Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Re-Thinking Our Seating

We are still struggling to get the pace back up! The winter crazies have set in!

Hey readers, I'm not sure where you all live, but if you are in my area, then you can relate- it's a mess out there! After the consecutive snow storms, then blasts of warm and cold, with some rain sprinkled on top- the outdoors is one slick lumpy crusty mess.

Dan and I are definitely reaching our winter limits. We've both expressed feelings of stir-craziness. GAH! I JUST WANT TO BE OUTSIDE! In the winter, unless there are endless acres of woods to snow shoe or a mountain to board on- my activities remain pretty much indoors. Unfortunately, no such woods near me, and after last year's accident, snow boarding isn't high up on my "YEAH LET'S DO IT AGAIN!" List. 

It especially stinks when you require open space to work! There are just a few projects left for the house and we are slowly clawing our way to the finish line.  Being stuck indoors makes you notice a lot of things that could have slipped by before....and in my case, it's the love seat.

Oh, my love hate relationship with our love seat. 

Frump zone.

First, I like the set up, I think it's cute and cozy centered under the window, and I like that bun-buns' pen is neatly tucked away underneath. What I have grown to NOT like are the big lumpy mismatched pillows, the hapless way they are skewed about the love seat each day, the ugly old blanket used as a "bottom cushion" and the great big long board that would have been the table.

On Valentine's Day, we discovered a valuable fact: the table, which we had never really attempted to install, would definitely not be great in our space. We wanted to have a sit down experience for Valentine's Day, so we took our white folding table and placed it in between the booth seats. We immediately hated it. The length of the table, which we thought would be a good thing, completely cut into the big room, made the entry way an awkward space, and just plain looked too big.

This was actually good news to learn. I needed the motivation to make the change. See, before that, I was already hee-ing and haw-ing over design changes. I already didn't like that we had to lift up the entire bench to access the two booth seat storage spaces on either end. As a result, those spaces have gone un-used. Tisk tisk!  It seemed like any time I thought to put something there, I had to decide if I really wanted to dump everything off the love seat just to get to it. The answer was always no. 

Anyways, this past weekend we made those modifications to the love seat space. We cut the table down to a roughly 24x24 size which is much more manageable and makes sense for the space we have-- not to mention those are the dimensions needed for it to set down in between the two booth seats and make one flush surface all the way across. The result? I can now easily access the storage spaces!

The little terd! Trying desperately to gnaw her
mark into this pristine piece of wood!

It was rough getting started- neither of us wanted to work out in the lumpy ice rink that is the back yard, but April is coming and we need to be ready! So we chipped and scraped and cleared a small ice free zone just big enough for Dan to set up the table saw and work around it safely. 

The two front legs are remove-able to allow the rabbit pen to slide in and out.

Dan playing piano in the kitchen while I work. :)

I started working on the cushions as well! I've come up with a very simple design and for the cushions themselves. I made use of old bed sheets instead of buying material. Next I will make actual covers for each using a material we pick out. 

Holding up the rough beginnings of a cushion!

It's going to take some time, but I plan to work on the cushions here and there this week, and hopefully by the weekend I will have some finished products to show!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remote Update

Grumpy Dan, begrudgingly starting the weight calculations.
Greetings from Montana!

I'm currently out in the mid-west for a work trip, but I wanted to put up a post before too many more days go by! 

There hasn't been a whole lot of action on the house since the last post. Dan is in school full time with classes on Saturdays, and I just started a beekeeping class on Saturdays too! So excited!! The trade off is that it takes a huge chunk of our weekends away- and that's when we have done most of our work in the past. 

We also have some other....projects....going on (not related to the Pod) that are taking some of our time and attention at the moment. We are both super excited, and I will share more about it once more details have been figured out! Eeee!

Although we don't have any physical labors to report on, we have started some of those more "book keeping" type tasks that we have been avoiding for months. One of which is calculating the tiny house weight. We have talked about this quite a few times in the past. We don't really have a clue what the Pod weighs and we aren't about to take it on the road to go weigh it--especially if it might be too heavy.

Well, I'm happy to say that as we continue our figuring (still aren't done, it's quite a job) the numbers are adding up slowly, which is in our favor. So far, we have calculated the weight of the tiny house skeleton- meaning the framing, plywood and insulation. With all four walls and the roof-- plus a smattering of other things that we have found weights for- like the doors, flooring, etc and we still haven't broken 2000 pounds. 

I'd say we are in good shape! I can't imagine the remaining ship lap on the walls and the various pine cabinets/storage adding up to 6000 pounds so I'd say we are good. haha (We have a 10,000 lb capacity and we are leaving a conservative 2000 lbs to the trailer) That's exciting because it's looking like we can choose whatever we like for siding. As mentioned in the last post, we will be making use of recycled pallets. I've been cruising craigslist yet again and have already found a promising supplier of FREE pallets. 

