Friday, November 13, 2009

Radiant Floor

Awhile back I was considering installing a radiant floor, as friends have highly recommended their inexpensive heating capabilities during the winter. Rusty, my neighbor, renewed that idea when he suggested the same and took it a step forwards by offering to help me install it. Rusty has some experience after installing radiant heating beneath his poured adobe floor on his own house. He happened to have some pex pipe on hand. Pex is a great durable water pipe that is also inexpensive. It's flexibility makes it easy to shape. The pipe will move hot water underneath the floor, which will then conduct through the floor and into the interior space, providing free heating in the winter. A solar water heater on the outside of the dome will provide the heating mechanism. 

We only had half a day to start this process. Rusty was the foreman and my friend and songwriter Johann Wagner also leant a hand. Johann and I are currently on tour together, and so the poured adobe floor, which will cover the pex pipe and provide a plateau for bare feet, will have to wait.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Living in 120 Square Feet

I am moving up in the world. I decided to send back the shipping container I have been renting and buy a shed. It is the first thing I have put on a credit card in years, but the monthly payments will be less than what I have been paying to rent a shipping container, and in a couple of years, I will own it. In fact, 88% of my monthly payment will go towards ownership. With the shipping container rental, only 0% went towards ownership. So technically I am not debt free anymore, but my situation is better and my monthly expenses a bit less. 

When living in small spaces, it is important to think in cubic feet, rather than square feet. Believe it or not, inside this tiny shed I have an office, a kitchen, a sitting area, and a bedroom. Bunk beds, shelves, stackable containers, etc help to make the space more functional.

I was debating between purchasing a used shipping container or this shed. The shipping container is larger, more durable, and provides a 2nd life for used material, but the shed won because it is more suitable for living in temporarily and the angled roof also has potential for water catchment and solar panel installation.  I was also considering building one myself, but I have never built a shed and I needed something fast. Since I will be using the shed for water catchment, I was able to claim a tax exemption, saving me about $200. 

The dome will be twice as big, and when I am able to move into it, the shed will be used as a guesthouse and storage area.