Warm Hearts, Warm Home!

Working on home construction in a Wisconsin winter can be a cold situation! That’s why I was eager to get my Tiny House insulated to trap in the heat and keep out the chill.

Since warm air rises, most heat loss occurs through the ceiling of buildings. That’s where we decided to start insulating for maximum impact!

One thing I’ve learned about construction is that it’s never simple. “Insulating the ceiling” was actually about a 12-step process.ย Here’s a rundown of how it all came together.

First, we installed foam strips in the centers of all the rafter pockets. These strips will give support to plastic ventilation channels that will be installed before the insulation. The strips were cut from 3/4″ rigid foam sheets and secured using nails with large green plastic washers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are holes drilled through the roof on each side of the ridge beam to allow for air flow and ventilation through the rafter pockets. The holes are covered by the metal roofing ridge cap which will prevent water from leaking in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next, Dad cut and we installed blocker boards between all the rafters on the bottom side. This limited the open area to a narrow rectangle about 1″ tall, rather than the gaping hole that was there before without these boards.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I used Great Stuff to seal the cracks around the edges of the blocker boards.

8

9

10

Then it was time to install the plastic ventilation channels. With these in place, the top 3/4″ of the rafter pockets (along the underside of the plywood ceiling) will stay open to allow air flow up and out of the house. Without these, the insulation would push all the way up to the ceiling and block the ventilationย from air trying to travel upward.

11

12

13

I used more Great Stuff to fill in the gaps between the rafters, blocker boards and plastic ventilation channels at the bottom of each pocket. This will keep the air flow where I want it – on the top side of the ventilation channel where it belongs!

14

Finally it was time for the actual insulation! A lot of people use rigid foam boards to insulate their Tiny House ceilings because they offer more R-value, or insulating power, for the thickness. But those boards are also significantly more expensive than fiberglass roll-style insulation, which was more in my price range. I chose R-19 formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation, the thickest stuff I could fit between my 2 x 6 rafters.

15

16

The fiberglass insulation was easy to work with and simple to cut and staple inside each rafter pocket.

17

It can be kind of nasty to work with though because it’s made up of fiberglass shards that can cut and irritate your skin. You also don’t want to breathe this stuff in. Protective gear recommended!

18

The loft ceiling is all insulated!

19
In this photo you can also see the back wall partially insulated with R-13 fiberglass
20
This photo shows the ceiling insulation in several phases – some rafter pockets with pink supportive strips for ventilation channels, some with black plastic ventilation channels in place and the loft with R-19 insulation installed.ย 

21

 

22

23

24

25
Half of the fiberglass insulation installed in the Great Room

26

 

43

Finally, the ceiling was fully filled with fiberglass insulation! With each piece installed, the house felt noticeably warmer.

27

Next, Dad created some cardboard templates to cut rigid foam insulation triangles for the loft walls.

28

30
Cut to fit perfectly!

Mom taped up all the seams to button up the wall insulation and keep things extra cozy.

29
31

32
We used Great Stuff again to seal up any last-minute cracks and outline the foam triangle wall pieces.

The next step was installing plastic over all the ceiling insulation as a vapor barrier.

33

Dad had a great idea to sneak in more insulation value for the ceiling by installing 3/4″ thick rigid foam panels on the outside of the plastic. We held these in place using nails with big plastic washers. The ceiling paneling would be installed directly over this foam.

34

With one more foam board, the loft ceiling insulation was fully and completely finished!

35

We filled the 2 x 4 wall pockets with R-13 fiberglass roll insulation.

36

37

38

39
We filled and insulated the wheel well pockets with rigid foam boards and sealed the gaps and cracks with Great Stuff.

Before covering the electrical box wall with plastic, we needed to ground the electrical circuits to the metal trailer. We ran grounding cable from the box through the wall pocket and connected it to a metal hurricane holddown which is fused to the trailer.

40

 

41
We ran the other end of the cable outside to connect to a grounding rod.

After a wild goose chase of trying to find the right hex nuts to fit on the trailer’s hurricane holddown rods (needed a hard-to-find size), Mom went around and installed them on all eight threaded rods. We found even that to be easier said than done, since some of the holddowns were in very tight areas and some of the rods were a bit rusty and stubborn after being exposed to the elements during the construction process.

