ProtoStoga

I want to re-share this camper I posted about back in 2010.  I would still like to know more about it but love what I’ve seen so far.

I see some definite similarities to my own concept of a vardo but I really like to metal sheathing as a modern, low maintenance exterior.  Also, the rounded front was a long consideration in my plans but in the end I chose a more “old-timey” look.

You can just about see the evolution of the Airstream design in this construction.  They also have a nice Tiny House that’s worth checking out here: http://www.protohaus.moonfruit.com/

For those who don’t follow the Tiny House Blog, check out the ProtoStoga here:

http://tinyhouseblog.com/tiny-house-concept/protostoga/#more-12243

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Tiny House for Film Stars

Portablebuildingsclarkgable

I’m just going to stretch the imagination and say this is Clark Gable and Joan Crawford just prior to christening this little home (or maybe just after, he does look a little sweaty).

Here is a wonderful tiny home with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford eyeing each other up on the front porch.  It appears to be strapped to a regular flatbed trailer, presumably for delivery to its final destination. There is nothing new under the sun.

Found here but the site is sadly defunct now: http://wintechmodularbuildings.co.uk/

Thoughts About Minimalism and Survival

Learning a thing or two from the past…Part 1, 21st century Westerners are not the first to minimalize.

kylixdonkey

How much stuff do we really need to lug through life?

There’s a lot of recent talk about Minimalism as a social movement and this fits well with my personal philosophy and my interests in preindustrial technology and survival.  Not long ago, minimalism was mostly associated with artists, aesthetes, wanderers, mystics, and philosophers.  That is to say, the fringe element, outsiders, and weirdos.  These things come in cycles and I think, as a backlash against generations of sell-out philosophy and the creation of a professional consumer class, many people are reaching for something new.

We come to learn that everything old is new again.

I’ve been pondering history and prehistory on a full-time professional basis for several decades now.  As hard to believe as it may be, I even get paid a salary to do it.  One of my professional interests involves the tools, tool-kits, and strategies for surviving that various people have come up with for dealing with the world.  As a sometimes primitive skills-survival instructor and full-time frugalist I think it important to not reinvent a lifeway when we have millennia of ancestors who dealt with most of the same issues we do today.

San

A San bushman demonstrating fire-making.  Ostrich egg canteen in the foreground. These people probably resemble our ancestral way of life and have very few possessions, even in their harsh environment.

For most humans, for most of our history, owning too much stuff has never really been an issue.  We had what we needed and either made what we needed or did without the things we didn’t have.  It brings a smile to my face to know that more than 2,500 years ago, various thinkers people in China, India, Greece, and the Middle East were contemplating the nature and evils of acquiring stuff; some were even writing about it.  That’s not to say that I have immediate plans to become a wandering mendicant like a medieval friar (as appealing as that might sound to some) but I do have an interest in lightening my material load and some very specific goals for the coming year.

mendicant

Medieval European mendicants represented by a pilgrim and a friar.

My foundation as a minimalist (and I may not be very good at it)-

I have been thinking about what stuff a person needs to survive since I was a teenager who enjoyed backpacking and travel.  Like virtually every young boy, I had grand ideas of escaping the family and traveling unhindered across the world.  My family weren’t exactly readers but I devoured Jack London and Mark Twain stories as a kid.  I loved the extensive and well-thought out gear lists provided in the Boy Scout Handbook, the Explorer’s Handbook, and the Philmont Guides.  I read Larry Dean Olsen’s great book of Outdoor Survival Skills and Colin Fletcher’s The Complete Walker again and again.  I read about the mountain men of the fur trade, and always, took note of what they carried or didn’t seem to need.  I would copy lists into a notebook and revise them while sitting in some boring high school class, making my own lists of what I have, what I need, and what I want.  This thinking encouraged me to work and save money to buy a better knife, backpack, or camping stove.  I was probably the only kid I knew who wanted, and got, a file and whetstone for Christmas one year (my grandpa was good that way).  My friends and I spent our teens and early twenties hiking and camping year round, mostly in the woods of the Ozarks in southern Missouri testing our mettle at that time in life time when all teenagers know they are invincible.  Some of us even made it to Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond.

