I am thrilled to introduce our guest, Mike Crowhurst, a seasoned tiny house dweller and the creative mind behind one of the most unique tiny homes I’ve seen in a while! Mike and his wife Heidi spent three years crafting a 45-foot ex-refrigerated semi-trailer into a gorgeous tiny home. Throughout this episode, we'll dive into Mike's journey of tiny house living, exploring not just the practical aspects like custom cabinetry and space-saving features like an innovative elevator bed, but also the sustainable lifestyle that drives him. We'll also get into the nitty-gritty of converting a semi-trailer into a comfortable and functional living space, addressing the challenges and rewards such a project brings. So buckle up as we get a tour of Mike’s impressive tiny house and learn how he has optimized every inch of his home for maximum living.

In This Episode:

  • 🚚 Tiny House Towing Challenges: The intricacies involved in transporting a tiny house safely, including the type of vehicle required and the importance of professional trucking expertise to avoid potential hazards.
  • 🏠 Semi-Trailer Conversion Journey: Mike's personal adventure of converting a 45-foot refrigerated semi-trailer into a sustainable and innovative tiny home.
  • ❄️☀️ Insulation and Climate Adaptation: The insulation options used in the semi-trailer, Mike's additional insulation efforts, and adaptation to the Adelaide climate.
  • 💡 Procuring a Trailer: Insight into the process of acquiring a semi-trailer, highlighting considerations like checking for rust, maintenance history, and tips on where to find decommissioned trailers.
  • 🗄️ Tiny House Storage Solutions: Mike outlines the storage enhancements in his tiny home, describing various built-in options that maximize space without creating a cramped feeling.
  • 🛏️ Elevator Bed Innovation: The unique design and functionality of the elevator bed in the tiny house are explained, showcasing how space-saving features contribute to the minimalist lifestyle.
  • 🤝 Online and Real-Life Communities: Encouragement for listeners to seek advice and share experiences within the tiny house community, both in-person and online, to foster collective wisdom and support.

Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Mike Crowhurst

Mike Crowhurst

Mike is an ethically and sustainably-driven minimalist who has journeyed for over the past decade with his wife Heidi in search of ways to be kinder to the planet, its people and themselves. Compassionate choices have led them to tiny house living, with a lower personal footprint, lower cost and lower stress!


More Photos:

Mike Crowhurst with semi-trailer shell

The semi-trailer

Outside Mike's Semi Trailer Home


More Photos:

Building the Semi Trailer House

Building the Semi Trailer Home

Work in progress

Progress on turning a semi-trailer into a tiny home on wheels


More Photos:

Step up from living space to kitchen area

Bright and Spacious kitchen area with built in place to eat

Window view of breakfast nook with windows that open


More Photos:

Dining in a semi-trailer kitchen

The cozy living space with lots of natural light

Cozy Semi trailer house living room


More Photos:

The custom built space saving hideaway “lift bed” in Mike's Semi Trailer Tiny Home

Hideaway dining table

Custom built elevator bed with pulley system


Mike Crowhurst 0:00

You know somebody with a Ford F 150 or something you can you know technically pull your your smaller tiny house, but at the same time you know, you hit that kind of wind shear or some kind of thing on the road and you know, chaos can still happen, but with a truck where these guys pull these things you know for their entire lives you know they know the road.

Ethan Waldman 0:21

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 today I'm thrilled to introduce our guests, Mike Crowhurst a seasoned Tiny House dweller and the creative mind behind one of the most unique tiny homes I've seen in a while. Mike and his wife, Heidi spent three years crafting a 45 foot X refrigerated semi trailer into a gorgeous tiny home. Throughout this episode, we'll dive into Mike's journey of tiny house living, exploring not just the practical aspects like custom cabinetry and space saving features, like an innovative elevator bed, but also the sustainable lifestyle that drives him. We'll also get into the nitty gritty of converting a semi trailer into a comfortable and functional living space, addressing the challenges and rewards such a project brings to buckle up as we get a tour of Mike's impressive tiny home and learn how he has optimized every inch of this space for maximum living.

All right, I am here with Mike Crowhurst. Mike is an ethically and sustainably driven minimalist who has journeyed for over the past decade with his wife Heidi in search of ways to be kinder to the planet, its people and themselves. Compassionate choices have led them to tiny house living with a lower personal footprint, lower cost and lower stress. Mike Crowhurst Welcome to the show.

Mike Crowhurst 1:55

Thanks for having me.

