Thursday, August 29, 2013


The floor is lookin' mighty fine!!

Last night, while Dan was in class, Adam and I finished up that last bit of flooring. Woohoo!  We still have the bathroom and closet to fix, but my leg was giving me a lot of trouble, so I called it quits after the main floor was finished.  I took a quick video tour of the house for everyone to see. It's really coming together! AND FAST! Check out the video tour below!

Here are some of the photos from last night as well. Hope you enjoy the video! And yes, I am as tired as I sound...haha. :) 
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We Have The Keys!!

The keys to our tiny home are in hand!

It's funny how that always seems to be such a highlight of the long drawn out mortgage process....the day you finally get handed the keys. Well, we weren't handed anything, we didn't need to ask anyone's permission, we didn't need to borrow a penny, and it feels damn good. :)

Over the last two nights we have made some serious ground. Granted, we had a small bit of back tracking between the flooring that was started that wasn't actually square...and then of course Dan's door incident. I'm keeping things at the third grade level today- more pictures, less words. :)

On Monday, we worked on getting square lines down for the flooring. We took up some of the wood that had been installed in the closet and bathroom spaces so that the lines would not interfere with the wood being laid that is truly square. We will have to go back and relay the wood in those two little spots.

We also had to re-adjust the large green door, because that was not quite even either. Once that was squared away (har har), we had a clean stretch of just laying down the bamboo.

Oops...time to pull it up and fix it..

By the end of Monday night, we had a solid start on the flooring. About 50% done! We worked hard. I am hell-bent on making this week count since we won't be around on Saturday and Sunday.

Flooring as of Monday night.

We scraped and sanded, only to find
not so pretty wood underneath, so we painted!
Last night we continued with the flooring and also put in the last of the three doors. This door will serve as a separator between the kitchen area and the staircase/storage piece. Even with the width trimmed down, it will still jut out about 6 inches beyond the counters. So we will have a cute little kitchenette feel. 

Last door in place!

While Adam and I continued working on the flooring Dan decided he was going to fix the front door so it shuts smooth and square each time. It was catching in the top right corner quite a bit. Despite our discussion about him needing another hand for support when most of the screws were out (I think he was just a little too excited about the progress we've made..) that didn't cross his mind when the time came. As a result, the door fell right off the side of the house. The door was open, and Dan just happened to be right in that open space (like Aladdin!) when it came down, so he didn't get hit.  My brother's left cheek took the brunt of the blow, catching the lead corner before it hit the ground. We are both convinced that my brother's ass saved us from having a smashed door and a dead boyfriend on our hands.

Brew break for the workers...enjoying the suds on a shiny,
smooth floor!
As darkness fell, Adam and I had completed about 80% of the flooring and Dan (now driven by his embarassment) was determined to fix and complete the door. That he a complete swarm of insects. A whole flurry of bugs were drawn to the light right next to the door; he stuck it out with bugs crawling all over him, up his nose, in his mouth. (I think that was a small bit of karma for being a dumb-dumb earlier.) Our door is now perfectly square, swings open and shut with ease, AND has the locks and knob in place! So we walked away last night, carrying the keys to our home!! 
Flooring as of Tuesday night.

My plan is to finish the floor tonight while Dan's in class. Then, we wait for the lumber to finish the walls and start planning out the counters and other custom furniture pieces. AAHHH!

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Can't really see them, but we've got the keys to our home!! :D

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's All Coming Together Now!

The final vision is beginning to emerge!

This past weekend, we put in two more full work days. I'm keeping this entry short and sweet because burning the candle at both ends has started to catch up with me. After a week of travel, I flew home from the opposite coast on Friday, all the while my mind was churning with eagerness to work, excitement for the finish, and planning to make the most of our limited time frame.
Dan cleaning up our soon to be post!

We learned on Wednesday that our lumber order was delayed. GRR! This kind of threw us for a bit, as we were planning to finish up the pine shiplap before moving on to anything else. Dan and I updated our strategy and realized that we had more than enough to keep us busy in the meantime. We still had the doors to sand, cut, and fit into place. We still had the entry door to fix, the utility closet to build, and we could also do a little work on the roof to prep for the final phases of completing the outside. 

