Introducing Vinnie #3

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 follow along behind the scenes as I make updates to my website, make videos, and write books.  If you ever wondered what goes into the life of an author behind the scenes – especially if you’ve been considering writing a book yourself… then you’ll want to check this out and become a member of my Community on Patreon.  More information coming soon so stay tuned!

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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#6 Vinnie Vlog: Choosing the Right Oven for our Skoolie Kitchen

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.
  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… we have plans for an off-grid bread oven outside.  No worries.  And this will still be great for those times and places where we are able to plug in an umbilical cord.  I won’t use it at the same time as a hair dryer or curling iron (obvs, as I don’t own those things) or when the heater is on.  We already have that habit so that won’t be a problem.
  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!  As a bonus – there is an “Air Fry” function and I think that might be fun to explore.
  5. 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.

NOTICE: 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.

MONEY SAVING HACK: I bought the oven using the ibotta app, so I got money back on my purchase making the price $339 instead of $399 – every bit helps!  Referral link: get your $10 bonus when you sign up and get started.  I have loved using the ibotta app at the grocery and online stores.  I have gotten $134 back since I downloaded the free app 47 days ago.  YAY!

Xaver and I will enjoy using this cute little oven in our new haven-home!  I think it is the right oven for us and I can’t wait to move in and get cookin! 29c45-1a2bcarmen

#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

Vinnie Vlog #4 – Floor ~ Power ~ Mess

IMG_3403We’ve made some progress on the Skoolie this week.  The floor is down, and the wiring is underway!  We’re making progress!  We’ve got a little more work to do so stick around!!

What’s your favorite part of a Skoolie conversion?  The power? The furnishings?  The Kitchen or Bath?  Stick around.  We’re taking it all on – step by step!29c45-1a2bcarmen

Vinnie Vlog #3 – Choosing the Floor for the Skoolie

Welcome back everyone, today I’m talking about the choice we made for the floor of the Skoolie. We ended up with Kronotex USA American made laminate flooring, the color name is “Wilson Pine” that we purchased from The Habitat Store in Charlottesville, Virginia. Plus, Xaver takes over the camera while I give the tour of the space as I’ve imagined it – even a sneak peek at the kitchen! One of his favorite cars even makes an appearance. lol!  We’re having great February weather here in Virginia, so we’ve been able to work outside very comfortably to get the seats taken out and the flooring down.  It looks great so far!

Next, I’ll rattle-can the “baseboard” that came on the bus and the wheel covers, then those can go back in.  I’ll also give the antique a fresh new look to prepare it for it’s next life as the kitchen cabinet in our Skoolie.  I’ll take the camera with me each step of the way so stick around for more stories from our world.  I’m Carmen Shenk reminding you that we can live tiny, embrace simplicity, and still eat really well.

Where are you in your tiny journey?  Looking, building, living?  Have you chosen a floor?  If so, let me know what you chose.  Thanks for following along, I really appreciate it! 29c45-1a2bcarmen

Vinnie Vlog #2 Another NEW BUS?!

It’s true, we bought another bus! We happened upon another one that we liked better because it’s longer, therefore it will be a more spacious home for us.  Plus, it’s also in great shape mechanically, and in even better shape cosmetically.  Yep, we’ve got a bus for sale!  lol!

Thomas Jefferson's tiny HouseOur new (older) bus used to be a shuttle bus at Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson.  This is fitting because one of my favorite folks in the tiny house movement is Thomas Jefferson!  lol!  I’ll bet you didn’t know he was one of us tiny house folks, did you?!  He bought land, and built a tiny one-room house that was 18 x 18 feet, and moved right in.  This little home became known as “The Honeymoon Cottage” when Jefferson married Martha Wayles Skelton. They lived so happily there that they soon welcomed their daughter Martha to the family.  Enjoying the perks of tiny house life, they worked on another house on the property – Monticello – a project that would be in progress for the rest of Jefferson’s life.

Stay tuned!  We’ve got the ceiling hatches sealed and we’ll be getting those seats out and putting down a new floor soon, it’ll be great!  I’ll bring you all the gritty details, so stick around!

I’m Carmen Shenk reminding you that we can go tiny, embrace simplicity, and still eat really well.  Thanks for watching, I appreciate it! 29c45-1a2bcarmen

 

Vinnie Vlog #1: Introducing Vinnie #3, our new Bus that wants to be a Skoolie!

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Interior of Vinnie 1

I’m starting a video log for our Skoolie project so here is an introduction to Vinnie 3.  Vinnie #1 was a van that I made into an RV back in 2010 or 2011 or so.  I fully intended to be a van-dweller and quietly live in plain sight but along came a handsome gentlemen and that was that.  I named that van “Vincent, my Van that Goghs” because I thought it was funny and artsy, but in time he became simply “Vinnie”.  Vinnie and I had many wonderful adventures together and I was sad to sell him, but he went to a traveling band of young musicians in spandex and big colorful hair.  So I know he is happy with his new family.

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A cup of tea in Vinnie 2

Our tiny house of 125 square feet became Vinnie #2, and we’ve been enjoying that one since the fall of 2014. We’ve been parked in various places around the area and have really loved our little haven home.  We’ve been though a lot in the last three years, but no matter what happened in a day, when we turned our car toward home, we were always glad to be back together in our haven home.

Thursday I decided I really wanted to consider the idea of a Skoolie a little more, so I took a look around Craigslist.  I texted a guy and made a plan to visit him the following morning.  I mentioned it to Xaver and away we went the next morning to meet Vinnie #3.  It was love at first sight for me, but Xaver walked around it complaining that it needed new tires and it was going to cost a fortune to put six good new tires on it.  The gentlemen lowered the price.  Xaver complained some more, and the price went down some more.  It was all I could do to keep from squeeling “SOLD!” but I kept my mouth shut tight with heroic effort.  Naturally we bought it.

IMG_20180118_171653038_HDR (2)I’ll keep a video blog of the process so be sure to swing by YouTube and subscribe so that you don’t miss a single episode.  Thousands of ideas, two artists, and one bus.  It’s going to be a real adventure!

I’m Carmen Shenk, the Tiny House Foodie, reminding you that we can live tiny, embrace simplicity, and still eat really well.  And we’re building a Skoolie where we can do just that.  Stick around, it’ll be fun.29c45-1a2bcarmen