Wednesday, December 30, 2009

About the heat...

Hi everyone,
Our last post about heat, or lack of, got a lot of comments. I started to write a reply comment, but decided to just make it a post. All of the suggestions we received were pretty good, but...

We weigh 7600lbs on a 7000 trailer, so things that add weight are pretty much out. Also, while we love our location, it isn't necessarily permanent, so a trombe wall is out.

Our tiny house is pretty well sealed up. This is good. It means we don't have drafts. And that means we stay warmer. But it also means that using a wood stove would be a problem. Wood stoves suck air for combustion from there surrounding area. In a house with a bit of a draft and a lot of volume this is ok. In a well sealed tiny house, believe it or not, the stove would draw the oxygen out of your breathable air faster than new air would come in. So, you'd have to keep a window open when using it. And that might not be bad, but it might offset some of the gains of using it. A wood stove is also heavy and requires a lot of space around it. I'm not knocking wood stoves. I love them. But in this kind of small mobile space keep the trade offs in mind before installing one.

Refrigerators are another example of a small space fighting to hold its temperature against a larger space. Eventually, if the refrig is unplugged, the inside temperature will match the outside temperature. So you have to run the compressor to maintain the temperature. And we have to run our little heater to maintain our warmth. And actually, with our little stove we can get it up to 65 to 70 degrees, so it is ok. We just have to run it more than we thought.

I think one of the things Arlene wants to communicate is that if you are thinking of building a tiny house, be aware that it might not hold onto the heat as well as you might think. You do have to run the heater. Yeah, you could add more insulation, just be aware of what that might mean in terms of cost and weight and such. If you are in a very cold area, it is probably worth it to add a bit more insulation than we have. But up here we only have a few months of cold a year, and it isn't as cold as, say, Minnesota or Calgary.

In terms of heating, since September we have gone through one 5 gallon bottle of propane and are on the second. I figure that isn't too bad.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Heating a tiny house

Well, we followed the suggestions as to what insulation to use to build our tiny cottage (2" thick rigid foam planks sealed around the edges with expanding soy foam). But because of the ratio of exterior walls to interior volume, and that we have no air pockets like a heated hallway or closets, we are chillier than I had expected us to be.

I think because it's a very tiny home that takes less energy to heat, I expected it to be toasty inside all of the time. Oh, not so...

On average, we run a 20 to 25 degree difference compared the outside temperature without running the heat, or summertime fan, during normal working hours. (If we never turned on the heat at all this would not be the case.) It turns out that we're cooler in the heat of summer yes. But also cooler in the cold of winter.

There had been an unusually cold day (29F degrees) last month but then it quickly warmed up again. We were comfortable that night so I thought that if the cold weather lasted longer that we'd stay comfortable enough. This past week/current week the high was/is supposed to hover at 32F and the low will be about 22F. This has meant a steady cold and it's been much trickier to stay warm.

Last night we'd had the Newport 900 boat heater on for about 4 hours. At 9pm, the outside temperature was 33F, the inside was 67F with the interior humidity at 48%. This morning at 5am outside was 24F, inside was 52F, and (since we don't keep the dehumidifier on at night) the humidity was 59% . Not as toasty as I'd like to be inside. We were used to turning the heat on very infrequently before moving into the cottage, and we'd simply wear a sweater and slippers at home. In this place, we use more fuel to heat the place and we wear an extra sweater. (We've become quicker at getting dressed first thing in the morning too!) If producing less of a carbon footprint is the reason you want to live in a tiny house, you'll have to figure out how to use less fuel for heating even if this is less expansive than heating a larger space. Insulation is the key; I have no definitive answer as to what to use yet though.

We have winterized, and will continue to do more as we think of what else can be done. We know the following information for sure because (tech geek that he is) Jeff bought two scientific temperature rods that he hooks directly up to his laptop for digital readings:

In early November we started by buying honeycomb shades to better insulate our windows and they keep the inside warmer by 6 degrees. Yes, we bought Low E double pane windows and installed them properly. We have 10 windows plus one skylight.

The industrial felt floor cover feels warmer to the touch than the wood floor, but we've tested it against the wood floor and it doesn't help the inside temperature at all.

