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Author Topic: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build  (Read 3897 times)

Offline GomerPile

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Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« on: December 11, 2012, 08:35:42 AM »
I'm building the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company Bodega model on a 9 acre lot in MA.  I've been documenting the build all summer.  I wanted to have some real content before posting the link on forums.  The house will be 100% off grid and is being built with tons of insulation to make heating and cooling easier. 

The interesting parts of the build are coming (electrical, finishing, etc) up as winter gets going here in New England.  I am doing all the work (except the plumbing which I can't do in this comunist hellhole that in MA) so I take time to get pics of everything.  Trying to build a resource for other folks thinking about taking the tiny house plunge.

My blog is at:

http://bodegabuild.wordpress.com



Comments, suggestions welcome.

Mods: was not 100% sure where the correct place for this post was....I don't post often here.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 08:43:54 AM by GomerPile »

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 03:44:15 PM »
Wow, just finished reading all 5 pages worth on your blog. I knew there was a lot of work that goes into building a house, even a tiny one, but man ...

What is your previous experience working on houses / framing / whatever you have used to help you on this project?

Are you keeping a running expense list and did you budget out the cost of the completed project? The tumbleweedhouses site says this unit would cost $22,500 in materials and fees (read taxes).

I assume given the comments on your blog you are buying this house 100% outright with saved cash?

Offline Twibble

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2013, 04:02:25 PM »
I'm following your RSS feed now.

I want a tiny house!
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Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 02:10:23 PM »
If this were a traditional house without all the insulation details it would be a lot less work and money.  I want the place to be off grid which means that all the effort into the insulating will pay off in the form of less hauled firewood, and less power consumption to run the AC unit in the summer.

In doing research on this project I visited a man who had a super insulated house and he tells me that there is no need to run the wood stove all night to keep warm.  Once warm or cold the place stays that way.  I'm hoping in such a small place will work even better!

My framing lumber delivery was $7000 which included framing lumber and outside layer of insulation.  I have about $3K into misc stuff for the shell.  The foundation was about $2500 with cement, fill, insulation, etc.  Plumbing work less fixtures is $3K.  I expect to spend another $6-10K on plumbing fixtures, cellulose insulation, electrical parts, windows, doors, siding, T&G wall covering, countertop.  Thats about $26K total.  I think this house can be built for less than $22.5K in a warmer climate and without all my fancy insulation I can see $22.5 being just about right.

I'm an engineer so I build things for fun.  I build the tumbleweed XS house as a prototype to this house.  It let me test the power system I am using, and helped me to figure out what I really want in a tiny house.  I'm also living in it while I build....so it worked out pretty well.

I am building this with 100% cash....screw the bankers!


Wow, just finished reading all 5 pages worth on your blog. I knew there was a lot of work that goes into building a house, even a tiny one, but man ...

What is your previous experience working on houses / framing / whatever you have used to help you on this project?

Are you keeping a running expense list and did you budget out the cost of the completed project? The tumbleweedhouses site says this unit would cost $22,500 in materials and fees (read taxes).

I assume given the comments on your blog you are buying this house 100% outright with saved cash?

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 03:59:18 PM »
The tumbleweed houses excite me and recently I have found a lot of blogs / videos about tiny houses in general -- main reason I went to bed at zero dark thirty last night >_<

But I have a feeling I will end up building something closer to an earth ship, or at least a bermmed house as I would like to take advantage of the passive solar + heat mass. I am sure it will end up costing more though -_-

 

Offline nelson96

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 05:18:12 PM »
 :popcorn:
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Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 07:53:10 AM »
I checked out your blog. Nice work Gomer! I'm looking forward to following your progress!


Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 08:15:15 AM »
Tiny homes are really a cool concept.  The biggest obstacle IMO is perception.  People see the square foot number and assume they could not live in something of that numerical size.

