The main idea behind the house design was to create a mini farmhouse — a comfy, utilitarian space with tons of natural light.
When I met my husband, I was on track to open a hostel in Portland, Maine. I put my plans on hold to start a farm, family and build our life in Durham, Maine (30 minutes north). Eight years later, my dreams of hosting people were ready to be realized.
We built our farmhouse, and we thought we could build a tiny house to host guests on our farm. We’d seen them around and felt the hype and excitement about them sweeping the nation. We decided to buy our Crow’s Nest Tiny House after ripping an old camper down to the frame and getting cold feet about a winter build and following all the building codes not yet accepted by our town but accepted at the state level.
Tiny Homes of Maine did a great job working with us on the design. I knew I wanted a shed roof and a smallish footprint. They had a window configuration in another model that I asked to be added to the Crow’s Nest. The floorplan is one of their standard layouts and works beautifully. Many of my guests comment that the 42” wide shower is larger than what they’ve got at home! The galley kitchen is small but remarkably serviceable. The two-burner stovetop is a bit small for my cooking practices but has worked quite well for guests. My dad custom-built a poplar convertible couch/full-size bed frame, and I had a full-size foam mattress expertly covered with a heavy-duty Sunbrella fabric by my friend and expert seamstress: Kate Law of Lawless Designs.
Our tiny house was built pretty fast. The contract was signed in January 2019, and the Crow’s Nest delivered to the farm in March 2019. I painted out the interior while waiting for it to be warm enough for site prep and exterior painting. The exterior has pine clapboards, and while I love the look, the long grain of the wood does not take kindly to being cut small to shingle between the windows and doors. We’ve replaced, re-glued, and finally nailed them in place to keep them from popping. We moved the Crow’s Nest into place early June 2019 and hosted our first guests in the Crow’s Nest in late June 2019. Is it ever done? I’m still working on improvements: a custom sink for the bathroom, a patio/grill area and outside lights, and more landscaping for 2020 and dreaming of switching from my C-Head composting toilet over to a flushing toilet, probably not until 2023.
The town of Durham, Maine adopted guidelines for allowing Tiny Homes in the community: cement pad/foundation, mobile home rated tie downs & a professionally designed septic plan.
In hindsight, if I’d known I’d have to put in as extensive a leach field system, I would have opted for a flush toilet and added a tank to the septic design.
Insurance sees the Crow’s Nest as a mobile home and requires skirting.
Our tiny house shell is built from new materials. The interior and decorations are mostly repurposed with the exception of the dish rack and the couch/bed.
The Crow’s Nest is a tiny house on wheels. It’s on an 8’ x 24’ trailer and has a shed roof, 11 windows, a skylight egress, and a full glass door. So much light comes into the space, and it’s oriented to maximize solar gain as well as have a lovely unobstructed view over our front farm field. There is one sleeping loft with a queen mattress and a custom-built couch that converted to a full-size bed on the main floor. In the bathroom (under the loft) there’s a large shower (32” x 42”) and a C-head composting toilet, a pocket door closes and you’re in the galley kitchen, walnut countertops, an under-counter fridge/freezer, and full-size sink. All appliances run on electric: there’s a 20-gallon electric water heater for plenty of hot water and a heat pump for heating and cooling. The electric panel runs on a 110 service and is hardwired into our farm electricity. We built a 12’ x 10’ porch and had hardscape granite slabs and steps put in, these features really up the already stunning exterior features of our tiny house.
The unique features in our tiny house is interior design. With lots of personalized modern, mixed with homey touches, tons of windows, and over-the-top exterior spaces and the farm views and experience is pretty good, too.
Some of the space-saving features that we used are – under counter fridge, couch/bed combo, shelf high up on end wall for extra gear, narrow shelves to add utility without crowding.
The overall cost of our tiny house was $60,000. It’s located on our farm, Old Crow Ranch in Durham, Maine, as an Airbnb farm stay. The additional cost of having our tiny house in this location is $500 – yearly insurance (added to our farm policy). And I have yet to see what the tax hike will be.
If you are interested in going tiny first get some ideas of where you can/will park it before you go for it. It’s what I witness people being most frustrated about. Is there anything I’d change if I could start over? I would put in a flushing toilet. The C- Head is fine, but I’d rather not be dealing with a composting toilet.
House and trailer is 8’ x 24’. It’s a bumper pull hitch. It makes a 166 sq.ft. + 50 sq.ft. loft with a shed roof. I’m so in love with our Crow’s Nest Tiny House. I love sharing this space, the experience of living tiny and our farm with the world.
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