Monday, September 30, 2013

Sunday Update: VIDEO TOUR!

Another video tour!

For all of you who read these posts right from your email, you might not be able to see the video. So head right over to the actual page and check it out!

I'm hovering over a counter, because there are no stools to sit on. In fact, the only thing left in the apartment are plants, a few odds and ends, and the food in the fridge. I'm off to stuff that all into a box, pack my car one last time,  and say goodbye to this place for good! Super busy! We'll keep you posted!! First night in the tiny house is TONIGHT! Woohoo!!!
Thanks for reading!!

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Beginning the ceiling trim. :)
Update - as of Saturday evening!

We are right smack in the middle of it right now, so this is a SUUUPER short entry. Over the last couple days we have applied trim, worked on cabinets, finished the closet enough for clothes, packed more, stored more, moved more, put our clothes in the tiny house (woohoo!!), and worked on the kitchen counter.

 Sunday we plan to work on the kitchen so more, the bathroom, and then the bookshelf. Not to mention, moving more of our stuff in too.  I'll try to get a video tour on Sunday too!

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Closet is ready for our clothes!!
Those are tree branches as our hanging rods. :)

We got our "sink" for free from Dan's dad's store! :)

Cutting the hole for the gas cooktop.

Careful now....

Nice clean cuts- good job, Dan!

Putting our clothes away in the loft!!!! AAAGGHH!!

The kitchen so is evident we need more practice
with cabinets. Design and application - haha, we have run into
a lot of road blocks and necessary modifications that mess with the aesthetics.
Oh well, it's functional and that's number one!! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Final Week: Thursday Update

The stair storage is taking shape!
Rough sketch of our concept- PRE-build.

Tonight we started the stair storage piece, something we have been quietly wary of for some time. Like most everything else, we made changes to the design even as we were putting it together. We originally were going to have 4 steps, but decided that was extra work (aka more chances to flub up) and that using four steps to cover about 6 feet really wasn't necessary.  

I get out earlier than Dan, so I head home, change, and get over there to get things started. He usually gets there around an hour after me. We discussed getting more supplies during the day, but decided we had plenty to keep us busy. I began by hesitantly cutting out some framing pieces. I didn't want to go too far without Dan, so I busied myself with other little jobs and cooked up an easy dinner before he arrived.

We got the majority of the stair storage built, and as mentioned, we changed our plans. Instead of having another step set up, we will be making a very short angled ladder- possibly from tree branches.  As we stood there staring at the nice big, high counter we had just created, we thought it would be kind of a shame to break up the spanse with another step or two. Now, not only will it function as storage and a way up to the loft, it could be used for more counter space when needed. 

We're pooped, so that's all folks!
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At the end of the night, we spent a few minutes in the loft. It was noticeably warmer within minutes.
We both really enjoy it up there already! Even though it seems impossible, it really does feel like a separate space. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Final Week: Wednesday Update

One of many rounds of donations.
Things are moving quickly; time is on short supply!

So this post is short and sweet with mostly pictures! Yay! My favorite kind too! ;)

On Tuesday night, I went into turbo mode the moment I drove away from the office. I did several errands back to back and simultaneously- I was a machine! I packed and moved several items to temporary storage places, and then headed to the site. When I finally arrived, I completed the final coat of tung oil in the loft, pulled out the gas cooktop and set up the counters loosely to get a sneak peek, and mounted the post we would need to create a wall for the closet.

Kitchen sneak peek!
I thought we could continue working with scrap, but we have done a good job of using every last bit. It turned out we needed more shiplap to continue one project, and then we didn't have the measurements for the other. :/ Ugh. I wanted to begin framing the stair storage, but I didn't have the measurements of the cooler, and it looked like it would be a tight squeeze. It was late and I had done a ton already, so I didn't feel like the day was a wash.

Tonight, we donated a HUGE pile of things, packed up more of our stuff, loaded the mattress and cooler into the truck, headed to the store for supplies, then hit the site. We did get there kind of late, but we were determined to get some things done.

First on the list was getting the mattress up into the loft. We need to start moving in piece by piece, because time is almost up. (We have an air mattress at the apt in the mean time.) We heaved and yanked and shoved and got the mattress up top. We quickly concluded that a queen size bed was certainly not necessary. It is a little too big up there. We plan to downsize the mattress once everything else settles down a bit.

Working through the dark.

We then built a very simple shelving unit above the bed. We plan to finish it out with trim and I will make either curtains or some sort of paneling so our piles of clothes are not exposed. We also need to add some supports, and we plan to make use of little tree branches for this. The plan is to store mainly our casual clothes here. All work clothes (aka things that need hanging) will be in the closet down stairs.

