Schrankwerk

I have spent the last two days Cabineting over at the houselet, and progress has been made!

1) Those upper cabinets

OK, these have been an absolute PITA to deal with, but the good news is that they seem to be turning out as I’d hoped! So that thing where I said that one should probably use a deglosser and sand melamine cabinets before painting them? Holy crap, yes, learn from my mistakes, you guys. This is what they looked like after a coat of primer and two coats of my super hard-core enamel paint:

DSC01002

DSC01003

The worst! See how the paint is pulling away from the melamine? Melamine does not want to be painted! This next picture is after FIVE coats of paint. Five! And they still need touching up, especially on the bottom! But I am feeling much better about the way they’re looking. I do think they’re retreating into the wall a little bit and I think the beams pop nicely next to them (or maybe I just have Stockholm Syndrome)

DSC01029

And then, just because I was feeling impatient, I decided to hang some stuff to help turn the leftmost upper cabinet into a bar (which is part of my ten step plan to actually like the upper cabs).
First: a wine rack that’ll hold four bottles of wine on the side of the cabinet (just to announce myself if I move to Utah: you’ll walk in the door, look to the right, and Thar Be Wine!)
DSC01046
And here’s everything from the side:
DSC01048

Second, a little rack to hang my wine glasses under the cabinet: the glasses will go in by their stems and hang upside down.
DSC01045

2) Hanging weird Ikea raily-things

So I bought one of these dealies with the intent to hang my dish drainer on it over the sink. It turned out to be a little long for the space, so I just decided to hang it over the stove instead.
DSC00999

I still needed a rail for the dish drainer, so I decided to do my favorite thing ever and build one out of plumbing parts (I know this look is not for everyone, but I looooove the kind of industrial nature of using plumbing parts. I built a bed out of plumbing pipe in my old place, and it was one of my favorite things ever.)
DSC00994

With dish drainer, which will drain right into the sink!
DSC00997

And the awesome part about the dish drainer is it folds up to get out of the way. God bless Ikea.
DSC01033

(see also the cutting board that fits snugly on top of the bowl of the sink, giving me an extra chopping surface).

Then I built a toilet paper roll holder out of pipe fittings too, just because
DSC01025

3) Lower cabinets

So I spent a long time staring at various incarnations of gray and green paint swatches on the cabinets
DSC01007

….and decided that staining them gray was the way to go. I took all the doors off and haven’t stained the drawer fronts yet, because I think I am going to steal this idea whole cloth and dandelion up the front of the cabs and drawers. I have to track down a stencil before I do that, though, so they remain unstained for the moment.
DSC01023

DSC01024
(this is the first coat of stain, so forgive the blotchy bits)

There’s a slight blue undertone in the gray (which is a pretty dark charcoal color otherwise), and I am liking that with the blue-gray bathroom ceiling and the blue door (and eventually, the dark blue couch). It’s a little more pronounced here because of the light: 90% of the time it doesn’t look like that.
DSC01028

4) Stair cubbies!

Jeff built them and put them in! Total surprise! I love them. They open from the sink side, and as soon as I can cut some holes in the stair risers, they’ll open from the stair side as well.
DSC01026

5) Faux-larium bench

For the dark tung oil fans: this will probably have a cushion on it, and I am probably going to build out the front a bit for another shelf and extend the top, but for now, I figured it would look pretty oiled. This is with two coats: I’m slowly building it up so it’ll eventually be as dark as the beams.

DSC01004

6) Folding table
This is the Norbo folding table, another Ikea special: you’ll see it in a lot of tiny houses, and I initially flirted with trying out something else for that reason, but after going to Ikea and poking around, I decided that it’s probably a classic for a reason and picked it up. I’m glad I did: it juts out just the right amount, which means you can fit a small crowd around it (OK, three!) but it also doesn’t feel like it takes up all the floor space in the living room. And when it folds down, it’s only a couple of inches out of the wall and so it feels like it pretty much disappears. Good job, table!
DSC01050DSC01044

And finally: three dogs in a houselet! Lucy is much happier to be down hanging out at the build site now that there are, you know, walls.
DSC01056

Advertisements

Build: Day 19

I have to admit that a lot of the actual building today was done by Jeff: I came down late in the day and pounded some nails into some pre-cut wallboards, but I spent most of the day out playing hunter-gatherer.