I have stuffed dense foam into the 'attic fan' vent louvers and the bathroom exhaust fan outside as well as stuffed the skylight area.

We bought a dehumidifier because we started to get condensation on the window interiors and we don't want mold to form. Before we had the gauge to measure the humidity, the first 36 hours the machine was on we filled the 12 pint reservoir. Since then we leave it on from 5am until about 8pm and it takes two weeks to fill. We now hover between 49% and 60% humidity (gotta breathe but we don't cook at home and we shower at the gym or indoor pool each morning after we workout). We like how the dehumidifier evens out the temperature in the cottage by blowing cooler air up so that the heated air is forced downward. We sit downstairs and want it warmer until we go upstairs to sleep. The sleeping loft area gets heated fairly quickly by the two of us breathing since it's about the size of a two person tent.

We bought a heated water hose from and it works exactly as advertised.

We've thought about insulating drapes but have decided to wait on those. I need to do more research.

If we were to build another tiny home, or to make some suggestions, it would be:

  • Buy more heating power than you think it will take if you live in a place that gets cold. (Will a radiant heated floor work in a tiny mobile cottage? I don't know.)
  • Either buy a different type of insulation or beef up the 2" thick panels because it doesn't retain heat well since these structures are all exterior walls.
  • I don't know if having a full loft, rather than a partial loft, would keep it warmer downstairs in the winter. It might, but it might also be much hotter upstairs in the summer. We like the air circulation and light. The high ceiling in the living area makes it feel larger so I'm not sure we'd change this design.
  • Jeff suggests fewer windows.

We hope that you're staying warm this time of year.

Until Spring we'll be posting to this blog only once a month. Currently we're fine tuning the cottage to make it more comfortable so there's not much to post. As it warms up here though, we'd like to settle in a bit more by building a small deck and planting a vegetable garden.

Happy Holidays and have a very Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cold Feet

It's been interesting living in our tiny cottage since the beginning of September because we've experienced temperatures between 95F and 29F.

Recently it's been getting cooler so our wood floors have felt uncomfortably cold to me. I tried wearing a couple of pairs of socks to keep my feet warmer but that didn't seem to help. I bought slippers to wear over a pair of socks but that didn't seem to help either.

So I went sneaking off to look for other solutions. I say sneaking because Jeff and I agreed when we first started construction on our cottage that since we love the look of wood floors, we would not to carpet it. Rugs cover the beauty and we also didn't want off-gassing materials in the cottage.

I figured that if I bought an area rug, that we could still see the wood grain around the rug so I wouldn't be actually going against what we'd agreed upon, right? Since I'm the type that prefers to ask for forgiveness, rather than to ask for permission, I snuck off to find a solution that would appeal to both of us.

In our relationship, I have found that when I look at something (like our 'new' used settee) that I can imagine what the end result can look like but I'm not always good at explaining my vision to others. I bought the settee knowing that if Jeff'd been with me that he'd have thought it was too ugly and could never look any better. I could see it's potential though, and we really needed something to sit on, so I went for it. Since it's been recovered and restyled he really likes it. I figured I would try this with a rug...

I looked at both new and used options. I figured that a used rug had off-gassed already so that was what I searched for first. I looked in the better furniture consignment places near us but found nothing in our size or color so I went to four big box stores that carry area rugs then to rug warehouses... and found something that I had never thought of as a solution.

My needs were:
natural fiber
no off-gassing
fairly inexpensive
visually appealing (or at least not too bad to live with for the cold months)
warm to the touch

My final choice was industrial wool felt. It's 1/2" thick, light grey, has no scent, is soft and warm underfoot. At only $1US/sf I was able to cover the living room and kitchen floors for about $60. I found it at a carpet remnant warehouse but any carpeting store will have it. They sell it as carpet padding.

I explained to Jeff what I wanted to do after the purchase. He saw it rolled and wrapped (and didn't look excited about it) and said he'd be willing to give it a try. When he came home the evening that I had installed it, he stood at the front door and said that it looked a lot better then he'd thought it could. He stepped onto it and liked that it was warm and soft too. It has received a thumbs up so far.

