Build: Day Fifteen & Sixteen

Progress update!

1) Painting! I finished painting the exterior finally, even the super annoying stuff way up high (my mom came the last day and helped with some of the extra-extra annoying stuff, which was a lifesaver). Verdict on the color now that it’s all on? Pretty good, especially with the white trim and the…..

P A I N T E D D O O R!
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I am so pleased with the former Sadness Door! There was much talk of red in the comments, I know, and that was what I was considering for a long time, but when push came to shove,
a. I was still missing the blues, and
b. more practically, I had a lot of blue paint that I’d already paid for left over from when I was trying out samples.

Sadness Door is now painted Sherwin Williams ‘Rainstorm’, one of the colors I was considering for a whole-house color. In person, it is a really gorgeous Prussian blue and I am totally enamored with it. Mom painted the door: it needs another coat yet, but I’m nuts about the way it looks. Same color is going under the eaves: I am told by my Sicilian father that blue under the eaves is Italian Good Luck, and who am I to argue with that?

2) Got the rest of the trim up around the windows. Yay! Trim needs a little going-over in spots: there were some places that accidentally got hit with the house paint color, and some raw ends I apparently didn’t do, but it’s looking pretty good! Here it is on the boring side of the house (just imagine it with a slat screen someday.)
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…and in the back, where I never take pictures.
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The flashing has a ton of paint on it–I couldn’t really get it successfully taped off–and at some point, I’m going to need to get back up on the ladder with a wire brush and get it off so I have nice neat, shiny, galvanized lines. But, you know, just imagine that part.

3) Plumbing! On Monday, Jeff ran the plumbing. But I have no in-progress pictures of that, because I was in Phoenix. I had a couple of good reasons for abandoning my happy little build site and a fun day of learning about plumbing, though, the biggest being:

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I unashamedly love Ikea. I love basically everything about it. I love convertible furniture, I love their cool kitchen stuff, I love wandering around in their “Here is how you can comfortably fit a family of four in 468 sq. ft!” displays. I love the little Scandinavian food area and I love eavesdropping on couples getting in relationship-ending fights over which finish they want for their Snedlar. Love it!  My Ikea mission this time included sinks (bathroom and kitchen), fun kitchen organizationy things and a foldup table. And indeed, I got all those things! But the other reason I had to brave Phoenix was to pick up my denim! insulation! The story of why I had to brave Phoenix for insulation is long and boring and I promise you that you don’t need a rundown of what quantities Lowe’s does and does not carry and how they will order it: suffice to say, if you want a small amount of denim insulation, you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it, and you live near a recalcitrant Lowe’s, you might find yourself driving to the surprisingly small factory where Bonded Logic (the company) makes all the denim insulation (aka Ultratouch) in America. The good news for me is that that happened to be within driving distance (I won’t go over the bad news, but suffice to say, it rhymes with ‘Screenix’). This company, PS: is kind of amazing–they pulled two bags, which is a smaller quantity than they normally sell but all I need for the houselet, off the production line for me, and then they gave me the wholesale price since I drove up there. Their product is great, but they also were pretty terrific.

Educational segment! Would you like to see what a denim-insulation-making factory looks like? It looks like this!
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Educational question: is it possible to get two enormous bags (measuring 236 linear feet) of denim insulation into the back of a 2006 Scion xa? Yes, you say? Well, what if you have a pit bull in the front seat? The answer, surprisingly, is yes again, though barely!
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[
My car is the greatest. There is basically nothing you can’t fit in it. I bet you could get like six dozen clowns in there.]

Once I got that, there was a brief lacuna when I attempted to buy a compact dishwasher from a crazy hoarder on Craigslist (verrrrry narrow paths through house, towering inferno of madness everywhere else). The dishwasher turned out to be not compact enough for me (or my very-stuffed car), but I say again: Craigslist is an amazing introduction to a vibrant crossection of humanity that you might not otherwise get to witness.

And then: Ikea, where I found everything I was looking for: kitchen sink, which comes with an awesome strainer basket that goes over the small bowl and a cutting board that fits snugly into the larger bowl, adding significantly to my kitchen prep space (and you all know I’m a sucker for robot furniture). Dish drainer that can hang over my sink, harmlessly letting dishes drip into the sink itself, and then can be folded up when not in use. Bathroom sink, which I think is going to sit parallel with the giant window in the bathroom (solving my picturesque toilet problem). Magnetic knife rack. Folding table, which looks better in person, and hey, it’s a tiny house classic for a reason. Then I ate mushroom crepes and strange, delicious Swedish sparkling elderberry cider and felt happy, even though I was still in Phoenix.

