This Old Studio Apartment

Before I started this blog, I had no idea how many great tiny house ideas could be found on the This Old House Website. Check out for example this This Old Studio Apartment.

While much larger than a true tiny house, this studio shows some ingenious adaptations and definitely some ideas for a tiny house. I know most tiny housers are about living simply, not having clutter, etc, but one of the things I love about this apartment is how much stuff this guy has crammed into it. Check out these magazine racks, below, for example.

He also made this shelf unit that wraps around a loft space.

Here is the inside of the loft:

I love the little dresser and how he incorporated Antique furniture.

I also love how he crams crazy stuff everywhere, like his coffee table has a wine rack underneath, his TV stand is a cat house, his filing cabinets are near the kitchen. Yet, somehow it seems to work for him.

I love it. Because I’m Cap’n Delusional.

This Captain loves a galley kitchen

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Hey y’all. I’m sorry, but I love galley kitchens. In my opinion they are the most efficient kitchen design. My love of galley kitchens is going to get very personal, but first let me tempt you with some food for the eyes, since this is foodweek.

Click the image to look at ten beautiful galley kitchens from Apartment Therapy

For those unfamiliar with the term, a galley kitchen is a long, narrow kitchen shape where the workspaces and appliances hug the walls. What I love most about the design is how easy it is to go from workspace to workspace. You can check something on the stove and then, by spinning around, chop something on a cutting board, or wash something in the sink. I find that many industrial and professional kitchens are designed around the galley model and I think this speaks to it’s efficiency.

My most favoritest kitchen that I ever cooked in was a galley kitchen, and I seamlessly prepped huge dinners from that little kitchen. My current kitchen and other kitchens I have known are two, three, four times as large, and ten, twelve, fourteen times as frustrating.

Below is the kitchen I loved.

the kitchen i loved

This is my current kitchen, which I hate.

Note how the workable spaces of my favorite kitchen and my current kitchen are about the same, yet (you will have to trust be because I didn’t really draw to scale) my current kitchen is two or three times the size of the galley kitchen I loved and lost.

I would also like to note that my galley kitchen had a gas stove and my current kitchen has an electric and I do prefer gas. Electric stoves are evil and dangerous.

I realize that even the smallest of these galley kitchens, and my favorite kitchen ever, are almost as big as a classic tiny house, such as those created by Tumbleweed Houses. However, I still have faith (and delusions), that a tiny house could be designed with a galley-style kitchen. I mean, after all, aren’t galley kitchens named for their resemblance of kitchens on boats? And don’t boats tend to be models for living in tiny spaces? And doesn’t my love of tiny houses stem from my deep-seated childhood dreams of living in a houseboat with my sister?!

Look how much stuff was crammed into this galley on an Airbus!

I really like this galley kitchen design, below, and how it also makes a transition to the next room using a small eating area. I think it might be a good starting place for creating a tiny-house design built around a galley-style kitchen.

Here is a floor-plan of the kitchen. Note how it looks much larger than it is (the kitchen is 87 sq ft).

Keep your kitchens ship-shaped!

Cap’n Delusional

Four kitchen multi-taskers I love

Okay. It is clear I am getting cranky. I find that this often happens when I don’t get enough food. Since I’m spending a lot of time criticizing, I will give four space-saving tool-tips, one for each mean review I gave of the literature on food in tiny houses. These are some of my favorite multi-function kitchen items. In general, you can assume that if I say an item can be used in the place of other item I mean that in a tiny kitchen you can cut that other BS. Please note also that I, like Julia Child, am a fan of peg-board.

1. You can use cast-iron skillets in the oven and on the stove-top. I use mine for baking bread and pizza, and sometimes even cookies and bread. I also use it in place of a tofu press before frying tofu.  They are pretty enough to put on the dining room table (using a trivet of course). They are handy as weapons. In a fight between a non-stick skillet and a cast-iron skillet, the cast-iron skillet will clearly win because it is heavier, lives longer and is more attractive.

2. Flat graters are genius and those round, boxy and triangular graters are stupid. However it must be said that many three-dimensional graters do look really cool which is why they should be reformed as shades for light fixtures, like this cool one my sister made…but I digress. Flat graters store in a small space because they are flat, and can be easily hung on the wall or against a magnetic knife strip. Most geniusly, they are very effective for straining pasta. If you want to completely remove colanders from your life, you could just put anything needing washing into a bowl and then strain it with the flat grater. Colanders also make interesting lamp shades.

