Tiny House Living

We have been living in our new house for three months now! Wow, that flew by! Here are a few updated photographs to show everyone what it looks like now. There are a few new things, such as the front deck, loft bars and the loft ladder. We’ve finished the kitchen and the bathroom, and just have a few final touches on the interior still to complete.

Here is what the inside looks like, now that it has some, but not all, of our things in it.

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Our bedroom is still in progress, but looks so much better with the handmade quilt/duvet cover which was a wedding present from our friend Leonie!

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I love these new pillows made for us by David’s sister and mother, with fabric Kristen bought during her semester in Tanzania. Also note the lovely weaving made by our friend Jessie as a wedding present, and the loft ladder my dad and I made together!

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We have had many wonderful visitors! We even had two overnight guests, our friend Jenn, and David’s sister Kristen. They tried out the guest loft, and  found it VERY spacious!


We still have a few projects to complete, such as building a storage shed and adding bookshelves to our “guest loft”. But it has just been so nice to enjoy our house, we’ve given ourselves these few months off from building too much. In this last photograph, you can see the deck, plants, and patio area 🙂 which we look forward to enjoying together as much as possible this summer!

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Moved In!

We’ve moved into our house! It took us about a week to hook up the water, electrical, septic, and to build the grey water system, and to be honest there are a few more things left to be done, but the house is now livable, and we spent our first night in it last night!

I’ll give you a tour of the property and the house. Here’s is the view as you approach from the driveway:j

In a rush to make the house “waterproof” we bought a cheap plastic awning for over the door, which I think looks okay for now. Here is David, enjoying a sunny Saturday moving into the house. As you can tell, front steps are next on the list.

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As you come inside, you’ll notice our cozy couch, propane fireplace, and barn door to the bathroom on the left. The loft is currently a disorganized storage place for all of our stuff, but someday soon it will become a more organized storage room/reading nook.

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We were able to light our first (propane) fire!

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As you step into the bathroom, you can see the cotton duck shower curtains and hardware, which I ordered from a place in Vermont, and then cut and sewed them to size, as they were much longer than they needed to be. We moved some things onto the shelves and the cabinet, put in a garbage can and a toilet paper dispenser, and viola: bathroom! The tub still needs to be set and attached, which is why there are still shims under it 🙂

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If you turn around and exit the bathroom, you’ll look across the living room to the kitchen. The couch and table & chairs came from IKEA and were assembled with the help of my mother. The chairs still need to be stained, and we need a few more shelves and drawers, but everything big is done.

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If you walk up the stairs to the right, you’ll be in our sleeping loft, which has lovely views across the trees and nice light in the morning. We need a comforter cover and some area rugs and other things, but it’s cozy and comfortable for sleeping 🙂

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As you walk back downstairs and take a right into the kitchen, you’ll notice that the kitchen is functional! Our range is awesome and can heat water!!! Both cold AND hot water can come out of the faucet! The fridge is spacious compared to our previous college dorm-sized one. We took all the tools out of the drawers and put food into them! It’s like a real house!

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My cousins Frank & Catarina came to visit and brought us these lovely flowers and a tasty bottle of wine. It was a great way to celebrate our first night in our new home! Thank you to everyone who has helped us along this long, exciting journey to building our own home! David and I want to give a special thanks to each of our families, whose help and support made it all possible. We very surely couldn’t have done it without you. Hooray! We have a house!

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The Move!

And then…our house took its first road trip from Aptos to Scotts Valley, where we will be living!

The tow truck company showed up on Thursday morning with two tow trucks, one 4wheel drive and one flat bed, just in case 🙂 They used the 4WD vehicle to inch us out of the vineyard where we’ve been building, then the flat bed to tow us along the freeway, then the 4WD again to get us up the hill and onto the site of our future home. There was a lot to do so I only got a few photos, and here they are:

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This last photograph is the place where we will live, on a beautiful piece of land near Scotts Valley. We still have to connect the water, gas, and septic before we can live inside, but at least now our house is home!

Finishing Touches and Housewarming!

The last two weeks went at warp speed! We added finishing touches such as putting in the beautiful engineered hardwood flooring , finishing up the kitchen, adding shelves, and attaching the fireplace.

Here are some photos of Dad and David’s handiwork with the flooring:1 flooring small2 flooring small3 flooring done david small

Dad made us a beautiful curtain rod for our non-standard tub/shower by soldering together pieces of copper pipe he had leftover from his plumbing days. The finished product looks pretty cool.

We finished the stairs, closets, shelves, and kitchen by working evenings after our regular work. I especially love the kitchen, which looks (and is nearly) finished! With things looking pretty good, and our move-out/move-in day coming up, we had a small housewarming celebration with some of our favorite people!

