Blustery Day

Tiny Cottage and Tinier Dog House

Kavi greets Katya in the snow in front of our tiny cottage. Today has been a break from the physical labor of construction because it was windy and snowy outdoors. Yesterday I got fresh hay out to the pigs so they are snuggled in while the white stuff whirls around. It is rather blustery out and the wind is coming from the south, unusual.

Outdoors: 31째F/21째F Snow 11″ of actual snow fall although it is hard to tell because of the wind. In some places there were drifts of 3′ or possibly more.
Tiny Cottage: 71째F/59째F Snug and cozy

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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17 Responses to Blustery Day

  1. Mary Ricksen says:

    Who lives in the tiny cottage?

  2. Mary,

    That little cottage is our house – our family lives there along with two ferrets in the loft.

    Check out the story of its construction. It was about two months for us to go from dirt to closed in doing all the construction ourselves. A true family project. It is cozy, warm, inexpensive to build, low maintenance, super easy to heat and cute to boot. The construction is primarily masonry including stone from our land, local granite, brick and concrete. The roof is a barrel vault of ferro-cement.

    Eventually we'll add some more space including a folly tower. One of our future projects. In the mean time we're loving living in a home we created with our own hands.



  3. Arne says:

    What astounds me Walter is that you built your ROOF out of CONCRETE! I can understand metal or wood but not concrete. I imagine it is amazingly strong though.

  4. Nance says:

    Walter, I wanted to re-read all about the construction of the tiny cottage . . . but don't believe your link is working. Or maybe it is my internet server. sigh.

  5. Pablo says:

    Folly tower! Do you have plans or drawings to share?

  6. Arne, The roof is a barrel vault, an arch. To make it we created a form of wood, covered it with lathe and then parged on concrete with PVA fibers in it to make a half inch thick layer which was just enough to stiffen it. Once that had cured a little we could then walk all over the roof and we parged on another inch of fiber concrete. All of this was done in December. Remind me to do these projects in the milder months… :)

    Nance, the link works but the top article is the same as this article so it looks like nothing changed perhaps. Scroll down to see the other related articles after clicking on the construction link for the tiny cottage.

  7. Pablo, the tower is very much in the planning stages. All sorts of ideas are being floated around. Definitely lots of stone. Tall. Climbable. Dungeon. Crenels. Celestial observatory. Arrow slits. So many possibilities… :) We're having fun planning for this eventual project. First we have some other projects to complete.

  8. Anonymous says:


    I, like you, have a folly on the drawing board. It has been about two years in the dream stage but probably still many years from being built as our house comes first (I think).

    Originally the folly was going to help me experiment with concrete, mortar, stone and wood as I built a disguised well house. But we had so many other building jobs that there was plenty of hands on experience with materials so the folly was a future project.

    It is fun to think of ways to build that are creative and expressive without limiting ourselves to utility.


  9. Walter, the next time you get a minute of free time to plan your folly tower, check out the round tower at Kilamacduagh Monastery in Ireland. Sturdy since the 7th century, seems like they built it with you in mind.

  10. Neat, Donna. I couldn't get that link to work but found this. Another folly that is a favorite of mine is Bartlett Tower at Dartmouth College which I have climbed perhaps 2,000 times, no joke, and well over 100 times free, just me and my shorts. A simple tower but highly useful for teaching new climbers.

  11. Mary Ricksen says:

    It's so small for a family. How come you didn't make it bigger? Just curious, as you went to great effort to build it. And it is cute!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I like this tower.
    It makes me think.
    5000 handmade bricks. Someone had a lot of time on their hands.
    What about the poor goats in an ice storms!
    Wanna BEE Farmer

  13. WannaBee, That is one cool tower! I love the exterior steps and its use as a goat house.

    Mary, we had planned to build something a bit larger but we got to the beginning of November, were looking at winter racing towards us and our son said, how about we just build it this big, indicating a small section of footer. It fit between the ledge protrusions and that was how big it was. We got closed in just barely in time before the hard winter hit. Living in the old farm house was not pleasant and even there we only used about 750 sq-ft of space most of which was shared with farming activity, tools and such. In the tiny cottage all of the space is our personal space, there is no farm in the cottage. Lastly, we spend a great deal of our day working out doors in our 40,804,000 sq-ft work shop. Lots of room there! :)

  14. Anonymous says:

    hey walter, good hay is hard to find this yr. i found to wrapped round bails, there green, heavy as heck as a result there for the pigs I haven't bought them was wondering what you think? hold out for dry hay? he has some dry round bails but there not wrapped. dont have any lean to or anything to cover them. advice?
    robert nh

  15. Anonymous says:

    walter, You were in the military??? what branch? I'm medically retired from the army after almost 8 yrs of service. was reading one of your posts and saw you have usaa I gotta tell ya I love usaa I do all my financial business with themthey just can't be beat. robert in nh

  16. Anonymous says:

    I think it is so cool that Walter and his family live in such a ecofriendly little house. If more people gave up those 3000 sf macmansions we would save a lot of resources and cut pollution a lot to. People in the past and other countries live in little houes with big families. Bravo to Walter and family

  17. Andrea & Adam A. says:

    BRRR! I am glad you have a snug little house. We have an an old farm house and it is breezy inside. We cant seem to get it sealed up tight and it takes 12 cords to heat it plus electric heaters and it still is never really comfortable. Too big too. You were smart to build small. I read in the NY Times an article about tiny houses butcouldnt tell if it was a fad thing or a trend. Sounds like you did it for the right reasons. Some of the houses in the articles were really art studios or guest houses or vacation homes or such not really houses. It would be good if it was a trend toward greener living and people using less resources but weve got too much stuff that we couldnt fit it all into a little house like yours. Still I love what your doing and admire you fore it. Keep up the good work you do and best of luck with your big project!
    Andrea & Adam A.

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