And did it all fit in my magical car, even with the denim insulation and the pit bull? Well, obviously!

W. kitchen sink and table
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W. bathroom sink + pit bull
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When I got home, I quietly chucked the insulation in Jeff’s car (it pays to have your contractor live nearby) and went to bed.

Today I was also largely away from the build site: I went to Gersons with my mom to get faucets, and it turned into kind of an epic trip. But I did go down and take pictures, and as always, Jeff has been hoppin’.

Walls mostly insulated
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Insulated ceiling
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Here’s Nellie sitting on a pile of denim insulation, neatly illustrating why I wanted it in the house in the first place.
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Plumbing! (hole there=toilet pipe opening)
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Tomorrow was supposed to be Interior Walls Day, but when I got home, I realized that one bag of my insulation is actually the wrong size (which I should have caught yesterday but didn’t, due to the fact that my car was one big blue mass after the insulation guys loaded it up). So Plan of the Day is to figure that out so we can finish insulating the last of the walls. I assume that while I’m doing that, Jeff’s going to start putting the wallboard up on the walls that have already been insulated. I forsee more painting in my immediate future, though hopefully not another drive to Phoenix.

*ETA: I just talked to the awesome lady at Bonded Logic, the insulation place, who apologized for the mistake about 75 times and told me that they’re going to send a courier (!!) from Phoenix to my town with my new insulation today. That is going to cost them an arm and a leg, and it puts them into my current Hall of Customer Service Champions. Seriously, these guys are just terrific. If you build a tiny house, may I suggest Bonded Logic’s Denim Ultratouch Insulation? It is more expensive then fiberglass, but a million times better on basically every metric, plus it is not going to poison you, plus the company is delightful. Talk to Elizabeth, she is the greatest.

Build: Day Fourteen

I got to the build site at about noon today because I spent the morning trying to track down more flooring and denim insulation that will fit my weird 24″ wall spacing (more on that insulation thing in a sec.) Jeff had been there since 9, and when I got there, I found that he had

1) Built a bathroom wall, including space for the bathroom pocket door, and put in the shower pan for my new shower enclosure (which I hate, but was one of the Compromises of Yesterday: there just isn’t anything else that is going to fit the space without being too heavy/too expensive. But I am already planning how I am going to rip it all out someday soon and put in something a little more custom.) Tiny bathroom is tiiiiiiiiny, and minimizing claustrophobia is going to be my great decorating challenge in there: wee baby pit bull is in there for scale.
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2) Drilled out the hole for the drain (which is no minor thing, as it involves drilling through the subfloor and trailer decking).
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3) Finished a whole lot of the electrical work. Here is the home of my future badass chandelier (I am considering making this and/or a teeny tiny non-obtrusive ceiling fan).

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[I feel like Jeff has to be a) Amish, b) on speed all the time or c) employing a secret band of minions he dismisses the minute he senses I’m going to show up, because otherwise I cannot fathom how he gets things done as quickly and as well as he does.]

Anyway, I had plans to paint more, but instead I spent an hour watching Jeff finish the electrical work: electricity is something where I have ZERO practical knowledge, outside the realm of like, a potato clock, and I really wanted to get a sense of how it all fit together. It turns out it’s not that terrible! The outlets are placed every six feet, and you run regular plastic-coated wire (the kind you see in spools at the hardware store) through the top and out the bottom. Then you just connect it through to the next outlet. If you’ve ever connected a stereo to speakers using speaker wire, it is weirdly quite a lot like that. Much more mundane, much less FLOWING RIVERS OF CURRENT-BASED DEATH.

This wire, PS, is going to be on the outside of the shower enclosure. Just so you know.
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You do the same thing for the light switches and for the dedicated fridge outlet, and then all the coils of wire end up balled up together at the future site of a junction box/circuit breaker. They’ll all be connected in, and then voici: power! Also, here is a thing I didn’t know: you drill holes in your framing studs and run the wire through those holes so your wire isn’t randomly floating around in your walls and you’re not accidentally pounding nails into your electrical system when you hang up pictures. Fascinating! Sorry, people who are more seasoned with electrical work than I am (which is to say, at all). I know this is really elementary stuff: I just found it all totally weird and interesting.
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Then I went out and painted for a while. Bearing in mind that 1. this is not done yet and primed sections always look terrible on their own, 2. this is only a first coat in any case, 3. there is no trim on yet, which will make it look a lot more finished (all of the trim is sitting on the sawhorses in the front of the house, waiting to be painted high gloss white [which I also did today]) and 4. the color is actually a little darker than it shows up in the photos, here are some pictures of the houselet clad in Benjamin Moore Pewter

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I have been painting for like half my life and it still looks awful, but I think tomorrow’s going to be the day it comes together.