Doesn't it look nice!?

It has come down to a game of musical projects so to speak. We learn that one thing will not be ready or work as planned, so we quickly switch our focus and continue on with something we can do. All that matters at this point is that we KEEP GOING and work on whatever, whenever we can.  With the deadline steadily approaching and many family obligations happening over the next month of weekends (cookout/going away party and two weddings!) -we've got to make it count!

We had to cut the bottom off the door,
due to rot. Dan improvised to make up the lost

On Saturday, we worked on the doors and a few miscellaneous things. We will be installing a post that serves as support for the last loft rafter, which will not extend clear across the tiny house- if it did, it would go through the large window. We wandered around all of the fallen trees in my Dad's backyard and selected one to be the post. We couldn't make use of the massive pine like we wanted, but this piece is a nice compromise. Hopefully we can cut and install it properly. Dan scraped and hand sanded it to reveal a beautiful grain. It pairs nicely with the ceiling. 

FINALLY! Both sides clean and sanded.
This door has some awesome grains.
I will be painting the green parts you see here.

While Dan worked on this post, I finished up the last bit of sanding on the green door. FINALLY! It only took many days and many people working on it! Based on how long that took, we quickly decided that the door with diamond windows would not be sanded. This particular door would serve as one wall of the bathroom and a wall of the closet, so it wouldn't be seen much. Once that decision was made, I began scraping and working on the final door.

Dan and Adam started the work of making cuts so each door would fit snugly within the house. By the end of the day, this had become a team effort. Making the appropriate cuts was half the battle, the other was making sure the doors were snug under the rafters and square with the wall. After a lot of grunting and pounding and adjusting here, adjusting there- we called it a day. As we stood around looking at what would be next, we were dumbfounded to realize that if we couldn't do the walls....flooring was next. No way around now! And we still didn't have flooring picked out!

Polishing up the old door hinges.

On Sunday, we decided to head out and take a look at flooring first and foremost. We didn't really have any particular expectations for the floor. We had wanted to use the barn boards as mentioned before, but found out they were better as a ceiling. Back to a blank slate. I think this made it a whole lot easier to choose- that and the deadline!

I love this! Reclaim and rethink! We used the
hinges as a way to secure the door to the rafter!
This will be inside our closet- a fun little
hidden story. :)

We looked around online and then went to the store...looked a second time at the products we had picked and then made a decision. There's a great little rush that comes along with just "pulling the trigger" on certain things. It was very refreshing to be standing there with someone who was on the exact same page, making this a super easy decision. :) We both liked the bamboo flooring. We liked the look, the easy installation, renewable resource, American made on American soil, great warranty, and most of all the PRICE TAG. At about $2/square foot, it's hard to beat!

Painting the loft rafters!

We also headed over to the paint area and miraculously, agreed on a color to paint the loft rafters in a matter or minutes. We decided on a dark reddish brown to accent the various knots in the ceiling. We stared at a picture of the ceiling and compared some color chips. Boom! Done! 

Then we headed to the site. I worked on painting the loft rafters and finishing the last door, while Dan and Adam began the flooring! They started out in the bathroom and closet spaces since we had a lot of crap everywhere else and wanted to hold off on putting flooring in high traffic areas before the ship lap is done. 

We will be putting in plenty of hours throughout evenings this week. We hope to finish the floor and get a call letting us know our pine has come in!

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Monday, August 19, 2013

The Magnificent Ceiling!

What a weekend!!

I'm on the road for work, with plenty else I should do, but I just couldn't wait to tell everyone about this! -So I'll keep it short and sweet.

On Sunday, we were still feeling the long day we put in Saturday. So we took our time in the morning, had a nice breakfast, and headed out after we were good and ready. We went straight to Cranston, first, to get more pine boards. The store location we originally bought from didn't have any more on the shelves. Then, we learned the North Providence location did not carry it at all -we were getting nervous. So, we called the Cranston location and confirmed they had the materials we needed before driving down there. We wanted to grab the wood and have it on hand in case the ceiling went quickly and we had energy to start on something else. Good thing too. ;)

Adam was there to lend a hand again, and it went very well thanks to his added help! So, thanks, bro! Love you! We were able to finish up the ceiling within about an hour and half, since we had gotten about 60% of it done the day before.


