A tiny house update, finally!

Yes, yes, we’re still building our tiny house! We’ve been on an unintentional break for a while now, due to increased life activities such traveling, kittens, friends visiting, kittens, work and the beginnings of the school year, a wilderness trip, oh, and kittens. But, in those times where opportunity has presented itself, we have managed to work on the tiny house bit by bit.

In case you hadn’t noticed, we now have kittens! Their names are Shoelace and Ukulele (Ukee), and we greatly enjoy them. They are very distracting with all of their cuteness and playful antics. We’re are excited and curious to see what it will be like to live in a tiny house with two very active kitties!

Since we last updated in June, we’ve come a good way and learned a lot. Once the roof rafters were up, we sheathed and tar papered the roof so it would be protected against any rain or moisture. Unfortunately, we had to tar paper twice, due to the strength of the storms we had this summer, and the lack of strength of the tiny staples to hold the tar paper down- but we learned our lesson, and we used roofing tacks to hold the tar paper down the second time. It hasn’t gone anywhere since! Next, we worked on closing up the gable ends of the house, as well as the dormer ends, as we hadn’t gotten the chance to do that before we left for the States. We finished up with house-wrapping and sealing all parts of the house (lots of tuck tape!) and began on a new and exciting part: windows!

Installing the windows was much easier than we anticipated. It’s a pretty straight-forward process, and we had all of the windows in within a day, if I remember correctly. Window flashing is pretty darn sticky stuff, but thankfully some of the not-so-smooth flashing will be covered up. Putting the windows in made our tiny house actually begin to feel like a house- there was light! After being completely house-wrapped for a few weeks, it was wonderful to be able to cut slits in the window openings and allow fresh air into that tiny space. We particularly enjoy our one large window in the living room area- I envision growing some plants or herbs in the window, and the kitties enjoying a window ledge to sit on and look at the world outside.

After installing the windows, we decided to tackle the exterior window trim and siding. It took a while to figure out the colors and look we wanted for the exterior, but we’re super happy with our choice- natural cedar trim and semi-solid green stain for the beveled cedar siding. We think it looks gorgeous! I really enjoy painting/staining, so I worked on getting all of the trim stained with Broda (a more natural stain produced out of Vancouver, BC) and then Kyle put them up. The cedar trim was a bit wider than we were hoping for, but we don’t even notice anymore and we love the look! For the semi-solid stain, we chose Behr, even though there’s not much about them that’s “natural” or even “local/made in Canada”. Being up in Canada, and comparing to many others who have built tiny houses in the US, we find it difficult to access the variety of items that Americans tiny house builders can. It either takes a couple of weeks to order it in (even in Calgary), or we need to order it specialty online, or we make do with other items. It hasn’t been a huge issue, but something we’ve noticed. Overall, we’re loving the look of the green and cedar, and we’re looking forward to when all of the siding is done and up!


Another exterior project that needed to be completed was the shed, located on the tongue of the trailer. The purpose of the shed will be storage for our camping gear and possibly the fuse box (depending if that can be outside in the cold or not)- and any other necessary items. Kelly Toots, Kyle’s best friend from Summerland, BC, arrived just in time to work on the shed with Kyle and complete the whole thing within the day. Thanks Kelly!


We’ve also been working on our roof. Despite a couple of setbacks with an ordering miscommunication, our charcoal grey metal roof finally arrived. Roofing is a challenge. A good portion of our roof (other than the dormer area) is a pretty steep incline, and makes it a challenge to safely install the roof without fearing for your life. Despite this, and our fear of heights, we’ve gotten half of the roof on now (we continually procrastinate on this!), and hope to finish it this weekend. Kyle, the brave one, is the one at the top of the ladder installing the roof, while I hold the ladder and (honestly) get kind of bored. And since the weather in Alberta this summer can’t make up it’s mind… I either freeze or fry. (or there’s freak hail storms like this one in July…) I’ll be thrilled when the roof is on and secured!


We’ve also installed two 2×2′ fixed skylights- and we’re really glad we did! One is located over the living room to further brighten the area, and the second is located up in the loft so we can look out at the stars at night and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine during the day. Initially we planned on only having one skylight… but then we thought about seeing the stars at night from our loft, and couldn’t resist. It’s also nice having one in the loft, as it gives us an additional 10″ or so to sit up in that particular space.


Our heat source for the tiny house also arrived a few weeks ago- a Mini-Franklin Soapstone Stove from the Woodstock Soapstone Stove company. It’s tiny and gorgeous! This is a great company to work with, and even when the UPS managed to crack a side of the soapstone stove upon delivery (they’re careful like airport luggage transfer people are careful) they sent us a replacement side right away without hesitation. For more information about this great company, check them out at: http://www.woodstove.com/.

