Skoolie Tour

We’re back on YouTube again, this is our second time on Tiny House Expedition’s YouTube Channel.  This time it’s a detailed tour of our Skoolie.  Isn’t this fun?  Christian Parsons and Alexis Stephens are amazing documentary filmmakers!  And since they’ve discovered how nice the weather is out west, we don’t get to see them nearly enough.  lol!

Our Skoolie looks different than this video after we added the stone on the kitchen countertop.  Every time we post a photo or video of our little home on wheels, another project will take shape and it will evolve again.  I’ve got plans for curtains, cushions, and lighting… just for starters.

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And if you missed the last video from Tiny House Expedition – it’s here.  And if you’re considering going tiny, pick a vehicle and get started.  You can do it!!

Behind the Scenes

BTW, I’m starting a Patreon Community where you can support my work if you’d like.

Let’s make today fantastic!

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Getting Vinnie Legal with the DMV

IMG_426034 days ago, our documents arrived at the DMV in Richmond (the capital of Virginia) including the form we were given by the folks at our local DMV.

We just got it back in the mail with a “application denied” letter and thankfully they included *the right form* for us to fill out and send back. They also included a very clear list of requirements, which is hugely helpful because try as I might, I could not find Virginia’s list of requirements anywhere online and our local DMV didn’t have that information at hand.IMG_4263

I know what we need to do now. One requirement is to create a detailed document with all the changes we’ve made to the bus, have it notarized, then send the whole stack of info back to Richmond again. Then there is an inspection. We were initially told it would take two weeks, but we now know that it will be a another 30 some days minimum. Expectations adjusted.

Sadly we won’t be able to take our Skoolie to Omaha Nebraska for Tiny Fest Midwest as we had planned. That’s a bummer! I was so looking forward to meeting more tiny house and Skoolie people, especially since I follow so many of you on Instagram and love seeing your beautiful homes!! Plan B is in the works – no worries!

IMG_4331The silver lining is that now we can help anyone else trying to change a bus to an RV here in Virginia. People who are considering the Skoolie thing need to know that it can be kind of complicated (but still totally worth it). People also need to know that Virginia is one of the toughest states for the bus to RV transition, so if you can buy a bus and make the transition in another state, that might not be a bad idea. Apparently North Carolina is pretty easy – no inspection. At any rate, when I get time I will write up the whole thing on our website so that people can have the info they need to get it done much more quickly.

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In what state did you do your build, and what were the requirements? If you have all this info written up on your own blog for your state, please send me the link and I’ll link to all of them.

Sometimes getting to simplicity is kind of complicated, but it will be worth it.

We get by with a little help from our friends.”

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The Breville Smart Oven Air – Perfect for a Tiny House Kitchen! (plus… YOGURT!)

breville-smart-oven-air-oWhen a retired pastry chef and restaurant owner chooses the oven for her Skoolie… which one does she choose?  Ha!  It took me a while and a stack of research, but here are the reasons I choose the Breville Smart Oven Air (not an affiliate link).

  1. Since it will be the only oven in the Skoolie, it needs to be able to actually bake things.  In other words, it needs to be more than a toaster oven.  We had a glorified toaster oven in our first Tiny and it was good for many things but sometimes the limitations were vexing.  I read the product material and the reviews until I was confident that this oven could handle any baking challenge we are likely to throw at it.  Furthermore, after extensive testing, I now know that it cooks anything we like to eat (and then some) and we love it!you-deserve-to-be-free-1
  2. Size: It’s a small oven that is roughly the same size as the larger toaster ovens on the market.  It takes less space than a small size range, and since our Skoolie will have less than 130 sq ft of living space, that was important.  It still has enough space inside the oven to roast a 14 pound turkey, as long as the turkey is square.  LOL!  Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.
  3. Power: It takes less power than a small range.  It may still require more power than a small solar power system can handle, however… it takes MUCH less power than a microwave!  So that’s a bonus.  And this will be great for those times and places where we are able to plug in an umbilical cord.
  4. Features: This oven has some really fancy features!  The one that really caught my attention was the dehydrate function.  When we sold the restaurant, the new chef/owner wanted my Excalibur dehydrator and so I gave it to him.  I’m still kicking myself – can you tell?  I’ve missed having fresh yogurt, kale chips, and pineapple flowers (among other things).  Now FINALLY, I can do all of those things again – without an additional appliance in my home.  SCORE!
  5. The air fry feature was a revelation!  We LOVED sweet potato crisps made in this oven, then drizzled with olive oil and sea salt!
  6. Another perk is that it doesn’t overheat the kitchen when we use it in the summer!
  7. Price: The Breville Smart Oven Air is $399 pretty much everywhere.  I checked.  This is not a cheap item but there are cheaper oven models in the product line.  Less bells and whistles = more affordable.  It is still a better value than buying a full size (or even a fun sized) range.  And we already have a induction cook top.

20-thfNOTICE: There is a lot included in the box with this oven, so wait to purchase bits and pieces until you’ve seen what comes with it.  I didn’t realize that and now I have an extra air fry basket that I don’t need.

Living tiny for a foodie doesn’t have to be a sacrifice!

I recently saw a Skoolie with an Excalibur Dehydrator, so I will also mention…

Having used both the Excalibur Dehydrator in our restaurant, and the Breville Smart Oven Air Dehydrator more recently, I am very happy to say that both are excellent!  I expected to find the Breville dehydrating function underwhelming because it was small.  However, the Breville really isn’t that much smaller than the Excalibur, and I prefer the door on the Breville.  I was able to make a lot of yogurt very comfortably in the Breville, and that was the feature of the Excalibur that I missed the most.  Knowing what I know now, having used both, I prefer the Breville because it has so many features without adding an extra piece of equipment to the kitchen.  What makes this deal even sweeter is that I can have all those features at my finger tips in a tiny house kitchen.  Now that’s brilliant!

The Breville Smart Oven Air =

The IDEAL Tiny House Kitchen Oven.

#5 Vinnie Vlog – How we Designed the Interior of our Tiny House.

 

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I love designing homes and spaces and I love the renovation process.  So of course I’m eager to get going on designing the interior of our new Skoolie.

I’ll walk you through the steps of designing the floor plan for your tiny house in this video. First – measure everything. Then draw up your plan on Floorplanner.com, or any CAD program, or use graph paper. Draw the floor, mark where the windows go, and mark things like wheel wells, etc. Then measure the furniture or elements that you plan to use, and begin placing them in the space to see how they fit. Explore your options until you’ve found the option that suits you the best. Then get busy building!

This video isn’t really designed to teach you how to use the Floorplanner.com (or any other CAD) interface – it’s more just to show you how a tool like this can help you design.  It’s also really fun that you can look over the 3D version and see what you think.  It’s not going to be exact but it is enough to give you a feel for how things will look. From here you can make decisions on electrical and plumbing design, and choose your finishes.

It all starts with a sketch and a few good ideas. In our case it helps that we’ve already lived in 125 sq ft for 3+ years so we know what we need and what we want. Plus, this bus has 128 sq ft of livable space in it, so it’s not that different from what we are used to.  The design process is fun and invigorating and I think you’ll enjoy it. 29c45-1a2bcarmen