The End

As I was finishing up the bulk of the siding in mid-June, I should’ve been reading up on electrical and starting to buy materials for the interior. But I wasn’t. I told myself I was just focusing on finishing the exterior, and then I’d get to that. Then I told myself it was okay to take some time to enjoy my summer. That it was okay if the build took longer so long as I was enjoying my life.

There are so many reasons the build has taken as long as it has, and I can’t change the past. But I do have (some) control over my future, and I no longer imagine the tiny house in it. Somewhere along the line, the picture changed, and I hit a wall with the tiny house.

I have put all of the time and money into the tiny house that I’m willing to, and now it’s time to move on. I waited to write this post, because I wanted to be sure and because I had to figure out what I wanted to say.

I learned so much building The Lilac. I learned how to find information, teach myself, practice, work with my hands, manage large amounts of money, work hard, and be assertive. But I don’t feel the need to become an expert on electrical and plumbing, I don’t want to spend more time building, and I’m certainly not going to pay someone else. The tiny house is fully paid off, and I have no interest in going back into debt for it. I’d need thousands more for electrical, plumbing, insulation, flooring, interior siding, appliances, not to mention the time I’d spend building furniture and cabinets. I’m going to take a break from building for a while. I’ve had my fill for now.

When I first came across tiny houses, I was 16, and you could build one for less than $20,000 (I’ve spent that much on just the exterior). My plan was to build a tiny house in a year, maybe two, then pick a school, move the tiny house nearby, pay a small amount of rent, and live in it for at least four years while I went through university. I’d save money and I’d have my own custom-designed, private space. I could continue to live in the tiny house until I didn’t want to anymore, then I could keep it in the backyard of a bigger house and use it as an office or guest house.

But it’s already been over two years, and I’d need at least another year to finish the interior. I haven’t had the freedom or privacy of my own space this entire time, so it’s gotten to the point where it’s not worth it for me to continue. Tiny houses are still a legal grey area as well, so I wouldn’t have as much flexibility as I want either. I couldn’t live in a city, or close to town because the bylaws are stricter. I want to be able to live close to conveniences, and I want to be able to sell everything I own and go travel or live abroad. I can’t do that easily if I have a tiny house that needs a parking spot and rent paid.

I bought a nicer car, I make good money working six nights a week at a restaurant, and I moved into an apartment within walking distance of my job. I have a bedroom with a little balcony off it, I have my own kitchen and bathroom that I don’t have to share, and I finally have my own living/dining/office space that’s not two feet from my bed. The bedroom door has purple glass panels in it (oh how I love unique details) and the rent’s not too expensive. I have the freedom, flexibility, and privacy that I wanted.

Now I’m taking my free time and money back, and I’m moving on.

The tiny house was good for me, it gave me purpose when I needed it, but now it’s time to sell the shell. Anyone interested in buying a tiny house shell on wheels to finish can contact me through my About Me page.

P.S. Before I made any decisions, I was included in a tiny housers graphic that came out today! You can see it here.

P.P.S. I did finally get stamped drawings from the engineer, and it cost me $632.50.

 

Thanks for following along with me on this journey. ❤

 

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As the Dream Grows

Sure, building this house is taking me a while, but I love it. I’ve learned and grown with it. Take a look at what I’ve been up to over the past two years (hours include my work and help from others):

2015

May 29th: Trailer arrives!

June 3rd: Insulation

June 10th-June 30th: Subfloor (82 hours)

~Waiting, consulting with the engineer~

August 14th-15th: First wall

~More back and forth with the engineer~

August 28th-Sept. 7th: Building the walls (50 hours)

Sept. 12th: Wall raising day! (11 hours)

Sept. 23rd-Sept. 25th: Adding blocking (31 hours)

Oct. 8th-Nov. 16th: Wall sheathing & cutting rafters (46.5 hours)

Nov. 19th: Moving the house into storage

~Winter & research~

2016

May 1st-6th: Sanding the loft beams (6 hours)

May 7th: Moving the house out of storage!

May 13th: Sleeping loft beams go up (8.5 hours)

May 15th-May 26th: Rafters & ridge board (21 hours)

May 28th-June 10th: Upper sheathing, storage loft beams, & fascia boards (60 hours)

June 11th-June 17th: Roof sheathing (37.5 hours)

June 26th: Collar ties (13.5 hours)

July 10th-July 23rd: Blocking, drip edge, ice + water shield, & fixing collar ties (22 hours)

August 4th-August 7th: Installed skylights! (4.5 hours)

August 21st-August 28th: Roofing! (23.5 hours)

Sept. 17th: Moving the tiny house

Sept. 25th-Oct. 6th: House wrap (18 hours)

Oct. 2nd: Fixing collar ties again, adding brackets (13 hours)

Oct. 7th-Oct. 15th: Door install! (23 hours)

Oct. 13th: Finishing roofing (6 hours)

