Mid-February update

Too much work lately, and not enough updates! Lots has happened the last couple weeks. As usual, I'll let the pics speak for much of it.

I got some pine shiplap milled at a great place in Jasper, GA. I insulated and started at the back (bedroom) and have been kind of doing everything as I move forward. The framing is all pretty much in place, so I've been running electrical, insulating, and installing the shiplap. I also got the flooring in last week. I finished installing it in every room but the bathroom. I've hung the door for the bathroom on the barn door hardware. We bought the door from a salvage place before the building began. It has panes, but I covered the panes in an old piece of rustic metal.

1-27-17 Update

I've been slack about updating the site. Lots accomplished in the last couple weeks. I'm 95% done with the exterior. The roof is on, and all the cedar trim is installed. I've turned my attention to the interior this week. I installed the subfloor in the bedroom, and reinforced the storage solution under the bedroom. I've almost finished framing out the bathroom. This morning, I will finish putting the floor in the storage area above the bathroom. 

We are meeting tomorrow to go over the kitchen layout. We have mostly full-sized appliances, so it is proving to be a little tight in the kitchen. We'll be installing a combination washer/dryer that arrived on Wednesday. The next steps will be to run electric wire, after we have the kitchen layout done. I've already attached electric switch and outlet boxes in areas throughout the house where we know we'll need them. I need to install some bolts that secure the framing to the trailer. I've been procrastinating about doing that because it involves drilling through a couple of 2x4s, and a 6" steel tube, then having someone under the trailer, and one person inside, to tighten the bolts.  After that, I'll turn my attention to running plumbing supply lines. We can then start installing insulation.

The weather has been good this week. It's nice that it largely won't affect me much for the rest of the build, as I'll be inside. Another update to come early next week.

A rare pic of the other side of the house! There's a small buffer between the house and the woods, so it's hard to get in a good position to take a pic!

The exterior is mostly done.

I installed the french doors last week. They have blinds integrated between the exterior and interior glass - a nice choice by the homeowner. 

Trim detail around the dormer window. 

Started framing in the bathroom. There will be storage (accessible from the bedroom) above it.

Good week

We almost have all the sheathing done. We installed the window in the dormer, and sheathed the lower section of the front of the house, and installed the lower window. We also framed out the end of the house over the porch, and installed the framing members that will support the ceiling over the porch, and the floor of the storage area above. 

Just one more window to install above the one on the end. 

I took advantage of the help this week, and we moved the french doors inside. They will be installed before the end of the year. 

Keller is 6'7". It give you some scale to just how big this tiny house is.

4,000 Nails

This has been a good week of progress, so far. Last week, I finished most of the sheathing on the exterior walls. I made the rest of the rafters, and installed most of them Friday, right before it got dark, and right before it was supposed to start raining. I was able to secure a couple of tarps over the rafters and avoided getting the inside wet, for the most part.

This week, I've had the help of a good friend who is home from college for the holidays. It has been perfect timing, as putting up roof sheathing is definitely a two-person job. We have concentrated on that the last few days, and just finished getting it all down today. We added a dormer window, which I think adds a nice element to the otherwise boring left side. 

Today, we put in the 4,000th nail since starting the project. I rarely start a job with fresh boxes of nails, but we did on this one, and between framing nails and sheathing nails, we hit the mark, and still have another 500-600 more to shoot! There's still a lot to do, but once the front end is sheathed, and the metal roof installed, we'll have a weather-tight shell to work in when/if the weather turns bad. 

The rain and dark were just about to hit when I got the tarp over the house on Friday.

An interior view after we started sheathing the roof.

Keller fastening aluminum straps over the ridge beam to tie the rafters together.

The roof is almost ready for the metal to be installed.  Still need to finish out the dormer with sheathing, and install the window. 

Still getting used to just how BIG this tiny house is!

Turning the corner

This week, I framed out the opening for the french doors that will serve as the primary entrance, and started working my way back to the front with the right wall. I installed the large 4'x4' window, which will be in the living room, and an octagonal window I bought several years ago, which will be above the toilet to let in some natural light. 

