An eclectic mix of reclaimed and high-end materials, Lavaggi anticipates an August move-in and, final cost of $25,000. Built in a factory space at Sun Dog Solar in Chatham, winter’s big project was a handmade front door. Bed’s a futon loft with two dormer windows above the kitchen. Seven feet long, the kitchen has pocket counter space for food preparation and a quiet, energy-efficient Nova Kool refrigerator. Plans call for a folding dining/work table and pull-down guest bed. Propane fuels the heating and cooking. Although electrically solar powered, a computer and stereo are backed up by a 12-volt battery bank.
“The rubber won’t really meet the road until after I’ve lived in it for a year,” Lavaggi admits. “But choosing to live in a tiny house shapes me into letting go of certain habits.” Less stuff also means more time to volunteer; Lavaggi previously worked with the developmentally disabled.
The allure of green simplicity and no clutter has sprouted a network of tiny-house enthusiasts. Environmentalists laud the minimal demands on resources and land. Uses range from freestanding homes for elderly parents to weekend retreats or offices. Less costly than a practical new car, they’re gentle and inexpensive to maintain. One must: an “anything” drawer or basket for order.
Lavaggi’s house sits on a $2,000 trailer, easily moved since it’s off the grid, with a self-composting toilet. But the son of a builder and a fabric artist (his mother owns Laughing Bear Batik in Saugerties) won’t use his home like an RV. “I’d like to live on a farm in the Northeast and barter farm labor for rent,” says Lavaggi. He’s already had offers.
And as for laundry? “Well, I’m hoping for proximity to a larger house,” he says. “Otherwise it’s the laundromat.”
Aldo Lavaggi’s blog www.goldthreadtinyhouse.blogspot.com
Yes Wee Cabins (www.yesweecabins.com), based in Vermont, sells a finished eight-by-eight-foot solar cabin for $36,000. Specs include a bathroom with 32” shower, double kitchen sink, instant hot water, clapboard exterior, and metal roof.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company (www.tumbleweedhouses.com), based in California, markets plans, kits, and delivered homes.
m-ch (www.microcompacthome.com) is German architecture professor Richard Horden small-dwelling ode to aviation design and Japanese tea houses. The lightweight 85-foot aluminum cube costs about $53,200 delivered.