Ethan Waldman 1:56

Yeah, thanks for being here. And I have to say, you know, I've been doing this show for a long time, I've seen probably about a million tiny houses plus or minus. Being your your home was, I felt really excited about a tiny home. And it's been a little while since I saw one where I was like, wow, this is really, really interesting, really just personalized. And just a great idea. So maybe we could just start off because you know, podcasting is such a audio medium, people aren't going to see you or see me or really be able to see your tiny home. Yeah. So why don't you tell? Tell us maybe just like describe your tiny home the way that you would describe it to someone who isn't who isn't seeing it?

Mike Crowhurst 2:39

Yeah, well, when we mentioned that we live in a tiny house to people then I think the image that people immediately have because, you know, tiny houses have been popularized over the recent years. They kind of imagined the cute little hitch through, you know, something timber or whatever. And then we say, Oh, actually, ours was built out of a 45 foot ex-refrigerated semitrailer. And then they're like, oh, okay, because then of course, the vision is a long, narrow dark box. Yeah. So yeah, to basically we have kind of turned that into something that when you're inside, it doesn't feel like you're in a long dark box. It feels like a bright, friendly, kind of, I guess Moroccan slash cabiny style kind of place. Yeah, very, very different. I think a lot of people have to see it before they can actually kind of really appreciate what we've done with it.

Ethan Waldman 3:32


Yeah. Well, I think that that our listeners are going to be really interested to hear about the semi trailer aspect of it, because I don't think I've ever interviewed anyone who did a tiny home semi trailer. And in in a lot of ways, I suppose it's kind of like the cousin of of using a shipping container. But can you talk about, you know, why you chose a semi trailer? And you know, what else you considered along the way? And maybe why you decided against those other options?

Mike Crowhurst 4:03

Yeah, I think I think we definitely considered the sort of traditional, Tiny House kind of idea. We were, for many years, we were, you know, looking at, you know, Tim lived a little timber sort of style house that I was talking about. Yeah. Yeah. I think the last time it was always a sticking point for us. We're like, Oh, we're going to do the loft, so that it's kind of really livable, and I've seen design since then that make that work. But yeah, kind of at the time, we were kind of a bit stuck with that idea. And then we came across this kind of old guy that was actually living in a semi trailer house already. And he's like, you know, come with me, let me show you what I'm doing. And we were kind of blown away by the the amount of space that we you know, that that's afforded by living in a trailer. Yeah. And then some of the other virtues like he was saying, Look, if you don't have building experience, which you know, neither of us really did. You've got insulated walls already to go you've got a roof. You've got a You know, very roadworthy, you know, thing that was built for the road. So you don't have to worry about, you know, the dangers of, you know, moving it around. Yeah, potentially taking over and all that. And yeah, just the idea that you could just literally cut out a window and cut out a door and then stick it in there without having to worry about framing it up and all that kind of stuff. Wow. So yeah, initially, it was kind of the ease of a building that really appealed to us. Plus, they're actually just really cheap to come by, like, it actually was more affordable, by a longshot than actually starting with a trailer, like in Australia, you know, a tiny house trailer costs about anywhere from 10 to $15,000. Australian dollars. Yeah. Which is probably like, you know, sort of, in the 8k range for us. Whereas we bought this whole, you know, 45 foot, you know, fully enclosed walls and everything trailer for probably like, 3000 US dollars. Wow, you know, you've cut out all sorts of extra costs right off the bat. That's

Ethan Waldman 6:00

amazing, too. And the fact that it was a refrigerated trailer means that there was some insulation already in those walls. And so I'm my night kind of brain is computing like, wow, that saves you a lot of money. But also, it's one of the biggest downsides of a shipping container is that you just have this metal box that you then have to deal with all of the insulation and climate issues that are going to come with conditioning the inside space of a metal box.

Mike Crowhurst 6:32

That's right. Yeah. And actually shipping containers, just, I mean, I'm sure there's people out there with great shipping container houses, and I don't want to kind of knock them or anything, but they structurally are very, can be very difficult to build with. Yeah. You know, there's, there's a lot of sort of failings to that kind of designed Plus, they're a lot harder to work with, obviously. Yeah. So yeah, we kind of were warded off of going that direction. Pretty early on. Yeah. Yeah. The, I mean, the semi trailer, because it's made of fiberglass, kind of sandwiched wall as well. The fiberglass is incredibly strong. Like it's actually, you know, on the on the vertical, it's, you know, it's, it's as strong as any kind of material. Yeah. But then it's also easy to work with, so.

Ethan Waldman 7:13

So it's essentially like a structural insulated panel, like each.

Mike Crowhurst 7:17

Yeah. Okay, basically. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 7:19

And do you know, how much insulation is in? In those semitrailer walls? Like what the R value of them is?