Along the way, there’s been other small things we’ve done, but these are the main (and exciting) projects. Just a few days ago we picked up the materials for our door, which we’re going to build ourselves (why not?). Since it’s a tiny house, a normal 32″ door would just seem… huge. So we’re going to build a 24″ door out of pine T & G. It’s going to be great! So that’s another weekend project.


Although it’s still a ways until we can move in, we’re getting closer and closer. We’re really enjoying this process of building and learning, even if at times it’s overwhelming and we just want to start working on the interior. Our newest hope and goal is to move in by the end of September. Cross our fingers, and back to work!

– Jesse


Raise the roof!

Well it’s been one month today since we bought our trusty trailer and look how far we’ve got!

We’ve got ourselves a roof! (kind of! No metal yet.)

The sheathing and framing of the roof.

House wrap on, sheathing of roof happening.


There was a double rainbow, but you can only see one here…

No pictures of the tar paper though, we didn’t finish before it was dark the night before we left.

We didn’t quite make it as far as we would have liked before we took a break (gone to bc, washington and wisconsin for a bit). The gable ends still need framing as well as the storage shed, but we have a roof over our heads all sheathed and tar papered. And the house is wrapped, so it should be safe from the weather until we get back to put the siding on.

It’s starting to come together! The next stages will be finishing up the outside then moving on in to the inside! Still have to find a way to make our door, maybe the Karlson’s can help us out with that?

We’ve got walls!

Well we’ve made a quite the visible progress lately and haven’t updated the blog. So here you go!

Starting to work on our first wall.

All laid out and ready to go up.

First wall up! Starting to get a feel for the space.

Second wall up (behind the cute couple…)

Second wall!

Part of the third wall and our new workshop. It started to get wet on us, but now we can work in the rain.

Fourth wall is up and the loft is up. Starting to sheath.

Our progress so far! One wall sheathed, three to go, then we’ll start working on the dormers and roof. It’s supposed to rain  a lot this week, so we’ll see what happens. A big thanks to Timo for coming and helping us sheath the wall!

It’s interesting how our perceptions of space has changed throughout the process. When all the walls were framed, the space looked huge. Now that one wall is sheathed, it’s starting to get smaller…! I suppose that is the joy about the building process though. You really get to see and get used to the space as it evolves.

On another note, we also got most of our windows! We picked up a few from Habitat for Humanity’s Restore and the rest we got from Rona. We’re excited about those… hopefully I framed square enough that they will fit!

Now that we have a pretty good idea of the space, we’re trying to figure out what kind of floor and walls to put up. Any suggestions?

– Kyle

Our journey begins!

In January we stumbled upon the world of tiny houses and were immediately intrigued by the concept. We have always wanted to build our own straw bale house, but aren’t at a place in life where we want to settle down and buy land. Then we found out that you can build a house on a flatbed trailer! We were sold. It didn’t hurt that it could help us simplify our lives and live a little bit more intentionally.

Over the last few months, we’ve been researching, fretting, and going back and forth in deciding whether or not we would actually do this. Well, on Wednesday we went up and bought a trailer. I guess that means we’re doing it. (It’s a 20′ construction trailer with a capacity to hold 14,000 lbs.)

Today was our first build day. We were surprised at how far we got. First was the tedious job of leveling the thing. After a couple of failed attempts, we finally managed to get it level. We’ll probably have to re-level it over the course of the build. Out came the aluminum flashing and the staple gun and our trailer was ready for a subfloor. The trailer was super super bright and shiny, I think we got sunburned from it…

Then we busted out the miter saw (thanks Dennis for letting us use it!) and made our first cuts for the subfloor. We were really careful to measure at lease twice, I think one board got measured four times… I wonder how long that will last. We are building with 2×6’s instead of 2×4’s that most tiny houses seem to use. Since we’re in the land of extreme winters (a.k.a. Alberta), we thought any extra insulation we can fit would be better!

So today the subfloor joists are all finished and in place. We bought an impact wrench yesterday and I’m so happy we did! It made fast work of getting the boards together. Good investment I’d say. Tomorrow we will bolt the subfloor down onto the trailer and probably add some joist hangers just to be sure it’s strong. We’re still waiting on our sheep’s wool insulation to arrive (really excited about it), but when it does we will stuff it into the floor then put our plywood on top. Then we can get started on the walls.

It has started!

– Kyle