January Update

Today I talked to the structural consultant I didn’t get a hold of on Friday. Other tiny house blogs have advised prospective tiny housers to use language the code people can understand, like “custom RV”, but the man I talked to said, “Oh, you’re building a micro home? You’re not the first one.” He asked me to email him my trailer plans and said I shouldn’t have too much trouble, he just has to make sure the trailer’s safe and that what I build on it won’t have pieces flying off on the highway.

I also looked up what inspectors look for at a “motor vehicle inspection station” and read, on an official Nova Scotia RMV site, that mobile homes on their way to a permanent location are exempt from inspection. I’m not sure what it takes to be called a mobile home, but if we’re being literal, tiny houses count. Considering how rarely I’m going to be moving the house, I shouldn’t have any problems. Besides, it’s not building it and moving it that can get you into trouble, it’s living in it.

In other news, I bought build plans! I waited until after Christmas to see if they would do a Christmas sale again like they did in 2013, but no luck. Regardless, the ones I bought are much cheaper than Tumbleweed’s $600+ plans. I chose the Tropical Tiny House plans. Canadian weather isn’t tropical, but these are the only plans I’ve found with the roof line I want. Plus, the Tiny Tack House was my original inspiration. The interior of my house will be entirely different and I’ll have a corner porch (which I have framing plans for already), but I wanted to have some plans to start with. I’ve never built the frame of a house before. I was hoping for more information – the plans include a lot of images and not a lot of text – but they do look like they’ll be a good base.

I bought the plans on the 8th and would’ve posted earlier about them, but that night on my way home from work I was in an accident. Slippery roads on a snowy night ended with my mum’s van in the opposite ditch, facing the other direction after a 180 spin. Luckily, there was no oncoming traffic at the time and I wasn’t hurt at all. One of my co-workers said afterwards, “You’re surrounded by guardian angels.” My parents and I ended up splitting the cost of a newer, replacement van. My tiny house savings dropped by $1000, but the whole thing could’ve been way worse, so I’m just grateful I wasn’t hurt.

I bought more books as well, the last ones on my to-buy list: Cracking the Code and Shockingly Simple Electrical by Ryan Mitchell from The Tiny Life, and Go House Go by Dee Williams.

I have several books now that I still haven’t read, but I have so much to do before I order the trailer in February. I’m gonna hold off on reading the plumbing, electrical, and composting books until I get to those points in the build. However, I’ve read part of The Humanure Handbook so far, and I highly recommend it!

I finished Cracking the Code today, and I think it’s definitely worth buying if you’re planning your own build. It seems to me that a lot of tiny housers are intimidated by laws, codes, and zoning rules, which is understandable, but it’s always good to be informed on the options and the fact that often, tiny houses are illegal. I can’t think of anything the book left out and the glossary is extensive. I encourage you to buy it and read it earlier in your planning, rather than wait until the last minute like I did.

My (not so) tiny to-do list for the rest of January:

– Get my stuff together for my meeting on Thursday (pictures, plans, etc.).

– Estimate material weights. I need to figure out how easy or difficult it will be to keep my house below 10 000lbs before I can order my trailer. The man I talked to today suggested I build my framing with 2x4s or even 2x3s to keep the weight down. I told him I was planning on 2x6s because I need a certain R-value in the walls and therefore need space for thick insulation. He replied that I’m insulating a very small space. I’ll be asking about R-value at my National Building Code meeting. He also suggested looking at travel trailers that are for sale to get an idea of weights.

– Start a steps list. I’m going to break down the build into steps, and collect information on each step. I’ll be referring to other blogs, Tumbleweed’s construction video, Tiny House Build’s construction video, Dee Williams’ Go House Go, and Dan Louche’s Design and Construction Guide.

– Finish my end table. Cabinetry will be taking a backseat until it comes time to do the interior of the house.

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Quotes

"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris
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