I'm not sure yet how it will wear underfoot but we have had a no-shoes-inside policy (to preserve the soft douglas fir flooring and now to keep the felt clean) and I have put what look like tacks covered with teflon under the legs of the chairs so they glide across the felt. The felt may be a great solution.

It's been only a few days so far, it's been about 30F to 50F, but it seems to be noticeably warmer feeling inside the cottage to both of us. I'll let you know in a month or two if it really is the solution to the cold feet problem...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Progress Update - Oct 25

In the last couple of weeks I have definitely been busy... although, at times, I have strayed from original to do list.

I have:
  • finished the paneling and trim around the interior of the front door
  • completed attaching the paneling on the new bi-fold bathroom door
  • installed a shelf above both kitchen windows
  • found, bought, refinished and reupholstered an antique settee (since the big toolbox wasn't really comfortable to sit on)

  • made a trailer skirt out of old ikea shelf supports and leftover exterior redwood siding
  • bought a few outdoor bushes and a (very) small fern for inside
  • and we finally hooked up the propane since it's been getting colder recently. (For more new interior pictures, click the link that says 'More build pics are here' at the top left of our blog.)
This week, if the rain will give me a break, I'll finish the porch. I have a couple of more floor boards to add as well as a plaque that I made. On a rainy day, I will fix up an old trunk for storage under the settee. I also plan to add the rest of the interior trim and putty the nail holes so that I can paint the cottage interior the second weekend of November.

Currently, when you walk into our cottage ALL you see is wood, which is nice, but we agreed that we'd like a bit more visual contrast. Besides, the rainy season has begun so we'll have a few months of grey days. We'd like it to feel brighter when inside even if it's grey outside. The skylight has been helpful, but grey is grey. I have a no-VOC paint (Freshaire Choice). The ceiling will be 'distant star' and the walls will be 'poetic light'. Both are a creamy white with the ceiling a couple of shades lighter than the walls which, I have read, is supposed to make the ceiling feel higher. Even though it's simply visual 'space', I'll give it a try.

Since I'm winding down on the bigger things that need to get finished in order to feel more settled in our new home in a new city, this coming week I'll be making more of effort to find a job. I get quite antsy if I have nothing to do and I have been losing track of days since I don't have an office to go to. I've been working 7 days a week on finishing up the house so there hasn't been a difference between Wednesday or Saturday. I'm really ready to go back to work...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Done... and yet to do.

We have been working on finishing up the outside of the cottage before the rainy season begins as well as making the inside a bit nicer looking and more comfortable.

After arriving in Seattle, Jeff leveled the trailer and had the cold water working in the kitchen sink by day two. The pex piping had been installed and tested for leaks before the interior walls went up but the faucets & shower head hadn't been attached. While finishing up the water he decided to add a few shut off valves into the system so it looked like a tornado had come through. The sink/counter top/cabinet was uninstalled and sat in the middle of the living room and the wall was off a closet area so he had access to the shower faucet hookup.

The hot water heater has been installed for a long time but we lost the power cord at some point so we've ordered a replacement. The base to the shower hasn't yet been installed so since our arrival we have been members of the local pool so we have access to the pool, hot tub and hot showers daily. Our home shower will be working within a couple of weekends. I enjoy my time at the pool and Jeff has started to use the pool at the UW on weekdays so we haven't been in a rush to do this task.

Last Sunday we finished the trim and siding outside the front door so the exterior has now been completely sealed. On Monday it rained. I still need to add the edge boards to the porch, and to seal the ones that are there, but I'll have to wait until we have a few dry days again before I can tackle that task.

Next I worked on mortising the hinges on the new cabinet doors. This task took me a bit of guesswork, crossed fingers and tweaking. I hadn't done cabinetry before so it took me four days to install all 7 cabinet doors. We haven't found pulls that we like yet so tape has been the substitute. Mike, the friend who made our cabinets, suggested to simply screw the hinges onto the cabinet fronts since it would have been easier, but the nice ones from Restoration Hardware would have cost us more than we wanted to pay (For hinges?!). I did this task the hard way using $1 hinges instead. I also took down the sheet that had been our bathroom 'door', installed a nice bi-fold wooden one, and attached tongue and groove pine so that the door blends in with the rest of the walls.

