Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The 100% Recycled Outdoor Shower - And Other Little Projects

This summer's tiny house projects are meager
compared to the last two years.

But, that is bound to happen as you near the end of that "Must Have" list and start venturing
into the "Nice to Have" list, which seems can always be pushed to a later date. Couple that with a new business and generally active/social lifestyle and you don't see the same kind of pace as in years past. C'est la vie! I have learned to embrace the constant juggling of projects rather than the neat, clean chronological completion that the anal retentive side of me so desperately craves. 

Shower stall wood, ready to go.

Last year we spoke often about getting an outdoor shower together, but we had too many other far more pressing needs. This season we had a little help and inspiration. One thing I didn't mention about our week in VT at the Strawbale workshop with Andrew Morrison was the awesome outdoor shower set up that our hosts, Tyler and Tara, created. I wish I had taken a photo...it was a simple and quick set up. They wrapped tarps around a small circle of trees, filling the ground within that space with small smooth pebbles. A wonderful treat for achey feet! A small cement circle stone stood just below the shower head. A tankless water heater, 20 pound propane tank, huge water tank, and a shower head were all hooked up to provide us bathing capabilities.
Love working with fallen trees!

Let me tell you- after putting in an 8+ hour day of straight busting ass, your body covered in dust and dirt and straw, that shower experience was other worldly. There is just something about being out in the elements as you wash away the grime that brings a level of refreshment unlike any other shower. After that week, Dan and I were determined to get a shower going at home. As with all of our projects lately, we used all recycled and salvaged materials. 

Dan's Dad was doing some work on his store roof, so more free wood was available to us. We picked the best pieces, organized and chopped them into relative lengths and planed them. Some pieces still have remnants of paint, but I plan to paint a funky mural inside the stall, so we didn't spend excessive amounts of time getting the paint off. 

Next, we headed out into the woods and collected several fallen trees. Dan got his first taste of working with a hatchet and how to properly chop wood. I'm always amused in a special kind of way when I teach someone a skill that any kid in the Northern woods learned by the age of 10. I appreciate my upbringing more and more as the years go by. Isn't that always the way?! 

After collecting enough fallen logs, we headed back to the house. We gave each log a clean chop so they would rest flat on the cement. We cleaned out the small section of the dairy barn remains just behind our tiny house. Conveniently, this slab of concrete has a drain right in the middle with a sloping floor.

We held up each small timber and nailed boards one at a time, then we would connect the next timber, then the next set of boards. Given the floor was slanted for drainage, we said to hell with levels and built the stall to work with the floor. This thing isn't meant for a hurricane shelter, just scrubbing stink off.

Next we searched through the old dairy barn and snagged a few pieces of old metal dairy equipment. One slid perfectly into the wall remnants next to our shower and provided exact placement for our solar shower bag. We dug through our scrap pile and created a little raised platform to stand on while showering. 

We both giggled with glee as we used the shower together for the first time, and discovered some of our hilarious design oversights....like the gaps between boards being a little too big....and lining up on all the wrong places of Jess's body. It was too funny to be frustrating. If I stood in the right place, it's like a black bar was placed on all the wrong sections of the body. Good thing I'm not a prude! Flopping my towel over the side of the stall fixed this problem pretty quickly. 

We still need to add some hooks, a shelf or two, and a door, but we have a way to bathe people! Outdoor showers rock! 

Shower stall!

In other news- we also managed to sand and stain all of our recycled pallet siding (the stuff that's on the house anyway) so it's looking WAYYY better and behaves much better when it rains. Before, the pine pieces would swell and at times cause some rubbing on the front door. 

The perfect hanging point for our shower.

Ahhh! All stained and protected! Thank goodness!

We also took our home gym up a notch by installing a hang/pull up bar. Again we used part of a fallen timber and some heavy duty rope. We drilled holes in the loft edge and the bar, simply knotting each end of rope to serve as the stopper. This thing has been a lot of fun since the moment we installed it. We are both considerably stronger even just a month later. I can now do 5 full extension pull ups! Not to mention all of the other gravity resistance moves we can do!

Next up, I will recap the awesome weekend at Deek's Tiny House Summer Camp 3 this past weekend!

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Very nice! What are the dimensions? 8x16?

  2. It is lovely! I love the tiny house concept! :)