Thursday, October 29, 2009

Uncle Bub!

Just spoke with Bub for a status update.

He said he put the cabinets bases in, and the counter top. The plumber is coming today to finish.

He also said our light came in, and that will be installed as well when electric is done, tomorrow.

He said we can touch base after his vacation to get the rest of our cabinets installed. (He's calling them again now to find out what's up with the delivery on those.)

He also said that the electrician advised against a make-it-yourself cable, so I guess we will be using pre-mades after all. I'm not sure how pre-mades daisy-chained can be more water tight than a single cord with heads attached, but oh well.

You've been updated!

Self Storage Center

Lining up our first month's occupancy with the little house... spoke to Joe at the Self Storage Center we're going to be "storing" our "Camper" at... heh. He said we've got a green light for move in on Sunday.

As far as power is concerned, he told me he has a separate outdoor outlet we can plug into, but he does not know if it shares a circuit with the other outdoor outlet. He suggested we trip the breaker on Kevin's power to find out if the second outlet dies with it.

He also suggested we just split off Kev's line... but I think we will go with a separate line even if it's shared, because we'll get a purer signal through one stretch of cable than can be had off 5 daisy-chained cables.

That is, of course, if Bub's electrician friend can get us the needed cable.

We've got to keep our heaters both going at the same time, sharing a circuit... could be an issue. We'll see how that works out.

I'll be lacquering the interior Sunday and Monday, most likely.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

RV Water Pumps

I think we might be screwed on water pumps. They're designed to feed out two different lines, one to hot and one to cold... while drawing from the cold source...

Now, the way we designed our system, the cold water is a two-way street... So, theoretically, if we use a pump, we would have to take the pump out of the line each time we want to refill the tank via a hose.

There is a slim chance we could find one that would allow backflow while off... maybe we can find one that does that... but these things generally have check-valves that prevent backflow so you don't end up with with water "slipping back" past the pump's pressure.

Maybe we can figure out a way to make it easy to disconnect/reconnect... like a switching T-Valve connected to a second stretch of hose that is easily switched between... I wonder how hard it would be to do something like that myself. It SHOULD be easier to figure out once the other plumbing work is done, because I'll be able to see what he used for valves and diameters and whatnot.. maybe..

It doesn't seem promising. Maybe we can just hook up the hot water line and let the cold water gravity-feed. That might work.

Anyone know if either of these ideas would work?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


WOW. That was remarkably EASY!

I was totally expecting to get the run-around, and total feeling of being un-helped, and rejected. But that's entirely the opposite of what I got.

I called my car insurance broker last week and talked with her a little about the house, and got her thinking about the process. I then went into the registry to find out from them what I needed. They basically said I just need the title and a stamped paper from the insurance company.

So, today I e-mailed my insurance broker warning her I'd be coming by, then left work a little early. She was unsure of how to go about the process, I mentioned to her about what I learned at the registry, of their only needing the title and stamped paper. So, she filled out the paper for the carhauler trailer that we built the house on top of—the trailer for which we have a title.

She then assured me that the little house would be added to my policy, insured for what I told her it's costing us to build. It's covered for Comp & Collision. She thinks this is the coolest thing, and asked me to continue to send her photos as it progresses.

I then took my stamped paper and title to the registry, where I was met by another friendly, helpful woman. She began the process of registering a car hauler, but she then asked me what we'd be hauling… I have to admit, I was hesitant to explain the whole thing, not knowing if she'd shoo me out the door or not.

I pulled out the photos I had with me—a few of the ones you've seen here on this blog.

She asked if it had a bathroom—I explained the composting toilet.

Then she asked about kitchen appliances. I explained the electric cook-tops we were planning, and said nothing's built in.

She asked if we could "basically live in it"? I said: "Yeah, we COULD live in it."

Then she asked if it had a shower… I was then getting a sense from her that she was intrigued by the concept of our little house, and that there was no problem registering something like this. So I offered that yes, it has a shower and sink. She smiled and asked if it could be registered as a camper? Cool, I thought. I was figuring we'd be registering it as a car hauler that hauled a house. So registering it as a camper seems much better.

