Tiny House Build Weeks 15 and 16: wheel wells, loft floors, utility box, electricity, windows, and more!

I have stopped keeping very good track of my progress on the house, mostly due to feeling like I am at a dead run to get it all done before January.

I definitely spent three days covering up the wheel wells:

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I thought this would take me maybe an afternoon, but noooooo.  The framing part was easy enough.  I followed the guidance of Tiny Nest as usual.  I sprayed Good Stuff insulation foam into the cracks between the wheel wells and the frame and stuffed wool insulation into the whole box.   I made mock ups for the outer casing out of OSB and was happy with the fit.  I was using 1/2″ hardwood plywood for the outside, and turns out the saw I was using, borrowed from my stepdad, had a blade meant for framing.  I had been vaguely aware that there were different size blades for different purposes, but it really came home when the blade chewed through my nice plywood.  I also discovered that it was much more difficult-maybe because of the blade, maybe because of the denser material, maybe because I forgot how- but I could not cut a straight line to save my life.  I got one side done and it was all wavy edges and ripped up facing.  Tried to get the blade off the saw to change it and couldn’t, had yet another existential crisis about my worthiness as a human being, and then snapped out of it and went down to Lowe’s to buy my own damn tools, because you can only use borrowed tools for so long and I’m going to need them anyway.

putting on my big girl pants and becoming a tool owner
putting on my big girl pants and becoming a tool owner

I still had a terrible time cutting a straight line- maybe because I bought a left handed saw-but I got them cut out and in place.  I didn’t think about what the rough edge would look like once it was all in place… you can see all the layers of plywood and it looks a little janky… but maybe it’ll look better when it’s stained, maybe I’ll use some trim, or maybe I’ll do it all over and use actual hardwood, which didn’t even occur to me as an option until I was done.  Oh, the joys of learning carpentry AS you are building a house with all the money spent on wood that you cut into a wavy, chopped up mess.

but whatever.  it's getting built
but whatever. it’s getting built

I also stained and laid down the floors for both lofts.  Some dearly loved and missed Domino’s coworkers drove down from Mt. Vernon to help.

I told them not to watch me so I wouldn't mess up the line, so they did this
I told them not to watch me so I wouldn’t mess up the line, so they did this

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Steve made sure that there would be headroom in the loft for, ahem, *private time with a partner* (consensus was there is enough room for all varieties of this).  Then we all went out for ice cream and thoroughly freaked out the rest of the patrons at Denny’s with our perverted jokes.

yay!
yay!

My brother, gods bless him, is an electrician and he came over one afternoon to discuss my electrical system and go shopping with me for supplies to rough in the wiring.  First he helped me hoist the little loft up and bang it into place, where it miraculously fit.  It will serve as storage mostly, but I’ll probably keep a camping pad or some kind of foldable mattress around for overnight guests to stay up there.

guest room!
guest room!

I am going to have a very small electrical load: No matter how much I read and talk about electricity, it still does my head in, so I can’t explain it here, but I will have a small hot water heater that only draws 12 amps, a mini-fridge which will be about the same, lights and outlets for charging, a ventilation fan, a porch light.  I’m ordering a woodstove that won’t be ready until Spring, so will have to use some kind of electric heater until then.  I’ve been eyeing this oil filled radiator for the coming winter.  Kyle and I went to Lowe’s and picked out a small, 100 amp electric panel with 6 slots for breakers, a bunch of (incredibly heavy!) wire, outlet boxes, and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t know the name of.  I was unsure what kind of plug I should get to bring power into the house, but have determined that a 30 amp RV plug with an adaptor to use a regular extension cord will work great.  I’m only going to wire in a few lights and will be using LED puck lights in the kitchen and bathroom that plug into an outlet, and lamps in the lofts and great room.  Electricity should be pretty simple.

someone on IG pointed out that Kyle seems to be staring rather intently at a big bottle of 'wire lube'
someone on IG pointed out that Kyle seems to be staring rather intently at a big bottle of ‘wire lube’

I also got the utility box for the tongue of the trailer framed, using the guidance of… you guessed it, Tiny Nest.  My box is much higher than theirs, and the configuration of the breakaway controls and tongue jack seem different, so I made mine a bit shallower and a lot taller, with the bottom starting high enough off the tongue to allow clearance for the tongue jack (as opposed to framing it into the utility box as they did.  Eventually, solar panel batteries will go in here, but for now I’ll use it for camping equipment, a mini grill, coolers, fishing rods.  Etc.

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next up: tyvek, siding, metal roof, doors.

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Dad was going to come over last Monday to install windows, but Boeing sent him to Qatar for the week, so Jerry and I took on the window task a few days ago, using the guidance of his framer buddy Randy.  Most of my windows are salvaged and don’t have nailing flanges, so we drilled through the sides of the vinyl windows into the frame, and caulked the heck of of them on three sides.  We still used flashing tape on the sill and will run it up the sides and onto the window itself a bit to simulate the water tightness of the nailing flanges.

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I did not get good pictures of this process, but Cap’n Fingers is coming by tomorrow to help with the rest of the windows so I will try to document better then.

That’s about all the work I got done on the house the past few weeks… seems like not a lot but I’ve been working just about every single day, at least 6 or 7 hours.  It’s slow going, working alone and with no experience.  But it’s getting there.  And I’m learning so much.  I also managed to attend the wedding of this lovely lady:

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and help Cap’n Fingers with his net:

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and sign a lease on my temporary place in Olympia.  It’s been a very full month.  Last but not least, we managed to raise just over $600 from the Crowdrise fundraiser!!!  Thank you SO SO much to everyone that donated.  It was really heartwarming to see the random folks in my life that gave small amounts.  It’s not the money so much as it is feeling the support.  With that said, money was the point and I’m happy to say it’s almost enough to put in the order for my woodstove from Navigator Stove Works.  Navigator is a tiny local company on Orcas Island and it takes 6-9 months to get a stove, but I think will be very worth it.  I wanted the Little Cod originally, decided it cost too much and takes too long, then changed my mind back when I realized how much of an investment this is.  I’ll have that stove forever, it will heat the house with no problems and I can cook on it as well.  And I’ll know every time I make tea or heat bathwater on it that the love of my friends and family helped make it happen, and that is truly priceless.

yoinked from Pinterest
yoinked from Pinterest
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