42

Mom also tackled the important but tedious task of insulating around all 11 windows with bits of fiberglass.

44

At this point we were ready to install the plastic vapor barrier on the Great Room ceiling and all of the first floor walls.

45

Mom was the master of folding and taping down all the odd edges of the plastic. “It’s just like wrapping a present!” she claimed. ๐Ÿ™‚

46

Soon all the plastic was in place!

47

We worked together to smooth down and staple the plastic.

48

…And finished the insulation by installing the rigid foam on the Great Room ceiling! The foam goes all the way to the peak of the roof, but this was the last photo I got of the insulation before we covered it up with ceiling paneling.

49

Whew! I’m so glad to report that after the whole involved process, the house is all insulated and warm as can be ๐Ÿ™‚

Look out for my next post which will have some exciting photos of the gorgeous interior paneling that makes up my finished ceiling and walls!

Advertisements

Building a Tremendous Wall

A bathroom just doesn’t offer the same level of privacy and comfort when it’s also part of the kitchen, for obvious reasons! It was time to build a Tremendous Wall and a door to separate the bathroom from the kitchen.

Luckily, Dad was on the case and came up with a great design. Have I mentioned he’s kind of a construction jedi? Here’s his concept sketch:

0

Basically, this was going to be a plywood wall notched out to fit perfectly around the loft support beams with a sliding door to access the bathroom.

Dad cut the first wall piece using a cardboard template.

1

The first piece goes in!

2

The shower and bathtub will go right where Dad’s standing in this photo:

3

This photo shows my closet at the front end of the loft (this is where I’ll keep all my clothes) with the bathroom in the background, and the newly-defined kitchen on the right side:

5

A closer view of the kitchen wall:

7

Looking into the bathroom:

8
The top half of the wall behind the toilet is an awesome shelf with a mirror back that my dad made more than 30 years ago! A perfect fit here and so happy he’s letting me use it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Detail of door at bathroom ceiling. The bathroom will have a waterproof plastic sheeting installed up there; the kitchen side will stay open between the loft supports.

9

Bathroom ceiling before waterproof paneling install:

10

Looking from the bathroom into the kitchen:

11
The door will slide along a track on the ceiling on the bathroom side of the wall.

And one more photo looking into the kitchen and bathroom, now divided by a Tremendous Wall!

12

I couldn’t be more pleased with how things are shaping up! Stay tuned for pictures of the wall and ceiling insulation, and interior paneling!

Let There Be LIGHT!

After the move to Wisconsin, one of the first tasks to take on was to finish the electrical system by installing light fixtures… AKA the FUN PART of electrical!

Check out my earlier post “A Quest for Power” for details on the basics of the Tiny House’s electrical system and a diagram of the circuits that we’d installed while still in Michigan.

Dad and I spent an afternoon shopping for low-profile light fixtures for the indoor ceiling lights, a chandelier for the “Great Room” and an outdoor porch light. We found some great LED lights – apparently these have phased out traditional incandescent or even CFL fixtures, and for good reason! LEDs are longer lasting, don’t really emit waste heat, work immediately unlike CFLs and also use less power to operate. They also do not have any of the toxicity issues of CFLs, which contain mercury and become very hazardous to people and the environment if they break.

Check out this chart for some really good info comparing incandescents, CFLs and LEDs. And this article. And this one.

Like many parts of this project, we had to take a step back before going forward. I had bought the wrong electrical inlet box for the house, instead purchasing an “outlet” box (like the ones at a campground that you’d plug your RV into). After ordering a new “inlet” box and an adapter for my power cord, we were good to go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dad hooked up the wiring to the new electrical inlet
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This short adapter cord changed my three-prong “standard” plug to a “twist-lock” to fit the new electrical inlet box.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another adapter at the other end of the cord enables my Tiny House to be plugged in to a standard 110-volt outlet.ย 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Plugged in!