Mike Crowhurst 7:26

I don't actually know what the r value is. Yeah, that's a hard one to actually find out. I mean, it's it's like an extruded. It's not well, it's not an extruded polystyrene it's kind of a dense, a very dense foam. I don't know. It's kind of an unusual, unusual foam. Okay. I mean, the downside, the downside, of course, is yeah, it's you don't know where these things have been sure. You're getting a vehicle that could be like 30 years old. And it the foam itself itself is already starting to probably degrade a little bit in the Walls. So yeah, that's, that's the caveat there.

Ethan Waldman 7:59

Now, did you add any insulation? Or did it was that adequate for your climate? And what what is the climate? Like, where you live now?

Mike Crowhurst 8:07

Yeah, we live in Adelaide in Australia. So it's the southern kind of and so it's a very dry, it's basically got Mediterranean slash sort of California, okay, Southern California, kind of, you know, it's that kind of zone. So dry, generally hot, like can very dry heat, and then kind of mild winters, you know, like not super cold, so we don't have to worry about obviously, you know, really insulating it for cold, right.

Ethan Waldman 8:33


Mike Crowhurst 8:34

I did actually add insulation. So the probably the floor has got about, you know, like a half a foot of, of insulation, okay, and then the roof probably about the same. And then I also put a sort of a drop ceiling into ours that has, so I can put kind of lighting and so on. And that's got that's, that's a traditional SIP kind of panel, like, just, you know, start from, you know, and an MDM around that kind of thing.

Ethan Waldman 9:00

Very cool.

Mike Crowhurst 9:01

So yeah, it's it's pretty, it's actually pretty, it's pretty insulated. We've added really quite heavy duty double glazing around it as well. So yeah, he really you do feel like it's actually quite it's doing a good job on those hot 40 Something Celsius days. Yeah, it's it's a little more green. But yeah, it does a pretty good job generally.

Ethan Waldman 9:21

That's awesome. Yeah, and that's, that was one thing that I noticed about the tour which will it was recently featured on living begun a tiny house and we'll put the link to that on the show notes page for the episode but you created different levels inside of the house like kitchen, I think you step up into it, which helps to really break up that long, you know, 40 Something foot box or rectangle? Yeah, yeah. But it's also cool that there was the headroom in this structure to do that to start I know, you know, shipping containers aren't that tall. And also, you know, if you go with something like an ambulance or a van or like, a lot of these other vehicles. The head room is not necessarily always there.

Mike Crowhurst 10:09

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, there's, I'm not sure if it's a standard thing. I'm sure all these different trailers have different heights and so on. It's 2.7 meters. I'm not sure what that is probably like about a nine foot ceiling kind of thing. Nine or 10 feet. So yeah, it's definitely got the space. So by putting a step up, like he say, in the kitchen, which kind of breaks up that space, kind of, yeah, throughout the space, we didn't really lose all that much kind of at the high end. I mean, when, when Bryce was doing the living big thing, you know, he was quite comfortably in there not feeling like I think he's like six foot four. Very tough. He didn't feel too, you know, squished in there in a way that he felt uncomfortable. So that was good, nice once we possibly pump the punch today's skylight in the kitchen as well. So that kind of gives you a feeling of a bit of airiness as well.

Ethan Waldman 11:00

How does one go about procuring a semi trailer? And what are some considerations that people should look for in terms of the quality of it? Like, are there issues with rust or like other other things to look out for?

Mike Crowhurst 11:15

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, it's it. Yeah, it's like a saying it's an old vehicle. So yeah, it depends on how much you think you're gonna move it whether you think the chassis kind of needs a lot of attention. A friend of ours also lives in, we've actually got a little bit of a semi trailer community. We don't live in a community. But we know about five people that have done the same thing in our area. Nice. And one girl actually had her entire chassis undercarriage sandblasted and then repainted. Wow. So she was, you know, she was she wanted to make sure that she had it for the long haul kind of thing. Yeah. But I mean, like, in our case, actually, I probably wouldn't have actually bought the trailer that we had if I thought about it now because, okay, something like a forklift had gone inside of it, and had punched into the the actual ceiling. Okay, which D laminated, sort of D laminated the fiberglass event. So I've had a lot of problems with the roof, because it's, it's kind of got a bit of a dip in it. So it collects water, and then I had some leaking through the skylight, we've got a second trailer, which we are just sort of fitting out at the moment, and it's got a perfect roof, like absolutely flat, the water never sits on it. So that would be a huge consideration, just making sure that you sort of do a good once over and get a bit of history of the, of the vehicle. Yeah. Other than that, then, you know, like, you've got, you do have things like giant tires to consider, you know, like, those kinds of things that occasionally do need to be replaced and stuff. But there.

