Tiny House Construction: The Finale!

Watch a time lapse to see what I have been up to: Well it’s been a while! Things have come along nicely. First up was installing the engineered maple flooring that I got a Craigslist deal on. The install was pretty straight forward once I got into a rhythm. I calculated that I had just the right amount, as long as I didn’t install flooring underneath the cabinets (that’ll save some weight too). I hoped that I would have enough to go under the fridge/freezer, but not the end of the world if I didn’t – I could just patch that with plywood and no-one (else) would ever know. I was careful not to waste any material and didn’t cut a piece if I didn’t have to and in the end I had just enough to floor under the fridge as well. In fact I ended up wasting almost nothing and all I was left with was a single 1 foot piece. I was pretty pleased about that! With the floor in I was now free to start building cabinets and furniture. I started on something easy – the shoe/bag cupboard to go beside the front door. This also doubles as a side table next to the sofa. I worked the plywood in the same way as I did the loft cubbies – sanding smooth both the faces and edges with a high grit and softening all of the corners before applying danish oil. Being really happy with the finished product this is a process I repeated for much of the interior, but boy is it time consuming! I listened to a lot of podcasts. Carly had mentioned wanting some little shelves in the sleeping loft beside the bed. We had looked at some photos online and I liked the ‘honeycomb’ style, which I figured I could easily make myself. I got a bit of a production line going and made us each some as a surprise for her. We each chose where we wanted our little shelves and I used four nails in each to hold them in place. I had tried buying some hidden picture mounts to secure them, but nails are cheap and did a much better job. I’m not much of a ‘trinket’ kind of guy, so it might take some time for mine to fill up, but I can think of one item that I cherish… my trusty tape measure. Next up was some shelving. We had originally imagined this as being lots of little cubbies, of assorted sizes. However once I got started I realised that this could be some serious storage in the house and I wanted to get the most out of it. The first time I put up the ‘mega shelves’ I was a bit worried that they imposed into the space too much, but in reality I think it was just weird filling the house after it being an empty space for so long. I’m glad we made them as big as we did and even though the top shelf is only accessible with a ladder, it’s big enough to fit some bulky off-season items (winter jackets / sleeping bags) that you only need to access rarely. The stairs had been a design challenge in the back of my mind for two years, ever since we decided upon the layout of the house. We knew we wanted them to double/triple as storage and a desk, without being too difficult to get up and down (especially for night pees!). We also had a fixed amount of room between the sofa and […]

Tiny House Construction: Getting There!

Watch a time lapse to see what I have been up to: Things are really starting to com together as I venture into the finishing work. With the end starting to peak over the horizon I am spurred on, so lots to cover in this update. With the walls complete, Carly and I decided on colours and finishes. We decided to paint the plywood walls and leave the floor/ceiling natural wood to prevent a too-woody-sauna-feel. After some deliberation we decided on two colours: a light green and a light grey/white. Unfortunately most of the painting sessions were lost from the time lapse video due to a technical mishap, but Carly and I had fun working together on the decorating. Next up was the ceiling. I decided to go with cedar and spent time hand picking boards with attractive grain. To finish the wood I went with Danish Oil, which protects the wood and brings out the grain nicely. I could not be happier with how the ceiling looks and I’m glad I didn’t cheap out by going with pine (which would have cost half as much!). Storage in a small space is obviously crucial and Carly had imagined a cupboard at the end of the sleeping loft which incorporated the slope of the ceiling. Taking this idea I designed the cupboard and continued the ceiling boards so to all but a keen eye it is hidden from below, but adds a lot of storage space in what would have been unused space. Next up was trim. I decided to make it up as I went and practised by trimming around the shelf that is recessed into the wall between the kitchen and shower room. I was happy with the result and moved on to the windows. Note the glass jars – these are pickle jars from Costco that I (and somewhat reluctantly ‘we’) have been stock piling for the last two years for just this use. My plan is to use the jars to unify some of our food containers to make storage more efficient. My original plan was to do all of the trim in Douglas Fir, because it has such an attractive grain. However I had some cedar left over from the ceiling and the exterior (which I have also been holding on to for over a year). However being so happy with the ceiling I decided to use the leftovers instead of going out and buying new wood. I custom made each piece of trim from the random pieces I had lying around by first cutting them to size using the table saw, sanding them until they were smooth to touch and finishing them with Danish Oil. This was a very satisfying and fun job. It turns out I like finishing work. I find it non  stressful and it makes a big difference to see the final result and be happy with it. In the shower room I installed the sink and tap, next was the last job I had been putting off and I hope it will be the last anxiety inducing step of the built…. the shower. Over two years ago when I was building the 3D model from the house plans I purchased, I moved the kitchen window a few inches over to centre it in the wall, thinking the architect had made a mistake. About six months ago I realised that this was not a mistake in the plans (to be fair there were some other errors), as the extra inches allowed for a standard shower cubical to be installed. The window was […]

Tiny House Construction: Vapour Barrier, Interior Walls and a Loft

Watch a time lapse to see what I have been up to: As you may have noticed in my last update, using the house as both the workshop, storage and the job site was starting to get a little cramped. I decided to buy a portable car shelter to act as storage and workshop in order to free up inside the house. Continuing with the vapour barrier that I started before the Christmas break, I insulated around the wheel wells before sealing up the walls. Installing the vapour barrier in the ceiling was very time consuming, as I wanted a good seal at the ridge to prevent any moisture from getting into the roof, but as I wanted the beam itself exposed there was not much room for error. For the record, achostical sealant is not nice stuff… and never dries. With everything sealed it was time to start attaching the interior wall. I decided to go with a 1/2″ birch plywood instead of the usual drywall. I am taking the time and money to use nice materials on the build, which I do not consider drywall to be. It also has a reputation for cracking in tiny houses when they are moved. Cutting the plywood around power outlets and windows was time consuming as I didn’t want big gaps visible. It has taken a little while to switch to ‘finishing mode’, but I am enjoying myself and am happy with the result. This was one of the tricker wall pieces to cut… It was time to make a hole in the roof for the propane heater vent. This was a little nerve wracking considering the amount of effort I had spent ensuring the roof didn’t leak, but I got out the hole saw and decided to go for it (after measuring many, many times). I then dry-fitted the heater on the wall and the cap on the roof to ensure everything was where it should be. Next up was creating the sleeping loft. I purchased tongue and groove boards and painted them white. The car shelter became a handy drying room. I sanded the loft beams (twice) and applied stain/sealant to protect them from moisture. I then air stapled the boards in place creating the loft. Note the hole above the ladder is because I miss-calculated slightly and ran out of wood… off to the store I go! It’s nice to be working with wood again, after my hiatus spent learning about building science and figuring out the services I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. I am running a little behind with blog updates, so things have already progressed a lot from the above. I hope to get another update out soon as I really get stuck in to the finishing work.

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