The new lights look totally awesome – I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kitchen lights – these are each operated by their own switch.ย 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
How the kitchen lights look from outside
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dad installing the porch light
img_3514
Breakfast nook and porch lights ๐Ÿ™‚
img_3507
Porch light – and I even found a string of Christmas lights to put up! ๐Ÿ™‚
img_3510
Porch light close-up. . . so cute!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lights on!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I love the chandelier with vintage-looking Edison bulbs! Mom loves the heater ๐Ÿ™‚
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The chandelier! It’s on a dimmer switch so I’ll have lots of control over the light level.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Chandelier close-up. I really like the clean modern lines in combination with the long-filament Edison bulbs.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dad grinding off some screw ends inside to finish the porch light setup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Having lights, and the ability to plug in power tools anywhere in the house, has been so convenient as we keep working to finish the inside! It’s looking more and more like home every day!

 

A Blog of Ice and Fire

So… this happened.

!!! AHHHHHH !!! Cue freakout moment…

…Now relax, it’s okay! I promise everything’s fine at the end of this story.

So let me rewind and bring us back to the beginning of this fiasco…

I was ready for big changes in my life. After leaving my job in northern Michigan, I decided to move the Tiny House back home to Wisconsin for the winter. My plan? Ropeย my parents into helping me finish the project, and figure out where I want to live next, while enjoying the perks of living out in the sticks rent-free!

It was brilliant! All I had to do was get from Point A to Point B. No problem!

But time was running out before the deep freeze of winter. Realizing I somehow didn’t know anyone with a big enough truck, I turned to Craigslist and posted an ad for someone with a 3/4 – 1 ton truck to help me move before the holidays.

Soon I had several offers from people who were willing to do the job.

I hired Michael who lived nearby and could move fast for a low low price. What could possibly go wrong!?

Fast forward to early on a Saturday morning, the day of the move. Things were going well! Jack had been super helpful snowblowing the driveway so we could get out, and drivers Mike and Tyler were hardworking and creative at problem-solving to make the tight turn out of the driveway.

And soon, we were on the road!

It was exciting. There were lots of firsts.

The first time the Tiny House had been towed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first gas station.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first time crossing the Mackinaw Bridge! Only $8 to cross which seemed really cheap to me.

And shortly after that, a less-fun first… my first time calling 9-1-1.

We were traveling west on Michigan’s Highway 2 near Brevort, about 30 miles past the bridge. I was feeling great that we were putting miles behind us!

Suddenly, sitting in the back seat of the truck, I looked up and noticed that my driver Michael had a strange expression on his face.

“Um… everything ok?” I asked. The truck had been working pretty hard pulling my Tiny House.

“Just smelling something kind of weird,” replied Michael.

Less than a minute later a thick gray smoke began rolling from under the hood right in front of the truck’s windshield, prompting Michael to pull over.

Our relief driver Tyler, in the front passenger seat, opened his door to investigate.

Then everything changed.

“The truck’s on fire! Get out RIGHT NOW!” Tyler yelled.

Seconds later I was standing knee-deep in the snow, watching a stream of liquid flames pouring from the bottom of the truck’s engine onto the road. Michael and Tyler were throwing snow on the hood in an attempt to put out the fire. We decided we needed to call for help.

When I connected with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, I explained we had a burning vehicle on the side of the road. Thankfully this happened right in front of a house and the homeowner was able to help me give an exact address for the emergency crew.

“Everyone get away from the vehicle immediately!” the dispatcher commanded. “Stop putting snow on the engine! It’s probably going to explode! Stand back!”

Michael, Tyler and I stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the deep snow, watching helplessly. Time got distorted. I don’t even know how long we stood there watching. It seemed like it took forever. Everything was in slow motion. The flames grew. The flames grew more. It was surreal to watch.

When the fire shattered the windshield and poured into the cab of the truck, I think we all realized the truck was definitely finished. The fire took on a life of its own. We gaped wordlessly. Well, not quite wordlessly, because I remember muttering “please… please…”, trying to will the flames to stay away from my house. I recalled with horror that it was built with wood, ย wood, and more wood. And coated with wood on the outside.

