Relaxshax's Blog


How to protect your tiny house when you’re away- cabin security….
June 27, 2012, 8:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

     There are many approaches, from motion detecting cameras, to pungee-stick pits (no, please don’t…), but here is one of the simplest approaches, and one that works very well, and is EASY to construct. Lets face it, we’ve all heard of horror stories where off grid homes, when left for weeks on end, or even a day or two, are turned into underage party dens, targets for theft, or are just plain vandalized for no reason- and its a nightmare many of us at least think, if not worry, about. SO….give this video a quick whirl, and you’ll then have one more protective approach in your arsenal. And if this works, hell, a few bear snares ought to do the trick! Again, kidding…kidding…..

When it comes to your hard-earned/hard-built tiny cabin, camp, or home, this idea can’t hurt!

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

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A Tiny, White, Historical Cobbler House in Massachusetts
June 27, 2012, 10:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

      Here’s another quick photo set that goes to show that there just may be some really cool tiny houses or cabins, heck, architectural goodness and history, right in your own little town. This is actually an old historic Cobbler’s Shop/Shed/Work building in Stoughton, MA- part of the Mary Baker Eddy Historical House complex- built in 1840 (originally for the Wentworth family). Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science Faith, and it was in this lot/home (the main home) that she wrote what many consider her first major work/book “The Science Of Man”. You can visit this site and walk around for free, or even go inside by appointment.

Who woulda thunk it? Right in my own backyard….

These photos that I am continually sharing are all part of many, many, many new shoots for content in what will be an eventual follow-up to my tiny house/small shelter design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks”– which you can check out below….

All photos by Derek “Deek” Diedricksen


Tinier solar lights/lighting for your off-grid or tiny house
June 26, 2012, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
MINI SOLAR LIGHTS, KEROSENE LANTERNS, GAS LIGHTS, and weighing your options for off-grid use…. 
“Take me to your leader….”
A Review Of The Ikea “Sunnan” Light….
The thing DOES kind of look robot/alien-like, doesn’t it?
     This, is the newish series of small and compact solar lighting from Ikea, a store I seem to frequent a heck of alot, as, well, there’s one in my town. I decided to give this solar light of theirs, the “Sunnan”, a try, as I liked the look of it, and I’m a sucker for the color orange. This little light also comes in white, red, black, blue, yellow, and so on. With my “Tiny House Summer Camp” on the horizon in Vermont (no power out there) I thought it’d be neat to try out some new lighting products too- aside from the trusty old Coleman gas lanterns, which have served me well for almost twenty years (there’s a link to those below too).
     Well, overall, without getting technical, I had the chance to test it out quite a bit while camping in an off-grid tiny cabin in Massachusetts with my family the other week, and I have to say, all in all, I’m pretty pleased. Here’s the thing though, and what you’ll find when reading the reviews in the link below; The solar cell (which is removable), when plugged back in, has to be set just right, or the light won’t turn on. It took me a few frustrating tries to plug and angle it in the proper way, but once I got the hang of it, I was pretty amazed at how bright the emitted light is, and it was easy to operate from there on out. So, the good: The light is easily bright enough to read by, and even to check for deer ticks by, which we used it for every night with our kids at the camp. The other plus is that for each light sold, Ikea ships one to a third world country so that students in homes without power will be able to read books and study at night. I like the idea. I also like the modern look and rugged build of this light, and the neck is flexible for ease-of-positioning as well, which comes in handy.
The bad: On a full charge the light is only said to last 3 hours, and it takes 11 hours of very decent sun to fully charge this unit. That said, it seemed that I was getting a long run out of each charge, and only when charging it for 6-8 hours in passing sun, and again, the light given off is pretty bright for such a small lens/l..e.d. array.

The cabin where my family stayed and where I tested out this light for a week….

 All in all I’m pleased, but I just wish they built in a simple, recessed wall mount, as something like this would be perfect to wall hang, near a source of natural light, in a tiny house or cabin- a push-button wall light.

Ikea sells these for about $20- online, they’re more, but if there’s no Ikea near you, there’s little else you can do. 
Here’s some links so you can check out more info, reviews, and all that….

Also, plain ole kerosene/oil lanterns have always worked well for me too, they’re easy to used, I love the old fashioned look of them, they’re extremely affordable, and are built so simply, that little can usually go wrong with them. They do, however, no give off as much light as the Coleman gas lanterns (especially the dual mantle ones), or the Ikea Sunnan. On a full tank though, they do last a long time- up to eight hours in some cases. 

