A LOT of them, and we are getting an on-the-fly lesson in construction management and coordination. We have slipped past the 3 month mark and are feeling a bit more pressure to start covering ground as I would rather rush now than rush in January while trying to move into SHED. It has been a while since our last post so this will be a retroactive catch-up of all things SHED from the last few weeks (with a side of our adventures of course). If you “like” SHEDsistence on facebook you will see our photo or video posts every couple of days as we make progress rather than all at once like here on the blog.
A few weekends back, Samantha and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary in classic tiny houser style, by spending the weekend in another tiny house! We reserved one of the well published “rolling Huts” located 4 hours north of us in Mazama, WA and designed by Seattle architect Tom Kundig. While not meant for full time living, they were strategically placed on “wheels” to legally meet the camping-only zoning designation that a permanent structure would violate. The space was linear, simple and elegant; a bed to the rear and a living space with modular block furniture and fire place to the front, divided by a small kitchenette wall. The walls stopped at 8’ tall and were capped with a clerestory window all the way around the space that made the roof appear as if it were floating while providing light and maintaining privacy. The trajectory of space and view was out the front, which was a wall-to-wall sliding glass door onto a small porch covered by the cantilevered roof. Running water was only accessible by a spigot at the back of the hut and while there was an externally accessible porta-potty style bathroom incorporated into the back of the hut, communal bathrooms and showers were located a hundred yards away in another structure. We spent a relaxing weekend exploring the Mathow Valley and surrounding peaks before returning to Yakima ready to work on SHED and hit the ground running.
Our most active (and expensive) progress has been the procurement of appliances, lighting, cabinets and an HVAC system. The steady stream of boxes arriving at home and work has included our refrigerator, mini-split heating & cooling system, propane hot water heater, bathroom vent fan, bathroom can lights, LED tape lighting, LED cable lighting system and a low flow shower head. These items are piling up amidst those we have already purchased over the last few months including our bathroom mirror (with LED lighting and storage) our bathroom sink and faucet, our kitchen sink and faucet and our flooring material. With the arrival of each new item, comes a new instruction manual and a new set of required knowledge and skills. The idea of AC piping, electrical wiring, plumbing and propane piping is a bit daunting.
With those tasks on the back of our minds we have found time to insulate our entire tiny house with rigid foam, bringing our R-values to:
R-17.5 in the walls (with 1” of that installed as continuous insulation over studs on the exterior)
R-27.5 in the floor and the roof
Consider those numbers in the context of our advance framed structure that reduced the amount of wood and increased the amount of insulation, combined with the continuous insulation and we should have a pretty efficient building envelope that will be conditioned by a 9000 BTU Energy Star 21.5 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) Ductless Mini Split system capable of heating and cooling. We are located in the desert of Eastern Washington with pretty cold winters and very hot summers in excess of 100 degrees for prolonged periods so cooling is nearly as important as heating, especially with an indoor cat.
I have also been able to fit in a few days here and there to spend time with ATLAS & CEDAR owner, NATE, were I have been slowly constructing the interior stairs that will access the loft, a project that would be difficult to pull off without Nate’s extensive knowledge and useful tools. The domino joiner has been a life saver when it comes to all of the mitered corners of our plywood waterfall stairs and we have made some neat design tweaks on the fly like adding an embedded steel bar at the leading edge of each tread to protect the plywood veneer from chipping and pealing with use. There are two more glued miter joints and the stairs will be 1 single piece and read to set in place in order to start building in the storage beneath them. It will be interesting to see just how many articles of clothing and shoes we will have to get rid of in order to fit everything in the under stair storage.
A couple weeks ago an east coast friend of ours was visiting Portland, OR and we decided to combine a wet coastal excursion camping trip with a visit to the Portland IKEA to make a cabinet purchase. Armed with an online IKEA generated list we navigated our way to the kitchen department to purchase our five base cabinets and fronts and bathroom vanity. Only after we had swiped our card and paid for them did the following conversation happen that had us thinking twice:
IKEA staff: Would you like a weight and volume report on your order?
ME: Nah, we should be alright.
IKEA staff: Do you have a truck?
IKEA staff: Do you have a Subaru?
IKEA staff: Is it at least a hatchback?
I want my next job to be at the furniture pick up dock of an IKEA…You know, that place where happy and eager couples have that “oh $#*t” moment as they first see the larger than expected pile of items they bought while excitedly browsing the cute little showroom arrangements and swiping their little plastic credit cards. We managed to Tetris our items into the Honda Civic, but the same probably can not be said for the couple exchanging worried glances in front of a car sized stack of boxes next to a ford Focus.
We made the 3+ hour drive back from Portland with pieces of IKEA furniture protruding into the front seats but considered ourselves lucky to have all of the extra weight combating the potential for our little vehicle to hydroplane as we fled the oncoming PNW storm. Assembling the cabinet bases went smoothly after we deciphered the instruction manual seemingly developed by a cartoonist. We currently have all 5 cabinets sitting in place in SHED but are waiting to assemble and put in the drawers and fronts until there is less risk of construction caused damage similar to our front door who’s chipped paint tells a story of falling objects, clumsy ladder maneuvers and a lack of a doorstop.
Samantha, assembled the bathroom vanity which happens to closely resemble the color and texture of our dark flooring and looks really nice with the white sink sitting atop of it. We balanced the faucet in place and dry fit the bathroom mirror and started getting excited to finally see the space start to resemble a home.
On October 31 we took a break from building a house to build some D.I.Y. proton packs for Halloween: “Who ya gunna call?”
Future Predication: More moving parts
In the coming days we are procuring 26 sheets of ¼” plywood that we will use for our interior paneling that will be painted. A meeting with a professional Electrician this weekend should expedite that process so that we can begin putting up ceiling and wall paneling as well as flooring and then begin to actually install our cabinets and stairs. At some point this month (maybe?) we will be moving SHED for the first time to a parking lot at the office I work at in order to have it more accessible for the final push of construction. Monday we meet with a prospective host at a location we have always admired and would be honored to spend some quality time living there. We will document each of these stages in spate upcoming posts as they occur.