When it comes to designing tiny homes, Vina Lustado is the real deal. Her iconic Sol Haus and Sol Pod homes are beautiful, light-filled examples of high tiny design, and Vina has lived tiny for many years and in several locations. As a California resident, Vina has seen the destructive and traumatic effects of wildfires and has answered the call in the best way she knows how: By designing a pre-fab tiny home that can be permitted as an ADU in California and has several fire-resistant design elements.

In This Episode:

  • An already legal, already permitted and certified, modular tiny house
  • What do “modular” and “pre-fab” really mean?
  • Building a healthy house by using environmentally friendly, non-toxic materials
  • The elements that make up a fire-resistant tiny home
  • Moveable but not mobile: tiny houses on foundations
  • Appendix Q, IRC, ANSI and what Vina does to comply
  • What do the different types of certifications really mean?
  • How Vina is able to get the houses certified and permitted for her clients
  • Why a house certified in CA would still be approved in other states
  • A tiny house foundation and the site work involved
  • Living in a “normal” dwelling after a tiny house
  • What is the future of the tiny house movement?

Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Vina Lustado

Vina Lustado

Vina Lustado is both a tiny house dweller and a professional designer. Her designs incorporate lots of light and open space, with a focus on how space is used by the inhabitants.

She is the founder of Sol Haus Design, a boutique firm with a focus on sustainable design and building in Ojai, California. After receiving an architecture degree and more than 20 years of experience with high-end corporate clients, Vina decided to focus her career on smaller-scale projects that could make a positive difference. Staying true to her values, Vina lives full-time in her Tiny House, which she designed and built with the help of friends. Vina's home has been featured in media publications, books, and television. Lustado is also a proud recipient of FWN Global 100 Most Influential Women and has been a featured speaker at Yale University on social entrepreneurship.




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More Photos:

Patios are a staple for Vina's designs

The Living Room

Pre-Fab Kitchen
Pre-Fab Bathroom

The Sol-Haus Pre-Fab Modular Bedroom

Vina Lustado 0:00

So we're not using that because ANSI is not as stringent as the international residential code, which is now combined with appendix Q. it complies to the most rigorous code which incorporate appendix Q.

Ethan Waldman 0:19

Welcome to the tiny house lifestyle podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 139 with Vina Lustado. When it comes to designing Tiny Homes, Vina is the real deal. Per iconic soul house and soul pod homes are beautiful, light filled examples of hi tiny design. And Vina has lived tiny for many years and in several locations. As a California resident Vina has seen the destructive and traumatic effects of wildfires, and has answered the call in the best way. She knows how, by designing a prefab tiny home that can be permitted as an ad you in California, and has several fire resistant design elements. In this interview, we'll talk about the new design, the approach that Vina took and the differences that you have to take into consideration when designing a stationary tiny house versus a mobile one. I hope you stick around.

But before we get started, did you know that I personally send a tiny house newsletter every week on Tuesdays. It's called tiny Tuesdays. And it's a weekly email with tiny house news, interviews, photos and resources. It's free to subscribe and I even share sneak peeks of things that are coming up. ask for feedback about upcoming podcast guests and more. It's really the best place to keep the pulse on what I'm doing in the tiny house space. And also stay informed of what's going on in the tiny house movement. To sign up, go to the tiny house dot net slash newsletter, where you can sign up for the tiny Tuesday's newsletter. And of course you can unsubscribe at any time I will never send you spam. And if you ever don't want to receive emails, it's easy to unsubscribe. So again, that's the tiny house dot net slash newsletter. Thanks and I hope you enjoy next week's tiny Tuesday's news.

All right, I am here with Vina Lustado. Vina is both a tiny house dweller and a professional designer. Her designs incorporate lots of light and open space with a focus on how space is used by the inhabitants. She is the founder of Seoul house design, a boutique firm with a focus on sustainable design and building in Ohio, California. After receiving an architecture degree and more than 20 years of experience with high end corporate clients. Vina decided to focus her career on smaller scale projects that could make a positive difference. staying true to her values. Vina lives full time in her tiny house, which she designed and built with the help of friends in his home has been featured in media publications, books and television. She is also a proud recipient of Fw and global 100 most influential women and has been a featured speaker at Yale University on social entrepreneurship Vina Lustado, welcome to the show.