More pictures!
Here’s what it looks like when I climb up the ladder, raise the camera over my head, point it at the roof and click the button. The whiteish stuff is the roof composite. See, I told you it was not fascinating!
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What you see in this picture by the fauxlarium is a bale of fiberglass insulation, which is going back tomorrow (miscommunication!). I am feeling very intense about using denim, to the point where I am just past listening to other opinions, and I want it to the point where I am considering driving 300 miles round trip to source it tomorrow. Today made me have a weird amount of sympathy for the people who show up on “Bridezillas”: if you’re in the midst of a big project (especially if you’re not used to doing big projects), and the project feels momentous and like a one-time thing, and you’ve got a picture in your head of what you want and are finding out that reality sometimes requires things to be a little different, a point comes where you find yourself screaming at the camera that “THERE ARE GOING TO BE FREAKING DOVES AT THIS WEDDING IF IT KILLS ME!” and not even caring that America is laughing at you. And that was me with the insulation today.
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But fiberglass insulation can go to hell, honestly. That stuff is the worst.

For everyone who was concerned Nell would have trouble with the loft stairs, she says no worries.
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Tripod pittie is all over this
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From the living room
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My ceiling, let me show you it. [I am going to stain the rafters something dark, I think: you guys like that idea? Sort of mini-Hearst Castle-y?]
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Quick poll: that’s the ceiling looking back at the loft. If you’re in the house, the stairs are on your right. You see that little open space that allows you to look into the loft? [you can see it in the living room shot too] Jeff wants to enclose that: I want to leave it open.

Jeff’s argument: if it’s enclosed, it’ll be private space and there will be good separation from the rest of the house.

My argument: if it’s enclosed, it’ll suddenly go from feeling light and airy to feeling like a coffin. Plus, in my theoretical plannings, I am going to mount a projection screen over the fauxlarium (it’ll be able to roll up and down, obviously) so I can watch movies and Netflix and such on a big screen, and this way I’ll be able to watch it from bed (this is in lieu of having an actual TV box, which I do not have now [note: not for “oh, I don’t watch TV” reasons, just because I currently stream everything]). Also, privacy from who, precisely? Am I really going to be having an army of people over in my living room while I am sleeping? And if so, wouldn’t a roll up shade do the trick? Also, if it’s closed, where will the cats do their acrobatics?

Second question! Interior walls are going to be painted white for sure (maybe with natural cedar in the bathroom). Should they be made of:

Smooth plywood, to approximate kind of a drywall look without the drywall/moving issues

Beadboard siding, like so but all over

Tomorrow: plumbing! And more bathroom installation! And then maybe some hot denim action, depending on if I can get it in. Also, second coat of paint, installation of wall trim, painting the top section of the house, mom painting the door.

Build: Days Twelve and Thirteen and INTO THE INFINITE FUTURE

Day 11: I start priming the house. I remember very quickly that I freaking hate priming, as it is all of the work of painting with none of the “oh, yay, things are looking great!” reward of painting. In fact, it is negative reward, since everything looks way worse after you prime it. I get that priming is important, and I am going to be rewarded for it by only needing two gallons of paint for the entire house. That intellectual reminder quickly begins to mean nothing to me, because boooo priming.

Day 12: I prime some more. And then even more. I stand on a tippy ladder attempting to prime the 13.5 ft. section of the house with an extension pole. I then slap a little bit of paint on one of the primed sections, even though I am not done with the priming, because I really want to see how the paint looks. I decide I feel meh about the color. I realize that even though it is impractical, I secretly still really want blue. I press on, because I proposed to Benjamin Moore Pewter and it said yes and now I just have to figure out how to make it work. I try to take pictures of the color to show you guys but can’t get any shots where the color even vaguely approximates how it looks in real life. While I am doing this, Jeff roofs. Jeff becomes covered in tar, as it is windy during this whole endeavor. We end the day yelling at each other about outlet placement for no reason.

