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1/12th Scale Timber Frame Model House

by Tara

Awhile back, I found Tyler crouched on the floor, with a determined look on his face, scissors, tape, and cardboard strewn about him. Much to my delight, he was painstakingly constructing a scale model of our timberframe cottage! Using Peter's blueprint as a guide, Tyler made our tiny house 1/12th the size of the one we'll build for real: each foot of timber translated to an inch of cardboard.

Our Model House (iPhone)

Tyler's note: the widths of the timbers themselves are not to scale, but everything else is.

After the initial frame was finished, I joined in the crafting fun. My nesting instincts immediately came out in full force as we settled in and decorated our new space. Together, we made kitchen cabinets, a table, and a staircase full of storage possibilities. Sadly, we soon realized that if we orient the staircase as it is in the photo below, we'll have to duck every time we go up the stairs so our heads don't bump the ceiling.

Model House

To help us better visualize our space, I made scale models of Tyler and myself. In doing so, we were able to really get a feel for where our design would be cramped, and where it would work nicely. With this newfound knowledge, we redesigned our staircase twice, arriving at a layout that has us entering the second floor in the center of the roofline, with plenty of headroom.

Why hello there! Check out my new staircase design!
Tara by the Staircase in our Tiny Model Home

(I'm wearing oven mitts because I bake all the time, and because it's easier than drawing hands.)

Having mini-me and mini-Tyler has also made 'playing house' all the more fun, encouraging us to add little homey details to our design. A few weeks ago, Tyler made tiny replicas of our cast-iron skillets with cardboard and electrical tape, and our dear friend Mary upped the ante by surprising us with a rag rug she made herself. Thanks Mary!

Us in our Tiny Model Home

Constructing a scale model out of cardboard is obviously not the same thing as building a house. However, now that we've gone through the design process, working through various challenges that arose, I can't imagine trying to build the real thing without that invaluable experience. It also just feels good to have made the model— for the time being, when all we can really do from Minnesota is keep saving, it boosts our morale to make something tangible that is, in some small way, moving us in the direction of our dreams.

With that in mind, I'm sure we'll spend many a dreary winter's day sprucing up our tiny cardboard house. Next up, we'll need to create walls, probably with some kind of foam to approximate the thickness of the straw bales we'll be using. Then, we can start carving in nooks and window seats and built-in shelves!



ha - cute!
Posted by Sarah on October 20th, 2012 at 10:22 AM
That is really, really cool. Good luck on the real thing!
Posted by Shadi Isber on October 22nd, 2012 at 9:23 AM
Thanks Shadi! (hi Sarah!)
Posted by Tyler on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:25 AM
Hands down, you win the 2012 award for being the cutest couple in the world - both in real life and in cardboard cut-out life.

I had a similar experience working with GoogleSketchup and our Tiny House. We worked out a lot of the design flaws of the building itself and the floor plan through the winter. Without spending the time on that, we would have made 10 times more mistakes when spring time rolled around and we actually started building. Totally worth the time and effort.
Posted by Sheila on October 24th, 2012 at 10:10 AM
Awww, thanks, Sheila! You two are pretty cute yourselves. ;-)

You're absolutely right-- I think that the design process (though it sometimes feels fake, or like we're just playing) will be completely worth the time and effort. I have no doubt that when we arrive on our land and scratch our heads and say, "uh, I guess we just start building our house now?" our experiences planning will make the actual building process go much more smoothly. Thank you for the reassurance!

Hope you two are having fun in Jalisco! It's snowing here in Minnesota!
Posted by Tara on October 25th, 2012 at 10:17 AM
aw, you guys. Tyler looks like Neo. Also, good god I never realised how far away you guys are from Vermont right now. I just looked at a map. Omg, Google maps says it's a 24hr drive!? Is that right?
Posted by Katherine Herriman on November 4th, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Haha, his computer screen looks like the matrix most of the time, too. :-)

Anyway, yep! It's a full 24 hour drive from where we are in Minnesota, and it's about a 17 hour drive from my parents' place in Illinois. We're going to be far, far away from our family and friends... but at least we'll be in the same country this time!
Posted by Tara on November 4th, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Holy guacamole Batman! I just had no concept. I mean, I knew you were in the middle up the top and Vermont is on the side up the top but I just didn't KNOW.

By the way, I made chicken soup for the first time last night. I tempered the eggs and everything.
Posted by Katherine Herriman on November 4th, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Yeah, the US is big. I just looked it up, and for a size comparison, Australia is 78% the size of the USA.

Hey, way to go on the tempering! I've never put eggs in chicken soup before, though. Are they just to make it thick and creamy? Sounds like the perfect meal for a cold, grey day such as this. Maybe I'll make some too. :-)

Posted by Tara on November 4th, 2012 at 11:26 AM
yup, the eggs make it thick and creamy. I was scared of botching it up so I went *really* slowly and I think I was at it for around 40 mins!
Posted by Katherine Herriman on November 4th, 2012 at 12:15 PM