is the smallest option that we will be offering, it surpassed our expectations in how roomy it feels inside. Any excess space is efficiently utilized. For example, drawers are placed in the bottom four stair risers for extra storage. We derive a great deal of inspiration from the innovations of Japanese compact design.

All in all, we are delighted at how the whole thing came together. We'll let the pictures speak for themselves. additional photos will be posted on the home page as well. Now the only thing left to do is christen the place by having a big BBQ on the deck. I very much hope this will happen soon... If anyone is interested in staying in the new Tiny Timber we are open to visitors! Please go to the Stone Quarry House for additional information.

Solar Array

The panels are up to supply power for the new houses! The Tiny Timber prototypes are still under construction so for the time being, we are generating a surplus of power. Any excess power we produce will be put into the grid. A lot of the power being generated is used by the Stone Quarry House. However if we end up producing more power than we use at the end of the year, then NYSEG (New York State Electric & Gas) will compensate us for the energy we provided at wholesale price! Nothing goes to waste and we provide renewable energy to the grid.

We want to coincide building solar panels with our Tiny Timber developments because it's a great investment. The initial cost may seem deterring, but in the long run it saves money. There are governmental tax credits and assistance to help with building and investing in solar power and other forms of renewable energy. At the end of the day, not being burdened by monthly utility bills is a huge relief.

In the future we hope to set up solar farms affiliated with our Tiny Timber developments. Recent legislature has allowed any party to produce energy from a remote location and use the power produced for their personal home. These solar farms will be built offsite. They will bank KW hours for those who want to buy a share in the solar farm. This will offset their energy expenses each month and greatly reduce their utility bills. We are thrilled about the opportunity that this will bring for those interested in living in one of our homes.

Constructing the Prototype

The first wall is up!

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A lot has happened since beginning construction. The concrete piers were poured, the wall frames were assembled and set, and the first floor deck was built. Although this may sound fairly straight forward, there was a great deal of complexity that went into preparing the posts and beams. Namely, each piece had to be notched and cut just so for it all to fit together like a puzzle. It's a wood craftsman project as much as it is a construction project.

There are a multitude of benefits to using a notched post and and beam construction. They may be more tedious to implement but in our opinion it's worth it. Our end goal is to streamline this process in the production of our kits so all the tedium is alleviated from home buyers and those interested in buying kits. The benefits are as follows:

    1.  A notched wooden structure adds durability due to the strength of its interlocking joints.

    2.  Notching allows you to eliminate unnecessary joint hardware.

    3.  A notched joint simply looks nicer than the alternative.

Also, as can be seen in the picture above, a groove has been cut out of the center of the pillars. This allows us to slide tongue and groove boards, interlocked, into place, reducing the need for fasteners. In the end its a lot like putting together Lincoln Logs, really heavy Lincoln Logs. Buzz assembled the west side wall apart from the rest of the house in order to make the process a little easier since this was the first attempt st putting it all together. Here are some really great pictures that give a glimpse into how the wall was assembled.

In the future we intend to change the design slightly so that modular sections of the wall are built separately and then assembled afterwords. Hopefully this will streamline construction. But for now we need to focus on getting the rest of the siding and roofing on before winter comes. We are excited about how things are coming along!

Inspiration

This is where it all started.

Believe it or not the inspiration for the idea for Tiny Timber came from the construction of a glamping project!

For those who are unfamiliar with the term "glamping," it's a mash up word combining the words glamorous and camping. Glamping structures are usually large tent structures or one room cabins that have luxurious interiors. I like to think of it as the childhood dream of the perfect fort away from home. Glamping has become a bit of a fad as of late, catering to those interested in the feel and experience of camping but aren't particularly fond of worrying about rainwater getting on top of the tent ground cloth, getting woken up from the heat of the sun at 6:30am, or continually battling bugs. If you haven't tried it yet I highly recommend it.

This glamp site, which we call the Hilltop Suite, is one of the lodgings offered at the Stone Quarry House. It features three post and beam structures, the largest of which is the living cabin. There is also a sleeping cottage along with a separate bathhouse.

Buzz liked the project because it showcased the natural, raw building materials. Pretty much any surface, floor, ceiling, or wall, is exposed stone or wood. Even the roof shingles are made of stone! When you don't have to deal with plumbing, insulation, and intricate wiring, you can leave the skeleton of the house bare, exposing the natural beauty of the wood frame.

The design is simple. Posts are erected. Beams and and cross supports are placed on top of the beams to support the roof. Then wooden slats, windows, and doors are used to fill in the rest. This design became the basis of the Tiny Timber. Why not take the cozy, holistic feel of a glamping cabin and turn it into a fully functional, livable home?