Official living room!

So, first things first: the houselet and I are moving at the end of the month! I got a (very awesome) job ~500 miles away, and so the Tiny House is about to show off the biggest benefit of Tiny House-ing: it is portable, and can come with me when I go places. So now I have shifted from ‘make everything perfect’ mode to ‘get things workable’ mode, since time is getting limited.  My new priorities are 1) make sure I have enough places to put things (namely bookshelves and closet space) and 2) make sure that things are workable for the pets.  If that means I have to take off with the trim still half-painted, well, so be it (though I REALLY REALLY need to finish that.) Anyway, here’s the current state of things!

The thing that is kind of amazing is that everything is mostly done, so the stuff I am doing now is basically about convenience, aesthetics, or both. I know! Doesn’t it seem like we were just trying to build a roof yesterday? Anyway, my major project of the week has been building in stuff that is supposed to store other stuff. The first thing was to get those bookshelves I made last week up and working. First thing I did was paint them all the same white as the walls, using a spare sample can of flat paint that I had around (because even though I knew I needed to paint them with a semi-gloss, I just could not bring myself to buy more paint). I painted them, started putting them up and lo and behold, they immediately started looking smudgy and dingy and terrible. So now that they’re (mostly) up, I am beginning to slowly repaint them in place with a semi-gloss. Live and learn: I was feeling a little desperate when I painted them initially. But just FYI, in the pictures, the paint looks weird: it’s getting better.

Remember, these are designed to be half catwalk, half bookshelves. Over here is the most cat-friendly section (hence the cat bed I was trying out when I took the picture). After I got the bookshelves in,  I put an extendable Stolmen post from Ikea behind the shelves and wrapped it in sisal rope. That way, the cats will be able to both scratch it and use it to climb up and access the bookshelves. The bookshelves run all around the room everywhere else, but they look a little less jangly and more streamlined: in this corner, they’re designed partially as cat stairs.
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With the post up:
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I also glued a little bit of carpet runner to the top of the shelves: you can’t see it from below, but it’ll give the catzors something to grip onto so they don’t plummet.

I’m going to build a small thin open shelf between these two box shelves, just for symmetry’s sake.
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Next: bedroom closet. The closet was facilitated by the fact that I bought a ridiculously huge amount of wire shelving from a dude on craigslist this weekend. It is significantly more than I need or can use in the house, but the whole lot was about as much as it would have cost me to buy two small shelves, so I figured I’d just get the whole shebang and then just cut whatever I needed to size and give the rest to my mom. Protip: if you ever get wire shelving (of the Closetmaid/Rubbermaid variety, it’s super easy to cut to size with bolt cutters, which you can usually rent from the hardware store for cheap).

My initial idea for the layout of loft was this (note: WILDLY not to scale)
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That would have been very neat and pretty, except way too late, I got a measuring tape up there and realized that oops! If I laid it out this way, the bed would actually be covering the opening for the stairs, as it was quite a lot longer than I’d been thinking. So then I started thinking about this:
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This seemed OK as well, though I don’t love having beds up against a wall and this eliminated the possibility of nightstands. But then, again, I measured, and because see above (wildly not to scale), I realized that if I did it this way, the closet would have been like 22 inches long. I am not particularly a clotheshorse, but I had to admit that that seemed really small for a solo clothes storage space. So then I started thinking about this:
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The perk of this was that it allowed me 8 feet of closet space (short closet space, but still!). The downside, of course, was that since I was not going to be able to build in any kind of wall or door, my bed was just going to be kind of floating there in the middle of the room without a headboard or anything to keep all the pillows from disappearing in the middle of the night. I kind of bounced this around in my head for a few days and tried to come up with some DIY solutions, and then I finally just decided that I was tired of thinking about it: my new plan is just float the bed and deal with it until I get really rich and can afford a Case Study bed. Problem solved! (I mean, in the future. When I am really rich.)

In the meantime, I built myself a closet! It does not look like much right now, but look at this and then I will tell you my Grand Plan.

