Done! (Well, almost…)

Here are some updated pictures of our place. We finished the insulation and the siding, but still have a bit to finish. Including: trim, closet doors, kitchen cabinets, and other random things! But it feels like home! We are really enjoying being in here, especially now that it is all insulated. We’re keeping warm even though it’s getting down to -25 outside!

More updates will hopefully come soon!

– Kyle

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Busy Snowy Days

Our tiny house moves to its new home come this Sunday. SUNDAY! And while the photos might show a  chaotic construction zone still, we’re feeling pretty good about our moving date. Our interns spent an evening with us last week helping insulate the walls with sheep’s wool- they loved it so much they wanted to come back to do more! The loft has its coat of tung oil, two of the living room walls and the kitchen walls are up, the bathroom walls that separate it from the rest of the house are done, the closet structure is ready, the kitchen counter frame is set up to receive the counter tops (which are cut already for the sink and stove top), the water and propane lines are in and functioning, our Mini-Franklin stove from Woodstock Stoves is installed and heating the place and our composting toilet is ready. Wow!

One issue we’ve run into is that we ran out of wool insulation- so we’re waiting to receive wool batts from a local business (Custom Woolen Mills in Carstairs, AB), however it won’t be until the first week in November. Thankfully they are in the area and we can get the wool from them pretty fast! So it looks like our house won’t be fully insulated until then, but we’ll be ready for it when it arrives.

All in all, we accomplished quite a bit over the weekend. There’s still much more we’d like to get done before we actually move in come the 31st, so we’ll continue working hard over this next week. Crossing my fingers to get our flooring installed!

Autumn Days

At the beginning of this month, we gave our month’s notice to our managing landlord, which means we’re MOVING into our tiny house at the end of this month! It’s exciting, but since then we’ve begun to realize just how much we still have to do- eek! So it’s been a flurry of activity. We realized we put off for too long the ordering of specialty items we hoped to still find here (3″ thick door knob, for example), so we’re also ordering those last items to complete our new home. The interior details have begun- which light fixtures, what kind of flooring and where to get it, how to find and make a shower tub bottom… and not to mention the essential items of electrical wiring, plumbing, gas lines, sheep’s wool insulation, and interior paneling.

To back up a little, the exterior of the house is {mostly} finished! Minus siding a couple tiny parts, making doors for the storage area, and – finally- getting that darn roof cap on, it’s done! And it looks great. For the door, we decided to tackle that project ourselves- so we ended up with a very, very purple 3 ” thick wood door. It just adds some pizzazz, right? The biggest issue with this, as I mentioned, has been finding a suitable door knob/handle. Apparently very few places stock 3″ thick door handles- and none that we could find (although we did get some amazed looks and lots of questions when we asked around!). So we ended up ordering a knob and deadbolt online, and we’ll be happy to see our door close and lock.

It’s been a good change to begin work on the interior. The bathroom walls are up (although not paneled), the only walls in the house. It begins to give structure to the space. The loft floor is fully installed. Kyle’s done an amazing job with the electrical work, and it’s fully completed. Now we just need the right electrical cord to make sure we have power! The plumbing and gas lines will happen this weekend, after spending hours in Home Depot on Friday to get all of the copper lines and sharkbites connectors and whatever else we got… I’ve been busy tung oiling the interior paneling, and stuffing the loft full of sheep’s wool for insulation. After stuffing the loft ceiling, I looked like a sheep myself! Just tonight we finished up the loft with insulation and paneling, and it looks amazing. I can’t wait to put our mattress in the house and sleep up there! It’s so cozy, and I’m sure it’s going to be my favorite spot in the house (along with a good book, a cup of coffee and snugly kitties). We also picked up our flooring just last night- we found some beautiful hardwood on Kijiji in Calgary, so we decided to get it while we had the chance. It’s incredibly heavy hardwood, so we’ll see what that’s like when we go to move… Since there’s a lot happening the weeks to come, I’ll try to update more regularly. At any rate, you all will hear how things go eventually!

– Jesse

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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