This coming weekend we'll finish the gas system so that we have heat and can use the stove. So far the cottage has been very good at keeping us comfortable whether it's been 40 degree F or 95 degree F weather. We have either been eating things raw (we love salads anyway) or eating at nearby restaurants so not using the stove has given us a chance to explore the neighborhood.

What else will keep me busy as I search for a CAD job here in Seattle? (Any job leads?):

- Interior paneling and trim around the front door.
- Backsplashes need to be installed on the kitchen counters.
- Paint the cottage interior a creamy off white.
- Custom light covers need to be made for 4 sconce lights.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Downsizing: The saga continues...

In a previous post I suggested that each of us who wants to downsize ask ourselves, "If my place were to burn down today, could I live without this item?" I thought that if I didn't need it in daily living that it could easily be purged. I have also explained that in our choice to voluntary simplify that we don't want to feel as if we are punishing ourselves. We want some comfort, not simply the bare necessities, so downsizing turned out to be easier said than done.

Selling things was hard for me. I had my own shop tools because I really enjoy creating sculpture by welding and woodworking. These tools have been in storage for awhile because I had found shared space where someone had these tools for me to use. Now, as I sold my tools I felt as if part of my identity was being ripped away. Will I be able to find another place in Seattle where I can rent shop time like I did before the move? I hoped so and had to believe that I will. I reasoned that I will be able to buy tools again if I ever really need them.

Since Jeff was in the build space all day near the end of construction while in California, we moved all of my tools and other odds and ends from my storage unit there. He was very good at talking with people who came to look at the items after I posted them on Craigslist. It was cash only & prices were firm. I probably set the prices lower than they needed to be because we were pressured with a deadline to move to Washington very shortly. I didn't want to have to bring more things with us to sell later. I was also happy to hand over the sales task to Jeff and not to have to deal with it (the psychological discomfort) any longer.

Jeff's only big items was his mission & leather furniture. When I married him he came with a whole apartment full of well made furniture that could be handed down to another generation or two. We have lived in many apartments and houses over the years and his was the type of furniture that when people came into our space for the first time they'd say, "Wow!". It was comfortable, it was beautiful, it was sturdy. Rick was moving to Albuquirky a few weeks before our move to Seattle and he said that he wanted to buy it all. Rick got a really great deal, Jeff was pleased to see his collection stay together and that it went to a friend, and this sale saved us from writing ads, etc.

What we sold: wood/metal shop tools, apartment full of furniture.

The give away was quicker and easier than the sales were (of course). I was short on time but we lived in a large apartment complex so I took a few color pictures, made some flyers and posted them in each of the buildings lobbies early one Saturday. By 5pm all of the items had been removed from my apartment by very happy, nice people. I didn't have to post them on Craigslist or Freecycle or cart them off to Goodwill and I felt as if lightening my load had made me happier as well.

What we gave away: desk, leather computer chair, collection of masks from around the world, plants, quality queen & twin mattresses, lacquered storage chest, lamps, house wares, antique armoire, dining table, file cabinet, shelves, clothes...

Not all things went though.

What we kept: 2 folding leather chairs, 1 wooden chair, tableware and silverware for four, pans, some clothes / shoes... currently we have a large toolbox in our living room with some fabric thrown over it for use as a sofa as well as 3 other boxes of hand tools / building supplies. As construction slows these tools will go into my brother's basement. I also have 4 boxes of fabric that are currently in my mom's house and these will come to our house for storage under a real sofa once I find one that fits our odd requirements (needs to fit in the 22" wide door, needs to be shallow, but can be 7' long). What I'm thinking is 4 to 6 dining chairs attached side by side with some padding on top; a unit that will look like a Swedish settee. I do woodworking, and I can sew, so making something like this (rather than buying something from Ikea) will be easy and is much more appealing to Jeff and me.

What we bought: a really decent mattress, coir floor mats with rubber underneath them for the foyer because it's going to be wet soon and we need a place to drip while we remove our shoes when we arrive home, a small 'side table' with shoe cubbies below to sit on in the foyer while removing our shoes, 2 wire hanging baskets for fruit to free up the counter tops, screws and other stuff to finish building.