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It’s utilitarian, and please ignore the part where I started to spray paint everything aluminum and then ran out of spray paint, and the other part where I had to awkwardly join two shelves together at the end (a new support is going there tomorrow.) Upper shelf: camping gear, spare sheets, boxes for out of season clothes. Short shelves on far left: shoes. On the short wall perpendicular to the short shelves: hanging shoe bag that I’m going to use for scarves and stuff (forthcoming). On the short wall perpendicular to the right side: pegboard for jewelry and the like. Bar below long shelf: all hanging clothes. Between that and the little dresser my mom made me, I think I’m all set.

Now: the Grand Plan. I had a pretty clear idea for how I wanted stuff downstairs to look, but I was a lot less clear about the design for the loft, mostly because it was hard to really visualize it without furniture, and the short ceiling throws me a bit. But when I was walking around Lowe’s trying to think through a way to cover up the not-that-pretty closet, I happened by some canvas dropcloths, and then it hit me:

The Ace Hotel.

Back when I was living in Los Angeles, I took a couple of short vacations to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. The Ace is this great hotel that was converted from an old 50s Howard Johnsons: it is just a fantastic example of midcentury hotel design (very The Future!-looking), and the conversion is about half modernist, half minimalst and a little rustic. Record players and National Geographics from the 40s in the bedrooms, lots of canvas and kilim rugs and raw-edge wood, vintage photos held to the wall with binder clips, big beehive fireplace and knockoff Bertoia chairs on the patios. It is definitely not a look that appeals to everyone, but I really love it. Here’s an example:

So I was in Lowe’s, looking at these drop cloths, and then the following things occurred to me in quick succession:
1) Run a nice ceiling mounted curtain rod all the way across the room in front of the closet: hem the edge of a canvas dropcloth and attach it to the curtain rod so it covers the closet.
2) Put thin white slats around the edge of the far left wall (if you’re looking at the back of the loft)
3) Possibly extend slats out perpendicularly from the wall right in front of the left side of the closet: make this into a headboard
4) Get a cool kilim rug on ebay
5) Possibly make a huge stuffed headboard out of, say, foam and old fire tarp like they had at Ace. Mount it [somehow!]
6) Put up these lights
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that I made for the guest room at my old apartment. Man, I loved that apartment.
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7) Attach hairpin legs to the old filing drawers I found at the Habitat store, make them into nightstands.
8) Something with burlap, something probably with the old mounted ram’s horn I have, some kind of cool old clock.

For now, I have a canvas drop cloth, no way to mount it, and some wire shelves. I think I have an actual feel for the space now, though, so we’ll see!

More stuff (quickly):
Dear fridge: You are in! Marry me! [please ignore all the stuff on the counter; I was painting]
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This is what I did with the stair cubbies. For now, at least
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This is the upper cabinet on the right of the microwave (the one on the left is Bar Cabinet). The left side of this cabinet (with no door) is going to have cookbooks in it: the right side (with the door) is going to have glasses in it. The door is partially there to protect glasses from cats: however, in a fit of Crafty!, I realized that with a little chalkboard paint, the front of the door could be a chalkboard for writing notes, etc.
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…and on the inside, it could be a corkboard! (cork tiles from Target, cut to size.)
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I actually got super into the chalkboard idea and ended up painting the inside of the doors on the lower cabinets with chalkboard paint too (these are the cabinet doors that my mom is painting the dandelions on.) My thought is that I can write a list of what pots/pans are in which cabinet on the chalkboards, so if I’m hunting for, say, my wok, I can just check and see which cabinet it’s in rather than digging around and displacing all the other pots and pans. And I can write myself a note reminding myself of when trash day is on the trash cabinet. Brilliant! No pictures of these yet, but I’ll get some when they’re actually done.

Grouted the backsplash tiles. Grouting, fyi, is terrifying, and you’re sure you’ve destroyed all the cool tiles you put in, and then you wipe it all off and it’s magically done!
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Contemplated buying a kit to make a tip out drawer under the sink (formerly a fake, looks-like-a-drawer-but-isn’t, attached panel). Decided not to spend the forty bucks for the kit, DIYed my own. I just detached the fake-drawer panel, put a hinge along the bottom of it, put a little magnet clasp in the center and attached some small lengths of chain to each side to stop it from opening up completely. I’m going to get a couple of cheap plastic suction cup sponge holders and screw them into the back of the fake-drawer panel on the left and right sides to hold sponges and scrubbies and stuff. Total cost: about eight bucks.

