Tiny Houses Out of Salvaged Materials

Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs

If all you go by is the descriptions of the weather, the numbing of fingers, and Jack London references, you would imagine that these micro-abodes are peppering the landscape of an outlying Siberian shanty town, or the nomadic village of Alaskan hunters, but in fact, New York Times reporter Joyce Wadler is touring the backyard of Derek Diedricksen, 10 minutes south of Boston.  To be fair, these tiny building are not heated, and it recently has been (and since this is Boston) wicked cold, so I can understand the situation being less than ideal for reviewing these structures.  None the less, the interview was soldiered through, and the result is a glimpse into a unique collection of tiny houses made out of salvaged and scrap material.  The buildings have names like Hickshaw (a portmanteau of hick and rickshaw), The Boxy Lady, and the Gypsy Junker, and are the three shown in the photo above.  They are made out of old pallets (which is something I generally disapprove of), salvaged windows, washing machines, glass bottles, seemingly anything interesting or useful that he can get his hands on.

Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs

Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs

You may be wondering about the purpose of these little mobile structures, and the answer is anything that you want them to be, from guest bedrooms, crash pads, homeless shelters, playrooms, festival tents, to merchant stalls, they can fit any bill where you are looking for roughly four walls and a roof on a small footprint.  Diedricksen seems to be as eclectic and unique as his houses, with a past as varied as drummer, DJ, comic artist, and house inspector, and you get even more of a taste in his YouTube series of him building his structures.

For ingenuity, thrift and charm, Mr. Diedricksen’s tiny structures are hard to beat. Made of scavenged materials, they cost on average less than $200 to build. They often have transparent roofing, which allows a fine view of the treetops, particularly in the smallest ones, where the most comfortable position is supine. They have loads of imaginative and decorative details: a porthole-like window salvaged from a front-loading washing machine, a flip-down metal counter taken from the same deceased washer. Mr. Diedricksen hates to throw anything away.

These structures have a great balance between the “reclaimed” and modern aesthetic, being true to the origins of the materials, without forcing them to stay raw or unfinished, but adding more funky details and fun than your average sterile modern prefab.  In fact, I would say his tiny houses are ideal inspiration for anyone looking to make a small little structure, either for their home of mobile application, (though I still recommend staying away from pallets).

Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs

Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs

Via New York Times and Unconsumption

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  1. Posted February 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Hey, thanks for the post- and such a well written one too. I really appreciate it. Note: Only “The Gypsy Junker” is made from pallet wood- and only the siding of it (in board and batten fashion). Pallet wood IS often a pain to work with, you’re right, but in some applications it does work. Anyway, GREAT site- and thanks again

    -Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

  2. Posted July 30, 2011 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Wow. Cute tiny house. It is small but amazing. It look likes comfortable in sleeping and you can relax well. Great post and I really appreciated it. Keep it up.

    KB Homes USA

  3. Posted October 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the blog post, those actually look pretty cool. If I am ever in Boston I will definitely take the time to check these out.

One Trackback

  1. By Learn to Make to Fight the Future on March 30, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    [...] to rely on.  People are having fun, hacking away at technology, growing rooftop gardens, building portable houses out of scrap, creating tools to build villages, but there is an unnerving common thread to all of this.  People [...]

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