July, 2022 - A prototype of tiny house & a food forest project!

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My dear readers,

I hope you are doing well!

You are now 130+ to have boarded on this interdisciplinary journey of exploration. Just relax, we will keep going… ;-)

A prototype of a wood-frame tiny house

Since my last post, where I announced our project to build a mini-home on wheels, here is the prototype I built:

Picture of the tiny house prototype, with wood clading, windows, but no roof yet!

It’s not too bad, right?

It is 2.5 m side, 3.3 m high, with a surface area of 5 m² and a volume of 15 m³. There are still a few steps left - including finishing the roof! - and this prototype will be airtight, watertight, and sound and heat insulated.

Ah yes, but this roof…

To make things simple, I imagined the roof flat to make a rooftop terrace, sliding to sleep under the stars on the mezzanine, as thin as possible to limit the height when on a trailer, with the possibility of integrating later a water recovery system, and all in natural materials (wood and metal)! What a mess! I still have a few technical points to settle, which I postponed until the end!

It’s funny to realize what can be hidden behind the pretty picture of a cute 5 m² tiny house: hours and hours of work, but also a lot of doubts and frustrations. Since April, I often wondered when I would finally have a construction worthy of being presented to my readers. By mid-June, I had come to the conclusion that I had to deconstruct everything and start over!

At this point, my friend Lucile came to the rescue from Reunion Island with all her energy and determination. We had to get up at 7 am almost every morning, and in 10 days I could only take one nap. Hsiao took a vacation and joined the construction work. I put my doubts aside, the construction started again, and shortly after Lucile’s departure, the prototype was already as beautiful as in the picture!

But why a prototype?

Because building everything at once implied so many intertwined problems for the beginner I am. So I finally preferred to start building a smaller model to learn the basics of wood frame construction and adapt it to my needs. I also have half a dozen crazy ideas, like integrating a solar oven directly into a wall. For this kind of idea, which could make the tiny house burn, isn’t a prototype more appropriate?

The construction continues, the roof should soon be completed, and then, I will definitely tell you more about the construction details of this tiny house.

But one more thing…

An experimental food forest project

Since the last newsletter, Hsiao learned that she would be working in Montpellier, south of France, for a few years, starting next September.

So we dreamt about a piece of land not too far from the city, where we could install a tiny house and where I could develop a food forest.

We started looking for agricultural or forest land around Montpellier, and at the end of June, we visited a 1.8 ha plot of forest land for sale in the Gard district.

Aerial picture of the 1.8 ha of land, fully forested.

I immediately wrote an experimental food forest project that I published on the blog a few days ago and that I invite you to read!

I hope you will find it inspiring. Don’t hesitate to reply to this message if this project evokes ideas for improvement!

Have a good reading and see you soon!


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