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Then we got the house ready to move! Here is how it looked the morning of our departure. Appliances are all strapped to the walls, fancy lighting fixtures removed for safe transport, and fingers crossed!

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More Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom, Trim…

February has been a fast month! We’re still working on lots of projects in different areas of the house simultaneously. We’ve finished the main loft bedroom, added a lot to the kitchen, installed the bathroom floor, and built a bunch of other things. Here are some photos for you to enjoy.

Sascha and Maxine made sure the loft was sturdy and had fun opening and closing the windows, turning the lights off and on, and making plans for their first sleepover in the tiny house.


We had originally planned on installing vinyl tile flooring in the bathroom because it is cheap and easy to put in. But we have worked hard to minimize plastics and toxins in our house, and it turns out that vinyl flooring can contain a lot of harmful chemicals that are released into the home environment, not to mention the fact that it is plastic and will never decompose. So we did some research and decided to buy marmoleum (fancy word for linoleum) flooring from an eco-friendly supplier in town. It was a lot pricier, but so much better! Here you can see David rolling the linoleum with a rented 100 pound roller.2-david-rolling-small-4

We built and installed a pony wall and a small set of shelves in the loft, then painted everything to match the walls.3-pony-wall-small

Exhausting work! We had to take a break on our brand new mattress!


Over the course of a few days, my mom, my dad, David, Evan and I measured, cut, stained and installed the casing and trim on all of the windows. We used basic pine boards with a non-toxic cedar colored stain.

We also got a beautiful fan!


In between their international travels, our friends Lauren and Sam came by to check out the house.


We continued to work on the kitchen. We built the drawers, painted the faces, and put everything together. We’ll eventually put doors on the other cabinets. We also installed  backsplash and got our refrigerator, which you can see the edge of in the lower right hand corner.

My Mom and Dad have helped us every step of the way. Yesterday, my dad dug out some cedar boards he salvaged years ago, and he and David built the most beautifully scented barn door for our bathroom door. Mom and I inspected, and approved.

I’ve left out a lot of little steps, such as sealing the rafters and calking the edges of EVERYTHING, as well as putting in the base molding in the bathroom. We’ve also started working on installing the tub, and the sink is next! Just two more weeks and we’ll be moving to our new spot! Keep your fingers crossed that we can finish everything by then!16-barn-door-inside-small-3

January: Kitchen, Lights, Stairs…

This month has been very busy! We sold our trailer to our landlord at the last place, packed up and moved almost everything into a storage unit. We’re now house sitting for our friends who live across from where we are building the tiny house for a few weeks. But the big news is that we found a place to live in our tiny house! We will be living in Scott’s Valley in a sweet little neighborhood beginning in March! So, with our move in date fast approaching, and the fact that we are READY to be living in our house, we’ve been working evenings as well as weekends to try and accelerate our progress and finish up. Here’s what we’ve accomplished in January.

We’ve spent a lot time custom building the kitchen cabinets and utility closet. We also took a trip to ikea, where we bought beautiful solid oak butcher block counter tops, which we cut, sanded, finished, and attached.


While we were working on the kitchen, David installed all the lights and the outlet covers, and built the stairs up to the main loft nearly single-handedly. The stairs will be our biggest storage area, and they are also great to walk up and down!


Dad came and did am amazing job installing the kitchen sink and faucet, then we built and attached face plates and primed the cabinets for paint. Meanwhile my mom and I worked on insulating around the windows with backer rod, and painting the front door jam white to protect it against all this rain!


The kitchen is getting closer! And I love the sink!


This weekend we started working on the trim for the windows, and here’s a sneak peek of what’s to come. This is the main loft window that will be above our bed. There’s still lots to do, but it’s coming along beautifully!





Interior Paint, Lofts, Bathroom!

That’s right, we’ve been taking advantage of our much needed winter vacations to work hard on the house! Our shoulders and knees are sore, our shins are bruised from going up and down ladders, and we are finally seeing the inside of the house take shape.

We finished putting up the interior plywood panels with the help of our wonderful work crew, and a few long days of cutting, lifting, placing, cursing, laughing, re-cutting, re-placing, and finally attaching the panels to the walls and ceiling with screws.



We used wood filler to cover the screw heads and to patch funky places in the wood and between the panels, then sanded everything down to prepare for painting.

My Christmas present to David was having someone else paint the inside of the house for us (painting is definitely not David’s favorite thing). We hired an old friend, Brindon, who is a house painter, to perform the task, and he did a wonderful job, finishing ahead of schedule and $50 under budget! I wasn’t able to capture him in a photo, but you can see he did an awesome job.Oh, and the name of the paint color we chose? Mayonnaise.


