Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tumbleweed Workshop in Asheville

This weekend was a very different weekend for us. Even though we are so close to finishing the house, we did very little work this weekend.  That is because this weekend was the Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Asheville. Sometime last year we had offered to speak at the workshop and we were thrilled that they invited us to do so.

We went out with some friends in Atlanta on Friday night and normally I wouldn't mention that specifically here on the tiny house blog but we went to see the local play The Wrath of Con.  This is particularly awesome for us as major geeks because it was about the incredible experience that is Dragon*Con which we go to every year. If you're in Atlanta you need to check this out before it is gone.

But because we had gone out on Friday night, we didn't rush to get out of the apartment on Saturday morning. We hit the road about 9am.  The first stop once we were there was to pick up a mini futon that we ordered (in gray). Also, we determined it should be called the FuTeeny (or Futini if you're Italian).  We had researched small seating for the tiny house and we thought this would be a great fit, but as it turned out the futon frame was all wrong for our space.  However, we also realized that we could remove said frame and then we were left with the perfect futon mattress with a built in mechanism that could be bolted to a wooden base of our own design.  So, ultimately it was a win. I didn't get any photos of the new futon since we have some work to do on it, but I think it will be perfect when it is finished. The best part of building a little frame is that we can include storage underneath it.  Score!

After we wrestled with the futon for a while, we got the tiny house cleaned up and went out to Jack of Hearts in Weaverville to meet Pepper Clark and Shelly from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. They were so awesome.  Shelly impressed me a lot because she is senior in college working for Tumbleweed and traveling all over the country for them.  She is nearly done with school and I can't wait to see the things she can do to contribute to the Tiny House movement.  Pepper was fantastic to talk to and like a lot of situations we find ourselves in with like-minded people I really felt like we had known her for years.  We had a great conversation over dinner.

After dinner, they followed us all the way up to our tiny house.  We warned them that we had built the house half way up our mountain and there was no road to get there, so they followed us up the path to our tiny house.  I'll tell you, we certainly don't do any of this for any sort of compliment or reward, but it is really nice to have people who work for Tumbleweed compliment us on our house. It was also nice to show it off, especially since it is so close to being done.

Today we didn't rush to get up. We were in no real hurry except we had to be at the workshop by about 1:30 or so.  We enjoyed the morning in the tiny house, had some coffee and hot coco and eventually wandered down to the barn to get cleaned up.  We used our shower contraption and it was awesome.  We got ourselves dressed and drove in to Asheville to grab some lunch before making our way to the hotel where the workshop was being held.

About three years ago, we went to a workshop in Asheville that was led by Jay Shafer, the founder of Tumbleweed.  At that time we were two of about twelve people at the workshop.  So when we asked Pepper and Shelly how many people were at their workshop and the answer was "about a hundred," we were a little shocked. I started to feel a little intimidated. I've given presentations before but usually to about 25 people tops at a camping festival.

When we got to the room we set up our little PowerPoint and Pepper introduced us.  Matt did most of the talking, since he also did most of the building.  I really enjoyed it and we got a lot of great questions.  I really want to thank Pepper and Shelly and everyone at the workshop for giving us some time to talk about our project. It is truly our baby and it is neat to be able to share it with people who are also interested in tiny houses and simple living.

About three years ago when we first had the idea to build something on this land that we bought a friend of ours told us about Tumbleweed Tiny House. We were seriously considering it when we learned that the company would be presenting their first workshop east of the Mississippi in Asheville. It seemed like an omen we couldn't ignore. So we went (along with the aforementioned other 10 people).  It was just us and Jay Shafer and we felt really encouraged. It was only about a month after that workshop that we broke ground on our foundation. We think it is great that so many people are in interested in the tiny house movement and we want to encourage everyone who has the dream of living that lifestyle any way we can.

