Tiny Tip

Tiny Tip #5 – An ode to my spork

Long gone are the sad plastic sporks that bring back vivid memories of the less then palatable lunches of my middle and high school years.  Sporks are so often associated with unappetizing meals from places you’d rather not be – schools, hospitals etc. But it’s time to change the perception. Perhaps we can make it -dare I say – cool to carry a spork? Take a page out of Billy Madison’s playbook and say “You ain’t cool unless you pee your pants use a spork!”

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Tiny Tip

Tiny Tip #3

Bust out the cloth napkins and not just on the special occasions.

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You might hesitate to do this because cloth napkins can be pricey. But they don’t have to be. All of the cloth napkins in this house came from the thrift store. The first set was white with little flowers and I found them in a box of textiles at a flea market. Cute but showed every little stain so I was scared to use them.

Oh hello dinner party guest! Here’s a napkin but please wipe your hands on your pants instead. I don’t want to ruin my napkins.

I’ve since picked up two sets at a thrift store that are darker and don’t show so much wear.  And I’m a slob so you know my napkins do heavy duty work. Cloth napkins serve a purpose beyond wiping up messes – I often use them to wrap up my lunch to bring to work or produce at the grocery store.

I’ll also hand it over at the bakery or deli to have a to-go order wrapped up. Sometimes I get weird looks for this one (most notably at a Publix in Florida-I thought their heads might explode when I asked for this!) but often, especially in Vermont, people are more than happy to do it. I find this a really simple way to reduce trash and to make whatever treats I’m getting feel even more special. Isn’t it better to have something wrapped up in a pretty napkin instead of trash?

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ask and you probably, maybe, might receive

I used to run a recycling center for non traditional recyclables (Traditional recyclables being plastic, cardboard etc.). Residents could bring in a whole bunch of things ranging from textiles to paint to books and we would send them off for recycling. A good majority of the stuff that comes through the door is crap that has reached the end of it’s useful life. But there was also a lot of really useful things that were no longer useful to their original owner. This place was the best place for picking and being the person who worked there, I got first dibs on picking. More than once, I would be on the hunt for something specific and not long after I said it out load it would coincidentally come through the door. One time I was on the look out for a wooden drying rack, mentioned it to someone and a few days later someone else dropped off a perfectly good one. Score!

Basically, this story is my version of “ask and you shall receive”. I followed a similar mindset when hunting for salvaged materials for the tiny house. I would tell anyone and everyone what I was looking for. Which is how I ended up with free kitchen cabinets from my best friends parents. I had no idea they were renovating their kitchen when I mentioned my quest for cabinets. They were kind enough to keep the cabinets intact for me to reuse. At 30 years old they were looking a little dated and needed a face lift. Hours of sanding, priming and painting later, I had beautiful solid wood cabinets at minimal cost. Too bad we couldn’t rescue those stylish green counters.

 

As always, beyond grateful to the friends who helped out! Thanks Sarah and Ashley for working through those hang overs to help me paint  Thanks Sarah’s parents for putting in the extra effort to salvage the cabinets and save me a whole lot of money.

 

More on walls

The walls above 8ft are pine ship lap – a mix of rescued materials and new- with a whitewash finish. I found a big pile of used ship lap at ReSource Building Supply store but it wasn’t quite enough for the project so we supplemented with new. Some was rough and some was smooth. The rough stuff I stained dark brown and put it on the exterior. The smooth stuff was whitewashed and put inside. I like the way the interior and exterior subtly mimic each other. By choosing the ship lap for the higher parts of the walls, we were able to minimize waste and make the job a easier. Dry wall comes in 8 foot sheets and if we has decided to extend dry wall to the ceiling, we would have had to cut it to size and worry about a lot more seems. Same for the t1-11 on the exterior. Pretty much a win-win!

Siding

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I like the look of T1-11. I also like that it comes in panels and is relatively easy to install. I wasn’t so crazy about the maintenance associated with it. T1-11 is pretty vulnerable to moisture and can require a lot of upkeep. We opted for LP Smart Side -a wood composite siding- for the exterior. It comes in 8’x4′ sheets and it was pretty easy to install. It’s also pre-primed so all we have to do is paint – except it’s been really tough for me to decide on a color!

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The front end, over the hitch, hasn’t been sided yet because we’re going to build a storage locker there. This locker will protect the electrical panel and provide a little extra storage. Under the locker, there will be a little roof to cover the propane canisters. My appliances will run off of bbq propane tanks. I’m not sure yet how often they will need to be swapped out. I’m guessing a least once a month in the winter. It will be more convenient to swap the tanks out if they’re not completely buried in snow.

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The siding had to be cut to fit around the wheel wells. Seth sorta eyeballed the first cut – I trust him, he’s good at this stuff- then we traced a template for the rest of the cuts. It wasn’t perfect and it took a couple of tries but we got it. Hopefully, that’s the hardest part. We then filled in the gap between the siding and the wheel well with silicone to prevent moisture inside the house. Thanks Mike for helping with this part!

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Kitchen Window

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This GIGANTIC window was only $35 at ReSOURCE! (I told you they were amazing!) The window had an extension jamb – a frame that fills the depth of the wall space* – that had to be removed before installation. If any of the screws holding the jamb in place were stripped, it would have been a nightmare to remove. Once again, we were lucky. The jamb came off easily.

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The rough opening for the window was too small when we went to install it. Probably my fault (I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing). But luckily it was a easy fix and after removing a small section of the header, the window slid perfectly into place.

*Further proof that I have no idea what I’m doing: I googled extension jam so I could give a simple definition because I couldn’t think of one myself – even though Seth explained it like 100 times. Found out it’s not spelled jam.

Shut the front door!

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LOVE LOVE LOVE this front door I picked up at ReSOURCE for only $65! Seriously – ReSource has been an amazing resource (see what I did there?) throughout this whole project. Last summer, they had a sign outside their store advertising a tiny house building workshop so I stopped in to chat. I couldn’t participate in the workshop but I was connected with the Youth Build program which was interested in building a tiny house. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to work together but it was through these conversations that I got the ball rolling.

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I was so worried that something would go wrong while trying to install it. It was screwed shut – helpful so the door didn’t fly open during transport!- so I didn’t get to make sure the door opened and closed properly before buying it. I figured for $65 it was worth the risk.

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Totally worth it – I’m over the moon! We’re still on track to finish before the snow arrives, but I’m a little worried. There’s been some pretty chilly morning and we’ve already seen some flurries. Brr!

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Little Steps, Little Windows

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Still chugging along trying to finish framing the little loft windows and installing other windows. Almost all of my windows are salvaged/second hand. But the thing about using used windows is they can be a real pain to install. Slowly but surely, we’re moving along.

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I put the tiny bathroom window in upside down. Because I’m pretty clueless and awkward with a hammer (and just generally awkward) it took forever to pull out all the nails, turn the window upside right and nail it back into place. Seth could have done this in about 30 seconds – Thank God he’s helping me otherwise I’d still be building this house 30 years from now

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The windows for my living room I ended up purchasing new after many unsuccessful searches on craigslist and at the salvage yards. Those went in easy peasy. Sometimes it’s easier and faster to use new materials but I think all the effort of using secondhand materials will be worth it in the end.

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I laid out the floor plan in tape so I could start visualizing the layout. I had originally planned to have the refrigerator opposite the kitchen sink but it was too narrow. We made some adjustments to the floor plan and now the fridge will be next to the stove. I’m sure there will be many other changes as we go along.