Tip: Give yourself more time to get rid of things than you think it will take. You think it will take 6 months? Give yourself a year. I feel as if I could have recovered some of the money I'd spent on the items if I'd sold them instead of given them away, or sold them at higher prices, but I simply felt rushed to sell them so they went for yard sale prices. Avoid the stress of rushing, and avoid the feeling of losing money off the good work of downsizing, by giving yourself lots of time to get comfortable with the process.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Made it

Last weekend we moved the tiny house from it's location in California to Seattle.

He we are at a rest stop along the way. You might notice that the truck's back end is a bit low.

We knew our version of the tiny house was heavier than a typical Fencl. In fact, we feared that we were well over 7000lbs. So we took the trailer to a truck stop and paid $9 to have it weighed. We detached it from the truck and had the tongue on one scale and the wheels on the other. By doing this we could see how tongue heavy we were.

And we were a bit heavy on the tongue. Depending on the kind of trailer you have, you want the tongue weight to be between 10 and 15 percent of the total weight. So after seeing our report, we took some tools and boxes out of the trailer, put them in the jeep and rearranged what was left (we moved things to the back, near the door, and tied them down) to get less weight on the tongue.

Another thing to note is that tiny houses of this kind are tall. As tall as a semi.

On level ground, from the peak to the ground, we are 13' 4". If you see an over pass that says 13' 4", find another rout. They generally mean it. We didn't have any problems because we took a truck rout to Ballard (the neighborhood in Seattle where we settled).

So here we are. We still need to put trim on the door, hook up a shower, paint inside and out, along with many other tasks. But we feel like in a way, one adventure has been completed and another is starting.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


There is still some work to do on the roof, but it is shaping up...

And so is the inside.

And here I am hanging out in the trees.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Sometimes I can't believe this tiny house isn't done yet.

I mean, it is a tiny house... But it has taken a big amount of work...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We got tired of working on the roof so we decided to come inside and do some paneling.

In the photo above, I'm using a pneumatic brad nailer to install the knotty pine.

Here you can see that we have quite a lot done. We still need to install the skylight. And to the left in the photo above and the right in the one below, you can see a patch of plastic that isn't done yet. This is actually a big open space that we haven't yet roofed. You see, we have some custom cabinets coming in that are wider than our door...

Also in this last pic you can see that decided to close in the storage space above the door and install a fan that will help keep the place cooler in the summer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Some folks… and the idea of scheduling

Most folks have been very supportive of our choice to downsize and live in a tiny cottage. Some folks have already downsized or are also in the process of doing this, some folks have said “Oh, you’re living my dream!” but would never do this themselves, and some folks (like my dad) think we’re nuts and can’t imagine living in a small space let alone getting rid of most of their stuff. Well, nuts or not we're going to do it.

Jeff is still building full-time an hour and a half north of me but I still have my day job and am now alone at our apartment in the evenings purging/boxing the last of our belongings. Sure, I get to sleep in a real bed while he’s getting bruised by day and sleeping on a hundred year old futon by night, but purging stuff is hard work too.

I recently had to take a week off to spend time with my teenage son while he was hospitalized unexpectedly (this is why I mentioned the IDEA of scheduling time). This was actually a great thing since he’s been waiting for a long time for a liver transplant and it has finally happened. Woohoo!!!! He’s doing extremely well (he was out of the hospital in 6 days!), it all went smoothly, and now he’s back at his dad’s home getting pampered while he recovers for the next 6 weeks. I was worried that he’d get the call to come in because they found a liver donor match while Jeff, Rick and I were towing our tiny cottage through Oregon. I feel very relieved that I was still around to be right there when it happened and to be able to take the week to hang out with him!

Our cabinet maker friend and family will be taking a few much needed days vacation this week so we are running a bit behind in that area now. Life happens... so our 'schedule' has changed. Our move date is now two weeks later than previously planned. This os ok though since Jeff will still have two weeks before he is needed at school after our move. Moving the date back seems to have taken a lot of stress out of the building process (which is a good!).
Well, after my week off of building I wanted to feel like I’d accomplished something in connection with our move/cottage so I started small. I purged the bathroom. It was easy to get rid of the shampoos, etc that we never use. Oh, and the hair dryer for guests… has now left the building.

