This summer I've decided I'm going to build a house. I've been wanting to build a house for a long time now but I've been putting it off... mostly because I've had nowhere to build it. With recent real estate prices reaching all-time lows, now would be the time to buy. Of course, I'm also paranoid that, as soon as I DO buy, I'll end up wanting to move. Hardly any of y'all live around here anymore, you know? I don't want to end up stuck with a mortgage - I'm very debt-averse and it just feels wrong to me. I'm also tired of living in "standard" houses. Don't get me wrong, this is a nice house... I just want someplace where I can live more in tune with my ideals.
I think it was my mother who first pointed out Tumbleweed Tiny Homes to me. Basically, a dude out in California started building homes on the back of a trailer. Okay, okay, yes... I've worked customer service before, so I'm well aware that people living in trailers is not a new concept. However, his homes don't look like "manufactured homes." They function more like RVs, only without the old people atmosphere. Basically, it looks to me like a log cabin on wheels. I shall provide a link: http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com
If you follow that link and check out the houses, you'll get an idea at what I'm doing. I bought the plans for the Fencl (http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/houses/f
When I ordered the trailer, I pointed at one with a level deck and said "get me one like this, only with better axles." Well, that's not EXACTLY how it went, but close enough. When I got the trailer, the guy told me the manufacturer also beefed up the frame because of the axles. As a result, the sides of the frame were higher than the deck. That's a problem for my floorplans, so I had to build up the deck. Above are some shots of my trailer after building up the deck. I had to cut some steel off of the tongue end so the frame could hang over, too. This trailer prep work took a lot more effort than expected.
Here's a chunk of steel that I had to cut off of the front end to allow for my floor frame. My RotoZip cut through it like butter, but it wore down the cutting blades fast. I say "blades" because I had to use 2½ blades to cut all of that. Half an inch of steel is a lot to go through, ESPECIALLY when I had to drill through the sides to bolt my frame in place. 14 half-inch diameter holes through half-inch steel will wear your arms out fast-like.
This is a layout of the floor frame. The "notches" on the sides are for the wheel wells. The part furthest from the camera is the back of the house, which goes toward the tongue of the trailer. The part closest to the camera is the front, and the section in the lower-right of the picture where the two right-most rectangles are cut short is going to be the support for my porch. It's a very small porch.
Once the floor frame was done, I realized the spacing for my decking wasn't lining up with the "vertical" supports in the picture for the floor frame. I had already driven about 120 deck screws into those boards, so I wasn't about to move them. I did have some extra deck boards, though (the trailer came fully-decked, but the plans called for some of the boards to be removed. It's the bottom side of the house, so you want to make there's no way for moisture to accumulate under there.) I cut one of them into 42" strips and screwed them in place for support.
Finally, here's a shot of my poor sister's garage. The big stack of white stuff to the right is 56 sheets of styrofoam insulation. There are also 20 sheets of plywood under the bikes, 46 strips of flooring, about 50 8-foot 2x4s, another 50 6-foot 2x4s, and over 100 other boards of various dimensions. You can also see the solar panels I bought from Harbor Freight in this picture. Once the walls go up, a lot of this will be cleared out. Until then, though, we're garage-less.
I hope to post more updates as the project evolves.