Simple Solar Homesteading

Off-Grid Cabin and Tiny House Designs and Supplies
Not-For-Profit Social Service Organization


CJ's Tiny Cabin On Wheels

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 11:10 PM Comments comments (2)

This house on wheels is constructed with SIPs on an 8'x20' trailer that can sleep 4 with a maximum height of 13'6". The house has attached to it a deck on hinges. It can fold up next to the house for transport, which provides extra protection to the large doors and windows on that face of the house. The roof is made of metal and the siding is made of corrugated metal and reclaimed wood. When you enter the house, the living room is to the right. You can immediately see a series of 1'x1' boxes which serve as both stairs to the sleeping loft as well as storage. Some of the cubes are open for more decorative shelving. The others are covered by a 3'x4' panel for more private storage. This panel then swings up on hinges to form a dining table. The couch is made by Clei and is a queen-sized Murphy bed as distributed by Resource Furniture (model: Nuovoliola 10), Seriously, if you have not seen their space-saving solutions, it is completely worth checking them out! (And no, I do not work for them.) Directly in front of the front door is a small closet that contains the washer/dryer combo and refrigerator. To the left is the kitchen with full range (although it shows an electric range, propane would actually be my choice, but I had a hard time finding a model in SketchUp that I liked) and Ikea cabinetry. There is a sliding barn door that opens to the 3'x6' bathroom. In the bathroom is a composting toilet, sink, tankless hot water heater, and shower...the entire room is the shower and so the walls here are covered in stainless steel. The shower head is above in the ceiling. There is a sleeping loft above that can easily accommodate a queen-sized bed (and perhaps a king, although I didn't try) and some modest storage. The maximum height in the sleeping loft would be above the residents' heads at approximately 3'.

As far as green features of this house, they include:

SIP construction

Reclaimed hardwood on walls and bamboo flooring throughout

600W solar panel system mounted to roof (3x200W)

Wind turbine backup to solar system for non-sunny days and night time use

Rain water collection via cisterns

Propane system used for marine heater, range, and washer/dryer

Composting toilet

Quartz countertops

LED lighting throughout

Large windows to take advantage of passive solar heating and open for cooling

Craig Williams House On Wheels

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (3)

50 years ago I used to dream of going on long camping trips across the country. Now I am in my sixties, still with the same dream, but with much practical experience. I want to design and build my travelling Home/Office where I can travel and work in a perpetual cycle across our great nation, incl Canada. I'd like to be self-sustaining, completely off-grid.

My diet is simple, raw fruits and vegetables and nuts, with an accasional juicy cheeseburger or big thick rib-eye once in a while, hence the charcoal grille. Hunting and fishing would also be enjoyable at times.

I like to read a lot, so book storage is necessary, I have an average amount of clothes. I have also an extensive LP vinyl record collection, with a small stereo system, which I'd like to build into the house ceiling. I draw and paint, so my office should be flexible for my work and studio functions. I do entertain with a small bunch of friends and acquaintances, along the way.

I believe in a complete solar operating system, with battery backup and generator. Showering water is via a solar hot water heating system on the roof. Kitchen water for the sink is pumped with a foot pedal and grey water waste will be used for gardening. Bathroom waste will be composted via composting toilet.

Wall construction will be SIP panels, high R value, heating via wood burning stove and solar heating system, with thru the wall AC for those really warm days.

The loft area has a nice king-size bed with storage cubicles along each side and a large headboard . Access is via a library-type sliding ladder.

Lots of natural light for daytime work, with Under shelf and ceiling mounted low level task lighting for nighttime and grey days.

I love wood, so much natural wood finished throughout. Stone tile for the bathroom and wet areas.


Jonathan Filius 14x24 Micro house

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (1)

Jon Filius- Micro House

The entire cabin occupies a 14’ x 24’ footprint, with 212 square feet of interior main floor living space and a 100 square foot loft. The interior and exterior of the main living space is clad in blonde beetle kill pine. Contrasting the pine is the charcoal grey standing seam metal that encases the main mass and the connected exterior spaces. The living area houses a small work area, couch, wood stove and a combination bookcase/ladder to the loft. The bathroom, accessed by a 30” pocket door in the kitchen, contains a full shower, small vanity and composting toilet. The kitchen utilizes RV appliances and a retractable table to save space. The loft above the kitchen and bathroom contains built in dresser and closet with enough space for a queen size bed.

