Tiny Affordable Eco house

Tiny Affordable Eco house

view - South side

view – South side

Eco house from the end showing garage door

Eco house from the end showing garage door

Check Google images for tiny house, small house, eco-house, pod, green living module or just a modern house. See anything you could imagine building very cheaply then living in?
Here’s the Original Twist idea of a simple modern looking house which, by using blocks or ICFs for the first floor and SIPs (structural insulated panels) on top, is quick and correspondingly cheap to make. It is also quite small which leaves something in the budget for all the latest mod cons like the home cinema, a nice car in the integrated garage and of course the eco kit – 24 solar panels and the heat pump pod in the garden.
The actual building is conventionally cubic, clad in vertical wood, with all the metallic looking curvy edges added on later. The edges conceal wires and pipes and are made of polystyrene or zinc covered forms. The upper south side is nearly all glass which adds to the feeling of space and allows for enough solar gain to take us into passivehause territory.
Small it may be but it is huge inside with the main living area 6m x 10m and a similarly massive room downstairs, both with cavernous ceilings. The raised bed platform gives a visual separation from the seating area and allows the big room to be a sitting room, bedroom and dining room all in one go. It will feel like a large expensive modern house but without the heavy price tag.
The main seating backs onto the big step and faces the partition wall which neatly houses a huge 4K TV, and all the usual kit, beneath a roller tapestry. This prefabricated wall incorporates storage on the reverse side and integrates all the gear for home automation, security and communications.

To convert the living space into a dining room the table comes up from the floor – (see magic table on http://www.originaltwist.com)…… the TV disappears, the bed tips up and away and the sofa glides back into the recess behind it; fanciful maybe but it makes excellent use of the space and easily accommodates large dinner parties. The sofa mechanism is quite simple with the sofa parking on top of the cover door when it is deployed.
With all the clutter cleared away there is plenty of room for partying with the ‘bar height’ raised platform making a safe place to put food and drinks. This house really is an entertaining machine.
There is a doorway either side of the big screen; one for the upstairs loo and the other to the kitchen. The generally high ceilings allow for an optional extra bedroom over the upstairs kitchen, accessed by a stairway along the back wall. It has to be very light and airy looking to preserve the cube like look of the main structure.
The house is suited to be built on a sloping site so access to the first floor would come from that level and ideally via a glass entry vestibule to the front door on the wall opposite the big glass south wall.

Conservatory, kitchen, bedroom, car - what else do you need?

Conservatory, kitchen, bedroom, car – what else do you need?

Downstairs the large breakfast room enjoys a wrap around conservatory and incorporates a second small integrated kitchen. Doors to the rear lead to an en-suite bedroom, a loo and the garage.
The daily grind won’t seem so bad when you start with a cuppa in bed watching the morning news then a shower (in the small shower-room on the bed level) before going downstairs to a sunny breakfast before nipping through to take your Porsche off to work.

Of course the eco-technomologicalness will be state of the art. The 24 Sunerg hybrid solar panels actually dictate the size and shape of the roof and the red trim panels are fixed directly to the panels (PV and wet solar are all 2m x 1m).  4 of the panels on the steep roof will be wet to give a massive 8sqm to feed my own twin tank heat bank design – my speciality. The other 20 panels use micro-inverters to give a nominal 6kWp and a real 2-3kW in the winter to run the little air source heat pump which also does some neat heat recovery from the house and uses some ground heated air too.  Batteries make a huge UPS which, combined with the batteries in the electric car, largely makes the mains supply more like a backup.

Eco pod

Eco pod

At the moment this is just an exploratory sketch but with serious intent. Local councils are being encouraged to make space available for self build houses and after a bit of polishing this design might gain some followers. If this is too radical for you, have a look at the more acceptable Brexit house.