3. Glass jars are beautiful and handy for storage. They can also be used as drinking glasses and for measuring liquids (many come with measurements marked on the side), so you can toss out your measuring cups. They range from cheap to free, depending on whether you buy them new or choose to reuse them.

4. Have one beautiful ceramic pie plate. These are beautiful and ceramic which means you can use them to bring a side dish to a Thanksgiving dinner and they will look good. Also if you get one with deep sides they are great for making frittatas, souffles, lasagnas and other casseroles. You can also use them for cake-making or bread baking. Also they are good for pies.

Yours ever,

Cap’n Delusional

Survey of the literature on food in tiny houses

Ok, y’all.

Today, I did a little looksee on the webs and what I found confirmed my belief that there is a serious lack of good information about food and tiny houses. The lack is so great that it is making me a little worried that I really am deluded about this whole tiny-house thing. Here are the sources I found:

1. The Perks of a Tiny Kitchen from the TinyHouseBlog.com.

Review: Seems to me the main perk is you are forced to eat fresh food. The other perks seem to be extensions of either the perks of living in a tiny house (heating/cooling savings, less cleaning) or the perks of eating fresh food.

2. Issue number 9 of the Small Living Journal: Food and Cooking.

Review: Again, most articles in this issue emphasize perks of not storing and thus eating fresh food. As a person who loves floor plans (see below) and maximizing efficiency, I did enjoy the article, “The Splendid Kitchenette.” When I first encountered this issue I was hopeful that it would have great foodie tips, I was a little disappointed. There wasn’t even really any food porn!

3.The website TinyHouseCooking.com.

Review: This was kind of exciting because it is all about recipes. I love the concept, but so far there are only a handful of recipes on the website. I was drawn in immediately by the concept of one-pot stove-top lasagna, but then the other recipes seemed pretty average.

4.The Stone Soup 5 Ingredient Recipes

Review: I was referred here by Michael Janzen’s postings on TinyHouseDesign.com. These recipes seem pretty good and I love the concept of 5 ingredients or less, but this List of ingredients for a “Minimalist” Kitchenseems way too long. This stuff could never fit in a tiny house. And where are the multitaskers? The kinds of tools Mark Bittman and Lynne Rossetto Kasper talk about?!

Please see my next post, for some of my favorite multi-taskers in the kitchen.

Best,

A very hungry Cap’n Delusional

Do Cap’n Delusional and Instructables share a mind?

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While tempting to believe, I cannot fool you readers into thinking my mind is any kind of match for Instructables. Clearly, something as great as Instructables can only come from the combined forces of many minds.

Nonetheless it is pretty exciting that while I have decided that it is Foodweek on the Delusions of Miniature Blog, Instructables has chosen their Weekly Challenge: The Toaster Oven. The challenge is pretty broad, saying that any Instructable about how to “Use, reuse, modify, or build your own toaster oven” is eligible. However, I am hoping that this contest will turn out some great toaster oven recipes or toaster oven modifications that would be useful in a tiny kitchen.

For those not yet familiar with Instructables, please take a look around. They are a big show and tell where people submit “Instructables” which are basically super instructions. There are lots of contests to encourage the sharing of ideas and to try and keep the Instructables clear, well photographed, and otherwise easy to understand.  It is a great way to learn to do anything from the zaney to the mundane.

Interestingly enough, I went over to the Instructables website because it is a pretty good source of recipes for limited kitchens. One of my favorite authors for cooking in a small space is Trebuchet03. He had a series of Instructables called Collegiate Meals which have great tips for cooking in small spaces with limited appliances and tools. Even though I am not a huge meat-eater, one of my favorites is this Instructable for cooking cornish hens in a toaster oven.

So everyone, stay tuned for more toaster oven goodness as the week progresses!

Yours ever,

Cap’n Delusional

Tiny Chefs and Introducing Foodweek

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Hello Friends,

All my closest mates will tell you, I love food. Today I had the pleasure of eating with one of my friends who also loves food–in fact, love of food is the wind that fills the sails of many of my strongest friendships. We started talking about cookbook author Mark Bittman and his articles about the size of his kitchen.

