Monday, April 25, 2011

Closer and Closer Every Day

It is hard to remember where we were with the house build a year ago.  It seems like we have progressed so far to be able to do the finishing work inside. I'm not sure I ever thought we'd be ready for this part, even though I knew we had to be eventually. 

We started out this weekend on Friday night.  We left Atlanta right after work and cruised into the Asheville area around 11pm.  Once we got to Mt. Matt I set up camp in our little barn room and by midnight, I was sound asleep.  I don't know what it is about Western North Carolina but I always feel so at peace and comfortable when I am there.  I sleep way better out in the mountain air than I ever do in the city. On Saturday morning we got up at 8am, hopped out of bed and drove into town for some coffee and breakfast. We were back to the mountain by about quarter after 9 and ready to get working.  The project this weekend was to do the inside paneling on the gables.  We began to cut the pieces and that was the part that took the longest, especially getting up and down from the loft to dry fit each piece or series of pieces as they were cut.  Since only one person could go up and down the ladder into the loft at a time, I enjoy the mountain view from our tiny porch.
At about 1pm I went back down to the barn to prepare and pack up lunch picnic style.  This was our first meal at the tumbleweed house so I decided to document it. 

After lunch, we split up for a while.  Matt continued measuring and cutting siding for the gables while I decided now was a fine time to spray for Poison Ivy. It was just sprouting on the path up to the house and I figured that would be a good time to nip it in the literal bud before it became an infestation.  I am ridiculously allergic to the stuff and have at least one bad reaction to it each year.  Matt named me minister in charge of poison ivy control and I take that job very seriously.  I only sprayed up the path to the house, but I know there is more to be destroyed.  When I got back up to the house, we were getting closer to being able to install the paneling, which after all the measuring and cutting would prove to be the simplest part of the job. 
We used the pneumatic brad nailer, which made the job a breeze. 
I absolutely love the finished product. I can't wait to get started on the rest of the house.  After we finished the gables, I went down to the barn to make dinner (burritos in the camp oven) while Matt worked out just how to do the ceiling for the next trip. 

On Sunday, we got up again about 8am but didn't rush.  We were going to leave WNC about 11am to get home in time to get ready for Easter Dinner at a friend's house in Atlanta at 6pm.  We didn't do any work per se, but we did go up to the house to take measurements for the cabinets in the kitchen.  With very clear heads that morning we designed a very cool shelving unit for the kitchen and I can't wait to see it finished. 

The next trip in a couple of weeks is a 4 day trip - we each took some vacation time.  We are pretty ambitious but I think we can accomplish everything.  The ceiling, the walls and building the cabinets are on the docket.  Stay tuned for more adventures. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Think Big, Build Small: A Tiny House Community

Since people seemed to be somewhat interested, I have started a Facebook Page for Tiny House Builders. Please, join in! I would love to see it become a place for tiny house builders from all over to come together and talk about the process, share ideas, etc. Spread the word!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

80 Degrees, Fetch and Paneling

We couldn't have asked for a better spring weekend than this one.  We left Atlanta about 7am and arrived at Mt. Matt at 11.  We unloaded the car and sat down for lunch before getting to work.

The first project of the day was to do the sleeping loft floors.  I was really excited about this.  I am afraid of heights, even lofts, so I wasn't willing to get up there when it was just rafters.  with a solid floor beneath me it was still going to be a little scary but I'll have to get use to it eventually. 

With me firmly on the floor of the tiny house, Matt bravely climbed up to the loft and began placing the floor boards.  This process went much smoother than the storage loft floors that we did the last time since we knew what challenges we would have.  I waited patiently until the loft floors were done before climbing shakily up the orange ladder into the loft.  I'd have to do it eventually.  Soon we will have a little ladder built into the house and I'll have to sleep up there anyway.

I sat up there for a while, mostly because I was a little scared to get down.  But I found the loft comfortable.  It will certainly be more so once there is a mattress up there.

I looked out the tiny loft window, too.  I was most amused by the warning sticker on the window frame itself.

Good thing that won't be a problem for us.  Just gotta watch for Piglet the cat, though.  

Speaking of pets, while we were up working on the loft floor our neighbor dog, Hash Brown, came up to hang out with us.  After some time playing fetch, which is his favorite game, he settled in and hung out with us while we worked on the house.  I even have photographic evidence.  

After the loft floors were done, we did a little more preliminary work before we were ready to install one section of ceiling the next day.  At about 6pm we headed down to the barn to make dinner.  