More on this topic in LIST OF POSTS

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Magic disappearing table

Now you see me

Now you see me

Now you don't

Now you don’t

You’ve been one of eight guests for dinner in a very modern eco-house. You all dined on a lovely heavy wooden table standing on four polished steel pillars; all very much in keeping with the modern house. You help to clear away the last plate into the kitchen and when you return 10 seconds later the table has completely disappeared. What? Your hosts were in the kitchen too so where has it gone?
OK, here’s the secret of the Original Twist magic table, and strangely, to make one table disappear you need 2 tables.
To start with imagine the original floor – for me, wide lime-washed oak boards – and this is where the table starts off; at this moment it is the floor. Underneath there is a small pit just big enough to accommodate the 4 steel pillars the bases of which screw into a rectangular frame which is raised and lowered by screw jacks and an electric motor. To go techie for a moment, there is an upper frame too with big DU bushes in blocks to steady the legs. When the floor/table is raised up you don’t see a hole in the floor because immediately under the first table there is a second identical floor section with 4 holes through which the legs move. When the legs base frame comes up to the top of the pit it pushes the second floor up to exactly the right height and the illusion is complete. The table has appeared from nowhere and the floor is exactly like it was before.
Hygiene would be an issue but with a rubber backed rug over the floor the table will never have been walked on and double protection would be afforded by a tablecloth as well.
Servicing can all be done from above and would be even easier done from below if the pit had a side hatch accessed from the floor below.
There is more to this concept that the sheer theatre of it. The easy removal of a substantial table makes grand entertaining in a downsized house all very possible without having that old hat idea of a largely unused dining room.
There is a business waiting to be started here. Precast pit and frames etc waiting to be fitted to the floor. If you are interested please contact me on the form below.

More on this topic in LIST OF POSTS

Bug-R-Off bug catcher gun

Bug-R-OffBug-R-Off Bug catcher
Spiders, scorpions, wasps, creepy leggy things; Bug-R-Off gets them all.

The Original Twist bug catcher enables any bug in the house to be captured with a single press of a trigger. It works like a one shot Hoover with a spring loaded piston causing an air blast to move the bug from a wall to inside the bug viewer.
The bug catcher is a short clear plastic tube with a funnel shaped trap at the front to enclose the bug and a cylinder off the side where the bug ends up after firing. The side cylinder is also clear plastic and incorporates a magnifying glass for better bug inspection.
The firing sequence. The piston has to be pulled to the front with a pull rod until it locks on the trigger stop. The pull rod is then pushed back into the gun and only then does an interlock allow the trigger to be pressed. When the trigger is pressed a spring pulls the piston back into the body of the gun and the vacuum causes air to enter the funnel trap and blast the bug into the gun too. Perforations at the back of the gun regulate the back pressure air and a twist collar can set the power from ‘Kill’ to ‘Kind’. There is a small hole at the very back of the gun which allows air to escape from the damper chamber which is simply where the back end of the piston ends up coming to a soft stop.
Just as the piston comes to a stop it uncovers the entrance to the bug viewer; the bug slams into the angled face of the piston and is deflected into the bug viewer along with some of the moving air. The entrance port to the bug viewer has some bendy hairs which give way to the bug and air but spring back to prevent the bug climbing out. After that the bug can be inspected and ejected by removing the bug viewer canister.

You saw it on Original Twist first. If you wish to use this design please get in touch using the contact form.

The Talking Frizbee

Description:  A frizbee that doubles as a speaker. It can record sounds or speech and replay them them with a time delay. A plug in the centre body enables a media player or phone to be attached when the frisbee acts like a static loud speaker.

Method: The plastic shell of the frizbee holds a central module that incorporates a driver (probably made by Peerless) working on NXT technology. This is what vibrates the frisbee to make sounds. The technology is not new and a licence from NXT will be required. A rechargeable battery and memory module are incorporated and a USB port for charging..

In action:  Set the timer, record a message then throw the frizbee. It will deliver the message while flying overhead or when caught. A new message can then be recorded and the frizbee thrown back.

The Market: This could be the next big thing in toys. Potential sales are therfore in the millions.