Logan Smith is a teacher and author of the awesome Smalltopia blog. He dwells in a 128-square-foot house on wheels with his partner Tammy Strobel. (They’ve lived there full time nearly four years, though they did rent a larger groundbound cottage for this winter.)
Much of Logan’s writing focuses on figuring out how to live in such a small house. In one entry, he researches many types of stoves for safety and ease of use, ultimately settling on an unusual fuel choice: alcohol. In another entry, he experiments with living refrigerator-free and discovers that with frequent trips to the market he can still eat fresh, healthy meals. In yet another entry, he invents an ergonomic and portable computer workstation, allowing the entire house to double as an office. It sounds totally nuts, but adapting to a tiny space liberates the couple from the stress of high-paying employment and gives them more time to enjoy life.
What does this have to do with constructing a biggish house? Everything. Carpenters intrinsically believe that anything they don’t already know, they can figure out. They might hire a sub, but they don’t give up on a problem or alter an unconventional plan into something more familiar. All it takes is a little education and ingenuity… effort well spent because ultimately it saves time and money. Terry has built a lot of houses, but this project still presented many new challenges for him, both major (double-wall construction) and minor (a laundry chute). In these unfamiliar situations, Terry drew on prior experience supplementing his knowledge with articles from Fine Homebuilding magazine and other resources. As Logan compiles a personal corpus for how to live simply and comfortably, Terry does the same for how to build homes.
It must be noted that engineers share the same tenet: every problem has a solution, and finding it requires simply the right combination of existing resources. I think that’s one reason small spaces fascinate me. It can be done, so why not?