Touchdown…

I can hardly believe that I am writing this post from the smaller of the two lofts in the tiny house which has finally touched down at it’s new home!!!

Deep breath…

 

It has been a long time in the making, just over a year from the time we got the trailer, and about 16 months since we first got the plans, but the house is mostly finished and settled in a cozy corner of a budding new community that has welcomed us with open arms. We are really excited to be part of the planning phases of this amazing little oasis. There will be more tiny houses here soon, but we’re the first to land.

Although we have spent 5 nights in the tiny, we are still adjusting to all of the new systems. There are so many variables, like adjusting the temperature of the on demand hot water heater, to figuring out how many hours it takes to complete a single load of laundry in our quirky little washer/dryer unit, and of course having to deal with gray water systems and a toilet originally designed for astronauts.

That said, so far so good. The tiny really feels like a real house. Most everything works…(industry friends: think MVP). There’s still a few features that need to be built out, but we’re doing it! The dream of the 90s IS alive in Portland!

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Although the move itself went smoothly, it nearly gave us all a heart attack. Thankfully we didn’t have far to go because just the sounds of the trailer creak and moan as it moved for the first time since the house was built on top of it, sounded like Godzilla. The driver we hired was cool as a cucumber and had a great sense of humor, so many thanks to Tim from Gerlock Towing! You helped us all from freaking out and not a single thing was out of place after the move.

The tiny survived the journey with just a few scratches along the side from a branch in our own driveway and one broken scissor jack from trying to level the house on our supremely uneven pad. Don’t get me started on the uneven pad, but lets just say I had to dig a hole under the tongue of the trailer just to get it level. Sad pandas.

This week we are supposed to get our permanent 50 Amp power connection, our wired and wireless internet, and our gray water irrigation system hookup. For now we are running on extension cords, using a MiFi device, and filling our gray water tanks, hoping it won’t be much longer before all systems are up to par. (tiny dojo v.2)

Tomorrow I start installing the trim and shou sugi ban siding with my step dad. He has been pivotal in helping us get over the goal line with the stairs and interior trim right before we had to move. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. I am hoping we can wrap up the outside of the house within the next 4 to 6 weeks. Then we can truly be finished.

Until next time, I’m off to check the levels on the propane and water tanks.

So close, yet so far away…

I am happy to report that we have managed to tackle a lot of tasks on our to do list since my post last week…at least I think it was last week. I haven’t been quite sure of what day it is lately since they all seem to be work days when you have a partially finished house that you need to move into, as well as physically move, by May 1st.

Trying to cross my T’s and dot my i’s, I have been arranging everything from towing for the tiny, to cutting off the utilities at our current house. Thankfully the journey to our new location is not very far, but I can’t help but be really anxious about it. I have been finding myself walking the route and checking the height of the power lines and trees along the way to make sure our nearly 14 foot tall beauty will make it.

So far, so good. The towing company seems confident and they have even moved tiny houses in the Portland area before, so I think we are in good hands. They asked all the right questions and we called way in advance to book. We have a follow up in a couple of weeks, just to make sure it’s all on track.

Speaking of on track. All of the cabinets have been installed, apart from the bathroom, and they look great. The mounting track keeps them all secured to studs all along the length of the house. They feel super solid and the window seat turned out perfect. I think this track system was originally designed for earthquake prone areas, but it’s well suited to a tiny house that may get jostled by road travel.

I am still a little concerned about how the seams of the drywall will hold up with the road movement, but the trailer seems really firm, so hopefully they will hold up. I guess only time will tell.

Here’s the latest and greatest shot of the cabinetry facing the kitchen:

 

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and the night shot:

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The plumbing in the kitchen was just test fitted, but once we get counter tops, we can finish up the kitchen. I think we decided on going with solid birch counter tops. It will help lighten up the room and contrast all of the black wood cabinet fronts. The color and grain also looks very similar to the bamboo flooring and the exposed beams in the kitchen and bathroom.

