a

Young Woman's Off-Grid Green Built Tiny House Designed For a Sustainable Future

there are a lot of reasons why people

build tiny houses and one of the most

common is to reduce their environmental

footprint today we've traveled to

Colorado to meet an inspiring young

woman who has done a fabulous job of

building her very own eco Haven on

wheels

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hey Isabelle hi nice to meet you nice to

meet you

this is a great looking tiny house thank

you thanks for coming out tell me a

little bit about how you actually came

to be building a tiny house so I studied

permaculture in college and did a lot of

natural building and when I moved back

home I wanted to build a tiny house I

kind of figured that I could be paying

rent for about two and a half three

years or live at home and just put that

towards a tiny house I did a course in

California where we were studying bio

regionalism and permaculture and living

off the grid and so that really inspired

me to live more naturally and a more

simple lifestyle that's more connected

to nature so when I finished that course

I got really passionate about tiny homes

I had been following the movement for

about four or five years and started

researching and looking at different

materials and really what was available

to me in my area and started kind of a

process of design but also integrating a

lot of reclaimed materials and as that

process continued my dad pushed me to do

a building plan a materials list and

really hone in on my focus for the house

and the materials that I wanted to use

and so as I investigated that and

continued my dad became really into the

project and very supportive and so we

started going out and finding materials

together you know I worked full-time and

worked mostly nights and so sometimes

he'd be working on the tiny house and I

wouldn't be here and we had lots of

nights where I would get home from work

and we would be building until midnight

or 1:00 a.m. and now I'm so grateful to

live in this space and to know like how

much love and energy has gone into it

and and that I'll have it you know for

the rest of my life and and that I built

it with my dad it's interesting that you

come from a culture background as well

because permaculture and tiny houses

have a lot in common don't they yeah I

mean first of all like the gray water

system living off the grid I'm hoping to

get solar in the next two weeks and so

being able to have kind of like a

closed-loop system where everything is

working in unison works really well with

tiny homes and just having like a lower

impact environmentally and tell me about

the material you've used to construct

this in the beginning I wanted to build

just with all reclaimed but I kind of

decided that I wanted to have a really

efficient high performing tiny house one

that could function in any climate so

the outside exterior is this is all

redwood that I got from a reclaimed

building place same with this corrugated

metal here and I also have some cedar

trim and cedar on the ends of the house

that are from the inside of a woman's

house that I got off Craigslist so I

also love that this house has you know

the materials have different stories and

and that I can see that everyday why was

it important for you to use green build

materials so for me just thinking in the

beginning about a tiny house you know

having less of an environmental impact

less of a footprint to build with

materials that will never biodegrade

toxic materials that could off gas into

my space or that are toxic when being

installed seemed really hypocritical to

me and so I wanted to think of the

lifecycle of the house and that it would

be taken down at some point whether

that's 20 years 50 years a hundred years

it's going to be taken down and I just

didn't want all the materials to be in a

landfill so I have steel framing which

is a hundred percent recyclable

it's 50 percent lighter than wood so I

saved about a thousand pounds on my

build what did you actually use to

insulate so I used mineral wool so

basalt rock and steel wool has a tiny

bit of formaldehyde in there but it can

buy it a grade and you can just cut it

with a bread knife something that was

really exciting to me was to have work

parties on this house and so I had an

all-female installation installation

party we had about 12 women in here just

cutting it with bread knife and

installing it tucking it into all the

nooks and crannies and it was insulated

in about five hours mostly all of it

yeah and so just to know like how many

people have contributed to my house is

really special to me so what size is the

tiny house actually so it's on a 22 foot

trailer and it's you know eight and a

half feet wide and so the inside is

about set

feet four inches wide and then it's

thirteen feet four inches tall but then

it has a two foot cantilever off the

back of the trailer I wanted to do that

so that I could have a storage shed and

so that's about five feet tall by seven

and a half feet wide and two feet deep

and then I have an extra two feet in my

loft well can we have a look inside yeah

absolutely thank you

this home is beautiful thank you you've

really managed to pack it with so much

character yeah I feel like everything

has a story I'm in this house and I love

being around that everyday you know like

the wood that I found at a reclaimed

place and yeah I mean my propane stove I

traded with a man who had it and I had a

pot belly wood stove and I just realized

that it would take up too much space it

was gonna create too much heat and he

had built an off-grid cabin without

insulation and the Dickenson didn't heat

it up but it's perfect for here it's

really toasty and then I have a desk

which is also an off good sewing machine

and it's a pedal sewing machine and it's

from 1914 I think and I was able to take

the main cabinet top off and put a

smaller one on top so that fit in the

space and so yeah it doubles up I mean

one of my favorite permaculture

principles is that everything has to

have multiple functions and that was