The reality is tiny homes have a lot of storage space and people have a lot of useless junk in their lives.  Having recently downsized from 800sf to 66sf I'm never going back to a big house again!  I can say for sure that 66SF is too small for me but its not that bad either....another 60-70sf and it would be perfect.  The Bodega is 252sf so I expect it Will be like moving into a mansion.  I think the mid sized tiny homes (trailer versions) are really the sweet spot size-wise.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is this:  I will have zero mortgage, zero electric bill, zero heating bill, my yearly propane bill will be whatever 60-80 pounds will cost. If I build/buy a solar water heater that expense will go to near zero as well.  At some point I want to grow $500 worth of produce for the farmers market which will allow me to be a "farm" which lets me put my land into another (lower) property tax bracket.

Its been a very enjoyable project figuring out all this stuff....I recommend it for everyone.

The tumbleweed houses excite me and recently I have found a lot of blogs / videos about tiny houses in general -- main reason I went to bed at zero dark thirty last night >_<

But I have a feeling I will end up building something closer to an earth ship, or at least a bermmed house as I would like to take advantage of the passive solar + heat mass. I am sure it will end up costing more though -_-

Offline Erigorn

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 01:42:10 PM »
Love it
Want to build one
Can only watch for now.

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 04:20:57 PM »
At some point I want to grow $500 worth of produce for the farmers market which will allow me to be a "farm" which lets me put my land into another (lower) property tax bracket.

Are there any legal ramifications be classifying your land as a farm? I could see a day where the gov't could seize farms for example. Or maybe you have to "register," aka pay taxes on, every animal you have on the "farm." etc

I would probably be fine in a tiny house but bermed houses will afford me more redundancy in case I cannot obtain liquid gases. There is a tiny house in VA for sale, 39k I think, for 6 acres and a 290sqft home on stilts where you cannot see your neighbor in any direction. Apparently it is classified as a cottage so I don't know what amenities it has outside a wood stove but it looks really cool.

Link here http://tinyhouselistings.com/?s=Virginia&search=search&srch_type=&srch_location=Virginia&srch_area=&srch_price=&srch_keyword=&srch_bedrooms=&srch_bathroom=

At the time of this posting the VA graduate student in sustainable living who built her own 'tiny home,' all 290sqft of it, has hers listed for 35000 which is probably a steal given how much a typical tumbleweed house costs premade :) She too has a blog if you search for it.

Offline nelson96

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 07:11:07 PM »
Are there any legal ramifications be classifying your land as a farm? I could see a day where the gov't could seize farms for example. Or maybe you have to "register," aka pay taxes on, every animal you have on the "farm." etc

The only ramifications I know of are if you decide, after getting a "farm defferal", you try to run a non ag business on the property.  They can force you to pay back taxes, for something like 9 years back or more.
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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 07:44:25 PM »
That's something I had not thought of.  The savings would only be 100-200 per year...need to think that out.

Interesting side note.  When the well was drilled the driller was required to provide GPS location to he state.  If your well provides over 25GPM the state has the right to take it over as a public water source.  Don't know if he was full of crap or misinformed (MA being a communist haven there's probably some truth there).  Not too worried we have lots of water in this area.

Are there any legal ramifications be classifying your land as a farm? I could see a day where the gov't could seize farms for example. Or maybe you have to "register," aka pay taxes on, every animal you have on the "farm."

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 08:02:58 PM »
@nelson96
What if you run both an ag and non-ag business on the same property? I use to work from home on my computer and was forced to claim a 'business space' in my home for tax purposes and zoning despite using the same computer I use for recreation >_<

@GomerPile
Too bad it is too late to move :) I think Canada is rubbing off on you up there lol

Offline 4bull

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 09:21:31 PM »
Sweet , is it air tight ?
I know when they built log cabins that they cut a hole in the back for a vent .

Offline nelson96

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 10:39:20 PM »
Interesting side note.  When the well was drilled the driller was required to provide GPS location to he state.  If your well provides over 25GPM the state has the right to take it over as a public water source.  Don't know if he was full of crap or misinformed (MA being a communist haven there's probably some truth there).  Not too worried we have lots of water in this area.

