I’m excited to share our first interview here on Tiny House Talk with Dan Louche who designed and built a tiny house from scratch for a special someone in his life.
Alex: Can you tell us a little bit about the tiny house you’ve been constructing and why you decided to build it?
Dan: The tiny house that I built was for my mom.
A little over a year ago I received a call from her where she told me that she was having some respiratory problems associated with mold in the trailer home she was living in.
I knew I had to do something, but neither she nor I could afford to buy her a new home. So I began to research my options and came across the tiny house movement.
I had always been interested in smaller spaces and after seeing what others were doing, I was inspired to design and build her a tiny house.
The house is 8×20. I wanted it to be as large as possible but still be reasonable to tow and move around.
The living space is on a single level since my mother is older and a sleeping loft is not an option for her. I also wanted it to appear as roomy as possible inside, so I included large dormers on the front and back of the house.
Photos Courtesy of Dan Louche
Alex: What was her reaction like when she heard the idea? How is she liking it so far?
Dan: I took a chance and actually started the whole process without her knowledge. I wanted to surprise her, and I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t be able to convince her to move into a tiny house over the phone (she lives in Florida while I live in Georgia).
I only told her after she came up for a visit which was after I had already made the plans and bought the trailer. When she pulled up and saw the trailer for the first time she asked me if I was building a school float, I told her “not exactly”. Later that evening I showed her the 3D plans along with some videos that I found online of others who are living in tiny houses. She was ecstatic!
So far she loves her house. She is still not moved in but she’s almost there. I had to deliver the house to her incomplete (no flooring or cabinets) because of some issues I had with my homeowners association. She is relying on the help of a neighbor to finish it up and I expect that she will be moved in by the end of this month. You can see her progress at http://tinyhouseandgarden.wordpress.com.
Alex: So tell us about your newly released tiny house plans and what inspired you to document the process of designing and building the house?
Dan: When I first started researching tiny houses I was looking for any information I could find. Since there wasn’t that much in the way of books, the best source I found ended up being the blogs of people who were building tiny houses themselves.
Since these were so useful to me, I decided that I would start my own blog to document my progress. However, when I started I found that I was taking more pictures and jotting more notes than I had time to write about and post.
So early on I decided that I would post as much as I could and document everything else in more detail when I had more time after the house was complete.
After a few months of work, I’ve finally compiled all that information into a package that includes everything someone would need to build a tiny house. Learn more about Dan’s tiny house building plans and books here.
On a side note: I would highly recommend anyone who is considering building a tiny house to start a blog. Knowing that there are people out in the world reading about and tracking your progress is a tremendous motivator.
Alex: What would you say to a person with little to no building experience about to embark on the journey of constructing their own tiny house on a trailer?
Dan: First off, I think if you are considering a project like this and you’re doubtful because you don’t have any building experience, I would say that it is definitely still within reach.
While it may be more difficult, if you have enough time and a little help, I think anyone can be successful at this.
So now for a little more practical advice; I would try to get some exposure to building before I started. One of the best ways to do that is to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Not only will you be helping someone else, but it is a great way to get some hands-on learning.
There are very few other ways that someone with no experience can find themselves working on a job-site. While you are there pay attention and take in as much as you can. Things like how the corners of the walls come together, how the rafters are put up, the types of tools and screws used, etc.
My other advice is to tell everyone you know what you are doing and solicit help. When I was building my tiny house, I told a coworker about my project, and she got so excited about the idea that she took a day off and came out to help.
So you are likely not going to be alone. The idea of tiny houses and tiny living excites people.
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