I couldn’t believe this was happening. The flames were huge. The bed of the truck was full of tires. We listened to all the tires, and all the pressurized cans of Great Stuff I had in the cab, explode in turn and ignite adding to the giant fireball, a plume of black smoke pouring from the inferno.

unnamed-3

The fire truck was not coming. It had been too long. WHERE WERE THEY!

unnamed

The wind was blowing the fireย directly at the Tiny House.ย I was in shock. I didn’t even feel the cold. “Please… please… ” I begged to whoever was listening. I sobbed silently in my helplessness. All I could think of was all the time, energy, money and heart I had invested in this object that was surely about to burn. I felt fleeting relief every time I heard sirens, followed by despair because it was always police cars blocking off the highway to traffic and not the fire truck.

WHERE WERE THEY?! The flames kissed my house. The smoke poured thick and black into the sky. The wind blew everything right at my home. I was sure hope was lost.

And then… Finally! Finally! Finally! A big, beautiful, gorgeous candy apple red fire truck came onto the scene. The firefighters assessed the blaze, rolled out their hose, and got to work saving everything I own. They started putting out the fire at the back of the truck closest to my house, and soon they had control of the situation. There were emergency vehicles and personnel all over the scene.

unnamed-2

At this point I broke out of my state of shock enough to call my parents.

“Hi honey, where are you now?” chirped my mom on the other end of the line. My last text message to her had told her that things were going perfectly.

“Uh… things aren’t going so well anymore…” I began and explained what had gone down.

After a while the emergency crews had extinguished the blaze, we were done with questioning for the police report and everything was hooked up to be towed to a wrecking company facility in St. Ignace, MI. One of the police officers gave me a lift.

I can’t even describe the sense of relief I felt as we followed behind the tow truck, with my beautiful house bouncing along behind it, still fully intact.

When we got to the wrecking facility, we got to see what was left of the truck. In a nutshell, nothing. Seats, gone. Steering wheel, gone. Shifter, gone. There was nothing whatsoever remaining inside anymore.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This is where I was sitting… gives me the willies to look at this picture.

I lost everything I had in the truck that wasn’t in my pockets. So, all my tools, a couple expensive cameras and my ID/money/cards. Even tools made of metal had been completely obliterated. My parents floated me their credit card info to get a place to stay in St. Ignace for the night, and a pizza. Then they shifted into epic rescue mode.

My parents in their unbelievable awesomeness made a ton of calls and found a friend of a friend of a friend, who would let them take his truck no questions asked. This man, Steve, was a person that they had never met. He set them up with his gorgeous truck, towing equipment and everything they could have possibly needed. Why did this complete stranger step up to help us in such a huge way, with nothing in it for him? I don’t know, but I’m so thankful that he did, and for the friends that helped make that connection. These are the kinds of things that can restore your faith in humanity.

Drivers Michael and Tyler hung out with me while they waited for a friend to come pick them up, and then they headed home. Everyone’s best guess was that the truck’s transmission line had burst, spraying fluid all over the engine and causing the fire to start.

Eight hours later, at 1:30 AM, my folks rolled into my hotel parking lot in St. Ignace. We all stayed up long enough to chug a beer, inhale a little pizza and have lots of hugs before settling down for a couple hours of sleep.

In the morning we were ready to put this ordeal behind us and get home. We got an early start.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I could not believe that there wasn’t ANY damage to the house. The only marks from the traumatic incident were flecks of soft ash that clung to the siding. These would be easily washed off later.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
You can see the dark spots of ash dotting the house in this picture.

The eight hour trip home was thankfully uneventful. Steve’s truck drove like a dream, pulling the weight of the Tiny House without breaking a sweat.

Here are a few photos from the drive:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At about 5 pm we finally rolled into my parents’ driveway. Dad and I backed the house into position next to the garage and braved the extreme cold to get wheel ramps and blocks all situated. We returned the truck to Steve’s house and cracked open some tasty beverages to celebrate putting that nightmare behind us.

Now my Tiny House is looking lovely in its new spot.

img_3417ย img_3419

img_3420

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes a close call is an opportunity that causes you to stop and reflect on your blessings. Even though I lost some things in the fire, I’m so thankful that I still have my little home and so grateful for all the people who came together to save me from a jam. This could have been so much worse if it wasn’t for you all!

From the bottom of my heart, I thank my Mom, Dad, Michael, Tyler, Jerry Niblett, Steve, Brevort Fire District firefighters and police, Cord from George’s Body Shop and the Voyageur Inn staff for your help in my journey. And all the nice people who gave thumbs-ups and winks to the Tiny House on the road!

