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Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World Thumbnail

Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small-Scale Community in a Large-Scale World

Posted on Mar 18, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading – Kevin Hayden

Source: Tiny House Blog

I recently received Ross Chapin’s new book called Pocket Neighborhoods to review and share with you. This is a beautiful coffee table style hard bound book written by Ross Chapin. Ross Chapin is an architect and long-time advocate for sensibly sized houses and vibrant neighborhoods. He leads an architectural and planning firm on Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, Washington, where he has lived and worked since 1982. 

This book covers modern day pocket neighborhoods across the country and includes the fascinating history of this type of neighborhood which Ross Chapin discovered while researching the book. The book is published by The Taunton Press in 2011. 


What is a pocket neighborhood? Pocket neighborhoods are clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around some sort of shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas. 

These are settings where nearby neighbors can easily know one another, where empty nesters and single householders with far-flung families can find friendship or a helping hand nearby, and where children can have shirttail aunties and uncles just beyond their front gate. ...

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Small Space Ingenuity: Floorplans from a Cruise Ship Thumbnail

Small Space Ingenuity: Floorplans from a Cruise Ship

Posted on Feb 24, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Core 77 & Apartment Therapy

From penthouse to studio, Core77 shares nifty floorplan renderings of all the rooms available on Norwegian Cruise Lines. The super-attractive 3D floorplans are especially unique and offer some interesting space planning solutions in rooms of all sizes — round bed anyone?


I’m guessing the cruise-ship-riding populace is not our core audience, but after reading that Norwegian Cruise Lines won the Travel & Leisure Design Awards 2011 for Best Transportation I started poking around their site. The photo galleries on NCL’s site show that the rooms (designed by product, transportation and environments design firm Priestmangoode) are expectedly sumptuous, but what I really dug was that they show all the floorplans, from the cheapest “studio” room (below) up to the super-expensive penthouses (above).


While it’s not exactly ApartmentTherapy, the floorplans do show how to cram a lot of stuff into a really tight space using angles and curves, and occasionally inside a non-rectangular footprint. The NCL website makes it impossible to see all of the floorplans at once, so we’ve pulled them down for you to see here....

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Thinc Home – Micro Living Space Thumbnail

Thinc Home – Micro Living Space

Posted on Feb 15, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

It is really neat to see the large home builders looking at making small and tiny homes. Thinc Home is one that has stepped up to the plate and offering several options. At Thinc Home, my philosophy was to provide the most unique, well constructed dwellings for all. The ultra energy efficiency is the standard and your personal style is the option.  Our building system, which consists of a steel sub-frame, gives our structures the ability to last a century. 

This unit as you see it with the bathroom is a 12×16. It has the loft and a bathroom with toilet and shower. The retail price for it is $32,000. 

Our micro living space was designed to be an ultra energy efficient way to get away for a weekend or an extended holiday without the hassles of a “2000 square foot cottage”. You can actually go and enjoy the lake or woods or just relax. You don’t have to worry about a lot of cleaning and preparation. Our micro living space makes you live simply and enjoy the things you love. ...

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Sol Cinema – a Solar Powered Micro Movie Theater Thumbnail

Sol Cinema – a Solar Powered Micro Movie Theater

Posted on Jan 11, 2011 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

The Sol Cinema is a micro movie house powered entirely by the sun. It can accommodate 8 adults comfortably for a unique cinematic experience. They have a full library of comedy, quirky, music videos and short films with inspiring environment themes.

The Sol Cinema has been lavished with pride and style. It uses an LED projector showing short movies in cinematic surroundings.  We use lithium batteries to store the energy from the Sun to power the cinema all day and night. The photovoltaic panels harness the sunlight, even as the films are being shown, so we never run out of power.

You can learn more by visiting the Sol Cinema website and see a lot more pictures, including the construction process!


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Lofted 12×22 Berkeley Backyard Cottage Thumbnail

Lofted 12×22 Berkeley Backyard Cottage

Posted on Dec 29, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

When Karen, a planning professor from the College of Environmental Design, met with a team of students from Dr. Ashok Gadgil’s Design for Sustainable Communities course, neither knew what was brewing.

Karen discussed how her two bedroom Berkeley home was too small for her constant stream of guests, her daughter and an aging relative.

The team of students was researching small homes as a means to create affordable and sustainable housing.

Link to builder New Avenue Homes


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Holly Pond Cottage – Gorgeous 12×24 Tiny House Thumbnail

Holly Pond Cottage – Gorgeous 12×24 Tiny House

Posted on Dec 13, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

Back in January of 2009, Tiny House Blog covered Gratitude Millworks and builder Kent McCaffrey and his quality Park Model Style home. Kent contacted them recently to share his latest project called the Holly Pond Cottage. Following is his description of this neat little building. You can also learn more by visiting the Gratitude Millworks, LLC website.