Framing is one of my favorite parts of the job, as you get to see a lot of progress in a short period of time. It's been a little tedious, as doing this type of work on a trailer has more detail than a typical job on a permanent foundation. Working around the wheels, and securing the walls to the trailer chassis require additional labor, but it should be pretty smooth sailing finishing up the rest of the wall early next week. 

The large window is centered in the living room. The octagonal window will be in the bathroom. The kitchen will be in between....Hey, it's TINY living!

Looking in the living room from the porch.

Hudson visits from time to time to check on progress. He's decent company, but I've got to talk to him about his productivity. 

Hudson visits from time to time to check on progress. He's decent company, but I've got to talk to him about his productivity. 

Progress has been a little slow the last couple of weeks with Thanksgiving, a short trip to Florida, and some much needed rain. We had our daughter out for a couple of days, and she helped me finish framing the left side wall. We got it sheathed and stabilized before we headed out for Thanksgiving.

Between raindrops last week, I got the rough framing for the porch installed. It is made from 4x4 cedar. This morning, the appliances were delivered. I'll be putting them in storage until it's time to install. My goal for this week is to get the right side and porch entry framed. 

Olivia gave me a hand for a day, helping finish the left side framing and sheathing. 

Going UP

Picked up the ZIP panels from JP Haynes Lumber here in Canton. I've seen this on several commercial buildings around Atlanta, and several tiny houses on the 'net. However, it appears that I'm the only builder in this area to use them. Every employee there knew that I was the "tiny house" guy, and was curious about them. As I was working yesterday, one of the women that boards her horse at the horse farm next door stopped and told me she works for Huber, the manufacturer of the panels! Small world.

Because the side wall are so long, I'm having to put them up in sections. It wouldn't be difficult on a stationary house, but I need to kind of thread everything together to avoid any seams that are continuous. This helps avoid shifting and racking of the walls. It's kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. 

This is the part of the build where it appears a lot is getting done. The prep work is boring to do and to follow along. It's alway cool when I start to build "up". 

Before I put the walls up, I made a pattern of the wheel wells, so that I can transfer it to the siding and sheathing for a perfect fit.

Here's the template in place after I cut it. I can just lay the template on the siding, ensuring that I won't screw up...at least that's the idea!

This stack of sheathing panels weighs almost a ton. 

Got some help from my favorite employee yesterday. Shannon also calms me down when things don't always go so perfectly. She's standing in what will be a 2'x3' window opposite the bathroom. 

Subfloor done

Ok, I'm in a little bit of a foul mood because our internet service has been having issues the past couple weeks. It's caused me to lose the last two blog posts, so I'm going to try and make it up with one post, and hope it uploads.

I bought all but one of the windows last week. I also ordered the sheathing for the walls and the roof, and it should arrive tomorrow. 

I got the subfloor finished on Wednesday, and added almost two feet to the trailer length by making a framed box on the front, and bolting 2x6s on the back. It went according to plan. Today, I started on the wall layout. I've got a temporary portion of wall that is standing, mainly just to get a feel for the dimensions. Pics speak more words than I can type.

This is a 16" extension I built that is supported by the framing of the trailer tongue and is bolted to the main frame. It does not affect the turning radius much at all.

The subfloor going over the extension. I had to make a layout of all the framing members under the subfloor, and whether they are wood or steel, so I know what fasteners to use when I can't see them anymore.

I gained a few inches on the back of the trailer by attaching 2x6s to the frame of the trailer with 1/2" lag bolts. 

I cut around the lights on the back of the trailer so I wouldn't have to relocate them.

The subfloor is finished.

I started framing the right side wall. I stood it up just to get perspective. I will be using some relatively new framing techniques on this build. 

I'll be using California Corners to join the walls. Insulation is important in a tiny house, and every little bit helps. Traditional 3 board corners leave the corner uninsulated. 

Getting started

There's always a boring and laborious part to building. That was the first day working on this tiny house, but it's also, literally, the foundation for everything that comes after.