Vina Lustado 3:25

Thanks so much for having me, Ethan.

Ethan Waldman 3:26

You're welcome. While or I should say welcome back to the show, as you know, not this second. But people who are listening to this episode should go back and listen to our first interview where we talked a lot about your your tiny house story and and those designs. And the reason that I asked you to come back on the show, among other things was that you just made a big announcement about a new prefab modular house. Can you give us kind of the overview of the of the project before we kind of dive into some of the details. And

Vina Lustado 4:06

thanks again for allowing me to talk about this because it's kind of a long effort that I started, I would say a couple of years ago to try to find a way to make tiny houses legal, because that's been such a roadblock for many people. And so I wanted to come up with a solution that was easily permitted. And that was legal straight off the bat. So that that was my motivation. And I always felt that factory building or modular prefab housing was a way to make quality housing affordable. So I brought those two things together and came up with a solution by providing a tiny house that's on a foundation but still somewhat mobile. Got it.

Ethan Waldman 4:57

Maybe Actually, I'm thinking that We've all heard these words modular and prefab kicked around. But could you just explain what modular is and what prefab is?

Vina Lustado 5:10

Great question even. So, prefab modular housing is where it's built in a factory. Technically, at least in the confines of California codes, and it's a manufactured housing that's built in a factory that's certified under state regulations. So it's different from a mobile home because mobile homes or RV homes are governed under a different set of codes, which is federal, by amsi. So that's a federal code, compliance model codes. The prefab modular is under factory built housing, which is regulated by the state. In California, its HCD, housing community and development. So they're the ones who permit the structure. And it's basically a structure that's completely done in a factory. It's, it's not necessarily something like panelized, you know, like sip. But it's, it's all done in the factory, and then get shipped to this site. And a lot of modular homes, prefabricated modular homes are done in modules separate, you know, from each other, and the whole thing gets assembled at the site, because usually, there are many different modules.

Ethan Waldman 6:41

Got it, okay. So when when they're using when they're doing a prefab modular home, that is a more traditional size, it would be coming in multiple modules that they would then piece together on site.

Vina Lustado 6:53

Exactly. So you know, it has to travel down the road. So in a way, it's a little bit similar to the trailer tiny house because it has to comply to the Department of Transportation requirements, the OSI, but the big difference there is, it's prepared or built, like traditional stick built homes, international residential code requirements, which is what stick built construction needs to comply to, as opposed to Tiny Homes on wheels or movable Tiny Homes. And they're usually governed by an SPE, or the federal code. It's not a it's not an international rush, internet international residential code, it's under MC. Got it.

Ethan Waldman 7:48

So the unit that you designed and the module that you've designed is 10 by 26, so it's 260 square feet, and it's got a bedroom, a kitchen and a bathroom, and how much how much does it cost and what is included in the price.

Vina Lustado 8:06

So the price discussion is a little bit complicated, because what I'm proposing is something that also includes the permitting system, wow, with the state. So after working 20 years in the industry, I understand and empathize with many homeowners who have difficulties with the permitting process and even the construction. So what I'm trying to do is reduce the cost by streamlining the process with permitting and construction. And this modular prefabricated system allows that because it's all built in a factory, which is a lot more efficient than building it on the site. And it's permitted with the state because it needs to be inspected in the factory as opposed to the actual property. So that alone streamlines the process, but and so therefore reduces the cost overall, and it's not just looking at the structure, it's looking at the process of permitting and construction got it. And also the materials and, um, you know, eco friendly aspects of it is really important to me. And I see this also as a kind of a forever home where it's not something you live in for a few years, it's going to be for the long haul. So the material quality is a lot higher than, let's say, an RV or mobile home. And because it's under the international residential code, it has to comply to title 24, which is energy efficiency, and seismic in California which is about earthquakes and fires. Resistance. I'm addressing all of those issues at the same time. So with that said, I'm trying to finalize the cost now with two back to me builders, and they're quoting me at this point about 120,000. But that's still to be verified as I go through the final drawings with them got it. Another I just want to say another distinction is that this includes the cabinetry and appliances is the light fixtures and the flooring. So it's a turnkey solution, where you basically just move in, and the only thing that needs to be done and on the site is attaching the foundation to the structure. So when it leaves the factory and it's turnkey, you basically have a finished structure ready to be moved in

Ethan Waldman 10:56


Vina Lustado 10:57

you know, traditional housing, a lot of the times you have to finish out the, um, I don't know, the flooring or a lot of furnishings are included in my unit, because it's so specific to the inches that a lot of it is built in, and the light fixtures and the appliances and you know all the washer and dryers, although that is an option. But all the plumbing fixtures and appliances are included. Nice.

