Pregame show: Buying the trailer!

Guys! I got my title for the utility trailer, and officially paid for the thing, which means that I am now a trailer owner! My name is on the title, I am five thousand dollars poorer*, and it is being delivered to my build site  this Monday morning at 9 AM. Jeff is going to be there at 10 AM, and we are STARTING THE BUILD! 48 hours! Halle-freaking-lujah!

*I KNOW! It’s a heavy-duty trailer, rated for 15,500 lbs, which will give me tons of room to play with (a light-duty trailer is generally rated for about 10K lbs, and since a loaded down 20×8 sq ft house is usually between 6500-7000 lbs, the extra capability seemed prudent). And it’s brand-spanking-new, which means new brakes, new lights, new tires. It’s got cool little ramps that pull out, ostensibly for loading heavy stuff, but for my purposes, serving as the base for a collapsible porch. It’s got built-in jacks to keep it level on any grade. It’s got a permanent title, which means I will never have to re-register it. It’s got welded-in tie downs, which means that even if I am in tornado country, the house is going to be able to be more permanently affixed to the earth than most stick-built houses and has a better chance of surviving a weather crisis than a lot of places. None of that shit is cheap, unfortunately. Still, $4670.79, total cost, plus titling cost, plus tax, plus delivery fee =$5063. That is 1/4th of my budget for the build. But it’s the foundation, it’s worth it, and it is by far the most expensive single thing in the build: even the cumulative cost of the lumber is not going to add up to that much. So, you know.

New baby is 7’x24′, is made by a company called PJ Trailers that makes relatively inexpensive, very high quality utility trailers, and is a longer version of this guy. We’re going to build it out on the sides to 8’6″ wide, the widest you can have on the road without special permits, and we’re going to build it out three feet lengthwise as well, split between over the hitch (which will turn into a bay window/reading nook off the living room) and off the back, for a total of 8.5 x 27. That’s 229 sq ft on the first floor (not including the loft), though not all of that will be usable space (what with, you know, walls). I won’t know the exact square footage until we actually get the loft up (we may have to make some changes to the dimensions), but it looks like my estimate of just slightly over 300 usable sq ft is going to be about right. That’s large for a tiny house, believe it or not: I’d guess from looking around online that most people are working with 8×18 trailers, leaving them a little shy of 200 sq ft (which seems awfully small for my purposes.)

Here is me, feeling like a superhero, on the New! Trailer! at the lot today. [PS: dude at the lot, besides being a super nice, very helpful guy, also informed me today that he’d sold maybe a dozen trailers to people building tiny houses in the last year or so. See, it’s not just me!]

new! trailer!

Here’s Mom, standing on what will eventually be the stairs to the loft. I think you can see the whole trailer in that picture: imagine it slightly wider and a few feet longer!
mom with new! trailer!

Monday! MONDAY! M O N D A Y!

Also, I have another new friend: this guy is a great, sturdy little boat stove that my boss gave me. He pulled it off his own boat because he used it once and decided he didn’t like the way the mechanism worked (it’s an alcohol stove: every couple of days you have to pump up the alcohol container to keep it pressurized, which is really no big deal, but to my boss, it apparently meant “Deathtrap”. He is a worrier.). Frankly, he is not the kind of guy who is doing a lot of baking on his boat anyway, so he’s just as happy with a little propane grill. He brought it back last week when he got back from his most recent sailing trip–apparently the stove got to ride in the front seat of the car all the way from the Sea of Cortez home, and his two boating buddies and all their stuff had to cram into the back. It was in kind of rough shape when I got it: nothing major, just a lot of greasy gunginess and a corroded hose, but I am taking it up to a marine stove repair guy next week so he can replace the hoses/make sure nothing’s leaking, and today I attacked it with some crazy toxic oven cleaner and a scrubby. It’s not perfect–it needs chrome polish, a coat of enamel paint on some spots and a leeeetle more de-gunging–but cute, no? It can fit a large pyrex and a small cookie sheet, it’s got two burners, and between that and a fancy convection microwave/oven/broiler thingy, I think I’ll be pretty well-equipped to cook. Hopefully. If it is not a deathtrap.

harry's boat stove, topview


Day One is probably going to be just a lot of jacking things up and leveling things and getting things organized, but there is a possibility that the floor will start being framed out that day, depending on what Jeff can do. If that happens, then Day Two will be vapor barrier, flashing, insulation, subfloor. And after that? WALLS!

PS: I am going to need to think of a fancy, Downton Abbey-style name for this house, I think: a friend of mine makes small, modern laser’ed metal signs, and wants me to come up with a name for the house so he can make it a nameplate (which sounds way too cute to resist). I was flirting with the idea of Hummingbird House, but there’s already a Hummingbird Tiny Spaces out of TN that makes prefab tiny houses, so that might be out. Hmmm, thinking.


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