Hi everyone! I’m writing from Olympia, Washington where I’ve started school at The Evergreen State College! I worked so much on the tiny house over the last two months of being home that I had absolutely no time to post anything (except for some pictures on facebook). And of course, now that I’m at college, I still don’t have very much time.
It’s been hard transitioning from building and working being my main focus in life back to academics. I’m enjoying studying river ecology mixed with visual arts, but I totally miss making progress on my house. I’m homesick. My wonderful parents have been tying up the stray ends for winter – painting the trim, taking the tires off, etc, doing what I wasn’t able to do before I left. I literally worked until the last minute sitting on top of my house, securing the roof.
Since I last posted in July, I installed all the insulation and outer sheathing, wrapped the house in Typar housewrap, installed all but one of the windows, cut and installed the trim (covering the ends of the rafters), and also cut and installed the metal roofing material. After the work my parents put into it to tie up the loose ends, it is all ready for the winter weather!
I got a lot of amazing help with insulating. There were many VERY hot days and working with the insulation was pretty frustrating. Julian came and helped me line up and cut a lot of the exterior plywood and it was very helpful to have it ready when it came time to put it up, rather than having to cut it again. Helen and Alynna came for a day which was a lot of fun and we made great progress. There was one day that I was rushing to finish insulating the last side of the house before it rained, but I didn’t quite make it and it POURED heavily on me, my house, and the insulation. I panicked, but the sun came out again later in the day and dried everything out. I used 6″ long Timberlock screws about every foot to secure the outer plywood and insulation to the framing. It was frustrating sometimes when the screw would miss the stud and go straight through my wall, but the holes they left shouldn’t be too hard to cover up.
After I’d insulated the first wall, I put the front door and two windows in almost immediately. Lliam helped a bunch. So exciting! My house finally looked like a house! Soon after, I spent a few nights in it which was also very exciting. It felt pretty surreal being in a space that I’d brought into reality – from very sketchy and rough drawings to a sturdy dwelling.
I was very nervous for installing the windows because I really had no idea how. But with some help from my Uncle Danny and advice from other family and friends (Uncle Charlie again!), they went in pretty easily and brought me more confidence. Yay!
Also, my solar panels came and I tested them! (They work).
As it got to be the end of the summer, I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to even get the trim, roofing, and siding on. There were so many things I wanted to do and people I wanted to see before I left and I didn’t want to sacrifice that time for maybe finishing what I’d planned to. I went to Cummington Supply and asked Gus what the bare minimum was for getting my house ready for winter. For a while, it sounded like a tarp would be fine, but other experts were skeptical and encouraged me to at least try to get the roofing material up. So I made it happen! I bought some purple and orangey metal roofing from Mike Skalski for a great deal. I made sure I had everything I needed from Cummington Supply, then set to work on cutting the lumber for my trim. It was a bit tricky, but actually went faster than I thought it would. And it was fun! I enjoyed it a lot because it was such great, quick visual progress. In the meantime, Mom began sealing the seams on the bottom of the trailer with caulk, and Kai came to help paint.
When it was time, I bundled up to protect my skin and eyes from flying metal and my ears from the screeching. It was scary cutting the roofing at first but was actually very cool with sparks flying everywhere and even just knowing that I was able to slice through it. After all the warnings I’d gotten from Sam, Gus, and Mike about being careful and cutting it right, I was afraid it would be really difficult cutting through it and I would get a lot of resistance. But it turns out it was pretty easy and they were mostly warning me about protecting my skin and hearing!
Putting up the roofing and screwing it in was a breeze and also fun because of the visual progress and increasing relief that my house was going to be weatherproof for the winter. I spent a lot of time up on the roof and very quickly learned that sitting directly on a 90 degree angle is NOT comfortable. So I made a special throne for myself to sit on which worked very well and was very cushy.
When it got to be getting time to leave to go to Boston to fly out the next morning, I was struggling finishing up putting on the ridge cap for the upper roof. Since I was rushing, neither my dad or I had thought about it carefully enough so we made a few mistakes and had to go get a new ridge cap. I still didn’t install it in quite the right way, so my dad was able to clear it all up after I was gone. I so wish I could have been there for the last steps but I know I’ll have plenty to do next summer when I’m home.
Thank you all for your support! <3