Speaking of the closet, we were able to complete the wall and mount the first of the supports to hold the clothes rack...and that we plan to create from a tree branch as well. ;)

We also made the first cut to the counter top pieces. Next up for that is marking out and making the rough opening for the gas cook top to set into. We also need to locate a super tiny sink and cut an opening for that as well.

Tonight, we plan to move more packed boxes to storage, finish the closet, and begin framing the stair storage.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Less Than A Week Till Move In...

If ever I have lived through a self-inflicted dire situation, this is the one to top them all.

Long time no read, everyone! My apologies, we've been racing around like mad these days. Since my last post, I headed out for work travel, returned Thursday, and then left again on Friday to attend a wedding in Canada. My best friend was getting married, and I wouldn't have missed it for the world! We realized it was a big decision, given we have so little time and we are so close to being booted from the apartment....but there are just some things in life that only come once, and the importance trumps your current pickle. 

Love her SO much!!

We had a great time at the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful, the bride was breath-taking, and it did me immeasurable amounts of good to see old friends. I realize now, just how special that college environment is...I haven't made friends like that ever since. We spent all night dancing, goofing off, and re-counting our favorite memories. So many shenanigans! :) But to add a lovely layer of frosting to the awesome cake that was this weekend- Dan and I were able to visit one of the top 10 community farmers markets in Canada! It was located right in Fredericton, and open on Saturday mornings. That was perfect since we had the day to ourselves; festivities didn't begin until the evening. 

The market was amazing. I was very surprised by the size, and sheer variety of vendors, products, and displays. The Boyce Farmers Market has outdoor grounds and a large indoor area as well. There were folks selling everything from hand-made blankets and socks with pictures of the little sheep who donated fluff, to jams, jellies, jerkies, soaps, bird houses, pastries, breads, fresh squeezed juices, meats, cheeses, wood working, fine jewelry, upcycled art, and more. As I walked through "Food Truck Lane" the rich aroma of home-made donuts, and slow cooked pork blended with the crisp fresh air. I almost felt like I was breathing new life into myself, as if I were re-charing my wary little hippie batteries. Being around so many like minded people, all working as a small community, each person supporting locally grown, locally made, locally crafted goods of one another was an amazing scene to be a part of. I firmly believe that's what we need to get back to. 

Anywho- back to the grind. So last night, we both headed over right after work. Dan even decided to skip his class...the thought of losing time to work on the house bothered him more than the thought of missing one of his classes. I have to admit, I agree and I was very greatful to have him there working along side me. 

Since we are in mega-ultra-super-crunch time, we have shifted our strategy once again. We need to start moving things in piece meal. Our first goal: get the bed in the loft. 

To make this happen, we need to get the necessary coats of tung oil down and let it dry. Dan had already started the coats on the walls of the loft, so last night, I did second coats where I could and then oiled the whole floor as well. While I was working on this, Dan got started on the closet. That would be next. We can use the bathroom and cook food at my Dad's house until we have our set up in place, but at the very least we can get our bed and clothes in place. 

We made it a challenge on the drive over: make the closet with what we already have laying around. We were tired of making trips to the store, constantly purchasing materials, and our wallets are quite tired too. It ended up being kind of fun. We knew the closet was not going to be a "show case" piece, so we could make it out of a random assortment of materials- and that's what we did. Dan used the strips we cut off one of the doors as the shelving skeleton. Since those were not tall enough to go the full length, he also built a small platform base using scraps and leftover bamboo flooring. 

I hammered through the oil application, and I think all my hard work heated the house! Adam came a little later on to help us out and remarked that it was notably warmer inside the tiny house. This is music to our ears since we are a bit concerned about what it will take to heat the place. If a couple lights and some elbow grease can heat it up, I don't think we will have many problems! 

We worked steadily through the evening and finally gave in to the cold and darkness at 9pm. Dan was able to get most of the closet shelving in place, I began work on the bathroom bench, and the loft oiling was done. We still have a TON to do, but we both felt good about the work we put in.

These two poked fun at each other relentlessly with
in and out-of-the-closet type jokes. I thought I would
take a picture for them to remember always. ;)

Tonight, I'm headed right back to do more coats of oil, work on the closet, and begin framing the stair storage if there is time. 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Little By Little

The days are beginning to blur together.

Dan and I often find ourselves forgetting words, forgetting thoughts, forgetting why we even walked into a room! Needless to say, the day we step into that tiny house and just SIT DOWN will be nothing short of amazing, and beyond much needed.

Last Friday, I put in a few hours on my own. Dan was planning to come join me, but he ended up having to stay late at work. We did the math, and by the time he would have made it to the site, we would have had maybe an hour of work time before dark. I told him not to worry about it and just head home. I planned to work on just one thing, and when I was done, I was headed home. Sometimes, that kind of mindset can help you get through, especially when the list of things you could be doing seems endless at the moment.

