Last weekend I had an opportunity to tour Ojai’s Fifth Annual Green Home & Building Tour. The theme was “Small is Beautiful”. I toured a 140 sq. ft. home on wheels that is totally sustainable without having to be connected to a sewer line, with running water accessed by hooking up to a hose bib from your home. Now you can add a guest house with kitchen, bath, and sleeping area, a play area for the kids, or a granny house for a retired parent, at a low affordable cost.
Vina Lustado spent decades working in high-end corporate architecture firms before launching her own company, Sol Haus Design. Vina’s tiny house: demonstrates how less really is more, encouraged by architect Mies Van de Rohe, who coined the phrase; “Less is more.”
The Tiny House is the size of a parking space with a total cost of under $35,000. The Tiny House is wholly self-sufficient, with solar panels, all LED lights, a tankless water heater with propane gas, a propane gas fireplace, double pane low-E windows, energy efficient refrigerator, and a composting toilet for water conservation. Vina has added a bedroom loft to expand the use of the space, and has space for guests on the living room sofa futon.
The next home I toured was a 400 sq. ft. home built in a shop in Texas, nick-named “Sugar Box” because it reminded the owner of a long flat box of sugar…laying on its side. The home was put on a wide trailer and driven to California, in search of land for his new home. It was made from 90% reclaimed material.
The owner, T.J. Thyne, actor on the hit TV show, Bones, was a delight to meet in person as he welcomed people to tour his home. His passion to make the entire property self-sustaining with gardens and areas for social events and community gatherings is a vision that will be enjoyed by many to come. On the property is also a galvanized steel barn that has been there since 1930.
T.J’s shower design made from reclaimed left over tiles resembles a patchwork-quilt. The refrigerator is restored vintage, with reclaimed hooks and hardware throughout. Like architect Frank Lloyd Wright, T.J. created extra storage space, with built-in niches minimizing the need for extra furniture. Also part of this sustainable property is a tankless water heater, recycled glass countertops, energy-efficient dual-pane windows and doors, energy-efficient mini-split heating and air-conditioning, blown-in cellulose insulation, low-flow toilets, no carpet, no duct work for heating and air conditioning.
From the homes purchase in 2009, to housing the home on a friend’s property for a year, until a suitable and affordable lot could be found, T.J.is quoted saying; “Now I had a home and land – in that order”! Then it took another three years for permits, saving money, dealing with foundation companies, and inspectors, and modifying for California building regulations.
Patt Sendejas, author, speaker, and consultant is available for Feng Shui/Interior Design Consultations on commercial and residential spaces and speaking requests. Educated in design & architecture, Patt teaches how to create wealth, improve health, and enjoy harmonious relationships by changing the environment.