The Holly Pond Cottage is really beautiful inside and out with lots of light and yet a real cozy secure feeling inside. Notice the pressure treated timbers used for the foundation frame. 2X6 exterior stud walls. R19 plus (with extra pocket airspace) in floor, walls, and ceiling.

Full bath with shower and on demand continuous hot water heater. Closet with washer/dryer hookup. Kitchenette with two burner cooktop, sink, under counter refrigerator space, custom cabinets and custom corian type counter. Digitally controlled heat and air conditioning. Built in bookshelf that doubles as a ladder to loft. Loft has a triple window that looks down on the timbered porch.

*** The measurements of the cottage are:
Outside size – 12×24
Porch – 4×8
Great Room – 10×16
Bathroom – 6×6
Loft – Fits a twin mattress
Wall height – 7 ft....

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Glamping, the Luxury Camping Option Thumbnail

Glamping, the Luxury Camping Option

Posted on Nov 02, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog


Glamping, the new term being used for upscale — or glamorous — camping, is one of the fastest growing trends in the eco-luxe hospitality industry.

Glamour camping offers all of the attractions of camping – sleeping under the stars, sitting around a campfire, falling asleep to the sounds of nature, etc, while taking all of the hassles out of the experience – pitching a tent, lugging gear and food, sleeping on the bumping ground, collecting firewood, etc. It then attaches the comforts of a luxury hotel room – ultra comfortable king size bed, luxury linens, concierge and cleaning services, etc. Collectively, the result is a completely extraordinary experience.

It is our pleasure to introduce Tent City at Redtail Resort – an ultra luxurious wooded glamping community. Your custom-made canvas glamping tent features fine linens, art adorned walls, and, of course, the most comfortable beds west of the Mississippi. All luxury tents have electricity, cooling fans, and heat. Refresh yourself in your Glamping Bathhouse, which hosts 8 private, luxury washrooms, including rain showers, heated floors and indulgent organic spa products....

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UK Summerhouse Thumbnail

UK Summerhouse

Posted on Sep 20, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: This Tiny House via

I had an interesting time cruising, a finder service for photographers and videographers seeking interesting places to shoot. This rustic house sits beside a peaceful pond in the Isle of Wight, UK with a view of the sea. I wonder who lives there and when I can come visit!?

Post image for UK Summerhouse

Thumbnail Image:


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Little House on the Trailer Thumbnail

Little House on the Trailer

Posted on Aug 16, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Small Space Living

So it seems to me that there are more and more portable living options popping up these days. Last year I covered several portable dwellings. In January 2008 I covered the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. This year the Little House on the Trailer reminds me of the Tumbleweed.

Hayden’s Note:

While I’m not a big fan of the trailer-based tiny houses, I AM a fan of small homes.  The interior of this tiny house is absolutely gorgeous and is a perfect use of space, especially the office nook near the front.  I think a smaller living room is a justifiable sacrifice in order to expand the kitchen and bathroom by several feet, though.  A small house with this type of interior setup should really have a nice, tall slanted roof instead of a gable point, in my opinion.  This option allows for the placement of wide but short panoramic windows near the ceiling which would really open up the main room.  The price, however, is incredibly outrageous.

The Little House on the Trailer is available in slightly more spacious versions up to 400 sq ft....

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Ten Tips For Decorating a Small Studio Apartment Thumbnail

Ten Tips For Decorating a Small Studio Apartment

Posted on Aug 10, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Tiny House Blog

Studio apartments and small houses can be difficult to decorate because everything is basically all in one big (or not so big) room. Sometimes this small space has to accommodate several different activities: sleeping, entertaining, cooking and an office area.

Here are ten tips for decorating a small studio apartment:

1. Provide enough storage. Try to find furnishings for your apartment that will do “double duty.” You can even find chairs and ottomans that have storage areas inside of them. Just lift up the top and there you will find space for blankets, pillows or other items.

2. Use containers to hide clutter. Buy wicker baskets or old steamer trunks to store out-of-season clothing, linens and towels. They will look great and contain all of those small items that make a room look cluttered.

3. Use mirrors to reflect the light. A large mirror or several small mirrors placed strategically can make a small space feel lighter and larger. If you like a more modern style of decorating, furniture and tables with metal or glass can visually expand the space....

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Residential Reservoir: Huge Water Tower-to-House Remodel Thumbnail

Residential Reservoir: Huge Water Tower-to-House Remodel

Posted on Jul 21, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Dornob

An old water tower is turned into an amazing home!

