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Simplify

Simplify Your Life

Is your life complex? Of course it is. All our lives have some level of complexity. But is your life too busy? Do you feel stressed everyday? Does your mind race when you lay down to sleep, wondering about all the stuff you have to worry about the next day? If you answered yes to these questions, you are part of the majority. In the age of technology and information, we are under constant bombardment by ads, tasks, to-dos among other things and it often seems like we never have enough time in a day. So, it seems worth asking the question: Is all this good for me? Stress, anxiety, fear, insomnia… Just a few of the negative outcomes that result from our constant grind, day after day.

But what if you could eliminate just a little bit of that? It may seem like a lot to consider, but there are many small steps we can take to slow down our lives and eliminate some of those stresses. Here are ten things you can do right now to slow down and simplify your life.

  1. Less screen time
  • This is a big one. Set a rule for yourself to put the phone or tablet away an hour before bed. Give your brain a break from the constant stream of information.
  1. Declutter
  • Go through your stuff. If your possessions don’t bring you joy or add value to your life, get rid of them.
  1. Take time to prepare meals
  • It is so easy to order takeout. With so many food delivery platforms now on the rise, forgoing preparing our own meals is as easy as pressing buttons. Though convenient, this eliminates our emotional connection to our food. By taking the time to make a healthy meal for yourself, your meal will mean that much more to you.
  1. Exercise
  • Wake up half an hour earlier and exercise. Whether it is light yoga or hitting the gym, starting your day with some exercise sets the tone for the rest of the day.
  1. Improve your diet
  • Going back to preparing meals, improve your diet. You only get one body, and it is important to treat it well. Your body and mind will thank you in the long run for providing it with healthy foods.
  1. Make time for family and friends
  • Even if it is just a quick coffee, make time for friends and family. Life isn’t all about work, it is also about spending time with people who are important to us.
  1. Create routine
  • Wake up at the same time. Go to bed at the same time. Eat at the same time. Routine allows our bodies to go day to day without having to adjust to constant changes.
  1. Make time for “you time”
  • Do you take time for you? Lots of us don’t, but it is important to take time for self care. Have a nice bubble bath. Take a nap. Soak your feet. Go get a massage. Do something for you. We often spend so much time doing stuff for others that we forget to pamper ourselves. So go pamper yourself.
  1. Read more
  • Remember the first point, turn off the devices? Replace some of your screen time with books. Get lost in a story or educate yourself about something you want to know more about, even if it is just for 30 minutes a day.
  1. Slow down
  • Drive the speed limit. Walk at a leisurely pace. Stop and smell some flowers. We are ALWAYS rushing. Rush to work. Rush home. Rush to make dinner (if you make dinner), rush to bed. Rinse. Repeat. Slow down the rush, your body and mind will thank you for it.

Achieving simplicity in our lives can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking small steps is the only way to start. Simplify your life now, and soon you may wonder why you never simplified earlier.

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Minimalism

Minimalism. Simply defined, minimalism is all about living with less, and needing less. Forgoing our continuous WANTS that we convince ourselves we NEED, in favor of a lifestyle of less. Less financial burdens, like debt and unnecessary expenses.

For many minimalists, the idea of a minimalist lifestyle is to rid our lives of excess, identifying true necessities, and living a life based on experiences, not on material possession.

But it doesn’t stop there. Diet, health, home, and busyness can all be affected by a minimalist lifestyle. Choosing simpler, healthier foods. Developing a connection with our personal health by taking responsibility for what we put in our bodies. Decluttering our homes. Looking at all our things and stuff and defining what holds value can go a long way in figuring out what you need.

One great way to do this is to define what brings you joy. Going over each possession and asking ourselves “Does this bring me joy?”. If the answer is no, send it to the purge. Busyness. In this day and age, our lives are constantly driving forward at an exhausting rate. Learning to eliminate unnecessary tasks from our day to day can help us to slow down our lives. By constantly being busy and having things to do and places to go, it is so easy to look past all the things in this world that hold beauty. There is a reason people say “Stop to smell the roses”.