Our friend Danielle came by the other night to help us tie up the plumbing waste lines, fresh water inlet, and drill access holes for the propane system. Once she was able to drill the holes for me, I was able to install the propane system that I had designed. It was a tight fit, but we managed to make it top notch. We used black pipe under the trailer for it’s strength and to avoid any possible damage from road debris, although it was mounted fairly deep into the trailer so I think it’s going to be really protected no matter what.

 

The most exciting item we crossed off the to do list was to get started on the Shou Sugi Ban! We have looking forward to this for a long time and I must say it was more fun than I expected, as well as even better looking than i expected in real life. The videos never do it justice.

I must admit that the idea of burning wood to make it more resilient and resulted in a beautiful finish was immediately interesting, but I had doubts about trying to tackle it myself. After some gentle encouragement, and a reminder that I used to play with all the time (as a volunteer firefighter), it was clear. We had to do it!

After about 6 hours of burning and another 6 hours of scrubbing, the boards are ready to oil. We haven’t decided on using a clear or colored tint yet, but we will have to decide before the rain comes again. So far, they already look amazing. I imagine it will take about a week to install all the siding once it’s been oiled.

 

The rest of this week will be designing the stairs, designing the shower surround and configuring a utility closet for the hot water heater. Once we have that in place we can do the interior finish work, like window trim, paint touch up, and bathroom storage.

It’s going to a busy couple of weeks, but I hope to have the house online by Earth Day, April 22nd. It’s a lofty goal, but maybe one we can achieve. That will still give us a week of wiggle room, but I really don’t want to push it out to the wire. On that note, please wish us luck and if you can donate any time, money, kind words, pizza, or gift cards, please let us know. We’ll need every last drop to get over the finish line.

Thank you for following our insane journey.

Now time for a bath! My back is screaming at me.

 

 

 

 

 

The final stretch…

The final stretch is upon us! We are now racing the clock to complete our tiny house build. We have a deadline of May 1st, at which time we will have to move our tiny house from it’s current building location to it’s new home.

The house itself is in pretty good shape now. We have completed a lot of the structural tasks and even have some of the systems in place and functional. Now we just need to tie up the rest of the systems, get the furnishings installed, and do the finish work.

Here’s what she looked like as of yesterday!

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Currently all of the electric is complete and working! The LED lights lok great and all the dimmers work with our transformers. I have heard many a horror story about LEDs and loud ballasts/transformers. We may have just gotten lucky, but I would like to think I was actually paying attention to the specs.

Although I am optimistic about getting most of this done by May 1st, I think we will have to leave a few projects for after the move. At the very least we will need to have the water, gas, stairs and bathroom walls finished.

That said, we still have a ton of work to do.

I’m heading home now to go sand and seal the beams in the kitchen and bathroom.

Hopefully I will be able to provide a more substantial update soon.

Thanks for following!

 

 

Not a moment too soon.

We finally have a finished roof on our tiny house!

Tons of thanks to our good friend and all around superstar designer and builder, Dusty!

Getting the roof completed as soon as possible was on the top of all of our to do lists with heavy rains and winds headed our way. Although Oregon has been unusually dry and warm this year, it appears that the seasons have finally changed and the rains may have returned for good.

Needless to say, not a moment to soon as it started to rain and even hail just as we finished.

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As I type this post it’s raining outside and the drip edge we just installed hours previously is working like a charm. I see a steady stream of water being projected away from the house and no longer down the side of the wall, as it would have done just a day ago.

Originally we had thought we were going to put a metal roof on our tiny house, but after considering how much noise a heavy rain can make, we opted for a quieter and less expensive option, roofing shingles. These shingles come with a lifetime warranty and are rated for 130+ mph winds. This was an important consideration for us since the house may someday be driven down the road and we didn’t want loose shingles flapping around.

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I cannot begin to express my excitement and relief that we are getting some of our long standing projects completed. Life had gotten a little hectic for us for a while and we had to put almost everything on hold.

