Trudging along

Last week was cold, but made some pretty good progress. I also did a lot of standing around...thinking.

I've done a lot of building over the years. A friend of mine and I took a house to the foundation and built an entirely new structure. I've done additions, remodels, decks, and roof raisings, but building a small house requires a whole different perspective. What looks good on paper can look completely different in three dimensional space. 

Several years ago, I participated in a weekend-long workshop on tiny houses with a company called Tumbleweed; one of the pioneering groups that saw this vision before the general public. One of the first things we did was take painters tape and outline an 8ft by 13ft area - a common footprint for a tiny house on wheels. The idea was to give us a true representation of the confines of this type of living. After the workshop was done, I left thinking that I could live "small", but doubted I could ever live "tiny". That weekend got the gears turning in my head about how I might one day stop working on existing structures and businesses, and build them myself. 

Back to the build... I added the loft to the existing four walls. There will be room for some stairs on one side, and I intentionally left about a foot and a half of vertical wall space so that it didn't feel cramped entering the loft, and so that I could put in actual stairs instead of a ladder. I'm pretty pleased with that decision. Without the roof, the loft feels downright spacious. Of course, that will change some when the roof is framed in. I used a reclaimed 6"X6" post that a friend of mine gave me when they rebuilt the deck on his house. It serves as the support for the portion of the loft that is not connected from wall to wall. I put subflooring on the loft and covered it with house wrap because of the predicted rain early this week. 

In the pics below, the window directly to the right of the door will be moved to the far right, in the bathroom. Originally, it was supposed to be directly above the sink/kitchen area. It just looks awkward next to the 14 panel door, and moving it to the bathroom will give some natural light in there, as well as make it look more symmetrical. There will be an identical window in the loft, centered in the wall. 

I spent the better part of two hours yesterday trying to clear a jammed nail from my framing gun. I have no idea how it happened, but it's put a screeching halt to progress. I'm no stranger to the business end of a hammer, but framing with a hammer takes time, and I already have a load of framing nails that fit my gun. Plus, to make more progress, I have to put in some full days because  it looks like I'll be fighting the weather this week.

I took the down time to cut all the roof rafters. The next step is to sheath the existing outside walls, move the window referenced above, and make some changes to the front of the house to accommodate the window that will go above the french doors. Originally, it was going to be put in too high. After that, I will support the 16ft ridge beam, and start installing the rafters. In the pics, you can see my sample rafter that mimics the roof line. It was another one of those things that on paper looked one way, but in the "field" it feels different. Originally, I was going to use a 12/12 pitch, meaning the roof would rise 12 inches for every horizontal 12 inches. I've moved closer to 9.5/12 (or a 40degree angle vs. 45degree). 

Enough rambling. I'm headed out to the shop to start the laborious task of cutting the 100+ red oak pieces I bought last week. The next update will discuss placement of the refrigerator and A/C unit under the stairs. Have a great week!

I love this part of building, where it really starts to look like a house! The window next to the door will be moved to the far right - into the bathroom. The window you see at the far end is tacked in place where there is current framing. I need to re-do that framing because the original placement was just going to be too high.

I love this part of building, where it really starts to look like a house! The window next to the door will be moved to the far right - into the bathroom. The window you see at the far end is tacked in place where there is current framing. I need to re-do that framing because the original placement was just going to be too high.

Sitting in the loft. That window was originally going to sit on the top of the framing. As it temporarily sits now, it will actually give a decent view from this position. An hour's work, but worth it.

Sitting in the loft. That window was originally going to sit on the top of the framing. As it temporarily sits now, it will actually give a decent view from this position. An hour's work, but worth it.

The framing for the loft. The green post supports the parts that are not supported by opposing walls. I reclaimed the post from a friend's deck remodel.

The framing for the loft. The green post supports the parts that are not supported by opposing walls. I reclaimed the post from a friend's deck remodel.

A slightly better pic. Note the previous taped areas. To the left is the stairway. The back corner is the bathroom, and the centered area will house a small sink.

A slightly better pic. Note the previous taped areas. To the left is the stairway. The back corner is the bathroom, and the centered area will house a small sink.