Tiny Sustainable Home can be built in 4 days w/screwdriver

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Leave it to the French to design this potentially popular, sustainable, and affordable pre-fab solution from Multipod Studio. It will cost about $41K (which includes labor, but doesn’t include finishing touches like waterproofing, electricity, and plumbing).

Perhaps the tiny house community has innovators not far behind in a pre-fab customizable version? Please comment here if you know of any…

Silver Bullet hosts November Meet-up for Greater Boston Tiny House Enthusiasts


Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a dozen tiny house enthusiasts from Greater Boston (great group to hook up with) as they toured the tiny house/classroom and played 3 of the “Silver Bullet Games”. And oh yes, we had some winners!

Such a lovely engaging group asked some really great questions over a myriad of refreshments. Fun was had by all.


Making Art/Furniture/Fashion from your tiny house waste-stream!

There is very little waste at the Silver Bullet Tiny House build. The little that remains was recycled and reclaimed, up cycled and repurposed, a few examples here:

• Free horticulture palettes that stored building supplies all winter were repurposed for an outside vermicomposting shed to reclaim 60% of our organic waste (the other 40% goes into another composting pile):


• NYTimes newspapers and bottled water containers left by workshop attendees were made into creative fashions:

Repurposed lumber scraps and found lumber used for basic construction workbench:

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•Repurposed, repaired, reclaimed, recycled found objects from yard sales or free from my local UHaul “free cycle” area; see separate links for the stackable stools, the bar stool, gift boxes, and tray.

• More fashions made of rain screen, cedar breather and corrugated steel will be posted after the fashion show!!

North Shore Artists Advance Sustainability Through Fashion

Please come!!!

On October 25th you can purchase a gown, accessory, travel package, gift certificates to your favorite local vendors; have great food, meet new friends–a good time seeing some fabulous “up cycled/repurposed” fashions in this show and help raise funds for longwayhome.org (They build sustainably designed schools). (The gown on the far right is one of my designs).Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 5.33.28 PM

Autumn Update

Social Media Explained

Hi everyone! Been wicked busy building, speaking, writing, gardening, preserving, teaching and learning!  I have a confession to make. Due to lack of time, and digital social media savvy, I prefer to DO rather than BROADCAST.

So, the blog entries I wrote late at night all summer and fall while falling asleep to exhaustion just never got posted because they needed a digital component (my videos, pics) that I did not know how to edit or post until my 1st Apple iMovie tutorial this week!

I am determined to get all ten entries with visuals posted before Halloween!

The blog dates are based on occurrence and I’ve listed the Title’s Below for your reference. Links will be updated as they are posted:

5/29/2014      Basic Construction Worktable

6/1/2014        A Tiny House that Breathes

6/4/2014        The Inner Envelope

6/8/2014        Black Gold Vermicomposting

6/24/2014      Resource Dieting

7/7/2014        Biomimicry in Tiny House Roofing

9/1/2014        Another reclaimed stool, a cigar box and a tray

10/9/2014      The Silver Bullet vs. The Golden Hammer

10/11/2014     Making Art/Furniture/Fashion from your tiny house waste-stream

10/29/2014    The Silver Bullet Moves

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The Silver Bullet vs. The Golden Hammer

At tiny house workshops and festivals I am often asked why I named the tiny house I have been building for the last year, the “Silver Bullet”. Three reasons:

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“The phrase typically appears with an expectation that some new technological development or practice will easily cure a major prevailing problem.” There is no one “Silver Bullet” for the world’s climate change crisis or its diminishing resources. However, empowering people with appropriate techniques, skills and technologies to live healthier, more economic and sustainably responsible lives compatible with nature and the planet’s resources is the basis for the Silver Bullet Project.

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“The concept known as the law of the instrumentMaslow’s hammerGavel or a golden hammer[a] is an over-reliance on a familiar tool; as Abraham Maslow said in 1966, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”[1] “Overuse of one tool for all purposes” directly correlates with America’s reliance on debt for capitalism and consumerism or fossil fuel dependance for decades when other clean energy solutions were available. (not to mention the selective confirmation bias of a certain political party regarding climate change).

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Yeah, its true, I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and spent many Minnesota winters either skiing or watching TV shows whose characters are highly responsible for having built my character, personal integrity and moral compass. I personal identified with the non-violent morality of Paladin in Have Gun/Will Travel, the moral codes and partnership between Tonto and the Lone Ranger, who used his silver bullets (and his horse “Silver” to dispense justice) and of course, Star Trek, which introduced me via sic-fi metaphor to political and social issues of the 60’s and 70’s. (I met my favorites: Clayton Moore, Jay Silverheels, Leonard Nimoy and William Boyd back in the day)


*You can read more about what I think of the American Dream here, how I began my in deeper commitment to an even more sustainable life here, or my recent post on ethical sourcing and consumerism here.

