Tiny Living videos

I finally got a chance to put together the videos from my trip to Florida. As usual they are out of focus, shaky, and filled with me repeating myself. But hopefully there is something in there that someone will find useful.

This first video I shot half way through the trip and I talk mainly about the interior siding and something I might consider doing differently concerning the electrical if I had planned to hook this house up to solar power.

And the last video I shot right before I left Florida.

The Countdown

I sent a letter to my HOA letting them know that the trailer will be removed no later than Jan 15th. I think it will be road ready before then but I wanted to give myself a little buffer. This is past the date they told me to get out but not by much so I’m hoping they will let it slide (what’s a few days between friends).

My brother and step-father are driving up on Tuesday. My step father doesn’t have any construction experience but it will be good to have an extra set of hands. They’ll get in late so we won’t be able to start work until Wednesday. The weather is pretty frigid here (especially for a Florida/SoCal boy) with snow expected on Thursday and high winds on Friday. Makes me wish I’d taken more days off when I was working in a t-shirt. (Click here to start the music before reading on) Oh, how I miss those warm beautiful days. No time pressure, no HOA, just me, the sun, a ladder, and a 12 foot drop. Ok, maybe not all the memories are great.

Thanks to everyone for their support, especially Michael of TinyHouseDesign.com and Kent of TinyHouseBlog.com for getting the word out. There are a few offers on the table for temporary storage of my TH but I’m going to wait until after the weekend to evaluate the situation.

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Awwww Snap!

Well, what do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news? The bad news is the home owners association has caught on to my little project and is not too happy. The good news is… oh wait, it’s all bad news. The 30 X 2 days that I thought I would get to move this thing turns out to be 10 days and my tiny house is in no shape to move.

HOA Notice

My options as I see it are:

Option #1: Try to move the house to the back yard.
This option sucks because: I have a 10′ gate but the ground is unlevel so I don’t think it will make it through. I would probably have to take down a section of my fence. But if the neighbor who turned me in did so because of the construction noise they may just find a new rule that I am violating and all will be for not. This option would also require releveling the trailer.

Option #2: Move it someplace close by where it might be able to make the trip and I can finish it there.
This option sucks because: No such place exists that I can think of.

Option #3: Try to get the house road ready in 10 days and move it to Florida for completion.
This option sucks because: 10 days (make that 9 now) is not a long time. This will require me to take off yet more time, most likely at no pay (I’m not sure how much my company will let me go into the negative). Also, I won’t get to do the open house that I was looking forward to.

I’m not sure what prompted someone to complain after all this time. I would have thought it was going to happen in the beginning or not at all. I can’t be too mad though I guess.

Happy New Year!!!

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All Wrapped Up

Took Monday off and did a little more work. Unfortunately I had forgotten that I had a dentist appointment at 4pm so I had to cut the work day a little short.

I finished up the sheathing of the dormers. The sides of the dormers required some fancy cuts (notched triangle with no right angles) which had me perplexed for a few minutes. But once I figured out a technique the job went really quick.

I also fixed the warped sheathing by making a few expansion cuts (that’s what I’m calling them) about half way into the plywood and then screwing into a 2 X 4 support placed between the studs. This worked really well!

Warped Wall Sheathing

Warped Wall Sheathing Fixed

I then wrapped the house in (appropriately named) house wrap. I didn’t cut the windows out hoping that this will stop some additional rain water from entering until I install the windows. Hopefully we don’t get too much wind.

Finally, I added back the overhang (from cutting off the rafter tails a little while back) on one section of the wall. My solution only works because my overhang is so small. I designed a small one to maximize the interior space since the trailer has a maximum width. This solution eliminates the need for the rafter blocking (which I had already done) and notching the rafters (except for the one on the very end, pictured below, where there is no sheathing).


Sheathing the roof and installing the windows is next. Much beyond that I will need an additional materials order (primarily metal roofing and siding). For that I will need to wait for my funds to replenish.

Tiny House Wrap

Not a gust of wind all day except when I was just about to tie off the first corner of the perfectly positioned tarps, or should I say, Kites.

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13.81 Inches

That’s how much rain Atlanta has received since the beginning of October. About the same amount as Seattle (8.85 in.) and Portland Oregon (5.41 in.) COMBINED. I used to enjoy the rain. It meant lazy Sundays and sleeping in. But with home ownership rain has taken on a more stressful feel. My ‘big’ home has some minor roof leaks that no matter how many times I think they’re fixed they always seem to return. Now I’ve thrown in this tiny house construction with all of it’s exposed wood and my stress level is even higher. For those of you reading this thinking I am overreacting a little, here is a picture of a sheet of plywood I made the mistake of leaving out in the rain for a few hours.