something that I felt really inspired

about with tiny homes in particular so

like my couch for example it's a couch

obviously but it has storage under the

entire couch it also the backs pull-out

and so I have storage behind those and

then actually this front piece pulls all

the way out so that I can have like a

full almost a queen-size guest bed and

you've just built everything with such

gorgeous wood as well yeah I think it's

such a small space that I was definitely

conscious of putting too many different

types of wood in I have a lot of Doug

Fir so my flooring I got out of a local

art museum they took it out and it's 80

year old Douglas fir from Washington and

I lived in Washington so it's kind of

like my homage to the Pacific Northwest

but also you know to where

I live now and so we took it out d

nailed it cleaned it up planed it and

then I got one of those

stand-up Sanders at Home Depot and did

you know probably five hours on it and

then sealed it and so I loved that

that's on the floor it has character you

know it's old wood that has a whole new

life a new story and then it's also on

my stairs as my stair treads and then we

took the tongue-and-groove off and we

turned it on end and made it into a

counter top bet your block your kitchen

design is really nice and open as well

Thanks yeah I have seen a lot of tiny

house designs and I really wanted my

house to be light and open and have a

lot of space for people to be here I

really like to encourage community and

have dinner parties and you know

preserving making jam things like that

and so yeah I wanted enough space

between here so that like you're not

bumping into each other this is a little

bit shallower than the other side and

you can tell that you've also got a ton

of storage space in this area as well

I really do I have more than enough you

know I have pantry and dishes cabinet

lots of clothing storage and my stairs

and a decent sized stove for cooking and

then your bathroom is behind us here yep

just behind this pocket door it's pretty

cozy but it fits everything I have you

know a sink in here and the nature's

head composting toilet so another green

building aspect of this house is this

lunes ventilation unit so it's

continuously refreshing there in this

space fresh air from the outside and

living in Colorado it gets really cold

and so it has a heat recovery core so if

at zero degrees outside it will bring it

in at about 62 degrees and it also acts

as a bath fan so I can just turn it on

exhaust mode if I take a steamy shower

and yeah I feel it's kind of like the

bubbles in a fish tank you know it's

keeping me breathing and and in fresh

air healthier and I have my this

actually open so I have my tankless

water heater behind there so I can

access that even a little bathtub and a

bathtub yeah that was definitely hard to

find

and it took a lot of research took about

a year of like creatively thinking of

what I could do could I make a bathtub

out of a horse trough or a whiskey

barrel or even a wheelbarrow I was just

thinking of everything and you know kind

of boil down to like what was quick and

easy to clean and also I have a big dog

and so I wanted to be able to wash her

in the winter in there and I can fit in

there too it's it's fine you know it's

not like luxurious but it's enough and

can we have a look upstairs yeah

absolutely this is so nice

I really like the shape of the window

there thanks yeah that was it Craigslist

find I wanted to bring a little bit of

curves into the house and I can look out

and see the trees and I actually had a

woodpecker pecking on my house the other

day and so I hit on the wall and and got

to watch it for a while out there and

how are you finding a sleeping loft I

love it yeah one of my design aspects

was that I wanted a lot of head space in

here and I actually did a very kind of

minimal mattress so I have like a slat

system and then I have to Tommy Japanese

grass mats to add a little bit of

ventilation and then it's just 100%

botanical latex so just really clean

toxic-free and the entire system bed

system is about seven inches tall and so

I have maximized my head space in here

so how long have you actually been

living in the house now so I've been

living in here for about four or five

months throughout the summer I wanted to

build a tiny house that was really

healthy for me that was a really

positive environment and I think that

overall the tiny house has just brought

a lot of like beauty and satisfaction

into my life and it's a place that I

want to be all the time it's hard for me

to leave just because I'm so comfortable

here it's it's warm and the aesthetic is

exactly how I want it and it's

simplified my life and made me able to

focus on other things because I have

control over my living environment and

and the comfort that's there so all in

what would you estimate this build

project actually cost you well since I

did

a lot of Labor my dad as well and had

work parties all in all once I have

solar will be about 43 grand and what

are your plans for the future now I mean

my dream which I think is a lot of

people's dreams is to go in and buy land

with and some friends and to be able to

have a tiny house community and so we'll

see a few no laws change and if that can

become legal but yeah I'm hoping to have

kind of an intentional community where

everyone still has their own space but

we work together a garden together do

kind of a permaculture style homestead

well to me that sounds like a really

amazing plan and I'm sure you're gonna

make it happen thank you so much for

sharing your home with me thanks for

coming it's nice to have the year

Isabelle has made some really great

decisions with the construction of this

home already just living in a tiny house

helps to greatly reduce your

environmental footprint but when you're

really conscious of where materials are

sourced and the lifespan of those

materials it goes a long way to really

helping to build a sustainable future

and that is definitely a positive

direction for us to be moving in

you

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