Ethan Waldman 12:42

And then in terms of finding one, are there companies that just sell them? Or did you kind of just have to go out searching on like, Facebook marketplace or use? semitrailer? Yeah.

Mike Crowhurst 12:55

I mean, if I was sort of telling somebody now, I'd say just go a two straight to a trucking company. And they'll say, Well, what do you do with your, you know, when you put your old ones out to pasture kind of thing, like what happens? Yeah, there is actually buy and sell kind of classified, you know, websites or papers or whatever that that do sell stuff. Well, the guy that we bought, it actually bought it from the old guy that got us on to it. You had sort of a broker who kind of looked out for them, for him, because he he resold them as kind of a way he made money. Hey, in his retirement years, yeah. So yeah. That if you know, if you're in the know, with someone who's kind of aware of these things, and that helps as well.

Ethan Waldman 13:34

Yeah, yeah. Very cool. I because I know that, you know, using like, for example, a decommissioned U haul trailer is something that people do here. And that's, you know, there are companies U haul I believe directly sells them too. But it's good to know where to look out. I think that the the advice of you know, trying to find a company that has a whole bunch of them on the lot is probably wise because then you can you can compare several of them and say, Okay, this one has a ceiling that's been punctured and that one looks better.

Mike Crowhurst 14:06

Yeah, yeah. And you're just gonna you're just gonna pay proportionate to its age generally. It's hard to tell. I mean, they don't have odometers on them, so you can't really see yeah, see what kind of mileage they've done. But yeah, I mean, it's actually pretty easy to get underneath them and, and see, you know, if it looks like it's kind of crumble apart, right, right, some point. So

Ethan Waldman 14:30

I suppose that they're quite easy to move, but also that not yourself. Like you have to hire a trucking company to come with a with a tractor trailer or tractor and pull it.

Mike Crowhurst 14:40

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Which, to me is an actual complete virtue because yeah, you know, like you've got people with you know, somebody with a Ford F 150. or something, you can, you know, technically pull your, your smaller, tiny house, but at the same time, you know, you hit that kind of wind shear or some kind of thing On the road, you know, chaos can still happen. But with a, a truck where these guys pull these things, you know, for their entire lives, you know, they know the roads and how to deal with them. Yeah, they've got the big rig. I mean, Big Rigs cost a lot as well. So, you know, it's easy just to pay a guy, a few $100. And then he'll kind of move it professionally for you.

Ethan Waldman 15:21

So is your intention to to ever move this home? Or is it, you know, are you trying to stay put,

Mike Crowhurst 15:29

we built it actually in sort of a rural area, about a couple, you know, 100 miles from where we are okay. Located now. And then we had relocated to sort of our forever home, hopefully. Okay, so we're in a beautiful spot, right now we've kind of got we're kind of nestled in the vines in a kind of a wine area. Nice. So it's really quite a perfect spot. And we've really liked the hosts of our land. So hopefully, we wouldn't have to move. But at the same time, both my wife and I are really kind of interested in, in living in community as well. Okay, that's a bit of a challenge in Australia, because there's a lot of resistance to allowing people just to live in like, a tiny house community for some reason. Interesting. So if something interesting came up, we would love to kind of be able to, you know, maybe consider moving in if it was the right fit.

Ethan Waldman 16:16

Okay, so it is like, is like when you look at the inside of it, it looks so just intricately made that that I'm like, I'm worried about it on the road, but but I'm sure that you have ways of kind of securing everything and getting everything to be, you know, stable for a move.

Mike Crowhurst 16:34

Yeah. Yeah, it's a Yeah, honestly, I don't know, I haven't really talked to people that have other tiny types of tiny houses, how they fare with that kind of thing to really lock it down. Yeah, our particular one, we kind of we liked the one particular van that we chose the like, because it had air suspension. And apparently, air suspension is just really smooth on the road. Nice. So when we, you know, I had completely built the house in this other location. And we had it shifted, and I and everybody, even people who work in the trucking industry were like, that thing's gonna break apart road. And it arrived, like with literally, like, two little cracks that were very easy to repair. And, you know, everything was perfectly intact. So I was like, Cool. Okay, great. Obviously, I built it well enough. And this thing was smooth enough on the road that it absolutely wasn't a problem. Is there any drywall? No, there's no drywall. Yeah, I kind of made sure. Yeah, not to make yet that we're, we're kind of brittle. Yeah, yeah. And if anything, because I built it myself, I probably heavily over engineered it. So it's built like a tank.