Ethan Waldman 11:28

So you actually not in addition to designing it and getting those designs permitted, you also have gone through the work of finding a factory and basically finding a builder for this.

Vina Lustado 11:43

Well, that's, that's the big puzzle, because I can feel in good conscience to propose something that's affordable without knowing exactly what the final cost where the client is, and who wants to buy the unit. Because designing something is one thing but actually having it built is totally another cost. So I've talked to a couple of factory builders who have already gone through you know, the drawings with me and said that they're able to build it, but I still want to maintain the price point and the quality that I'm you know, most appealing for everyone. What are some aspects of the

Ethan Waldman 12:29

the home that makes it environmentally friendly.

Vina Lustado 12:33

Um, so energy efficiency is really important to me. In California, there are strict requirements for the insulation value of the walls and the floor and the roof. So I'd like to have non toxic insulation like rock wool or denim and some other alternative insulation. But it also depends on the builder, what they have relationships with the suppliers they already have. And all of the plumbing fixtures are Energy Star rated all the appliances so that you know it's water saving, and the consumption for like the hot water heater and any other electrical appliances with a minimal electrical load of refrigerators etc. and non toxicity of the building materials are really important to me also, I have so many clients who come to me who are chemically sensitive, who cannot stay in their home because they're sick from mold or other toxic materials inside their home. So I know this firsthand where if you have a lot of formaldehyde in the plywood or a lot of off gassing and the paints and the sealants and other finished cereals then it can really be be you know sickly for the residents. So I specified with the builders, we cannot have any toxic off gassing inside. A client actually approached me about EMF also to see if we can do that and there's definitely options for that with the paint. And can you can you explain what that is for people

Ethan Waldman 14:25

who don't know.

Vina Lustado 14:28

EMF, I think stands for emissivity it's like the frequency radiation that comes off with your phones and other devices that could be harmful for you know your body. Yeah. So you're trying to minimize the that frequency great getting inside the home. So I've done this before with other projects where if we specified a certain paint on the walls, it blocks out like that. radiation or emissivity from the inside.

Ethan Waldman 15:05

And so these are also more fire resistant than then a typical home, what are some things about it? What what are part of the design that makes it more fire resistant.

Vina Lustado 15:20

does you know California is so subject to fire is everywhere, it's hard to escape in California and even in Colorado now and other places throughout the country. So I'm designing it for high fire hazard zones, which is in many parts of California. And one of the important things to consider is not necessarily the walls, but actually the roof. Because fire is caused by wind that were very far reaching. So the roof material quickly gets inflamed when the embers catch it. And so instead of using like standard asphalt composition route files, I'm specifying a Standing Seam Metal Roof, so that it's the most fire resistant material, or roofing and also the attic space. And every time you have a vent in the attic space, it's easy to catch the vent of the embers inside the vents. And so of course, my units have vaulted ceilings, so there's no attic. And the material on the exterior siding is a cement board panel. So instead of wood, which I often I love, like cedar siding, and it's not really good for a fire hazard sounds. So this cement board by hardy panel is what I use, which is a very high fire resistant, it's considered Class A, which is the rating for fire resistant material. And so I'm stressing about specifying that as a standard citing for all my modular is

Ethan Waldman 17:08

fantastic. So is this the kind of thing that that could be moved in the event of a fire? Or is it you know, it's it's pretty well tied down? Not something that you can just pick up? Quickly?