Oct. 20th-Nov. 2nd: Windows! (17 hours)

Nov. 7th-Dec. 6th: Staining fascia & siding (59 hours)

Dec. 10th-Dec. 20th: Siding prep. & soffits (12.5 hours)

2017

Jan. 21st-Jan. 29th: Soffits (13 hours)

Feb. 5th-May 18th: Cutting, priming, painting, & putting up all trim (75 hours)

April 23rd-May 8th: Porch (17 hours)

May 12th-May 14th: Siding prep. (9 hours)

May 19th-June ?: Siding! (49 hours so far)

Here’s a peek of the siding:

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Isn’t it cute! I love this little corner. 🙂

Stay tuned for more siding pictures!

 

 

 

 

Back in My Boots!

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Happy Beltane! It’s midway between spring and summer, and it’s a new month. I’m ready to start fresh!

April Recap:

It was a very busy month with my two jobs, and I turned 20! My aunt, uncle and cousins sent me this card, wishing me happy construction, and I thought it was very fitting. 🙂

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I finished my SketchUp model, which was a big accomplishment for me, and sent it to the engineer. She replied saying I needed collar ties, which I knew about but had forgotten to include. It only took a few minutes to add them and send it off again, so now I’m just waiting on the final reply for that.

I’ve been working on my steps list, which is a detailed PowerPoint I’m writing for anyone who wants the step-by-step info on how to build a tiny house. Maybe no one will use it, but maybe it will be helpful to someone. Plus I’ve done so much research on every little thing I’ve done so far. It would feel like a waste to leave it all to just float around in my brain. 😛 I want to consolidate what I’ve learned into one place to make it easier for anyone following in my footsteps. 🙂 So I’ll soon be posting the next set of steps that I’ve completed in real life and recorded.

~~~

Today I finally had a chance to sand some of my beams. I’ll be getting the house out any day now, so I want to have those done. I finished half of them, and will sand the other half later this week. I forgot how much I enjoy sanding, although I’m very grateful I have power tools!

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My main goal was to get rid of the roughness like this, not to make them perfect. I just didn’t want to have to sand them above my head once they’re in the house.

I find it can be really hard to motivate myself to get started, but once I tied up my boots and went outside in the sunshine, it was lovely! Sanding is so peaceful, almost meditative for me. I love working with wood, seeing all the details and imagining the story behind every piece. I can let my mind wander, and I’m away from technology and not trying to multitask, which is a great change. It’s so good to get outside and to work with my hands too. I’ve had a great day and I’m feeling accomplished!

I also finished sorting through my old bedroom. It’s a relief to get rid of some old clothes and junk that I kept “just in case”. I’m living with my boyfriend now at his parents’ house, and the tiny house will be moved here. I was over here most of the time last year anyway, so this way it’ll be easier to walk across the driveway to work on the house rather than driving back to my parents’ house.

I did miss out on hanging out with some friends today so I could sand instead, and it’s hard. I’m still building my daily life as a young adult, which is often more than enough to deal with, so I must be crazy to be building a HOUSE on top of normal life. I don’t know how other people manage to get big projects done while still balancing their everyday lives. Little by little, I suppose.

~~~

Something else I’m starting this month is a shopping ban, inspired by Cait’s at Blonde on a Budget (and she’s Canadian too 🙂 ). I spent way too much money last month, and even though I’ve made decent progress putting money towards the tiny house, I want to pay it off faster than I have been. So, I might do this for just May, or maybe I’ll do it for 3 months, or six months, or a year! The idea is to only buy the essentials – food, basic toiletries, and gas (plus bills). You can have an “approved buy list” for things you know you’ll need soon, but I haven’t made one yet and I’ve already bought enough recently. I think I have enough stuff at the moment!  You’re also allowed to replace anything that gets worn out or breaks. But really, you get to make your own rules for what works for you.

For my shopping ban, I’m focusing on not buying physical things that I don’t need. Going out to restaurants and treats from the corner store are permitted (within budget), while clothes, crystals, and knick-knacks are not. I will be buying books occasionally, but then taking them into the used book store to swap for different ones or donating them. I want to read more, so that’s why I’m not restricting myself as much for books, but I will also be going to the library more often. And the one extra I will be spending money on is my hair. 😛