Now  that we are back on track, we have gotten the rough electrical done, the rough plumbing about 90% done, and the insulation is just waiting for the last few bits of plumbing before stuffing the last few open bays.

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Next up will be installing the baffling for the stairs, storage and cabinetry. Then we button up the walls by installing the ultra lightweight drywall.

Earlier, I looked around the tiny house, saw the huge stack of IKEA boxes and proceeded to tell everyone within ear-shot that I couldn’t wait to put them all together…

There was an uncomfortable pause, as if i were crazy, or had just insulted someone’s mother.

Yes, maybe I think of IKEA as an adult version of Lego. It’s like a guilty pleasure. I can’t help but be excited to put together our shiny new custom kitchen that we painstakingly designed from scratch using their online design tool.

Maybe my blonde roots, aka European heritage, has gotten the best of me. Then again, check out what we scored at the thrift store last night! Discontinued Ikea Hardware from 2001 that just so happens to match our bathroom theme perfectly:

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TA-DA !?!?!

Coincidence or fate? You decide…

All I can say for sure is that I can rest easier tonight knowing that our little house is a bit safer from the elements as we edge closer to the finish line.

XOXO

Tiny Portland

We’re back!!!!

After several weeks of no movement on the tiny house, we are back in business. Long story short, both of us have taken on new professional endeavors and neither one of us have had much time to work on anything but our day jobs. Not to mention the limited funds we are working with as we get closer to completing the project. That said, we are excited to share the latest progress with you.

Our last update showed the completed rough electrical, which we are quite pleased with. Our electrician friend did an excellent job and we feel really confident and safe with her work. She will be helping us with the finish electrical when the time comes as well.

Now for the exciting part, the new progress we’ve made on the build! This last week we were able to get our plumber friend to come over and work on the rough plumbing. We started with mapping out the system first. After the system was mapped out, we were able to drill the holes.

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Once we had all of holes cut, we started to work on the waste lines. This of course was a bit challenging since we had to cut around the wheel wells and avoid framing members of the trailer. We also had to cut through the flashing, sub-floor, and bamboo finish flooring to get there. Fortunately we had the right tools for the job and nothing really held us up.

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Now that we know what wall sections where the water mains will be located, we were able to continue on the roof insulation as well.

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Soon we will be building the deck for the mini bathtub we got from a local woman that is also building a tiny house. She happened to have two mini tubs, so we got a great deal! Once the tub deck is in place, we can finish the waste lines and figure out the shower and faucet placement.

We are so happy to be building again after such a long break. We hope to keep up the momentum until completion, which we hope will be on or before Thanksgiving.

As always, thanks for reading and if you are inspired to help us in any way, it would be very appreciated!

Here are a few ways you can contribute to our tiny house dream:

If you buy ANYTHING on Amazon, use the link below and we will receive a small portion of the proceeds for referring you, and best of all… it won’t cost you anything!

Tiny Portland’s Amazon Store Link : http://amzn.to/1LStdFM

We are also accepting PayPal donations : Donate Here

Time keeps on slipping….

It has been a solid few weeks since our last update, and for that I apologize. Since we had been traveling off and on for most of June we didn’t get much work done on the tiny house. We did, however, get a much needed vacation on our first ever trip to Maui. I will spare you the details, but even in paradise there were several restless nights, thousands of miles away, where I wished I could be working on the house. Now that we are back, we can continue where we left off.

In our last update we talked about how the rough electrical was about 2/3 complete. I am happy to report that we will be finishing the rough electrical tonight! This part of the project has taken a lot longer than we expected, but some of the parts we ordered for the project went missing during shipping. Fortunately the purchases were insured and we had replacement parts sent. The last few pieces we needed finally arrived yesterday, so our electrician can finally wrap up the job.

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We have also just finished installing the bamboo floors on the main floor and one of the lofts. We ran out of flooring before finishing the second loft. So now we have to wait for a couple more boxes of flooring to arrive before we can wrap that part up.

