A New Season

A lot of the tiny housers I come across online are either single people or serious couples. I started planning my build when I was single, figuring I’d meet someone someday in the far off future. Then, the winter before my trailer arrived, I met Dylan and he became an important part of my life. He loved the tiny house plan, and we pictured the two of us living in it when it was finished. We spent all our time together, worked on the tiny house together, and started living together. But over time, it became clearer to me that he never had any plans of his own. As much as I loved him, I got tired of taking care of someone who hadn’t yet learned to take care of themselves. Independence and self-sufficiency, these are qualities that I value, and after almost two years together, I was still making the plans and paying for everything. I couldn’t continue that way, so I broke it off. Endings are sad, but you have to do what’s right for yourself.

It’s been a month of change, but also of growth. I’ve grown as the tiny house has progressed, and every day I become better: at handling the stress, fixing the problems, getting what I need from hardware store staff, and moving forward. I had my time away on vacation to recharge after working two jobs, building the tiny house, and balancing a draining relationship. I got to visit family and see some old friends who know me well. I came home refreshed and ready to reshape my life, to put myself first again.

~

I didn’t have time to get the ridge and verge caps on before I left for vacation (between work and some hair dyeing madness), but that turned out to be a good thing. The fancy tape kept the interior dry while I was away, and when I got back, I arranged to have the tiny house moved back to my mum’s. I added the verge caps (which may have involved some hammer throwing and tears due to uncooperative nails) before the move. That way, the edges of the roofing couldn’t lift up in the wind, and we put my house, with a roof this time, on the road again!

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The house cleared all the wires, but loosened a rather large branch that fell on my car! Thankfully, it didn’t crack my windshield. But that’s something to be careful of when you’re the follow car!

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Back home.

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Where the tiny house is now, I can see the top of it from the front window of the main house, and the ridge is sinking in the middle again! So I’ve had to hold off putting the ridge caps on until I can push the ridge back into place and secure it better. Originally, I thought we had waited too long to put the collar ties in and the ridge had a chance to sink. But the issue doesn’t seem to be with the collar ties. Since it’s happened again, I believe the connectors I used where the rafters land on the top plate are bending slightly and allowing the rafters to slide. So the plan is to jack up the ridge board again and add different connectors, fingers crossed:

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In the meantime, I leveled the trailer and bought myself an air compressor (on sale 🙂 ). Then I got ready to do the house wrap. I’ve mentioned before that I had custom drip edges made for the wheel wells, so I went out and finally installed those:

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However, in my rush to get them done (in addition to the fact that it’s been almost two months since I ordered the drip edges), I completely forgot that they were meant to be installed so that the metal sloped down. I installed them flat, so a little bit of water will pool. But at least the water will no longer be hitting the top of the wheel wells and splashing onto my sheathing. And there’s no chance of it getting into the house. I caulked the gap between the wheel well and the frame, then nailed the flashing on, and the house wrap will go over top.

I had my friend Ian’s help putting up the house wrap! I love steps that change the entire look of the tiny house:

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Day one: Ian helped get the bulk of it done, and then I treated us to sushi for supper. 🙂

This is one continuous piece of house wrap. Ian unrolled the wrap while I nailed along the top, and then we went back through and added the rest of the nails, smoothing the wrap as we went. The first wall had a very large ripple, so we ended up taking out most of the nails I had put at the top, pulling the wrap tighter, and then re-nailing. It took us about five hours to do this – oh and I also had Ian help me nail up the porch ceiling, the final piece of sheathing (using my new air compressor)! We even worked through some light rain.

This would’ve gone so much faster with a staple gun, but it wouldn’t have been as good of a job. I’m glad I chose to use the nails, and I haven’t run out of the short ones yet! But I did bruise my thumb at least a half dozen times, and we dropped and wrecked plenty of nails. The end of the day involved a game of “Pick Up Nails”.

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Day two: I went around and trimmed the wrap around the wheel wells, taped any nails that weren’t fully sealing around the plastic caps, taped all the edges, and cut out the doorway.