You all rock so hard and I’ll never forget your kindness! ๐Ÿ™‚

A Quest for Power

You flip the switch, the light comes on. Simple, right?

Thinking about all the stuff going on behind the walls to make that possible, though, is another story.

I’m really glad I bought the eBook, Shockingly Simple Electrical for Tiny Houses, so I could at least be familiar with the basic concepts of wiring before getting started.

book-cover
Helpful for understanding the basics and how to calculate how much amperage you need.

Tiny House Design & Construction Guide had a lot of good info on electrical systems and detailed wiring diagrams as well.

Includes 4 diagrams on how to hook up regular and three-way switches.
First, I needed to figure out how many light switches and outlets to have, and where to put them. Here’s a diagram of the electrical layout:

wiring-diagram

MAJOR THANKS to Dad for helping me decide what supplies to buy and roughing in the wires to all the boxes, and to Jack for installing all the outlets and switches for me! You guys are the bomb ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some photos of getting it all set up!

dsc_0736
The first step was positioning and labeling the boxes.
dsc_0725
Then it was time to drill some holes!
dsc_0721
Drilling through the studs was touch and go at times. I managed to bend this giant drill bit somehow in the process!
dsc_0735
The perfect little tunnel for cords!
dsc_0748
Yay, wires! They look harmless here but I found out that wires love to get mysteriously twisted and can be really annoying to work with…
dsc_0742
Dad was the master at drilling holes to get the wires through impossible areas ๐Ÿ™‚
dsc_0750
Wires loosely run to boxes
dsc_1031
Wires after being secured every 4′ and within a foot of each box. You can also see the propane lines for kitchen appliances in this photo (that’s a topic for a different day but thanks Dad for being the brains behind that operation!)
dsc_1087
Jack was a man with a plan and so helpfully offered to hook up my outlet and light switch “guts.” Thanks, Jack!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
dsc_0746
Early in the wiring process
dsc_1030
Wires all secured and roughed in to boxes
dsc_1085
…And the same area with box guts installed!
dsc_1096
Dimmer switch for the future chandelier ๐Ÿ™‚
dsc_1084
Double switch
dsc_1083
A new outlet nestles in its bed of insulation. I will be using spray foam to insulate around each box.
dsc_0719
And last but not least… the electrical box!
dsc_1095
With breakers and wires all connected!
dsc_1098
This will be where the outdoor extension cord will plug in to give us the power we crave! Thanks Jack for installing this box ๐Ÿ™‚

Now I just have to choose light fixtures and get ready for the moment of truth… testing out the new system!

Shaking it Up!

I’m so excited to share some photos of a much-anticipated part of the build… siding the Tiny House! I’d been dreaming about this for a long time.

I wanted to go with cedar shake siding because of its resistance to decay, light weight and ease/fun of installing. I decided not to stain or paint the shakes because I like the look of weathered cedar, so it just wasn’t worth the time and energy to me. Thanks very much to Dee at the Home Depot Pro Desk for taking the time to help me place my siding order and explaining how to install it- very helpful!

During one of Mom and Dad’s recent visits, we started the party. First, Mom cut the house wrap even with the bottom of the walls.

dsc_0970

dsc_0971

Next, a cedar trim board needed to be installed around the bottom edge.

dsc_0972

dsc_0988

Then, Mom got started with a double-row of cedar shakes, securing each one with two or three stainless steel nails.

dsc_0975

After that row we moved up the walls, leaving 8 1/4″ of each previous row exposed.

dsc_0981

The house is looking so pretty with its fancy new exterior! Here’s a gallery of photos from the siding process- enjoy! Thanks to Mom, Josh and Adam for helping on various days!

dsc_0982

dsc_0985

dsc_1004

dsc_1007

dsc_1036

dsc_1018

dsc_0993

dsc_1010

dsc_1058

dsc_0981-2

dsc_1019

dsc_1034

dsc_1069-2

dsc_1067-2

dsc_1065-2

We’re still working on finishing up the house’s weird triangle wall areas, so more photos to come, but it’s really been amazing to see the transformation!