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In the full upright and locked position
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Cleaned the egg chair within an inch of its life, using soapy water and Murphy’s oil, and then went over the whole thing with some Howard’s Feed & Wax. Shiny!
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Then I got some of the Dwell Studios fabric I got for six bucks at Goodwill and handsewed a little envelope-back pillow case for a $1 floor pillow that happened to fit Eggy really well. I am the worst sewer in the known universe, but even I can sew a square. I am really pleased with how it turned out!
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I made a cushion for the fauxlarium bench out of three-inch foam and am going to make a cover for it out of the same fabric (though I may need an assist from my mom, who can use an actual sewing machine.) And then, maybe a table runner? Some placemats? Napkins? All I know is that I want to use every damn bit of that fabric for something, because I loooooove it.

And while I was handsewing, I also cut up an old shower curtain (a buck, thrifted, and waterproof!) and used it to cover another floor pillow (another buck, thrifted) to make a nicer dog bed then the ones I’ve currently got. Since the shower curtain had grommets in it, I think I’m going to get some actual closures and have the grommets be makeshift button holes; that’s why it’s flapping open like that. I’m currently hunting for more cheapy floor pillows so each of the dogs can have their own New! Bed!, since I have lots o’ shower curtain left over.
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Anyway, here’s the current incarnation of the living room, which I am PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT.
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It needs a nice plant, and books on the bookshelves, and some art on the walls, and for the fireplace to go in (wall next to the couch) and I need to paint the damn baseboards, and I just threw those throw pillows on the fauxlarium bench to put something there (my actual seat cushion isn’t done being covered yet), but still, pretty good, right?

From loft, with Lucyfeet. I got those folding chairs from the music department at Dalhousie (they were getting rid of them.) The metal backs are stamped with the words MUSIC DEPT, and I love them. I wish I could figure out how to pop the bases off so I could recover them (they are currently off-white dingy vinyl.)  That ottoman came from the awesome thrift store, is covered in something that looks suspiciously like crocodile, and has a tag on it dating it to 1923. Awesome!
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With three sleepy dogs who would like me to bring their beds down to the house please:
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The fauxlarium is an excellent place for the dogs to stand and yell at invisible dragons.
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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!
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Here’s the view from the loft.
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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.
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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.
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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.)
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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.
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Gratuitous Widget picture.
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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.
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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.
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Here’s what I was thinking, using my mom’s sink as an example.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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 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 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 Six

Now that I have (nearly) all of my exterior walls finished up (waaaaaalls!), today was the day to start on the ceiling framing (we just did the front section of the house today). This was weirdly fun, even though it involved a LOT of sawdust in the eyes.  I have learned a ton from this build, but today was especially like OJT Woodworking School; this was in part because almost everything we did today had an identical copy of (we were framing two identical small ceiling sections), so the way things evolved is that Jeff did one thing, then I watched him and tried to duplicate what he did for the second thing. Fun! Jeff and I talk very little during the build (Jeff, who is a very nice guy, is nevertheless not a talker). Also, the generator is loud, and makes it hard for anybody to hear anybody. So we conducted a lot of today’s Intro to Ceiling Framing in mime: Jeff would do something, and then he would mutely hand me some wood and a pencil and a power tool and I would copy it. It was in this manner that I learned how to make rafters.

But before we even get to rafters, let’s talk ceiling beams! (sorry! FUNNEST BLOG EVER, right?)[Oh, PS: Sorry for the picture quality today: I realized when I got there that I’d left my camera’s battery in the charger at home, so all of these were taken with an elderly iPhone that features a half-busted LED.]

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So apparently there are two ways you can go with beams: you can either get huge, heavy thick cut pieces of wood like you might see in a mead hall of the sort featured in an early Anglo-Saxon text called “How To Slaughter A Thousand Men in a Mead Hall”. Orrrr, if you’re working in primarily 2x4s (like we are), you can take two 2x4s, glue them together with hard core construction adhesive, fire a bunch of nails in them, and boom! instant beam! This has the benefit of still being strong without being so heavy that it takes out your entire ceiling (though they’re still pretty heavy: I was lifting them over my head all day and now my shoulders are mad at me.)

Step one: glue (this is Beam #1, which Jeff is doing, but I built Beam #2, go me!)
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Step two: Nail
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Step three: cut a little notch in the wall framing on both sides and slot the beam into that.