Vina Lustado 17:22

Yeah, so it's not on wheels, it's a put on girders, or a kind of a, it's moved on a flatbed truck. So when it goes on the site, it gets attached with a lag bolt on a perimeter Foundation, concrete, masonry block units. And so it's not really meant to be moved very often, let's say every few years, and we're able to design it so we can access the bottom plate with the lag bolt, and they can just grind down the lag bolts, so then it could be released from the foundation. So it could be moved every few years if need be for, you know, the owner to want to move to another state because of a job or take care of errands or, or whatnot. So it is it is doable for it to be.

Ethan Waldman 18:22

It seems like it's more designed, though to to act as an ad EU and to be a permanent addition to an existing property.

Vina Lustado 18:33

Exactly. Correct. And I think I think you know, and definitely my experience, most people who have Tiny Homes on wheels, I don't really want to move it around too much. You know, Alexis and Christian have tiny house expedition and move around a lot. But that's more rare than typical. And actually, recently, I think there are more, more stable, but most people who live in Tiny Homes on wheels want to stay at their location. So I think this isn't really a stretch for most people. Sure.

Ethan Waldman 19:14

Yeah. I agree. I agree. And I I will affirm that, you know, I've moved my tiny house once in seven years. So

Vina Lustado 19:25

and that's just recently

Ethan Waldman 19:26

Yeah, it'll move again though, because that this move is to kind of a temporary spot while we figure out what what we're gonna do.

Vina Lustado 19:34

And I moved mine much offers much more often than you did have mine like four or five times already. During the eight years that I've owned it. Wow, though.

Ethan Waldman 19:49

So I do want to I want to catch up about about all that stuff. But I want to ask more about the free fab unit. And I know that code And, you know, are so confusing to so many people, myself included. And so you are using a state permitting process for this project. does that have anything to do with appendix q? And the IRC? Or is it just a California thing? Maybe you could, you could set me straight on this.

Vina Lustado 20:26

Absolutely. Now, those are great questions. So appendix Q is part of the International residential code. And if people don't know what appendix Q is, as it was in existence about two years ago, that was proposed by a group of tiny house dwellers and Andrew Morrison and Gabriella and may say a lot of tiny house advocates pushed for it. And so it's basically making it official in the international residential code, that any residence or any dwelling that's under 400 square feet, will be in compliance with the building code, which means before things like the law was, could not be considered illegal bedroom, if you have an upstairs loft that has a ladder, that wasn't legal in the international residential code, because you can't have a ladder as a deemed to fire or lifesafety to go up to a sleeping law. And also, the height of a law was not legal under the international residential code before. So appendix q addresses all those things. Because you can't have a normal bedroom, in a tiny house or a ladder. I mean, a ladder has to be legalized as a way to go to the upper level. So those things have been addressed to make sure that they do comply for life safety. And so that's what that did. That's what the appendix q did. And the typical, any house on wheels code is MC. So we're not using that as an MC is or RVI. A certification, which is compliant to MC is not as stringent as the international residential code, which is now combined with appendix q. So, when my unit does is it complies to the most rigorous code, which is international residential code, which incorporates appendix Q. Okay. I hope that makes sense. Yeah, no,

Ethan Waldman 22:54

sir, that that definitely makes sense. It it's very confusing. And that was actually one of the clearest explanations I've ever heard. So thank you.

Vina Lustado 23:06

I feel like I need to make a chart. This is our IRC, which is appendix Q. Yeah. This is amsi which is like RBI A, this is a mobile, mobile homes and our I think our V's are the same, which is a pod HQ D, which is a federal code. So you know, those are like three different codes to us. The other one,

Ethan Waldman 23:31

now is Noah. Are you familiar with Noah code?

Vina Lustado 23:35

Yeah. Noah certifies under amsi, which is a Yeah,

Ethan Waldman 23:40

they're a certifier. Yeah,

Vina Lustado 23:42

exactly. So NOAA is a third party certification. And well, I've been using, which is really what the factory builders is radko. That's the state third party certification. So if Noah is to third party certification for RVI, a or an SI, then radko is the third party certification for HCD or the state.

Ethan Waldman 24:06

Okay. Who's the third party certifier for? A tiny home that's built under IRC under appendix q?

Vina Lustado 24:16

Yeah, so that would be radko. Right. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So I've been talking to them a lot. And I research them before I spoke to the factory builders, because they have to go through bad code to be certified as a factory builder with the state, right.

