Designing a tiny Home

Roughly 6m2 wood (pine) for the roof and floor is purchased together with linseed-oil and glue for the wallpapers. This weekend will be intense carpentry, and I discoverd the local second hand with a universe of recourses. Stainless-steel sink for 35 KR and a gas-stove that I did a final bid at for 335 KR on the online auction-site “Tradera”. Designprocess is getting started and using the principles of permaculture when trying to fullfill my needs on a 3m2 space that is “The pearl”. LED-spotligts are going up in the roof and the hysterical wallpapers with flowers are ready to decorate the walls as a substitute for that fact that I will be missing a real-life garden.

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Demolition

232 screws later and the large bed, the little bed/storage, shelfs and kitchenbench is out. My goal was to get all the synthetic materials out, I even started cutting up the fake leather above the drivers seat and discoverd some boards. Good idea? Dont know. Vision is starting to clear up as I move along: A little cabin on weels. Lets see how it goes. Simple “low tech” solutions, flexible design, rustic, natural materials.

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From Jönköping to Kramfors

First roadtrip was launched in the most wonderful spring weather. Egg-sandwiches by a lake, trying out the casett-player with an old recorded band from when my mother was sailing the mediterranean, visit old villages and spooky campingsites. Engine was loud due to lack of inslation and the window slide down every now and then, but she carried me all the 75 miles up north without a doubt. Thursday I arrive to Kramfors, a small odd little town, were I will stay with my dear friend Carl that studies furniture carpentry at the wood academy. I introduced myself to my home for the future weeks with the usual rituals. Spouts are set to soak, sourdough started, bread baked, eggs boiled. Finally time to start building.

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Installing the solarpanels

After a few months with a never ending chain of ebay-tabs and a good amount of research on my webbrowser I finally orderd what I figured was the most priceworthy option to provide my van with solar energy. One goal of the restoration of the van was to invest in items that could be de-contructed and used in other future homes. After estimating a daily usage of power I decided to go with a 150W Mono-crystalline Solarpanels wich should be more then enough for mainly charging devices and using loud speakers. Not playing by the rules, I decided to improvise and install them withouth many instructions. I failed to get more MC4 connectors due to bad planning, so we made a new junction-box wich should safely keep the wires dry. Gue. Lots of gue. 10m of 6mm/m2 extensionswire cost me about 10 EUR at “Biltema”. DSC_0343 DSC_0348The access wire were kept intact and bundled up inside and enter the roof in waterproof wholes that allow the wire to move. The main idea was to angle at a 30* angle and move the solarpanels for optimal solarexposure. Therefore the van could be parked in shade during hot days but solarpanels still charging. On the other side, this also makes them easier to steal. I was pleased with a simple montage for now, I will see how I will improve it in the future. On a cloudy day, they were chargin at a rate of 13,79 V and gave life to my new 0,8W LED lamps, I am still to see how reliable they are to cover my energy usage. Until then, you go sun!

Electrics for dummies

First step: Obtain a yeild. Electricity is just another flow, not to different from water. Also a skill I very much lack… Until yesterday. Just getting my head around Volts, Amps and Ohms before I got my fingers into any wiring. I kidnapped my father during late hours and bombarded him with system-designs and questions, little to this hard working mans delight.

I was determined to hook up the solarpanels up and charging as soon as possible, charging and feeding my batteries. Energy being a great resource, I wanted to explore how far I could make the van self-sufficent.

DSC_0298The existing system in the van consist of one car battery of 80 A (Varta) and one spare battery with 75 A (Fritid). People tend to harrass their battaries and empty them and therefore they loose capacity, I will make sure not to go under 12V and hopefully they will last. A hot mess of wires and fuseboxes that took some detectivework to figure out (but turned out to be darn clever!) I decided to add the160W solarpanels to a new circuit and a fresh 70 A battery with a overflow to the second two ones, un-doing work is never fun.

Getting to know “The pearl”

Work all winter, save money, get restless, gathere belongings and courage and buy a van. Time to start a new chapter.

4,7 m long and 2,4 m tall she is indeed a pearl, but the measurements are all I could ask for. In order to pass as a passenger car on the road taxes or ferries your vehicle witll have to be underneath 5,5 m. The Mercedes 508 wich I started out looking for are usually six meter long and very heavy metal giants (Good home: Bad vehicle).

Light, short, high and can stand on a average parkinglot and not draw to much attention. The pearl is all I could wish for. Past owner built a enormus of bed from particle boards and impregnated wood, occupying the whole floor. This and the miniature bed above is coming out in order to make the space more flexible.

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The top of the roof is a home-built story and made of glassfiber, the weak point of the construction being the edge – Potential moist entering. After hours of scrubbing and climbing I got most of the grey moss off and measured the roof for the solarpanels that is currently being shipped from U.K. First time to really observe my purchase. I now have the measurements to start working on the design. Next big step: Demolition.