I’m loving the new look! The Tiny House is looking more and more like a home ๐Ÿ™‚

Porch Post Gets Some Love

This quick post is a shoutout to a very special lady who has spent so much time and energy helping with this crazy Tiny House project. Thanks Mom for all your help with roofing, windows, plumbing and electrical and for your endless patience during all that and through many long Home Depot trips (your favorite, I know)!

Anyway, also thanks to Mom, the porch post looks awesome now with a couple fresh coats of white paint. Yay!

dsc_0704

dsc_0705

dsc_0734

Pipe Dreams

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

dsc_0716

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.

dsc_0759

dsc_0765
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.

dsc_0678

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

dsc_0688

dsc_0695

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
dsc_0699
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).
dsc_0698
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
dsc_0701
A handy gauge will show the pressure level in the system at any given time
dsc_0694
Putting the pieces together

dsc_0697

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.

dsc_1028

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.

dsc_0720

dsc_0715
This awesome shower head has a detachable hand-sprayer that also be used to fill the bathtub!
dsc_0996
Rubber foam tubes are there to insulate the PEX piping and keep it from freezing in cold temps.
dsc_1029
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 toย  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!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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:

IMG_2471

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:

Image result for banana leaf green paint

dsc_0450

dsc_0451

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:

Image result for ryobi compound miter saw

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

dsc_0458

dsc_0460

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!

dsc_0474

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sanding and sealing the interior side of the door

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

dsc_0480

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

dsc_0482

dsc_0492

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!

dsc_0525
Knock knock…

Back in the Saddle!

Over the last few months, many folks have been asking about the progress of the Tiny House. Well, I’m happy to report that things are now rapidly moving again, thanks in large part to a long visit from my dear Mom and Dad, and the help of some good friends.

Here’s what’s been happening lately!

Mom and Dad made the trek from Wisconsin and stayed with us from July 1-10. During that time we managed to get all (11!) windows installed, the metal roofing in place and the centerpiece of the house… a beautiful custom-made front door designed and built from scratch! I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

But first, this is what the house looked like when I last updated the blog last winter:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
$1 Kitchen Sink!

First things first, when Mom and Dad arrived we jammed our two cars full of 11 windows and various other needed supplies from Home Depot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
8 of our 11 Jeld-Wen windows, stacked and begging to be installed!

We decided to begin by tackling the largest window in the Tiny House… the 35″ square front window. But first there was much discussion and pondering over the window installation instructions.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
At first it was all Greek to us but after 11 windows we were pros!

We had to start by considering the right height for the front windows. This area will become the primary dining and lounging area, so I wanted to make sure that I’d be able to see out the window while seated.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We started by marking the area for the rough opening, measuring twice, and cutting back the house wrap from the outside of the house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now we were ready to start cutting through the walls! We used a circular saw to make the vertical and horizontal cuts for the window rough openings where possible, and used a Sawzall to cut the rest.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mom and Dad proudly peer from the first window hole!

Next came what we would find out was the real time-consuming part of window installation… adding supports to frame out the rough opening. Because none of the windows fit conveniently between existing studs, we had to cut through them and then add in headers and supports to appropriately hold the weight of the building. Once everything was framed out and solid, we tested the window for fit and added a strip of flashing (the same tar paper water sealing stuff we used on the roof) to the bottom sill. Drum roll, please… it was time for the first window to be caulked around the edges and positioned!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Once the window was in place, Dad and Josh added shims to provide support around each side of the window and make sure it was sitting level. Meanwhile, Mom and I kept securing the window from the outside by pre-drilling small holes and driving in nails around the edges.

After 11 windows I bet Dad will be happy to never see a shim again… they seemed to be always breaking in the wrong place or being just the wrong size or wrong shape. Nevertheless, we persevered and I dare you to say this isn’t the most gorgeous window EVER:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
It’s a thing of beauty!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Exhausted physically and mentally after hauling supplies and getting the first window under our belts, we called it a day to go enjoy some lovely fireworks over Otsego Lake.

