Tiny House 2 – Day 1

I drove down from Atlanta this morning and got to my Dad’s house in Deland FL around noon. My dad had picked up the trailer last week but the supplies from Home Depot still hadn’t arrived. So while we waited for the delivery we took that time to level the trailer. This task was a lot easier this time around since we started on mostly level ground. The last house was built in my driveway which has a pretty steep angle which made leveling a little difficult.

No sooner did we finish than Home Depot showed up with our delivery. My dad lives on a dirt road so it was interesting getting everything back to where we needed it. It will be even more interesting getting it out.

We then removed every other board from the trailer and added the aluminum flashing layer (to protect the under side of the subfloor). Finally, before getting rained out we started to construct the framing subfloor.

Tiny Living Subfloor

The aluminum looks pretty messed up in the picture but it was just trying to roll back up.

The wheel wells on this trailer are in a different location from the last 20 foot trailer I purchased. That is one of the advantages of having the SketchUp model to the house and not just the plans. I can make adjustments on the fly.

Of note, when we ordered the supplies, I didn’t specify the type of wood for the studs. The pro desk at home depot selected southern yellow pine (SYP) for me. This type of wood is very common in home construction because it is inexpensive and very strong. However, it also warps easily. This won’t be an issue once the home is complete but could prove troublesome if we take too long to get the sheathing on (which we won’t). Next time I will specify SPF (spruce/pine/fir) though.

(UPDATE: We ended up taking back about 30% of the studs because they were so warped and switched them out for SPF)

More updates tomorrow.

Full Throttle

It was only a few weeks ago that I decided to build another tiny house and things are moving very quickly.

I’m planning on beginning construction Monday in Deland (far from my home owners association). When I originally mentioned the idea of building a new house to my dad, he suggested that I build it on his property down in Florida. His reasoning was that he has all the room and tools down there and he could also give me a hand (my dad used to build homes for a living). Initially I didn’t think that would be possible since my wife Beth is 8 months pregnant with our second child. However, when I mentioned it to her she was surprisingly all for it. At first I thought it was a trap but she assured me she just thought it would be nice for me to spend time with my dad ;) Did I mention she is a saint? I’ll be down there for 2 weeks and plan to post frequently during this time so stay tuned.

The Idea

My plan for this house is to put it up for sale once it’s complete. I’m interested in seeing if there is enough demand for these to make this a full or part-time job. I would also like to put a tiny house on some property in North Georgia for my family to vacation at. If this house doesn’t sell then this will be it (It’s a win win :) Finally, I also like the idea of having actually built a house for which I am going to sell the plans for in order to fully document and validate them (plus I really enjoy building tiny houses).

The Plans

When I first started looking at tiny houses I loved the idea of a sleeping loft. I think it is an excellent use of the limited space available. However, since my first tiny house was designed for my mother, I knew I couldn’t include a sleeping loft since she wouldn’t be able to easily climb a ladder every day (you should see her climb regular stairs ;) So for this house I am adding a sleeping loft and moving the door to the rear (as well of some other minor changes). As I mentioned above, I will eventually make these plans available as well (at which time my first plans will return to their original price of $250)

Purchases So Far

I ordered the trailer from a manufacturer in Florida so that I wouldn’t have to drive it down with me. The cost, $2700, was just a little bit more than what I could get it for up here. The company that I got the trailer from for my first house had increased their price from $2300 to $2600 in just the last couple years. The turnaround time for the trailer was just over a week.

Since this house will be similar to my first house I used a slightly modified version of its parts list to get quotes from Home Depot and Lowes. As with my experience with the first house, Home Depot turned out to be quite a bit cheaper. The initial order came in at $5500. That doesn’t include everything but enough to keep me busy for a while.

I also placed a separate order for the windows. This was quite an ordeal and caused me a decent amount of stress. Since there aren’t standard window sizes between manufactures I needed to have the windows selected before I could complete the plans (which I am still in the process of doing). This sounds simpler that it actually is. On the first house I didn’t put that much thought into this decision and ended up buying white vinyl windows. Afterwards I had some regrets when I felt white windows locked me down to certain siding paint colors. Despite this I ended up really liking the appearance of the first house when it was complete. On this house however I wanted something other than white, which automatically bumped me up to a higher grade window. The other issue was finding a window series that includes some of the smaller windows that I needed. Finally, at an expense twice that of those used in the original house, I ended up selecting Jeld-Wen Wood Clad windows for $3000 (ouch!). This house design has more windows and these are really high quality so the additional cost isn’t just for the color  (it’s what I’m telling myself to feel better).

It’s been an expensive couple weeks!

Using the information from my first build (specifically the sketchUp model and materials list), I’m at the same point in two weeks that previously took me three months.

And so it begins…

I went this past weekend to pick up the trailer I ordered on the 9th. I was originally looking for a used one but I found a place about an hour and a half away that sells them new for around the same price (~$2300).  It’s 20 feet with two 5200 lbs. axles. Also, by buying new I was able to have them leave off the ramps which I would have had to remove and discard.

I’m working on the design now. I had originally decided to use a plan I found online but a few days before I picked up the trailer I decided that while I really liked the look of the design it really wasn’t the best for my needs. So now I am rushing to finish the new design. Hopefully I should wrap that up by the end of this week. Assuming that goes as planned, I should be able to put in my first supply order next week.