post and beam

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.

Arts & Crafts & New Garage

I think it's time to dust the cobwebs of this old blog and update y'all on what's new with Tiny Timber.  To summarize our activity over the last four months: we finished the last two homes on our Ellis Hollow subdivision, are currently working on three homes in the city of Ithaca on Hector Street, one of which is about to be finished, and will be moving on to a new Ellis Hollow subdivision in the next couple weeks. For anyone driving in and out of town on Hector Street, our homes under construction can be seen to the south up on the ridge like a big Tiny Timber beacon. The feedback that we have been getting from the Ithaca community has been wonderful and we appreciate it very much. To say that we have been busy is putting it mildly. We are currently booked through the end of the year and are working on figuring out just how to keep up. 

The last home that we completed was our final home on the Ellis Hollow subdivision. The model is called the Arts and Crafts Home. Arts and Crafts refers to a design and architectural movement that occurred during the late 19th and early 20th century. Click HERE if you're curious about it and like to be distracted by esoteric history. Arts and Crafts in this context refers to the roof line that we incorporated into the design. The roof slopes down in the front and back of the home with dormers that peek out from the top. Without further ado, here are some images of the home. These images and more can also be found on our galleries page.

I only uploaded one picture of the exterior of the home because to be honest I wasn't happy with how the photos were coming out. Ithaca looks a little bleak at the moment in my opinion. I'll upload more exterior shots once we start getting a little greenery around here. This home is the first slab on grade home that we have built and we are delighted with how it turned out. The sealant we used for the concrete gives the floor a nice sheen and radiant floors on the first level will make for some happy feet.

We also for this job built our very first two door garage! It's essentially a very small Tiny Timber house with the same aesthetic just with a pared down wall system. We now offer one and two door garages as a standard option for all our builds provided there is space on the lot. The clients for this job opted for glass front garage doors which I think look wonderful. Take a look below.

That's all for now and thank you for reading and checking out our latest and greatest. Also, keep an eye out for this sign coming to Varna soon on the corner of Freese Road and Dryden Road!

 
 

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!

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?