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Tiny Houses on Steroids: Maximum Extreme Living Solutions

Guest Post by Stew MacInnes of Maximus Extreme Living Solutions


My name is Stew MacInnes, I am the owner of Maximus Extreme Living Solutions, based out of Ogden, Utah.

My company manufactures self-contained living units, which in lay terms would probably best be described as eco-friendly, tiny homes that are on massive amounts of steroids!

My work history and background would have probably suggested that I ultimately would not have ended up in this role as an owner of a manufacturing company.

I have worked for more than twenty one years in the real estate industry as a Principal Real Estate Broker and the Branch New Homes director for (at that particular time) the second largest Coldwell Banker franchise in the United States.

Maximus Extreme Tiny Houses

I encourage you to read the rest of Stew’s article and look over the rest of the photos below:

I have conducted literally hundreds of pre-qualification and needs assessment interviews with customers and clients over the past two decades. The interviews that I conducted with customers and clients focused on three primary areas; needs, wants and location which were filtered against the following three guiding reality checks… their imagination, their pocket-book and the laws of physics.

I learned that the first three areas were rarely in sync with the latter three areas; but once they (the customer or client) were able to sync or merge their own internal thoughts, the ultimate result usually turned out really well. My background is only relevant to this story because it helps to frame how I have approached the design process and formation of Maximus Extreme Living Solutions.

Fast forward from the two decades of real estate pre-qualification interviews, to multiple field interviews of workers that were/are involved in the exploration and extraction of domestic energy. I used the same basic interview techniques to conduct the field interviews in order to help me formulate the direction I was going to take Maximus Extreme Living Solutions.

The results from those interviews ultimately served as the design framework from which my company originated. During those interviews I learned that those hard working folks had some very specific and universal needs as it pertained to their particular line of work. They, almost to a man expressed four common needs; the need for safety, the need to stay warm and or cool depending on their specific location, the need for comfort and lastly they all insisted on wanting a place to stay that felt like “home.”

This was another way of saying that they did not like the feel of a traditional “man-camp” dwelling nor did they want to live in a commercial version of little box on the prairie.

So with results of those interviews in hand, I began the task of formulating the design criteria that I would use as a template for my product. I researched multiple web-sites, builders, architects and designers. I viewed and was impressed with Jay Shafer’s company and designs along with several others.

I was most impressed with Tiny Home Builder’s founder, Dan Louche’s product. So I contacted Dan and had him modify a plan for me and once he and I completed the design modifications, I gave my crew the task of completely deconstructing Dan’s fine work . We maintained the basic external look of Dan’s design but went to work at really beefing up the product (as I referenced earlier, this is where the steroids were introduced).

We built our initial proto-type with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) which are light-weight, have high tensile strength, easy to use and have “R” values that are off the charts. Our homes are able to withstand just about any type of temperature extreme. The manufacturer of the SIP product that we use estimated that our homes would be able to withstand temperature dips in the range of 40 to 60 F or below.

We use SIP panels in the floors, walls and roof system. We use either the Gako brand synthetic roof system or a commercial grade fifty year metal roof. We use a twenty by eight foot heavy duty, dual axel, steel framed trailer as a platform. We have two on board water containment tanks. Each tank has a one hundred and five gallon capacity. One is used for fresh water, the other for grey.

Our homes do not have the need for a black water tank due to the fact that we utilize either composting or incinerating toilets. We use either Andersen or Millguard brand, low E, Argon gas windows. We utilize a variety of exterior materials ranging from corrugated metals, custom corbels, rough cut cedar posts, compressed lap boards and composite vertical siding sheets.

In our interiors, we utilize as finish materials, tongue and groove 4 inch pine, bead-board, electrical conduit for functionality, speed and aesthetics and a multitude of other products that catch my crews fancy.

Our products are fit for an endless variety of applications, such as: industrial (mining/oil fields), recreational, tailgating, FEMA and for “doomsday preppers” to be used as bug-out trailers, just to name a few. Our homes are incredibly eco-friendly by design, due to the fact that most of the municipalities where our homes ultimately end up already have infra-structures issues.