Ethan Waldman 17:40

So it's got some really great special features. And this is one of the things that I love about the tiny house movement. And I think something that's not been lost. But you know, as fewer people are able to build their own tiny houses, they're a little bit more generic. So like, in my tiny house, I have a hidden cat door under the couch. So that the cat that we had at the time could actually go in and out from the tiny house, but it was completely invisible to the outside. So that was like my little special secret feature. But you've got two that I just I love and I want to talk about both of them on the first one is the trash chutes. Can you just kind of describe again, this is like a visual thing. I'll try to put a picture of of the trash chute in the show notes. But tell me about the trash and the recycling chute.

Mike Crowhurst 18:33

Yeah, it's, as I said in the in the video, the it's kind of something that, to me was like a big, big deal to get right. Because I don't like picking up the trash. Yeah, one of the virtues of of being high up is that we can you know, like put things around and underneath the the actual trailer. So I thought well, it's kind of the perfect setup. And for a long drop kind of thing for the trash and recycling. I build two little, little, basically very small little hatches kind of like your cat door kind of idea. You know, just like two little things built into the wall of the kitchen. You open the hatch and then there's just basically it's almost like what it is it's ducting that I found like just sort of old ducting. Yeah, so there's a ducted shaft that goes down to kind of a wheelie bin for both each of the the garbage in the recycling. So effectively, it's just yeah, it's just like a throwaway and forget kind of thing. You open it up, get rid of your stuff, you know, you don't have to do anything else. And then once it's the bins full you just take it out to the curbside and it's done. Love it. So yeah, it's it's very, very simple, but But it's it to me it makes a it's a big lifestyle kind of improvement over places I've lived in the past. Yeah,

Ethan Waldman 19:49

yeah. I mean, it's essentially like a laundry chute for trash.

Mike Crowhurst 19:53

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. If you've lived in like an apartment building that has like a garbage chute kind of thing that then yeah, you kind of understand the principle. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 20:03

And then the other feature that I that I love is the is the elevator bed. So your bedroom, you can actually lift the bed all the way up to the ceiling, it tucks away really nicely, and then you can use that space for other things. Was that always kind of a part? Was that always part of the plan? Or is that something that that like you thought of while you were doing the bedroom up? Yeah,

Mike Crowhurst 20:26

it came sort of earliest Yeah, actually built. I did a whole sort of video series of documenting kind of the build and so on nice. I didn't really kind of scale model of how I imagined the elevator bed would work. And I was kind of thinking, you know, like, you kind of had to integrate that early on. Yeah, I was gonna do it. Yeah. I mean, I, we definitely had the Murphy bed was kind of as a possible and we liked this idea of having, you know, if if the view if the listeners serve, eventually see the design, that kind of little Moroccan cutouts and features throughout the place, we really like to have a feature wall that you could always see. And so of course, the Murphy bed being up, just kind of blocked that. And so we thought, okay, well, how could we get rid of this thing otherwise, and so and utilize the bedroom space. And so the elevator bed, I started looking into it. And elevator beds are actually quite pricey if you look at the kind of pre made kind of commercial versions. And so I thought, well, how can I do this? Otherwise, I found a couple of simple designs online and so on and just basically went and modified in my own way. And then I thought, well, how do you get the weight thing to work? And and there was people getting rid of exercise machines, like all over the place, you know, they spend like $2,000 on an excellent exercise machine and realize it's not for them, and then they sell it for like $200. Yeah, so I was like, Oh, sweet. There's just like, you know, tons of weight on these things. So basically, it's like an exercise machine on the outside of the trailer in a kind of a little cabinet. Yeah. And it just yeah, just counter counteracts the weight of the bed. And it actually yeah, I'm really surprised that it worked as well as it did.

Ethan Waldman 22:04

Yeah, it's awesome. I mean, it literally looks like one of those weight machines with the weight stacked plates just with some. And it's, it's clever, it's nice to know that there's like weight holding it up at the other end, rather than like, springs or like, hydraulic things, I feel I would feel more confident being under it, knowing that it's like being counterbalanced by heavy weights. Yeah.

Mike Crowhurst 22:27

Yeah, well, I had to, I had to learn a little bit about, you know, wire rope kind of weight limits, tensions and stuff like that, you know, it was all because all these systems, and I've had people since say, oh, did you do this and that with pullies? And you know, to make it really easy, and I was like, no, just pretty straightforward. Just like, you know, a pully, and pully on the other side. But, you know, probably, there's ways you could engineer it to be even more smooth. Yeah. But yeah, like you say, it's, it feels like you're, you're safe under the thing. That said, I don't know, what would happen if all the wires broken once, and

Ethan Waldman 23:03

I don't think you're gonna find that out.

