Country Lore: From Potting Shed to Micro-House

A reader describes the transformation of her potting shed into an efficient, affordable micro-house she could live in while doing research.
February/March 2010
http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/potting-shed-micro-house-zmaz10fmzraw.aspx
This potting shed converted fairly easily into a cozy micro-house.


PHOTO: RUTH ROSE

My primary motivation for converting a potting shed into a livable micro-house was to create a private space within a very small house for a research project in synectics (a problem-solving and creative-thinking process).

By reducing my monthly living expenses through minimalist living, I could afford the research materials I needed, such as out-of-print books, computer software upgrades, and office supplies. Minimalist living also allowed me to have less of an impact on the environment. For example, simple plywood flooring with two coats of porch paint eliminated the need for a vacuum cleaner. An ordinary broom makes floor cleaning a snap and there is little noise associated with brooms.

This year, with lumber prices the lowest they’ve been in decades, I decided to add a few feet to the original structure, plus a skylight to allow solar rays to warm the microhouse during the day and for stargazing at night. A sheet of polycarbonate and flashing was an affordable solution for a simple skylight.

There is no insulation in my very small house — at least not in the traditional sense — but Oregon weather isn’t too severe, especially in my neck of the woods. A couple of book-filled cases against the walls do just fine for insulation.

Upgrades to a tiny house aren’t too painful on the pocketbook. The two new vinyl windows cost a total of $11. The small deck cost $2. Garage sale bargains! The door is OSB with bracing, and I used a sheet of polycarbonate for a window.

I have found living in meager surroundings a boon to my research. There is less stress in cozy living, and that allows the creative juices to flow more freely. Less is more in many ways.

Ruth Rose
Eugene, Oregon