I could’ve gotten more done on the second day had I started earlier – it’s getting dark so early now – but I can only do so much between sleep and work. I never like to work when I’m tired or cranky; it’s not worth the mistakes and potential for injuries. Working on the house for 2-5 hours a day as often as possible is going well so far. I’ve worked on the house 6 days this month, even after being gone for half of it, plus a day for moving the house. This is the first month that I’ve ever worked on the house without Dylan, but it’s been productive. Once I have the radio out there and a task in front of me, I lose track of time and just focus. It’s almost peaceful. 🙂 I’ve also been getting better at hopping out of bed, pulling on my work clothes and boots, and getting out there (after breakfast). This has to be done, and I’m going to do it!

~

I told myself in the beginning that I wasn’t going to be on of those bloggers who let the updates stretch to months apart, but I do realize that the building life is a busy one. With everything else going on in my life, blogging hasn’t been on the top of the list. Plus I like to post updates when I completely finish a step, but sometimes the steps drag out. I only just put that last piece of sheathing on, the roofing isn’t fully finished (I ended up tarping it for a few rainy days), and I still have to add the top foot or two of the house wrap. But I’m making progress! And my dad’s home for a week so I’ll have his help for a few things. 🙂 Trust me, I’m working on it, even if I’m not writing about it!

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A Day in the Life

June 17th

I ignore my 8 and 9 o’clock alarms, and decide I deserve a little more sleep. I drag myself out of my comfy bed around 10:30. I eat some waffles.

I go visit my dad before he leaves for Ontario again, and spend an hour or so chatting.

I get back to Dylan’s and find out he needs to go to the RMV. After he finds all the right papers, we go to the office and there’s no one else there. It only takes about 10 minutes, and then we decide to go out for lunch.

We go to a sit-down restaurant and order, eat, and get brownie sundaes for dessert.

We get home, and I curl up on the couch, wanting a nap after eating so much.

Dylan goes to get T.O. and I go out to the garage.

At 3 o’clock, we start getting everything out to finish the roof sheathing.

I load my nail gun and count the remaining nails.

First, we cut the piece of plywood for the little porch wall:

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Still using the fence my mum and I made. (Don’t worry, we moved the sawhorses before cutting)

Then we test-fit it, trim it, then glue and nail it.

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Still have to sheath the porch ceiling.

I’ve had some nosy acquaintances poking around in the house when I’m not around, so we wanted to close it up. However, I wasn’t ready to put in my real door, and I don’t want it to get beat up during construction.

So Dylan works on making a temporary door.

While he works on the door, T.O. and I measure for the missing strips on the end of the house, and draw them onto a sheet of plywood.

The three of us wistfully talk about things we could be doing on such a nice sunny day, like hanging out in my hammock, swimming in T.O.’s pool, BBQing, drinking beer and frozen lemonades, and going for a bike/long board ride.

We install the door (and I get trapped on the inside while they put it up).

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Oh, and Dylan’s dad gave us some temporary front steps!

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It has a lock and everything. 🙂

With those two things out of the way, we turn our attention to the roof.

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Last bit of sunshine before we close it up!

I test-fit the strips of plywood, which are a little too wide.

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Roof selfie while I wait for the guys. I like it up there!

The guys trim the strips of plywood while I get the glue ready and hammer in some temporary spacer nails.

They pass the strips up, I test-fit them, then pass one back down. They trace it onto the other 4 strips. They pass it back up.

I start gluing. They trim the next two strips while I carefully place and nail the first two strips. Easy peasy.

They pass up the next two, I test-fit them, send one down for a trim, then glue and nail them while they cut the last two, then repeat.

But I mess up and put the trimmed one in the wrong spot. I don’t realize this until after I nail them both a couple times. Frustrated, I start yanking them off, yelling at the guys, who aren’t listening. Alone on the roof, I start to get mad at this one piece that won’t come off, getting more and more glue on my hands and hammer. I finally get it off, put them in the right places, and angrily add a few extra nails.

I yell at the guys, who finally hear me, and tell them to cut the last two strips that they had forgotten about.

I sit on the roof in the sunshine and calm down, because it’s so pretty and my house is getting done.