Most of these cities support systems (IE sewer, water, electricity, gas, etc.) are operating at (peak plus) levels. So our product is designed to leave a “0” footprint on a town, city, etc.; our product has a no-load factor on sewer/sewer lift systems, electrical grids, water or gas lines. Our homes can be operated for extended periods of time in a completely self-contained mode or utilize conventional hookups.


If you would like further information regarding our product, visit our web-site at www.maximusextreme.com or contact me directly at [email protected]

Best regards,

Stew MacInnes
Maximus Extreme Living Solutions

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!




{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Deek November 23, 2012, 9:17 am

    Very nice- very expensive, I’d imagine… What’s with the asymmetrical metal siding in one section? Looks like they ran out of material- otherwise, its gorgeous/job well done guys! I look forward to seeing/hearing more from these guys. Great post.

    • Alex November 23, 2012, 6:50 pm

      Not sure if they ran out of materials or if it was done that way on purpose. But yeah either way pretty cool. It’s based on Dan Louche’s Tiny Living design. I’ve got an interview I did with Stew that I’ll be publishing soon once I transcribe it and all that. He’s got an interesting perspective that I’ve never seen before.

      • Stew MacInnes November 23, 2012, 8:14 pm

        Hey Alex,
        Stew MacInnes here; article looks great,thank you! We noticed several questions re the metal on the one side of our little home. We did that by design, we have the television and the fireplace venting right where the metal appears on the exterior, so it is a little bit form and a little bit function. We didn’t want issues with paint pulling away from prolonged exposure to the heat-source and we also wanted a visual break that would interrupt that static space. One of the more common design applications in architecture these days is the use of asyemetry, we placed the windows in their current locations to create visual interest, to provide extended lines of sight and to maximize air circulation. I know for some folks it isn’t appealing and others love it, in the future look for plans that are going to be completely symetrical along with our own standard brand of funk! Many thanks to all of you for the great feedback!!!!! We really appreciate it!!!! Stew

        • Katieogrady November 25, 2012, 8:50 pm

          Love it, Stew! Including the asymmetry.
          Kate

        • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:39 am

          I love it Stew thanks so much for clarifying!

    • Robert December 7, 2012, 10:48 am

      Alex,
      These are built with SIP’s and nowhere does Stew show the construction.
      We have seen so very little SIP Tiny House construction. Could you obtain and post his Floor, Walls & Roof construction and connections?
      Thank you.
      Robert

      • jannezack March 10, 2014, 12:05 pm

        If these were built with SIPS, why is there conduit everywhere!?!?! SIPs allow for wiring to be run through the walls with pre drilled wiring chases. For me, this one looks very un-planned and non functional. Although the finishes look quite nice, it seems to be poorly planned out. Sorry guys.

    • Holly January 18, 2013, 12:33 am

      I also thought that they could be expensive because there are no prices….

  • alice h November 23, 2012, 10:16 am

    Really nice and light-filled inside but I’m not sure I like the look of exposed wiring conduit. I guess that’s because of the SIPs. It would make access for any repairs a lot easier though. I for one would have loved staying in one of these instead of those beat-up ugly metal boxes when I was a camp cook. Wonder if having more home-like accommodations would have any effect on some of the “behaviour” in “man-camp”?

    • Alex November 23, 2012, 6:53 pm

      This is so much better than the ugly metal box houses.. I’m sure the workers will be so much happier with something like this. Stew is providing a great service to these people. It’s possible to wire through the SIPs.. This post/video shows one way: http://www.tinyhousetalk.com/sip-tiny-house/ (see the video at the bottom of that post)

    • Robert December 6, 2012, 6:11 pm

      Alice h,
      Most SIP mfg provide “wire or pipe chases” in the walls. I also do not know why this builder did expose the conduit. I’d like to hear their explanation.
      Robert

      • Holly January 18, 2013, 12:34 am

        I’m not a builder but it came to mind that those wire stuff shouldn’t be exposed.

      • james mckoy September 3, 2013, 11:15 pm

        I agree, the conduit on the wall totally ruins what is a fantastic design. SIPS designers can integrate this into the panel.
        It looks a little sloppy IMHO.

  • Cheryl Spelts November 23, 2012, 6:48 pm

    This house could be so much better if the windows were more thoughtfully placed…

    So many tiny houses lately have this same problem. It’s not enough for the window placement to look fine on the inside – it can and should also look great on the exterior. And yes, it’s sometimes difficult to make happen, but it’s ALWAYS worth it!