Ethan Waldman 24:34

So now Okay, so now I feel like we've we've gotten back to my original question about how this unit is permitting. And the state the state permitting process, this HCD thing, which I have no idea what that is.

Vina Lustado 24:49

Yeah, because that's actually for California. So I don't know what it is in other parts of the country. But I know California is the most, one of the most famous If not maybe the most rigorous in all united states. So when you go through the permitting process, traditionally, with a stick built house, you have to go with the local jurisdiction, the city or the county jurisdiction, and you have to apply for a zoning clearance or approval from the planning department. And then once they approve that, you have to go through the building department. And that's a whole rigorous process. And so what I'm doing is, I'm working directly with the factory builder and the state to get that permit for the structure, which is HCD compliance, which is a housing Community Development under the state of California. So by by doing that, we're minimizing all of the rigorous processes with, with the local jurisdiction, because, for instance, they only have two inspections, which is not even in person, sometimes they can do it, you know, by phone, or some more efficient process. And the cost is incredibly minimized. Because for whatever reason, it's just a lot less like for them to charge their hourly fees. And it's partly because the factory builders have already gone through a rigorous process to getting certified with their warehouse with their factory, and that they already have this thick manual in place. And so they basically just send a set of drawings. And if they've already done similar projects, with, you know, with this factory, then they've already gone through a lot of the steps and makes it a lot more efficient. So typically, a guest house in my experience, and Ventura, in Southern California, is like $25,000 or $20,000. And it's insane. Here in in California, my gosh, you can build anything,

Ethan Waldman 27:11

you could build a tiny house for that month.

Vina Lustado 27:15

Exactly. And that's why I'm up in arms about all this because if you're you're you're putting all your construction into the budget into the permitting. So that's just ridiculous. And the HCD process is, I don't know exactly because I haven't been quoted, but I think it's a few thousand dollars, like 3000 or so. And that's all part of them being certifying it. So like with the construction. So for instance, if the builder tells me it's going to be $120,000. For this structure, in general, that includes the permitting already. And then once that's permitted, and you get that registration from or certification from HCD, and that goes to the local building department, and when you submit for permit for the foundation, and as soon as they see that they pretty much say okay, great. And we just need to look at your foundation. And that's it. So when I called the local city here for this project, because a client has already said they want to build this unit here in Santa Paula, where I'm located. I've already called the city here in Santa Paula and they said, it's going to cost like $4,000. And it's going to take a week versus six months or a year to permit and the process with the state or the structure itself, or the factory building takes three months. I would say actually three months for the building. And I think for the permitting, because they have to get the permit from the state first before they start building. It probably takes, you know, a few weeks.

Ethan Waldman 29:19

Wow. So it's really sped up the process. It sounds like

Vina Lustado 29:23

it's extremely streamlined. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 29:26

So given that these permitting processes are different in every state, you know, can these units be placed outside of California.

Vina Lustado 29:39

So I'm doing this right now, obviously for California and I think once we have the registration in California, you can take it anywhere and you can show them the drawings like in New York or anywhere and they can probably easily stamp it and permitted. Also, I would imagine, because we have the strictest code. So I'll just give you another scenario, when you are a licensed architect in one state, for instance, like let's say, from New York, California or some other states of California, California has so many other requirements on top of what the rest of the states and so you have to take additional tests. In California, if you want to be a registered licensed architect, if you think of it in that kind of parallel way. Where the most direct so if you were to go to another state, and it's easy for them to probably be permitted, also, of course, you have to consider the weather, it's, you know, but the way I'm designing this unit is it'll comply to pretty, you know, hot and cold, not extreme cold, like the Arctic, because that'll require a snow load, that's cost prohibitive with huge rafters and much thicker insulation that will bring the cost so much. But in general, you know, it's pretty in pretty cold, pretty hot climates. And the earthquake requirements, um, will probably not be in existence in other states and for the foundation. So I'm trying to think of, you know, the worst case scenario, but not to the point where it's really cost prohibitive. I got it. So

Ethan Waldman 31:36

maybe you can tell me about what the foundation work is like, and what's needed to be able to place a unit like this down and what like, what does that cost usually?

