Big Strides in a Tiny House
I’ve abstained from writing for a while now as an act of keeping my sanity and directing my focus towards building. This ambitious project is all consuming with the amount of research necessary for an amateur builder. Sourcing materials without networks previously in place while consistently making decisions, compromises, and creatively thinking of alternatives to road blocks that present themselves has been a huge learning experience. I’ve reached the point where documentation is possible again, and I’m excited to share The Honey House’s progress.
Since my last post The Honey House has grown through Spring to Winter and I have now been physically building for 14 months. I thought the tiny house would be complete by now and the ache I feel to live inside her is insatiable. However, the build is nearing it’s end and the “fun” stuff has begun.
- I worked with an eccentric electrician who insisted on teaching me how to do all of my own electric. Despite my lack of desire to learn wiring I ended up doing about 75% of the electric myself. My dad and I installed the propane lines and finished up the interior plumbing with help from a local plumber.
- During the intense heat of the Summer we (my dedicated Dad and I, as well as friends and family) wrapped the interior of the house with Intello, a one way vapor barrier similar to Gortex. It makes the wall system independent from the interior and exterior climate. It allows moisture to escape the wall system but doesn’t allow moisture to get in. This barrier shields against possibilities of mold, and the transfer of dust (and dust mites) – therefore limiting dust allergies. There must be no penetrations in the membrane for it to function properly and therefore we used tape made of a similar material to seal all holes and seams.
- After the Intello was in place, we installed the reclaimed Aspen boards on the ceiling and the wall boards made out of 1/4″ plywood, which we painted white. I wasn’t sure what to do about the wall seams, but ended up ironing on edge banding (used for cabinets) that my Dad picked up at a friend’s yard sale. I’m super happy with how it looks due to its low profile.
- Once the walls were in, we planed all of the reclaimed flooring from the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and I hired a coworker with flooring experience to install it. It came out beautiful and we sanded it with a rented stand up sander and I sealed it with Bona Traffic HD – a water based low VOC product.
- The loft floor went in relatively easy and is Colorado blue beetle kill pine that we picked up about a year ago at a reclaimed building materials place in Boulder, CO. I love how it looks with the steel loft beams!
- My new friend Phil asked me to speak at a local Bioneers (www.bioneers.org) meet up, and then I hired him to help me build my stair boxes. My Dad and I put the treads on with the same reclaimed old growth Douglas fir flooring.
- I’ve always wanted butcher block counter tops and after watching a youtube video on how to make a butcher block counter we got super inspired and my Dad jumped into building our own. He ripped the t&g off of the left over Douglas Fir flooring, and glued/nailed them together on edge. I sanded it down for hours and we put several coats of polyurethane on to seal it really well. It’s rustic and beautiful!
- During the last few weeks we have been installing the reclaimed kitchen cabinets, the couch frame, tankless water heater, electric backup heater, RV bathtub, fresh water tank etc.
There are always little details that need to be worked out or attended to. In addition, interior window trim is up next along with bathroom tile (with radiant heating), grey water lines, finishing the kitchen cabinets, and installing the counter and sink.
Please feel free to leave a comment or send me any question you may have. I’m currently working as a tiny house consultant and connecting people with efficient green building products as well as other tiny house resources.