Posts from the “Little House” Category

Celebrating 

Posted on June 18, 2017

Thirty-two years ago this month, my parents welcomed me earth-side. It was just after sunrise. Now with both feet firmly planted in my thirties, I’m loving where this decade has brought me. Motherhood! Tiny house! Outside every day! I have farms, farmers, friends, and family whom I care about, and the sweetest, roundest baby I could have ever dreamed up. 

Eight years ago this month, Seth and I married each other. We stood on a back porch overlooking a lake. It rained all day and our guests wore flowers in their hair and temporary tattoos on their skin. Seth and I vowed to love each other and grow side by side. Every day we are fulfilling that promise.

Today we celebrated the afternoon six months ago when Seth became a father. We spent the day at the beach where Seth passed his summer vacations growing up, splashing in tidal pools and strolling through shops. There may have been a chocolate frappe involved. This lovely day was our gift to ourselves. Although we had a dozen other things we could have done for the house, the shore beckoned, and we followed, giving ourselves a break from all things build and easing into a slower rhythm for this one day, attuning ourselves to the great, breathing ocean. I’ve heard it said that the cure for all things is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. Yes, yes. This, I believe, is true. 

This week is the summer solstice, a day for looking forward. Birthday, anniversary, fathers day, and the sun. June, you bring us so much joy. 

Life with baby in the tiny house 

Posted on June 5, 2017

The second biggest question we get about living in the tiny house is this: “How’s it going with a BABY in the TINY house?” (The first question people ask is invariably about our toilet.) It’s going well, I think? I haven’t had kids in a standard-sized house so it’s hard to compare, but so far Addie is a happy little bug. We don’t have a ton of toys for her because we have no place to put them, which means we spend a lot of time talking to the baby and including her in our daily activities as she plays with bowls or fruit or balls of yarn. She can see us from just about anywhere we put her. She sees us in all…

Daydreaming and handcrafting

Posted on June 2, 2017

When will I ever learn to leave the baby alone while she’s napping? We nap together, you see, and it’s so easy to lean down and kiss her head. And then she stirs and wants to nurse again. I don’t mind. Clearly I am not napping at the moment, despite Seth’s unusually strict instructions before he left for work to get some sleep today after a wakeful night with Addie.  No, I’m dreaming instead. Of knitting and woodworking and painting and gardening. We’re at the point in our little house where we we’re close to finish-work projects. We’re not there yet; I can’t sew couch cushions or paint cabinets doors for example. But I can think about these things now that we’re getting used…

Water usage in the tiny house

Posted on March 22, 2017

Happy world water day!  I’ve been thinking about our water usage for a while, and it seemed only fitting to write about it on the day the UN has designated to talk about the water crisis across the world. Seth and I are lucky to be using very little water per day at the moment.  Right now our tiny house doesn’t have a working shower or sink.  We have plans for both.  I had hoped to get them in before the baby arrived, but sometimes life gets in the way.  And research!  Always with the research.  At any rate, we have water plumbed into the tiny house, but we don’t have permanent receptacles for it, and we use a composting toilet.  This makes our water usage…

Insulation and air sealing

Posted on February 27, 2017

If I’m starting to sound like a broken record, it’s because air movement is a big deal in our little house.  We seal gaps because it makes for less moisture coming in from the outside and fewer drafts, AKA a warmer, drier house with less chance of mold.  So we’ve spent a fair amount of time doing this to the inside as well as the outside. We air sealed the inside of the house by spreading silicone sealant into gaps and cracks — most notably in the large spaces around the windows and doors.  If the gap was wider than 1/2″, we filled it with backer rod first, and then spread sealant over it.  Side note: if you ask for backer rod at Home Depot, there’s an…

A little more on siding prep

Posted on February 17, 2017

In going over the photos for the trim post, I realized that we never mentioned the black strips that we put over the Blueskin under the siding.  This is a product called Cedarvent. It’s basically strips of plastic that are corrugated like cardboard. We’re using it here kind of like a rain screen: the siding repels most of the water from the house, but in case any rain gets behind the siding we want it to be able to drain away.  This is where Cedarvent comes in. It makes the siding sit away from the Blueskin by about 3/16″ and allows the water to roll down without soaking into the back of the cedar. We’re not pushing the product or anything.  We purchased it outright and…

Trimming the outside

Posted on January 31, 2017

One of the things that Seth has been saying all along is that trim makes the style of the house.  He’s said it about both the inside and the outside.  It’s a good thing he’s been so adamant because when it comes to details like that, I don’t really have an opinion.  Isn’t that terrible?  For me, aesthetics generally take a backseat to price, so I expected to wing it when it came time to do the trim.  Seth, though, has had an idea in mind of building a house inspired by the Craftsman era of design: 1920s bungalows full of simple lines, natural light, and beautiful wood.  We looked at pictures online for months.  Truly one of the nicest rabbit holes we’ve followed in…