They pass up the last two strips, I test-fit them, mark one for a trim and pass it back down. They cut it and pass it back, and I glue and nail the last two pieces on the back overhang, using the last nail in the gun.

Then we take pictures. 🙂

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I don’t need a ridge vent because I will have spray foam insulation. I will need an air ventilation system though.

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All that’s left of 2500 nails for the sheathing.

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I have to think about blocking now…

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My view when I walk down the front path every day. ❤

We put everything back in the garage and lock up at quarter to nine.

We decide to bike/long board to town to get treats.

I happily speed down the road, feeling like a little kid with a big grin on my face.

I buy Skittles. 🙂

We ride back, I eat my Skittles and get ready for bed.

I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

 

Pocket Full of Sawdust

It’s been a crazy busy few days!

Thursday was “get everything ready to put up the roof sheathing day.” We put up the small loft (finally):

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Sitting up in the storage loft 🙂

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I cut the pieces for the overhang on the front and back, and trimmed the fascia to length for the sides. Dylan nailed the boards together and we put up the 24′ piece with T.O.’s help. It took about an hour.

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Unfortunately we were trying to be quick and didn’t notice a gouge in the end of the piece until we stepped back to look at it up there.

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I’ve since sanded it a little and it looks a bit better. This piece will show, so hopefully with some wood filler or something and some stain it will blend in. Oops!

Colby showed up, so with 4 people the fascia on the far side went up faster, even after having to hammer it out and adjust it a few times.

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Colby helped me put up the angled pieces on the end, and with cutting the pieces for the front as well as that little strip of plywood.

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Love the laser.

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Just had to cut the notch then trace the angles right off the house.

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By that point though it was 10 o’clock at night, so I broke my no-convenience-store rule – because there were no other stores open – and bought myself and my helpers some treats. 🙂 It had been raining on and off all day so we were all a little damp; a hot chocolate from Tim’s was a perfect way to end the day.

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Friday was “Roof Day” but we had to finish the front pieces first:

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Time for the roof sheathing!

I bought tongue and groove plywood for the roof to eliminate the need for blocking like I had to do with the walls. Each half of the roof is barely 5″ more than 48″ and plywood is supposed to lay perpendicular to the rafters. That means that I need a full sheet and a 5″ strip of plywood to cover one side, which is kind of a pain, but I made the house as wide as I could and I’m happy with the slope of the roof, so that’s how it ended up. At first we only had the full sheet up there to test-fit it, but then I decided that it’d be better to put the full sheet and the strip of plywood on together. That way, I wouldn’t have an entire sheet nailed and glued, then have the strip not fit or be unable to slide or something.

Problem:

When we got the strip up there to test-fit, the tongue and groove would not, no matter what we tried, fit together properly and we couldn’t figure out why. Yes, one of the pieces was bowed, but we tried pushing and pressing from every angle. I even scraped out the groove in case there was something in the way, but no luck. We had plenty of people over to get the plywood onto the roof and everything, but we were stuck. If the tongue and groove was not working on the first piece, what about the rest? Maybe the pieces, having gotten wet before, had swelled and would no longer fit. But the pieces we were test-fitting looked like they should fit, the tongue and groove seemed fine, they just wouldn’t click together. It was frustrating, time was ticking by, and people who had come to help were having to leave.

I did some Googling and was reminded of H-clips for roof sheathing! We called the only open hardware store to check if they had them, and raced to buy some before they closed in 20 minutes. In our haste, we didn’t check how thick the plywood was, and 1/2″ is apparently what every builder uses on a roof so that’s the size of clips we bought. We got home and checked, and I have 5/8″ plywood. We were supposed to have the roof sheathing on, and we didn’t even have one piece on by suppertime. 😦 One good thing was the weather. Despite calling for a chance of showers, the dark clouds decided to go in a different direction:

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Last view of the sky before we closed it up!

I decided to take the chance that the store would have 5/8″ clips that we could pick up in the morning. Anxiously, I allowed Dylan to cut all the tongues off my expensive tongue and groove plywood. If they weren’t going to work, they weren’t going to work. I could use H-clips or blocking, and as far as I know, tongue and groove actually isn’t very common for roof sheathing. As a bonus, not needing all the edges allowed us to get all of the 5″ strips out of one sheet instead of 3 and we didn’t have to use the one sheet that was still a little damp.