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Step four: profit!

Dos beams (and one thumb)!
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Actually, there’s a step 3.5 in there: cut down the temporary lintel over the door that held everything together, pre-beams. Once we cut it down, I put it to the side and said to Jeff, “I’ll just put this over here in case we have to fight any orcs”, which I am telling you about now because it ACTUALLY GOT A CHUCKLE OUT OF JEFF! This was the greatest accomplishment of my day.

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Next, we cut the rafters, fourteen little ones that sloped down just on one side (for both eight foot ceilings) and seven bigger ones that sloped on both sides (for the 10 foot ceiling). Cutting rafters is so fun!

Jeff did a little measuring, then drew out a the shape he wanted the rafter to be on a 2×4 (you can just see that in the picture): he cut that shape out and then used it as a template for the rest of the rafters.

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This went very fast. Here’s our pile-o-rafters:
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Then we arranged them from the side of the house to the beam and nailed them in.
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This all was done up on the ladder: when Jeff was installing his side, instead of putting one rafter up, coming down the ladder, moving the ladder, going back up with another rafter, etc., when he was done, he just kind of did a pull up on the ceiling beams, then I moved the ladder a few feet, then he pulled himself over a few feet monkey-style until he could get his feet back on the ladder. When it came time for me to install my side, I just went up and down the ladder a lot, because I found that that shit was way beyond me. Jeff is kind of a superstar. I didn’t leave him hanging on the ceiling so I could get a picture–that would have been unkind–but here’s some more monkey stuff up in the ceiling.

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I believe in that picture he is tiptoeing on one foot on the ladder and has the other foot just braced somewhere in space. BEST CONTRACTOR/MOST INSANE CONTRACTOR!

Right set of rafters installed
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Left set of rafters installed! (that is MY SIDE!)
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Next, we had to build  the inner edges of the eight foot ceilings up a bit, so the rafters for the ten foot ceiling would have something to rest on. One of the best lessons I learned in Woodworking School today was that if you have a complicated section to frame out, especially if it’s anywhere higher than at eye level, it makes the most sense to build the section on the ground and then just lift it up and install it.

…which is why Jeff is building these little hold-the-ceiling-up boxes on the ground
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Once that was built, we lifted it up above the eight foot ceiling (harder than it sounds!) and nailed it in
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After that, we had a level base on which to place the bigger rafters (the ones that go over the ten foot ceiling.) See how they’re resting on the new box we built on the ground? Incidentally, I don’t know WTH Jeff is doing there, but it apparently involves some epic veins.
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All three sets in!
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EPIC CEILING SHOT!
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[Does the ceiling make a little more sense now? I was having trouble really explaining it yesterday]

The whole shebang
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And then we called it a day, because come on, that’s awesome.

Oh, also: I have had another failure in The Battle For Denim Insulation, which is that the lady from Craigslist that had a bunch of extra denim wrote me today and said they’d run into problems with their build and were actually going to be using all of their insulation after all. And of course, I could just buy it from an actual store, but that starts getting somewhat spendy. We’ll see how it goes; right now, I am trying hard to convince myself of the merits of rigid foam board. The labeling on the side is trying hard to convince me that it is awesome!
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Which, whatever, foam board, I know that you are functionally non-recyclable and I do not care for that, though I do appreciate your relative paucity of toxic chemicals.

After the day’s fun ceiling action was over, I ran home, let the poor dogs out, threw some dogs in the car and headed up to Lumber Liquidators to help resolve my floor dilemma. I got lost in some crazy construction-related detours, ended up getting there five minutes after they closed, somehow persuaded the nice salesman to give me some samples anyway and then came home. I got samples of strand bamboo in dark, medium and light (I don’t know which specific finishes they are, since I didn’t want to make the poor guy hunt: I just asked for the first things he saw in dark, light and medium.) Had I gotten there on time, I also would have picked up some cork (which I’m considering for the floor in the loft), but as it was, I didn’t want to press my luck. Tomorrow, I am going to brush all the animals and see what their hair looks like on each of the floor samples (I may try to figure out how to get them to dig at the board too, just to gauge scratchability). Also, while the nice guy was getting me samples, I took a look at that tiger-stripe bamboo, which turns out to be a lot more subtle and pretty in person (it is interesting, but not nearly as HEY LOOKIT ME, I’M A FLOOR! as it appears in the picture.) Strong contender, I think!