I've never heard of that, might be a State thing.

@nelson96
What if you run both an ag and non-ag business on the same property? I use to work from home on my computer and was forced to claim a 'business space' in my home for tax purposes and zoning despite using the same computer I use for recreation >_<

That wouldn't be the type of business I was referring to (wouldn't be a problem).  I was referring to a non ag business that utilized the same land that you had a farm deferral on.  Your home doesn't count.

I currently claim both . . .  My land as an ag business, where I enjoy a $900+ tax savings per year on.  And my office (a room in the house) for a separate non ag business space.

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One hundred thousand generations of people lived and ate as hunter-gatherers, and only two generations have grown up on highly processed fast foods. . .  It's not too late

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2013, 07:57:21 AM »
The idea is to not allow air movement thru the walls or roof.  With that accomplished, you can decide when and where you want to allow air to enter.  I will install sealed ductwork for the demand hot water heater and wood stove.  I may also install a solar powered vent if the windows don't allow enough airflow.

When air escapes thru the walls you have risk of condensation and eventually mold.  I used a wall design method called PERSIST (similar to REMOTE) where the entire outside is covered in a sticky membrane which allows hopefully zero airflow thru the walls.  The insulation on the outside of this membrane is sized to keep the dew point inside the foam to prevent condensation.  Inside I plan to use blow in insulation covered with T&G pine.  This will allow the inside walls to breathe and release any moisture that may migrate into the wall cavity.

Before I close up the inside walls and attach siding I plan to rent a thermal imaging camera and look for leaks so I can fix them.  Turns out that home Depot rents them for $70 per day.

Sweet , is it air tight ?
I know when they built log cabins that they cut a hole in the back for a vent .

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2013, 10:25:37 AM »
Would have been neat to have a 4" or 6" vent coming in the ground near your water pump leading out to your property covered by 5 or 6' for a good stretch before opening up to vent out.

This way you, if you did have a solar cooler or sealed house, you could use convection to move air from outside, through the ground where it will be normalized, then into the house. I have seen houses in deserts do this to keep them cool year round and more recently in my research earthships.

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2013, 11:28:21 AM »
I did some reading on something similar called "earth tubes" which I guess uses the thermal mass of the soil to normalize the house temperature.

I was pretty concerned about groundwater and mold for my area.  I bet the desert climate with fairly dry soils would work pretty well.

I also gave some thought to making a liquid to air heat exchanger for cooling.  Imagine a loop of pipe burried with fluid pumping thru it.  Run the fluid thru a small car radiator and blow air across it for sort of air conditioning.  When I get some free time (in 2035) I want to play with this idea.....or maybe I can convince someone here to play with it for me.

Would have been neat to have a 4" or 6" vent coming in the ground near your water pump leading out to your property covered by 5 or 6' for a good stretch before opening up to vent out.

This way you, if you did have a solar cooler or sealed house, you could use convection to move air from outside, through the ground where it will be normalized, then into the house. I have seen houses in deserts do this to keep them cool year round and more recently in my research earthships.

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2013, 11:57:14 AM »
I also gave some thought to making a liquid to air heat exchanger for cooling.  Imagine a loop of pipe burried with fluid pumping thru it.  Run the fluid thru a small car radiator and blow air across it for sort of air conditioning.  When I get some free time (in 2035) I want to play with this idea.....or maybe I can convince someone here to play with it for me.

Can't see why it wouldn't work.

My HVAC system is a little unique. I have an over sized gas water heater which also feeds my HVAC on the first floor. A pair of pipes go out to the HVAC where there is a pump controlled by the thermostat and a big radiator which looks identical to the one stacked below it which is for the AC. There is a big fan which blows air through both radiators; it works but I am not sure how efficient it is.