Dan and Adam needed to plane some more boards, and while they did, I finished up little odd jobs like the insulation around the utility closet opening. We still need to build that stupid thing, but we are avoiding it-- if you couldn't tell. The utility closet will house the batteries for the solar power and also the electrical panel (if we even end up using one). We wanted to make sure there was some sort of access from inside the house as well, so we needed to sort that out before the pine went up. 

After planing and squaring some of the last - and most awkward- boards, we placed the final row on the ceiling. All three of us just stood there staring up at how amazing it looked for a few minutes. I was blown away. I couldn't believe how well it came out! It completely sets the tone for the rest of the house, giving an eclectic rustic look to the space. It came out better than we imagined- and that's always a great feeling!

We had visions of using re-claimed materials for this house, but in all honesty, I didn't know how much of it would actually turn out that way. Given our limited time frame, the fact that we are not skilled carpenters, and just the knowledge it takes to know what you are looking at and where to even find the stuff in first place- I worried that this was one aspect we would not really fulfill. This was a little disheartening, but I was determined to look at the bigger picture- going tiny is a massive first step. 

Let me tell you, I have had nightmares about that barn we would somehow realize that none of it was fit for use, ooorrr it could be used, but only super talented carpenters using expensive tools could do the job, ooorrr we would use it and it would look like a 7 year old's tree house- and not in a good way. The bottom line: I was worried that this romantic idea would be royal flop. But, as I sat in the loft gazing at the beautiful ceiling, a rising excitement and new found pride filled my chest. We ARE doing it!

I looked around, smiling ear to ear, as I realized just how much reclaimed materials we have already incorporated. All of the insulation, electrical wiring, windows, door, and the ceiling...then of course there will be the doors we have collected for use as partitions between the bathroom and closet, AND I am pleased to report that we have left over barn wood (we were very worried we wouldn't have enough for the ceiling) which we plan to use as part of the shelving in the kitchen space and perhaps other accents throughout. Sure, we are not at the level of Tiny Texas Houses, where they use 99% re-claimed materials, but it's a damn fine first go, if I say so myself. :)

We were so energized by the ceiling that we decided to put in a little time on the second end wall. We expected it to take longer, but with very little in the walls to work around, the pine went up lightning fast! We completed that wall within an hour. Woohoo! Dan and I are super happy with how the two types of wood look together as well. We can't wait to do the long walls! The materials should be in by tomorrow! I can't wait to get home and get started!

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

What a day!!

Saturday held an unexpected turn of events, but luckily, we set ourselves up to have multiple projects we could tackle- depending on the circumstances. We had PLANNED to get more of the "stock" pine boards and continue working on the other end wall. This was not to be. After returning to one location and realizing they have not replenished the shelves, we headed to another near by location. There, we learned that it was not something they kept on the shelves. Apparently, inventory is not consistent amongst stores.....even ones that are 15 miles from each other. So we were up-the-creek on the pine board job. No matter!

We still had plenty we could do. The utility closet is something we have been avoiding. So while at the store, we grabbed materials for that. We also had the old barn boards to plane, the doors to sand, and the possible beginning of the ceiling install. 

My brother Adam had offered to come help, so we knew we had one extra for the day. That was nice. But- even better- my sister, Amanda, and her boyfriend, Brendan, showed up out of the blue to help as well. Brendan came tromping in, hands full of all kinds of tools. He had expressed interest and enthusiasm in our project before, and mentioned he loved to build. On this day, he came prepared! 

We spent a long, noisy, bustling, productive day at the site. There were so many power tools firing up, on and off, that we tripped the breaker at one point. Oops! Easy fix, though.  Dan and I were genuinely impressed and so very thankful for the hard work that everyone put in that day- especially Brendan. He was working right along side us all day, except to go grab another friend to come help! He helped Dan plane all of the old boards- which came out great. Dan smiled with glee as he slid each board through. The man likes power tools- who'da thought? :)

We all took turns on this thing :)

Amanda worked on the door with me for a while, then I moved on to finish the last layer of insulation in the ceiling. After the majority of the board were planed, we decided to get started on the ceiling. Might as well! It was the one thing we had supplies for! 