Warped Wood

Before the latest batch of rains came this last week I purchased two additional tarps, for a total of 4 (18 ft. X 12 ft.). Even that wasn’t enough to cover the entire structure, but my main goal  was to cover the roof and unsheathed walls to protect the floor. On Wednesday, when the rain was at it’s peak, I came home from work to find that a corner of one of the tarps had been blown free allowing rain to enter through the roof. My tiny house had a swimming pool! I re-secured the tarp and swept out the water, once again cursing the entire time (I must say, my vocabulary certainly has expanded since beginning this project ;)

Tiny House Tarped

On Saturday I took off the side tarps and rolled back the roof tarps. The floor looked good however there where some serious bulges along one of the longer walls that I will need to correct before installing the house wrap.

I was able to install sheathing on all of the walls sans one dormer. It is supposed to rain (surprise surprise) on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week so I am going to see about taking Monday off to try to get the house wrap up. Once that’s done I think I will feel a lot better since that will protect the walls and the tarps do a good job of covering the roof (assuming they don’t blow off).

Tiny House Sheathed

Tiny Retirement House Sheathed

If the rain doesn’t start to let up soon I am going look into adding pontoons.

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A Slight Miscalculation…

…Is what I like to call it (i.e. I screwed up). I got started at daybreak on Saturday morning with the ambitious intention of completing all the sheathing (walls and roof) when I noticed a small problem. I had previously wanted to complete all of the framing prior to moving on to the sheathing, this included installing the rafters. Since the rafters are notched some part of them comes in contact with the outside of the walls. The problem was that I didn’t account for the width of the wall sheathing when making that notch so there was no room to run the sheathing all the way up to the top plate.

So instead of diving into my work I spent the better half of the morning weighing my options and cursing.

The good news is that I determined a work around and I like it so much that I think I will do it that way from the start the next time (I’m planning on building more tiny homes). It’s kind of hard to explain so I will take a picture and update you later. The short of it is; I cut off all my rafter tails (the part that extends beyond the wall) and will add something to take their place later. I spent a lot of time notching all those rafters to create those tails so it was a bit sad to see the little guys go.

Tiny Retirement House Wall Sheathing

What I did get accomplished was completing the installation of all the straps and clips and sheathing 2.5 walls. Not too bad.

Tiny Retirement House Wall Sheathing

From just the right angle it’s starting to look like a house.

Tiny Retirement House Wall Sheathing with Tarp

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I recently heard a saying…

… that “you should never be cheap when it comes to things that go between you and the ground (e.g. shoes, tires, etc.)”. Well I would like to add ladders to that list. Ridge Beam SupportWhy you ask. Because I bought a cheap ladder today, and for that I paid a hefty price. It was 2pm and I was on the last screw on the last full size rafter before moving on to the dormers. I was about 11 ft. up when to my surprise I saw the ridge beam fly up past my face. This took a second to comprehend but then I noticed that the flimsy piece-of-crap ladder I had previously been standing on was suddenly gone. My body began to twirl as though I where a cartoon character and a rug had just been pulled from underneath my feet. This was the first time I’ve fallen (I try not to make a habit of it) where I actually had time to turn and watch the ground approach. My body hit the foundation with a crash and a thud. Fortunately I was not knocked unconscious otherwise I would have missed the blow of the rafter, that only seconds ago I was trying to secure in place, crash down upon my writhing chest.  After impact I laid there for a good 25 minutes slowing taking stock and ensuring I still had feeling in all my appendages. I was done for the day.

The ladder I had purchased said it is rated for 225lbs. Me being 175lbs., I thought it was an appropriate choice. When I got it back to the house I noticed it was flimsy when I was on just the first rung (the height equivalent of standing on your tip toes). I decided to use it for the time being and switch it out the next time I went on a materials run. Big mistake. In the interest of product honesty I took the liberty of redesigning the ladders label for the manufacturer:

Ladder Label

Fortunately this was near the end of the day so I still got a decent amount done. Cutting all the rafters took a lot more time than I had anticipated. I think I went through about 4 prototypes before finally getting it right, despite having my trusty SketchUp model. The model is great, but the model is also precise. Wood on the other hand is not.


28 rafters in all. If I’m healed by the weekend I may try to complete the dormers, but don’t count on it.

Tiny Retirement House Roof Framing

I’m trying to decide if I can convince my mom (for whom, as most of you know, this home is intended) that it is already done. It has a roof and walls!! ;)

Tiny Retirement House Roof Framing Tarped