Solar panels on the roof provide power to the cabin along with a propane backup system. Rainwater is collected and filtered in two 55 gallon drums at the rear of the cabin. A propane on-demand system heats water for the kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Low energy LED lighting is used throughout the cabin with solar light tubes in the in the living area and loft to provide light during daylight hours. The water collection, solar electric system, propane tanks and firewood are sheltered off the rear of the cabin.

Evan Vause Tiny Modern House

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Off Grid Modern


The concept is for a clean and open plan - with simple and clearly laid out spaces - all with an element of whimsy. Like a small suite - the luxuries are included, anticipating that the necessities will be also be revealed.

The Plan is for a small 160 square foot (10x16 feet), modern, off grid house. The simple rectangular shape and mono pitched roof allow for ease of construction. The doors act as windows that open up the corner of the space - creating a feeling of a vast expansion of the small house and an awakening to the opportunity that lies beyond. The living, dining, and social areas are separated from the private areas by shelving units that contain books as well as general storage and the cooking area. The shower and water closet spaces utilize angled interior walls to once again open up the spaces in unanticipated ways - enlarging the areas and creating surprises with the corners themselves. An optional desk folds down from the wall for space saving. Optional skylights allow a view to the stars and natural light for the bathroom. Solar panels double as a shade structure over the door.

The guitar pick shaped deck at the entry provides additional outdoor space for cooking and socializing. There is an outdoor shower for fair weather, and the propane is stored next to the shower. The toilet is designed to be removed for emptying and cleaning from the rear door. This way, it does not have to make its way through the main space. A slit window is provided above the lavatory - a place where windows are rare - but in this case, welcome.

Construction is 2x4 wood studs, with T-111 siding. Plywood over a homemade wooden rafter made from 2-2x4's creates the roof structure. A basic metal roof and plywood interiors (painted) make the materials easy to purchase at a home builders supply or lumber store. The unique door can be made from 2 french doors or custom built to suit the individual.

Design by Evan Vause, architect - Cypress Architecture & Design

Renderings by Lelee Laosy


Carl Tourtellotte 8x20 House-On-Wheels

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)


20 ft. long 8 ft. wide 13.5 ft. high on wheels, 24-ft long frame with a 6” drop back to 12”

Fold up 7 ft. X 15 ft porch with folding legs and removable railings, Standard 36 in. front door

Alternating 2 ft on center stud walls with angle bracing, Outside storage access to solar hot water tank and tank less backup heater


Solar hot water and electric panels, Front tongue outside vented battery storage

Tower-less floating wind generator for battery charging, Solar powered vents through to ceiling and main floor vents open to under trailer brings in cool air. These vents can be closed with insulated plugs.


Stand up loft with full size platform bed, Built in dresser, linens storage chest and full high closet

Privacy door and emergency escape door, Stairs bottom step shoe storage, Sunken Living Room, Front escape window

Built in bookshelves, center storage, corner desk and room for arm chair


Fold in bay window with bench storage seating, folding table, 12 volt compressor 11 cu, ft. refrigerator with portable washer storage under, RV style stove with oven small double sink

Under stairs vented storage for 2 cu. Ft. 12 volt compressor freezer


36 in. standard shower, Incendiary toilet, 28 in. sliding door


Nicole Mason House-On-Wheels

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (1)

My house is based on limitations. I don't have a big truck or a lot of money, so I had to create something that could be towed by a smaller truck and still have everything that I needed, plus could serve as long term shelter until I can afford a larger home. A 14' trailer with steel stud construction will be about all I can handle. Everything has to do double duty. In the house, all of the benches in the nook have storage and the nook is used to climb into the loft. There is a storage area over the bathroom and storage above the toilet. Each cupboard in the kitchen has multiple compartments. The two and a half foot clearance under the trailer acts as storage as well. For off grid power generation and self sufficiency, I opted for a combined solar power with wind. The solar panels are located on top of the greenhouse, with the battery station next to it. The greenhouse is for propagating seed and is also an aquaponics set up. I also needed easily accessible and usable appliances so the house is set up for a portable on-demand water heater, a plug in heater and plug in air conditioning, hot plate and toaster oven. Washing is done by hand and it will use a composting toilet to save money and conserve water. Speaking of water, at about 115 square feet my roof should provide about 57.5 gallons per one inch of rain. Most of the areas I plan on settling in have around 40 inches of rain so in an average year my small roof will yield about 230 gallons of water. Plus an additional 192 gallons off the greenhouse roof specifically for the greenhouse systems. One of my concerns about laying out the garden was how to maximize water use and efficiency. The water is distributed into the system directly from the storage barrels. Since in air and water systems friction caused by the fluids passing through right angles creates inefficiency, I resolved to set out the pipes for the garden in strait lines flowing intoarches. The pipes will be set underground in mulch and gravel to reserve as much water as possible.

