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 now intruding into the shower! I decided to purchase a standard shower base and that ‘Future Joe’ would figure out how to custom build a shower cubical around the window.
Well the future arrived and I decided to build it out of roofing metal, as I figured this was a material I could work with that should produce something leak proof.
- The space for the shower
- I installed pressure treated ply with some Redzone (leftover from installing the windows) at the bottom to make a seal between the wood and the shower base
- I then installed felt (leftover from the roof… are you detecting a theme?!) as a fallback incase moisture got behind the metal
- I then overlapped the metal panels and used roofing screws to afix them to the walls. Getting them to go around the inside corners was interesting. Without a metal bender I tried a few things to get a 90 degree bend (including beating it with a hammer), but nothing worked quite right. In the end I just leant into the panel as I screwed it in to place and it produced a nice, tight bend.
It was time for the electrician to come back. I had to go out and get a few last minute bits, but it had been a long time coming so I had everything laid out and ready to go (including the mandatory post-it note labels).
As I waited for him to arrive, I decided I had enough time to change the pedals on my bike. Long story short, I sliced my hand open when I slipped and punched my bike chain ring, meaning that when Jake arrived I had to immediately leave him to it so I could go to hospital and get stitches! (it is healing well).
The electricals were done in no time (thanks Jake!). The house has a 120V exterior hookup that we designed so it can run off of an extension cord (either a standard 15A or RV 30A). From there is is pretty much wired like a regular house, with a breaker panel and installed by a professional (best decision ever)!
Alone again I was left to wire up the 12V appliances, 12V LED lights and the ceiling fan. Some 12V gubbins…
Kitchen lights working…
A working propane heater (“just in time for summer” as my neighbour commented!)….
Ceiling fan installed!
Next up I decided to design and make the little bedside cabinets. This was a new kind of project for me, but I had fun with it.
I used leftover plywood from the walls (of course), cut them to size and sanded them smooth. I then applied good ol’ Danish Oil and left the jigsaw puzzle to dry.
With a bit of trial and error I was happy with the end result. Which is good, because there are plenty more shelves and cabinets to make.
The next job will be installing the flooring. I managed to get some really nice Maple engineered flooring cheap off of Craigslist a while back. It was leftover from someone’s renovation and was just the right amount for the tiny house.