Fireworks

Day 2 and back at it. Mom thought we could finish the other 10 windows in one day, bless her heart and optimistic spirit! I was thrilled that we got three more installed on the second day, four more the day after that, and the final three the following day. It really did take a long time to prepare the openings and add in headers, support studs and shims. Dad was the master of the Sawzall and Mom was the perfect tool gopher, house wrap cutter, work station cleaner and cheerleader! Here are some photos of the rest of the windows going in:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mom was worried, nervous, and trying not to freak out while I worked on the ladder ๐Ÿ™‚
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Awning-style windows in the loft open out and up so they can still be open when it rains.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The very last window!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We were a finely oiled machine with great teamwork by the end of the windows. Here’s Josh pre-drilling…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
…and our friend Adam following with nails around the edges.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I was amazed with how much light came in the new windows!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
11 windows all in and none broken in the process. Hooray!

WHEW! Windows were a lot of work. Mom and Dad were amazing to work with and really kicked butt to make it happen. Big thanks to Josh and Adam for their help! We were all a great team.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Our next task was movin’ on up to the top of the Tiny House with metal roofing!

How to get the materials was the first dilemma. The large 3′ x 10-12′ metal panels we needed were not going to fit in either car by any stretch of the imagination. Luckily, it was Home Depot to the rescue again with their wonderful rental truck service! For the low, low price of $19.95, our very helpful customer service guy Steve hooked us up with the wheels we needed to deliver the roofing to our build site.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For the metal roof, we first needed to add strips of flashing (just bent aluminum strips) in the valleys where the peaked roof met the dormers. This way when water runs along that crease it won’t leak into the wall at the joint where the roofline changes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Mom installing flashing with her stylish green gloves ๐Ÿ™‚

That step done, Mom and Dad took on the dirty work of cutting the metal roofing panels in half to be the right length for each side of the roof. The saw shrieked through the metal, the shrapnel flew, and both of them sustained some metal shards embedded in their skin (sorry and thank you, Mom and Dad!!!!!!).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

They then carefully passed the cut sheets up to me and Adam on the roof, where we checked to make sure they were straight and square before screwing them to the plywood.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Thanks so much for all your help, Adam! ๐Ÿ™‚

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The green metal looked so pretty atop the house. We finished installing all the metal panels, leaving only the ridge cap and trim undone before calling it a day.

The next morning called for another trip to Home Depot, because Mom and Dad announced they’d be buying the supplies needed to fabricate a beautiful, custom-designed front door for the house-so exciting! If you’ve ever met my dad you’ll know that he’s a woodworking genius who’s created some incredibly beautiful cabinetry, furniture and other cool projects. We picked up all the nice boards and door hardware he’d need for the project.

IMG_3333

When we got out to the build site, Dad got started cutting boards, gluing and assembling them using his favorite tool- the biscuit joiner! Mom helped him and also kept us all safe by picking up all metal bits and dropped screws with a magnet tool.

DSC_0006
Safety first! Mom cleans up the sharp stuff.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dad gets started on the door!

Meanwhile, Adam helped out again (thank you, thank you!) so we could get the ridge cap, a finishing peak piece, installed on top of the roof.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here are some photos of the door coming together:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dad adding decorative routing to the door pockets.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sanding and planing the edges of the door to make them smooth and flat.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Teamwork! Mom and Dad get ready to install the hinges.
DSC_0015
Routing detail… so pretty!

As the door came along, the Roofing Crew was hard at work as well with the addition of our friend Dylan:

IMG_2467
We were adding more screws to hold down the roofing panels.
IMG_2457
Thanks, Dylan, for coming out to help!! You rock ๐Ÿ™‚

Mom and Dad worked to hang the door in the doorway, while Josh took on the installation of the storage loft floor. Thanks Josh-it looks awesome and really makes the entryway look finished!

DSC_0033

With the door in place and everyone exhausted from a long week of building, we hung up our hats and cleaned up. Mom and Dad sadly had to head back home, but I’ll always treasure and appreciate all the time and love they invested in this project. I seriously could not be happier with all the progress on the Tiny House, and it warms my heart to have such wonderful people in my life supporting me and helping make this crazy idea a reality!

IMG_3335

IMG_2471

DSC_0108

IMG_2468
Best Parents Ever!

Next steps… soffit, plumbing and electric! Inspired by all this action, I say “Bring it ON!”