Minimalize me – buy this book

I have books to sell.

Actually, I have lots of things to sell and give away in the ‘great downsizing’. For those who haven’t heard yet, I’m moving to London in February. Lot’s to say about this, but I’ll be brief – I am taking a new role at NBBJ, in London as the Studio BIM Leader.  Did I mention I leave in a matter of days?

Everything Must Go!

So if you are interested in tiny houses, and don’t have a copy of Turning Tiny yet, go here to take all my remaining stock. It’s only $25 – below retail, and free shipping to the lower 48 states.

Turning Tiny (signed)

First Official Purchase

LILLÅNGENOK, so many would expect the trailer or at least the shipping container as the first thing I would buy. Well, as it turns out the trailer I was looking at buying is a bit more expensive than I was planning, and shipping from the fabricator, located in Florida, would be cost prohibitive as well. I’m now seeking alternatives.

I have been keeping a list of things that I absolutely will include in my design. One of those items, installed in several tiny houses that I admire: the smallest configuration of LILLÅNGEN sink from Ikea. This is a vanity sink which turns the fixture on its side – literally. Since its reversible, I can later decide if I want left or right configuration. I brought this baby home yesterday along with tired feet and a handful of new ideas. I may build a cabinet, use wall brackets or salvage something from the RE Store.

Since I am all about sharing, I’ve modeled this with the optional wall brackets in Revit for your use. It’s a little simplified, however this should help visualize the space required. Please let me know if there are other formats you’d like for these models. I hope you enjoy.

VanitySink_Ikea_LILLÅNGENClick to download the Revit Family:


Meet Kimberly

wood_stovesIs it possible to fall in love with a stove? Meet Kimberly. This tiny stainless steel wonder is what’s known as a high-efficiency gasifier stove. I’ve been weighing the options, and while burning anything for heat is going to produce some pollutants, I likely will not have access to the grid all the time. Heating a house this small with solar could get very expensive and the necessary panels would not fit on the roof. Also, this little gem can be moved into storage in the off months. It’s light enough to pick up without breaking your back like traditional cast iron stoves.

So, weighing the obvious options of propane versus wood, I choose wood. Most any hardwood will burn well in this stove. A recycled sawdust ‘presto’ log supposedly burns for 8 hours, and produces up to 42,500 BTU/hour. That’s almost 10 times as much output possible with the little marine heater (found in many tiny homes) I was considering. Most of the tiny home owners I’ve spoken with who have that particular propane heater have complained about comfort. Sure, I could go with a residential sized stove, like this one from Vermont Castings. We installed one years ago in the first house we bought in Rhode Island. It served us well through some very cold winters in a drafty 75 year old house. So, I have nothing against gas per se, however typical residential heating stoves take up a serious amount of space. Space that is precious in a tiny house.

Because of the way the Kimberly stove works, burning the gasses in the upper chamber above the main firebox, it produces well below both the EPA and Washington State emission standards at only 3.2grams of particulate per hour. Plus it’s made in the Pacific Northwest.

One more trick, if you’ve ever seen the BioLite camp stove, the manufacturer of the Kimberly offers an electric generator that sits on top of the stove. It produces enough heat that can be converted to bonus energy to charge a laptop, phone or run a small appliance – electricity, from fire! All of this adds up to a no brainer, and it costs not nearly the three months of rent and utilities I won’t need to be paying during winter, if all goes as planned. Essentially, this stove pays for itself in less than a season. Plus, what’s not to love about curling up in front of an actual fire?

Read more about this beauty at the vendor’s website:

Layers of Wood and Glue


Plywood seems like a simple technology. It is just alternating layers of wood and glue, right? A wood pulp sandwich. Mmmm, sandwich. Like sandwiches, not all are created equal.

It’s all about the ingredients. I used to only pay attention to the face veneer. What species? What quality? Is it clear or with knots? Rough, smooth or finely sanded? As I think more about this house project, the density of the core layer, the weight of the panel, and the type of glue used have become a consideration. Is the wood certified as sustainably harvested?

Since I am most concerned about indoor air quality (IAQ), the glue has become a real concern. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – as the name suggests, are something you don’t want, or should seriously reduce, in a building. Glues, adhesives (not the same thing), paint, sealants, fire-retardants, insulation and many other common building materials all can contain VOCs. Some carpets, and even furniture have been known for contributing to acute ill-effects.

An unacceptable accumulation of VOCs in a space is called Sick Building Syndrome by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Like new car smell, the off-gassing of some of these materials can be immediately noticeable, take a very long time to finish their bombardment and certainly are not something I want in my new home.

After doing some research on materials, I thought it would be interesting to share this. This weekend I was gathering some components to finish up a dog house project. Of all places, Home Depot carries a series of plywood products under the brand PureBond®, that are formaldehyde-free. These are manufactured by Columbia Forest Products in the U.S.

If you’re considering a furniture, casework or tiny home project and want to avoid the off-gassing nature of this chemical, this might be a good choice. These are CARB P2 compliant and contributes to LEED® EQ 4.4 and other green building standards.


{images: “Buttered Toast Sandwich” – by NPR | “Vegas Strip Burger” – (cc) Sean | other images – by Columbia Forest Products –}