Thanks again to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company for letting us take some time to talk at the workshop. It was a great experience and such perfect timing as we are so close to finishing our own project.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tiny Interior Design

This weekend we did a lot of finish work in the tiny house.  I'll let the photos tell the story. 

It is surprisingly difficult to get a photo of the entire tiny space.  

Let me take you on a tour.
On either side of the door are our closets, now complete with curtains rather than doors.

Then you come to the seating area.  The director's chairs are temporary - we have a tiny futon on its way.  That cubby will have small shelves for small item storage.  

Here is another view of the living room area.

Then we come to the kitchen.  This weekend, we installed the kitchen shelves.

Here is another view of our kitchen shelves.

Our glasses are a collection of pint glasses from local breweries in Atlanta and Asheville.

We were finally able to put out our dishes. We got these as a gift for the tiny house a couple of years ago.  Having them in the house is so cool.  

This is our "sink".  Soon it will be accompanied by a Burkey water filtration system. 

Next on our tour is the bathroom which is the only room that isn't finished yet.  

Though we did finish the wall siding.  It is cedar rather than the pine that we used in the rest of the house.  We will build little built in shelves to act as our medicine cabinets.  

Then we come to the dining room.  The table from Ikea folds down so we can have more room if we need it. We also changed out the light fixtures.  We replaced the ones we had with the Ikea Pult.  This is for a strange but practical reason - we are going to build Piglet some shelves so she can get up to the loft and the other lights would have been in her way.  Stay tuned for progress on this particular project.

Speaking of the loft...its up there.  

And that brings us back to the front of the house and the loft storage there. 

It felt great to stay in the very nearly finished house this weekend. We'll be back next weekend for the Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop.  We'll be there on Sunday afternoon to share our story with the folks there.  We were able to do a workshop several years ago and it was one of the things that motivated us to get started with our own project.  I can't wait to meet Pepper and the rest of the Tiny House team. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Finally, We Sleep in the Tiny House

Though the weather progressively got colder and wetter throughout the week, culminating in thunderstorms on Friday night, we decided to stay at the tiny house for the first time of this year. 

Because it was going to be chilly, we decided we didn't want to do a lot of work outside. That ruled out anything where we needed to set up the saw and cut any wood.  I had some work to do on the computer anyway so we though the best project was finishing the floor in the bathroom. It is such a tiny space that two of us couldn't fit in there at once anyway.  So I set up my laptop on the table and worked for a few hours while Matt cut and fit the floor into the teeny bathroom.  I failed to get photos of the bathroom floor, but it is the same as the rest of the floor anyway. 

Once we were both done with our work, we decided to create a storage landscape in our small storage loft.  We had recently bought some things at The Container Store that we thought would be a great fit for the loft and not only be functional but also look great.  I absolutely love the way it turned out.  We added the brushed chrome fan and the LED candles to the storage-scape and took some photos. 

Now we just need things to put in them!  

After that, we went out to dinner.  We came back and set the fire brazier up behind the house.  We got out our camp chairs and a couple of beers and built a fire. Matt pulled out his guitar and played me some music.  It was pretty cold out - below 40 degrees - but with the fire it was lovely.  Eventually we went back inside.  I was ready for bed by 10pm, but Matt stayed up and played Star Wars: The Old Republic online with some friends.  We had the indoor propane heater on to make the house nice and toasty. It stayed comfortably warm in the loft all night and into the morning.  The little house is well insulated and heat does rise after all. When we did get back down from the loft in the morning to make coffee and hot cocoa we did have to turn the heater back on, but it heated up pretty quickly. We had our breakfast, got ready for the day, cleaned up the house, and headed back down the hill to the car to go back to Atlanta. 

We will be back up to the tiny house for a four day weekend in just a couple of weeks.  We expect to get quite a lot done that weekend.  It is such an incredible feeling to see something you've been working on for so long finally come together.  When the project is as big as building a house you have to take it step by step and when we were building the foundation I don't know that we fully realized how awesome this place would eventually be.