Before we set sail a quick point of order. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail in this update about the chronic illness I've been fighting for a while now, but one of the more challenging aspects of my life right now is trying to balance honesty with decorum when choosing what to share. Propriety ends up winning out most of the time, because the truth is not only deeply depressing, it's also not helpful to focus on it. An additional filter of invisibility is added by the lens of media where I string together my most functional moments into a healthy looking YouTube/Instagram version of myself which inevitably results in a ton of emails and comments from well meaning people who say things like "It's great to see you doing so well and looking so healthy". That's harder to hear when you've been as sick as I have for as long as I've been. It's like being in a wheelchair and having people congratulate you for how well your legs are working. If you want to know more about what's going on with my health issues, I've created a separate page here called What's up with Brian's health?. In the meantime, if we could keep the "glad you're feeling better" emails to a minimum, it helps me to cope better. Thanks!
An important note on media sharing before we get started, updates like this one are getting increasingly large and difficult to keep up with, so I want to encourage you to follow me on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook where it's easier to post photos and videos as I work — sharing design ideas, building tips, and everything else that's going on in the Cape Falcon universe. We are @capefalconbuilds on Instagram, Cape Falcon Kayak on Facebook and Cape Falcon Kayak on Youtube.
Two zillion influencer-driven posts on social media certainly lend that impression, but having actually lived like this for half my life, I'm skeptical. There are dozens of reasons why tiny houses don't make a lot of sense, but there's also a lot to be said for a home that can potentially consume much less energy and can be physically moved in a world where our lifestyles will need to be increasingly flexible to adapt to changing environmental and economic conditions.
So it was with that in mind that we created Actually Tiny, a little house that challenges logic by being even smaller that most tiny houses, but feels a lot bigger inside. An open floor plan, slightly lower counters, white walls, minimal overhead cabinetry, and an overall low aspect ratio creates a peaceful sense of space. Meticulous insulation, air sealing, carefully placed windows, advanced framing in the envelope, passive solar design features, and a high thermal mass interior all come together to create a surprisingly warm structure for how thin the walls are. I also incorporated a hybrid wood-fired/solar passive thermosiphon hot water heating system which works like a charm. We installed smart monitoring of climate control and energy usage so we can can measure variables like heat recovery and improve the design with actual data rather than opinions. A generous, translucent porch roof provides additional space but folds down to protect the French doors and windows during transport. The outdoor shower can be folded up as well. Liz, I, and Milo the cat are living in it full time and even with my background I'm amazed that it doesn't feel crowded but if it every does, we designed the interior so it can be easily dissasembled and removed to make this into an office or studio!
What we have up now is just the beginning, we should have a full video walkthroughs explaining the house and its features up in a few months, and many future videos covering all aspects of small space design, including a full plan set by the end of the year that, just like my kayaks, will cover a variety of sizes and adaptations for different user and different climate zones. I personally envision this as a seed structure for my next small homestead, but I also think a lower budget version of something like this would make an excellent transitional housing, or even a backyard apartment for extended families looking for options to keep loved ones close.
So here we arrive at the opposite shore of this update. For those of you still with me I will carry on the tradition of sharing my favorite photos with all of the rich texture that life had to offer in the last year. Despite being forced to make this journey in a vehicle that barely runs, I still feel privileged for the views along the way. Until next time...