Vina Lustado 31:48

Yeah, so what we're proposing typically on a flat level site that has very, you know, typical soil characteristics, because the foundation, the footing, is based on the type of soil. So we're taking the worst case scenario, usually, it's like a 27 inch by the B Foundation, a stem wall, that's concrete masonry units. So it only takes a matter of a flat site to dig in about, yeah, 27 inches deep. And so it's going to be about two feet off the ground. And it's at the perimeter, you know, 10 feet wide by 26 feet long. And that two foot cavity underneath the unit will serve as the access point for all the utilities and that all the piping and conduits will be underground and access underground. And I would say, I think the contractor builder, estimated for a really typical flat level site would be about 20,000, to do the foundation, and usually it's the utilities are hooked up to the main house. So it doesn't need to have separately metered utilities, it could just share it with the main house. And so depending on the length of that distance, the main house and the cost would vary. And, of course, there's things like the deck, which I always advocate for in a tiny house, and other sites work that you may need to have like meeting etc. So those are other costs that is hard to estimate. Because all properties are different. Right? Right.

Ethan Waldman 33:35

Yeah, it's interesting. I mean, I just smiling because there's a, there's a lot of wisdom in the idea of just sticking a house on a trailer, and avoiding avoiding that foundation cost and avoiding those permitting fees and all those things. But I also recognize that as this movement becomes more mainstream and becomes a viable option for more people, that it has to grow up a little bit, and we have to start talking about permitting and foundations and all these things.

Vina Lustado 34:10

Well, again, California is such a misnomer because I, my partner and parents live in Kansas, and he was enclosing this deck for his parents. And he said he went down to the building department to get it permitted. And, and he said it was $5 for the first minute, and it took two seconds, and he drew up a plan in a napkin or graph paper. Nice. It's, it's so California I just think is just not typical. Okay. And I think if you were to do you know, I absolutely understand the value of any homes on wheels with having to go through the permitting process? Um, so,

Unknown Speaker 35:06


Ethan Waldman 35:09

They both have their merits. So is this unit? So this is built in a factory? Is it? What is the wall? What is the building envelope? Is it? Is it stick framed? Is it a sip? Is it something else? What is it?

Vina Lustado 35:23

Yeah, I'm using just two by four wood frame construction on on girders. And my and then you know, it's all wood frame stick build construction practically. But my factory builder is in combining that which feel like a moment frame on the corners. Because that allows him to locate openings really flexibly along the wall without having to re engineer like the headers and how big they are. So that's another reason why it's a little bit more costly for this builder, because it's a lot more rigid in structure. And it allows for maximum flexibility in the opening. So I can have, you know, eight foot wide glass doors and windows as you know, in his system.

Ethan Waldman 36:17

So that reminds me a little bit of like advanced framing where you know, the entire top plate is kind of a header, and then all the openings don't have to have this crazy, you know, header that is just a big thermal bridge.

Vina Lustado 36:33

Exactly. Yeah. So that's, that's one system. He's used that to work for him. And, um, that's also another reason why it's harder to locate on the site, he has to use a crane, as opposed to just like, what is it a forklift, because it's a heavier structure because of the feel. And so, um, that's something to consider for accessibility on decide, because you need to have, ideally a shorter distance from the street to the backyard, so you're not reaching the crane so far over, and you can't have too many trees and power lines that are obstructed. So those are some of the big things that we need to consider in these units is accessibility and not much of a slope for the driveway and even the route from, you know, the factory to define a location. Which is something I need to consider for anyone outside of California forest. But yeah, a lot of people have asked for other dates, even other countries like the Philippines. Wow. Um, but that's a whole other

Ethan Waldman 37:56

future. I think that'll be your that'll be your shipping container design for ya to easily transport on a cargo ship.

Vina Lustado 38:05

I wouldn't advocate that's not very low impact and the weather is totally different. The materials are towed, I would say just look at another building.

Ethan Waldman 38:16

Completely. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Definitely. So you you recently moved in your to tinies, right?