I decided I was going to work on the kitchen counters. We need to have a working space to make meals in order to get moved in there. That's what the mind set has been lately, “What do we Need to have finished before we move in here?” The answer? We need a place for our clothes, a place to sleep, a place to make food, and a place to go to the bathroom. I know that pretty much seems like a whole house, haha, but I guess what we mean is that the finer details are being left out. For example, we don't need to make sure all the windows are trimmed. The book shelf doesn't need to be built. The table doesn't need to be ready....etc.


Once we established those as the priorities, it made our lives easier. I set forth to get the kitchen counter started. It was slow going on my own, but it was peaceful in a way. I developed my own rhythm and got a lot more comfortable making clean cuts with the saw. As the kitchen counter took shape, a new surge of excitement pulsed through me. Up to this point, we've been looking at a hollow shell. It's a pretty hollow shell, but to see the actual counters and cabinets start to form really solidifies how close we are.

On Saturday, we had a family wedding to attend. We spent the morning catching up on other life chores and then celebrated a beautiful day with amazing people. My cousin married the love of his life, the girl he took to prom! How sweet! It was a beautiful day, and spirits were high. Then Sunday came, and the tiny house that lives in my conscience came a knocking right at 7 am. The party was over, and we had work to do!

First, we headed out to get more supplies. In our post party haze, we didn't have a great plan shaped up for the day, so we bought an assortment of materials so that we could work on several different things.
Despite being hung over and down right achy and tired, we accomplished quite a bit on Sunday. After some discussion, we decided to tackle the post and the loft boards first.

We really liked the idea of the tree as a post, but didn't think we would be able to mount it nice and evenly. So, we bought a post at the big box store just in case. Turns out there was no need! I think we must be developing some good carpentry skills, because it went quite well and looks great!

After we had the post mounted, we started putting in the loft boards. It was exciting, and kind of sad, to see the rooms down below officially close in. As we put up all the little walls, the interior is taking shape, and the house seems more like it is-- tiny. Haha

Once the loft was in place, we worked on creating the kitchen shelving that would also serve as the wall to the bathroom. We made use of some of the leftover barn boards we used for the ceiling. This will tie things together nicely! One kind of weird thing that we have noticed is that since our bathroom and closet are slightly larger (depth-wise) than the kitchen counters on the other side, the window in the back is not centered-- as far is the interior is concerned. It is centered on the outside.

This observation didn't bother either of us too much. I liked Dan's point of view: “Hey, we made every last bit of this ourselves. There will be little quirks like this. But it's ours, we designed it, we built it, and we're not professionals.” 

I also installed the light in the great room. It is LED track lighting with flexible arms. We chose to use all LED to really cut down on the power load. We liked that this fixture would be several lights across a large space, but only one electrical fixture. The light provides more than enough to brighten the whole place, and with so many little adjustable bulbs, we can have some pointed at the ceiling too!

Today, I plan to head there after work and seal the loft boards. I need to sand down some of the dirt and rough spots, then I will apply tung oil. This is a nice straight forward 1 person job that shouldn't take too long. Dan has class tonight, so I'm flying solo. Then I'm off to Maryland for work and won't be back until Thursday. Then we leave Friday for my best friend's wedding in Canada!! Busy, busy!

So we have a lot on our plates and we are doing our darned-est to pack in as much work on the house as we can, while we can!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

We worked three days in a row, and not on a holiday weekend!

I probably sound like a broken record, but the crunch is on and we are very aware. We've been working almost every possible day that we have the time and things are shaping up and looking pretty!  

On Friday, I grabbed the last of the extra shiplap we would need to finish the front wall. I have to admit I felt like a badass as I walked quickly and confidently to each area of the store, grabbing exactly what I needed, no questions asked. Not to mention I had my gnarley building pants on, which have seen over 3 solid years of heavy building time. They are a work of art. That added to my image, really brought the whole, "Yeah. I build shit." vibe out.

 I was lovin' it. Stuffing all my materials into the Focus...a man was amazed at how much I was able to strategically place in my car. I headed over to the work site and began setting up. I worked alone until Dan got out. It was slow going, but at least I made some progress, and once Dan was there, the pace picked up. 

We were able to easily finish the front wall...our lines were not there was one single "fudge board", I will call it. Dan, in his craftiness, was able to take a piece of shiplap and rip down the dimensions so that it still had the right shape, but it was slightly smaller so it could fit. Since this little odd piece is in the far corner up in the loft, no one can really see it...and it's not that noticeable anyways! Good job, babe!

I also pulled up the remaining flooring that needs to be fixed for the bathroom and started the de-nailing process. Then I fixed it.