I have been very happy with a recent acquisition.  I spoke briefly before about the Camp Chef Camp Oven we got for Christmas.I made our second meal in it this weekend and it was awesome.  I brought the components in the cooler and assembled it at the site: cooked penne pasta, really good Italian sausage sauce, slices of chicken sausage and mozzarella cheese.  I mixed all but the cheese together in a foil pan and popped it in the camp oven at 350 until it was heated through.  Then I sprinkled the cheese on top and let it cook until the cheese was melty.  Dinner was great.  I am really looking forward to cooking more with it and for groups. 

After dinner, we wandered back up to the house, hoping to escape an impending thunderstorm, and did some little finish work like caulking the floor in the bathroom.  While we were up there the storm started and we finished up and ran back down to the barn before it really started pouring.  The rest of the night, Matt played guitar with the lightening in the background and eventually we went to bed.  It had been and unseasonably warm day for WNC at about 80 degrees and only got down to around the mid 50s overnight.  It was a perfect night for camping.  

Sunday morning we got up around 8:30, got ready and drove toward Asheville for some coffee and breakfast.  We also stopped at Lowe's on the way back to get some additional supplies.  When we got back to Mt. Matt we launched right into work.  The project for the day - paneling the bathroom ceiling to see what it was like to use the product.  We figured starting with a small room (well, smaller room since the whole house is pretty small) we would really get a feel for the wood paneling that we chose and could make sure we made the right decision.  It was pretty easy to install and we were very happy with the results. 

We only did the ceiling because we really needed to get back to Atlanta, but we are ready to tackle the rest of the house the next couple of trips up.

This is me on the floor of the bathroom looking up at the newly installed ceiling.  We are doing the bathroom in cedar while the rest of the house will be done in white pine.

Once we were finished with that, we could put the bathroom back together.  We popped the shower into place and installed the final interior wall.  It is getting harder and harder to take photos of the place as the spaces are getting tinier by the moment.
The shower isn't plumbed or anything yet and it will be a little while until it is usable.  We have to construct our gray water system first.  The idea came from the book Healing Appalachia by Al Fritsch and Paul Gallimore.  This site has some great information on both composting toilet systems and constructed wetlands to deal with gray water

We'll return in a couple of weeks and spend the weekend installing more interior paneling. It seems like such a huge step.  Two years ago we were just starting the foundation!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tiny House Network

So, I have this crazy idea. I suppose I have a lot of crazy ideas, not the least of which is building a tiny house in the mountains of North Carolina. I have been reading a lot of blogs from other tiny house builders. Several of them are in my blog roll. I just posted about a tiny house builder in Michigan today. I love reading new updates from Evan and Gabby. Andrew Odom is writing a blog about his tiny house and I've been following Will and his Tarleton since before we even started ours. I know there are countless others. What I am envisioning is a network of tiny house builders. A place where we can come together, share out experiences with the only other people in the world who can truly understand the process. We can share details of our build and ideas for improving things and reasons we chose for certain methods. I would love to create a Facebook or LinkedIn page (because those are free options) but not everyone is part of those networking sites. So what say you, Tiny Community Folks? Is there a place on this great big internet for us to get together and share our experiences with one another? Perhaps a place where all of our individual blogs can come together and inspire others to live the Tiny Life.

Tiny Houses Everywhere

It is so encouraging to see other building their tiny houses. I've recently pointed you all toward Evan and Gabby's Blog. Today, I wanted to share another blog and most specifically, his videos. Jonathan is a tiny house builder from Michigan, which is where Matt and I are from originally. I was pleased to see that he recently took some videos of the house, which you can see on his blog. Here is a tour of the inside of the house for your viewing pleasure. You can check out more at Jonathan's live journal.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Building A Tiny House

Tumbleweed Clearing Photo 3Tumbleweed Clearing Photo 1Tumbleweed Clearing Photo 7View from Tumbleweed House ClearningClearing the Tumbleweed ClearingATV!
deadwoodSurveying our homesteadThe Tumbleweed HouseTumbleweed FootprintlevelAugering
a little post hole diggingroots!auger and tubeIn A Rowmid-concretefinding square
our first pierWe have piersour best onetrimming the anchor boltsOne Finished bracketMaking Progress

Building A Tiny House, a set on Flickr.

I finally updated our Flickr with the most recent photos. Check them out.