Choosing to get into the tiny house lifestyle provides the opportunity to also experience minimalism at it’s best. Downsizing your home. Purging all the possessions we have emotional attachments to that provide no value in our lives. Living with less and needing less. Learning to lead a sustainable lifestyle may sound like a daunting task, but it is absolutely a realistic goal. Taking that first step may not seem like much, but every journey starts with just one step. If you are not satisfied with the life you lead, or are always tired and worn down from the day to day grind, consider what you need in life. Define what holds value. Define what brings you joy. Identify what is NECESSARY in your life, and slowly, all the things that drag you down will melt away.

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Keeping the Heat In

One of the main challenges of a tiny house on wheels, especially in variable or cooler climates, is heating. Specifically, keeping the small space warm and maintaining that warmth. People can often make the mistake of overestimating or underestimating what they will need for heat, resulting in an inefficient installation, either providing too much heat or not enough. Although the heating and cooling system installed is important, it is equally important to match an efficient system with an efficient design. There are three main elements to a tiny house that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to your heat situation.

  1. The Sub-Floor

The floor of a tiny house on wheels can prove to be a sore spot for some tiny house owners because they did not consider the heat loss variable of having open air underneath the floor. It is important to take this into consideration and make sure that the floor will be adequately insulated when designing. Opting for in-floor heat on top of your insulation layer can greatly reduce the difficulties in keeping the floor warm.

  1. Thermal Break

Something that many independent builders may not consider when building a tiny house is something called thermal bridging. Thermal bridging occurs when there are uninsulated structural components that “bridge” between the interior and exterior of the house. These bridges allow thermal energy to cross from the interior of the home to the exterior. In the case of tiny houses, these are the wall studs and the roof and floor joists. This can be mitigated by installing a quality thermal break between all possible bridges and the exterior of the house. By fully “wrapping” the entirety of the framed structure with a thermal break, such as graphite polystyrene, you can effectively eliminate a large portion, if not all the heat loss through the structural members.

  1. Insulation Type

The last thing to consider when it comes to heat is your insulation in your walls and roof. Though fiberglass batts and blown-in do offer decent R-Values and affordability, they simply do not stand up to a spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation seals the cavities it is sprayed into through expansion. As such, it is excellent at eliminating drafts and moisture infiltration. It also provides the highest R-Value in comparison to other standard options and adds to the structural integrity of the tiny house.

So wherever you might be parking your tiny house, whether you are in a permanent location or travelling around, consider these three factors when it comes to your build, and you will never have to worry about thermal efficiency again.

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How to Make Your Tiny House More Sustainable

Over the last two decades the tiny house movement has been taking the world by storm. Driven by multiple factors like utility and housing costs continuing to rise, the resulting tiny house movement has turned into an attractive option for many people to save money and achieve financial stability. Beyond the financial factors, environmental factors come into play as well. Tiny houses by nature allow for innovative ways to create environmentally sustainable living spaces. By choosing to jump into the tiny house lifestyle, you are reducing your individual carbon footprint, and help to play a small roll in reducing overall ecological impact.

Here are six different ways on how to make your tiny house more sustainable.

