Latest Posts

  • Tiny Hacker House Build Part III: Sheathing and Insulation

    As soon as the electrical wiring and plumbing was finished, it was time to add the exterior sheathing. Sheathing is simply a 4’x8’ piece of treated plywood screwed into the frame every 12” or so. It adds structural support to the frame to prevent shearing, and also provides a surface to attach the exterior siding.

    In this case, since I’m using metal studs, it’s critical to use a layer of rigid foam board between the frame and exterior sheathing to provide a thermal barrier. Otherwise, the insulating R-value of my wall could be reduced by half! After the foam board and sheathing is applied, the wall cavity could be sprayed with a soy-based closed-cell expanding foam.

  • Tiny Hacker House Build Part II: Plumbing & Electricity

    As soon as the steel framing was finished, it was time to punch 1/2” holes through the studs I needed to route plumbing and electrical cabling through.

    The tiny hacker house has a total of 8 outlets situated mostly along the left side of the house, and a shower, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, and toilet that need water lines. Oh and 10 light receptacles and 4 switch boxes that need electricity as well.

  • Tiny Hacker House Build Part I: Steel Framing

    This is the first build post. I actually started building in late November, but wanted to make some sustained progress before sharing what I’ve learned. I knew I wanted to use metal stud framing, but how much more difficult could this be than traditional stick framing?

  • Tiny Hacker House Design Part VI: Wiring

    Disclaimer: I’m not a certified electrician, just a stubborn DIY’er.

    tl;dr: Scroll to the bottom for the schematic.

    Electricity is one of the most important aspects of building a house. If you get it wrong, your house can burn down. Or you’ll constantly be flipping breakers and frying devices. Definitely hire a professional electrician if you just want a system that works and is safe. But if you’re a stubborn DIY’er-at-all-costs like me, read on.

    Since the tiny hacker house is designed to operate off grid, the electrical wiring closely resembles what you’d find in a typical RV. I have to say, information on wiring an RV is extremely hard to come across on the web. The main hangup is accommodating for both 12V and 120V supplies. 120V wiring is straightforward enough – just follow your local building code’s guidelines. But throw in 12V appliances, a battery bank, inverter, “shore power” and you have a little more thinking to do.

  • Tiny Hacker House Design Part V: Supply Plumbing / Heating

    Hi folks. It’s been a while since the last update, but for good reason! I’ve been busy building. More on that in another post. But first, I’d like to discuss plumbing.

    (A little aside: Unless you’re willing to spend hours and hours designing a system from scratch (and likely still get it wrong), please just hire a professional. I’m only offering here the resources I’ve found helpful in the hopes it’ll be helpful for other DIY’ers. I certainly wish I had more examples available to study as I dove into this adventure.)

  • Tiny Hacker House Design Part IV: Loft

    With only 103 sq. ft. to work with, floor space has to be optimized. One big difference I notice between most RVs and tiny houses is the latter usually takes advantage of a bit higher ceilings to make room for a bedroom loft. It’s a great way to make use of the 13’ 6” allowable road height for trailers without sacrificing valuable floor space for a permanent bed.

  • Tiny Hacker House Design Part III: Bathroom

    As mentioned in a previous article, my bathroom won’t be just a place to shower & shave – it’ll function as a walk-in closet as well. If you’re in the house with others, it’s also the only place where you can lock a door and reasonably expect some privacy, so I wanted to keep that in mind for future living arrangements where I may be sharing the house. Because of this, the bathroom will occupy nearly 1/3 of the lower level space – approximately 29 sq. ft. of the 103 sq. ft. available.

  • Tiny Hacker House Design Part II: Power

    (If you missed the last post highlighting the major design choices for the tiny hacker house, this one may be a little out of context. You should probably go read it now.)

    When I first contemplated building a tiny house, the electricity system was the first thing I researched. Maybe that’s because it’s what I’m most comfortable with as an electrical / computer engineer, or perhaps it’s because that’s what enables the rest of the house to come alive. Since I wasn’t planning to be grid-tied, I had to depend on my electrical system to provide the comforts for everyday life. If I wanted to rely on my home to support a decent living, it needed to be fault-tolerant and straightforward to manage.

  • Tiny Hacker House Design Part I: Overview

    My last post provided some of the basic philosophical reasoning behind my journey to build a tiny hacker house. It also featured a rough model of the house at a very early stage in its conception. Well, after a couple more months of research and a dash of Burningman inspiration, I’ve completed what I consider to be the beta version of the design.

  • I'm Building a Tiny Hacker House

    I’m building a tiny hacker house on a trailer. It will be about 150 sq. ft. total, and that includes the 50 sq. ft. or so required for the queen-size loft. It will have a tiny kitchen, tiny bathroom, tiny living area, but a regular sized bathtub. The bathtub is important because it doubles as a laundry washer.

See the complete archive.