Mike Crowhurst 23:07

Lets hope not Yeah. But yeah, like you say, I mean, the main reason for doing it was to free up that space. And that's actually been a really useful space to have, because I can use it as a desk and use it as a dining room for guests. And that just changes the whole dynamic. Yeah, of, you know, being in a tiny house if you can create a whole new room when you need it.

Ethan Waldman 23:26

Absolutely. So let's, let's talk about the build itself. I think in the video, you said it took about three years. Was that three years working on it full time, part time? Like, how did how did that all play out?

Mike Crowhurst 23:41

It was reasonably full time, I guess it happened to perfectly coincide with, like the COVID pandemic, so okay, just by coincidence, so it was okay for me to have it was great to have a project while I was like, you know, not able to go anywhere anyway, I was able to get to the hardware store. But yeah, it was, it was pretty much full time. And my wife was a graphic designer was able to kind of just keep us afloat. And we were living in a in this rural space that we had very cheap rent. And so if there wasn't a lot of pressure on me to have to, to work as well. So, and I guess the the benefit of that was that, you know, being not being a builder. I could take my time, it could learn things. And it afforded us the ability to do kind of the more complex or, you know, things that maybe, you know, like he was saying in more sort of straightforward builds these days. Yeah, he just, he just wouldn't, you wouldn't have the time or the money maybe to do Yeah, so yeah, it was it was great having that kind of just breathing room to do it. So it could have done been done faster. And I'm sure if I did it again, I probably literally could do in half the time. But yeah, it was it took about three years or less for full time. Wow. And then

Ethan Waldman 24:56

like technically for the build. There's a photo that we'll put on the show no That's page. It's kind of the finished walls aren't up yet. And it's kind of looking at the raised area. And I'm curious because it, I see your wire runs, it looks like you use like strapping up against the inside of the of the walls. And that's where you've put your wire runs. And then I'm assuming that the finish walls just attach right to that strapping.

Mike Crowhurst 25:22

Yeah, yeah, that's that's exactly yeah, he basically didn't want to we didn't want to encroach on the the living space, obviously very much. But I also didn't want to cut into the, into the walls too, or too much so that I kind of weakened. In my perception, I really didn't know. But if I started doing huge, long vertical cuts or something, that it might actually cause a weakness in that wall. Right. Yeah, it was just, you know, like, it was just the wire. Wire depth, basically, was the strapping. Yeah, and then just put the wall over top of that. So very different than Yeah, a conventional framing build.

Ethan Waldman 25:59


And then it looks like I can see at least one drawer hidden in that, in that kind of raised section. Is that where a lot of the utilities are like other water tanks, like what's in that raised floor section?

Mike Crowhurst 26:15

Basically, we wanted it to be Yeah, take advantage of as much storage as we as we possibly could. I think I worked it out, it was like three cubic meters, which I don't know, again, I don't know what that would be, it would be that we gained in an extra space just by raising it a foot off the floor. So there's basically a huge drawer under the living room. And there's kind of a the main step that goes up into the kitchen actually flips up. And to do this, all this tricky stuff with hinges, okay. And masking, masking the hinge and, and so on. But there's a giant drawer drawer there that's like, yeah, about eight feet deep, and probably about four feet wide. And then there's there's three drawers in the bedroom that all come out from different spots, and then another drawer on the work desk that my, my wife has sites mostly use that space for that. But then there's also space for air conditioning duct, air conditioning, heating, there's space for putting all the wiring for all so all the electrical stuff comes into one point under the floor there. Yeah, so we did that whole space is very well used, but it was actually quite good to have that place to hide stuff. Yeah,

Ethan Waldman 27:26

well, the house has a an abundance of storage space. In the tour. It's just amazing how you've managed to fit custom cabinetry and drawers in so many different places. But it doesn't look like you know, you can risk closing a space down putting too much storage in too much cabinetry. And it looks really like yeah, bright and open.

Mike Crowhurst 27:51

Yeah, yeah. And I guess I was just sort of lucky that we were able to design it in such a way. I mean, 320 square feet of floor space. So you know, it's reasonably big for a tiny house. So yeah, I guess we were able to kind of, you know, encroach a little bit on the kind of living space with stuff without feeling like we were going to making a huge impact, like maybe some smaller, tiny houses. And, and yeah, I mean, I went cabinetry crazy in there. And yeah, the one with a little bit of carpentry that I've done was working for a cabinet maker for a year. And so I kind of felt comfortable with that. And I think I ended up doing like, you know, 45 cabinet doors and drawer fronts, like, all shaker style, which is like really intense. Yeah, it worked.

