May 20, 2017

OMG!  The snow has gone away (hopefully, this time, until next year!) and decent weather has returned.  A little cool today, but no better time to START THE BUILD!

First off, though, I found that 8-or-so months of inactivity meant I desperately needed to re-level the trailer.  This time, I figured I’d be proactive (and less precarious), opting to buy some big stone pavers to act as the foundation for my jack stands.  Once that was taken care of, I pulled my mobile workbench out of the garden shed and got to work!

 

My 3 most-used tools! (Miter saw, drill and impact drill), on my home-made mobile workbench.


And since I had the time (and 2x4s!), I made my first task the subfloor framing, which is built out in sections.  The area between the trailer’s fenders was first, followed by the rear section.

 



Of note:  the two pieces of ply sheathing you see on the inside of the fenders are to prevent water intrusion – there is a little gap between the trailer’s frame and the fenders –  it’s cool that the plan makers have thought about/encountered these little ‘gotchas’ and built in the fixes already!

The tail section is actually a little tricky, as I amalgamated features of two different plans to achieve what I wanted. The original plans called for a set of French doors at the rear, but I opted to move them to the side (allowing for a whole-length deck in the future!) and added instead a bay window, culled from another set of plans. The bay window seems like a perfect idea, adding a little (cantilevered) space that wouldn’t normally be there and adding bright seating/lounging space. The framing that you see jutting out will facilitate the bay window above.

 



May 18, 2017

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!  NOT!!!

 



Can’t believe it’s actually snowing!!  Of course, anyone that’s lived here long enough knows that Colorado can be a tad fickle in its climate.  Sigh.  Those 2x4s pictured (covered in snow) are the first (potential) pieces of framing, although the initial building effort will have to (regrettably!) wait for the weekend….

 

The first tiny-house-specific Home Depot run!! (One realizes it’ll doubtless be the first of many!)


May 7, 2017

Time for a (very overdue!) update!  Since the last note, here’s what’s happened…!

First thing – got myself a $500 trailer hitch (much better than stock, with heavy-duty RV electrical connections).  And made a road trip (and nearly ran out of gas in Middle-of-Nowhere, Utah!).  Stopped at Logan DMV for temps tags, then picked up the trailer & headed back…..

And, as I was leaving Utah behind, on the side of the road in a little rest-stop there was another tiny house under tow!!  I stopped to chat with the owner, and his first words to me were “that’s a tiny house trailer, isn’t it?”.  We chatted for the next hour or so…. and collected about a dozen bystanders who skidded to a stop too…  all loving the tiny house idea!!

 

Foreground: my tiny house trailer. Background: GGC Designs’ tiny house model. (Personally, I think it’s butt-ugly, but tiny houses are all unique!)

 

And, about 24 hours later, arrived back home.  Turns out that I was right – clearances between the house and the side fence were super-tight (only a few inches to spare!).  It took me, my friend and his wife the better part of an hour to move the trailer into the back yard (after taking down the section of fence that adjoins the house!).

 

My good friend Merri, gracing the back end of my trailer, in front of the house


So now it was nearly fall; unfortunately work was keeping me busy, and debts were keeping me poor!  Despite mild fall weather, no work on the house was started.  I just had neither time nor money.  And then there was winter.  The weather was still unseasonably mild, and I was starting to get my required tools and materials together.  Which was when “it” happened.

One winter morning in February, there was a sudden freeze-up after days of record warmth.  In almost exactly the spot where the above picture was taken, I stepped out of my car….  See the sidewalk above?  Unbeknownst to me, it was then a total sheet of (basically-invisible) black ice.  Both feet shot out from under me.  I stretched out my arm to stop the inevitable crunch…..  and my arm (shoulder, really) crunched instead.  The orthopedist diagnosed a 95% (read: BAD!!) rotator cuff tear.  Could barely move my arm.  Time for surgery.

So at the end of March, I went under the knife.  And, happily, the surgery was a success.  Success is relative though, as it was predicted to be a long and painful recovery, with my arm’s range of motion only expected to return after 6-8 months of intense physical therapy and recuperation.  (A note here – a huge THANK YOU to my Uncle Billy who flew out from Massachusetts to help me out for the first 2 weeks after surgery. Total godsend!).  But the tiny house build was, needless to say, delayed.

 

The tiny house trailer as it currently sits in my back yard; the reconstructed fence and gate can be seen in the background.

 

But now it’s spring.  I finally can hold at least a little weight with my injured arm, and physical therapy is now beginning to bring noticeable improvement (Sarah, my physical therapist, rocks the world!).  I’m (so!) ready to start the build.  Hopefully, the next post will be a video of the first framing steps!  Wish me luck!


Aug 15, 2016

It’s finished! Ok, not the house (which has yet to begin!), but the custom 24-foot trailer is complete, and waiting for pickup in Logan, Utah. Road trip!

A few issues are still to be resolved before I can even attempt the pick-up. The first is the lack of a tow-capable vehicle. My 2015 Subaru Forester lacks a tow hitch, and, though it is certainly possible to add one, it begs the “is-it-worth-it” question? With a tow hitch installed, I can certainly pull the (empty) trailer back home, but that would be the extent of the tow hitch’s usefulness. My little SUV certainly won’t be able to pull the completed >10,000 lb. Tiny House. I have a friend with a full-size American-made SUV (with a tow hitch!), who would be willing to make the get-the-trailer trip with me, so maybe that would be the best course?

Also… looking at the house (and backyard) that I **was** planning to use for the building effort, I am now wondering if the clearances between the house and the perimeter fence are going to be too close. And, more importantly, will the completed house have the necessary clearances to exit the property once I’m finished? Stay tuned…

 


 

The “Great Build”, as I have elected to call it (it is, after all my most ambitious “home improvement” project to date!), is yet to begin…   waiting on the vendor’s completion of the trailer (a.k.a. out of my control!).

The trailer has been on-order with Tiny Home Builders since June 2016, with an “approximate” 8-week lead time.  Versus a lot of tiny home builders, I made the (fiscally-tough) decision to opt for a new trailer, custom-modified specifically for tiny homes.  My thinking on this was simple; the trailer is your ‘foundation’ – it is the very platform you are building on – and if your foundation is already deteriorating or the victim of wear, you are simply asking for problems later on.  Additionally, for the basically same price as other non-tiny-house-specific equipment trailers, this one comes “made for the job”, with many tiny-house-specifics (more on those later) already in place.

 

trailer-diagram