Day 13 [today]: I finish priming [mostly. not the really tall sections, for which I have decided I will need a taller ladder.] I start getting more paint up on the walls. I feel marginally better about the color, but still a touch meh. I decide to forgo anything like the extension pole or the edger in favor of just getting the maximum amount of paint on the wall possible, so now it looks like a. Charlie Brown’s shirt, b. like it is being painted by a manic-depressive Rothko enthusiast. No photographs are even attempted. I run out of paint. I paint all the window trim high gloss white, thinking all the time that I probably should have stained it like I initially wanted to, and end the day feeling TERRIBLE about EVERYTHING and hating the whole project in a way that even I can tell is just a combination of tiredness and spoiled child-style petulance about not getting everything I want at all times always. I remind myself that I always get down on projects halfway through, and then immediately start feeling better once I push on.  Jeff finishes the roof. Momentous occasion: house is now a complete, watertight structure. Yay!

After I get done painting, I immediately go up to Lowes in order to look at pocket doors and shower enclosures, all of which I HATE, and after that, I realize that I just need to go home and go to bed.

Day 14-389434: MOAR PAINTING. I am so tired of painting, you guys. It does not help that it has been 43 degrees and windy. Subpar painting conditions!

Also on Day 14: Jeff puts the shower in and starts plumbing it! Hurrah!
Also on Day 14, hopefully: I get over myself, because honestly, self.

PS: [This is a good PS]: This morning when I got to the house, there was a bobcat just hanging out on the roof. Bobcat! They are generally pretty shy, but this guy had gotten himself into a position on the roof where he couldn’t quite scamper off, so as I got closer, he did the exact same thing that my cats do when I catch them in Forbidden Zones: he got very disdainful and was like, “Hey, jerk, I am going to sloooooowly get off this roof, but it’s just because I want to and not because you are the boss of me”, and when he made it down, he zipped off right into the underbrush. Yay for hilariously snide bobcats!

Build: Days Ten & Eleven

Here’s the tiny house update for Wednesday and Friday (Thursday was rainy and cold, so we just did projects in our various garages).
1) Mistakes Were Made: Door Edition
So you guys remember the door I was so excited about?  DISASTER. Here is the process of that, in brief:
a. Buy door that turns out to be an awesome solid(*ish) wood, former schoolhouse door from Gerson’s, the architectural surplus store. For eighty bucks! Yay!
b. Start stripping paint from door, realize that there are at least three layers of old paint on each side. Yay?
c. Spend three evenings standing out in the cold garage hand-stripping paint. Begin feeling a little less yay. Go out and buy really pretty finish restore stuff to make self feel better, imagining how pretty the lovely raw wood door will look.
d. At the very end of the paint stripping process, uncover an enormous pockmarked section that had been filled in with wood fill. Wood fill is pretty solid, but that jettisons plans for beautiful refinished natural wood door. Exxhange finish restore stuff for paint and primer.
e. Sand sand sand sand sand. Attempt to get all old paint off the door; fail. Decide that if I just prime it, it’ll fill in the irregularities, and anyway, will otherwise look rustic.
f. Prime it. Primer does not do any of the things I’d hoped. Say, ‘rustic, rustic, rustic!’ over and over again, talismanically.
g. Paint it. It does not look rustic. It looks like a bad paint job.
h. Paint it again. Still doesn’t look awesome.
i. Jeff comes over while I am at work, looks at door drying on sawhorses, declares it totally unusable, due to some mysterious structural thing that was never fully explained.
j. Stuff door in back of Scion xa, drive it back to Gerson’s, sweet talk the nice people there into letting me return it for store credit.
k. Return door jamb kit to Home Depot, also get store credit.
l. Jeff goes to Lowe’s and buys a meh-looking plastic-y steel door for three hundred bucks. I have a sad. Oh well, I am going to at least paint it something cool.

Unpainted sadness door.
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The upside of these door shenanigans is that I now have a house key! To my own house! Which feels kinda momentous, I must say.

2) Paint: The Cold Feet-ening.

