Friday, January 25, 2013

Settling In

It's been just over a month since I moved into the tiny house, but its finally starting to feel like home.  After taking up residence on December 15th, I jumped right into the Christmas season with a trip to New York to help my friend, Joe (Elvis), sell Christmas trees, then it was back to VA for the holidays with my family.  When I finally returned to the tiny house in Richmond, I sat down on my bench in the living room and surveyed all that I had to do.  Build the book shelf, finish the closet, paint the kitchen, build a bathroom door, permanently hook up the water and insulate the lines, install a greywater system...and more.  But, for now, most of the projects are done!

First step was to install a greywater system, since the water from my sink and shower was just puddling under the house.  I found some drainage line with built in geotextile and foam material that I buried in a 10 foot long trench:

The line is under ground, so it's kinda hard to tell if it's working, but the shower hasn't back up yet- so far, so good!  I wanted to change the trim color in the kitchen and use a glossier, easy to clean paint.  Having other projects to work on, I decided to contract that project out to my girlfriend:

The agreement was that I would change the oil in her car and build a bathroom door.  To be honest, I probably would have just lived without a door, but since she wrote it into the contract, I was obligated to get it done.  Not only was it not as difficult as I thought it would be, it turned out great!  I used some of the left over rough sawn poplar and got some replica hinges from Pleasants Hardware (a store I wish I had discovered at the beginning of this project- they literally have "most anything").  Its now one of my favorite features in the house:

The closet was another easy task that I kept putting off.  Having shelves and a rod to hang clothes on is a truly amazing luxury!

Even more beautiful is my book shelf that I made out of the wormy maple.  I assembled it in the big house (its great having all that storage/work space!), and it came together very well.  The height was perfect, but once I got it into the tiny house, I realized that I couldn't fit it under the loft beams and stand it into place.  So, I had to take a gamble and chop half an inch off the bottom legs with the skilsaw.  Thankfully, it still looks great!

Oh, and those cabinet doors you see in the background?  I went to install them with some brand new hinges the other night, and for the life of me, I could not get them to rest in the closed position.  They just kind of hung out there, an inch or two from the cabinet face.  After literal hours of trying to adjust things and staring at them, I figured out that the angle on one or two of the hinges was just slightly different from the others, and thus it wouldn't let the door close tightly.  So, I had to exchange them at Home Depot, and thankfully the replacements worked just fine.  Very frustrating though. 

Also, on that bookshelf you'll see some pots and pans and plates.  I've been using some plastic spoons and a bowl for most of my rather meager eating, but I finally found some kitchen items, so hopefully I'll be able to start cooking more wholesome meals :)

I needed a way to store my common toiletries in the kitchen since, well, my bathroom sink is right next to my stove.  I found some nice little baskets at the Family Dollar store for my toiletries and flatware:

And lastly, I've had a couple of tours of the place over the past couple of weeks.  My parents and brothers came down for the day to tour the house and the Virginia War Memorial.  A couple from the Tidewater area came to Richmond for their anniversary and a tiny house tour- sounds like another house on wheels might be coming to VA!

I'm at the library and snow is just starting to come down...can't wait to burrow under the blankets in my sleeping loft and wake up to a winter wonderland!


  1. I am planning a tiny house in Richmond and this blog is inspiring. Can I pick your brain about what to do and what not to do? I would love to see your finish product too if you don't mind.


  2. Hi,

    I live in Richmond and I have been dreaming of building a tiny house on the south side. I'm currently trying to figure out how to do it legally (or whether to just build one and see if I get into any trouble). How are you doing it? Do you have a main house and "store" the trailer on the land? Or are you flying under the radar - and if so, how easy has it been for you to do that? I read that in Richmond trailers can be parked behind houses but not hooked up to water, electricity, etc., so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Thinking about maybe going with a larger "tiny" house(above 420 sq ft) and putting it on a foundation.

    Thanks for creating this blog - it's really cool to know that there are other people in Richmond who are into tiny houses!




    1. I actually built my house in Chester and then moved it to a property I purchased on the south side of Richmond, so it is within the city limits now. I have had zero problems from the city so far...technically you aren't supposed to live in "trailer", but there is an old, run down house on the property (which it is legal to live in), so if anybody were to ask, that's where I reside. I searched for a while for a property that 1. was relatively secluded, and 2. in a neighborhood where the neighbors would be unlikely to care even if they knew about my house. Its been working out great, and I don't think the city will care as long as I don't tell them and keep mowing the grass/maintaining the property. I've been having a lot of requests for tours recently, so if you're in the area and would like to check it out, let me know!

    2. Water and electric: I tapped into the systems on the other house on my property and ran underground lines out to the tiny house. The electric is plug in (like a large RV), so if I had any questions I could just unplug it. The water is also easily disconnected by one clamp. The picture above shows my gray water system, which has worked well. Blackwater goes into a tank which I dump through a sewer cleanout plug on the big house.

  3. I just looked again at the "Tiny House Map" and it looks like you are in Chester, so there are probably different requirements there than in the city, but it would still be really interesting to talk!

    Kayla (above)

  4. I love your project! My name is Whitney, I am completing a Certificate at Yestermorrow Design Build school in Warren, VT. For my project I am researching the availability of homeowners insurance for tiny homes. If you own a tiny home please take a few moments to fill out this survey. Thank you for your time!

  5. Kevin,

    Any chance you'd be open for a visit? Do you have any more "projects" you need help with? I'm an aspiring tiny house builder....still in research mode.

    1. Hi Terry, you're welcome to come by for a tour sometime. I'll be unavailable until about the middle of may, but send me a message at kjr241 at and well figure out a time!

  6. Hi Kevin
    I'm planning to move to VA and would like to build tiny house. I want to know how much all the cost of the power ,water and sewer? Did you check zone land before you buy?

  7. I am thinking that you own the land that your house is one with making all the changes to the plumbing etc... Sometimes, it's hard to find the facilities to do that. Nice door by the way