A friend of ours recently went through the process of registering a camper in which he's living. During the process, he had made the mistake of mentioning to the insurance and registry people that he was planning on living in it, and that made things difficult for him. So, I was sure not to mention to anyone that we were planning on using it as our living facility.

Glad this went well. It was a big weight hanging over my chest since the project began.

Where oh where has my water tank gone

Our fresh water storage tank seems to have been delivered to the wrong town. Not sure how that happened exactly.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Almost Done

Well, the roof is on, the interior paneling is finished... the only major things left are plumbing and electrical. Both should be taken care of this week, if all goes well.

We are planning to move the house for the first time Nov. 1st.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I've started the ball rolling on insuring our little house. The agent asked if I knew of anyone around here who might be able to appraise it... I couldn't think of anyone.

To all of you who've gone through the insuring process, how did you have your house appraised? We could use receipts and photos if necessary, she said.

She's getting in touch with Foremost, who works with insuring travel trailers, which is what she has categorized it as, since we'll be traveling with it around the country.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this proves to be a simple, and painless process. Won't you join me? Cross your toes too if you're able :)

The Wire.

Well, we are coming down to it now. We basically have 9-10 days from today to get everything finished. We're still waiting on lots of things to be delivered. :\

Our builder is going on a 2 week vacation on Nov. 2nd. If it all works out, we will get everything delivered in time for him to install it... but who knows. Unfortunately, our cabinets are on back order... I am hoping they will come in fast and he will have time to get them installed so he can call the plumber in to put the sinks in.

Then we just need the last of the electrical components delivered so he can have the electrician come in...


A Truck

James and our friend Kevin have found a great place for us to park for the winter—in East Texas. It's on a lake, with pine trees; there's electricity and wireless internet. I'm pretty excited about it, and comforted knowing that there's someplace for us to be.

We've settled on heading south around Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if we'll go before or after, but around then. So, I need to get a truck!

I've been searching around online, and am thinking about getting a Diesel GMC Sierra 3500 or a Ford F350. I definitely want a 1 ton truck, as I'm terrified enough about towing this thing. I want to be sure the truck we get can handle the load, and maintain my sanity. This review was pretty helpful.

I found a GMC Sierra 2500 for sale (shown above), for a pretty reasonable price, however I'm unsure about the 10,500 towing capacity of the 2500. I'm not sure how much our little house will weigh, so I don't want to take any risks of having a truck that can't handle it.

We'd also like the truck to have an extended cab or a cap. Our little kitties will need a comfortable place to travel with us.

If anyone has any advice or suggestions about what to be aware of while searching for a truck, I'd love to hear them—especially from people who are towing a tiny house.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scratch list

Scratch list - items for Bub to address:

- Add one exterior outlet on trailer-hitch end, near top of bathroom wall, towards the door side, with an interior switch controlling power supply. (switch would be in the upper-right corner of the bathroom "end wall"--exterior outlet would be opposite, in the same approx. area, but on the outside)

- Buy a sheet of wood paneling to cover loft "floor."

- Use excess wood paneling (or buy more) to box in area above shower stall. (Should effectively prevent mildew and mold formation above shower without sacrificing much head room.)

- Use knotty pine to box in the end of the loft, hiding the 2x4's and create a little trim strip (as used on the window borders) along top edge, over wood paneling.

- Use knotty pine strips, 2.5-3" wide, to cover exposed ends of 2x4s on office shelves. Have overlap on the top side, creating a 0.5-1" lip that will prevent things from rolling/falling out.

Tentative: (will need to be designed first)

- Would like to add a platform in the bathroom, for the toilet to sit on. Would need to be weight-bearing, with a space underneath about 1' tall to be used for cat litter box area. Two-step stairs would lead to toilet, positioned right in the middle so the cats can get in or out on either side of steps.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Our fridge arrived with a corner smashed in, courtesy of UPS. While I was about ready to pull my hair out when I found out, (because it was just one more thing on the pile) I am happy to say that I have filed a claim with UPS and gotten that ball rolling as well.