Ethan Waldman 28:37

That's a lot of cabinetry. That's a lot of cabinetry in

Mike Crowhurst 28:39

the bedroom itself only has 20. Actually, it has 27 drawers and cabinets that you wouldn't know. Yeah. You know, looking at you wouldn't think there's that many. And then and then there's even more storage under the bed supports. Yeah. So it's yeah, there's plenty of place to put stuff.

Ethan Waldman 28:57

I would say that some of my favorite tiny houses often have really exceptional cabinetry. I mean, it really makes the space. Yeah,

Mike Crowhurst 29:06

yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think I mean, from a design point of view dictates a lot of the rooms, I think, yeah.

Ethan Waldman 29:11

Now with your designs, were you doing them on paper and sketch up some combination? How did you approach the design work? Yeah,

Mike Crowhurst 29:20

I was, I think, yeah, we I mean, we just drew everything kind of in plan format, initially. And then we found some funny little program called the name escapes me. It's like, it's just like a SketchUp program, but it's free. And it's kind of largely for interior design and and so working with

Ethan Waldman 29:35

Sweet Home? Sweet Home 3D?

Mike Crowhurst 29:36

That's right. Yeah. Because it just, it says it's such a silly kind of name, but yeah, it actually works really well.

Ethan Waldman 29:46

For those listening. It's like an open source lite version of SketchUp. That is, you know, it's got a lot of pre kind of pre existing elements in it like cabinets and countertops and things like that. but it's really easy to use. And it's actually fairly powerful, I think.

Mike Crowhurst 30:04

Yeah, I was really surprised. And you can bring in SketchUp objects anything. So objects, so it's, it's actually quite good that was spent in that respect. And yeah, you can do walkthroughs and stuff I'd like to me the 3d kind of aspect of it, where you can walk through a room was really quite powerful, although we designed spaces, and then my wife and I would go and walk in the space. And we realized that yeah, you still need to, you can't rely completely on that to kind of give you a full impression. Like we thought, well, we could fit a three seater couch in the lounge room, and they were like, no, no, we can't. That's ridiculous. Yeah. It just looks like that when you. You're designing it on on the screen.

Ethan Waldman 30:46

Yeah, it's like the world's tiny or like the world's tightest three seats. Yeah.

Mike Crowhurst 30:52

Yeah, well, that was actually an early design idea was actually we were gonna put a bumper out as well, like, we had this whole idea. We're using sips and so on to sort of have a third section that could be pushed out the on the outside of the living room area. And then that's where the coach would go, freeing up more kind of, you know, space in the middle there. And then we're like, replaces 320 square feet already. Why are we trying to add even more space, and it's supposed to be a tiny house, so. And it also was looking like an engineering and a nightmare. So it just kind of left it out? Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 31:23

Tell me about your utilities are you are you on the grid for for power, and for water. And for all those things.

Mike Crowhurst 31:32

We were sort of semi off grid when we were building it. And within that, we kind of assumed that that's the direction we were going to end up going. But then, with some random luck, the place that we're at now actually had a tiny house on it already. Okay. And somebody had gone to great lengths and investment to put power and water to actually have like a little, little pad for the parking pad. Oh, wow. I've done all this kind of work. And then they were there for a month and they decided they didn't tiny house living didn't work for them. And oh my gosh, pulled the place. Wow. Wow. So we, we kind of walked in, and it was like, I think they had invested like $6,000 or something like that. Wow. So we're like, Okay, well, yeah, we'll just plug in and, you know, plug into water plug into power. So that's actually surprisingly smooth and easy. Yeah,

Ethan Waldman 32:21

that's that sounds really nice.

Mike Crowhurst 32:25

But we were we were certainly prepared to to go off grid. I think that was kind of the original. Okay, the original plan.

Ethan Waldman 32:30

Nice. And so you've added a second, you mentioned it earlier, a second trailer? And what are what are the plans for that one?

Mike Crowhurst 32:42

Yeah. So when we are building the other one, we were living in tents initially, which was a complete disaster for about five months. And so we thought, well, what if these things were so cheap, why not just buy one, and live in it temporarily, and then sell it off when we're finished with it? And then, you know, when once we had such situate ourselves in a new place, we thought, well, we need like a shed on my tools in and we need, you know, place for garden stuff. And, you know, we always talked about, you know, be really nice to offer hospitality to, you know, friends or family and stuff. And it's just a bit tight in our space to do that on a regular basis. So yeah, we thought, okay, well, why don't we just keep the trailer that we already have, and just bid it out for a little bit of extra storage for you know, those kind of awkward things like a sports kind of stuff, and camping gear and all that. And then just make a little multipurpose space that's like a guests room with a bath. And then yeah, could be, you know, my wife likes to sew and so like, she can sort of spread out and do that kind of thing. So yeah, just sort of a hobby room as well. So, so yeah, I'm just sort in the process of getting that that fitted out at the moment.

