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. 

More Widows Please!

The Micro Mansion has been wonderful as a temporary living space, especially with a few upgrades. In the living room and kitchen area I removed the two shop-type windows and installed two double-paned insulated storm windows. Along the back wall I installed a four foot window for the view and some cross ventilation. Finally, up in the lofts I installed two insulated windows for the light, the views, ventilation, and emergency egress should it ever be needed.

The original plan was to give each of the kids their own loft and I would sleep in the living room at night. My son wasn't fond of the lofts originally, but now that the windows have been installed he has agreed to move upstairs.

The picture above was taken after the loft windows were installed but before the insulation was installed and the walls/ceiling enclosed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cooking in the MicroMansion...

The first couple weeks cooking took place on the outdoor grill and its side burner. During this time period I did quite a bit of online research for alternative cooking apparatuses.

I finally decided to purchase a sun oven. Since the sun oven was something that we would take with us to the Tiny House I opted for a sturdy, well reviewed sun oven opposed to the cheaper models. With some searching online at eBay, Amazon, and Craig's List I was able to find a new sun oven for 30% off including shipping.

Unless I have been experiencing it myself I would never have believed that cooking with the sun made food taste so much more wholesome, nutritious, and tasty. It is simply incredible.

Between the sun oven and the grill we are eating every type of meal we would have normally eaten in our big house, except for the fact that we are now eating mostly organic. I have been able to make pancakes, eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfasts. Dinner has included some yummy homemade stews, whole chicken meals followed by chicken soup, biscuits, brownies, pasta with meat sauce, garlic bread, casseroles, just to name a few!

Laundry in the MicroMansion

Laundry has been a long research process over the past year. Of everything I looked into I really loved the combination, compact washer-drier unit. Unfortunately with our budget the $1200-2000 price tag is currently out of the question.

After hours of online searching I ended up ordering a WonderWash and a Spin Dry. I love the WonderWash. It does a good job cleaning and I found our melted refrigeration ice is a great recycled source for our laundry water. Unfortunately once we established our daily rituals I found that there is not enough space to easily set up the WonderWash for clothes cleaning, the MM is just too small. So we have been taking weekly trips to the laundromat in town and I must say I really have enjoyed the extra family time with the kids.

I haven't had the opportunity to use the Spin Dry yet, which does run from electric power. I am very much looking forward to trying it out once we get into our larger Tiny House!