    • Alex November 23, 2012, 6:51 pm

      Thanks Cheryl. You’re right it’s not very symmetrical and I appreciate that as well. Even though I love this little house and the abundance of windows. Glad you shared your thoughts!

      • Cheryl Spelts November 23, 2012, 8:17 pm

        An asymmetrical design can look great as well! Tumbleweed Houses are very symmetrical, and part of their popularity is due to that very aspect – but there’s no reason an asymmetrical design can’t be just as attractive! If you need inspiration, go look at beautiful architecture. Tiny houses may be smaller, but the same principles of good design still apply.

        • Stew MacInnes November 23, 2012, 8:27 pm

          Cheryl,

          great insight and perspective, thanks for sharing, I’m always appreciative to hear what folks think, I too agree with your thoughts on Tumbleweed Homes, I bought Jay’s book a year and a half ago and was completely mezmorized by his design’s!! Great stuff!!!

          Stew

      • Stew MacInnes November 24, 2012, 2:30 pm

        Alex,
        next time I’ll make sure I hit spell-check, lol….must have been the Thanksgiving Turkey hangover

        • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:39 am

          Haha, no biggie, happens to all of us. 😀

  • Mark E Tisdale November 23, 2012, 7:08 pm

    The exposed metal conduit feels at odd with the otherwise cabin feel of the interior. Maybe if the inside were a little more industrial it would feel more like exposed conduit in a loft does?

    My first thought when I saw the window-style AC built permanently in a wall was good luck in 5 or 6 years finding another to fit that hole the same dimensions.

    Just a couple of details that struck me, but it sounds like with the SIP wall panels, etc. that they otherwise have a well thought out home.

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:41 am

      Thanks, Mark, great ideas. It would be cool to see an industrial style tiny house with the exposed metal and all. Lots of stainless steel and maybe white tiles?

  • jerryd November 24, 2012, 10:46 am

    I like most of it but would never do the roof shape change as it just costs more, has less room. prone to leaks. Just do the center roof to the ends.

    What is the red thing?

    A better bathroom, kitchen would be bath on one side with the kitchen on the other and across the rear center would take up less room and be more functional as much more kitchen space.

    The open space for living allows one to put in what one wants like a truly comfortable chair for each person living there.

    A couch and chairs with built in storage would be good additions as would a closet.

    A lot can be said for being self contained and a 1-1.5kw solar array would do the trick nicely that could fold up as a porch roof. With some either hard or soft walls would nicely increase living space should be an option.

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:42 am

      I believe the red thing is a closet. Just very industrial like. I wondered too when I first saw it then I noticed there’s a pole in there. Thanks Jerry!

  • Alberto November 24, 2012, 2:29 pm

    Hello:

    I didn’t dislike the conduits as I was thinking on whenever I finally make mine how would look. I’m also interested on that red thing 🙂

    Could you expand a bit more on the solar system, for example how many batteries/type/ah and how many solar panels 🙂

    And last, is that a sink/stove/refrigerator combo?

    • Stew MacInnes November 24, 2012, 2:58 pm

      Alberto,
      the “red-thing” is a stadium locker. We thought it had some great crossover potential; durable, has a built in foot-locker for dirty boots and a small valuables locker. Steel construction, colorfull, manufactuer is in Salt Lake City, relatively inexpensive. It also serves as a visual break for the toilet. The sink/stove/fridge combo, is an Avante all in one kitchen. They run between $600-$900…a little tough to find in stock, but overall a pretty cool little unit.

  • Charlie November 24, 2012, 3:02 pm

    What Deek said. I notice there are no prices on their web site. Usually, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

  • deborah November 24, 2012, 5:05 pm

    Since cold air falls and warm air rises this is a bad placement for the air conditioner. Also they need to be taken out and serviced every year. (I know this personally)

    For me this home left a lot to be desired so I wouldn’t be interested if I were buying a tiny home.

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:44 am

      You’re right about the AC’s they do need to be taken out and serviced (I’ve rented where I’ve had them installed like that and was able to remove it and do it myself so it should be doable).

      The AC should work fine I think because the space is so small and well insulated it but would probably be even better as you said. Thanks Deborah!!