Cooking is certainly something that, in my opinion, tiny house builders and dwellers don’t seem to talk about enough. It is also one of the main things people bring up when they are trying to convince me I am insane for thinking I could live in a tiny house (as I mentioned previously my friends tend to love food).
Mark Bittman says we don’t need to worry so much about the size of our kitchens, we just have to worry about loving food. See for example: So Your Kitchen is Tiny. So What? from December 13, 2008 or Mark Bittman’s Bad Kitchen from November 20, 2008. So.. No worries, mates!

Here is a picture of Bittman in his kitchen.

For a long time I was going to make a website or youtube series with my sister called Tiny Chef, it was going to be about how you can cook small portions (for one or two people) with minimal appliances–a toaster oven, a single burner. Experience living in a tiny house could really help me achieve this goal.

I’m realizing I have a lot to say about food, so I propose that this week is dedicated to food and tiny house delusions.

Smell ya later, especially if you smell delicious stir-fry,

Cap’n Delusional

Powerful water filters for a tiny house to go off the water grid?

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Hello friends,

I just finished a recording session at a local music studio where they have a Berkey Water Filtration System. The guys at the studio are (somewhat understandably) totally in love with their Berkey, which apparently can be used to filter water from lakes and streams and has been used by the American Red-cross.

Here is a cheezy video from the company explaining Berkey filters.

I think one of these could work pretty well in a tiny house, especially because many of them rely on gravity fed-spigots rather than conventional plumbing. Could be useful for tiny houses used by hermits in the depths of the forest, or helpful for getting off the water grid.

They are pretty elegant too, with their shiny, stainless-steel simplicity.

Best,

Cap’n Delusional

DIY Step-Stool and Chair Suitable for Tiny Living

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Dear Readers,

At some point you will all be subjected to the myriad ways in which Popular Mechanics inspired me as a young sailor obsessed with the idea of building a houseboat with my sister. In fact, one day you will get to see the plans that we drew out for house boat interiors and furniture that could multi-task or collapse away. Furniture not unlike this chair/step-stool from Popular Mechanics. They have a complete tutorial and animated walk-through with plans.

 Ben Franklin, invented this library ladder and chair, though for some reason this invention has not resounded through history quite as loudly as some of his other reading-related inventions, most notably bi-focals.

Too bad it would probably be difficult to proportion one of these so that it can reach a loft space, a common feature of tiny homes. Still as a multifunctional piece of furniture that helps you deal with vertical storage, it could be pretty handy in a small space.

Yours ever,

Cap’n Delusional

PS. Please check out my new “about” pages. You can learn more about yours truly, and read a statement about the blog.

 

Essay Contest @ Tiny Texas Houses

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Ok, y’all. Firstly, let me introduce you all to my new Tiny House Superhero, Brad Kittel. This man has founded a Tiny Texas Houses, a company with the goal of building pure-salvage tiny homes.  As Kittel states on his website,

“I believe that there are presently enough building materials sitting on the ground to build much of the next generation of housing. All it takes to make it so is pure human energy, spirit, and the desire to build something that will last for several lifetimes.” -Brad Kittel.

This guy is cool. I mean check out this gorgeous slideshow from This Old House.

If you aren’t yet convinced of his amazing powers to revolutionize the tiny-house movement, then please check out and PARTICIPATE in the Tiny Texas Houses ESSAY CONTEST (Deadline: September 3rd, 2011) where you have the chance to win the Tiny Texas Worker House (pictured above). This house is valued at about $40,000 dollars.

Essay Contest @ Tiny Texas Houses.

Okay okay, yes, there is a $50 dollar fee to participate in the contest. But here is the thing: you get an e-book and a plan for building a house like the Worker house. That is a pretty cool deal. I mean, I bought the Small House Book by Jay Shafer for $40 bucks and his house plans cost hundreds of dollars and he doesn’t have any houses he is giving away with the book! Also, Brad Kittel isn’t just about tiny houses, he is also about salvage. Pure Salvage. Don’t you wanna learn more about salvage? I don’t know, I personally think $50 isn’t a bad investment when you consider the general cost of tiny-house-related publications.

Apparently Mr. Kittel has been having trouble getting enough people to enter his contest, which is a shame. Perhaps I should ask him more in-depth about his e-book instead of just hypothesizing about its content and worth compared to other books about tiny houses.

But please enter the contest. You may find it inspiring! In fact, it inspired me to finally start this blog that I had been putting off for years.

Yours ever,

Cap’n Delusional