Books

A few of the many books I ended up possessing on a quest toward fewer possessions.

In a modern sense of survivalist, many people look to the military or the loonies of the social media.  Often, military service is the time when young men and women are introduced to such things for the first and only time in their lives.  Realistically however, the military itself acknowledges it’s shortcomings on a personal basis as (with the exception of a few special operations units) its entire system is dependent on lengthy and complex supply lines, support chains, and de-emphasis of the individual and personal decision making.  Military survival is generally approached as a means of keeping alive until help arrives.  Great for fighting a war, but not always so good when you are turned loose into the world.  This sort of survival strays from our point here anyway.

Just remember –

The things you own end up owning you.

~Chuck Palahniuk

 

More (and less) to come soon.


* here are a few links to modern Minimalists of various ilks and philosophical merit.  A journey through these links will hint at the breadth and depth of people on different paths but moving in the same direction.

Read, research, think, and enjoy!

Who Says Bigger is Better?

Okay, in some cases maybe.  This cute little combo caught my attention a couple years ago and I’m just getting around to posting it.  A truly minimal teardrop trailer that I suspect can just sleep two with about one suitcase each. I found it labelled “The 1941 Kozy Coach Travel Trailer ” but a search around the internet didn’t turn up anything confirming this.  My only real fear in pulling this micro home on wheels would be the complete lack of rear visibility.

perfection

A perfect little combination.

All I have is conjecture and observation for this one.  If anyone knows more and wants to share then please post in the comments section.  As a scooterist myself, I’m a bit jealous of this rig.

CMAonScoot

And for some continuity, my great-grandfather on his brother-in-law’s scoot just after the war.

Tiny House Japan; who knew?

The original link was sent to me by Chris Beneke.  Thanks Chris.

TINY HOUSE JAPAN: Some serious innovation at work.

Screen Shot 2019-02-20 at 14.56.41

I do not read or speak Japanese so I’m at a loss over many details but the photos and videos exhibit a world of real innovation in design and construction.  The builder, Haruhiko Tagami (製作担当 田上晴彦) has a spectacular web page highlighting some of his designs that are already giving me much food for thought for future constructions.

One of the first things that really caught my attention was the pop-up mollycroft which adds and enormous amount of light and circulation but folds flat for travel.

He has designs from the truly tiny (on par with my original design space-wise) to a very substantial house on wheels with pop-out rooms that are incredible works of engineering.

The smallest Baske-T.

Roll down canvas curtains block the large windows for the night.

Roll down canvas curtains block the large windows for the night.

One of the problems with covering the extended space is having roll-up roofs along the lines of an old roll-top desk.

rolluproofThis allows for the modest-sized trailer to become a spacious palace; a big advantage when sharing with others.

metamophasisThis more than triples the available living space and in some of the photos there is even a third room extended as well.  This would suit a lot of people as a truly long-term living solution that could be pulled by a relatively small vehicle; not the enormous white aluminum fifth-wheel monsters that haunt the freeways.

Enjoy this small overview of the design and please check out more of his work by clicking the LINKS.

Many more photos of his work are available on his Instagram Page as well.  There is much to explore for the budding builder so be prepared to take notes!

Baske-T

Click to see the large and beautiful Baske-T.

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Ana White and Some Truly Brilliant Ideas

Someone recently shared this house with me and I’ve seen her (Ana White’s) work popping up all over the Internet lately.  Ana White uses readily available materials to create some genius storage and living solutions for small homes.  These could easily be applied in many other situations in order to make the most of any space.  It rings well with me because it is all-purpose made to fit the space and needs of the occupant; not just an off-the-shelf one-size-fits-most approach.  Here is a tour of her recent work and I suggest visiting her website for a load of other great ideas, including many plans.