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen


Holy Crap!? A tiny house/cabin with walls and windows made of ICE??
June 25, 2012, 10:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

 LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these photos! The idea is not so practical, but man oh man is this a cool little Norwegian fishing hut/ice fishing house. This one comes from the Norwegian architecture and design firm, Gartnerfuglen Arkitekter- try saying that ten times fast! Its call “The Unavailability Mobile Ice Fishing Hut” and its windows are simply chicken wire in wooden frames, where water is later filled in these forms, and frozen in place to create window panes. It takes two to assemble, as the photos show.

Again, it really doesn’t make much practical sense (why not just use regular light weight windows?), but I love the daring and wild nature of the whole thing. Its a cool looking little greenhouse-esque cabin too.

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



Modern Ice Fishing Shacks For Rent (Tiny House Possibilities!) in North Dakota
June 25, 2012, 9:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Check out these cool little wheeled cabins….and you can rent them! I wish they had some interior shots though!

Some hate the look, but here’s an example of how metal roofing can effectively (and quickly/cheaply) be used for siding on a cabin, tiny house, or any dwelling at all.

These are in Eastern South Dakota around the Lake Thompson, Madison and Watertown areas, and here’s what the website mentions….

  • Ice fishing shacks are 8 by 20
  • Each fish house has ten holes
  • One wall heater per house
  • Battery hookup for lights in each
  • Four beds in each fish house
  • Easy set up
  • Each wheel cranks up individually including the hitch. 
  • You should bring 1 additional small heater for the back of the fishing shack. Also I’d suggest a lantern to save on your battery.

    Price is $100.00 a day.

    To book in advance, $50.00 deposit is required. Last minute cancellations, no refund.

    Home phone number. 605-627-5709. Cell number. 605-691-4133.

    Call me at the above numbers to get more information.

    There are also smaller fishing shacks or shanties available for rent. Price on the smaller ice fishing houses is $50.00 per day. 



  • Tiny House Building in Brooklyn on The History Channel
    June 24, 2012, 6:19 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized
     Tiny Houses on The History Channel- with the ESPN hosts/duo The Sklar Brothers, and us at Relaxshacks.com
    Note: The Cabin we built in this episode is for sale…… via www.tinyhouselistings.com– its called “The All Eights Micro-Cabin”– below is a side video I shot on it too, while on set for this brand new tv show….
    If the cabin doesn’t sell, I’ve been contemplating another one or two day tiny house building workshop in MA (a backyard workshop like last year), where we re-assemble this cabin, but tweak, and improve upon it- with some other building as well…..if you might be into this (perhaps in the late fall)- kidcedar at gmail dot com….
    Anyway….

    Earlier this week the “Livin’ Large” episode of the new show “The United STATS of America” (hosted by the comedic twins Jason and Randy Sklar) finally aired. This episode, which I was a part of, was filmed back in October in a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, where I was asked (with zero notice) to pitch, design, pre-build, then pack, haul (from Boston), drop-off, and assemble a tiny guest house-like structure, in all of three days (two of which I was watching both of my kids, to further complicate things). Well….we got ‘er done, and the episode, and the show, is/are pretty great.

    A link to the entire episode is below, if you’d like to check it out. The tiny house we built, myself, Dustin Diedricksen, and repeat collaborator/hired gun, Steve “Bulldoze” Sparaco, all start showing up in the 36 minute mark too. The whole episode is pretty damn interesting though- all on the American obsession with space, and “more, more, more!”.

    CHECK OUT THE FULL EPISODE HERE….
     http://www.history.com/shows/united-stats-of-america/videos/united-stats-of-america-livin-large

    And the old school, undercover, diy, lo-fi video we shot just after completing this cabin….

    -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen



    Woven Willow Exo-Skeleton Construction For Micro Shelters/Domes…
    June 21, 2012, 9:22 pm
    Filed under: Uncategorized

    Cross Ventilation is important! lol- This photo was just appealing to me in a cross-breeze manner, as today is day #2 here in MA where it was just around 100 degrees out. Yeowch! -and it isn’t a dry heat….

    Anyhow, something to consider here, even if it just is whimsical…..hear me out….

        When its outgrown its use, there’s no dismantling, and no dump runs needed- a garden shelter like this would simply rot and return to the earth. That could also be considered its downside. It’d obviously make for a great kids fort. I have a similar plan/idea called “The Hunchback’s Hovel” in my tiny housing/shelter book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks”.
          Whatever the case, I love this idea, and its something I’d like to try at some point. Its so simple too- just build a base, drill holes around the perimeter, stick the long branch lengths into the holes and tie them/bring them together at a peak, and then weave in the walls.
         I suppose you could also cover this with chicken wire layers, or hardware cloth, and then a few coats of ferrocement to make it a mini concrete dome home…..cob and mud building and wattle and daub techniques could also be combined with this skeletal approach too….

    Just some ideas, and I thought it was a fun photo…..

    -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen