Jamaica Cottage Shop

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tiny House Space Saver- Make this great coffee table/bench/storage unit with scrap two-by-fours!

     This is a simple little project that could be tackled by anyone of any skill level and with minimal tools. Steven Harrell of www.tinyhouselistings.com posted this how-to video for us to check out, and when you see the end product, it certainly seems to have some tiny house potential, as a sturdy coffee table like this could double as a bench, and has storage underneath as well.

Just an idea of mine: Add some vertical dividers underneath, and if you wanted to store it upright so that its out of the way and takes up less floor space, it could also serve a FOURTH purpose as an upright book shelf.

Anyway, it would be a fun project to tackle if you haven't done much building and want to get a little practice in before working on that cabin, chicken coop, or shed.

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

...and remember! Set those DVR's!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Low-dough furniture piece- indoors or outdoors (dumpster dived n' salvaged)


As many of you know, this blog is not only for tiny houses, shelter, tree house, and cabin photos and ideas (and showcasing the things I design and build), but also for sharing ideas in the world of salvaged-construction, and repurposing- which yes, can certainly be tied to the thrifty mindset of the tiny house and downsized-living world. So…. just wanted to share the simplest of projects, a wooden cable spool table.

In my factory art studio outside Boston, MA- the table is so strong that I can stand on top of it, and jump up and down without any problem...

Its simple….
Dismantle a big ole spool once you're procured one….
Pull or flatten any nails or staples that might get in the way
Slap a few coats of Helmsman spar varnish on the top
Add a few natural maple boughs as legs (which you can cut (carefully) with a chop saw). Glue them in place AND hold them fast with a trim head screw or two through the topside of the table.
And that's pretty much it!

Just a simple idea I wanted to share…
And REMEMBER- THIS WEEKEND…. the debut of my new show, "Tiny House Builders" on HGTV…. Sunday, December 14th, at 1pm.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NEW Tiny House Builders TV SHOW debuts on HGTV w/Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

SPREAD THE WORD! If you dig the blog, my videos, or anything I've done in the past, I'd HUGELY APPRECIATE IT! This TV show, which I host, design for, and build for, is finally airing! We shot this quite a ways back, so we're psyched to see it air!

So…. as many of you might have noticed, my blog posts have become more and more infrequent as of recently. Why? Well, aside from bustin-butt and building things for clients, hosting several sold out workshops this year (Tennessee, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts), AND getting a brand new factory-space for an art studio, and future design, art, and building classes, I've been working on THIS…..

And it finally will air- episode one- as a hidden/sneak episode on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14th- 1pm!   HGTV doesn't even list it (and isn't even promoting it at all), but it exists and will air. You'll see!

A TON of work went into the first build you'll see- one that is part tree house, part tiny house, and part seasonal cabin, so I hope you'll enjoy it. Its an hour long program and one focused more so on building and design, and not the downsizing aspects of the scene.

We build from the ground up, off grid, and with a very small crew. No kit houses, no hidden building crew, and no half-built shells to start us off. Its grueling, but the end result is pretty darn fun, unique, and loaded with character.

Our crew: Aside from me….
Dustin Diedricksen (my brother, and co-workshop host)
Jim Shippey- Builder/tinkerer- who has been a teacher/presenter at many of my past workshops
"Creature"- Carpentry animal and always there with a smile (no, not really)
Johnny "Milwaukee" Lyman- Brew City salvage builder/designer (and former workshop attendee)
Melissa Teper/aka DJ Melissa- former radio co-host at WBCN Boston, and interior designer.
Phil Laplante- Salvage Pro and Barn Builder from NH

SO…. Sunday, December 14th- 1 pm- HGTV…. don't miss it!

By the way, we also will have a small one day tree house design and build workshop in my factory space in mid January 2015, and MAYBE, a larger hands-on class with a small backyard office build (in another big factory space) in that month as well. Keep checking www.relaxshacks.com for the updates, or if interested, leave a comment below and we'll get back to you when things are official!

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Check out this TINY HOUSE Pallet Wood Door We Made!

So at our last workshop (see our most recent post), we found an old door (a heavy duty oak one) that was behind a factory and being thrown out, and repurposed it. With a little love and elbow grease, plus a new paint job and some inset, recycled, forklift pallet wood, we turned this "bound for the dump" door around. Its all about seeing the potential in roadside junk, and realizing the money that could be saved, and the custom touches and look that could come from such a simple project.

Check out this short video explaining what we did…. not rocket science, but it might spark some new ideas….

If you want to join us at one of our workshops, our next on in North Carolina (near Wilmington) is bound to be ALOT of fun! 

TO Sign up, click on the banner link on the top of our blog (before Nov. 20, 2014)

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Monday, October 27, 2014

"The Lunar Lander"- an AFFORDABLE and MODERN Tiny House/Backyard Office….

A few people exclaimed "Hey, it kinda reminds me of a lunar lander!". I thought the same myself, hence the name (until we think of something better!)

Check out this cool backyard office/reading retreat cabin that we built outside Boston, MA this past weekend as part of our Relaxshacks.com Tiny House Building and Design Workshop (our TENTH one!). There were MANY demonstrated techniques worked into this one little structure (standing about 11' tall) from framing, cedar shingling, tongue and groove use, and constructing, leveling, and squaring its base, to trim work, roofing (Ondura), and installing a polycarbonate Tuftex wall. The project started as an A-frame, and then I decided on the spot, with a group consensus/approval, "Nah, lets toss in a knee wall, give it a steeper back wall, and give it a modern, asymmetrical front supports". So we did….
The plans are never set, and we build, design, and decide certain things as a group, which is half the fun, If someone has a new or different idea, they can bring it to the plate and try to sell us on it.

It was a fun, involved, and intimate workshop (capped off at only 16 allowed to attend), and the weather was GREAT!


SIGN UP (and find more details) by clicking the banner link on the top of this blog- (before Nov. 20th, 2014) 

MANY MORE PHOTOS, including the interior and other close up details (the AWESOME funky door we made, the pallet wall, etc) are coming soon! Once we decorate the interior, we'll also shoot a tour video.

Above: Dustin "Dr. Demolition" Diedricksen helps a student with shingling one side wall of the cabin.

      A salvaged-wood Lego-man art piece looks on as wood hits the chop-saw station for siding….

Kari Cooper works on shelving for the cabin made from disassembled wine boxes, scrap wood, and other salvaged items….

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Out next HANDS-ON workshop? (above) November 22-23rd in Carolina Beach, NC- right near Wilmington. Its only limited to 20 people, so don't delay! We're all going to build a funky backyard workshop-office near the beach! LOTS of recycled windows will be used- almost a whole wall of them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TEN simple salvaged chair and bench projects that are OUT-THERE!


     I've seen these at the Brimfield Fair in MA this year, and quite a few places online, and apparently they sell very well! LOVE 'em! So simple to make too, and this might make for a fun addition to the porch or deck of your tiny house or cabin, or even inside your home- adding a dash o' funk and creativity to the mix. File Under: Lo-fi DIY



Also, if you missed it, THIS is going to be a heck of a good time! A Hands-On Tiny House Building Workshop near Wilmington, NC! Limited to 20 attendees, and LOADED with hosts, carpenters, guest speakers, and tiny house experts!!! Its filling up fast!!!

Above: A great BEAM bench- an old recycled timber beam, hollowed out on one end for a planter, and made into a long seat. VERY simple, but creative- from www.diggerlist.com 

Loaded with character and lots of patina! from www.gardenandgun.com 

More simplicity, and that with a modern twist, above, from www.lushome.com

A hunk of a salvaged door- courtesy of www.hometalk.com 

Pallet wood given new life! From WOODZY SHOP on etsy…

Rope threaded through plywood make this threaded-rod reinforced modern chair a very eye-catching one! from www.dornob.com 

Now THAT is one GREAT Crate! from www.adorable-home.com  

from www.architectlines.com 

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Also, check out my DIY Shelter/Tiny House/Tree House/Salvage concept book! 
If its out of print, it will be back up really soon! 

Thursday, October 9, 2014


We've decided to add ONE LAST workshop in 2014, and figured "why not head where its a little warmer?". So… CAROLINA BEACH, NC, near Wilmington, will be our next Hands-On Tiny House Building and Design Workshop! And WE WANT TO KEEP IT SMALL- smaller workshops mean more individual time with each attendee, which means they walk away with more experience, know-how, and with more time actually building.


To learn techniques, tool usage, and design principals, we'll all be collectively constructing a 12' long cabin on a lot near the beach, one that will have a wood stove in the end run, and which will incorporate a good deal of salvaged material in the build. Alongside the cabin, we'll build a small deck, pallet chairs, a workbench, and much more! Its going to be A LOT OF FUN! Decor and color-wise, we can have fun with this too!

Above: A Cabin we worked on (one of FOUR) at our Vermont Workshop


ABOVE: One of FOUR micro-shelters that we collectively built at our last workshop

The two day, twenty hour course, is $335. Work packets, snacks and coffee, materials, and more will be included. We have a great roster of demos and guest speakers too, with more to possibly be announced. There is no camping at this particular workshop, but there is lodging nearby, AND a state park that is very close with camping is $20.

Above: The Lunar Lander- a cabin we built at our most recent workshop, in just two days!

We also might have an optional add-on third day for those interested- with continued building, an extra demo or two, and a few added perks. Details to come very soon! 

TO SIGN UP: Hit the green link near the top of this post… ANY questions- kidcedar at gmail.com

Derek "Deek" Diedricksen has been teaching hands-on workshops since 2010, and has designed, hosted, and built for HGTV, The DIY Network, The History Channel, CBS News, and beyond. He is the author of the book "Humble Homes, Simple Shacks", and has had his work featured in The NY Times, Boston Globe, UK Daily News, the homepage of Yahoo.com, Treehugger.com, Apartment Therapy, and beyond. 