Ana White

The table versatility is particularly smart and functional.  This would be handy in an office or bedroom as well.  The video has a lot of good ideas for builders.

And finally, on her Brag Board, she has many other interesting projects to check out as well including a lot furniture ideas like this clever storage bed shown below.

https://i0.wp.com/www.ana-white.com/sites/default/files/IMG_2360.JPG

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The Tiny House Movement

Here’s a redux from a conversation held last year.

Preindustrial Craftsmanship

Here’s a recent conversation I had, as best I can recall, of creating disappointment and maybe using the wrong words when describing the Vardo.

A woman in a grocery store parking lot jogs up to the vardo while I’m making a sandwich shouting, “Oh my gosh!  That is so cool!  Wow! Is that a Tiny House like on TV? Can I have a look inside?”

“Yes, of course.  You can look inside.”  So far, it’s progressing just like a hundred other conversations I’ve had over the years.

“Is it like the little TV houses? You know, like on that show?”

“I don’t know the show but it’s actually a little camping caravan.”

“It’s not a Tiny House?  Oh, never mind then,” turning on her heel she walked away without a backward glance.  Then to another gentleman walking towards us she shouts, “It’s nothing.  It’s not like the Tiny House Show”…

View original post 292 more words

Ravenlore Tiny Home

Tiny Green Cabins has some pretty nice and well thought-out designs. I find their website a little difficult to navigate but their blog has some interesting stuff on it.  I am very much a traditionalist and a form-follows-function kind of guy.  However, I think they have some new and innovative designs as well as some very nice features for comfortable living.

HPD

Check out this house tour of one of their recent builds.  It’s worth the 13 minutes.

 

The Tiny House Movement

Here’s a recent conversation I had, as best I can recall, of creating disappointment and maybe using the wrong words when describing the Vardo.

A woman in a grocery store parking lot jogs up to the vardo while I’m making a sandwich shouting, “Oh my gosh!  That is so cool!  Wow! Is that a Tiny House like on TV? Can I have a look inside?”

“Yes, of course.  You can look inside.”  So far, it’s progressing just like a hundred other conversations I’ve had over the years.

“Is it like the little TV houses? You know, like on that show?”

“I don’t know the show but it’s actually a little camping caravan.”

“It’s not a Tiny House?  Oh, never mind then,” turning on her heel she walked away without a backward glance.  Then to another gentleman walking towards us she shouts, “It’s nothing.  It’s not like the Tiny House Show” shaking her head in disappointment.  The gentleman and I proceeded to to tour the little wagon and had a merry talk about the Vardo and having it as a traveling companion.

The Vancott.  From J. Harris Stone, 1914.

The Vancott, moveable cottage designed to solve housing problems for working families in England. From J. Harris Stone, 1914.

A Clarification – Something I find myself explaining on the road when pulling the little caravan is the difference between a Tiny House and a true caravan or vardo.   A Tiny House is just that; a very small house.  Because of codes and strong laws about housing in the Industrial Nations, Tiny Homes are usually placed on a trailer for legal and logistic reasons.  This doesn’t mean that most Tiny Houses should or could be dragged all over the country.  That’s not really the point.  They are generally too heavily built (rightly so) and use materials like factory-built house widows and normal pitched roofs.  While these make for a nicer living structure they are not designed for the sustained tornado-like conditions and severe jarring that come from over-the-road travel.

Showman's2

Late 19th Century-style Showman’s Van, Arguably the first true stand-alone caravan for full-time living. From J. Harris Stone, 1914.

When the world moved a little slower, some of these issues were not as important, such as real glass windows and hurricane-proof roofs, but now, we certainly don’t want parts to fly off at 70 miles per hours on the highway, or to show up in camp with shattered glass on the bed.

