Last Thursday I set out on a sunny afternoon before work to look for a bathtub, a door and a small window for the sleeping loft. Just before heading to Skagit Building Salvage, I checked my instagram feed and saw that Guemes Island Tiny House was working on a door they’d gotten at the same salvage yard for their remodel. Turns out they were about to post some of the salvage from the remodel for sale, and they have exactly the size and style of door I was looking for. Also small windows for the loft and a gorgeous stained glass hanging lamp for a porch light. Score! I took a few turns around Skagit Salvage anyway, and then went to Coastal Farm and Ranch and picked out a stock tank for my tub.
This will also serve as the kitchen sink and will be the only plumbing in the house. I’m going to write a post on plumbing/water tomorrow.
Saturday morning I had a long list of small projects to work on; finishing drilling the bolts through the sill plates and trailer flange, adding a few more pieces into the walls for loft support and nailing surfaces for sheathing, cutting down and staining the joists for the lofts, leveling the walls and adding the second top plate. Drilling the bolts in was a b%$^# and I have deep gratitude for my stepdad who did most of them last weekend. My arms and abs are sore today from having to bear down on top of the stainless steel (?) 7/16th drill bit to get it through the metal. But they got through and everything is bolted, washered and nutted down along with a metal bracket for extra stability. I forgot to take pictures of this.
I took the loft joists out for staining, and cut down a few 2x4s to the exact width of the trailer and then screwed these in place of the loft joists to suck the walls in to the width that they should be. Mom had to come help yank on the wall at one point. We yelled at each other a little and I was reminded of the one day she tried to teach me how to drive before we both got so frustrated that we gave up and I had a friend take over. But we got the piece screwed in place eventually.
My brother came over around noon to talk about electrical, and not long after guess who showed up? Jake and Kiva from Tiny Nest! If you’ve been reading this blog you might remember that I’ve been using their Youtube series to assist my build and it has been so helpful. They had gone down to Portland from B.C. for the Tiny House Conference, or at least for the UNConference the day before. They want to do a series of tiny house tours for their website, and when I emailed and said I have a house in progress along the I5 corridor they said they’d stop by and film a tour for a before and after series. It was fun. I think I talked a lot. My house is my entire life right now and it was nice to have other tiny housers to geek out with.
Jake and my brother Kyle are both electricians and there was a lot of electrical geeking out too. Yay builders!
After Jake and Kiva headed homeward, Kyle and I made a detailed plan for my electrical. He had previously quoted me something like $2k for my electric, but once I explained how little electric I’ll be using I think he realized that I don’t need to hire anyone and can do it myself with his guidance. I’ll have something like 14 outlets, 4 separate strips of LED lights, a small chest freezer-turned-fridge with a temp controller, a tankless hot water heater (maybe) and a wall vent above the cooking and bathing area. Pretty simple. The panel will be on the kitchen wall (right behind where I’m standing in the above picture) and on the other side of that wall will be a utility closet on the tongue of the trailer. We’re going to leave an access panel in the wall so we can go in and wire for solar later. I won’t have the money for a PV system for a few years yet but I want the option.
We went to Lowe’s and priced everything and including the LED strips, it’ll be something like $500 for my electric, not counting eventual solar. Yes!
I picked up some wood stain at Lowe’s and tried it out on a small piece of 2×6. It came out way darker than the color on the can. I’ll have to get a different sample of something much much lighter.
Sunday I tried to work on leveling the walls, but got really frustrated and hangry (hungry leading to angry) and was sick of the damn house for the day so I got a meatball sub and some kombucha and spent 7 hours watching SVU and scanning the rest of the hard copy photos I have into digital. A really, really time consuming part of the downsizing phase. I think I’m 30 hours in so far and still have to go into the files and cut each individual picture out into its own file (I scanned 4 or 5 at a time) and then upload them somewhere so I can share with the people in the pictures. It will be worth it when its done, just like the rest of the incredibly time consuming work of building a house.
Monday morning I finished adding joist support studs for the small storage loft and tried again to get the walls level but couldn’t quite do it without someone to push and bang on the wall while I screwed or nailed it in place. I tried a rope and pulley system using my hard-earned deckhand skillz (I can tie a [shitty] clove hitch in my sleep) and got so so close but time ran out and I gave up with the walls just barely not plumb and square on one corner.
This weekend was really rewarding, even though the house doesn’t actually look any different right now than it did Saturday morning when I got there. Having other tiny house people over and getting their feedback which was super positive, getting the electric plan and budget worked out and hanging out with my brother, finishing the scanning project, getting to use my deckhand skills, all in the warm sunshine… it was fun. I love building, even with the frustrating, infuriating, smashed fingers unlevel walls yelling swearing throwing things hangry moments.
Oh! Last thing, I climbed up on the ladder and temporarily screwed in piece of scrap 2×4 to estimate the height of my roof and length of the roof rafters. I wanted to know if the little window I replaced with the tulip stained glass will fit up there. It looks really close and I’m not sure. But cool to see basically how high my house will be.
Now it’s back to work delivering pizzas for the week. I’m going to Guemes Island to pick up the door, light and window on Thursday, and I brought the loft joists home with me so I can stain them in the mornings before work. The house is really coming along and every time I look at it I feel a mixture of shock and surprise (whoa, where’d THAT come from?!) and also a sense of total rightness and inevitability. Like, oh hello, you’re finally here.