Misty Robinson House-On-Wheels

Posted on June 24, 2014 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (9)

This 8'Wx20'Lx13.5'H tiny house can sleep up to four people. The loft over the porch can be used as sleeping or storage space and the sofa folds out into a bed. The bathroom has a composting toilet and a full size shower. All appliances ar RV sized. Power is provided by solar panels on the roof with a sunlight to access them. A diy solar can heater is also mounted to the roof. Hot water is provided on demand and the stove is operated with propane. Gray water is routed a storage tank under the counter in the kitchen and is used to water the built in growing beds. There are lots of windows for natural light and ventilation. Porch steps are detached to store inside during moving. This tiny house could be built very inexpensively with creative use of discarded items such as pallets, lumber, shingles, insulation and windows found on craigslist, freecycle or construction sites. The appliances as well as lighting, plumbing fixtures, water tanks and pumps, power hookups, propane tanks and even the frame could be salvaged from an inexpensive RV saving you thousands.

Jonathan Marcoux Squared Eco House

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (2)

What is special about this tiny house is its ability to harvest water, food, and power in a mere 185 sq. ft. with a budget of around 10,000$.

This is a square tiny house 12’3”x12’3” featuring a water harvesting system, solar and woodstove water heater, two 20 square feet solar panels and an integrated aquaponics system for plant and fish harvesting.


Materials and Construction

Construction consists of regular building material with 2”x4” structure and conventional or alternative insulation. It could, however, also be built using wood-stacking or hay-ball method which would increase the footprint to about 196-200 sq. ft. because of the thicker walls. An aluminium rooftop provides a surface for rainwater harvesting, solar panels array, and a sun water heater. These installations are found on one side of the roof while the other side has a hinged rooftop over the sleeping loft and sliding solarium over the aquaponics grow bed. In nice weather these can be opened to provide a rooftop deck area. The grey water is drained into a dissipation tank buried 8 ft. underground to prevent freezing in winter.



Heating and Cooling

This house can be used completely off the grid in cold climates where firewood is available for main heating and cooking, although a propane system can easily be integrated if so desired. The following design shows installation with propane integration. During summer, cooling and ventilation is achieved through passive heat transfer methods using the two top large windows and the smaller windows below. Water heating in summer is done primarily by the roof solar water heater and in winter by the wood stove water heater. If propane is available an instant hot water heater can also be used.



As seen sun energy is used for the water heating but also for the electrical system.

The electrical system consisting of a maximum of two 20 sq ft. solar panels provide ample recharging capacity for the deep-cycle marine batteries. These batteries in turn provide power to an inverter for AC appliances (computer, TV, etc…) and DC power to the pump for the aquaponics system. Aquaponics use water from a fish tank to water a grow bed, in this case water needs to be pumped to the grow bed on the roof from the fish tank under the sofa. Again propane could also be used as an energy source if so desired. A wind turbine could also easily be linked to the electrical system. The other main source of energy is wood. A wood stove provides heating, cooking and hot water during the cold winter months.



The interior features an elevated split-level, which maximizes space. The lower level includes the bathroom, with a 3x3 feet shower/tub and a composting toilet. The kitchen is located on the opposite wall from the bathroom. The kitchen has an ample 21inch by 6 feet total working area with a sink, mini fridge, and an optional propane burner/stove. Between the bathroom and the kitchen is the dinning table. The sitting area for one side of the table is the edge of the split-level, this design proves to be good for space saving. The water tanks, batteries, fish tank and general storage area can be found under the split-level. Having all this under the floor is another great space saving feature. On top of the split-level is found the studying desk, on the same side as the kitchen, the wood stove on the back wall and the living area/sofa on the adjacent wall (same as bathroom). The sleeping loft is located over the bathroom and features an opening roof, which makes for an enjoyable living area in nice weather.


Joshua Dolan Micro-Max Tire wall House

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 8:05 PM Comments comments (1)

The Micro-max tries to take the idea of a single occupant/couple living unit to its maximum by providing modern living conveniences with minimal impact using highly sustainable construction and a tiny footprint.