Tomorrow is the last build day before Thanksgiving, which Jeff is remarkably taking off: we’re only working in the morning, but the plan is to frame the rest of the ceiling out (over the loft/kitchen/bathroom.) Yay house!

Non-building: lacuna days!

It has been POURING the last two days. I feel bad for the poor little houselet, hanging out in the feed store lot all wet and cold and unfinished, but no work is getting done this weekend, I don’t think. Minor upside is that I was actually scheduled to work (at the nursery, which is all outdoors) this weekend, and the rain meant that that didn’t happen either, so I got to do a little thrift store/Craigslist shopping in the search for useful houselet furnishings.

Yesterday, I drove 40 miles north of me to pick up a convection oven/microwave/broiler, just to have a little backup for the Potentially Deathtrap Stove (as best I can tell, the brand name is ‘Panasonic Genius Prestige Luxury’ (no actual object to attach all those adjectives to)). The oven is pretty great, almost new and was only $35, and even beyond that, it was worth it, because the craigslist lady’s house was actually IN a national park–it predated the park and was grandfathered in. Beautiful, beautiful place, in the middle of an absolutely breathtaking part of the park, and definitely something I never would have seen had I not been looking for a cheap convection microwave, which is yet another reason I love Craigslist.DSC00055

Sorry, bad picture: I took it with a flash in the garage, which is not the greatest place for photography. Also, you will note that it is sitting on top of a mini-fridge, which my boss at the nursery gave me (he also gave me my Potential Deathtrap Stove). My mom’s been teaching ESL to adults, and I’m going to see if any of her students need it first, but if they don’t, I have these grandiose plans to play around with the thermocouple and see if I can’t turn it into a tiny chest freezer for the dogs’ food (a real chest freezer is going to be too big for the houselet, not to mention how much power it would draw). I have no idea how to actually go about doing that conversion, but that has never stopped me before!

While I was up north, I came across this epic Goodwill that I’d never been to before, so I figured I’d take a brief detour and see if they had anything good. They had a weird lot of tents, though I did not buy any (“bigger tent” is on my agenda now that I have three dogs, but I need something pretty light, and none of these fit the bill. I was tempted, though!) While I was there, I found this huge piece of heavy duty fabric that I think might have been designed as a tablecloth: it’s made by Dwell Studios, and I’ve always loved their stuff but have never bought any (it is SPENDY). But this guy was six bucks, so score! I’m going to turn it into some nice, moderately sophisticated dog beds for the new house (I have a bit of a dog bed crisis right now, as all of mine are falling apart and have pretty ugly covers anyway).

Cute, right?
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And then this morning, I went to the my awesome local thrift shop and found a couple of big floor pillows for two bucks each (way cheaper than pillow forms for the dog beds!) PROBLEM SOLVED.

And now for the best thrift score of all: my agenda for today was to go look at architectural/building surplus stores to see if I could find any building materials for cheap (more on that in a sec.) I started out at the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store (fyi, those things are great: if you’ve got one near you it is worth checking out), and when I walked in, the first thing I saw was this:

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EGG CHAIR! I have such a thing for egg chairs. And this one? NINETEEN DOLLARS. YES. It’s got a swivel base and also rocks, which is pretty awesome, though I’m also considering removing the base completely and hanging it from the ceiling (I love the idea of having a swing in the house). No marks or tags on it sadly, but it is certainly midcentury: my awesome encyclopedia of modern chairs has a Franco Albini egg chair in it that looks eerily similar to this, though I am almost certain my new dude is a copy (that would be why I’m considering removing the base.)

You all may not know this about me, but modern chairs are one of my secret nerd hobbies. When I totally win the lottery, the first thing I’m buying for myself is a Corbusier LC4. Hence, I am very excited about my new 19 buck wonderchair. It needs a good cleaning, a cushion of some sort, probably a sheepskin draped over the back, and then it is going in the faux-larium (new name for my little bay window bump-out).

