Build: Painting Lacuna

First: Jeff is back, following some unexpected health badness! He looks much spryer than you might imagine, he says he feels fine, no big deal (OBVIOUSLY!), and he is very annoyed that he is only allowed to lift five pounds for ten days and is not allowed to climb on any roofs. He wants to come back and work on Monday: Mom was like, “NO I WILL HAVE YOU ARRESTED” and then decided that if he wanted, we would bring down a chair and he would be allowed to sit in the chair and dictate to us what he wants nailed where. But that’s it! (So Jeff, if you’re reading: prepare to be annoyed).

Second: we have painted and painted and painted and painted for the last few days and do I have any good pictures to show for it? I DO NOT! Apparently, it is hard to capture the awesomeness of walls slowly turning white, and you cannot see how pretty the white is in any of them. Let me just say for the record: it is very very very pretty. It feels huge inside, and the white itself is wonderful. Those dudes who picked this color for the White House sure knew what they were doing. Let me also say for the record: Zero VOC paints are awesome to work with, as they do not make you feel like you are being slowly poisoned, but they just do not cover all that well. I am using Natura, Benjamin Moore’s zero-VOC line: it tied for best when Consumer Reports rated all of the big zero-VOC paints, and it is creamy and non-drippy and goes on really well and holds color great, but man, even after priming (which we didn’t technically need to do, as it’s a paint/primer combo), we’re going to need to do at least two coats. And it’s just white! Crazy! Also it is so expensive that I might as well just be slapping ground up diamonds on the wall. However, it hopefully means I won’t die of Paint Cancer, so I like to think it is a wash?

Here are some pictures wherein everything looks terrible, so you’ll have to trust me that it all actually looks great.

I hate priming so much. I made up a song to the tune of “Everything’s Up To Date In Kansas City” that starts out “Oh, everything looks so ter’ble when you’re priming.” It has like twelve verses and I had to sing it about forty times before I was done priming.
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Priming: view from loft
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Nellie, “helping” grandma paint the loft
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Painted loft!
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Painting the living room (I stopped at the kitchen, as it is currently occupied by an immense skillsaw)
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Painting the ceiling, or “fifteen ways to get paint drops on your contacts”
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Lacuna when my grandmother and the Hua come to visit. They are bearing snacks, and immediately are the best-loved guests ever to arrive at the site.

Hua, attempting to pose figurehead-like on the tongue of the trailer.
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Nanny and the Hua
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Nanny + Hua + friendly photobombing pit bull
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Living room all painted!
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See all this trim? It is going on the walls!
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See these pretty copper pipes? They are going in the shower!
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See this former mass of wires? It is a real socket now!
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See all this flooring? It is hanging out in the loft acclimating so I can install it next week!
(main floor)
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(loft floor. Fifty cents a sq. ft!)
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See this pit bull? She is dead from boredom after watching paint dry all day.
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Consumer update! I bought this couch this weekend, which is going to be the greatest thing ever: it can be a couch or a chaise or a place for visiting dignitaries to sleep, and I am in love with it. I got it in this pretty dark blue, and es perfecto.

Also this doorbell, which is an old-timey, non-electric twist doorbell and which I basically want to marry.

Coming attractions: Jeff sits in a chair and yells at us about where to put the trim, hopefully; someday we finish painting the kitchen; my mom and I attempt to put in several floors without anyone getting murdered (results pending); I finally get my act together and order my countertops already.

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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: Days 17 and 18

The order of the day was W A L L S ! There are (some) interior walls now, you guys! This thing is starting to look like a house and less like a build site.

1) Insulation, insulation everywhere. Jeff didn’t love working with the denim: he says it’s really hard to cut and very dusty (“I had to blow my nose for two days to get all the blue stuff!”) So, Jeff, here is where I say in print that I am very sorry. I am still in love with it, though. It is soft, it stays between the studs just with friction (you don’t have to glue it on or anything), it really really really warms the house up, it really deadens sound (the house is set up about 50 feet from a major highway, and you can no longer hear that at all if you’re in the house. But, you know, just fyi if you’re ever working with the stuff.Everything is insulated though now: walls, ceiling, pipes, everything. Yay!
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2) Then we put a vapor barrier up on the outside of the insulation: a vapor barrier is just semi-permeable plastic (or something like that) that keeps any sneaky moisture that gets in from settling on your wallboards, and thus, it helps prevent mold. There are lots of really fancy vapor barriers out there, and they’re generally in the $60/ 9×12 section price range. However, a) they are all some variant of plastic sheeting, b) there isn’t anything commercially I can find that doesn’t off-gas, and c) they’re all about 2 mils., so we skipped all of that completely and bought six heavy duty 2 mil clear plastic drop cloths. $2.98 each, for a total savings of $342.12. That would be slightly more than half of cost of the fancy fridge I splashed out on. Yay!

Installation was easy as pie: I just staple-gunned the plastic right onto the studs all over the whole house (ceiling, too) and then cut out spaces for the electrical sockets and windows. If you’ve ever seen Dexter, my house looked unsettlingly like one of his kill rooms after I was done (it’s half done in the picture: I finished it up today.)