Productive day.

Batteries and Inverter/Charger

I went ahead and dropped another grand on two batteries and the inverter/charger.

Keeping my fingers crossed at this point... I hope we have enough money for everything!

Water Storage

I've placed an order for a 10 gal RV water tank and a connector kit with the hoses and adapters needed.

I'm holding off on buying the pump... I want to see if it's possible to move the cold water purely by gravity-feed... in which case we might just avoid hot water when not connected to a water source...

...or I will buy a pump later. We'll see.

I'm a little weary about having to run the electric pump at the same time as the electric hot water heater.

Water Heater

Okay, well, the search for the most ideal water heater has been rather difficult. The electricity-consumption on the all-electric models has been pretty high. Since 1500 watts is the best I seem to be able to come up with, I've opted for this model. It has a considerably lower amp requirement than others I've looked at, and while it is still 1500 watts, that is better than 2000. We will just have to be careful when we are using it.

At this stage, we plan to still be on-grid for the most part, so a little extra power consumption isn't too big a deal. We will just have to be sure we're not consuming much power otherwise while it is reheating.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Coming into reality.

Our little house finally feels like it's becoming a reality. For so long I've been feeling like this project will never end, and the idea of living in our tiny house was a long-away fantasy.

Today James and I visited Uncle Bub and the tiny house. On the way up, we stopped at Home Depot to pick up a few things, sinks & faucets, etc…

When we arrived, we were SO thrilled with what we saw. I'm just incredibly happy with how it's turning out. The flooring is in, and most of the interior walls are up, the lofts are in and the shower is in place.

Here are some photos:

James and I are standing below our bedroom. There will be a wall put below this loft, coming out from the wall behind us and dividing the area into 2 offices. My office will be on the left (the side James is standing on), and his will be on the right. I love the height of the ceiling. It really doesn't seem as low as I was concerned that it might.

The plumbing coming into the kitchen for the sink.

The same loft as shown above, minus the people.

James on a ladder admiring the bedroom loft.

James is standing in the shower, poking his head through where the bathroom door will be. The bathroom wall is not completed yet. but the shower wall is done because plumbing was run into that wall. Kevin is reading about cabinets and is standing where the kitchen sink will soon be.

The oak floor, and the knotty pine wall. I really love the similarities and differences between these two wood types. They seem perfect together.

We picked out cabinets for our kitchen and a slate-colored laminate counter top. Bub will be working on getting those in. Our job for this next week is to finish getting the lighting fixtures that we want in the loft, bathroom and below the upper kitchen cabinets.

I'm beginning to see that light that I've believed is at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Location Location.

It's all about location.

We're having a hell of a time finding a place to put this thing.

Each idea falls through... given enough time...

After the next picture set goes up, I think I will shoot an email over to Michael at Tiny House Design. I think he offered at one point to help us draw some publicity to our site to help find a place to keep it.

Other than that... it seems challenging to find a place in the south while I am up here in the north... sigh.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

Almost There.

Well, we are almost there. Progress is coming along. The walls are just about closed in, except for the bathroom wall, which hasn't been built yet due to the shower not being in yet.

Shower should be getting purchased tomorrow and put in, then the rough plumbing will be put in.

In the mean time, it is back to shopping for us.

The agenda includes:


- Find a hot water heater. I am looking at this one.

- Buy a water storage tank and 12v water pump.

- Pick out and purchase a power inverter.


- Kitchen Sink
- Kitchen Counter
- Kitchen Cabinets
- Bathroom Sink
- Bathroom light fixtures (2x over mirror)
- Smallish ceiling fan. (Call Bub for dimensional limitations?)
- Loft light fixture. (Two-lamp bi-directional unit)


Tomorrow we will go up with whatever we can get purchased. We'll drop off the stuff to be installed, and probably take some nice new pictures as well. (I'll man the camera this time...)