Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tiniest Cedar House in Virginia (Nicest Too!)

You know those times when you're pretty excited about something, but then things change slightly and it becomes AMAZINGLY INCREDIBLE?  Well, putting siding on a house is one of those boosts.  I put the siding project off for a while, I guess because I was a little intimidated about having to deal with such long lengths, transporting material, and trying to nail it up straight.  But, I found out that:

1. There are so many windows on a tiny house that most boards are only a couple feet long.

2. Sixteen foot boards hang out the back of a pickup truck just fine.  Wrap a strap around 'em, tie a little flag on the end, and you're good to go!

3. So yeah.  Maybe I haven't nailed every board exactly parallel, but that doesn't matter because it gets the job done and...


Now, before I get carried away, I do have to keep in mind that I still have to do the potentially complicated work under the gables and eaves, which reminds me...I still have to put up fascia board and soffiting :(  To be honest, I don't even know if I'm using those terms correctly, because I've never done any such procedures.  Which intimidates me even more.  

What are the challenges?  Well, since not everything about the rafter/roof area was done perfectly even and level, I'm going to have to do some correcting so that the finished product looks as fabulous as it should.  If you have experience in this line of work, feel free to come on over and give a hand!  

This post wasn't supposed to be a confession of all my house building fears, but rather a jolly update on my progress.  Indeed, maybe my concerns are a little exaggerated.  I worried for several days about the challenge of fitting the pieces of siding around the row of windows on each side of the house.  Scroll back up to that last picture for a second.  Looks pretty darn good, huh?  Yep, an afternoon's work of careful measurements and a jig saw produced fairly satisfactory results.  If I can just build up the courage to take on the soffit challenge, it will at least be a grand learning experience, right?

Moving on into the house, I decided to start work on fitting the poplar material into the end walls in the lofts. Since these walls are under the roof, everything had to be cut at a 45 degree angle to match the ceiling.  Using the same method that I developed for cutting the siding, I carefully measured the length needed for each board and then added a hair extra.  This is a totally inefficient way of doing things, because it means re-cutting boards about 60% of the time. least I was able to reduce the amount of boards wasted by erroneous measurements.  After a while, my measurements became more accurate and I didn't have to re-cut as often which definitely sped the process up.  I was a little worried about how the walls would look, but they turned out pretty decent:

Interspersed between siding and wall projects, I've been trying to finish up some of the plumbing.  In my design, "Plumbing Central" is located at the front of the house, under where the kitchen sink will be.  That's where my 30 gallon on-board freshwater tank and its associated on-demand pump + accumulator are (in case I don't have access to a hose hook-up, and for winter time when hose lines would freeze anyways).  I also need an input point nearby to fill the tank, and a hose hook-up for when I do have access to pressurized water.  Right after the pump, lines have to shoot off to the water heater and return carrying hot water for the sink and shower.  Naturally since all of this is happening under the sink, there also has to be tees leading up to the faucet, and enough space for the drain to drop down through the floor.

For a couple weeks I drew diagrams of the whole system, and all I could come up with was a tangled mess since there just isn't must room to work with.  But, I finally just formed everything into something of a one foot tall trunk with the various lines branching off where they need to go.  Note the reinforced rubber lines connected to the water pump- an attempt to isolate vibrations and noise:

I also tried to make the connections to the water heater as short as possible to reduce the opportunities for freezing, although the water heater itself will still be vulnerable to cold weather.

So that's about it for now.  Hopefully I'll be working on the kitchen counter this weekend, which means I'll have to go fridge and sink shopping :)  If you've been thinking about building a tiny house but aren't sure if you can afford it, check back next week for some of my thoughts on budgeting and ideas for how you can get started on your own dream of home ownership!


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