  • Cat November 25, 2012, 12:15 am

    It’s good to know that there are companies building small houses since right now most of the Small House Movement seems to be focused on building your own. And there are many people who just don’t know how to do that, or don’t have the confidence to do that, including me.

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:45 am

      Great point Cat. I too want to see it become easier for people to get them. Payment plans and/or financing would be great too. It’s all coming together.

  • Mike Griffin November 25, 2012, 1:53 am

    I liked it until I saw the exposed conduit. This will obstruct the placement of many objects within the unit. It makes it feel like an afterthought and in my opinion detracts from the natural beauty of the wood. I love these posts and a tiny house talk fan. Keep em coming!

  • Dina November 25, 2012, 10:56 am

    I agree about the lack of pricing. Loses me right there. No prices usually = too much $$.

  • Stew MacInnes November 25, 2012, 12:11 pm

    To everyone who has questions re our pricing, please forgive me. As a new company, we are still in the process of managing many aspects of launching our company, which includes populating and completing our web-site. We are close to having the site complete, but obviously we have yet to include an option list and overall pricing. So let me offer what I can at this point. During the formulation of the company, pricing was and continues to be a huge component to our business model. Our goal has and will continue to be, that we can put forth the absolute best performing product, that has broad appeal to our customer base and is competitively priced with homes of comporable size. We utilize the most innovative technological applications and products that are seen typically in conventional construction methodolgy (IE, the building of commercial and residential building).

    In our early planning stages we looked at pricing found on “Tumbleweed’s” site, which ranged from the high $40’s to mid $50’s. Since Jay’s site was the most popular, we used his pricing model as a benchmark. Our homes by and large range from a starting price in the high $40’s to the mid $60’s, depending on size and features/amenities. We can and do allow for complete customization…..which can see prices range from the mid $30’s to $100+. The only limitations that we tell clients that we have is the following, their imagination, the law’s of physics and their pocketbook! I hope this offers some good information for folks.

    Best regards,

    Stew MacInnes

  • Craig November 26, 2012, 12:04 am

    Well done guys! The tiny home that is mobile looks and sounds so well constructed. Typically RVs have the water tanks under the unit. Putting the water in the home is a must and great idea. It appears that a full size truck is able to transport the home. That makes it usuable for everyone. I’m very impressed guys! Personally, whatever the function I think the metal looks ok. Ill be watching for more. I was just wondering if that is your only design? Sounds like your saying someone could design their own creation. Is that a fact?

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:49 am

      Hi Craig yes I’m pretty sure they will work with you to customize your own design as well. Will just most likely cost you extra. Or you can buy plans of your choice that are out there and hand it over to them. Or get plans and change a few things around. Options are limitless. Any good builder should be able to do these things for you though.

      Stew has another tiny house that he’s probably already finished by now, he sent me some photos, I’ll post it soon. It’s completely different than this one.

  • Tammi November 26, 2012, 12:35 am

    My son works in the oil fields in North Dakota. From listening to him and the living conditions, this would be a great alternative. I am going to pass this article on to him. It would be awesome to know his living conditions are sound and I don’t have to worry about him. Great idea!

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:50 am

      Thanks for passing it along Tammi. I think this is such a great idea too. Helps the workers in oil fields and other places feel more at home. Those other man camp things are nowhere near as nice as this.

  • Tiny House UK November 26, 2012, 2:18 pm

    I love the size of the windows, they must let in so much light which would make the inside look a lot larger. Shame the electrics are mounted on the walls and not run in between the cavity, that would look a lot nicer in the long run. A great use of space though, a very good example of small living.

    • Alex November 28, 2012, 10:51 am

      Thanks! Yeah it’s funny some people like the wiring exposed like that and others definitely don’t. I kind of like it but can understand why others don’t. If it came down to it for my own build, I’d probably do it in the walls like you said.

  • Tiny Houses Hankerings November 28, 2012, 11:58 pm

    I do have to complain about those composting toilet prices though. They seem to be priced between $1000 – $2000 for something that doesn’t seem to have any moving parts, and you have to remove the crap bucket yourself. And some look like they are made of plastic. I don’t know why they are priced so high.

