Walls make a house…

…but love makes a home? Or something cheesy like that.

Seth and I hemmed and hawed for months over what to do the interior walls. I wasn’t really into the look of pine that so many tiny houses have, although I certainly recognized the benefits. If I had decided to go with pine, I would have just painted it and that seemed like a waste. Natural pine is beautiful, just not my style!

I wanted to use drywall but we were wary of cracks and on going maintenance. We thought maybe plywood that we would prime and paint-but how would we cover up the seams? Plywood was also pretty pricey compared to sheetrock.

Ultimately, we went with sheetrock. Why? Because that’s what they had in stock at the lumber yard the day we went. Perhaps poor planning on our part but we didn’t have the luxury of waiting for a shipment of plywood to come in.

We did pick up the few pieces of plywood that the had in stock, just in case. We ended up using the plywood in the bathroom when we ran out of sheetrock. The bathroom is at the end of the trailer closest the hitch and we thought this might give the structure some extra stability – bonus! And we came up with a really awesome solution for covering up the seams, which I’ll share later.

I’m happy to report that the walls survived transport with minimal cracking. We were fully prepared to mud every seam after moving but ended up not having to make any repairs. Some cracks were showing a little bit but they were going to be covered by furniture and the stairs so we left them. I’ve noticed they have gotten a little worse but I’ll deal with it in the spring. Overall, I’m happy with the drywall. Sometimes decisions are made for us and things turn out just fine.

Getting cozy

After ordering my trailer, the thing I stressed about the most was insulation. I was trying to find a balance between a high R-value and overall environmental impact. I’ve seen many tiny housers use spray foam – with good reason!-but decided it wasn’t for me. It has the best R-value per inch, works as a vapor barrier and expands to fill in all the nooks and crannies. But that stuff can be really toxic. I really considered it and even had a local contractor provide a quote (which was going to cost an arm and a leg). But one day I was out for a walk and went past a house that was being renovated. They were using spray foam insulation and I could smell the fumes wafting down the street. I peeked at their truck and it had placards for all sorts of hazardous waste. Yuck. I’ve worked really hard to remove many toxins from my life (nail polish, perfume – ew) these past few years. I’m far from perfect but I just had a really hard time stomaching the idea that I was going to pay someone a boat load of money to coat my house in hazardous waste.

I ultimately chose to go with Roxul in the walls and rigid foam in the ceiling (for someone who hates styrofoam, I sure used a lot of it in the house! It you’re questioning the environmental impacts of styrofoam, see above where I say I’m far from perfect.). Taken from their website- “ROXUL insulation is a rock-based mineral fiber insulation comprised of Basalt rock and Recycled Slag. Basalt is a volcanic rock(abundant in the earth), and slag is a by-product of the steel and copper industry. The minerals are melted and spun into fibers.”

And this stuff was pretty darn easy to install. It comes in giant bags that I could hardly lift and had to balance on my head when walking across the lumber yard. I promise, it looked really cool. Each piece of Roxul is rigid enough to stand on it’s own in between studs. You can use a bread knife or a hand saw to cut it to size. You can break it into smaller pieces and shove it into the nooks and crannies. The only downside I experienced was the Roxul irritated my skin but nothing a good shower couldn’t fix. Since I’ve moved in, there’s been some really chilly nights, below zero kind of chilly, and I’ve stayed pretty warm in the house. Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about this choice.

Long overdue

I haven’t updated in over a month because I’ve been to busy building, towing, cleaning, packing and moving. Phew.

But we are so close to finished! The tiny house is “show ready” and it looks finished. Seth and I still need to finish up the plumbing and I’ve got to find someone to install my water heater. We towed the tiny house to Vermont where I’m going to live and I’ve moved all my stuff in. I moved out of my apartment which was more difficult and emotional than I thought it would be. Hopefully, I’ll be living in the tiny house full time by next week. EEEEK!

I am so excited to share these photos that I couldn’t wait any longer. But I still want to share all the in between details. Check back often because I’m planning to share more photos and details of the build, towing it over to Vermont and life in a tiny house.

Pine Siding

I found a bunch of pine shiplap at ReSource that I started to stain a beautiful dark brown. The T1-11 is 8′ tall, my house is 11’3″ so anything above 8′ will be sided in pine. The pine with be put up horizontally and I think the vertical T1-11 will be a cool contrast.

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We decided to stain the backside of it to speed things up. But not until after CJ sanded a bunch of it. oops. Thanks CJ!

All the trim will be pine stained the same color – Thanks Sarah and Erika for staining a bunch of the trim and siding!

I’m endlessly grateful for all the help from so many amazingly beautiful people!

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This was the week that I discovered timelapse on my iphone. Hope ya’ll are ready for a million more nausea inducing videos!

#hotroofer

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We still need to finish the last details, but the metal roof is on! I was surprised how easy it was to install the roof…

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but if I’m being honest, I didn’t even install it. Seth and CJ installed it while I stood nearby and took a bunch of selfies  I worked on other things. I think they were motivated to work quickly so they could get inside and watch football. slackers…

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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.

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.

It’s electric!

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Little Lou is electrified! My amazing cousin Paul roughed in all the electric for the house!

I don’t get to see Paulie as often as I’d like and it’s always a treat when we get to spend time together.  So we got to hang out all weekend and my house has electricity – double win for me!

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It’s all pretty standard wiring, just like a “normal” house (As far as I can tell, clearly I’m not an electrician). We mounted the panel on the outside and will close it in a utility closet to provide protection from the elements. Right now we’re plugging into a standard extension cord from the panel. When Little Lou finds a more permanent home, the house will plug into a 50amp plug.

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We initially planned for 8 recessed light fixtures, a fixture over the sink, sconces in both the sleeping loft and the living room and a ceiling fan for the main living space. It didn’t take long to realize that we had over prepared! We ended up wiring for two sconces in the living room, 2 sconces in the sleeping loft, 4 recessed lights, a light fixture over the sink and a ceiling fan/light. We also wired for a fixture over the tub and a vanity light in the bathroom.

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My favorite feature is the plug with usb ports that we installed next to my bed. It feels like a huge luxury to me!

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Thanks Paulie for being so awesome!