Vina Lustado 38:27

I did. So um, I was living in Ohio and the owner. So as many people in Ohio, they're subjected to all these IRag cutting costs for housing. And so my land owner, the who I rented from. She didn't want to try to keep up with her mortgage, the increasing property taxes, her kids had graduated from school and it was just her maintaining the entire two acre property. So she decided to sell it. And it sold like hotcakes within a few days. Because Ohio is so sought after. So I had to move. And I knew I'd have to move again if I didn't located on my property that I own. So I decided not to relocate to Ohio because I knew I would have to move in yet again. So I decided to just put it on my property which I do own in near Yosemite and ochres. Both my tiny office and tiny houses there. And my work is still here in Southern California. So I have to stay here. So I'm now renting duplex, which is a normal house. Completely different from my tiny house. So it's different I actually lived in a normal house.

Ethan Waldman 40:02

Wow. So how, how many years? Did you live tiny? And and maybe any observations about like, going back to a big house?

Vina Lustado 40:15

a refrigerator is huge. I just can't seem to find buy enough food to fill it. And, yeah, it's it's interesting because it took me a while to get used to, you know, such and such space and losing things and having to fill the rooms. But interestingly enough, I think I may have told you or we've spoken about this where our tiny houses are so efficient, we have so much efficient storage, and that when you go into a normal house, usually the storage is not very good. So I wind up being more inefficient, even though I have more space, like my office space, which is one of the bedrooms and you know, it's a decent size office. I mean, room, but there just isn't enough room for storage. So I wind up needing more space, because it doesn't have enough storage capability. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 41:30

That's a really that's a good observation. It is true, we build so much efficient storage into these tiny homes that when you go into a normal, normal house, it just seems so stupid. Like,

Vina Lustado 41:43

yeah, and I do feel excess. I mean, you know, you wind up consciously buying more, when you think I don't really need this, if I lived in a tiny house, I wouldn't really even consider buying this.

But if there are nice advantages, like I have an oven for the first time, I can bake food, which is a whole new world for me, and I can use you know, like a Vitamix or real Blender that's being um, yeah, that's a real luxury. And I just recently also bought a What is that? instapot? Like? So? Yeah, the kitchen definitely is nice to have a bigger kitchen. I don't need to have a giant refrigerator. But you know, nice and spacious. workspace for the kitchen to house. These other appliances.

Ethan Waldman 42:42

Totally. Well, I I usually ask guests for for book or resource recommendations. But you are already on the show. And so you've already given us those recommendations. So I'm curious. Is there anything in the tiny house movement right now that you're excited about that you're looking forward to?

Vina Lustado 43:06

You know, I think we're just transitioning, I don't know if it's because I'm now more in the prefab modular world. But I think housing is transitioning to a lot of alternative models. So the idea of factory building, and of course di wires should always be empowered, and it should always be available. But I think many people who are not capable of building their own home. And the factory building model with a prefab is just seems, you know, a way to have it more available for mass producing quality housing. But that's kind of what I'm seeing a lot of that happening.

Unknown Speaker 43:57


Vina Lustado 44:00

yeah, the, the Tiny Homes on wheels, there's a lot more people who are getting it legal legalized all over the country. And you had Dan Fitzpatrick on the show recently. So he's been doing a lot of work on that. Those are for ad use. So I hope it's going to be more available to primary dwellings, not just for backyard housing that, you know, as a primary dwelling, and then another i i'd love to just have it legal as a community for tiny houses instead of a backyard unit. And not necessarily an RV park or mobile home park, but just, you know, three or four or five, six dwellings on one property. That's legal. I wish that's that's really what I would like to see as a community.

Ethan Waldman 45:01

Yeah, it's I think it's it is slowly starting to happen. But, and you're one of the people who are helping to make it happen. So, thank you for your time too and telling us about your new project to be no estado. Thank you so much.

Unknown Speaker 45:16

Thank you, Ben. That was fun.

Ethan Waldman 45:20

Thank you so much to vino listado for being a guest on the show. You can find the show notes from today's episode, including links to venas website and lots of photos of the new prefab unit at the tiny house dotnet slash 139. Again, that's the tiny house dotnet slash 139. Don't forget to check out and subscribe to the tiny Tuesdays newsletter at the tiny house dotnet slash newsletter. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman. And I'll be back next week with another episode of the tiny house lifestyle podcast.


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