  1. Energy Sources
  • Energy consumption is the biggest factor to consider when purchasing a tiny home. With on-grid and off-grid options available there are ways to be efficient in your consumption regardless of how you decide to get your energy. In a perfect world, all our required energy could be generated through renewable resources. Fortunately, going tiny allows renewable energy to be a more practical option. If you are off-grid, solar and wind are great options to power your home. A windmill can be built right onto your tiny home and a solar array can either be attached to the roof, or on a standalone rack separate from the tiny house. Even if you are not off-grid, you can still do your part by reducing your energy consumption by using energy efficient appliances and fixtures throughout your home and being sure that materials used in the structure will contribute to more efficiency as well.
  1. Strategic Landscaping
  • Sustainability doesn’t stop with just the tiny house. Being strategic in your landscaping to optimize energy efficiency goes a long way. Parking your tiny house with the largest windows facing south and west will help to heat your home and provide light so you don’t have to use your own fixtures. Positioning your home to capture as much Sun and wind as possible will help provide a balance between generating your required energy and not having to use as much energy.
  1. Quality
  • This one goes without saying. The better the design quality, the more efficient your tiny home can be. The biggest factor in design is insulation. A thermal barrier to eliminate thermal bridging. A well insulated floor. Spray in insulation in the roof and walls. Using the proper material and innovative design can reduce the required energy to heat and cool your home.
  1. Material
  • Using reclaimed and recycled materials is a great way to make your tiny home more environmentally and financially sustainable. From reclaimed siding and lumber, to recycled tile and interior finishing, the options for reuse are plenty. Even if you choose to purchase all material brand new, you can still be sustainable by purchasing materials that are manufactured using green standards and practices.
  1. Heating and Cooling
  • Heating and cooling are a big factor depending on where you live. It doesn’t take much to heat up or cool down a small space like a tiny house, but on the flip side it doesn’t take much to change that either. Being able to maintain interior temperature is important. If you are constantly heating or cooling your home to your liking because it will not maintain, this kind of defeats the purpose of a sustainable build. It is important to design your tiny house based on the climate you will be living in. Using heat retention and heat loss to your advantage in your design can help reduce the use of major appliances like heaters and air conditioners.

These five steps are only the start to a sustainable tiny house lifestyle. As technology changes and our industries continue to innovate and push for greener practices and standards, our options for sustainable living are growing. We can all do our part by trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, whether you live in a tiny house or a big house.

A bunch of small choices can have the biggest impact.

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To Loft or Not to Loft?

One thing people often ponder on when considering a tiny house is, “Do I want a loft?” Yay or nay? One of the most common uses of a loft in a tiny house is a place for the bed. A loft IS a great place for the bed, especially since you can utilize the entire width of the tiny house. If you wanted to you could easily fit a king size bed in a loft space and still have a little extra space on the sides. Regardless of how you would choose to use it, there are certain things to consider when it comes to having a loft.

The legal maximum height of a tiny house is 13’6”, it may seem like kind of a waste not to utilize your vertical space, and you would be right to think that. In a tiny house every little bit of space must be considered for versatility and utility, and a loft is a perfect way to accomplish both. Now for the considerations. The most obvious, you are going to have to get up and down out of bed. Though there are a lot of creative solutions to the getting up and down, like collapsible staircases and telescoping ladders, if you are someone who wakes up through the night for water or bathroom breaks, this could pose some inconvenience. Other reasons a loft may not be for you depend on age, physical health and capabilities, and HEIGHT. A loft in a tiny house naturally comes with a certain lack of head room, and while there are things that can be done to increase head room, if you are on the tall side, you might just be asking to bonk your head a lot.

If you do decide to forego a sleeping loft and go with a main floor bedroom area, you shouldn’t rule out a loft area just yet. Lofts aren’t just for sleeping. They can be used as workspaces, play areas, reading nooks, and storage.

The versatility of a loft means that if you choose to not to have one, you may have to be extra creative with storage solutions. Compensating for the loss of that space can be done by building a longer tiny house or getting creative with wall storage. Not having a loft certainly comes with challenges, but also has advantages too. Mostly not having to worry about going up and down from your bed. There are also space saving alternatives to lofts as well, like Murphy beds, slide out beds and even elevator beds on cables that drop down from the ceiling.

So whether you are “yay loft” or “nay loft”, like all aspects of planning or designing a tiny house, make sure to take all things into consideration. Weigh the pros and cons, do your diligence, and make the best decision you can make.

