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.
Joining the frame boards
Joined frame boards
One day’s cabinet progress
World’s End by T.C. Boyle
Ever so often I come across a book that’s big enough and good enough that I never seem to finish it. I carried this book around for the better part of a month and was sad when I finally finished it. I picked it up at a yard sale because the back cover told of a protagonist haunted by ghosts of family members and forebearers. As someone obsessed with genealogy, I’ve often felt the same way pouring through old records and stories looking for parallels between my life and those of my ancestors. The book centers around a troubled man named Walter, fresh out of college in 1960’s New York state. The book tells two narratives that slowly come together, and finally merge at the end of the world, in Barrow Alaska. Walter finds himself haunted by waking visions of ancestors that appear around a life-altering accident. He sets off in search of answers but meets every roadblock imaginable. The search for answers reveals links to many of the novel’s characters whose families populated the region for centuries. He seems constantly stuck between forces, those of his free-wheeling radical friends and his stuffy suit-and-tie job, between his life that’s on hold and the visions from the past he can’t seem to shake. Parallel to the story of Walter is the story of his ancestors, who once lived in the same place as him, when New York was still a Dutch settlement. Their troubled lives, plagued by strange happenings and betrayals give insight into the lives of their descendants, far into the future. Watching the dueling narratives finally come together was thrilling. The book is wonderfully well written, well paced and completely worth the month’s worth of reading it took to finish it.
The Art of Non-Conformity – Set Your Own Rules – Live the Life You Want and Change the World by Chris Guillebeua
I was drawn to this book mostly because of the title. but felt an immediate spark upon realizing the author had some of the same values and experiences as I do. He writes about quitting the “traditional” workforce at 20 and seeking self employment, valuing entrepreneurship over monotony and busy work. He questions the established paths towards education (high school, college and graduate school) and sets forth a focused and economical plan for self-education. Honestly the chapter “Graduate School vs. The Blogosphere” is one the things that finally encouraged me to start this blog. The book focuses on the importance on building a life that is worthwhile and focused on work that is fulfilling and leaves a legacy. It challenges the reader to fight authority, question convention, travel as a means to grow and make the world a better place.
The Big Tiny – A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams
To anyone who reads about tiny houses regularly, Dee Williams is a name that comes up often as an influence or source of inspiration. I ordered this book a few weeks ago while busy thinking about tiny houses. I was hoping it would provide some insight. I was surprised by just how easily I related to the author and her experiences falling in love with the tiny house community. The book follows her battle with an unforeseen illness, search for “Tiny House Man” (spoiler, it’s Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed fame), tiny house build and adjustment to a pared down life. She writes often of the simple joys she found in the tiny life and the process leading up to it, such as quality time with friends, meeting neighbors and appreciating and feeling connected to the changing seasons. In the book Dee approaches the tiny house idea with enthusiasm but a normal sense of trepidation, only to find many unexpected benefits of a simpler and happier life. For anyone considering downsizing or seeking happiness through simplicity, this book would be a good read.
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.
more first steps
Putting up plywood
Lofts coming together
Dad got a special discount on the Tyvek because it was upside down
No pictures of the roof laying action because it was a major pain
Installing cedar siding
Siding and windows in
Starting to look like a house
After staining the cedar, painting the window trim
Installing the insullation
Just seeing if our whole family could fit in the tiny bathroom.
Pocket door installed
I don’t have many pictures of me working because I was the one taking the pictures. I’m sure I’m doing something important here.