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3) And then the wallboards started going up! Based on your suggestions, I went with ply instead of beadboard, and that was SUCH a good call, I think. The ply is lovely. I really, really like it. My plan has been to paint it white, but I have to say, I actually kind of love the look of the ply and am toying with the idea of just doing a coat of clear poly and leaving it as-is. The color is really warm and nice, and the surface texture almost looks like linen (the boards themselves are perfectly smooth.)

The boards aren’t caulked yet, so there are some gaps, and there’s no molding, obviously, but this will give you a picture of what it looks like. If anything, it is a little rosier in person, kind of a soft pinky-brown. It looks kind of….sophisticated, which is such a weird thing to say about unfinished plywood.
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I’m a little squirrely about leaving it as-is: with all the love and respect in the world for cabins (my favorite house in the past ten years was a cabin!), I don’t want it to feel cabin-y, and with the bamboo floors, it might feel like a surfeit of wood. It sure is pretty, though. Options right now are 1) paint everything white, 2) paint most of it white and leave a wood accent wall up in the loft (and maybe keep the bathroom natural) or 3) leave it all natural.

I brought a scrap piece of wallboard home and am going to try out some samples of white on it tonight (plus the clear poly), just to see how it looks. If any of you have the kind of Serious! Opinions! about white paint that the entire internet apparently has, I will tell you that the colors I got are Benjamin Moore White Dove, B.M. Decorator’s White, B.M. Atrium White (the color the White House is painted, apparently!) and Behr Bridal Veil (Behr paint just came in first in Consumer Report’s test of low/no-VOC paints, and it’s like half the price of Benjamin Moore). If you don’t have Serious! Opinions! about white paint, join the club, but it’s one of the internet’s favorite topics, apparently.


Other things that happened, in brief:

-2/3rds of the shower is up!
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-Front door light switch box installed
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-Hole drilled through the front wall and wires pulled through for Future! Front! Light!
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-Mom came over today and put another coat of that pretty blue on the front door plus started painting the same color under the eaves. No pictures of that, because I forgot my camera and in any case was inside stapling plastic to my kill room sleeping loft ceiling, but it looks awesome.

-I bought some flooring for the bathroom floor. Did I mention that we discovered that we couldn’t tile after all, based on the position of the bathroom vis a vis the trailer? Truth. And that is kind of sad, because wood’s tricky in a frequently-wet space, especially given things like the bathing of dogs in the bathroom, and if tile is out, that leaves [duh-duh-duh] vinyl. Sheet vinyl, to be precise, since tiles tend to come up in humid situations. So I wasn’t loving that, as you might imagine. However, I found this stuff called Fiber Floor, which is a vinyl composite, but has really limited off-gassing, is 80% recycled and fully recyclable, and is not all that hideous looking. Also: I found a warehouse that specialized in remnants and stocked Fiber Floor, and they had a piece that was just the size I needed (I only need 86 sq.ft for the bathroom: this was about 100) and cost thirty-six dollars. That is maybe a fifth of what I thought I was going to pay, so I am pretty pleased about it. The stuff I got looks like this: it’s got a little bit of texture, doesn’t look hugely fakey, and I think it’ll blend nicely with the bamboo (it’s about the same color).

I am sort of stoked about how scroungy I’ve been with the floors: I’ve got 2/3rds of the flooring already, and the total cost right now is $176, which is less than a buck a sq. ft. Just need to square away some flooring for the loft and then I’ll be set! The guy at the warehouse is checking into some inexpensive bamboo for me (leftover from new bamboo floors some church is putting in); if that doesn’t come through, they happened to have a laminate that looks like whitewashed barn boards in exactly the right amount I need for the loft at sixty cents a sq. ft. That is kind of an amazing deal, but I swore I’d avoid laminate of any sort with the dogs, since they are really tough on floors and I’m certain the laminate will get ripped up. That said, SIXTY CENTS A FOOT, and also, it’s not like the loft is going to be all that highly trafficked. So if I can’t get the bamboo:

A couple of big purchases coming up: I’m ordering my tankless hot water heater Monday (my mom is getting one too, after not having hot water in like two years!) Also, I’ve got to get my countertops (I’m going to do the dark gray Paperstone, which you guys liked when I polled you about it). Based on what Green Countertops Direct (the place that does Paperstone remnants) has in right now, I think I’ll be able to get 12 ft of countertop for about $100, which is pretty stupendous, since new this stuff costs about $60 PER FOOT (no way in hell I’d be able to just up and buy it from the factory, which is yet another reason I am very happy to be building small: remnants!) Tragically, shipping the counters is going to double the price: the factory is in Hoquiam, Washington, and for about ten insane seconds, I was like, “Well, what if I just drove up there and got them myself?”, though I realized quickly that that was a dumb idea. Toying with the idea of finding somebody on craigslist who can pick them up and put them on a bus for me, though.
Anyway, I love, love, love the house. I am so happy, you guys.

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.