Feeling Proud

My end table is completely done now! Over the course of 7 months, it took me 67 hours, but someone with experience (and who’s not a perfectionist) could definitely build more quickly. I was finally able to pay for my materials, and those cost about $50. It was $85 for the course, and I also paid for another year at the club, which was about $50 too. Add to that a bit more for a couple of things like glue, and I’ve spent almost $200 for wood hobby club, but I think it was totally worth it!

The club is closed for the summer ’cause it gets too hot in there. Everyone will be out enjoying the good weather instead and I’ll be busy building the shell of the house. Come winter or next spring, hopefully I’ll be back in the club building my custom kitchen cabinets and storage solutions 🙂

Here it is, all sealed, cured, and filled with many tiny-house-related things:

My energy usage monitor, papers from wood hobby, my wood hobby membership card, and an empty photo album I plan to fill with pictures of the process of building the end table.

All my tiny house books and the little box that holds my purple wind chime.

All my tiny house books and the little box that holds my purple wind chime.

I added foam to the corners of the door, so now it closes much more quietly.

I added foam to the corners of the door, so now it closes much more quietly.

I love it!

I love it!

Tiny house videos and all my papers related to the tiny house.

And on top, tiny house videos and all my papers related to the tiny house.

Advertisements

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.

Money Pains And A Little Excitement

Fixing the car hurt my savings, I spent an insane amount of money on other things this month, and I still have no idea what kind of credit I’ll be able to get when I turn 19 in April. The beginning is the hardest part because I need a lot of materials in a very short period of time. After I get the shell sealed up, I can take as long as I need to finish the inside, but the trailer, the lumber, the windows, the sheathing – I need all that right away.

I did a little math with how much I make at the new job. If I save like I should for the next five months (no more buying junk food every day), my hopefully-realistic goal is to have $10 000 saved by May 1st, minus the cost of any pre-orders like the trailer and windows. So I won’t have 10 thou in my account come May, but what’ll be missing from the $10 000 will have already been spent on tiny house materials.

After I run out of savings, I’ll still be working and making money as I go. Hopefully I’ll have a line of credit to get the necessary stuff done before winter, but if not, I’ve been talking to my parents about working something out with them. I’d prefer to pay upfront as much as possible, but I do pay rent, so I don’t want to draw out the build any longer than I have to.

After I get the shell done there won’t be that “I need money now but I don’t have money!” feeling. I’m imagining many quiet days, holed up either with my laptop for research or in the tiny house (probably with a space heater). I can picture myself fumbling with electrical or plumbing, installing insulation, putting up interior siding, installing the floors, and more! I’ve done enough research about the general steps that I can picture the house coming together in my head. It’s amazing to think about.

Further along, I’ll be in the wood hobby club lovingly building all the cabinets and closets. I actually like sanding (with a sander) so that’s a good thing. After the built-ins are all built-in, I can start on the part that I’m super excited for: the finishing touches! Ever since I was little, I’ve loved houses and the things in them. I’d notice the design of friends’ houses, and whenever I was in Staples or Canadian Tire with my parents, I’d wander off to look at furniture, light fixtures, and plates. I’ve had to stop myself several times from buying kitchen wares because while I love that sort of thing, I need to pay for the house to put them in first.

My friend Bailey is moving out this week, into a little house he’s renting. It’s about the same length as my tiny house will be, but twice as wide. He needs plates and other house things, so guess who gets to go furniture and kitchen stuff shopping with him?! I’ll get to live vicariously through him until it’s my turn. I’m jealous; he’ll have his own space that he won’t have to share with anyone. I look forward to the process of moving out, of deciding what I want to take with me. I’ve definitely collected some crap that won’t make the cut. I’m impatient for that purge, and for the freedom to only have stuff in my house that I choose and that I like. There won’t be any yogurt in my fridge! 😛

Miscellaneous:

The other day at work, my boss brought in some insulation for the basement, and as soon as I saw it, I leaned over the counter and asked, “Ooh, what kind?!” She laughed and said, “That’s a weird thing for a girl to get excited about.” I told her, “I’ve done an odd amount of research on insulation.”