Linens was easy. One bed and a tiny bathroom only needs so much.

Next was my books. Ugh. I’m still having trouble with this and am at a total of 5 boxes (those paper ream types from the office). I’m down from double that amount but I want to get it down to 2 boxes since that’s all I’ll have room for. I’m still working on this.

Last night was my clothes closet. Much easier than I thought it would be but I’m not done yet. I boxed what I think I will ‘need’ but will still need to get rid of about half of what’s left. I know I won’t wear all of it but how to decide what I will is difficult. I’ll have to do another pass on this.

Tonight I will start to purge papers. I have lots of papers filed (in boxes, in no order whatsoever) but will scan the ones I really need and will shred or toss the rest. Unread magazine articles will go, performance reports from work from 8 years ago will go (uh, why did I bring this home?) but my sketches for artwork will be scanned for further thought (and hopefully action). This paper task will easily take a week and it will sometimes be emotional. It really needs to get done though.

When I need a break from papers I will purge the kitchen. This should be easy. I already have 4 plates, cups and silverware boxed. Getting rid of the crock pot, blender, etc will be very easy. We use them about once a year.

Boxing up the camping/skiing gear will follow that.

Rick just bought all of Jeff’s Mission style furniture, lamps and the leather sofa and chair. (He sent us pictures of his new place in Albaquirky and it all looks great overlooking the sunset!) I’ll freecycle the two mattresses, dining room table, a couple of lamps and the desk. Mark said he wants the file cabinet and shelves, Craigslist will get the antique armoire, then we’re done…

Our 700 sf apartment is fairly empty at this point. Our lease is up on September 1 so this is a very good thing. I look around and it feels freeing to have pared down to this little bit.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coming Along

I'm finally settling into a routine and so I'm picking up steam. From the pic you can see that the roof sheathing is mostly done.

In addition to that, the insulation and vapor barrier and in too. But not actually everywhere. You can't see it in these pics but, I have a hole where I left out a rafter and the accompanying insulation and vapor barrier. These will go in a bit later.

In the pic you can see we'll have an outlet on each side of the bed and a small lamp top-center.

This crazy section of the roof took more than 3 times as long as the whole rest of the roof combined. The angle cuts are such a pain. Maybe because I have never done anything evern remotely like this before.

There will be a vent in the opening you see above. It will be hooked up to a fan so that on hot days we can suck hot air from near the ceiling and blow out the vent.

Monday, August 10, 2009


When we did the framing for the house, the project seemed to be moving along very quickly. I think it was because we got to see big progress in a short period of time. Doing detail work takes just as much work but there is less to see, so it can seem like less is getting done. I have to keep reminding myself that we're still moving forward.

The other thing about time is, it just slips by. Sometimes doing things related to the project, but not directly related to building. For example: going to the store. Which I do a lot. Perhaps if I was a more experienced builder I'd be at the store less, but it seems like I go to the store for something 3 out of every 4 days. Either it is more wood, a 45 degree vent pipe, a new saw blade... And since we are now not in an industrial area, but out in the sticks of Marin county, it takes about 30 minutes to get to a good lumber store. That's one way.

I bring this up to say that things always take longer than you think they will. In the build space, we never had do to much clean up from one day to the next. I could come in and pick up right where I left off. Here I have to setup and clean up at the start and end of each day.

So, in keeping with doing things in an odd order, we decided to work on one set of rafters and then move on to the next. We'd put up vapor barrier, stuff in the insulation from the top, foam around the insulation, then sheath. The reasons for this are, 1) the foam can has to be upside down to shoot the foam out, so we couldn't have foamed from the inside - we do it from the top. 2) this way we can work from inside the house on ladders or on the loft surfaces and just reach over. This saved us from dealing with setting up and moving ladders or scaffolding on the outside.

But this is all taking longer than we thought, so we are slipping our schedule out by a week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Roof

Just a brief update.

After a week we have the rafters and gables done.

This bottom shot shows the complex section of roof over the front of the house.

We've done a bit more than this and so I'll do another update when I take some more photos.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Shop close-out

Well, it took a week to get rid of the stuff we didn't want to keep and clean out the shop.