Geothermal works by running a closed loop system as you described deep into the earth. In fact you might be able to run a similar system and just loop it down your well to use the water to cool your house ^_^ The hole is already there right? Again though the main costs will be the required pump and fan, more so the pump though since your sqft will be smaller. I have seen people bury the same pipe as the geothermal stuff but laid out like a leach field 6' deep with good results.

I didn't consider mold problems with the buried pipe. I will have to do some more research.

Offline Burton

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2013, 07:00:41 PM »
Found this, lots of pictures and no problems with mold using this design. Limited use in winter though and summer has issues with humidity. Very detailed information on the page though, despite the misspellings.

http://www.earthairtubes.com/

Offline The Resident Misanthrope

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2013, 12:09:04 AM »
Well OP, you have my attention. Sending a PM your way.
Am I supposed to put a quote here like everybody else?

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2013, 08:33:49 AM »
He cuts a slit in the black pipe and puts it on the bottom to allow moisture to drain.  In my area (I bet many areas) the water table is about 6-10 ft and is highly variable depending on the season.  I worry about the tube flooding. 

The good news I guess is that most septic installs require a deep hole test which documents the water level pretty well. You would get a pretty good idea before you broke ground on such a system.

Found this, lots of pictures and no problems with mold using this design. Limited use in winter though and summer has issues with humidity. Very detailed information on the page though, despite the misspellings.

http://www.earthairtubes.com/

Offline The Resident Misanthrope

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2013, 03:12:40 PM »
He cuts a slit in the black pipe and puts it on the bottom to allow moisture to drain.  In my area (I bet many areas) the water table is about 6-10 ft and is highly variable depending on the season. I worry about the tube flooding. 

The good news I guess is that most septic installs require a deep hole test which documents the water level pretty well. You would get a pretty good idea before you broke ground on such a system.
You would be the person I PM'd. Check your inbox.
Am I supposed to put a quote here like everybody else?

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2013, 11:03:10 AM »
Got 3 sides insulated.  I posted a new blog post here: http://bodegabuild.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/insulation-nearing-completion/

Pics & video:



http://youtu.be/JQN47HX9-KU

Offline kevo

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2013, 12:22:53 PM »
Is there a reason for the 3/4 inch gap between the siding and the insulation?

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2013, 12:29:53 PM »
Two reasons actually. 

1) It adds a bit of insulation factor....some say R4....(I have no data to back up the claim...season with salt if needed).

2) This area is a drainage plane to allow any water that gets past the siding to drain and dry out fully.

There is no real good way of attaching siding thru 4 inches of foam.  The building science people say that this is the best way to accomplish the task of holding on lots of rigid foam and attaching siding to it.  They are smarter than me....



Is there a reason for the 3/4 inch gap between the siding and the insulation?

Offline MTUCache

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2013, 11:07:27 PM »
Gomer, I've been checking in on your blog weekly for the past few months, really enjoying your updates.

It looked like you were right on the verge of having everything complete and moving in... and now your blog is suddenly offline.

Update? Calling it a wrap? Or just too busy with living in that awesome new place?  :P
Anyway,  I'd love an update if you're still around and able to provide one. Great job on the place!
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Offline GomerPile

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #27 on: November 21, 2013, 02:14:26 PM »
I took it offline accidentally....been so busy forgot about it.  I'm just getting settled in, been super crazy getting everything finalized.  Gotta write a couple more posts to update everyone. 

Thanks for checking in...

Offline Bonnieblue2A

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Re: Bodega Build, 250sf off grid house build
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2013, 06:46:57 AM »
Are there any legal ramifications be classifying your land as a farm? I could see a day where the gov't could seize farms for example. Or maybe you have to "register," aka pay taxes on, every animal you have on the "farm." etc


There are ramifications at both federal and state levels including but not limited to EPA, USDA (State Dept. Of Agriculture) and of course, the IRS.  The USDA conducts a mandatory census on use of land, livestock, crops, etc... .  This is even if you are NOT receiving federal farming subsidies.

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