Another reclaimed stool, a cigar box and a tray

I left a gorgeous glass table and some chairs (too heavy for my tiny house) at my local Uhaul “recycling area”. While there I picked up a free cigar box, a tray and a swivel stool that needed some love and attention. I took some leftover wooden “Ball legs” from a commissioned series of large art screens and went to work. (Another Uhaul stool project)

StoolRepuposingI took a couple of wooden scraps, ripped, whittled and sanded two new legs for the ones missing from the chair, oiled and cleaned the swivel mechanism, sanded the chair and painted it.

Uhaul Stool Fix

And took my new stool for a spin! They don’t make them like they used to! This chair is wicked substantial and will work great for my tiny house kitchen chores.

Did the same with the tray (for tiny house parties) and cigar box (which holds my personally harvested non-GMO heirloom garden seeds).

What do you think?


Balance Sponsors Reclamation Artist and Tiny House Builder, Vera Struck, at Love Yoga Festival

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Australian flower essence water company, Balance, sponsors international artist, Vera Struck, in a challenge to recycle, repurpose and reclaim their water bottles into fashionable wearable art and distinct art objects.

Join her at the Balance booth and watch her make wearable art. Struck’s exquisite art objects will be available for sale at the first Love Yoga weekend festival at Aselton Park, overlooking Lewis Bay in Hyannis. You can also participate in an interactive art sculpture as you enjoy the festival!

For more information and tickets, click here.

Top 5 Sustainable 2014 Summer Sizzles

1. Finishing installation of my tiny house metal roof panels and ridge beam on a hot summer’s afternoon.

2. Roasting fresh organic fingerling eggplants, baby red peppers and green roma tomatoes over Arugula in a solar oven (all from our organic garden) for our tiny house workshop luncheon last weekend.

3. Nurturing and inspiring underprivileged young high school women to make reclamation art and fashion by repurposing discarded trash, and found objects destined for landfills into wearable treasures.

4. Repairing, selling, and gifting all my remaining household goods in preparation for moving into the Silver Bullet tiny house/classroom on wheels.

5. Having our workshop attendees sizzle’s quenched by a tasty sampling challenge between a local winery and a friend’s local brewery. (Riverwalk won!)


**So busy building, teaching, organic gardening, taking videos and pics, I apologize for not posting regularly. As soon as I learn iMovie, I’ll get all 7 postings up; hopefully, before long!

Biomimicry in Tiny House Roofing?

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What is biomimicry in construction design and planning? You can find some examples of biomimetic architecture here.

Traditional solutions like plywood, roofing felt, and shingles is basic residential roofing, right? I grew up in, purchased and lived most of my life in homes built like this without realizing how toxic those materials can be to human health and how little their manufactured design prevents rotting, mold, airflow and longevity of the life of the resource/product. And that’s not even thinking of how to recycle, reuse or repurpose those resources!

For my tiny house/classroom build, I chose to use healthier alternatives while applying biomimetic principles by creating a traditional looking structure as close to mimicking our integumentary and skeletal systems as possible. After all, our bodies are incredible human machines! And if we treat them right, they are quite sustainable!

I choose innovative and well designed products AND manufacturers that embody sustainable practices in their product’s manufacturing and/or their management/operating practices.

I designed the Silver Bullet’s “envelope” to imitate nature with great “bones” (advanced framing) and great “skin and hair” to be waterproof, regulate temperature, and circulate air to dry itself  (or should I say Zip panels by Huber and Homeslicker Rainscreen or CedarBreather by Benjamin Obdyke).

This material comes in about a  62′ long roll, 39″ wide and is very easy to install, especially for a novice builder like me. And the manufacturer was helpful in explaining to me how to install their product for my customized purposes.

CedarBreather is a nylon mesh type matrix that has repeated mesh 3D cupcake forms across its surface. This 1/4″ compressed layer provides cushioning, eliminates moisture, prevents cupping, rotting, and is fire resistant. Ideal for the common issues that normally plague all tiny-housers.

Below you can see the layers I built. The Zip board over the rafters, the Cedarbreather over that, then the corrugated steel panels. CedarBreather allows controlled airflow over the roof deck between the ridge beam, baffled rafters and vented eave louvres.

Another tiny house construction project completed by an amateur successfully! Yay! And this means the sound of rain on the roof will be a little softer as I fall asleep looking at the stars in one of my lofts. And the last thing on my mind will be the effects of moisture on my tiny house structure!




*Check out a similar ventilated underlayment, Homeslicker Rainscreen, I installed on my walls here.

2nd Silver Bullet Tiny House Sustainable Swap Social!

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(Photograph Credit: Cynthia Staats)

Silver Bullet Tiny House Sustainable Swap Social Weekend


July 19 – July 20, Newbury, Ma., Saturday 9AM – Sunday 6PM


You are invited to participate in a tiny house social opportunity with artists, artisans, tiny house enthusiasts and builders, a local organic chef, local organic wines, and 12 other participants.