In the end:

We salvaged the build day by getting all the plywood cut for the roof. We finished cleaning up at 9:30 and I cheated on my convenience store rule again to buy some candy for us. It was a bit of a disappointing day, but in the evening we were really productive. We made plans to get up as soon as the hardware store opened so we could get the plywood on before my shift at 3 on Saturday.

I was cold and tired as I got ready for bed, but in a good way. I’m lazy by default, so to have several days where I’m using my body, I’m outside, I’m tiring myself out without even noticing – that’s a happy kind of tired. 🙂

I brought back the 1/2″ clips in the morning and asked for 5/8″. They looked at me funny and told me they didn’t carry 5/8″, which is what I was afraid of. They probably don’t stock them because apparently no one uses more than 1/2″ for roof sheathing. Technically, with 5/8″ plywood, I don’t even need H-clips or blocking because 5/8″ is rated to span 32″ with no support (my rafters only have 22 1/2″ between them). Since it’s thicker than 1/2″, it shouldn’t bow between the rafters, which is what H-clips are supposed to prevent. But it seems weird to leave gaps in my roof!

I wanted to get the sheathing on though, and decided that I could block the gaps later if I felt it was necessary. Conveniently, we had extra people show up at the perfect time to help get the plywood onto the roof! We kept it all up there with some temporary chunks of 2×4’s nailed to the fascia so the sheets couldn’t slide off, which worked really well. We organized the sheets and got into a routine of test-fit, add nails for the gap, add chalk lines, move the piece, glue, lift the piece up then set it down once it was in the right place (so no sliding the glue everywhere), then nail! We were of course slow in the beginning, and it got more difficult as it went on because there’s no loft to stand on in the middle, and each sheet we put on left us with less places to get up between the rafters. But we managed to get all 6 sheets glued and nailed before I worked!

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Nailing the last sheet!

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Done!

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Part of the reason I really wanted to get the roof sheathing on was so the inside of the house would be protected from the rain over the next few days. We didn’t have time to add the 5″ strips, so the guys used half of the ripped tarp and stapled it down over the ridge:

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You can’t really see it from the ground, but the plywood is up there!

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I also need to add a couple of strips just for the end wall overhang, the way the plywood worked out.

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It echoes inside now, and feels more like a house! Soon I’m going to need lights!

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This morning, before the rain started, I laced up my boots again and went out to fix two things: the little bit of plywood that was sticking out over the front, and a spot where the glue had hardened and kept the plywood from pressing down flat. So far I’ve used the nail gun, the jig saw, and the circular saw up on the roof and I’m not too nervous, but Dylan’s informed me that he’s a little afraid of heights. 😛 I trimmed the plywood, scraped the glue and added some more nails to pull down that plywood edge, and posed for some pictures. 🙂 I’m feeling pretty accomplished! I gave myself the rest of the day off (except for blogging) and I’ll be back working on the house later this week!

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Making Progress!

I had Thursday off and was out working on the house bright and early! Dylan was at work, but with his best friend’s help (who happens to live a few houses over), I cut and test-fitted that final odd piece.

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It’s so much easier to move and cut plywood when you have someone to help lift and hold.

Then we put up the first 4 notched pieces on the far side:

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First piece!

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I had to break for some midday plans, then after supper I worked on getting more pieces up with Dylan. My goal for the day was to get all 12 pieces up, but we were getting pretty cranky working on piece #10 at 9pm. When you’re snapping at each other, it’s probably time to call it quits for the day and go get some ice cream, which is exactly what we did. 🙂

We got that whole side done though:

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I dropped Dylan off at work on Friday morning and considered working on the house or going back to bed before my shift at 3pm. I ended up staying up, cleaning the kitchen, making myself eggs and bacon, and getting a message from Dylan’s best friend, T.O., saying he was available to help. So I decided I could get the last two pieces up before work, and we did, plus a small piece on the front wall, and we even rough cut the piece for the end wall.

