December Update

The days have been going by so fast! Working two jobs hasn’t left me a lot of time for anything build-related, but I have enjoyed the mental break from the stress. 2 tiny-house-related things have happened:

1 – I paid for my skylights.

The week after I paid for my other windows and my door and moved the house into storage, I got an email saying my skylights were in. I finally found the time to go pay for them last week. Before that though, I stopped at another building store that I’ve dealt with a couple of times and got a quote for the exact same skylights. If Allen’s wasn’t going to be nice about the skylights, then I was going to take my money somewhere else and I wanted to know what price I was looking at. The other store quoted me about $100 more.

So I went in to see the man I ordered my windows from. He didn’t look happy to see me. I think he knew he was going to have to deal with me and that it wasn’t going to be fun for him. I waited patiently while he finished with some other customers. Then he gave me the slip with price on it, and I told him, “With how long I waited, I’m not paying that price.” I elaborated, reminding him of all the facts. “I have an email from you from August that says those skylights will take 3-4 days, but you didn’t pay enough attention to order them!” He started in on a big explanation about how one of the windows had changed style and there had been a lot of back and forth between him and the company, etc. etc. so I asked, “Then why wasn’t I informed of that?” He didn’t have an answer. He told me he could give me 5% off. I asked him why he could only give me 5% on the stock windows when he told me 5% was all he could do on custom windows. I was happy with the 5% but I wanted to see what he’d say, plus I had just seen him give a great discount to a couple of builders. He got all red in the face and started telling me how they don’t make any money on windows, they have to compete with every building store in town, and he was already going to have to explain to his boss why he was giving me a discount at all. To which I thought, not my problem. Yeah, it sucks that you’re not going to be making any money on the TWO windows I ordered 4 months ago, but maybe you should’ve taken me seriously the first or the second time I ordered them! I paid and left feeling pretty proud of myself for not being a pushover for once.

2 – I took a little trip to a tiny house just 15 minutes away.

This past weekend, schedules finally lined up for me to go up and visit another tiny house in progress in my area. Rick is building the house for a woman who’s been saving and planning for about 6 years. It’s based on Vina’s tiny house:

Another little house on wheels!

It’s built on a heavy-duty 20′ trailer. They went with a metal roof and Rick will be putting cedar shingles on the exterior.

The bump-out over the hitch is a feature of Vina's house.

The bump-out over the hitch and triangular windows are features of Vina’s house.

So are the double doors that let in plenty of light.

So are the double doors that let in plenty of light.

The unfinished loft bedroom, waiting for a skylight and two more triangular windows.

The unfinished loft bedroom, waiting for a skylight and two more triangular windows to be installed.

Like me, they have most of their materials collected, it’s just a matter of finding the time to put it all together!

The woman who commissioned the house spent over $5000 on windows, not including the skylights! I don’t have that kind of money! And unfortunately she was overcharged on the skylights, spending about $2500 for two of them (I spent about half that on mine). Windows are expensive! And on top of that, the rough opening measurements Rick was given were way too big. All of the windows have huge gaps that he needs to fix. He added more wood around some of them, but most of them still have at least the width of a 2×4 between the window and the frame, instead of only enough room for a shim. The windows are from the same company and store that I ordered mine, so I should go back in and measure all of my windows. That’s another thing to add to my to-do list. 😦

Rick also told me about the trouble he’s had with the plans the woman bought. Apparently there are no measurements for lengths or distances, so he has no idea if the door is in the right place. He just had to guess based on the pictures. That didn’t work out well for the bump-out. He has to rip out the little sloped roof and the huge window because it’s too low for the desk that’s supposed to go there. Those are the kind of reasons why I don’t trust anyone else to build my house. You move a window in a big house over 3 inches, no problem. You move a window in a tiny house over 3 inches and you just ruined a carefully designed floor plan and storage system that was meant to fit everything perfectly. That said, mistakes do happen. I’m just glad I’m not the only builder making them!

It was really exciting to be able to talk to someone else in person who knows about tiny houses. Usually it’s just me talking my boyfriend’s ear off about some random detail. But when you’re talking to someone who’s going through the same process you are, you get to hear what they did/are planning to do and get some feedback. And you also get respect, which I appreciated. Another tiny house builder knows what you’re going through. Rick complimented my build, commenting that it’s no small feat for a 19 year old female to build her own house. I’ve done my research, I’m putting the work in, and I have valuable things to say, regardless of my age or gender. Rick reminded me of that.

It was awesome to see another tiny house in the flesh. It feels spacious inside, and as I think is true for all tiny houses – it’ll look great when it’s done! 🙂

That’s all for now, until next year!



"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