The excitement and enthusiasm grew amongst us all as we worked together to get the ceiling up. It involved some tricky measurements, some pain in the toosh cuts, and a lot of calling back measurements wrong- thereby throwing the measurer (me) off and needing to remeasure. :p But it was great to have such a team come together, I maintained a post in the loft, measuring and applying boards, while Adam, Dan, and Brendan rotated in asking for measures and returning with boards. 

We all smiled and commented on how great the ceiling was looking as it slowly took shape. It has this wonderful rustic feel, and all of the super old nail wholes and the aged grains of the wood look AWESOME! Sure, not every corner is air tight, there are some cracks, but I love little imperfections. That's what makes anyone or anything unique.

Throughout all of this, Amanda and Brendan's friend continued to work on the big door and keep the work site tidy. The door is just about finished on one side! It took some time! Brendan also found the time to build a small- to scale- replica of our tiny house. He planned for it to be a mailbox, but then decided to cut out the door and windows- which are on one it may end up being something else...haha.

We decided to call it a day around 630pm. We have well over 50% of the ceiling up and it looks FABULOUS! We are a little worried about having's going to be close...and some of the boards have the shape of the tree, so cutting straight edges can be difficult. We hope we accounted for enough "mis-cuts" and odd lengths.

Today we hope to finish the rest of the ceiling and fix the front door (sticks a bit), then give the things a door knob! Taking it a little slower today. ;)

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Friday, August 16, 2013

First Wall - Finish work!

Our tiny home is beginning to take on it's final form!

Last night, Dan and I worked on the house yet again. Woohoo! I was so pumped up about seeing the pine in place that I couldn't stop thinking about it all through the next day. As always, Dan was ready to work when I asked him if he would consider. 

There may be some who think, "What's the big deal? You only worked for a few hours on the thing...why are you so excited?" Well, people, I will tell you. IT'S DAMN HARD. That's why it's worth talking about! I think most people would agree, that after an 8 hour work day, and in my case about 2 hours of commuting time, when you get home you just want to sit down. And if you sit down, you usually stay down. 
Very little waste! Just how we like it. :)

Then there is the added layer of what we are actually doing. It would be one thing to work the full day and just drag yourself out for a jog or a grocery shop. That's an accomplishment. We're not jogging or picking out produce. We're building- that requires physical labor, brain power, patience, strategy, and know how. My job is quite demanding, as is Dan's, so by the end of the work day- the tank is pretty low. So HOORAY! We did it!

As I added the title of this post, I hummed a chuckle to myself, thinking about another post called "First Wall". Seems like just yesterday we were putting together the framing for those end walls....and now, we are installing the finish materials! It's been a crazy ride, and when I think back on all that we have done, it seems like the start couldn't possibly have been just 4 months ago!!

Last night, when I got home, I immediately began cooking dinner. Dan arrived home and dinner was just minutes from being ready. We both changed, ate, and headed out to the store to grab additional wood for the first wall. Once we had our pine boards, we headed to the site. We arrived around 7pm and worked steadily until 10pm. The boards have a 6.75 inch face, so they make application go rather quickly. It doesn't take long to see progress. 

That was one thing we both had been starving for....visually appealing progress. For the last month or more of working, we have been doing all the tedious, frustrating, not-so-fun jobs like the windows (which we thought would never end), the electrical, and the insulation. 

We were both getting a little jaded about the whole thing. The work was not that exciting, the weather was relentless, and we were getting burnt out. Seeing the pine go up and beautify that one wall breathed new life into us. And, as the night fell, we saw our small home lit up for the first time. Just seeing the warm glow of light come from our windows made many emotions stir...I remember the difficult days when I thought, "What have we gotten ourselves into? We can't do all this." Yet there I was, enveloped in the nightly symphony of frogs, staring at the bright windows of a tiny house that was just a crazy dream on paper less than a year ago. This has been truly amazing. :)

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First wall almost done!