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I don’t think anyone else can comprehend how beautiful I find this. I’m SO proud!

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The full piece was too heavy for the two of us to safely get up to test fit though, so we cleaned up for the day in time for my shift. I was pretty happy for the progress on an unplanned build day. It also meant that I didn’t have to take time out of my Saturday building to finish Thursday’s work. But Saturday’s plans did end up changing… Dylan and T.O. were both around and willing to help, so we finished the last two big pieces of the plywood!

Before that though, I was doing a bit of research about skylights, and checked my receipt to see if I had curb-mounted or deck-mounted ones, and my receipt said curb-mounted. As I was reading about the differences, I was getting more and more angry, because based on the descriptions, I knew I had asked for deck-mounted which are easier to install and won’t stick up as high. I was on the verge of having a fit, thinking about having to go back to the store AGAIN to yell at this man about windows AGAIN. I ran outside barefoot in my pajamas to check the skylights in the garage – which I picked up last week:

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and the boxes read, “Deck Mounted Skylight”:

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I calmed down a bit, but continued fuming a little bit that this person, who has apparently been in charge of ordering windows for decades, cannot do his job properly!

I refocused and got ready to work on the house. I wasn’t too concerned about getting the end walls sheathed before the roof; I figured I could do them after the roof sheathing, but since I had people to help I figured I might as well take advantage of it!

We test-fitted the piece I’d cut a notch in for the end wall, and it fit on the first try, so we traced the angles onto the piece while it was up there:

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This piece was ridiculously easy. 🙂

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I finally have a back wall!

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The front wall took a bit more thought. The other walls were big and simple, so planning the plywood was easy. But the front wall is special. The lower level is just over 4′ wide, which means that you can only get one piece from a full 4×8 sheet. And nowhere on the wall is a convenient place to add blocking, so I was hoping that going 4′ up, then to the top of the first level, then up another 4′ would work, but with the ridge beam added…

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That’s not quite enough plywood…

So I’ll have to add a little notched piece and put some blocking behind the gap, but all the big pieces are UP! 😀 We finished this piece right before I had to get ready for work, and we used the rest of the glue. We actually ran out of glue with only a few short studs left to do, so we used a piece of scrap wood and scraped any excess glue to where it was needed. 😛

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So pretty!

I also got a lot of little things done recently. Dylan and I…

  • spray-painted the exposed porch hardware underneath
  • taped up the wire for the lights on the trailer where it got pinched the first time it was moved
  • scraped some solidified glue off from between a stud and the plywood, then nailed the plywood in tight again
  • trimmed some plywood edges where they were sticking out too far
  • bought ice and water shield for the roof
  • bought wood for the fascia
  • bought more L brackets for the small loft beams
  • returned the rafter ties that I didn’t use
  • bought more adhesive to use for the roof sheathing ($72!)

I am loving getting stuff done! I seem to be better at resisting the urge to go back to bed or otherwise procrastinate because it’s so exciting now that things are happening faster. I am getting this done, even while working two jobs!

Check back for my post about the tiny houses Dylan and I got to see. 🙂

Plans For June

The weather is finally nice! I already have the next couple of weeks planned out:

Tomorrow, June 2nd, my goal is to cut the last piece for the sheathing around the top of the house, then glue and nail all 12 pieces up. If I have time, I’m going to try to get another piece up on the front wall as well.

June 4th, before work, I intend to add the framing for my skylights and make the end rafters that will overhang the front and back of the house.

On the 5th, Dylan and I are going for a drive up to Mahone Bay for a tiny house open house! Full Moon Tiny Shelters has 3 tiny house to see and I’m so excited!

June 9th, I plan to add the fascia and the floating end rafters. I’m also going to cut, glue, and nail the remaining plywood on the front and back walls.

June 10th is roof sheathing day! In theory, the roof is the simplest part of my house to sheath, but there is the matter of being on a roof and getting everything up there…

June 12th is my catch-up day to finish anything I didn’t get done, and maybe I’ll finally get my small loft in and/or put some ice and water shield on the roof.

After all that, I’ll be relaxing for a bit, and then planning days for the house wrap, windows, skylights, and roofing!

 

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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