Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Very Exciting...

Three days to move in. Lots to be done this week. Primarily cleaning as the field mice decided to hunker down in the micro mansion for the winter!


Yesterday was spent cleaning and today installing some of the subfloor and hauling out linens etc., to clean and return. Tom and I had a delicious organic vegetarian stew tonight for dinner which was prepared in the sun oven this afternoon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Winter Blues...

It's been hard not being able to live out at the Micro Mansion. Primarily because the 1-5 year plan has been created and we are chomping at the bit to get out to the land and get started.

We have been planning and budgeting for the past couple weeks and the results are impressive. We will have 2-4 internships available beginning in April to help on a great assortment of farm projects which range from infrastructure projects (e.g. barn and 3-season outdoor kitchen) to agriculture and energy projects including hoop house, organic garden, swales, new fruit trees and solar arrays. We are hoping to add chickens and bees as well.

We have finalized the name for the property... Walton Farms. Since the land is an old Oak Grove that has been in existence for hundreds of years we felt that the name should not be altered from the location that it has been referred to for so long. It would seem arrogant to place a new name on such an historically established piece of land.  

Change in Plans: Floor Insulation

In Fall, the plan was to build a 2x4 frame on the micro mansion floor to stuff with insulation. I've decided to take some left over pink board and lay it down on the existing plywood floor then top it off with 1/2" plywood. I was able to find the plywood needed at the local ReStore for only $25. With the pink board being left over from another project, this is a better economical choice for the micro mansion and the overall budget!

As soon as the weather reaches above freezing, hopefully by mid-March, the floor will be able to be insulated and installed.  

Winter Wrap Up


So the original plan was to complete the micro mansion insulation prior to Iowa's deep winter freeze so we could live in the micro mansion throughout the winter. As we all know, plans change. The largest lesson that I have learned with my Tiny House Project is that having expectations can lead to disappointment and frustration. Instead, I've learned to roll with the punches with the only true expectation being "This is going to be an unforeseen adventure, and I'm going to enjoy it no matter what happens!" This frame of mind has served me very well over the past several months.

The winter freeze came late but unforeseeably quick. For most of the Fall overnight temps were in the low 40s to high 30s which is very doable. Without warning the temps plummeted down near zero resulting in the micro mansion being uninhabitable with out the insulation completely finished.


Before the winter move-out we were able to install the wood stove, which was a blessing as it extended our stay several weeks. In early December we packed up the three cats and the dog and moved everyone out for the winter, in GREAT anticipation for a return as soon as temps rose in March...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Exterior Color Concepts...

Exterior colors have been a very important facet of this Tiny House project. Since the rough structure began with a shed frame, it is important that the final structure, e.g. micro-mansion, not look like a shed. Color and paint scheme, as such, are key.

Torn between natural surrounding colors of browns and greens and the pastels that beckon the child in all, I happened upon a small cottage with what I believe are ideal colors for the Micro-Mansion. 

This mix of light green, purple and pure white are the colors that I have settled upon and think will be fabulous. This decision has occurred a couple weeks late and there is now a need to wait until spring as it appears the cold weather has settled in for the duration of the winter...



Sleeping Solutions

One of the largest considerations in a tiny space is the sleeping area. If you are young, nimble, and adventurous a sleeping loft may be your thing. Both of my teenagers love the lofts. 

While the lofts do have windows now, and also some half decent headroom, the mid-night journeys up and down the ladder to visit the tiny girl's room have not been my cup of tea. I tried it for 3 months and while it was definitely do-able, it really is not my preference if I had my druthers... which I do!

So the convertible, first-floor sleeping arrangements are what I decided upon. During the winter this will give me quick and easy access to the wood stove in addition to the tiny girls room.

I have researched many options including Murphy beds, hide-aways, and sleeper sofas. Given my time-frame and the amount of building I need to do on other projects such as the dinning room table, closet space, and finish work, I decided to go with the sleeper sofa option.

Keeping with my recycle, reuse mentality (and my budget!) I searched Craig's List, EBay, and local thrift stores for options. After a few weeks of searching I found a wonderful second hand sleeper-sofa on Craig's list that was pet and smoke free. It does not match the decor I had in mind for the living room. However, I've never re-upholstered a couch and it sounds like a great, cold-weekend project.

Wonderful Wildlife...


One of the huge benefits of living in a tiny house is that your living room is your entire backyard. We have installed bird feeders and enjoy daily viewing of an abundance of wildlife including a wide variety of song birds, deer, turkey, pheasant, rabbit, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, Canadian geese, hawks, and even an occasional bald eagle.

We absolutely love animals and despite the tiny living quarters we have made room for five pets including one dog (Buddy) and four cats (Ginger, Spice, Sage, and Thomas).

Our pets love to play with the local wildlife as well. Buddy gets especially excited when he gets to play with the deer and rabbits. This adorable little bird I snatched from Sage who thought he had found a wonderful playmate. Our feathery-friend was a little stunned by his impromptu play date with our mischievous kitty, but after a 5 minute rest on the palm of my hand he flittered off unscathed!