The gaps still visible between panels will be covered up by lofts and other shelving, and eventually we will add wood trim to the corners and around the windows.

We were then able to move on to building our lofts! Oh my god, hooray! Evan came to help us again, and we got the lofts up and painted in three days. The steps we followed for each loft were basically:1.) build a 2X4 frame to serve as a support for the beam (attached through the plywood into studs using long lag screws). 2.) Attach joist hangers to the frame,


3.) Cut 4X4s to length, 4.) Nail 4X4s to joist hangers, 5.) Hang on the beams,lofts-small-1

6). Cut plywood (already primed) to fit lofts, 7.) Attach the plywood, 8.) Celebrate!

With the lofts installed, we were able to move on to framing the bathroom walls and doorway. First we installed nailing surfaces which serve as a rough frame for the walls. Then we measured and cut 3/4 inch cabinet grade plywood and attached it to the nailers and the rafter. Viola! A wall!

Next we filled the holes made by the nails, sanded, primed, and painted.


Then we painted the floors of the lofts on both sides in the same color as our walls and ceiling. We figure most of the floor surface will be occupied by our bed, clothes, rugs, and stuff in storage, and we had extra white paint. This is what our bedroom loft looks like now.


Next, it’s on to kitchen cabinets!


I am excited to report that things have been awesome and exciting the last two weeks! Just after my last blog post, we found that final leak in the plumbing and had our electrical wiring inspected and approved!


We were then able to move on to our insulation. Working with soft,multi-colored, cozy and sheepy-smelling wool is a superior experience. I am so glad we decided to use it for our insulation.


We loved it so much that we overstuffed the walls, and had to order two more boxes to do the ceiling. In all, we used 11 boxes of wool from Oregon Shepherd, which cost around $1500. It was expensive, but worth it.

We put rigid foam in the ceiling in addition to the wool to help fill the nearly 7 inch  deep space that needed to be insulated up there. In this picture you can also see the styrofoam ceiling baffles that David installed to allow air flow between ceiling vents and prevent moisture and mold.


The chickens came to inspect our work, and the rooster looked on curiously.


My sister joined us to put in the final ceiling insulation, and David and my dad Bob installed the first of the interior plywood panels! This was perhaps the most exciting thing yet. Our ceiling! Our walls!


This week we’ll continue to put on the interior paneling. We’re still looking for a place to live, so keep your fingers crossed for us!


This is the month I’ve had to accept that my fantasy of finishing our house in three months was-ahem-slightly unrealistic.  While we continue to make progress towards building a tiny house on wheels that I imagine we will live in some time soon, things have begun to drag, and projects like plumbing and electrical have taken way longer than we  expected.Of course, having never done this before, our estimates were doomed to be inaccurate.

The uncertainty of not knowing where we will put it has been stressful as well. We’ve looked at 9 places so far, and are still on the hunt for the right spot. David and I have both had a couple of grumpy mornings, and snippy evenings. But oh well, here we go, and here we still go, building our house together. In the end, I think it will be great.

Here is where we’re at now: The siding is done, the metal roof is on, the electrical has all been run and is ready for inspection, and the plumbing is done but there appears to be a very small, very well hidden leak that continues to elicit curses from everyone on the hunt.


With the roof on it looks pretty complete, and it feels great! Putting the roof on was pretty easy. We bought the pieces from a local roofing company, measured where they should go, placed them, clicked them together, re-measured to make sure they were in place, then screwed them to the plywood. Gables and finishing touches came later.


Here are a few photos of what’s going on inside the house right now: electrical,


Wheel well is insulated and framed in with finish plywood, and we’ve started the insulation process. We’re using wonderful magical sheep’s wool from Oregon Shepherd. It smells like sheep 🙂 Installation is easy. First, we have to put up containment fabric, then we put in hand fulls of the wool, and staple everything up. Alex and my mom came to help with the process .



As soon as our electrical inspection is complete, and we find the elusive plumbing leak, we’ll put in the rest of the insulation and move on to interior siding.


October! We have finally finished the exterior siding and have moved on to the inside!

Here is what the house looks like from the outside. Isn’t it lovely?


The redwood siding process took 6 weeks from start to finish, but we think it was worth it! Next, we will be putting on a green metal roof, which takes about 2 week to come in. In the meantime, we’re setting out the the plumbing and electrical.

We decided to go with PEX tubing with shark bite push-to-fit fittings, which has been an easy and satisfying plumbing process.  The tubes are all set and most are insulated. David is spending his nights brushing up on his electrical wiring knowledge, and we are waiting for my dad to return from a trip so he can consult/guide us on the actual wiring process.switch-box-small

We’ve also had lots of great graffiti/art/love notes on our inside walls done by friends, which I’ll make sure to include in my next post! That’s all for now!