Pipe Dreams

After finishing the front door, my friends and I pondered what the next step in the Tiny House project should be.

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Luckily, Dad knew exactly what needed to be done next.

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Yes! Plumbing!

This meant I had some basic decisions to make to determine what kind of systems would be needed in the Tiny House.

According to the US EPA, the average American household uses 400 gallons of water a day, with the biggest use being flushing the toilet. To me, that seems like quite a waste (no pun intended)!

So I made the decision to purchase a composting toilet called the Nature’s Head, which does not use any water at all. These are pretty popular in the Tiny House community and for good reason (check this article out for more info).

I was so excited when my Nature’s Head arrived in the mail that I had to assemble it immediately in the living room to check it out.

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Dylan gave it a thumbs-up!

Next I had to choose the kind of piping to use to bring water to the kitchen sink and the shower. My choices were copper tubing, PVC, or the material I went with- red and blue PEX piping in a 1/2″ diameter. I was sold on the PEX because it seemed to be the most affordable and easy to work with.

Dad helped plan out the plumbing system layout by sketching it on a plywood board and positioning all the necessary lines and fittings.

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Sections of PEX are “crimped” together using metal rings and a special tool.

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It was important to me for the plumbing system to be able to work on- or off-grid. The plumbing system can either be hooked up to city water or can be run from a 40-gallon freshwater tank fillable with a hose or jugs of water.

Valterra A01-2004VP White Carded Gravity/Plastic City Water Inlet Hatch
This water inlet box accessed from outside the house allows me to hook up a city water source (right side) or fill up my freshwater tank with a hose
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This pressure regulator will make sure water pressure to the system stays at a consistent 45 psi when hooked up on-grid to city water (which I guess can vary a lot in pressure, putting a lot of stress on your system).
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Lots of valves make it easy to turn parts of the system on and off as needed and switch between on-grid and off-grid capabilities
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A handy gauge will show the pressure level in the system at any given time
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Putting the pieces together

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We affixed the plumbing control panel area to a plywood board which is attached as one piece to the wall under the future kitchen counter.

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The next step was running the PEX piping to the shower, water heater and freshwater holding tank. I decided to go with a propane-fired tankless on-demand hot water heater that will give an endless supply of hot water to the kitchen sink and shower.

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This awesome shower head has a detachable hand-sprayer that also be used to fill the bathtub!
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Rubber foam tubes are there to insulate the PEX piping and keep it from freezing in cold temps.
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This pump will be used with the off-grid system option to get water into the system from the 40-gallon holding tank. This will be mounted to the wall separating the bathroom from the kitchen, once that’s built.

Unless the Tiny House is parked somewhere permanently where water from the sink and shower can drain directly to a garden, etc., the system is fully contained and set up to  drain outside and into a rolling greywater tank underneath the house.

The greywater tank I bought

I’m planning to use all natural and biodegradable cleaning products so the greywater won’t be harmful to people, plants, pets or the planet’s water resources.

With the plumbing system hooked up and good to go, I’m already dreaming about taking the first soak in my Tiny Tub!

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Closing the Door

Hi everyone!

It’s been a whirlwind summer and fall including trips to Peru and Alabama, lots of things going on for work and multiple stints of hosting visitors/Tiny House helpers! Now it’s time to get you in the loop with what’s been happening.

I want to start with my absolute favorite part of the house… the door. In my last post you saw how my incredible dad crafted this bombproof beauty from scratch using only his imagination, a handful of boards, his favorite biscuit-jointer tool and as far as I can tell, probably some unicorn souls too (it’s that magical).

Here’s where we left off:

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It was now time to put on the finishing touches-a splash of color to seal and finish the door. For the exterior side I chose a color that seemed perfect to me, a shade of “welcome home” green called Banana Leaf:

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As I brushed on the first stroke of paint I wondered if the color was too eye-piercing. Josh pointed out that my color choice might have been subconsciously influenced by my Ryobi power tools which are exactly the same shade of green… ha ha:

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Maybe! At any rate, thanks to Josh and Adam for their assistance painting!

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After painting the exterior and edges of the door, it was time to finish the interior side using a clear polyurethane seal. I wanted to see the natural wood grain color showing through from the inside of the house.

For this important step we needed to bring in some reinforcements… cue a visit from my oldest and best friend, the one and only Meg O’Brien who road-tripped all the way from Minneapolis!

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Sanding and sealing the interior side of the door

We were also joined by Dylan who helped with this step.

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After letting the three coats of clear seal dry, we were ready to hang the door!

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It was pretty exciting to see the portal to the Tiny House snugly in place. Naturally, the occasion called for a ridiculous photo shoot. Enjoy!

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Knock knock…