Biggest news: Interior wallboard is all up! It looks unfinished, since there is no molding on the floor, filler between the sheets of ply or quarter round at the seams, but it is U-P-up! I can now officially say that the house has walls, which is always the first question I am asked by jovial senior citizens. Here’s proof!
DSC00431

DSC00441

Here’s the view from the loft.
DSC00439

Also, the shower is all the way up now. I may just have to accept that the layout of the bathroom means I will never get a good picture of the shower. Just use your imagination, though: it is a shower enclosure, and an especially boring one at that. Right now it is being used as extra insulation/sink storage.
DSC00434

The fauxlarium is looking good now that it’s insulated and has walls! Now that that’s happened, I need to figure out precisely what I’m going to do with it. Drawers? Bookshelf? Cute window seat? Some combination of those things? Here’s Nellie standing in it, to give you a sense of the dimensions (though if I do bookshelves or something it’ll obviously be built out a bit.
DSC00442

Here’s the exterior of the house + the super-blue sky today. The chile ristra is a present from my mom: it’s too early to be in the ‘decorate the exterior of the house’ stage, but I loved it so much I wanted it to be in its place of honor (though I will be replacing the random offset nail I hammered in with an Actual Hook at some point soon.)
DSC00429

So that’s what happened while I was gone. When I got to the site today, I swept up a ton of sawdust (learning in the process that I need a different set of tools for sweeping the loft, since the big broom is too tall), pounded in some wallboard, and played around in the house with the dogs.

The dogs are pro-houselet.
DSC00436

Gratuitous Widget picture.
DSC00438

For those of you who know my dogs and are wondering where Lucy is, I will tell you: she’s been down a few times, but the build site is located next to a major highway, and big loud trucks give her the vapors. She’s an anxious kiddo, and the build site is just too much for her right now (she also hates the generator), so I usually just bring Nellie and/or Widget along with me. She just started Prozac a few weeks ago, though, so I have high hopes she’ll be able to manage it before we actually move the houselet to its new home.

Now, onto the day’s hunter-gathering:
1) I bought me a water heater, my water heater pleased me, I fed my water heater under yonder tree (the water heater says fiddle-eye-fee). It’s going to be mounted under the main sink in the kitchen (we hope)

2) I went back to the floor remnants store and bought the flooring for the loft. They ended up selling the bamboo I was hoping for to the original builder, so I bought the cheap laminate instead. I know the laminate was controversial in the last poll and I don’t disagree: it looks OK, but I feel very dubious about its longterm potential. What really pushed me over the edge with it was that they sold it to me for fifty cents a foot, for a total of $53. That makes the grand total for flooring the entire house $237.66 ($60 for the random lot of bamboo at Gerson’s [4 boxes], $88.66 for two more boxes of the same bamboo from Home Depot that I needed to finish out the main floor [that’s all I bought full price], $36 for the awesome hippie fiberfloor from the remnants place, $53 for the loft laminate). Considering that I’m flooring right around 300 sq ft, that is pretty darn good: if I’d gotten the cheapest stuff that I was looking at at Lumber Liquidators ($2.99/ft.2), it would have cost more than three times that much to do the whole house (let’s not even discuss what it would have been from a full-price, non-Lumber Liquidators source!) I’m getting a little closer than I’d like to the edge of my 18K initial budget (my stretch budget is 20K, and I think we’ll make that comfortably, but still), so I was OK going with the less spendy option.

This is the Tiny House Corner in my sainted mother’s garage. You can see all three floors in it: the fiberfloor is the roll, the bamboo is the first six boxes in the stack, and the top four are laminate. Behind all that is my craigslist convection microwave, my free mini-fridge that I’m going to turn into a tiny freezer and a bunch of my Ikea stuff.
DSC00462

The pile of scrapwood to the left is the beginning of a potentially crazy project. I’ve been thinking about porches lately: after considering it a bit, I think the fold-up porch idea is not going to fly, since we’re skirting pretty close to the max road legal width (8’6″). I really dig how Chris and Malissa of the Tiny Tack House (one of my favorite Internet Tiny Houses) did their porch: it’s substantial, but you can still bring it in when you need to, and it reminds me a bit of pallets (and I loooooove pallet furniture, though I think actual pallets wouldn’t work for a porch).

Anyway, we have all this scrap wood kicking around and I got the idea that I could stain different pieces different colors and put them all together parquet-style, kind of like a patchwork quilt made of wood. After I got the main deck together, I could edge it with 1x2a, put some little legs on it, then I could duplicate the Tiny Tack House porch’s stairsteppy design. It might not work, but I got some construction adhesive and some stain tonight, so if worse comes to worse, I’m just out eight bucks.

A couple more cool scores, thrift and otherwise:
3) I got three bits of this cool natural stone/glass tile at Gerson’s the other day with the intent of turning it into a small backsplash in the kitchen.
DSC00464

Here’s what I was thinking, using my mom’s sink as an example.
DSC00466

4) Today I went into the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store with an eye out for exterior lights/floor underlay. They didn’t have either of those things, but they did have these for $3 apiece.
DSC00463

They are little library card/index card holders, so the drawers are really deep, good for storage of stuff like utensils. They’ll need some love, primarily in the form of paint, but I can do that (oil rubbed bronze? pewter?) I’m thinking about mounting them under the counter in the kitchen, just to have some nice, waist-high drawers to grab things from. I’m also thinking about buying some hairpin legs, putting them on the bottom of two of the card holders and using them as nightstands. In any case, they are awesome and I was pleased.

