Relaxshax's Blog


Bizarre n’ Funky (and "Skunky") outhouses #3- TEN of the WORLD’s most unusual models….(and related books)
August 31, 2011, 6:39 pm
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      TEN OF THE WEIRDEST, MOST-UNIQUE, BIZARRE OUTHOUSES YOU’LL EVER SEE!

     As some of you know, I’m fascinated with outhouses, especially unique ones, and own, and have read several books on the subject (some you can check out below). I also do own my own outhouse at my Vermont Camp/Cabin in the Northeast Kingdom. Its one, since our incessant porcupine attacks (no lie) that we’ve dubbed “The Bomb Shelter” after being forced to cover the entire structure in 2nd hand, corrugated metal. She ain’t purty, but she does the job. If I had to do it over though, especially as its 500 feet or so down a trail in the absolute middle of the woods, I’d add a huge window to one side, for more natural light, and well, a view.

 Anyway, that said, YES, we have another new bizarre outhouse design that is in the NEW EDITION of “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” (order below) under the title “Here’s an outhouse you SHOULD tip over”- its a transforming, self-storing, multi-functional model, AND here are are few other cool outhouses I thought you might enjoy- afterall, they ARE the smallest of houses.

This one is computer-faked, I believe, but its still pretty damn cool (until the tide comes in!)
Um…yeah….I think I’ll stick with the bottled water in Kenya….
Any outhouse that winks at me is immediately classified as “creepy”
Dude, I TOLD you to take it easy on the Mexican food!
Yeah, if I were Amy Winehouse (R.I.P.) I wouldn’t have been so thrilled with my publicist for this stunt. The Amy Winehouse “Craphouse”…..
Desert outhouses with faces- Burningman Festival? I have no idea how you get inside, as the opening, or any hinge set-up doesn’t seem so apparent. 
An old two-decker- just don’t get caught down below when the top is occupied! These were actually often used in deep snow country, and the top stall would have a seperate shoot that went behind the wall of the one-holer down below.
This one, rumor has it, is for scuba divers and boaters….

 As for books- “Nature Calls” By Dottie Booth (it HAS to be a fake name- too close to “Potty Booth”)- a shortish novelty book (packed with history, a sense of humor, and a “load” of great photos) is one I’d recommend the most, as well as “The Vanishing American Outhouse”- which I still flip through now and again (and have owned it for years and years). BOTH books have been very popular and have sold through many printings, so I’m not the only one who has enjoyed these.

And again, the new, expanded edition of my book also touches on the subject with plans for a composting toilet, a tale involving my own outhouse, AND new design- that aforementioned TRANSFORMING, dual-purpose outhouse- that’s all I’ll say! The book is out on pre-order now for only $11.53 through Amazon.com

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



An At-At Walker Star Wars mini-house/small vacation cabin- AND OUR NEW BOOK COVER….
August 30, 2011, 10:23 am
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Here’s an old sketch I have (a rough of one of the ideas that will be in the new edition of “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks..”- already out on pre-order (and check out the NEW ART COVER down below)!

     Anyway, if you remember the At-At Walkers from “The Empire Strikes Back” I’m sure I had those in mind when I drew this simple rough draft- some dinosaur influences as well (I was obsessed with ’em as a kid- as evidenced by another design in my book “The Fortasaurus”- a fort/micro backwoods cabin.
     I picture (with the pole legs) a structure like this being erected in a marsh or lake setting (where it might not be possible to build other style homes) with a dock-like walkway leading up to its entrance stairs. A cabin/small home like this could actually be built rather affordably- as the most difficult and costly part would be setting the enormous poles (recycled telephone poles- rather easy to obtain) in the ground and in position. You might have to rent a small crane and a large auger machine/truck to do so. The rest of the vacation cabin is a mere bolt-together boxy structure, where you could add in windows wherever you please. Its certainly a do-able, and rather bizarre take on a beach house. 

As for the new cover….here’s what it looks like (with perhaps a few minor tweaks)…..you can pre-order the book down below….thanks!

