This weekend was a bit of a step backwards. My dad originally installed a Tarkett snap-together laminate flooring for the house. After installing it my parents were disappointed with how it went together and looked. After a few weeks of trying to warm up to it, my dad finally decided to rip it out and start again. After buying Pergo brand laminate, we went to work replacing the floor on Sunday. It was the first day after daylight savings time ended and I think everyone was tired and a bit frustrated, so we really didn’t get too far.
I promised my mom I would make the cabinets and counters for the house, but then I got distracted. Before I even got started planning my dad started building. I’m glad he did because I’m sure the cabinets will turn out much nicer now. We were originally going for stark simplicity, but my dad loves a challenge and has been designing and fitting drawers, shelves and doors. Today we got 3 drawers put in. It was pretty challenging and took most of the day’s work. In the end they fit well and move smoothly. They look rough now because they’re just set in the shell of the counter, but soon we’ll finish the rest of the cabinetry and put faces and pulls on the drawers. We were also able to cut all of the pieces for the other set of counters, on the opposite wall.
The work is going a lot slower now as the days get shorter, but every week it looks a little less like a box full of lumber and supplies and a little more like an actual house.
Today we got started working on what will be the tiny kitchen. With the floors, interior paneling and window trim installed it was time to start planning the cabinets. Our plan calls for a kitchen that’s situated right under the larger of the two lofts. It will have cabinets on both walls with a sink on one side with a two burner propane stove and mini refrigerator on the other. For the cabinets we decided to build a simple frame that we would fit the appliances and drawers, shelves and cabinets into. The outside will be finished with a 1/4 inch cedar and the top is a slab of spruce stained a dark color to match the flooring.
We started building the frame today, which gave my dad an excuse to buy a new tool (always fun). After starting the cabinet frame we had just enough time to cut the counter top and mount it before positioning the sink. We plan on connecting the plumbing (PEX tubing) later. The sink we bought was a small stainless steel bar sink that was just the right size for the narrow counters.
Working in the fall has been a nice relief from the heat of the summer. During the early months we started early when we were heaving plywood up to the roof and installing paneling on a scaffold. We’d work until it was too dark to work anymore. Now that its cooler and the projects needed to finish the build are getting less taxing, we’ve been starting earlier and quitting sooner. With lights inside and a fan/space heater as required the work is less draining and more fun than the initial steps. Since we’ve delayed the launch date until spring there’s also less pressure to finish it soon. We’re finding that like any project, it’s going to take about twice as long as initial guesses.
Last year Jason and I had a chance to stay at Caravan, a tiny house hotel in Portland, OR. For about the cost of a conventional hotel we were able to rent a 120 sq ft. house built on a trailer bed. The little house had all the amenities you’d expect and all the charm you could ask for. Shortly after our stay there we became obsessed with tiny houses. As soon as we got back we told my parents about our stay and they too became tiny house fanatics. My dad has always loved building with wood, having built the deck, the fence and many other things around my parents’ house. My mom had always dreamed of having a cabin in the woods. They both loved the idea of building something small and cost effective. So they ordered plans and bought a trailer and in the dead of winter started planning.
Jason and I volunteered to help on the weekends and I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of building a house. Throughout the process we’ve met many challenges and gotten a chance to use our problem solving skills. Still, none of the challenges we met were too big to solve with a little time and research. I dubbed myself the “project worrier” as I scrutinized everything and watched it fall into place despite my ability to worry and over analyze. Now it’s October and we’d hoped to have it finished but have still made remarkable progress. We hope to bring it to the place where we’ll park it in the spring. We still have floor to lay down, cabinets to build and appliances to install. Until then I’ll be counting down the days and crossing my fingers for the arduous trek through mountains to rest this sweet little cabin its spot in the woods.