Posted on December 30, 2015
Hey there, folks – it’s Amy checking in. Remember us?
Yeah, so it’s been a while. The little house has been sitting still, alone, since last May – patient; in waiting. Standing by while I tried to repeatedly figure out how to approach the next steps of the build and growing weary of the toil the project was taking on me mentally. Somewhere along the way, my mental fortitude started to waiver. The day-in-day-out of going solo at the build site (when John was working during the week) combined with the hesitation of making the “right” decisions resulted in my getting stuck, and that feeling evolved into somewhat of a depression. I found myself in severe need of a break from the project, but sometimes if you let it, life has a way of showing you what you need.
Posted on March 9, 2015
When building a house, there are so many decisions you have to make, so when it came to choosing a tiny house insulation, I researched, researched, researched. The types of insulation, and the pros and cons of each. I found that some builders decide to use standard fiberglass batt insulation for cost effectiveness and availability, yet others decide to use blow-in spray foam insulation to maximize insulation value bang-for-the-buck. The number of insulation types is surprisingly lengthy and. . . creative. I think the most unusual type of insulation that I stumbled across was the process of utilizing phonebooks to insulate walls of your home. Really? Do they even still make those anymore? I guess so, because that’s a thing.
Posted on March 6, 2015
After having starting construction on my tiny house subfloor, I was experiencing a builder’s high. Being it as I had never built a structure of any kind (besides the occasional blanket fort as a kid), and seeing that we had created something tangible and seemingly legitimate, the experience began to feel somewhat surreal. Like cells – dividing, growing, changing – the structure was beginning to take shape and feel notably different than just the “trailer” that had sat on the property for the six months prior. This was really happening. Read More
Posted on February 21, 2015
The first question most ask after learning about our Tiny House is “what is a tiny house?” Fair question, of course. After a brief explanation, the second question most ask is “are you crazy?” Well, given the amount of times I’ve heard this question, I thought it maybe it was something I should look into. Are we crazy? What IS crazy? Below, you’ll find the first three definitions provided by dictionary.com. Let’s see these determine if we are, in fact, crazy.
Posted on February 9, 2015
Starting the construction of the subfloor was a bit scary, considering I had never built -anything- before. John had gone out of town on a business trip for a few days after we leveled the trailer, so it was up to me to get the subfloor framing started. I was also fortunate enough to have my brother, Justin, around who’s quite handy with power tools and has a bit of know-how with handy things. I got to know my power tools QUITE well, including my pneumatic nail gun and miter saw, which I’ve come to not only know, but love!
Posted on December 31, 2014
The week we decided to start our build, things didn’t quite work out as planned. It was the week of our 3rd year wedding anniversary (October 23rd), and John and I removed ourselves from the throes of work to camp out in my parent’s front yard and get started with our project. We had a few things on our agenda for the several days we were there, the first of which was building a shed on the property to store our precious power tools – the things we had never even used before. Read More
Posted on December 29, 2014
A First Step
Like all traditional homes, our tiny house will have a foundation, but unlike those same homes – ours will have wheels. Yep, that means we’ll be able to pick up and tow away our entire lives down the road at a moment’s notice. We’re doing this for a number of reasons (which I’ll cover in a future post). And although we know that living tiny means that we’ll be flying under the radar of legal zoning enforcement, we wanted to make sure that we purchased a well-built, road-legal trailer foundation upon which to build our MASSIVELY important TINY home. Read More
Posted on December 24, 2014
I’ve gotta say, the hardest part of the tiny house journey for me so far has definitely been the planning stage. No joke. Planning took a large chunk of time – it was after about 10 months or so before I figured that I’d gotten to the point where I’d learned enough; it was was do or die, now or never. As the infamous Dee Williams from PAD Tiny Houses said, building a tiny house is “one part how-to and two parts why-not.” All I know is that if I didn’t get started doing something tangible with my hands instead of just letting ideas and questions swirl around my noggin, I’d never actually take what courage I could muster and make it happen. Or at the very least, I’d go irreversibly crazy.
I’ll admit it, I’m a super detailed-oriented over-analyzer. The more options I have, the more paralyzed I become. My husband John has come to the conclusion that I suffer from boughts of perfectionism and analysis-paralysis, so whenever I’m suffering through indecision, he prescribes a good ole dose of flip-the-coin to settle the matter at hand. God, I’m thankful for that man.