Went down to visit the house on Thursday while it was storming, because Science! And I’m glad I did, because without exception, all of the little sample blues looked awful when the sun wasn’t out and the weather was crummy. They all sucked up the available light and nearly all of them read black from any kind of distance (the only one that didn’t was the one that was called, coincidentally enough, Rainstorm). So I thought about it for the evening, and then the next morning, I bought a couple of samples of warm dark gray, my other option in the paint-off. I tried them out on the side of the house (it was still gloomy, though not raining anymore) and the grays seemed to work a TON better in a variety of light conditions. I am not sure I like them as much as the blues, but a combination of seeing them in the gloom and my mom and Jeff both yelling things at me about dark blues and solar gain (“when it’s blazing hot in the middle of the summer and you’re not living in a sweatbox, you are going to be glad you listened to your mother!”) made me reevaluate a bit. So yesterday, I started priming the house and also bought a gallon of this Benjamin Moore color called ‘Pewter’. But only a gallon, because I reserve the right to hate it and paint over it with a blue.

3) Construction! In the last few days, we have made tons of progress: first, on Thursday, I painted roof trim while Jeff was framing out the loft (yay!)

Roof trim, drying
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Loft frame: the little hatch is where the stairs will go
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Detail
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Then we put the roof trim up (did I mention in the last entry that we’d put on the ply roof panels? If not, we did, and here they are! That’s a later shot: as you will note, it includes Sadness Door)
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Then yesterday, we put the subfloor panels down in the loft, which means you can walk on the loft now, and Jeff BUILT STAIRS! The stairs, btw, are going to be drawers, so those uprights are temporary.
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Beautiful stairs
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Of course, the primary reason for doing stairs instead of a ladder is because I wanted the pets to be able to get up and down: here is Widget, proving that it can be done!
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In the loft!
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Late afternoon view from the loft
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(if I can get some stained glass in this house, I’m going to put the panels to the left and right of this picture, on those two dark spots at the top.)

Sitting in the loft with a photobombing puppy
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The loft is great, incidentally. When I’d visited tiny houses prior to this project, my knock on them was that the lofts felt really claustrophobic, mostly because they were under a sharply pitched roof. With the flat(ish) roof and the windows, my loft avoids that. You can’t stand in it (not possible if you want a functional kitchen), but if you’re sitting on the floor and you’re my height, you have to reach your arms all the way up to touch the ceiling. I think I am going to love hanging out in it.

Then I started priming the house. No pictures of that, but it looks like you’d think: I had limited time before the build site closed, so I didn’t do any edging work and just tried to get as much primer up as I could: it is fuzzy and Rothkoesque now, but I’m going down today to finish and hopefully get some of the actual paint up so I can see it. And while I do that, Jeff is going to be roofing! More probably tonight.

Build: Day Nine

First off, in the battle of Me vs Door, the current (and probably final) score is Door: 1 Me: 0. I spent three straight evenings trying to get all the old paint off the door, only to discover at the very end that there were a couple of places where it had been patched and wood-filled. This jettisoned my plan to stain it–the patched sections would have been SUPER obvious–and so after all that work, I am just going to paint it again. Boo! It’s in the garage with a couple of coats of primer on it, and I am probably just going to paint it white since I have some white exterior paint left over from doing the floor. Why yes, that is the color that the door started (at least on one side): don’t rub it in. That said, if any of you guys come up with awesome ideas for more fun door colors that would look nice with dark blue, I am all ears.

In better news, I now have rafters on the whole roof, as well as roof boards! Jeff finished the siding while he was working by himself on Monday, so yesterday we started by putting on the flashing (it’s a moisture barrier that you put at the join between two horizontal siding panels).

Galvanized metal! How can you say no? If I can get some Cor-Ten steel in there somewhere, the house is going to be a very small ode to Richard Serra.DSC00254

Installed
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And hey! you might have noticed those fancy roof panels in the picture! That’s because we spent most of the day cutting the beams for the back ceiling (over the loft), schlepping them up the ladder, then covering them with enormous panels of ply, also schlepped up the ladder. No in-process pictures of this, because I didn’t realize ’till I got down there that I’d only brought my telephoto lens (not useful for close house shots) and because of the aforementioned ‘carrying heavy things on ladders’.

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I climbed up the ladder to take pictures from atop the roof, but couldn’t get them with only the telephoto. So all I managed was a couple of up-close shots of the elevated living room ceiling.

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Laying on my back inside the houselet, looking up at the ceiling
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Always nice to see this kind of stuff on your plywood! Formaldehyde-free since 2013!
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Then, because the forecast calls for freezing rain (*shakes fist at sky), we tarped the top: Jeff said that if it rained, he’d just come down and work on the electrical indoors, no big deal. To which I responded, “Or you could just stay home and NOT be out in the freezing rain!”, but he just laughed that off because he is a crazy person.

