We’ve seen a lot of clever alternatives to the classic mobile home lately, and this van that was converted into a cozy family vacation home is no exception. It uses boat building techniques to make the most of the available space, and the result is a spacious and comfortable home on wheels. It was built by Jack Richens of This Moving House.
Jack used a second-hand 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter van with a long wheel base for this project. The main aim of the van is to serve as a family vacation home, since jack and his girlfriend have two children. The home was designed by his girlfriend and built by Jack. The most innovative and space-saving design feature are certainly the stacked bunk beds, which are constructed in a way that maximizes the available space and doesn’t clutter up the interior. They were able to squeeze three sleeping tiers into a very small area with the technique they employed, which they borrowed from boat builders.
The kitchen is very compact, yet still highly functional. It features a long and narrow sink, a two-burner stove, and a good amount of counter space. The dining area was also very cleverly designed. The chairs are the original van seats, with the front two altered so they can be swiveled around to face the back. The dining table was placed in the area between the four chairs. The interior appears quite open and spacious, and does bear a distinct resemblance to a boat. There is no toilet on the van, which is a bit unfortunate, but then again, toilets can easily be found anywhere.
They purchased the van for around $10,000, while materials and equipment cost a further $8500. So the biggest expense was the time and labor involved, but it was certainly worth it. And Jack has already received several queries for commissions and is getting ready to start building more of these unique mobile homes.
The tiny house maker Tiny Heirloom recently completed another unique and luxury tiny home. This one is called Rocky Mountain Tiny Home and is used as a vacation cabin by a family of four in Colorado. The home features some clever design solutions, which make the family’s stay there as cozy and comfortable as possible.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home was built atop a 28 ft (8.5 m)-long triple-axle trailer, but since it features overhanging lofts the total length of it is 32 ft (9.7 m). the exterior is clad in wood and metal, which gives it a rustic yet modern aesthetic. The home features a lounge area, a kitchen, a bathroom, and two bedrooms. There is also a home office, which is separated from the rest of the home by a sliding door.
The kitchen is quite spacious and features a mini-dishwasher, a range cooker, and a fridge. It is fitted with a copper sink. There is also a skylight in this area of the home, which is operated by a touchscreen display that’s mounted on the wall. The lounge is at one end of the home, and is equipped with a dining table on wheels, which allows it to be moved to where it’s needed.
The bedrooms are located in the two lofts and each is accessible via a storage stair. The master bedroom is quite spacious, while the children’s bedroom is big enough to fit two twin beds, which are separated by a bookcase to give each of the kids some privacy. There are skylights in both the bedrooms too.
The Rocky Mountain Tiny Home also features a rooftop-mounted solar panel array, which is connected to batteries and an inverter. A propane-powered mini-split system takes care of the heating and cooling needs, while they use a tankless gas water heater for getting hot water. The home is also fitted with LED lighting throughout. It cost about $125,000 to build.
When faced with the need to move, one of the more daunting tasks is dealing with the furniture. When such moves are required every couple of years, such as when changing jobs, the type of furniture you own plays a big role. And the lighter and more movable it is, the better. To solve a part of this problem, the firm Studio Corelam, of Vancouver, British Columbia designed a line of furniture which is made of super-thin, corrugated plywood which is strong, lightweight and gorgeous.
The material that their line of furniture is made of is called Corelam, and according to the makers, it uses a lot less energy to produce than conventional materials. It is made using a hydraulic press that applies 400 tons of pressure to the plywood. This technique was developed by Christian Blyt, the founder of Studio Corelam and it is patented. The idea is to corrugate plywood in order to make it stronger as well as more aesthetically pleasing than just regular plywood.
The first line of furniture created using this technique is called Tidal. One of the pieces is the so-called Lean-To shelf that can either be leaned against a wall, or connected to a second such unit to create a freestanding shelf. Another piece is the Round-about, which is a multipurpose unit that can be used as a storage stool or a side table, and also features a reversible top to give it some variety. The next piece is called the Capilano, and it is a coat rack, which can also be used as a small shelving unit. More than one of these can be attached to the wall by a French cleat to make a type of closet space. All the pieces in the collection can be transported in a flat packed box, which is light enough to be carried by one person. The pieces are also easy to assemble and disassemble.
This line of furniture would be perfect for a tiny house or a micro-apartment, since it also saves a lot of space. They are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to begin production where it is also possible to pre-order the first pieces.
Modern buildings can sometimes look out of place in a traditional setting, but this mountain cabin that was recently completed in the Scottish Highlands does not have that problem. It was designed by Moxon Architects and, in an effort to make it blend into its surroundings, the designers opted for a traditional green roof.
The Culardoch Shieling , as the cabin is called, measures 505 sq ft (47 sq m) and features a timber frame with overhanging eaves. The green roof is covered in moss, heather and stone, as is the case with traditional shepherds’ huts in this area, and helps keep the interior well insulated. This cabin is not intended for residing in, since the entire interior is just one room dominated by a dining large table. It is meant as more of a meeting place or a shelter where hikers can rest.
There is no bathroom or kitchen, but since it is located in a remote spot it operates completely off-the-grid, though only in the sense that there is no running water, that candles or sunlight are the only sources of light, and that heating and cooking can be done with the help of a wood stove. The interior is finished in spruce wood, which gives it a nice, warm feel, while the windows were all placed in a way that offers the best views, though it doesn’t seem like they let in a lot of light.
Adding the traditional green roof is a nice touch in this case, and could serve as an inspiration for anyone thinking of building a cabin in an untouched, remote area. Even though we have modern solutions to problems that were solved by such roofs in the past doesn’t mean that traditional techniques have no place in today’s architecture and design.
Even when you work from home, it’s important to have your own workspace or office, which is separated from the rest of the living areas. Still, it’s sometimes hard to have that, especially when living small. But architect Petr Stolín from the Czech Republic came up with a very clever way to achieve this work/living separation. His so-called Zen Houses are made up of two volumes, one of which is used just for working, while the other for living in. He was inspired by the simplicity and minimalism of traditional Japanese architecture in creating them, hence the name.
Each volume of the Zen House is 9.8 ft (3 m) wide and they are made from simple and, for the most part, recyclable materials such as chipboard, wooden beams, plywood, raw metal and rubber. The two volumes are clad in transparent acrylic panels. The interior is also very Zen-like. The office part of the home is all painted white, which has a calming, energizing effect, while the living part of the home is done up mostly in black, which is intended to promote rest and relaxation. It reminds me of the ying and yang concept, which might have been part of the architect’s intention when choosing the color scheme. Both the volumes have a mezzanine level, which increases the floor area of the spaces yet still keeps the interior open. The two volumes also feature large windows, which links them visually. They are connected by a wooden deck, and this area between the two volumes is perfect for outdoor lounging.
Having your home office this clearly separated from your living spaces is a dream from many freelancers and work-from-home entrepreneurs. It’s hard enough to leave the job behind at the end of the day, and when you work from home, this becomes even harder. And the overall design and color choices for this home are in themselves very inspiring.