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The Rat Race

Times are changing, and the daily routine we know as the rat race is changing with them. With the onset of the Covid-19 global pandemic, many of our worlds have been turned upside down. From layoffs and business closures to restrictions and lockdowns, we have all been affected in one way or another. One thing that has come out of the pandemic is that a lot of individuals and companies are learning that they can work and run their businesses from home. There are even studies showing that employees are more productive when they work from home. This has presented a unique opportunity for many people to escape the rat race.

But what if you could take that escape one step further? If you could take your job with you and do it from anywhere so long as you have your computer, would you do it? Considering a tiny house as your primary residence could provide the means to being a part of this freeing lifestyle and allow you to travel and see more of the world as a result.

Tired of prairies? Go to the mountains. Want to see the coast? Then go to the coast. And take your house with you when you do. Growing up, many of us would have said that we would like to travel and see more of the world, then time passes, and we simply have not seen the things we thought we might. Why not do it now? Seize the opportunity. Jump headfirst into the tiny lifestyle. Give VedaHawk Tiny Homes a call and see all the places tiny life can take you.

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Update on VedaHawk Tiny Homes

Hi everyone. I hope everyone is keeping well coming into the last month of this roller coaster of a year. Firstly, I want to say thank you to everyone for all your support, it means the world to me. I would just like to bring everyone up to speed and provide an update on VedaHawk Tiny Homes. We just finished inspections on our first model, The Twenty-Twenty, and have now entered the finishing stages. I am going to be posting updates in the coming days about this first project of ours and where we are at now. Once this unit has been completed it will be up for sale and will be available for viewings. As with all business establishments these days, there are Covid-19 protocols in place for your safety and my safety. Viewings will be available by appointment only.

My intention once I am done with this first unit is to build a second Twenty-Twenty model with some upgraded features and some interior tweaks.

However, Winter and Spring build spots will still stay open for booking during the second Twenty-Twenty build.

Be sure to check into our website blog regularly to keep up with this current build and for other tiny house content, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay tuned for updates coming soon on the current unit. 😊

https://vedahawktinyhomes.com/blog/

Facebook – VedaHawk Tiny Homes Inc.

Instagram – @vedahawktinyhomes

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The Empty Nest

You watch them walk down the driveway, bag in hand. They crawl into the back seat of a taxi and away they go. You stand there waving as they drive away, waving out the back window at you as they disappear around the corner at the end of the block. Off to the big city to start a life for themselves.

Or something like that…

What I just described might seem like a cliché from a cheesy movie, but this exact situation takes place in one form or another all the time. You raised them, shaped them, taught them all that you know and got them ready to take on the world on their own. And now they are off to take on the world, as planned.

So now what?

NOW WHAT???

Let’s go back to before your kiddos came into the picture. What did you want to do then? Did you want to travel? Seek out adventure? See all the places your dreamt of when you were a child? If you did, now might be the perfect time to do so.

So what do you WANT to do?

Do you want to sit on the couch? Watch TV? Scroll through the endless social media feeds? Cut the grass? Clean out the garage? Prune the hedges? None of that sounds like much fun, does it? Certainly not adventure level fun. Maybe it’s time to pack up the big empty nest and trade it in for a new, vibrant tiny home, packed full of your taste and personality. Maybe it’s time to dust off your pre-parental dreams. Go travel. Seek that adventure. Drive down that coast. Road trip across the country.

And why not take your home with you?

If life is what you make it, then home is where you take it.

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Keeping Warm on Cold Nights

If you have ever stayed in a camper or RV on a cold night you know how it feels to wake up in the morning to that chilly air inside. It is hard to avoid unless you want to listen to your heater kicking on and off all night long.

At VedaHawk Tiny Homes, we have developed a standard system to keep you and your tiny house warm and comfortable, even on the really cold nights.

Our standard starts right at the subfloor. At 5 ½” thick our subfloors are comprised of three layers. The first layer consists of a 2” Halo Subterra 30 GPS (graphite polystyrene) thermal break, meaning the floor joists sit on top of this layer to prevent thermal drift.

“But what about floor strength?” you may ask.