 The cover shown below is just the old, temporary placeholder cover….and will change soon….
-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



VW bus living- YOUR tiny house/cabin conversion, on the cheap?
August 29, 2011, 7:43 am
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     (First off- MANY of my cabins/things I built are for sale- to fund NEW projects/episodes of “Tiny Yellow House”- CLICK HERE!) 
   
Well, I just spent a chunk of last weekend (aside from preparing for the hurricane) in the New Paltz. NY area for weekend #1 of “The Wolfe’s Den” treehouse installation. While out there, I noticed an inordinate amount of vw buses and campers cruising the back roads- some of them in pristine condition. I even saw a Vanagon for sale- a mere $1200- and as that’s something I’ve wanted to own and convert into micro guest quarters for some time now, I did actually stop to pick through it.
     Anyway, off craigslist, here’s a non-running model for a mere $850 or bo. Now, some of you may be thinking “Just what the heck could you do with a hulking wreck like that, Deek!?”

So here’s what I would do, so as to make this into a very unique vacation camp in the woods (once I had it towed to wherever after hopefully buying it for less than the asking price- which is very feasible- say, $600).

-Repaint it- even if I had to do it the non-pro way and use a glossy house/exterior paint. A REAL paint job would be ideal (costly), but if its just a woods cabin, anything would be an improvement and would help to additionally protect it from the elements. I’d do so after scouring the rust off of the front, of course….

-Position it on blocks, or some sort of platform- those tires aren’t in great shape and won’t hold forever (again, this is for a static cabin, I wouldn’t even bother trying to get something like this to run).

-Tear out ALL the seats and benches as I can assume they’re in bad shape and have been sitting around for ages (You CAN sell these so as to make back some of your purchase price to other vw mini-bus owners and collectors). I’d then bolt in a simple floor frame to level out the contours- and add a layer of light weight, tongue and groove cedar or pine for flooring. Tearing out the front seats would give you MUCH more room for living, sleeping, and hanging out- or you could leave one seat- if you could turn it around and re-install it, as a sort of vehicular lounge chair.

-Level out the dashboard’s top with nice, poly-coated piece of wood for shelving.

-Recoat or paint the roof to prevent leaks and to make it look less awful. If the roof had too many problems, you could bolt on a simple gable frame with corrugated roofing over it, or build it around the van, in a picnic-canopy manner (4 posts and a roof- a structure which you could later screen in).

-Install (safety pending) a tiny cast-iron or sheet metal (thick gauge) tent woodstove- again, assuming I could add some fire walls and do so SAFELY.

– Add a tiny, tiny solar panel to the roof for lighting.

-Build a tiny deck off of the front- and keep in mind if the vehicle were anchored, you could remove the large side door and even build a foyer (or additional living space) off the side of this down the road.

Basically, I’d leave the shell intact for the most part, but remove almost everything- steering wheel too, from the interior so as to give such a small space a more wide-open feel. You could then position a new boxed-frame bed (with MUCH storage underneath), and add system of simple/narrow shelves against one side.
Keep in mind (perhaps you have to leave this one wheels) that as this would be classified as a vehicle or camper in some counties, you might be able to circumvent certain cabin building or zoning restrictions- you’d have to look into that.

And there’s just the inkling of an idea I’ve been wanting to try for some time….

Yes, my book has this in sketch/plan form- but an idea that uses, or can use. almost ANY junky car shell.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



THE KRUNK BUNK video is NOW UP….check it out (a micro/mini sleeping loft/bunk bed) for small houses
August 27, 2011, 8:20 pm
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Here’s a vid we shot on a project I designed for small apartments/lofts and tiny homes/houses with space efficiency and, well, “funkiness” in mind. I’ll spare you with much additional blather as the video pretty much tells all….THIS was one of two structures built in our Relaxshacks.com 2011 Tiny House/Shelter building workshop in Massachusetts…..the OTHER structure will have a video/tour on the way as well- assuming its still standing in my yard in a few days.

