Welcome to our teched-out tiny house! Our tiny house is packed with tons of cool, yet very functional tech that makes it unique and one of a kind. Our dream of building our own tiny home started two and a half years ago when I was looking to buy a house. After realizing my down payment for a home I wouldn't own for 30 years would be the same amount as it would to build a tiny house, I said why not, let's get to building.
I have no construction background. In fact, the only thing I have ever built was a birdhouse in fifth grade. It fell apart after like a week. Not letting that discourage me, I dove in to the project headfirst, bought my trailer and purchased my plans. My tiny house is built on a 20 ft. Tumbleweed trailer 8.5 ft. wide with 5200-pound axles. The tiny house has 3.5 inches of closed cell spray foam from top to bottom, along with a natural borate salt sprayed on all walls and beams. The borate salt also has an additive that fights mold. I didn't think about borate until a swarm of termites decided to feast on my house. Two quotes of $800 and $400 for treatment from a termite company made me look at my options online. Wouldn't you know $60 for one gallon of borate and $14 for a sprayer was all I need to treat my whole house?
Our siding is beveled cedar with a pure rosewood finish called verde natural. After looking at the roof options I settled with a weather copper look from classic metal roofing systems. What's great about their roof is it reflects 95% of UV rays, is aluminum, interlocks piece-by-piece, and has foam inserts that slide underneath to help with insulation and impacts from hail or rocks. I also double downed and used gray ice and water shield for my whole roof underlay. Pricey but worth the extra expense! My roof has two skylights. Our Velux skylight has a solar panel built in on the outside with a rain sensor attached to open and close it automatically, a battery built in and a wireless remote so I never have to reach up to open and close it. I set my Velux solar skylight so it opens and closes throughout the day to release hot air that builds up in my ceiling space but let's fresh air in, even at night. The rain sensor on the outside will detect rain and will close it self automatically if I am home or not. My egress skylight in my loft has numerous functions including safety; its primary function. Should I not be able to get out through my front door I can open my loft skylight and jump out. It also allows me to open it ever so slightly to let air in. Another great thing about my roof material is that I can stand up on my loft outside and lay out without denting or harming it.
Tour of the tiny house
As you walk into my front door you will not see a standard lock but a Schlage keypad lock instead. This lock works with my iPhone and Apple’s proprietary HomeKit allowing me to open it before I even reach the door or use Siri to open it from afar. With it I can even give others their own passcode or even open it remotely when I am away. The way I have been using this is when I have my hands full I open the door with Siri or my Apple Watch so I only have to push the door open when I get in. Also when someone is at the door and I don't want to get up I just say "Hey Siri. Open the front door.” The most important part for me is the security that Apple’s HomeKit provides.
As you walk in to the left of the house after entering you will see our two 2.6 KwH salt water batteries. You heard me right. Salt water batteries! I can discharge my batteries from 100% to 0% and not harm them in anyway. They are made out of cotton, salt water, carbon-base oxide and stainless steel. They don’t include any harmful or toxic materials. They also have the capability to get 6k cycles and are zero-maintenance batteries. With our six solar panels we have power all day and night. It’s good for us. The less We need to do, the better.
Across the house is the kitchen designed for full- time cooking and even some light entertaining. The sink alone is 30 inches wide and 9 inches deep and made of stainless steel. The faucet resembles a commercial kitchen faucet so I can really move around when washing and cleaning. My sink has a custom cutting board I made to fit and sit right inside the rim so it drains out into the basin when cleaning or using the cutting board. The counter top is butcher block and highly functional. The stove is a 4-burner stove with one big burner that is 55k BTU and is my main cooking burner. I have a stainless steel backsplash and a stainless steel range hood with a 600cfm fan inside to eliminate condensation and odor.
Beyond the kitchen is the living room area, which is as open as I could make it, allowing for a 55” flatscreen TV. Above the kitchen is a small loft that holds the Schneider electronics invert/convert and solar charger controller. These units, connected to my batteries and solar panels is what keeps the house charged with electric current. My lights inside my house are all LED and can project up to 16 million colors. One interesting fact about my house is that I have no light switches. My light switches are battery powered, wireless and stick to the wall. What's cool is I can twist the switch off the wall and take it with me anywhere in the tiny house. True to LED fashion I can also program the buttons to change colors or turn on any of my LED Lights. There are also LED light strips underneath the eave of the house outside giving off an effective and fun illumination. The lights don’t stop there as I also installed a Philips hue, dimmable light system that allows me to program my lights to turn on or off anytime, whether I am home or not. I’m also able to have my lights change colors according to the weather or even to blink when my favorite sports team scores or wins!
To heat and cool the house I choose the LG art cool model split system that has a 27.5 SEER rating, is very efficient, and has a wireless feature that, again, allows me to control it with my phone. In essence, I can check the temp at home when I am away or even check my air quality and humidity with my eve sensor. I can then turn on my AC or heater before I get home or turn on the dehumidifier while away.
The rear of our tiny house is the restroom and shower. Lined with red cedar, the restroom and shower has a pretty special component. I built a cabinet that rolls right into my shower when not in use. How much time do we really spend in our shower in one whole day anyway? Why waste the space outside of that time? The cabinet rolls in and can roll out when I need to shower. It also houses my LG washer dryer ventless combo unit that drains all water directly into my shower. Our rolling cabinet is also where I hang my clothes and keep all my electronics that run the tiny house. There is also a hanging cordless Dyson vacuum in the closet and storage for some components.
The entrance to the bedroom loft is a latch with a ladder that folds down. My loft features a queen size memory foam mattress and a projector screen that rolls out to cover the opening of the loft itself. The projector is at the back of the loft so in just a minute my loft converts to a miniature movie theatre!
I am proud of my house. It reflects us. Guests feel comfortable and there is room for entertaining. But above all it reflects the age of technology we are in and how We want our home to work for me and my wife.