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.