  • Tiny House UK December 5, 2012, 5:32 pm

    That house looks huge inside! It just goes to show the roof is key to the internal space you can create. Note sure about the colours and the tin outside but a very large Tiny House!

  • MsDawn December 6, 2012, 12:09 pm

    I think this is one of the uglyiest small homes I have seen. I don’t like the metal on the outside and I don’t like all the exposed wiring covers. I think the extra insulation and stuff but that is it.

  • Holly January 18, 2013, 12:35 am

    The house is cute.

  • Ilene P. Book February 3, 2013, 9:05 pm

    Stew, I really need/want to talk with you about tiny homes. I have been dreaming of one for myself and have so many ideas to make them more livable and lovely at the same time. Would you consider speaking with me by email so I can tell you about my ideas and desire for my own small home?
    I am a retired art teacher who grew up in Utah with all its excesses and huge houses.
    Thanks,
    Ilene

  • Mea Cadwell March 8, 2013, 2:08 pm

    In general I like this small home – however, there is a lot of wasted space in here that could have gone towards storage arrangements.

  • Cometj July 29, 2014, 9:24 pm

    What IS the extra large–and ugly!–box next to the toilet? Is it part of the toilet system? Does it hold the water tanks? I am going to think that if EACH of those water tanks is FULL you have in excess of 1600 POUNDs of added weight to drag around so you are prob gonna wanna dump or use as much as possible before moving this. No point using expensive gas to drag around (relatively) cheap and easy to find water.

    Also–the–ahem–kitchen. I had one of these in an RA apt I was in in college—and DEF not a fan—in fact ours caught fire. And they have zero room to actually do food prep–covering the sink with a board will help a bit but then–how do you USE the sink? And it needs some sort of table—one of the hinge to the wall drop downs with the shallow shelves would be ideal here.

    I am sure the “set up” one was using whatever they had on hand but doesn’t make me want to move right on in–needs some work and much more thought.

    And for the price–you could BUY an already built house in a LOT of places (No–not NYC) But presumably most TH wanna-be-owners are not looking to BE in NYC in one–tempting tho that sounds! Some of these prices on these things seem way out of line.

    I did like the metal bathroom surround–is that “just” some sort of corrugated? Need to replace ours and of course–not a “standard size” so will need to custom build. Anyone have any info on how this stuff holds up to water/soap/hard water?

  • Glema July 30, 2014, 6:36 pm

    well, I don’t particularly like my guts hanging out nor would I want my Tiny House spewing it’s guts all over. lol however, i can see the ease of maintenance and how others might enjoy it. Personally I appreciate that you did it this way because if nothing else it will show those of us who do not know where these things should go etc. now we can see if the so called pros put them in the right place 😉 hehehe God bless you Stew and those whom you had help you build this tiny house, ty for sharing it. Ty Alex for sharing this story and Happy Trails everyone! other than reverse guts, i like it, is that an Avanti kitchenette? hehehe

  • Denise August 5, 2014, 1:30 am

    Nice, but what’s up with the electrical run via conduit on the outside of the walls?

  • Jeanna August 24, 2015, 2:47 pm

    Things to think about when having a Tiny Home Built. Everything is always great in the beginning… how it ends is the only important thing. (as with anything you are contracting to buy or build)

    Make sure you ask for a Contractors license when building a tiny home. Don’t just assume because they have built a few tiny homes that they are licensed or qualified.

    Make sure you approve all purchases – that you are not be stuck with some things that the “builder” had in his garage. This is your custom home – not theirs.

    Also be sure that the builder you chooses gets everything printed WITH dimensions on Professional blue prints and you have a copy that you approved.

    Also – you need to have a Timeline Contract with a Payment Schedule.

    Make sure you come to an in writing contract of what is expected from this home. Make sure the contract says you have all final design approval.

    NEVER PAY THE WHOLE AMOUNT UPFRONT – You have nothing for leverage when they keep reneging on so called promises.

    WARRANTY – in writing in the original contract. I heard some builders out there are not providing a warrant, except the manufacturer warranties on items he uses. (so check that out to make sure you get a warranty…in writing of course)

    If the person/company you choose cannot provide all of these things … RUN!!!

    Don’t fall for the “Don’t worry, you’ll be happy when I’m done” routine!

    Buyer Beware!!!

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