Speaking of which, I’m directly in the path of a hurricane, having just come home from spending a chunk of the weekend in New Paltz, NY, near the Catskills, working on assembling “The Wolfe’s Den” treehouse, AND just spent the ENTIRE DAY securing things, micro-cabins, and anything you can think of, in my yard, so I’m exhausted- utterly exhausted, and physically sore/drained.

We also might not have power for awhile, so there MIGHT be an absense in posts the next few days- hopefully not……

And for those coming from the Make Magazine video- my new-edition of “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” can be pre-ordered (damn cheap!) right below. Thanks!

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen


The Krunk Bunk- Fo’ Sale (and other cabins too!)…..Our legless bunkbed/micro-loft set-up…..
August 25, 2011, 8:36 am
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Well, the video tour of this one for Make Magazine is up soon, or is already, depending on when you see this….

Anyway, as I’ve been building so many things for both “Tiny Yellow House” and “Make Magazine”, I really don’t have the room to keep/store them anymore, and for that reason, to any who might be interested, we’re selling a few of the things we’ve built, so as to have a budget to work with for future projects and videos (one of our next builds is DAMN EXPENSIVE in materials), and more so, so my wife won’t kill me!- our small home is starting to look like the old set from Pee Wee’s Playhouse! We’ll also donate a sizeable portion of the proceeds towards a homeless-shelter and/or some kid-related charity- tba.

So- The Krunk Bunk- asking $600 or best offer- ALOT of work and painting went into this one…..interior paintings/light are not included- neither is the futon mattress. You have to pick it up.

ALSO FOR SALE….

“The Blue Crab” mini-boat- $250. Pick up only….

The Fold-Down Fort- TONS of work went into this one….asking $400…

And…. The GottaGiddaWay Micro Cabin….(once I’m done with bringing it to Walden Woods for a speaking engagement, and to an exhibit at the Deerfield, MA fair- Sept 17th/18th…. Asking $1000

Oh yeah- THE GYPSY JUNKER for the NY Times is ALSO for sale- make an offer- I won’t “give” it away though- this one took the longest to build- you’d have to find someway to move it too…$2000

The NEW edition of my book is also out for pre-order for a mere $11.53 too- lots of new stuff, designs, color photos, and more…..

Thanks!
-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

Email is in the left column…or leave your info in the comment board….



The Icosa Project- A Canadian Tiny Pentagonal House/Micro-Cabin
August 24, 2011, 8:47 pm
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A star-plate constructed “penta-pod(?)” as a lefthand addition

The North Saskatchewan River in Canada is the locale for this unique getaway, simply dubbed “The Icosa Project”…..here’s a series of photos showing some of the progress/and inner workings of this very cool vacation cabin/tiny house. I can’t wait to see more of this small home.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



The Whittled Down Caravan- A guest micro cabin/dwelling on wheels at our Relaxshacks.com workshop
August 23, 2011, 9:05 pm
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A few photos here, from our July workshop in Massachusetts where Tristan Chambers and Libby Reinish from Whittleddown.com, who handbuilt this cool, strap/hoop-top caravan, served as guests/demonstrators for our twenty-two attendees. The two reside in Northhampton, and made the trek from Vermont (where the cabin had been residing) to come and spend two nights out on our property. (L to right- Derek Diedricksen, Libby, Tristan).

Libby addressing the group and giving us all some background on the caravans blog-chronicled journey form New Mexico to Massachusetts!
The Galley/Kitchen counter with a more newly-installed sink, and a vintage, single-burner Coleman stove that they plan on setting into the counter at a later time.

The World’s Smallest Septic System? No, its a simple carboy collector for their sink water.
A rare shot of Steve Sherrick from Modern Vintage Productions (He, and Mike Amato are the guys who shoot all my “Tiny Yellow House” videos).

The Whittled Down Caravan is another mobile dwelling/tiny house that’ll be featured in the new edition of my book…