It is the perfect adaptive reuse project, with all of the best elements already built in: a hilltop location (originally to allow easy water flow from the site) with sparse Australian vegetation allowing for maximum views, a building constructed to withstand incredible pressures without springing a single leak and all sold for a song by the local city council since the county had no more use for it.

The sheer mass of this structure is astonishing: the cylinder is over sixty feet in diameter with an interior that is nearly four stories tall, rounded out by reinforced concrete walls that measure about three feet thick. In fact, demolishing the structure would almost certainly have cost more than rebuilding around it or remodeling it into a working home, as Riddel Architecture chose to do for a local client.

The design solution makes the most of both the existing open-plan layout and shelter of the massive cylindrical form; bedrooms, bathrooms and other private areas are lofted inside, suspended from the sides toward the top with views out to the rest of the larger interior space....

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Do You Really Need That Much Space? 10 Examples of Tiny Houses Thumbnail

Do You Really Need That Much Space? 10 Examples of Tiny Houses

Posted on Jun 11, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: WebUrbanist

Do You Really Need That Much Space? 10 Examples of Tiny Houses

Tiny houses have never truly gone out of style. From the very early days of home building, when the construction was done by hand and usually by the people who would be occupying the home, small homes have been built out of necessity. But today many people continue the trend for the sake of simplicity or the environment. Living in a minuscule home definitely encourages you to rid your life of all types of clutter and get back to what is really important. These truly tiny homes – some modern, some classic – exemplify the best of space-saving architecture.

(images via: Little Digs)

Dorm rooms are how most of us are introduced to small-space living. This French design is jump-starting that experience for one lucky kid. The cottage-like structure, built in a back yard, was intended for a teenager who is getting older and growing closer to the day when he will live away from his family. The tiny home features four levels with smart space-saving features at every turn....

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Compact Living Ideas – [Matroshka] Whole House Set Thumbnail

Compact Living Ideas – [Matroshka] Whole House Set

Posted on May 20, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Source: Matroshka

Matrjosjka [Matroshka] means grandmother in Russian and is used in popular language to describe the wooden dools that are placed inside each other. As reflected by the hidden space within the dolls, the [Matroshka] has the potential to revolutionise storage and maximise the quality of living, especially for those in confined dwellings. As seens with the dolls the possibilities are popping up with [Matroshka].

Matroshka could be the compact living lovers’ wet dream. It can be as small as 4 square meters and houses a pop-up book self, double bed, sofa, dinner table, four stools, desk, wardrobe and a bunch of storage. The target group for this product are people living in overcrowded lodgings; particularly students, big city dwellers or commuters. It can also be used in more conventional dwellings to maximise space in the guest room, children’s room or study area. It is also a smart sollution to allow more flexibility in pre-furnished apartments.

matroshka space

compact living

compact living matroshka

matroshka small sofa

matroshka bed

matroshka office

matroshka furniture

matroshka dinning table...

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Homesteading with a Shipping Container House, Part 2 Thumbnail

Homesteading with a Shipping Container House, Part 2

Posted on May 05, 2010 in Alt Energy, Tiny Homes, & Structures

Kevin Hayden

Homesteading with a Shipping Container House, Part 2

Part 1 of this Series can be Found Here

In the last segment, we left off with the land closing and estimates of initial costs.  It has been under a week since then and I’ve already been able to put a full day’s work in at the property.  Over that weekend, I rented a medium-sized roto-tiller from Home Depot ($55/all day) but apparently I should have rented the heavy-duty, larger one.

My plan was to go out to the property, measure and stake the estimated house site, and then clear all of the prairie grass and topsoil.  I figured this would take a good part of the afternoon to clear an approximate 45 ft. x 20 ft. area.  I was sadly mistaken.  I started the day bright and early, which is rare for me.  I was awake and already drinking my first cup of coffee by 7:00 am (unheard of!) and started to plan my day and what tools I would need in order to clear the topsoil and begin leveling a pad....

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How to: Build Your Own Root Cellar… with Pallets.

Posted on Apr 19, 2010 in DIY Projects, Urban Gardening, Farming & Homesteading

Source: Cordite Country

High on the list of survival items is of course, food and water. To find a ways to help us safely store our food all we need to do is look back to the American Indian and early Pioneers, who overcame the very problems we face today: how to store our food with lack of refrigeration.

The urgency these days is more focused on the amount required due to circumstances other than natural disaster. Since we live as we do (under the computer processed bottom line), happily on the trail of increased profits, the inventory of “ready-to-eat/ready to sell” food in the pipeline has been reduced to the barest minimum possible.

As a result, grocery stores no longer have a stockpile of goods in the “back room.” We notice that every few days the supermarket is stacked up and down the aisles with boxes of goods waiting to be stocked directly onto the shelves. Given this information, the fact that we must all face is that throughout the whole country there is less than a few days food supply readily available....

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