5) Besides the ristra from my mom, I got two great little houselet-adjacent presents this week. My mom’s friend Jen (my friend too!) sent me this fabulous little mini grater/microplaner, which is adorable and totally houselet scale.
DSC00477

Also, my Aunt Karen, who’s an incredibly talented and well-known quilter, sent me two tiny quilted squares, complete with tiny easels to display them [PS: the color looks washed out because I had to use a flash, but in person, they’re really beautiful.) I am toying with the idea of making a little mantel for my fireplace out of a little mesquite burl with a live edge, and now that I have some tiny art to display on it, I am even more excited about the idea. I am so happy to have a piece of my aunt’s work to put in the house: stuff like that makes it feel really special and uniquely my own.
DSC00482

Now, onto the most boring possible subject: white paint! As I promised, I did some test patches of different whites on a scrap piece of the wall ply, and exactly as I feared, it is basically impossible to tell one from the other in pictures. See?
DSC00467

In the interest of Science!, I decided to try to gauge what my skin tone looked like next to the different whites, because why not, right? My weird Sicilian/Cherokee skin is olive with, no kidding, a purple-y undertone, which means that a. I can wear jewel tones and b. I always look a little bit sickly, so I decided to try just photographing my thumb next to each white to see which made me look the least Zombie Apocalypse. I also tried it out with clear poly, just for kicks. It’s still kind of hard to say, but I ended up deciding that the Benjamin Moore Atrium White was the way to go, probably not least because I am charmed that the White House is the same color. I also really like the Benjamin Moore White Dove (Atrium’s a little pinker, Dove is a little grayer), so I guess my plan is to show up at the paint store and just buy whatever I feel the best about that morning.
white paints

PS: if you are bored by the idea of all white, you might check out the ProtoHaus, which is maybe my most favorite preexisting tiny house (Tack House: close second). They go all white, but because they have nice colorful possessions, the house doesn’t seem boring or sterile at all. The white actually kind of reigns in any visual chaos, and I think it really makes the space open up: that’s why all white is the way I’m doing it.

Painting is happening….really soon, though I don’t know HOW soon, since I am slated to work for the next five days straight. Possibly tomorrow afternoon? We shall see.

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
DSC00234

DSC00236

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’.

DSC00235DSC00237

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.

DSC00239

DSC00241

Laying on my back inside the houselet, looking up at the ceiling
DSC00247

Always nice to see this kind of stuff on your plywood! Formaldehyde-free since 2013!
DSC00248

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.

DSC00249

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!
DSC00252

Rafter scraps. So pretty!
DSC00253

Fauxlarium, sided
DSC00251

DSC00243

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

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!

Back in the sun Build: Day Five

This is going to be primarily a picture post, because I actually had no part of the building today (like a chump, I had to work.) But I zoomed down after work to take pictures of the house through the fence at the build site (which closes at 5, half an hour after I get done with work, and since I had to get Widget and my grandmother’s dog from daycare first, I missed my window). And even though I didn’t get to jump around in the house, I was glad I went down to see it, because it turns out Jeff has been BUSY!

DSC00063

SO MANY WALLS, YOU GUYS! All of the exterior wall framing is done now, with the exception of the faux-larium over the hitch (which is a somewhat more complicated build and is going to happen last). Once the walls are sided and the ceiling is framed out, it’ll look a whole lot less like an adorable cartoon tractor.

futurehouse

The tall thing that’s centered here is the door to the faux-larium, which will stick out over the hitch (this will be a framed doorway with a step up to it, but it won’t have an actual door). The tall posts on top will connect straight back to the loft wall (the highest part of the house, at 13.5 ft.) What this means is that while the edges of the living room ceiling will be 8.5 feet, the bulk of the ceiling (from the faux-larium all the way to the loft) will be 10 ft: there will be two skylights in the 10 ft part. What one could do with this design is to have the door to the faux-larium be the front door of the house and then put a little porch over the hitch: I opted to have more indoor space instead. What I think I’m going to do is to put a foldup porch/awning where my front door is (on the side of the house), which can drop down when the house is stationary (and can also fold up for extra security if I’m away.) Please also note the big windows on each side of the front of the house. That’s nine windows, plus the bay window in the faux-larium, plus two skylights in the living room (and maybe another skylight in the loft if I can find one that lies basically flush with the roof: I have no extra room to play with on the top).

I took lots of pictures from different angles, which you can see on my flickr, but they all look basically the same, so here’s a parting shot of the tiny house from the frontage road outside the feed store.

DSC00067

It is kind of crazy to think that one week ago today, the tiny house looked like this:
DSC09963