STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
What do tiny houses have to do with the National Park theme of this year’s Philadelphia Flower Show?
A tiny house with ties to two Delaware County businesses is in “Tiny Park,” a landscape exhibit salute to Washington State’s Olympic National Park.
What’s a tiny house?
Designer Michael Petrie of Handmade Gardens in Swarthmore — one of the co-creators of Tiny Park, along with Claudia Cueto and Tim Kearney of CuetoKearney Design Architects — said it best in a press release: “The tiny house movement, which is sweeping this country, is all about sustainability — reuse, efficiency, reducing one’s carbon footprint, reducing one’s costs for shelter, etc. A tiny house fits perfectly with the sustainability goal I had for my exhibit this year, which is that all the plants and materials we use can be re-planted or recycled locally after the show.”
Wait, what’s the Flower Show theme again?
“Explore America,” which was chosen to commemorate the centennial of the National Park Service. This year major exhibitors were asked to create a landscape celebrating one of the many National Parks.
How’s the tiny house fit in?
“Tiny Park” showcases a West Coast-style modern, small-footprint office/residence that serves as a park ranger’s station.
How did these Swarthmore businesses get the idea to team up?
Petrie planned to build his own building for this exhibit, until he saw a tiny house being pulled down the road which was a project of CuetoKearney Design’s.
So this is a real house that someone will live in … but how? It’s so small.
Yeah, it’s so small that it can be pulled by an 18-foot custom fabricated dual axle trailer. It’s 190 square feet, including a 60-square-foot sleeping loft.
Because sustainability is the goal, it was built using natural and recycled materials. Lights can be powered via solar array, or hooked up to grid power.
In order to maintain internal temperatures with little external input, the tiny house is insulated with an expanding spray foam made from sugar beets and recycled plastic. Also, its framing techniques minimize thermal bridging, and the windows are double-paned.
Windows and a fan are set to create natural ventilation in the summer, and a small propane “fireplace” heater provides warmth in the winter.
A 42-gallon water tank can be filled from the outside, and an on-demand propane water heater supplies hot water for showering or dishes.
It has a composting toilet too.
When is the Flower Show?
March 5-13 at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Plan your visit at www.theflowershow.com.