Rewind to Saturday, where I attempted to back the trailer down to my preferred build site closest to my workshop. 28 feet might now sound like much, but when you add the tongue of this trailer, it's about 34 feet...and that's a pretty long piece of equipment to back 1/4 of a mile. Shannon walked behind as I slowly worked it down our narrow and twisty driveway. It was clear that even if I got it to its intended location, that I was only going to be able to do the first week of work before I could no longer get it out - the drive is just too narrow. I got it all the way to the turn where I wanted to put it, and could go no further. I'm no stranger to hauling or backing trailers of all sizes, but basic geometry dictated that it just wasn't going to make it. So, back up the hill it went. A quick couple of phone calls, and I now have a leased piece of my neighbor's land to build on.

The trailer is built on 2x4 and 2x6 steel beams. For some reason (I presume for saving weight), the middle six feet of the trailer is framed with 2x4s and the exterior is 2x6s.. No problem, I would just install wood 2x4s in the centers to bring it up, and have a nice platform to nail into. The only problem is that a steel 2x6 is actually 2 inches by 6 inches. Meanwhile, a wood 2x4 is 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches....so, I had to sandwich a 1/2" piece of plywood under each 2x4 to make up the difference. I spread adhesive on the steel beams, laid the plywood strips down, then add more adhesive, then placed the 2x4s, and then drove 2 3/4" self tapping screws every 10 inches to hold the whole thing down. Pretty time consuming stuff. 

I'll finish the rest of that installation this morning, then start installing the subfloor. I'm planning on having the client come out tomorrow to finalize our floorpan...so I better get to work! I promise that things will get exciting soon!

Construction adhesive on each beam. The leaves fall faster than I can remove them! It's nice working outside...for now.

Construction adhesive on each beam. The leaves fall faster than I can remove them! It's nice working outside...for now.

I cut 1/2" plywood into strips, then laid the 2x4 flat to bring the floor level with the outside. 

I cut 1/2" plywood into strips, then laid the 2x4 flat to bring the floor level with the outside. 

The adhesive and screws make the wood feel every bit as solid as the steel. The subflooring will overlap to the steel on the outside, tying it all together.

The adhesive and screws make the wood feel every bit as solid as the steel. The subflooring will overlap to the steel on the outside, tying it all together.

Got about half of the trailer done yesterday. Did I mention that it's pretty long???

Got about half of the trailer done yesterday. Did I mention that it's pretty long???

Let's get rolling!

Otter Hollow Design is entering the portable tiny house market! Just last week, we received a deposit and signed contract on a 30 foot long tiny house on wheels. 

Yesterday, I travelled to visit Blue Moon Storage in Rockmart, GA. The owner, Andy Morgan, also sells custom trailers of all kinds. Andy is a super nice guy, and we spent an hour and a half looking at a 24 foot tiny house specific trailer. The trailers are nicely built, and his prices are at least 25% cheaper than other models I've priced.

The specs for our trailer are: 28' x 8.5'. We are going to add a foot to each end...more on that later. It has dual 7,000lb axles with brakes on each axle. There is also a battery operated "breakaway" switch, which will operate the brakes in the unfortunate event that the trailer should come unattached from the towing vehicle. It is steel tube frame construction, on 16" centers (meaning the tubes are 16 inches apart at the center of each tube, making it easy to install regular house insulation, as this is how a majority of homes are framed). The trailer will have scissor styled leveling jacks on each of the four corners. It also has threaded rods every four feet around the perimeter to securely fasten the walls to the trailer chassis. 

The trailer is supposed to arrive from the manufacturer today. My plan is to pick it up tomorrow (Thursday). Stay tuned as we tackle this exciting new venture!

This is the 24 foot tiny house trailer I looked at yesterday. Our trailer will be four feet longer. Doesn't seem like much, but it's a pretty big trailer!

This is the 24 foot tiny house trailer I looked at yesterday. Our trailer will be four feet longer. Doesn't seem like much, but it's a pretty big trailer!