I’m about to start the e-book Simplify by Joshua Becker, whose blog about minimalism is the best I’ve found. Becoming Minimalist is inspiring and I highly recommend it!

For more reading, I also have the newest Tiny House Magazine, and I just bought Tiny House Design and Construction by Dan Louche on sale. I always feel accomplished when I buy something tiny-house-related on sale 🙂 It’s still on sale for a couple of days, as well as their videos and plans, so you might want to take a look. Make sure you use the coupon code if you buy anything!

Collecting

I love getting mail! Buying stuff online is like getting yourself surprise presents, it’s great 🙂

Today I received this book to add to my tiny house collection:

A lot of awards, eh?

I believe this is the last of the paper books I’ll be getting; all the others are pdf’s or e-books. Although I might get one more that’s not on my list because I want to read up on grey water systems, but I haven’t found a specific book yet. Almost all of the books on my “have” and “to-buy” lists come highly recommended by the tiny house community, and there aren’t really any popular books that focus on what to do with water.

I also ordered a scrapbook, but unfortunately they sent me the wrong one. The reason I bought a scrapbook is this:

That’s the pile of memorabilia that I’ve collected over the years, and it’s just too much. I’m sure I’m far from the worst of pack rats, but I want it to all fit in one container. I’m planning on sifting through it all, getting rid of some stuff, and creating a scrapbook of my best memories. I have literally saved garbage, like candy wrappers and those little plastic swords from fancy drinks. It’s totally unnecessary. Our society makes us feel like it’s okay to own hundreds and hundreds of things, but I don’t want to live like that. I really like the idea of minimalism. I want my space to feel like there’s room to breathe, not like it’s stuffed to the edges. And when I pack up everything I own, I don’t want it to be a massive pile. Whenever I travel, I always make sure to only pack what I can carry. I’m not super strong, so I don’t want to stuff a ginormous bag and not be able to lift it. I want to be independent and capable. And that’s what I want my life to be like. I don’t want to need half a dozen friends to pack up all the shit I own. As they say, life’s a journey, and I want to pull my own weight.

What I Own So Far

I’ve already started collecting books and construction videos, so here’s a list.

Tiny House Magazine. I buy the new issue every month. They’re definitely worth the few bucks! They feature tiny houses and relevant products, as well as articles about living in a tiny house, among other things.

Tumbleweed Construction Video. The video did seem to skip over some things I would’ve liked to hear about, but there are some great tips in there. I recommend it.

The Small House Book by Jay Shafer. This seemed to be one of the most popular tiny house books, so I had to get it. I really like it and have referred back to it several times. It covers different sizes of tiny houses, there are a lot of great pictures, and it includes a tool list and a list of average measurements that is very helpful.

Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter by Lloyd Kahn. Another biggie in the tiny house world. Literally – the book is way bigger than I expected it to be! It’s like a coffee table book that you would flip through. It doesn’t really have info about building tiny houses, but there are tons of gorgeous photos. It’s a great book for inspiration.

Tiny House Floor Plans by Michael Janzen. This book wasn’t really helpful to me because I already had a good idea of what my floor plan was going to be. However, there are floor plans for all sizes of tiny houses, so I recommend it for someone who’s planning a build but doesn’t know where to start.

Wiring 1-2-3 and Plumbing 1-2-3 (Canadian editions). I got these books at Home Depot, but I haven’t read them yet. They look very straightforward, the wiring illustrations look so easy to understand, and there are a lot of step-by-step instructions.

The How To Guide To Building A Tiny House. I already made a post about this one: https://lovelylittledream.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/mail/

TINY: A Story About Living Small. Interesting movie, I only wish it could’ve been longer to include more houses.

That’s what I have so far. I’m waiting for the plans I want to go on sale, and I’ve still got another list of things I plan on buying.

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