There’s a newer tiny house site on the block that I’d like to give a shout out to, because it’s a very interesting idea. The Tiny House Name Registry is a place to register your tiny house name (think of tiny house names like boat names, only likely less bizarre.) If you are planning a TH, already building one, or have a completed TH and want to name it, check out the Registry for existing names and to go in and “claim” your own! You can also add a few details about your tiny house and you’ll get your own little page on the website for others to see.
Do you dream of mortgage freedom? I sure do. Luckily the Tiny House Family offers an e-course called The Plan: Your Pathway to Mortgage-freedom. It’s a five-week online course designed to lead you through the process of redesigning your life so that you can live on your terms and not the terms of a mortgage. You’ll develop a plan (and put it in action!) based on your unique dreams, style, and life-situation, and you’ll find a community of supportive folks all in the same place as you—ready to make a change. This round starts September 20, so you’ll need to sign up soon as space is limited.
Hari and Karl plus their children are a wonderful example of living sustainably (in all senses of the word) in a small space. Their website is a great resource for tiny house living, especially when it comes to having children living in the tiny house with you! I recommend taking their course because they are living mortgage free in a tiny house AND building their own larger home. Can you imagine being able to custom build your home and avoid a loan to do so? Duh.
They’re a hop and skip away from me and I got to tour their amazing space on the Floyd Tiny House Tour. You can see more pictures of their homestead here.
For those who missed the 2014 Tiny House Conference, start planning for the next one! We had a blast down in Charlotte, NC with fellow bloggers and builders, as well as various other tiny house enthusiasts. The presentations were very informative and I just loved being able to experience other tiny houses in person.
How successful was the conference, really? Let’s just say even my fiance is now on board with building another tiny house! Although we already built and sold one, we’re re-inspired to move forward with some previously abstract ideas for our life, jobs, happiness, and finances. Stay tuned for our progress on this!
You can read all about the conference in more detail here. With that, I leave you to enjoy some photos of the event!
A lot happened over the last few days besides building. I grabbed another heap of pallets to work on in case the weather didn’t allow for construction. I’m considering making wood flooring out of the pieces…we’ll see where that idea goes. There’s a pile of about 10 pallets waiting for me to dismantle, which I will get to in a few days.
I also (finally) ordered my windows! As a result of knowing the window sizes finally, we got some framing done! We built the first wall down on the trailer and then stood it up in place. So nice to see some vertical progress 🙂
It doesn’t look like much for a total of 2(ish) hours, but I insisted on doing most of it so I slowed us down a bit. Thankfully the rain held off! The blue tape in the first pictures is left over from some space planning. We mapped out everything to scale to make sure I had the windows where they needed to be (i.e. away from the closets and stove).
Luckily day 2 was shorter than day 1, but we still got a ton done. As I noted in the previous post, we bolted down the floor frame to the trailer itself. After that was done, we finished up the foam board insulation by layering on a thinner sheet over the 2 3/4 inch sheets we installed the previous day.
More exciting was the plywood. This involved a lot more measuring than I had prepared myself for, but it worked out. Each sheet needed to be cut, glued, and nailed down to the studs. Some sheets required two long cuts and the pieces around the wheel wells were, of course, the most complicated. Thanks construction guru! I am now proficient in using several kinds of saws, a staple gun, a nail gun, caulk (kind of…), and I think I have a good grip on the basics of framing. We’ll see how much I can do on my own for the walls.