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Still stressing over paint color. What I found today is a) the Benjamin Moore paint covers beautifully and dries to a really pretty matte finish: definitely my leading contender for Brand of Paint, and b) the color, which is my favorite on the light side of the house, looks very grim on the dark side of the house. I still love it, but seeing it dry and on the shaded side gave me pause.

I don’t know if this will translate on your screens, but here it is on the light side:
DSC00250My shaded side comparison shot didn’t really turn out: I’ll try to get another today. But suffice to say, the warmer colors hold a lot more light on the shaded side (duh, I guess, but it took seeing it in person for me to really get that) and are a lot prettier in the shade, though I still contend they look too bright on the light side.

All of this stressing is because I am going to have to paint SOON, probably Friday if the weather is OK, because Jeff wants to get the trim up and that is going to be a lot easier if I paint first. Jeff, by the way, hates all the colors I’m considering (“they’re all so dark!”), and I can tell it’s going to break his heart a little to see his baby all clad in what he considers unsuitable colors (he says that if it were him, he’d go with a baby blue with white trim. Sorry, Jeff.)

Scrap pile! Still not enormous! Still lots of useable bits!
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Rafter scraps. So pretty!
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Fauxlarium, sided
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Build: Day Eight

Ugh, the last couple of days have been a zoo. Yesterday Jeff worked on the house while I did a thousand other things, and he got tons done, including the rest of the siding and the windows in the loft.  I also got a ton done, including some Floor Science and Paint Science, and another fruitful trip to the awesome architectural surplus store.  Here’s a rundown on the last 48 hours in Tiny Housening, and then I am calling it quits for the night.

Here are some pictures of what Jeff did yesterday, along with some random pictures of Nellie and Widget exploring the new house today, because why not?Boy, I hate that siding. But it will look pretty soon enough.
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Nellie Cowger is a saint among dogs. Widget spends like 80% of the day biting Nell’s neck.

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Nellie in the fauxlarium
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Lots of Widgetyness was taking place
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ONE OF US got tethered to a tree after we decided to lick paint off the can lid and had to be held under the faucet of the weird hillbilly sink so we didn’t die of paint poisoning and then got blue noseprints all over everything. GUESS WHO? (hint: it the one of us that is tiny and pointy and bad).
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I’ve pretty much decided on dark blue as opposed to dark gray for the outside of the house, so yesterday I drove up to several paint stores to track down a bunch of different dark blue paint samples. I had the vague notion that I might get a couple of gallons paint for cheap in a Black Friday sale, though that didn’t end up happening. Today, I went down and tried out the samples I got on the different walls (I tried it on every wall so I can see how the paints look in different light conditions, etc.) Here’s what I was deciding between:
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(not that this is interesting to anyone but me, but if you are a scholar of blue paint, from left to right that’s Benjamin Moore Hale Navy, Behr Nocturnal Sea, Sherwin Williams Naval Blue (a lot like Hale Navy but warmer and brighter), SW Loyal Blue and SW Rainstorm.)Loyal Blue was my lead contender when I was looking at it on the computer, but in person I nixed it immediately: way too bright and peacocky. I nixed the Behr for the same reasons. Unsurprisingly, I definitely prefer the colder colors with more gray in them: I was not expecting to like the Benjamin Moore as much as I did, but I kind of love it, even though it is certainly the grimmest of any of the colors (it also covers the weird bumps in the T1-11 better than any of the others: not inconsequential). I also kind of like the Sherwin Williams Rainstorm, which is a very cold, dark teal, and the SW Naval Blue is OK, too, though I think I like the colder navy better. My inner Anton Webern is totally coming out in this paint color selection: just cold freaking modernism all the way. The guy at Sherwin Williams last night was totally freaked out by how dark I was going and basically was like, “None of these colors are appropriate for a house!”, but I think he was just concerned that I wasn’t going  SouthwestPinky-Greige like every other house around here.

On the same super-fast  trip, I also went by Lumber Liquidators for more floor samples, and when I got home, I got a second wind for projects, so I decided to try to do a semi-quantitative test of Flooring Vs. Pet Hair.

…which involved taking a little hair sample from all of the pets (mostly achieved by sneaking up on them with scissors and taking a little core sample). Emmett is NOT PLEASED by this violation of his shiny pelt.
DSC00131Once I had my little hair samples, I stuck them on scotch tape, then decided to up the ante a bit by also taking samples of random Arizona sanddirt and my hair (I had to take one for the team, since all the pets did.) I also got a wet sponge so I could see how much residual ghosting happened when you smudged a wet fingerprint on the wood. I then scored everything (1=best, 5=worst) and when I was done, I added up the numbers to see which sample had the lowest (and thus best) score. SCIENCE!
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Here are all my samples with their accompanying score. Dark wood, as I suspected based on y’all’s anecdata, didn’t do very well; surprisingly, neither did light wood. The medium tone worked best; the variegation of the tigerwood and the cork also did well.
Floor test hair!