We absolutely love the bamboo floor so far and have already tested with a little breakdancing. 🙂

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Our next priority is the plumbing. Although we had a general idea of what the bathroom needed, we didn’t have a clear idea of what it would look like or, more importantly, if we could fit a bathtub in. We did some research and were able to find a few different tub solutions, including galvanized steel tubs, Japanese soaking tubs, and RV style bathtubs. After a few more searches we found someone who had the perfect sized RV tub for sale. We go pick it up tomorrow!!!

Once we pick up the bathtub, the only things left to source will be our bathroom vanity, fixtures, and faucets. We already have all of the fittings, pex piping, exhaust fan, and tools to finish the project, so hopefully we can have the plumbing done within the next couple of weeks. Thankfully we have so many talented people willing to help out.

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When the utilities are done, we will be able to insulate and drywall. With so many piles of the building materials strung all over our property, we definitely have our work cut out for us.

I hope to be able to post updates more frequently as we get back into the swing of the build again.

As we get close to completing our tiny house dream we are starting to run out of resources. That said, if you are inspired to help us in any way, it would be very appreciated!

Here are a few ways you can contribute:

If you buy ANYTHING on Amazon, use the link below and we will receive a small portion of the proceeds for referring you, and best of all… it won’t cost you anything!

Tiny Portland’s Amazon Store Link : http://amzn.to/1LStdFM

Tiny Portland is now accepting PayPal Donations : Donate Here

Thanks for following!

Build Small Live Large Summit 2015 – A Housing Market Revival

We wanted to bring your attention to a really interesting event coming up in November. Check it out!

Build Small Live Large Summit 2015–A Housing Market Revival

Friday, November 6th, 2015, Portland State University

Leaders in the small house movement will gather for this one-day summit to share what’s working, what’s new, and what’s next. This unique educational event connects homeowners and home-seekers with the pioneering design, construction and policy professionals who help create beautiful, space-efficient homes. Learn about cottage clusters, elegant designs and smart policy initiatives, then find inspiration and connect with peers and potential clients at the Best of Small Design Slam and Hospitality Hour. The next housing trend is here – how will you be involved?

Find out more at: http://www.buildsmall-livelarge.com

You can also sign up to be on the Build Small Live Large Updates list.

Don’t forget! There’s a really easy way for you to help us out with our own tiny house build. If you buy anything at all online, please check to see if it’s on Amazon first. Just bookmark our link to get to Amazon and make your purchase: tinyportland’s Amazon store

Thanks for reading!

Splinters and Sparks

Since the last post we have had a lot of delays, but we did make some progress and we were able to source a lot of the supplies needed for the coming stages of the tiny house build.

Let’s begin with the not so graceful delivery of our bamboo flooring. 😦

It seems as if anytime we order something large for the house to be delivered it just gets dumped in our driveway with little to no care. I spent an entire blog post ranting about the lost art of service a few months ago when the lumber was dropped off the back of a truck (reverse and BRAKE) and the Sears Outlet failed so miserably I couldn’t even begin to recount the tale, so I digress.

Here’s how the flooring was delivered:

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Needless to say some of the flooring was damaged in delivery (thanks FedEx), but we should have more than enough flooring to finish the project…I will try not to worry so much.

Cue divine intervention : A few months ago we were talking to the producers of “Tiny House, Big Living” about what unique features we would like to have if we could do anything with our tiny house. One of the features we mentioned in that interview was laser etched details for the house.

Basically, we want to laser etch our floors, and maybe even some of the walls and trim.

The universe listened and just this Saturday I met some artists who are new to the area who happen to have a laser that will do all of the awesome detail work we wanted! They already use it for engraving, etching, and burning art! So much excite!