Speaking of walls, I also played around with window placement over the weekend. Before the walls can go up, I have to figure out where my windows are going. Admittedly I’ve been held up by the floor plan and where the stove is going. Luckily there’s a floor plan guru in the family as well. Thanks mom! Just for fun, here are some of the options she came up with:
The front door will probably stay on the short wall instead of the long one, but it’s a viable option to move it if you’d like. The closet that’s next to the kitchen will go all the way up to the ceiling, with access from the loft and it’ll create a little nook up there for more shelves and storage. This closet, however, eliminates a dormer window. I wasn’t all that worried until we realized that the stove pipe would likely go up through the roof right in front of the other planned dormer window on that side…I don’t want to remove both windows from one side. Depending on heat clearances and such, we’ll continue playing with the stove placement for the next day or so until it’s figured out. Since I’m going to start building the walls next week, I really need to get this window issue settled. But while I’m talking windows, I’d like to mention that I am sadly going with white vinyl ones. In my perfect eco world I would be able to buy used windows, refurb them a little, and slap them in. Based on time, labor, skill, and energy efficiency considerations, I’m going with new vinyl ones. At least I’m getting them from a local business though. All but one of the windows are manufactured in Ohio (not great with the carbon footprint there) and the loft window is being custom made from a manufacturer in Rocky Mount, VA. I’ll post the final design and windows specs once I have them figured out.
It finally happened! The first official build day began with leveling the trailer. I attempted this by myself so it took considerably longer than if I had help, but we all know that I’m stubborn and determined. The trailer has a jack on each corner and various sizes of wood underneath to help level it all out. It’s not 100% level, but I’d say it ended up being pretty close to perfect.
Next was picking up roofing paper and lumber, which I got from Newport Hardware and Supply for a steal! I grabbed some 2×4 studs that are shorter than typical ones and they had been sitting in an unsold pile at the store for a while. It’s not reclaimed wood, but it was cheap and it won’t really increase demand/inventory for more of these studs since they weren’t selling anyway. The plywood is awesome and came sealed so moisture won’t be an issues while it sits out waiting for me to puts walls and a roof up.
Most people say to remove every other board from the trailer deck, but we opted to leave them all on. The trailer’s GVWR is 10,000 pounds so weight shouldn’t be an issue. Plus, the whole structure should be more insulated and stable this way. It also saved me about an hour of work! So down went the roofing paper to keep critters out and provide a bit of insulation. I rolled one length out, cut to size, and stapled. Thank goodness dad had a staple gun instead of using a low-tech one. I know, I know – it used some electricity. If you take issue with that, I would be happy to have you come down to hand-staple next time 😉
After getting the paper down, I caulked around the wheel wells. Thank goodness this will be covered up! This was my least favorite job yet, mostly because my hands simply lacked the strength to keep squeezing the gun for so long. But it’s sealed…maybe a little too sealed!
Next was measuring and cutting all the 2x4s for the floor frame, as well as laying them out to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes! After double-checking lengths, I got a lesson on using the nail gun (again, you are welcome to come down to hand nail stuff if you take issue with that!) and we got to work nailing the floor frame together.
Once the frame is done, it has to be attached to the trailer itself. You have to use lag bolts and screw them in from underneath…think about it – how do you figure out where your 2x4s are in order to screw them into place? Well that’s one of the many reasons I have a construction genius sponsoring this operation. My dad suggested pre-drilling small holes from the top down through the decking. Then, you can see where the holes need to be from underneath! Love it.
To be honest, the pre-drilling happened on day 1. The lag bolts didn’t go in until day 2 but it seemed odd to stop the post in the middle of a topic. Before we bolted the frame down on day 2, day 1 ended with installing foam board insulation. We tried steak knives and electrical saws…knives wore our hands out, but the saw created such a mess that it would have clogged it.
On a different note entirely, I decided on a heating option! I picked up the Jotul 602 from an ad on craigslist. Apparently it was refurbished in Michigan somewhere, brought to Pennsylvania for remodeling an old house, but couldn’t be used on the project. Despite the increased carbon footprint of me driving up to Maryland to pick it up, I still consider it to be the most environmentally sustainable option. It’s used (3 times used at least!), EPA certified for emissions, and you can use fallen trees instead of chopping down live ones. The up-front build cost will ultimately be a smidge more than the Newport P-9000 stove, but the wood stove is cheaper when considering entire lifecycle costs (free wood versus purchase propane, for example). And it’s just plain cute!