Cedar siding and Vermont Natural Coatings

Posted on January 14, 2017

Way way back, almost a year ago now, we purchased cedar clapboards for the tiny house.  Sheesh, was it really that long ago?  Yes, Instagram tells me it was last February.  We got the clapboards delivered with the intention of staining them over the course of the winter so that we could install them in the spring and summer. Time ran away from us, and it was a while before we got the siding up and running. As per usual, the research phase made up the bulk of the delay.  We wanted to find an eco-friendly coating for the siding, one that would bring out the beauty of the wood, protect it from the elements, and be ok for the environment and for people with…

Cosmo Brown Hat

Posted on November 25, 2016

This slightly slouchy hat features a wave and banjo cable pattern reminiscent of American vaudeville theater in the early 1900s. Or as I like to think of it, Cosmo Brown’s beginnings from the movie Singin’ in the Rain. With big yarn, some cables to keep it  interesting, and old-fashioned seed stitch, this hat knits up quickly and is perfect for bus, train, or TV knitting to keep your hands busy. This hat is knit in the round and comes in one size. Final hat dimensions are 20” around and 7.5” long after blocking. Gauge  is 4 stitches to the inch. I knit this hat for myself, and I love the way it fits on my head.  Knit at such a large gauge, it is just big enough to wear for short…

Metal roofing for the tiny house, via Craigslist

Posted on August 21, 2016

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Last fall just after the house walls went up, I was trolling Craigslist for materials when a kind soul posted dark brown corrugated metal roofing for sale, never used.  It came in 17′ long panels.  We jumped on it and U-hauled seven panels away from his house along with a couple of donated 2×4’s for traveling, kindly given by the gentleman in question whose entire roof had to be replaced unexpectedly instead of covered.  Hence selling the panels.

Metal roofing is popular for tiny houses because it’s durable, affordable, lighter than asphalt, and relatively easy to install.  It goes well with the “cabin on wheels” look that characterize a lot of tiny houses.  Standing seam is ideal as the fasteners are not exposed to the elements and will last longer, but corrugated is good too.  Supposedly the fasteners start to go around 10 years.  We’ll see.

Metal roofing was Seth’s first choice but not mine. Originally, I wanted shingles, but sometimes you can’t pass up the Craigslist gods when they offer you a good deal.  Or as my Memere used to say, “You can’t go wrong!”  And of course I love it now.

Buying new metal roofing a lot different from buying used metal roofing via Craigslist.  For starters, you get all of the accessories with it when you purchase yours from a store.  We had to source our trim pieces, ridge cap, foam closures, and adhesives separately.  If you’re buying new-ish metal panels for your roof through Craigslist, you should know that there is a good chance yours are made by Union Corrugating, like ours are. We discovered this by accident, but it’s no trick — count the corrugations per panel and see if you can find a match to some of the popular brands available through big box stores.

Union Corrugating sells their panels to DIY-ers through Lowe’s, and we were able to confirm this by matching the color of the panels to the colors of the roofing supplies in the store.  Then all we had to do was purchase trim, touch-up paint, the ridge cap, etc.  If your panels are not easily identifiable like ours, apparently there are such things as universal ridge caps and trim.  They may not provide an exact color match, but I’ve seen people who enjoy the two-toned roof, and I’ve seen people who paint their roof so that everything matches.  If you’re building a tiny house, you’re no stranger to improvisation at this point. Right?

The corrugated roofing process is fairly easy to describe, although less easy to execute (unless you have scaffolding.  Invest in scaffolding).  There are many, many tutorials about how to install metal roofing so I won’t add one here.  I’ll just jot down a few notes about what we did.

  • We used Grace HT Ice and Water Shield as our underlayment.  HT means high temperature.  I think it was a good investment.  Synthetic roofing underlayment lasts a lot longer in UV rays than does 15 or 30 lb. felt, and it won’t glue itself to the back of the roofing panels.
  • We cut our panels with an angle grinder, de-burred them, and then touched up the ends with paint so that hopefully they won’t rust.
  • Butyl tape is weird.  It’s like if Play-Dough and Silly Putty got together and had a baby.  Special order this because most stores don’t carry it.
  • We followed along with Tiny Home Builder’s method of transitioning the ridge cap from the gable to the dormer.  We purchased the videos, but you can sort of see the way to do it in this blog post by Choo Choo Tiny House.