We’d rather be building than blogging!!

21 Nov

Seriously, I don’t know if building is just more intuitive to us (or to humans in general) than blogging, but we’ve had more struggles lately in dealing with this blog than actually building a house. And keep in mind, neither me nor Mathew have ever BUILT anything, yet we’ve spent a considerable amount of our lives in front of a computer! Go figure. And maybe it’s because mental tasks are considerably more draining than active tasks (just going out and doing something!).

I’d like to take just a few paragraphs detailing some of our experiences thus far with the build!! While I have been helping Mathew when I can, my time is taken up mostly by the “day job,” so, in reality, I have merely a secondhand view of Mathew’s trials and tribulations with his carpentry adventures. These views, however, are often highly animated, heartfelt, and impressive. I am amazed when I come home, and Mathew says things like, “Well, I sheathed most of the roof today.” And even if you’re not versed with those terms, you should be able to appreciate the feats involved with just working on a roof. And to clarify, “sheathing” requires that Mathew lift giant pieces of plywood (the “sheath” of the house) about 15 ft into the air and properly place them on a 45 degree slanted surface. This is what we Crossfit for.

The sheathing of the roof was preceded by the rafter building, which we can arguably say was the most difficult task thus far. Rafters are the support beams for the roof. They are the connection between the ridge beam and the tops of the walls. (The ridge beam is the highest point of the house that runs lengthwise down the center of the roof.) Building the roof is difficult because all the rafters need to be cut at the same, weird angle and everything has to line up. Also, everything has to be drilled with screws using an impact driver. (Using screws instead of nails make the building more stable and is preferred if the house is to sustain high winds, such as those encountered on the highway when we take it somewhere.) For me, drilling with this damn impact driver requires so much upper body strength (which I do not have!!), that I have to brace myself against something in order to properly “drive” the screw in. If you don’t push hard enough, you just end up stripping the screw head and then well you’re screwed!! Anyway, when you’re on the roof trying to find something to brace against to help you “drive,” all you’ve got is air. So core strength is essential, people. When I was helping to screw in the sheathing for the walls, we’d have to stand on a ladder and often with the force of the “drive,” I would often tilt the ladder (very scary even though it would only be a 15 ft drop at most). So instead, when I could, I would wrap my legs around a stud (the 2X4 that holds the wall up, not Mathew!) and kind of hang my upper body around the front of the plywood to finish screwing it in. Fun stuff!

Mathew probably has a lot more experiences to talk about, and I wanted him to talk about a few in his own words. Recently, he found this post talking about the “making mistakes” aspect of house building, and it made us both hysterically laugh. But in response to me asking him to write a few words about his own mistakes, he responded, “I’m building the house; you write about it.” Whatever you say, baby. I truly admire his commitment to this, so I don’t mind that we establish our respective roles in a) building the house and b) getting the message out to fellow bloggers, tiny house builders and just the plain ol curious. Below are some recent pics and that post from another blog that I was talking about. Thanks Tiny Revolution!

http://tinyrevolution.us/2012/11/21/we-all-mess-up/#comment-715961728

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Subfloor Complete.

10 Oct

It took awhile, but we are done with the subfloor. Now on to the walls.

Lots-o-lumber

24 Sep

Today we got our lumber load. Yay! Mathew and I also pulled out half of the boards of the base of the trailer. This is to lighten the load; most of the weight will be bearing on the trailer frame underneath so it won’t affect the stability of the structure. We will then build the subfloor on the remaining beams. See photos below! More photos to come!

WOW! WordPress is extremely difficult to work with. Sorry for the formatting issue.

We’re here!

22 Sep

Hey y’all!! I’m new to the blog-o-sphere and have no idea what a “Gravatar” is, but the post below is also connected with our “Gravatar” profile information, but I only see it if I click a bunch of circuitous links. Hopefully it’s not that difficult for you all. Either way, I think it’s also apt for a first-time post on my ol’ newbie blog.

Hi! My name is Jenny and my husband’s name is Mathew. We have decided that the whole “buying a house thing” is overrated. Besides, what am I learning when I buy a house? (No, this is not an Onion article; bear with me…) After we’ve watched the Sallie Mae people run around trying to align our credit star numbers and we’ve signed a bunch of papers, we are left worrying about the potential house problems we’ve inherited. (“Why is there no air vent for the kitchen sink?” and “I’d rather have that cabinet on this side.”) We are also trying our hardest to accept the fact that a large percentage of our house payment is not actually a house payment at all, but a fee and a government “gift.” Can someone say, “no taxation…”?  I don’t think anyone could sum up my view of home ownership in the United States better than Joel Salatin: “Why saddle ourselves with a lifetime of debt, and saddle the next generation with our mistakes by building houses that will last a century?…We need to keep the door of innovation, creativity and refinement swinging freely for the next generation.” While there are many positive things about buying a house (I am, after all, writing this in the comfort of my mom’s home), my husband and I decided that we want more control over our home’s evolution. We want to be able to know what was used in the building and construction so that there are no surprises. We also want to simplify our lives, to have and need less stuff. We want to work less and have more free time to spend with people we care about. “For he who does not have two thirds of his day to himself is a slave,” as stated by Nietzsche, so it must be true. 🙂

We decided the only way to accomplish the aforementioned goals is to build a tiny house, with our own hands. Building a tiny home, in general, is more cost-effective in many ways: no mortgage (we are building it little by little), and lower energy and resource expenditure. Also, because you have less room, you are less likely to buy a bunch of stuff to fill your giant house. It is also easier to maintain a sustainable lifestyle in a small area.

For the long-term we’d like to build our own tiny house on a foundation in a TBD location. We just don’t know where that location is at the moment. So we decided building a tinier, less costly house that is moveable satisfies our needs in the short-term and gives us the opportunity to “practice” our evolving skill set, which is something we’ll need when we construct our more permanent tiny home later. This makes more sense to us than buying a house and trying to sell it after two or three years. (Again, this would not be possible without my mom so graciously letting us stay at her house and letting us use her land to build on!) Most importantly, the overall learning experience is priceless, cannot be devalued and is able to be passed down generations with high growth potential. Therefore, it’s a good spiritual and cultural investment. So join us on our journey as we build a tiny home on wheels!

There is a lot more I want/could say about this, but I will let the masses comment on it first. What are your opinions of home ownership and construction in the United States?

We will keep everyone updated on our progress! In the meantime, let us know what you think! Feel free to constructively criticize, compliment, and/or just randomly post.

Also, the link below is for Tiny Home Builders.We purchased our plans through this company. Dan Louche, the owner, is the man. He is an EXTREMELY helpful person and his plans so far are VERY good.

http://tinyhomebuilders.com/home

Picture of the eventual home:

Image

We bought our “foundation”…THANKS T-N-J Trailers! You are the best!

21 Sep

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