Not a problem. Subterra 30 has a compressive strength of 30psi, more than enough to handle the structural weight. Following the Subterra layer, we then have two layers of Halo Interra GPS totalling 3 ½”. Interra is specifically made to keep the heat in and prevent thermal drifting using a highly reflective laminate to reflect heat back to the interior. Moving on from the floor insulation, we install in-floor heat lines directly on top of the Halo Interra to maximize its heat retaining properties. Heat rises, so why not have it start right beneath your feet?

From the floor to the walls, we then have a complete thermal envelope surrounding the walls and roof comprised of Halo Exterra, the final piece of our Halo cocoon. Available in 1”, 1 1/2 “ and 2” thickness, depending on your needs. Creating a complete thermal envelope around the floor, walls and roof eliminates having to compensate for thermal drift. Thermal drift, also called thermal bridging, happens when heat escapes through parts of your structure which are not insulated from the outside elements. In the case of wood or steel stud framed structures, this heat loss happens through the wall studs and floor and roof joists.

In the walls and roof we then use a 2lb closed cell polyurethane spray foam for interior insulation. Spray foam insulation is not only more efficient than all other forms of insulation, it also acts as an air, water and moisture barrier, and adds up to 300% structural strength when fully cured. Bonus.

At VedaHawk Tiny Homes, we take thermal efficiency seriously, which is why we developed this standard for our tiny homes. So weather you are parked by a frozen lake getting in some ice fishing time, or parked in a more permanent location, you can be confident that you and your home will be nice and toasty, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

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Space Rich, House Poor

Many people think that the main difference between a tiny house and a big house is just the size, and you would be forgiven for falling into that group of people. One of the major factors that people overlook when considering a tiny house vs. a large house is the financial factor. Not just the cost to build, but the overall long-term financial picture.

Consider this. As a homeowner, or a future homeowner, you are likely to have a mortgage. That mortgage, depending on the cost of the home could be anywhere from $1000 – $2000 per month, maybe even more. If you are one of these people, there is a good chance that a large portion of your income every month goes to the cost of having a place to live. On average, singles, couples, and families will spend up to 30% of their annual income just on their mortgage or rent alone.

The problem is that we rarely look at our financial housing situation in this way. If you are just trying to break into the housing market in Alberta, the average cost to purchase a home is $376,600. In British Columbia that number jumps to $728,500. In Saskatchewan it is $281,100. Regardless of where you are considering purchasing a home, just to get a mortgage in one of these provinces will typically require a 20% down payment, which means somewhere between $56,000 and $146,000 up front. So even on the low end, you are still looking at more than $50,000 just to get into the low side of the housing market.

Most people consider the monthly payment to just be a part of life, seamlessly woven and integrated into our society. We often fail to consider that this means we may not experience true financial freedom for many, many years. Think about that for a moment. What does financial freedom mean to you? Is it being debt free by 40? Is it having more money for leisure and less needed for necessity? No matter how you define it, the cold hard reality is that housing prices continue to rise at a rate that our wages and salaries simply do not. More and more people of all demographics are being priced out of the market, with the dream of OWNING a home remaining as exactly that, a dream.

Perhaps it is time to consider a different option. Thinking about what you truly NEED in your life, if those things can fit into a tiny house, maybe it is time to consider it as an option.

The cost to purchase or build a tiny house in Western Canada can range anywhere from $20,000 to $150,000, depending on the build. So, let’s average that to roughly $85,000. If you can build a brand new tiny house for $85,000 (which you definitely can), even if you have to take out a loan to make it happen, you are likely looking at a down payment between 10% and 20%, which means on the high side you are looking at $17,000. That is much MUCH less than the down payment required on a mortgage.

The housing problem is not going away. In fact, it seems to be getting worse and worse year over year. If the current housing market is slowly making the road to financial freedom impossible for many people, then it is time to consider other options for affordable housing. Tiny houses are here to stay, and perhaps making the decision to get into one will be your ticket to true financial freedom in the future.

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