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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

One Day at a Time

Building has happened here...

Building has happened here…

I worked on cutting some pieces for the side walls today, but unfortunately, I am STILL waiting on the engineer. She seems to have no concern for my build, and she acts as if I’m an annoyance every time I contact her. I asked her to look over the structure of my walls two months ago and she said they look fine, ignoring the half a dozen questions I sent her with the drawings. I have had to directly ask her questions, one by one, to get answers. My walls have changed so much based on her answers, so how were the original drawings “fine”? Yeah, the original drawings would have created a building, but I’m paying an engineer to make sure that the building is safe, strong, and built properly! There are some parts of construction that people disagree about and there are different ways of doing things, but I’m frustrated with how indifferent the engineer has been. I’m anxious about how much she’ll charge me in the end, for “time spent going back and forth”.

One thing the engineer did tell me though is that I don’t really need hurricane strapping because the building is so small. Keep in mind, this engineer has worked on tiny houses before. All the metal strapping on tiny house walls I’ve seen, the straps across the ridge board and rafters, metal pieces added here and there to make a stronger house that can withstand highway-speed winds – she says I don’t need any of it. I’m a bit skeptical, but it’d certainly be easier and cheaper to do without them, and houses have been built since before Simpson Strong Ties were invented. I’m still going to go take a look at what’s sold locally to see if there’s anything I want to include.

I was looking at the pile of 2x4s before I started cutting, and I have a weird amount of everything 😛 The walls have changed since I made the wood order, so now I have a lot of longer pieces I don’t necessarily need, and probably not enough 8 footers. But I can fit 8′ boards in the van so I can go get more as I need them. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow and I work, but Saturday and Sunday I’m back to building!

P.S. I love the mitre saw 🙂

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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