NOTE: REALLY IMPORTANT! (that's why I made the font larger!) Please make sure you can attend before you sign up, as with a workshop so close, we can't refund your fees if you should decide not to, or cannot make it for whatever reason- we WILL however give you a credit for a future workshop (don't worry, there will be many)- this way you're not at a loss. Thanks! 

Monday, September 29, 2014


So, I haven't even really officially posted the details on this one, and because of our track record (close to TEN workshops in the past since 2010- all of which have sold out), this one's ALREADY ALMOST SOLD OUT! Crazy! I think we just have 5 spots left… if this one closes, we MAY have to figure out another 2nd class weekend/date too- we'll see….

Its going to be fully hands-on, and we're going to collectively work on and design one, if not two, tiny cabins- both on a great chunk of wooded land in Waltham, MA- VERY close to Boston, MA.

Like all our other workshops, aside from ACTUAL HANDS-ON BUILDING, we'll have guest speakers, some demos, I'll give a slide show on salvage work and ideas (how to save A LOT of money when building any home, office, or vacation cabin), and we'll also be working with a friend of mine who has done quite a bit of building for tv- Jim Shippey. He's helped with workshops in the past with us as well.

My brother Dustin "Dr. Demolition Diedricksen" will be part of this too!

TEACHER to student ratio is roughly FOUR to ONE- which is unheard of! We're trying to cap this at around 15 or so students too….

Guest builders/speakers/helpers…

Aside from main hosts DEREK "DEEK" DIEDRICKSEN and his brother DUSTIN, and JIM SHIPPEY….

PALO COLEMAN- Jack Of All Trades- He'll give a bamboo building and joinery demo, which we'll also be filming for our youtube channel.

KARI COOPER- "Yurt Girl"- there to answer your yurt questions, and she'll be heading up an icebreaking demo on building with pallet wood, where you'll get to build a chair, and perhaps a few other things.

MARTY SKRELUNAS- CT architect- he'll be there to answer your questions, and perhaps do a short demo on reglazing windows, among other things….

AMY HENION- She'll be joining us again to talk about her methods in striving towards a simpler life- "how to downsize"

HOURS: 20 contact hours overall
Saturday October 25th- 9am to LATE (campfire discussions, Pizza party social, and more)
Sunday October 26th- 9am to 5pm approx.


So don't wait! Before I have a chance to set up all the html plugs and buttons for a sign up link, if you want in, you can simple send the registration of $265 to the paypal id "senorsell@hotmail.com"

If you want to pay by check, you can do so too, but email me through "Derek Diedricksen" on facebook… thanks!

This workshop is only three weeks away, so if you can't make it, you payment will be good/transferred to another workshop- don't worry. We're too close to this for refunds, but I will give you course credit, good for any other class/classes we do. S0 make sure you can make it before you register- simple as that!

Note: Gatecrashers will be cut into timber and incorporated into the build

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tiny craft, for a tiny house, on a tiny budget….

from www.pinterest.com (where it didn't credit the original designer- if anyone knows, I'd LOVE to plug 'em!) 

What a cool little project. This one would be a great activity for kids and adults alike, or a simple gift for someone for indoor or outdoor use. 

As a cub scout den leader I've long considered starting a blog just on kid craft, scout meeting, and rainy day activity ideas- fun, creative ones- and I think a simple project like this would be EASY to do, and VERY, VERY affordable.

For you tiny housers, and perhaps those with tiny wallets, this would also make for a great little piece of decor- and one that requires very little maintenance! (no water!). It would also be great for seasonal cabins where you want the LOOK of some greenery, but don't want to transport plans back and forth each season. 

Anyway, its just a simple post today, but I thought some of you crafters out there might be interested. 

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Couple takes their TINY HOUSE around the US- See the TOUR!

Just recently, while teaching a workshop in Philadelphia, I had the chance to tour the newly finished tiny home of Jenna Spesard and Guillaume Dutihl. The place is just gorgeous and they've already clocked in 3000+ miles on their road trip from California to Pennsylvania- which will then continue up to the maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia). Its quite a trek they're undertaking, and they'll be chronicling all of it on www.TinyHouseGiantJourney.com - so be sure to check 'em out.

This video is actually the very first video tour they've done, and I was lucky enough to be behind the helm for it. Their home- 20' long, 8' 6" wide, and 13' 4" tall, is loaded with great space saving ideas, creative built-in furniture, and a ton of character overall. The video tour is long, but I think you'll enjoy it. These two also are bringing their dog on the road tour, which can climb and descend the loft steps on its own…. and the loft steps…. you'll be wowed!

ALSO- October 25th-26th, 2014- we're having a small HANDS-ON Tiny House/Shelter Building Workshop… we'll have full details soon. Its going to be right outside Boston, and if interested, email me at kidcedar at gmail.com

We're limiting this one to only 15 students so as to be able to give each and every student a lot of attention and help. Its going to be fun!