It doesn’t help that most of us DIY home builders are learning to do 1,000 things for the first time. Truly though, whenever you’re trying to make such a small, unconventional amount of space fulfill multiple needs for 2+ people on a daily basis, you’ve got to really think through every detail and plan every inch. To give you an idea, here’s just a few of the things I had to ponder, research and work through:
- How much space will I need when sitting on the toilet? While taking a shower?
- How much headspace will my husband need while sitting upon the mattress on the loft? Standing under the loft?
- What’s a comfortable sitting depth for my built-in-couch seats?
- What are some non-toxic finishes for my wood counters, walls, floors?
- Should I build my framing with screws or nails?
- How do I build my own cabinets?
- Where am I going to sleep if I break my leg and can’t climb the stairs?
- How much clearance will I need for my wood stove so I don’t ignite neighboring walls and burn my house down?
This list could go on and on and on….but you could imagine that for someone who had never really used a power tool prior to embarking on their own house build, there were A LOT OF QUESTIONS, a lot of “huh, whaaaaa?” or “oh shites, how do I…?”
That said, here’s five suggestions to make tiny house planning easier.
1. Use Pinterest as a means to organize ideas, blogs and snippets of information that you find around the web
One day I will have so few belongings that I will be able to easily store them in a tiny closet of my teeny-tiny house. But I’ll tell you this – I’m a digital-hoarder-extreme, and Pinterest makes it easy to keep that information organized, visual and accessible. Do what I did here and create a tiny house board where you can store everything (in this case, 1500 pins and counting!), or maybe you’d rather create a couple of different boards to later make browsing/finding content easier. It works.
2. Use your cellphone to record and store data on the go
No one actually carries around a notebook and pen. And yes, cellphones cameras are useful for more than just selfies and cute doggy photos. <insert obligatory selfie above> Stumble across a set of doors that you really like the style of and want to refer to later? Snap. Need to record the dimensions of an appliance while out at Home Depot? Snap. Want to easily file expense receipts for all of your building material purchases? Snap. The cell phone camera makes a great reference tool, and heck, you could even upload your photos up to your Pinterest board.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
When you head out to your local hardware stores, utilize the associates when you’ve got specific questions. Don’t be shy or hesitant – be open with them about your plans for the build. You may even be surprised to find that people will be excited about your project and that you’ll befriend those whom you will see often, which will make finding the assistance and encouragement you need even easier.
4. Give Sketchup a try
If you procure plans from a builder who offers a digital Sketchup model, get that too. And then, if you can muster through it, give yourself time to learn Sketchup. This may seem like an unnecessary task if you’re just trying to make some basic decisions and get on with the build, but truly – when you’re able to take a dimensional representation of your house and manipulate or move it around in virtual space, you will learn about the relationships between boards, components, and see the actuality of space. This might save time down the road when printed plans just aren’t clear enough, and you’ll able to make sure that your custom ideas will work before you ever pick up a hammer.
5. A spouse or dedicated friend is an invaluable asset
This may not need saying, but a spouse or friend(s) can be an infinite source of sanity, encouragement and decision-making. Two brains are better than one, so when you get stuck, a second person can be a great resource to bounce ideas off of, or serve as a welcome distraction/reminder that you need to take a break and distance yourself from the beast that is tiny house planning.
Posted on December 24, 2014
I’m the worst starter.
Despite having started down the path of our tiny house dream a year ago, and being a couple of months into our build…this site has been parked at TinyHouseoftheSouth.com for many months gathering dust, cobwebs and and the occasional dustbunny.
“Do you have any photos of your house so far?” they ask.
“How cool! Are you blogging or documenting your build?” they press.
“We’re so excited! Please let us know when you start!” they exclaim.
I’ve been bombarded with inquiries like this all year long as the whole ordeal has snowballed, all the while knowing that despite my best intentions, trying to successfully steward a blog would probably be quite impossible while building a house. Yet here I am. I feel a responsibility to myself, my future babes and the world to share our journey, if nothing else, to serve as a legacy—to show that simple living is attainable/rational choice, and that building your own home is a worthy and achievable feat.
That being said, I’m committing to at least one post per week. I’ll also be backtracking and catching up on photos and posts, so stay tuned, good folk!