I find that every time I got out, I come home with things I never planned on buying, and I want to stop doing that. So I’m going to avoid the malls and even when I do end up there, I’ll know that I’m not allowed to buy anything, rather than thinking, meh, why not buy this? My tiny house is the reason. My future is the reason. Travel, a car, a motorcycle, an education, land, these are all things I want to save for! Since it seems like I can’t differentiate between what I need and what I temporarily want, I’m doing a shopping ban to break the habit of mindlessly buying random stuff! I have no space left to put all the crap I buy! I’m so lucky to have as many clothes and shoes and beautiful things as I do, I should be grateful for what I have, instead of passively browsing for new things.

~~~

Lastly, I’m starting a Facebook page for my little house. 🙂 I’m shy about sharing all the details of my life with the acquaintances I have on Facebook (this blog is for close family and interested strangers 😛 ), so I’ll be using the page to give people a look into what I’m up to without having to get into everything. Plus it will be good for quick updates. I’ll post on here when that’s up and running! Thanks for reading!!

SketchUp Model!

I have FINALLY finished a 3D model of my tiny house framing. It’s been a long journey.

I have tried using SketchUp multiple times over the past few years. I watched tutorials and attempted to make a 2×4 but I’d get frustrated and give up. Whoever created SketchUp must have a completely different way of thinking than I do, because I found the functions to be so counter-intuitive. I preferred drawing with my own hand (and a ruler) on paper so I could get exactly what I wanted. But the engineer I’ve been working with doesn’t like my amateur drawings, and I refuse to pay someone to do “proper” drawings. So, one of my goals for this winter was to try again with SketchUp and make a model that would be easier for the engineer to officially approve. After a lot of yelling at my screen about the stupid functions, it’s done!

Here are some screen grabs of my progress 🙂

Sketchup March 17

Sketchup March 18

Sketchup March 18 2

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Sketchup April 8

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Surprisingly, the rafters ended up being the easiest part. Let’s hope that’ll be true in real life too when I start putting them up! I did find two mistakes when I was putting this together. My math was slightly off for the studs above the wheel wells, so they were just a little bit taller than the regular studs. That explains why it was so difficult to get the top plate down in those places! The other is that I’m just missing a stud for a rafter that I can add in.

I don’t know how several tiny housers have done their whole design on this program. This is as much as I plan to do on this model. But it was cool to see it come together and think, “I’ve already built this!” 🙂 I sent the file off to the engineer, and she already reviewed the structure before I built it, so I should just get an official stamp of approval back. It’s a huge relief to have this checked off my to-do list!

Nightmares

Happy October! No, not really for me. I had a nightmare this morning that instead of plywood on the trailer, there were floor boards. The boards were all rotten and twisted, and I could pull them right off. And, between the cracks, I could see crystal clear water filling the trailer instead of insulation. Then a giant firecracker landed in my yard and bent the frame of the trailer beyond repair. It’s been raining a lot, and Dylan mentioned fireworks earlier…

I’ll back up a little. Since I posted last week, I finished the blocking:

I’m not afraid of heights, but being ten feet in the air with a nail gun is not fun. It looks a lot better without missing pieces though!

Here’s a pic. of the little wall we put in:

We finished drilling the hole in the trailer and attached the porch post:

That’ll get some black paint later.

That post won’t be going anywhere. Something I’d like to note: when I was researching how to attach my post and if it was structural or not, I learned that it depends how big your porch is. Tiny House Giant Journey didn’t put their post in until they found just the right one, but their porch is small. Mine is more than 24″ wide, so the upper walls need to be supported.

We got some plywood cut and ready to go up, but it’s easier to do with 3 or more people and our help for the day fell through. Dylan and I switched to working on rafters:

My lovely helper :)

My lovely helper 🙂

Looks perfect on the first try!

Looks perfect on the first try!

But that was deceiving. We tried the rafter on the other end and it wasn’t even close. Rather than making another incorrect rafter, I measured and lined up the rafter and some wood on a sheet of plywood and traced the rafter onto both halves. The angle is off a little, so I have to fix that.

My two part ridge board has been put together as well and is waiting to be put up. Another note: My design supports the roof through the loft support beams and some collar ties, so my ridge board is non-structural and is only there for ease of attaching my rafters. A 2×6 is not an adequate ridge beam. My engineer said I’d need a 12″ engineered beam (that would seriously cut into headroom), so I opted for the collar ties instead.

It’s not the progress I was hoping for during the sunny days that we had but it’s better than nothing. I was out there every clear day. I also did a little flooring research and have found a beautiful hand-scraped floor that’s on sale right now…

But it’s been pouring rain this week. There’s been a rainfall warning in effect, and they’ve been calling for up to 70mm in two days. I can’t wait until I can enjoy the rain without panicking about my house. I’m not too concerned about the frame getting wet, but worrying about the floor stresses me out. The floor is covered with two layers of tarp, but where the trailer is level now water has no where to go.

The first day of rain wasn’t too bad, only the edges of the floor got wet and the tarp did its job. But the second day the tarp was full of puddles and the floor underneath was soaked. I got out the shop vac for a little clean-up, but they’re still calling for more rain. Thank goodness I didn’t use OSB or fiberglass!

Note to aspiring tiny house builders: find an indoor place to build, or be prepared to stress about rain for months.

I’ve been asked if I think I’ll finish in time, and my answer to that is, I have no idea. But I’m doing my best.

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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