Definitions:

Tiny House – Very small home often mounted on a trailer frame.  Designed to be towed  to a final location or towed for occasional moving.

Vardo or Caravan – Small dwelling designed to be regularly towed to new location.

Ultra Minimalists, Part 1

Learning a thing or two from the past…Part 1, 21st century americans are not the first to minimalize.

kylixdonkey

How much stuff do we really need to lug through life?

This is a lengthy ramble.  So long in fact, that I have broken it into several posts to be trickled out over the coming days, weeks, or months.  Skip on to the fun stuff if you aren’t interested in Minimalist* philosophy.  There’s a lot of recent talk about Minimalism as a social movement.  Not long ago, it was associated with artists and aesthetes, wanderers, mystics, and philosophers.  That is to say, the fringe element, outsiders, and weirdos.  These things come in cycles and I think, as a backlash against generations of sell-out philosophy and the creation of a professional consumer class, many people are reaching for something new.

We come to learn that everything old is new again.

I’ve been looking into history and prehistory on a full-time basis for many decades now.  As hard to believe as it may be, I even get paid a salary to do it.  One of my professional interests involves tools, tool-kits, and strategies for surviving that various people have come up with for dealing with the world.  As a primitive skills-survival instructor and full-time frugalist I think it important to not reinvent a lifeway when we have millennia of ancestors who dealt with most of the same issues we do today.

San

A San bushman demonstrating fire-making.  Ostrich egg canteen in the foreground.

For most humans, for most of our history, owning too much stuff has never really been an issue.  We had what we needed and either made what we needed or did without the things we didn’t have.  It brings a smile to my face to know that more than 2,400 years ago, well-to-do people in China, India, and the Middle East were contemplating the nature and evils of acquiring Stuff; even writing about it.  That’s not to say that I have immediate plans to become a wandering mendicant like a medieval friar (as appealing as that might sound to some) but I do have an interest in lightening my material load and some very specific goals for the coming year.

mendicant

My foundation as a minimalist – I have been thinking about what stuff a person needs to survive since I was a teenager.  Like virtually every young boy, I had grand ideas of escaping the family and traveling unhindered across the world.  I devoured Jack London and Mark Twain stories as a kid.  I loved the extensive and well-thought out gear lists provided in the Boy Scout Handbook, the Explorer’s Handbook, and the Philmont Guides.  I read Larry Dean Olsen’s great book of Outdoor Survival Skills and Colin Fletcher’s The Complete Walker.  I read about the mountain men of the fur trade, and always, took note of what they carried or didn’t seem to need.  I would copy lists into a notebook and ponder them while sitting in some boring high school class, making my own lists of what I have, what I need, and what I want.  This thinking encouraged me to work and save money to buy a better knife, backpack, or stove.  I was probably the only kid I knew who wanted, and got, a file and whetstone for Christmas one year (my grandpa was good that way).  My friends and I spent our teens and early twenties hiking and camping year round, mostly in the woods of the Ozarks in southern Missouri testing our mettle at that time in life time when all teenagers know they are invincible.  Some of us even made it to Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond.

BooksIn a modern sense of survivalist, many people look to the military or the loonies of teh mainstream media.  Often, military service is the time when young men and women are introduced to such things for the first and only time.  Realistically however, the military itself acknowledges it’s shortcomings on a personal basis as (with the exception of a few special operations units) its entire system is dependent on lengthy and complex supply lines, support chains, and de-emphasis of the individual and personal decision making.  Military survival is therefore, approached as a means of keeping alive until help arrives.  Great for fighting a war, but not always so good when you are turned loose into the world.

Coming up next…Ultra Minimalists Part2.   Let’s look at a military example anyway: Romans.

legionary

* here are a few links to modern Minimalists of various ilks and philosophical merit.  A journey through these links will hint at the breadth and depth of people on different paths but moving in the same direction.

Read, research, think, and enjoy!

Go to Part 2