In other news, the little heater I ordered FINALLY came in. It was supposed to be delivered about 10 days earlier than it was, NOT SO conveniently leaving us to face another cold snap with just our electric heaters. Since I pay the electric bill for my Dad's place and what we use in the Pod- I'm very aware of how much energy that stupid oil/electric heater sucks up. I don't want to be depending on that thing if I can help it!

This little heater has been a pure JOY. It comes from the Mr Heater line and operates off a 1 lb can of propane. The Little Buddy was perfect for us because we were looking for something that would heat our home- not make it into a sauna. Before I found the Little Buddy, the smallest indoor propane heater I found was designed for 200+ square feet. We would have been roasted out of our tiny house in minutes. This tiny heater is designed for 100 square feet and it has been perfect! 

It has it's own igniter- no matches needed. After running for just a few seconds, it's completely silent. It also has a bump/tip sensor and an oxygen sensor. (We already have a fire/carbon monoxide detector so we are doubled up!) The bump sensor works quite well. I was shuffling by it as I went into the kitchen and bumped it just a bit with my leg. It wasn't even enough of a brush to knock the thing over, but it promptly shut itself off. NICE.

For any truly tiny house people out there-- as in you live in 130 square feet or less -- we highly recommend this little guy. We like that we can move it around the house easily, and when summer comes, we can just pack it away or even take it along on hiking trips or other outings in the fall. 

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Sunday, February 2, 2014



Friday was, as many co-workers (and I) call, the most wonderful workday of the year. It was simultaneously pay day (monthly at my company) and bonus day! AND as of Friday, The Pod is officially paid in full! We don't owe a penny anywhere for our home! 

Granted- we still need to put siding on the thing, but that is another expense I can tackle as it comes. If we find we can use whatever we like for the siding, then we are going to recycle pallets. That means FREE siding...with a little work of course. One of the blogs I've been following from the start, Mini Motives, used pallets and I was amazed at how great it came out. Here is a picture of her tiny house exterior.

It's a pretty amazing feeling to know you own your home out right within three months of living there. I aim to be very transparent about our costs because I want others to know what is possible. We just broke $10,000 with the last purchase of materials we made, which was a few weeks ago. I see so many tiny houses out there being made on a conveyer belt practically and being sold for $25,000 and up. It is truly rewarding to be able to stand here and say it can be done for much less. With enough planning ahead, searching for deals, being very organized and aware, and constantly monitoring costs- you'd be amazed what you can save. I finally feel like I'm headed in the direction I want to be going, and it's a surreal feeling. All the hard work and the diligence paid off. I believe a few key parts to our success were:

A) We started planning and purchasing materials 6 months leading up to the build start date. Meaning we could take on smaller expenses over time before dealing with the raw building material cost at the same time.
B) We planned around our supplies. I first bought the windows, door, and trailer before making the blue prints. By doing this, I was able to search for the best deal without any particular characteristics to fill. Once we knew our window and door dimensions, we designed around it. 
C) I forced myself to keep a spread sheet of all costs including what I got for a deal on craigslist versus what I would have paid at the box store. We saved over $7000 by searching for recycled, reused, reclaimed materials. Watching those numbers grow gave me more motivation to keep sniffing out the deals. (It can wear you out quickly!)
D) We bought supplies as we needed them. Some say we could have saved by buying in bulk, but to be honest, I don't even think we would hit the bulk minimum quota for the amount we needed. By getting the material in small lots and doing things so incrementally- we were able to keep a close eye on waste, and let me tell you- there wasn't much of that going on! For three of the four walls, we bought dead on the amount of 2x4s we needed. Being so attentive to small details can really pay off.

We celebrated in our modest tiny ways with some g-free pizza and a 6 pack of Strongbows. It was one of the most satisfying meals of my life. :) 

Of course there are still more expenses to come, the solar power system, rain water system, the land or renting of a space, garden expenses, etc. But we are enjoying this particular moment...as we should. :)

On Saturday we also started the ball slowly rolling again by putting in two different shelves. It was the first time we felt decent and the weather was decent enough at the same time. We cut and sanded the pieces for the shelves then put them in place in less than an hour. It felt good to get something done, and in such a short time frame.

Still riding Saturday's success, we finally got around to putting the new counter pieces in place for the stair storage. The paint washed boards got 3 coats of water based poly and now look fabulous as the counter surfaces. It looks so much better than the stain highlighting pine counter. The contrast in color looks great and will definitely cut down on the number of visible scuffs and stains. 

All in all, a great weekend! Plus there are a ton of new pics up on the facebook page! I posted all of July and August activity. PLENTY to peruse. So enjoy if you have some free time!

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Yay! More storage! More organization!

See ya later GROSS face!