Cork, however, has officially been ruled out (though I may still use a little in the loft), because of Test Two: The Widget Test.
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I am lucky(?) to have a puppy who will happily put anydamn thing in her mouth if asked, and is totally on board with nomming random things to test their durability. These floor samples were pretty hard and I didn’t want her to hurt her teeth, so I only gave her a few seconds with each (and I only gave her a couple of the samples, not all six). But that was enough to get a pretty definite sense of how the different woods looked when they’d been abused. I know that my dogs are never going to be chomping on my floor (at least, I hope not), but pointy Widget fangs were a pretty good stand-in to help me gauge how the floors would do with nails. The cork, for example, was thrashed in about two seconds.

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Here all the results, which I arranged in a little collage highlighting areas of damage. Everything got pretty beat up–even the strand bamboo showed some big marks, Janka Hardness Scale 3000 be damned. The tiger and the medium-toned bamboo had some obvious marks, but they were the least obvious of any of them.
floor test- Widget test!

So I scored those, added them to the hair test results, and what I came up with was that the medium-toned bamboo (kind of reddish, neither light nor dark) was the clear winner. And then today, I was back at Gerson’s (the architectural salvage store) and when I walked in, the guys told me they still had some of that bamboo I was looking at last week. They didn’t have as much as before, just four boxes, and I STILL don’t know how durable it is, but a) it was that medium tone that I decided on last night and b) it was FIFTEEN DOLLARS A BOX, making this a $60 floor, so I just bit the bullet and bought everything they had left (bolstered by your advice in the poll last week.) I think I will only need one or two more boxes to finish the downstairs floor, and if it gets thrashed by the dogs, well, it will still be a sub-$100 floor, and that is not nothing. YAY FLOOR!
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So this morning, when I was settling up with Jeff, he informed me that my new Priority #1 had to be finding a front door, mostly so we could start locking stuff up in the house down at the build site (he’s been schlepping everything back and forth). And oy, I don’t know if you guys have shopped for exterior doors lately, but those guys are EXPENSIVE. I was looking at Home Depot last night when I was getting paint samples, and most of the ones I saw started at around $280 (and those were shitty cheap-looking fiberglass, and only a very few swung to the left, which is what I need). If you wanted something that didn’t look just awful, that started getting closer to $500, and those still weren’t actually wood doors, just weird composites. So when I got home, I poked around online to see what it would cost to have a wooden door built: the cheapest I found in the area was this nice Mennonite guy who did beautiful work that started at about $1000. So that was that, though someday I will be rich and then I’m coming for you, Mr. Mennonite!Thus, today I ended up back at Gerson’s to try to find a nice salvaged door. And find one I did! It was $79, it is solid wood, it is the perfect size, it swings to the left, it is pretty without being all weird and gaudy, and I loved it instantly. Two problems: first, it was not pre-hung (Jeff’s ONLY stipulation was that the door be pre-hung), and two, it was covered in an unspecified amount of old paint. So as they were loading it into my car, I was breezily thinking 1) eh, how hard could it be to hang a door?/I’ll just do it myself (bear in mind that as I was thinking this, I had zero idea what ‘hanging a door’ actually meant; I just assumed I could probably do it) and 2) I’ve stripped a little paint in my day, surely it would not be that big of a deal!

Oh my god, dudes. Here’s my new door, hanging out on sawhorses in bad garage light. It is gonna be a PROJECT.

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So, first: to hang a door actually is kind of a big deal, as I learned from the dude at the hardware store tonight. You actually have to build out a door jamb, and then a frame to go around the rest of the door (I’d never really thought about it before, but duh, of course doors aren’t being bolted right into the doorway.) Seriously, go look at whatever door is near you: see how it has a little frame? I had never really noticed. Anyway, instead of being hardcore and just building it out of lumber, I ended up buying a prefinished door jamb kit and a door header, which I’ll nail together then bolt to the door when I get the door itself refinished. But that’s a little bit of a thing (luckily on youtube, there is a video with a comforting Canadian woodworker who explains the whole process, and that made me feel better.)

