BRATTLEBORO Vt. – Recently Downtown Brattleboro hosted its first Tiny House Festival, which drew substantial interest.
Tiny houses have begun to gain momentum in Vermont, and the festival, for its first year, exceeded expectations for the amount of people that came to view and learn about tiny house living.
Jason and Blair, who did not give last names, owners of a 1954 Ford Wayne bus that they converted into a pull behind trailer, have travelled to 25 states and spent many nights on top of their star-gazing deck. They found the bus in a salvage yard without an engine and within two months they couple had moved out of their 2500 square-foot loft and into 100 square-foot mobile home.
Besides the star-gazing deck with fold-up ladder, the wood inside is reclaimed from building sites and from trees damaged in the 2014 Colorado forest fire, and the rock was sourced from Colorado river beds. The bus is heated by a pot belly stove from the 1800s and keeps the space heated to a warm 85 degrees.
In limited space, it is important every inch is used practically, the two said. Their dining table during the day later converts into a queen-sized bed.
The couple has plans to do a revamp this year, and have moved into a 400 square-foot tiny house in order to begin the renovations.
To anyone thinking of building a tiny house, Jason’s one tip was: “When building, don’t make things permanent, but adjustable.”
Their adventure and the renovation progress on Wayne can be followed on an Instagram account: @tinybusbigadventure.
Among the six tiny houses available for viewing, the smallest was the 97 square-foot Optimal Traveling Independent Space, aka OTIS. The house was designed and constructed by Green Mountain College students.
The concept was derived from survey responses that wanted an affordable and mobile place to live. The teardrop design was inspired by the turtle’s shell, giving the house good aerodynamics when being pulled on the road, and the unique windows were inspired by dragonfly wings.
The cost to build it was $3,500 and plenty of volunteer hours. OTIS has a bed, an extra small stove for heating and cooking, and a composting toilet.
The college plans to create an OTIS 2.0 that has a shower, better air circulation and camper jacks so that the trailer can be removed and utilized.
Also at the festival were vendors giving information on septic systems, canvas rugs, small house foundations, and electric bicycles.
Vbike Solutions, specializing in battery-powered cargo bicycles, had a goal to get more Vermonters outside, but the hills and distance to travel to work presented a challenge. Their answer was to add a lithium-ion battery to a bike designed to carry cargo or children.
The power of the battery can last anywhere between 25 to 40 miles depending on whether the rider carries cargo. The battery reaches full charge in 5 hours.
Currently there are 20 cargo bikes in use in Brattleboro, with a plan to increase to 60 bikes next year.
There is state legislation being drafted for a set maximum speed of 28 mph, with an electric motor limit of 1,000 watts.
To learn more about this organization and their “mountain bike on steroids” visit www.vbikesolutions.org
The Tiny House Festival had plenty of interest, and even though it was free to view the houses, people said it was worth it to pay for a ticket to be able to listen to the educational talks.
Many said they will be looking forward to the Tiny House Festival’s second year.