To get an idea of what I am talking about, check out some of their work:

You can contact them via : elicurrey@gmail.com

OK, so the progress that we were able to make was mostly related to the rough electrical that we started last week. The rough in is about 2/3 done. We made some mistakes, fixed them, and then changed our minds on the placement of some of the outlets and switches. Even with the best laid plans, things change. Big thanks to Kerri, our dear friend, who happens to also be an electrician!

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I was also able to get all of our LED cans mounted. This part was really easy and pretty fun. We can’t wait to see them light up.

Naturally, I had bought us an exhaust fan for the bathroom and was hoping to get it installed but as soon as I got it home I could see it wasn’t going to work. Since we are using 2×4 studs, and not 2×6’s, the fan was too deep to fit inside the wall. A minor setback, but I was able to find a comparable shallow mount fan on Amazon for less than I had paid for the original. Score.

Speaking of Amazon, there’s a really easy way for you to help us out. It won’t cost you an extra cent, but it will help us out just for referring you. If you buy anything online, check to see if it’s on Amazon first. Just bookmark our link to make your purchases: tinyportland’s Amazon store

Thanks for following us and our project!

Level Up : 207 sq. ft. to 317 sq. ft.

We achieved a huge milestone with the tiny house this weekend…we completed the lofts!!!

Now that we have all of the framing finally done, we officially went from 207 square feet as a single floor house, up to 317 square feet now that we have the two lofts.

One of the lofts will be our bedroom, while the other will serve as a cozy hang out space.

Here is a view from the bedroom loft window:

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Once the lofts were in and we were able to sit up there and take a look around, it felt a lot bigger than we expected. Although it is a little shorter than I hoped for, I think it will be comfortable. Keeping the wide open area in the middle of the house will keep the space feeling open and roomy.

The loft on the opposite end of the house is a little shorter than I first pictured in my head, but it provides ample space below for the fireplace and the swing of the front door.

Here is a shot of the “living room” loft as seen from the bedroom loft:

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Over the long holiday weekend I also managed to install all of our home automation and security systems, which included things like a GPS tracker and Bluetooth enabled locks.

Now all of our tools and the tiny house itself can be secured. It’s nice to have the extra piece of mind.

Here is a shot of some of our home automation and security products being installed. I will do a feature blog post on all of the smart tech in the near future.

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With the bamboo flooring on the way and the appliances standing by, it’s time to finish the utilities and plan the kitchen.

I hope to have a lot more updates soon, but for now I forsee an evening trip to Ikea.

I also wanted to remind you all that we now have a super easy way that you could help us out with our build. If you shop for ANYTHING on Amazon (toothpaste, clothing, electronics, etc) you can help us! Just click our link to get to Amazon and then make your purchase. It won’t cost you an extra cent, but it will help us out just for referring you.

Click on this link for any of your Amazon purchases to help us out: tinyportland’s Amazon store

Don’t forget to bookmark the link above and we hope to have some exciting news to share with you next week.

Thanks for following!

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night…

…well maybe gloom of night until we get lights installed, but the tiny house is nearly all sealed up!

Last week we finished up the Tyvek wrapping of the house. We easily got the lower half of the house done using only a step ladder, but we had been putting off the top half of the house since it involved either getting on the roof or using tall ladders. After some hesitation, we were able to tackle to job.

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The rest of the weekend I found myself working on the house alone, installing the windows. Granted, installing windows is not very difficult once you know how to do it, but doing it alone, on a ladder, is something else entirely. I should have probably waited until I had a second person to help me install all of the second floor windows, but patience is not always a virtue of mine.

That said, by the end of the weekend I had all (but one) of the windows installed. I managed to not injure myself too badly and I only dropped one of the windows! Seriously… by some divine intervention, the window did not break when it hit the driveway after about a 10 foot fall. O.o

Here are some pictures of the latest progress:

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Next up will be to get the last window installed. The last window will definitely require at least two people to install since it is so large, and because it’s technically three separate windows that we are fitting together into one rough opening. Once we have that last window in, we can get the door hung and we will be all sealed up!

Hopefully I will have an update for you in the next few days. Thanks for following!