The basic construction uses dozens of old worn out tires, packed with dirt, until they are a solid “brick” that are stacked to form the exterior structural walls of the unit. Nails are then hammered in to form a web for concrete to be troweled onto and smoothed for form the basic interior wall surface. Around the outside of the tires a ~4 foot deep dirt berm is filled in which is then wrapped in segments of insulating foam (to increase heat retention) and then the berm is extended out to the natural level of the ground around the home.

A center structural beam runs across the width of the house which supports the roof trusses (in this design wooden pre-fab i-beams) over which a standard decking and metal roof is applied. At the back of the sloped roof a gutter channels all of the collected rainwater into one or more cisterns that sit behind the building and within the berm. Within the space standard 2x4 framing (or 2x3 to save precious inches) with drywall forms the interior walls separating the living area, bathroom, and bedroom. All of the internal fixtures and layout can be adjusted by the owner to fit their needs but this design uses a tiny ~20 square foot bathroom utilizing concepts from RVs and a friends description of bathrooms seen in the Philippines where the toilet is part of the shower unit (to maximize hygienic use by it constantly getting washed) to minimize space requirements.

At the back of the living room and bedroom two 4 inch ABS or PVC ducts run out through the tire wall and through the berm until they are exposed to the air. The open ends outside are covered with a mesh grille and screen to keep critters out but allow air into the home. To the front of the unit over the windows two vents are positioned behind the solar PV cells that are opened or closed as needed to allow air to flow through the home. Convection of warm / hot air during the summer draws cool air through the air ducts, through the berm, further cooling it by transferring heat into the berm, and thus cooling the home. The living space also includes a small wood burning stove near the front door for added warmth if desired during the winter months. (However, Earthships have proven over 40 years the ability to maintain a 60 - 70 def F living space with no additional heating except for the sun and stored thermal energy.)

The front of the building is comprised of several large panel windows (in my design they are meant to be recovered from a commercial property I work at that is scheduled for major renovations, and the height of the home is scaled appropriately). These windows serve to allow ample light in for heating the home during winter. In this design the traditionally included grey water treatment system of a indoor grow bed has been moved out front into a loop greenhouse.

Above the windows sit a row of solar panels for generating electricity which is transferred to a bank of batteries and the 120v inverter placed at the back of the home in the galley kitchen. 12v is used directly in the interior lighting of the home provided by recessed LED lamps to efficiently use electricity. 120v runs to several outlets located in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom for powering standard devices.

The collected rainwater in the cisterns is pumped on demand as in an RV and filtered through several filters before splitting off to tankless heater for showering and sinks. Flexible hosing is run throughout to carry water where needed. Drains from the shower and sink run under the floor slab to the grow bed where the water is filtered by rocks, sand, and plants before either settling at the bottom low end “grey-water” pit of the grow bed or over flowing to a junction that feeds into the black-water waste to a conventional septic tank. The grey-water has an on demand loop that feeds back to the toilet for flushing, which connects to the dedicated black-water line out to the septic. The septic tank drains to a standard drainage field.


Kris Xaphakdy Steel Tube House

Posted on June 7, 2014 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (1)

This is my dream Home Its been a dream of mine to find some land out somewhere, anchor my Winnebago and start building this home. it is a total of 314 sq ft, It will begin as steel square tubed frame, anchored by large wooden posts. The main walls and floors will be built out out wood panels, sheathing and sealant. Interior walls: will be white smoothened plaster, with sheet metal paneling on the bottom half. Exterior walls: will be two layers of acrylic sheets, inner blue, outer tinted black and bricking on the lower half. The Bedroom: Shag Carpet with a Faux fur rug, two futons, a fireplace/table seperated from the carpet with insulated contact points,and a tv which can be powered by a gas generator and surge protector when needed. The kitchen consists of an oven, a sink, a stove top, ventilation and storage. The dining area consists of a bench, underneath the bench are refrigerated containers. beside the bench is a water tower, and a table on rails. The kitchen floor, hallway and entrance floor will be white wood, the dinning area would be 1' by 3" stainless steel plates in a brick formation. The bathroom walls and floor will be white wood. The bathroom consists of a shower, sink and toilet, water is contained in "container 2" located in the shower which then can be pumped mechanically to the kitchen sink, shower head, or bathroom sink, it can be heated by pumping the water through the heat box, which contains a radiator and a heat source. The draining water is pumped to the container under the toilet which is then used to flush the the waste in the toilet to the septic tank via plunging, a loop in the system will trap water and block off the foul smells of the septic tank. out the kitchen/ dining room door are stairs to the roof and, a room which contains a dozen car batteries which are wired in parrellel and regulated by a load controller. The power will be supplied by solar panels.


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