The much anticipated Annual Block Party happened on Saturday. My Dad's neighborhood is truly amazing. They are like a family and I mean that. They are always hanging out together, doing each other favors, cooking on the grill for anyone who comes over, lending tools to people trying to build tiny structures ;) and of course a block wide party every September.

It's pretty great, but we wanted to make sure we got in plenty of work before play.  Dan began framing all the windows out with more pine. We were unsure if we wanted to go with bare pine like the walls, or paint the trim a color. I've seen a few interiors done in all bare pine and I think it looked great. It was clean, crisp, simple. We opted to put them up unfinished and give them a gander before deciding. Turns out we love it bare! So those get tung oil too. 

Speaking of tung oil. Let me tell you...we were actually thinking (stupidly) that we wouldn't need to seal the pine. Well, after about the 89th foot print, palm print, saw skid mark, and so on, it became evident that this was not a dirt friendly surface. What would the kitchen be like?! So we knew we needed to seal it...but without the marks, of course. So, I began the task by canvassing every square foot of wall and ceiling I could access, and then using the orbital sander to remove any blemishes. That took some time. Then, I needed to begin tung oil application. Tung oil is a nut oil that has been used for thousands of years to protect and beautify wood. It is naturally waterproof as well. 

Since we are trying to use as many natural or reclaimed products as possible, this was an easy choice. It also came highly recommended by the folks at Tiny Texas Houses. Not to mention it's pretty cheap! BONUS!

It is not, however, quick and easy to apply. I rubbed it all on by hand using an increasingly sopping-with-oil cloth. I found that the more saturated the cloth became, the easier the stuff went on. I would recommend this activity as some sort of challenge on one of those crazy tv shows. I worked and worked and worked for every square foot. I had to take breaks, rotate arms, adjust positions, do stretches. Every last muscle from my shoulder down to the tips of my fingers is feeling the work I've done in the last two days. 

The party was beginning out front as we began rapping up work in the back. We were excited and wary for so many people to be around. The reactions we get are varied. Most all are positive, but there are still some that look at us like we should be committed. At a time like this, when every second is precious...I don't need to be talking with those people. 

What we experienced was wonderful. I think we gave about 50 different 45 second tours of the house. I mean how long could it take, right? You step inside and say..."Well, here's....everything." haha But we found we both really enjoyed telling the stories of each little piece, what plans we have still to come, and what it will be like living "outside" our home more. We got to meet a great couple: D & B through this. They used to be a part of the neighborhood, so they still attend "family" get togethers. :) 

D is very much on the same wavelength as me, and we talked for a good deal of time about various subjects we both enjoy. I was so excited to meet a like minded, same age chick around these parts! And she runs a green festival in town each year?! WHAT?! AWESOME! She rattled off so many cool places for us to check out, different events, places to go, ways to get into that community of people, and some great suggestions on networking with farmers to find a place to park. Needless to say, Dan and I found that night to be a total success on many levels. 

We even had a little commentary by ourselves in the dark...after a few drinks. We sat on the back steps of my Dad's porch and stared at our tiny home, barely visible in the darkness. We admired every last detail and told our favorite stories of the best days and the worst days so far. We talked about our favorite details, the adventures we had while collecting supplies, and how much we have learned and grown from this experience.  We took time to admire ourselves for the crazy things we have accomplished, and physical hell we have endured while building.We praised one another and admitted that neither of us could have done it alone. It will go down in the books as one of my favorite conversations of all time. 

On Sunday, I was back to applying another coat of tung oil. Yay. I only ordered a small bottle of tung oil. Originally, it was just planned for the loft boards and cabinets. I have since ordered a much larger amount to do the whole job. I came close to finishing off the container, and based on their estimates, that means I covered about 200 square feet. I feel every one of them right now. 

Once I was done with the tung oil, I moved on to fixing the closet floor. That was the last of the flooring to be fixed. I took the boards that we had to cut out and tried to figure out how I could reuse most of the materials. I ended up doing a sort of box design which allowed me to re-use every piece of flooring, with only the addition of two other pieces. It looks pretty nifty, if I do say so. :)

After that, I was on to fixtures and other finish things. We got wood outlet covers and some of our lights. I started by putting on all the plates and then went to work installing the kitchen light. We had to improvise a little, because our square cut was too big for the round fixture to cover. We ended up making a simple wood block to serve as a cover plate. It looks pretty neat!

Kitchen light!

By the end of Sunday, half the windows had been trimmed up nice and pretty, and about half of the house has two coats of tung oil and smells like a steaming wok. While I am away on business this week, Dan will be putting in hours. He plans to finish the rest of the windows with trim, and then begin the basic framing of the kitchen cabinets.  We have a wedding this weekend AND next, so we have to make the time count!

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We chose stainless fixtures for the light and the plate, this will
match the stainless of the gas cook top!

I love panoramas!