The Simple Life

Roby and I have decided to live "lightly". Come along for the journey of the construction and trials and tribulations of living in the Tiny House.

This blog is posted with the most current adventure first. So, scroll to the bottom if you want to start from the beginning. s.

We welcome comments and any building tricks.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Home

June 18 2010

Our last task before moving the tiny house to its final destination was to apply our natural paint to the wood trim. We met an artist at the Real Goods Store who was painting with natural pigments and he showed us how to create the mixture. We went to the neighboring hillside and collected some red dirt. In following the recipe in the natural paints book we mixed milk casein, wheat paste, lime, linseed oil and our natural pigment. For about $1.50 we made enough paint for the entire house. It went on perfectly. No oily smelly toxic paint from Home Depot.

Before the paint was even dry we hitched the tiny house trailer up to the Ford F250 Work Truck and drove about the length of a football field. We maneuvered the truck through a small opening between two strategically placed trees and unhooked the trailer. We have shade on the house and patio from the trees and the 132KW Photovoltaic Array on site pretty much all day.

What a great feeling to be away from the traffic and noise of the 101 Highway. We can actually open our windows without being blasted by the air brakes on the big semis rolling through Hopland. We now have the peace and serenity of the neighboring vineyard. Even better is having our own kitchen. We no longer have to share the kitchen yurt with the interns (nicely dubbed "animal house living").

Green Acres here we come.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tiny House Living

Now that our house is starting to become a home our routine is becoming more comfortable. I get up early in the morning with the morning sun beaming through the window right in my eyes. I try to hide behind the curve in the barn styled roof for as long as I can. Once the stock market opens I head down to the great room and work on our solar panel desk. Roby is lucky because his side of the bed is not affected so he sleeps in for a few extra hours. Before he heads down our newly created wood ladder, he has figured out how to do his exercises in the loft. Based on the celing structure he is able to get himself perfectly positioned into downward dog for some yoga moves. In the escape hatch he can do his tricep dips and on the bed he gets in a few sets of pushups and situps. It is truly a multi-purpose room.

Custom Bathroom

Sarah has developed a new work plan for the site crew designating which days we devote to photovoltaic work, gardening, and infastructure. Now we work on the tiny house on Tuesday and Wednesday. We are getting down to the nitty gritty. I spent time cauking the cracks around the window frames and finishing up the trim work in the kitchen. Roby has dedicated himself to tiling the shower and toilet room. He has never done it before.

Instead of making it easy on himself and picking the perfectly square tiles to just install in a few minutes, he decided to let his artistic brain convince him to do a custom mosaic pattern. He figured how long could it take to tile a 2x2 room. (Three eight hour days later he finished his masterpiece.) He started by cutting out the hole in the wallboard for the compost toilet. He installed the toilet-a 5 gallon bucket with a fancy recycled wood toilet seat over it. Next he went through our recycle yard and picked out the different tiles he was going to use. He used a white square tile for the base layer and cut out an organic pattern which he filled with blueish green broken pieces. He had to improvise because he did not have the proper tools to cut the tiles. He used a small dremel with a tiny blade on it and cut through it to lay out his patttern. A job which would normally take a few minutes to prepare for such a small area took 4 hours and several cuss words with the dremel saw. He used a hammer to break the blue pieces to fill in the design. The next problem was re-creating the pattern he designed on the tabletop to the bathroom floor. We thought of trying to slip a board under it and moving it carefully but it was not going to work. Instead he took a mental snapshot and did it blind. He said it was a lot of fun but very stressful because he had to make sure the mud did not dry before he got his mosaic set. After a full eight hours he had the 2x2 shower floor finished. You would have thought he would decide to take it easy on the toilet seat area but no, he got even more ambitious. This time he spent 6 hours designing the mosaic and another 8 hours installing it. He said the best thing about being a construction worker is the beer you get to drink after work.

Roby was pushed to get the tiling completed because while we are on vacation Cuatro and Chris are going to lime plaster the shower walls. Hopefully we will be able to use it when we get home.

Our goal is to move the tiny house to its final resting spot mid-June. The only remaining task will be to install the roof. We have two good leads on materials but nothing confirmed. Roby will then put his magic together and design a cute little garden and patio around it. We will have it set up as a display for visitors to see how to build a green sustainable structure. We are going to use photovoltaic panels for power and a solar thermal system for our water system. These along with our compost toilet will make us off grid completely. Many green festivals have asked us to bring the tiny house to their events to showcase it. Hopefully we will get to take it on the road to promote sustainable building practices. Burning Man here we come!!