We could have done it faster, but some unexpected life events came up that required our attention.

At the same time, I got rid of many books and other stuff. I can't believe all the books I really want to keep fit into just 2 boxes. I also got $4,000 from selling my furniture {SCORE!}.

Hopefully, the next post will show the roof framing done.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On the Road

There were a lot of last minute details before moving the trailer. We had to put lights on it, since the trailer lights were partly covered, attach our license plate, and fill it with stuff that we'll need to have with us at it's new location.

We usually have more vehicles in the parking lot, but Saturday we were lucky and the lot was mostly empty. This means there was enough room to get out of the space without using the Jeep. Rick's truck is an 8500 lbs, 20 foot long, Dodge diesel cummins - it was made to tow this kind of thing.

The ride was a bit bouncy, and took us, say, an hour and a half. We did city driving, freeway driving, and curvy 2-lane highway driving. The freeway was toughest because we stayed in the truck lanes which gave us some bouncing, but otherwise it was fine and the tiny house made it to its new location without a scratch.

Now we take a week off. We'll sort of. We take a week to do some down sizing and clear out our build space. Then it will be back to building.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Forward, but not out

I mentioned before that I wouldn't use the Jeep to tow the tiny house on the road. But I will use it to pull the tiny house out of the shop because the house and truck together are too long to maneuver in the parking lot. But hooking the trailer up to Jeep is slightly nerving as the bumper drops about 4 inches.

But, it pulled the tiny house forward just fine.

When I pulled forward, I had enough space to do some work on the porch and other pre-road trip work.

If all goes well, the next post should about the move to our friend's house.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The first move

I've finished putting in the pipes for the propane system. All of the inside knotty pine is done (well, all that we'll do for now). The outside siding is done, but there is a bit more work to do on the porch. So I spent yesterday getting the tiny house ready for it's first move.

Several folks have asked us if our roll up door is tall enough to get the tiny house out of once the roof is on. The answer: nope. The roll up door is 12 feet high and the top of the tiny house, when it's done, will be 13' 6". Give or take.

Before we signed the lease for our build space we had an invitation to build our tiny house on some friend's property. But their house is nearly an hour and a half away. So we planned to to do the majority of building here, then tow the house to their place to put the roof on.

So I've screwed in some 1/2 inch, 4x8 sheets of plywood across what will be the opening up to the loft. I've also put a temporary door in place. We'll be moving the thing on Saturday.

Once the house is at it's new home, we'll put a roof on, make the door and the cabinets, and finish things off. We may not get to the painting till we get to Seattle. In fact, there maybe several finishing touches to do it once we're there.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tiny Bungalow

Our plan is for our tiny house to have a Arts and Crafts / Mission sort of look. To that end, I slapped together a mock up of the porch light fixture.

The final one will look a bit different, but will have the same sort of aesthetic.

See! The electrical system actually works!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Plan ahead

I'm usually pretty good about planning ahead, but occasionally I miss stuff. The three photos below illustrate this.

In the first, look between the two windows on the right and you see the vapor barrier over insulation. In the next, you see paneling up to the window level, the vapor barrier torn aside and me installing 2x2 framework. In the last one, the paneling is done.

What happened is that I had put paneling up just a bit higher than in the second shot and remembered we were going to put our heater (lower left of the second photo) on this wall. Then I wondered what it was going to attach too. Then I got the heater out and read the instructions. Then I started ripping stuff apart to put a framework in place to attach the heater too. Of course it worked out fine, but took time I'd rather have not spent this way.

The thing that is time consuming - besides ripping stuff out and rebuilding it - is cutting all the notches around windows and outlets.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Latest update

It is hard to get good photos of the front of the house (the back of the trailer) because of the way our shop is laid out, but here is a pic of some of the detail around the porch area. We have protective cover over the deck boards and don't yet have all the trim in place - notably around the door.

In the picture below you can see 2 4x4s in the foreground that aren't part of the house, but otherwise this should give you an idea of how the front of the house is coming together.

We wanted an insulated box around the wheel wells, so we build a simple 2x4 structure for that, and you can see that we have sealed the edges in most places with foam insulation.

The foam is a VOC free soy based insulation.