Ethan Waldman 33:50

Nice. And judging from your accent, sorry to pry. It's, it's you sound like you're an American. So how did you find yourself in Australia? And now living in Australia? In a tiny home?

Mike Crowhurst 34:03

Yeah, well, I've got the I've got the muddled accent. Probably now, nobody knows where to place me. So yeah, I'm actually Canadian. Okay. Okay. Sorry. In Australia for 20 years now. So yeah, well, West Coast Canadian. I'm actually in Canada at the moment on Lena, because I'm visiting with my my parents who needed a bit of help with some sort of medical related stuff, but okay. But yeah, usually, I'd be calling in from Australia at this point. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Sort of a hybrid of, man. I'm half Dutch as well, that my mom is Dutch. Okay. I don't know how that figures in with the accent.

Ethan Waldman 34:39

No, it's I just I had to ask.

Mike Crowhurst 34:42

Yeah, that's all right.

Ethan Waldman 34:44

And apologies or your ...What's that?

Mike Crowhurst 34:47

Your east coast? Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 34:49

Right, Vermont. In the US. Yeah. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. Well, it's, it's a really great build. And I encourage people to check out the photos on the show notes page for this Episode, which will be at thetinyhouse.net/293, episode 293. And I also wanted to ask, you have a YouTube channel, yourself. And you mentioned a build series, which I'm excited to dig into what, you know, what's your YouTube channel? What kind of things are you doing there?

Mike Crowhurst 35:21

Yeah, I mean, I've got a video production background and Okay, while I was building the house, I thought, well, you know, I'm not going to make a big production of this and make it into some big documentary. Yeah, I thought it was pertinent to kind of record stuff. Absolutely, then, you know, my video production side, self was like, as soon as you sit down in the edit suite, it's like, oh, let's make this interesting with some music and make fun. So yeah, I've there's a kind of a 14 part series. On my channel, my YouTube channel is Big, Tiny Adventure. Okay. And likewise, I've gotten a bigtinyadventure.com, which is, like our blog and links to, you know, social media stuff and so on. So yeah, the the current kind of, you know, direction is that, you know, we thought, Well, why don't we do a little bit of kind of living in the house and talking about minimalist living to people who are interested in tiny house living? Yeah, you know, housing crisis and what they can do, you know, for in different capacities to get into a tiny house. That's kind of, if they're kind of a bit in need, and so on. So it's all very, very new, but I'm kind of that's kind of the evolution of the channel. I hope to go with.

Ethan Waldman 36:30

Nice. That sounds great. I look forward to following along. Oh, well, one thing that I like to ask all my guests is, what are two or three resources that you would recommend that that helped you out? On? On your project?

Mike Crowhurst 36:45

You know, I really value kind of in person kind of stuff. You know, anytime you basically before we built, we always went to Tiny House kind of meet up type things. That was you know, anytime there was a tiny house Expo, just yeah, just sort of hobnobbing with people and picking people's brains for for stuff and everybody's so it's such a good community in the sense that people are always willing to, you know, give advice or, or invite you to their builds and help you can do hands on stuff. And all that kind of, you know, hands off on stuff is fairly fantastic to do. But yeah, absolutely. YouTube was was my big biggest friend. Yeah. It's amazing how many generous people there are online that are willing to share what they're doing. And that's, you know, they give you all these great tips and stuff. So, yeah, those those things were invaluable to me.

Ethan Waldman 37:37

Awesome. Awesome. Well, Mike Crowhurst, thank you so much. It was really fantastic to meet you. And, you know, I, again, encourage folks to go over to thetinyhouse.net/293 we will have photos of the houses or I guess really just the one house the second one that I'm sure there'll be photos of it once it's ready. Yeah. And to the YouTube channel and the Living Big in a Tiny House Tour. So thanks so much. Yeah,

Mike Crowhurst 38:07

yeah, no, it's been great. And yeah, if anybody's got any direct interest in semitrailer kind of conversions then Yeah, absolutely. Hit me up with questions. I'm totally happy to help you out. So yeah, it's been great to be here. I really appreciate you having me on Ethan.

Ethan Waldman 38:23

Thank you so much to Mike Crowhurst for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes including a complete transcript, links to Mike's YouTube channel and website and lots of photos of this beautiful tiny house at thetinyhouse.net/293. 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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