Also, I found the GREATEST STORE today. It’s an architectural surplus store called Gerson’s that the Building Nerd Internet is always raving about, and justifiably so, because it turns out to be awesome. All kinds of weird tile! Every possible toilet you can imagine, rows and rows of them as far as the eye can see! Stained glass salvaged from churches! This crazy turn of the century bathtub! (did not buy, tragically, but check this out: it’s a cast iron tub attached to a bucket with a spigot on it: you put a lot of water in the bucket and then build a small fire at the bottom of the bucket, which heats the water: then you turn on the spigot and take your bath. And when you’re done, you FOLD THE TUB UP ON TOP OF THE BUCKET, then you roll it all away. Genius! And it was just there, hanging out with a huge display of leaded glass and decorative shingles.

The store had a huge pile of boxes of hardwood flooring as well, and here’s where I had my biggest quandry of the day: most of it was just the odd box or two, but in the back, I found 10 matching boxes of bamboo flooring, about 300 sq ft (enough to do the tiny house and then some). I am doing bamboo floors in the house, and this stuff was on sale for $15 bucks a box (which should blow your mind if you’ve ever installed a floor before). I should have snapped it up, but the problem was that I’m looking specifically for strand bamboo (which is a LOT more durable than regular bamboo, and given the animals, I am really looking for something that doesn’t scratch/dent easily). Unfortunately, the box didn’t have any markings beyond the brand name, so I don’t know if it was strand or regular bamboo; when I got home and did some research, I found that this brand does both strand and regular, and they both look pretty much the same. The regular is knocked on the internet for being especially prone to scratching; the strand, however, is highly recommended. So: there’s a whole lot of bamboo sitting at Gersons that might or might not be strand, and it would only cost $150 to buy the whole thing, which is a huge, huge, savings. If it’s not strand, however, it will likely be something I have to take up again pretty soon (it WILL get scratched up: that is just the reality), and it’s a glue-down floor (not floating) so taking it up again would be pretty difficult. Ugh, thinking about it.

Also, because it is raining, I am thinking about house exterior colors. I want dark, I think (eventually I want to do a reddish cedar or redwood horizontal slat screen along one side), and right now, I am thinking about dark blue vs dark gray. Dark blue like so:

Gray like so:

or so:

(PS: that’s the dark + cedar vibe I was thinking of)

Anyway, that’s this weekend’s non-building adventure.

PS: the rain has left me feeling somewhat glum, and thus, I have been drinking a lot of hot chocolate. You all probably don’t need a recipe for hot chocolate, but just in case you happen to be feeling like stovetop hot chocolate and don’t want to make a whole potfull, here is my recipe for Glumness Prevention Hot Chocolate for One.

1) Get a mug. You probably have an 8-oz or so mug kicking around, the kind you buy at a souvenir shop or get when you donate to public radio: get that kind. If you have a bigger mug, you should probably double the recipe.
2) Get some cocoa powder. If you’ve just got an elderly box of Hershey’s sitting around from when you made that cake that time, it’s OK: nice cocoa powder is good, but this is pretty forgiving and it’ll turn out OK no matter what you use.  Also, get some sugar (white, ideally).  Put two regular spoonfuls of sugar in your mug and one (sort of heaping) spoonful of cocoa. This will give you a not-too-sweet hot chocolate that is very chocolatey: you can adjust the ratio if you like it sweeter, but I am a big fan of 1:2.
3) Get some cinnamon and cayenne. Add a good shake of the cinnamon and a small shake of the cayenne to the cocoa/sugar. No, you cannot skip the cayenne, trust me. I mean, you can, but it’ll be kind of banal tasting if you do, and you might as well just bust out the Swiss Miss at that point. It is sort of like fancy Mexican hot chocolate, but easy! Cultural experience, etcetera! Anyway, stir all that stuff together.
4) Add a little splash of water, enough to turn it into a thick paste, about the consistency of Elmer’s glue. Throw that in the microwave for 30 seconds, just so the sugar dissolves and the cocoa breaks up. If it’s not like that when the timer goes off, give it another 30 seconds. Stir it all again.
5) Fill the rest of the cup up with milk (or almond milk or whatever, I don’t know your life.) Stir. Add a little vanilla extract if you want (you should want).
6) Put it back in the micro for 1-2 minutes. Go to town.

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!]

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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!
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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

MONDAY! TRAILER! YAY!

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.