Second: It turns out there is a LOT of paint on this guy, and it’s pretty well set. I bought some hippie stripper (her name is Quinoa, and she works nights down at the Positive Vibes Lounge) so I could work on the door in the garage. I put a layer on and gave it an hour and a half or so to sit (after trying futily to sand it a bit).
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When I got my little paint stripper tool and started working on it, I found another layer of greenish paint under the white paint: the white came off pretty easily, but the greenish wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to reapply the stripper and leave it overnight.
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The nice thing is that in the couple areas where I could get through the green paint, I could tell that there was a pretty nice wood under it (that part was kind of a gamble, though I reasoned that worst case scenario, I could always paint it white again.) The door is VERY heavy, and I am pretty sure the wood is a hardwood (I couldn’t dent it with my fingernail); I don’t claim to be an arborist or anything like that, but from the way the grain is, I am thinking it might possibly be mahogany. If that is the case, then freaking SCORE!
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Of course, there’s a whole ‘nother god-knows-how-many layers of paint on the other side of the door, so we’ll see if I ever reach this alleged mahogany.

[Also, it needs hardware. If any of you know a source for not insanely expensive modern door hardware (no weird curlicues), do please tell me, because I sure cannot find one.]

In conclusion, from the comments last week, I think it is awesome that you guys have such strong opinions about Property Brothers 🙂

Build: Day Seven

Merry Thanksgivingukkah Eve! It is 1:09 AM and I just got done making some pie crusts (tomorrow’s pies: chocolate bourbon walnut, pear hazelnut and–new for me–sweet potato, because I heard this story on NPR and hearing the part where the chef’s grandmother poured evaporated milk on the top and let it reduce down to a crackle really got me in the mood to make sweet potato pie. I am going to two different dinners tomorrow, and the old standby pies are already going to be there, so I thought I’d mix it up a bit. Also, I’m making a bunch of different whipped creams (lavender, bourbon, vanilla), some bread and some cranberry business, because even though I am not hosting this year, you can’t show up at a Thanksgiving emptyhanded).

Anyway, before I crash, I wanted to do a quick update on Today In Homebuilding, because

In brief:
1) We hung all the windows (except the loft windows, which we can’t do until we get the walls clad). I am now the proud owner of five nice new low-E, energy efficient slider windows (single hung, as I am not Warren Buffet) and more importantly, I now know how to hang a window (well, mostly. I know there is an awful lot of leveling involved.)Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

2) We cut all the flashing (small galvanized metal barrier that goes along the bottom of the house, both to prevent moisture and to ward off termites)

Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

…and attached it to all the edges of the floor
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

3) We built the frame for the faux-larium
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

….and installed it! It’s not as deep as I was thinking it was going to be, so I have to rethink my plans for the egg chair (it’s coming, I’m just no longer sure where it’s going.) Maybe a window seat in the fauxlarium? I have to think about it.
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

Here it is with its new window installed.
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

So that took most of the morning. And then *trumpet fanfare* we started siding the house!

And guys, omg. Siding is SUCH a pain. We’re using T1-11 siding to clad the walls, and I have to admit, it is probably my least favorite material we’re using in the house: it’s a tongue-in-groove plywood that is finished on one side to look like rough-sawed wood. The benefits are that it’s affordable, it doesn’t offgass like regular ply, it’s light(ish), it’s not environmentally terrible and it goes on easier than regular wood would with less waste. But I don’t know, it feels kind of cheap and Ikea-y to me (though it’s going to be a million times better once I paint it and possibly install a horizontal cedar slat screen.)

Anyway, one of the things about it is that it’s softish, so you can’t use a nailgun on it: each nail has to be hand-hammered in (through the siding, into the stud) or the pressure will leave huge divots in the wall. After hammering in my fifty millionth nail, I would have probably copped to preferring divots.

Anyway, first you cut and dry-fit the sheets to exactly the shape you want them.
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

Then you put construction adhesive on the studs where you’re going to attach the siding.
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

Then you lift the pieces up and rest them on the groove of the flashing (no pictures of this, because whoa, it is a two person job.) Then you nail and nail and nail, and eventually it affixes to the studs. I hammered in about 90% of those nails, but here’s an artsy picture of Jeff nailing anyway.
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

What it looks like with siding on:
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

From indoors:
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Back wall
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

Ta-daa!
Day Seven: windows, framing faux-larium, some siding

OK, gotta go to sleep before I keel over. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!