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!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Installing the Shed Roof

Neighbor Tom helping raise the walls
The design of the shed roof was simple. There needed to be a roof to keep water out of the kitchen and stored items dry. In addition, since the structure was so long, it would be a good source for rain water collection.

The roof was designed with a 1' pitch from front to back to accommodate installation of a long gutter on the back of the shed for rain water catchment. The front 1' elevation box was built on the ground in two sixteen foot sections then elevated via ladder and nailed in place. Then 10' rafters were placed bridging the front and back framing for the roof. 

Purlins will be used to bridge the 2' wide spanse between rafters and to adhere the roofing. If I can find some recycled roofing material I would prefer to go with a metal roof. Especially since we will be harvesting rain water.

Shed Siding on a Tight Budget

About an hour out of town there is a wood mill that sells huge bundles of scrap wood for $5. They also are a source for free sawdust for the compost pile.

Originally I bought the wood with my neighbor as firewood. When I say a "Large" bundle I mean LARGE. When it is tightly and neatly stacked it measures three feet by three feet by four feet. Each of the pieces is in the shape of a 1/2" x 5" slat. 

When designing the shed I came up with the great idea of utilizing the scrap wood slats as siding. It gives the shed a nice weathered barn board look about it. I've almost finished siding the south side of the shed and have only utilized a quarter of my stack of wood. I figure to side three sides of the shed it will cost about $40 including wood and nails.

Not bad on a tight building budget... score!

The Outside Kitchen and Workshop

After living in the micro-mansion for going on 10 weeks now, it has become obvious that we need more family space for relaxing, playing games, and eating at a tale suitable for three-to-four people to sit comfortably at. This means some alterations within the main living area.

The kitchen is headed outside which will open up the second half of the downstairs for the wood stove (yes, it is starting to become chilly here in IA at night) and a fold down dinning table. 

In order to accommodate our space change I have designed and begun the framing for a nice sized shed just outside the micro-mansion. It is 8'x30' and has three divided bays. The first bay is 15' long and will house the outside kitchen and the workshop. The second bay which is just 5' will house the golf cart, which we use to get around the land and to carry things. The last shed bay, at 10' long, will hold storage so we can get rid of the storage unit we leased when we moved this summer. It will be nice to have the additional $85 back in our pockets each month! 

Insulating the Floor in the Micro-Mansion

Since the micro-mansion's original framework was that of a shed, there was no subfloor created to install the insulation in. Even though the downstairs living area is only 6'6" I've decided to built a subfloor from the inside and up. 

I will lay the 2"x4" framework on top of the existing plywood floor then fill the newly made cavities with insulation prior to topping it off with a new subfloor. I will lose 4" in height but since we are all under 6' at this time it shouldn't be that much of a loss. 

Another option was to place the insulation on the underside to the micro-mansion, however it was important to keep the floor joists accessible for when the micro-mansion is placed on a trailer, which is the long-term plan.