My name is Travis Skinner and this is my
house, The Leaf Spring. This started out actually with a 1984 Terry Taurus camper.
I talked to a friend and told him that I was thinking about building a tiny house
and that if he came across a trailer to let me know. Three months later he
called because his neighbor had eight trailers that were all water damaged and
destroyed so I went up to his place picked up this trailer for free and I
demoed the house and salvaged what I could and then it kind of just was one
step after another, you know. I didn’t think too much too far in advance. I just
tried to stay focused on what the step was I was on. Kind of one thing unique I
did when framing, which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend, but had a lot to
do with my process, was to not have anything figured out. I had no design. I
just put the walls up and then I put a table inside the walls and I sat there
had tea and thought about where I wanted windows. Then when I was like, “I want a
window here”, I got out a saw and cut a window so it was kind of you know one
thing after the next just keep on keeping on. It kind of took the name The Leaf Spring
because the leaf springs on the trailer acted as the connection between the axle
and the frame. It was kind of what gave the tiny house its jurisdiction is the
connection between a steel frame and some wheels. One of the important exterior details is
I used a rain screen siding which means that there’s a furring strip and
it’s on each stud member and it holds the siding out. There’s a mesh net at the
bottom and then holes at the top. Through convection heat pools in the bottom and
circulates and pulls it out. In the northwest the best thing to do isn’t to
just try to keep water out but to design for when it gets in how do you allow
airflow to hit it to dry it out? You know in any house doors are one of my favorite
parts, you know it’s the portal. It’s the entranceway and so I wanted to build
some cool doors. Other element was my back door which is kind of a window. It’s
an awning style window. I definitely got a lot ideas about that window from Abel
and seeing Abel’s work. I actually made that window in a shop I think, the
majority of it. All right, well here’s the kitchen. I did forge work on the brackets and you can see there’s a sun here so I forged the pieces, welded them together, all
the brackets are handmade. I made a simple gravity-fed water system and then I made this pot rack to keep
my dishes overhead and out of the way. I got back from Sun Ray’s when I was
building this crazy cedar dome and there was all this leftover wood and I would
just, at the end of the day I’d like grab three nice looking boards and toss
them in my van and be like, “sweet”, ya know? When I got home I had a couple boards
and I was like, “I wanna build my cabinet out of these free dome boards.” I had seen
this latch. I loved it because there was no handles on
the door and I was like, “that is so ingenious”, and he made it. There’s this
little horseshoe piece of wood and you open it just by pushing on it. The living
room features this bench. It’s kind of a cool design element and I took these one
by cedar boards and I ripped them with a jigsaw on the line of the grain. I wanted
to build a space where I could have a desk and a seating area, but then I could
also feed a couple people if we needed a dining room table. The runners for the
table on the wall they slide out and then the leaf is on hinges. This is the not super usable
chalkboard. And then the table just slides together. I forged these snake
hinges that fold the leaf down and then now in this space you can feed six
people around the table. And then I guess the loft, the last component is my bed. I
designed it like a futon mattress. There was all these strips of wood that
had air flow between them. Moisture is just the constant issue in the Northwest
and if your mattress if it sits on a flat surface with no air flow then it
will sweat, create an environment for mold to grow, you’re gonna have mold underneath
your mattress, very common. I built two ladders just step above the heater on
this black locust board and then you can crab forged handles and then just walk
right up. I had my mom just come and stay. She’s 60 years old and can do it,
but yeah you just climb up like that and then you can just hop back here. You got
my bed and then the way I really like to climb up and down is this monkey bar
staircase and it’s just fun, you know? Everyday waking up I really like
swinging down, just being a kid. The other element of the loft is the window that we
saw from the outside that awning style window I was talking about. I really like
it a lot because it gets hot up in the loft so the door’s designed so if
when I’m hot I can just lean over and kick the bottom of the door and get airflow.
Just kick the top of the door and slide it back down and I put a little handle that you can grand and pull. I have a dog. His name is Payal. He’s my buddy and he encourages me every day to wake up and get outside. That’s what we do when
we wake up. Okay, leave it. So each morning
we walk a pathway down to the creek, kind of just get acclimated into the world. I’m
not inside a box but what’s actually happening. Every day when I get back from
my walk I feel like a thousand times better. My mind’s been cleared. I’m not
thinking at all about what I was thinking about and I’m just experiencing
what’s going on today. The act of being inspired, inspired to
design with intention, create and then experience. That process the artistic
experience once you start stepping into that realm you start seeing that you can
put intention in your design in almost any medium. The Leaf Spring was the first
time where I can put my intention into something that was mine. Seems like
that’s a big obstacle for a lot of creative people is that they don’t want
to invest into something they don’t own because then they’re doing the work and
not receiving the eventual reward for it. The act of learning is directly affected
by one’s lifestyle therefore lifestyle becomes a part of
the practice. When your lifestyle is encompassed in practice there’s these
philosophical questions that develop and one must establish their own morals and
ethical ideals. Those ideals lead one to seek for fulfillment in their actions.
You have to ask what is fulfilling to you. As you create and then learn from
that creation then you experience and decide whether that creation is
fulfilling and then you move on to continue to do it if it is fulfilling
because it’s, for you, it’s your own reason. You don’t have to answer to
anyone. You create for that fulfillment because it’s the right thing. It becomes
natural. The design has intention. That design leads to creation. The creation is
then experienced. When you find a flow you bring all three of these elements
together so you’re simultaneously designing, creating, and experiencing.
Process evolves and then is influenced by every other human in their processes.
As you develop your own process then you meet other people that kind of steer
you in little directions of the path and they allow the path to be opened up and
that’s why I’m here talking to you is because you have to experience other
people’s processes in order to develop your own so the more that we are then
exposed to the artistic experience the more that we can find and seek that in
ourselves. Thanks for watching. I uploaded the full
25 minute tour where Travis goes a lot more in-depth on the details and design
of his house over on the Patreon page. If you’re interested in seeing that extra
content or just want to become part of the team hop over to the Patreon page. Thanks again I will see you next week! Ciao..