We’ve Moved! (and were cited – yikes!!!)

Turns out 3 humans and a cat in 240 sqft is do-able, but not overly practical for us at this stage of our lives, so we bought a condo. Also, our “lease” at our friend’s house was up, and they wanted their yard back.

Oddly, moving from 240 sqft. to 750 sqft. has been a challenge, as we designed the tiny house with so much storage we are having trouble finding places in our new digs for all our stuff. But it’s been a fun transition, and we get to watch our daughter as she toddles around on her unsteady legs.

We moved the tiny house in August 2014. My mother bought a piece of property with a side yard that is perfect for it. The plan was/is to do some landscaping and get the tiny house ready for a tenant.

Unfortunately, January 5th, 2015, we received a notice of zoning violation from the City. We are diligently trying to work through this, and I will post more as it progresses. Right now I’m not sure how to move forward, so if anyone has any thoughts I am all ears. There is a lot of confusion with the Zoning and Planning division, the Building Permit division, BES, Water, Electrical… yippy.

Throw Money at It!

Sometimes you have to admit defeat and bring in a professional.

I have bemoaned our doors and windows in previous posts, but yesterday we finally did something about it: we had custom built french doors installed. They were not cheap, but they sure are pretty! And functional! And don’t leak air! And, best of all, our installer was here at 8am, gone by 1pm, and did an awesome job. What took us weekends of time to get wrong, he made perfect in a matter of minutes. It just goes to show that professionals, usually, are worth every penny you pay them.

When I think about all the money (and time!) we spent on those darn doors, it hurts my feelings a bit. But this whole experience was an experiment, and I learn best from my mistakes (sadly). For future projects I now know: doors and windows are best left to the pros.

Next up: custom windows!

Sorry for the exposure: it's a beautiful sunny day in Portland!

Sorry for the exposure: it’s a beautiful sunny day in Portland!

Doors! That work!

Doors! That work!

Interior looking out. Just imagine the coast gleaming back at you from outside!

Interior looking out. Just imagine the coast gleaming back at you from outside!

Realtor Speak

My mom has been house hunting recently, and it reminded me of my former life as a Realtor. So I got to thinking: how would I market the tiny house if I were to post a traditional real estate listing for it? Something like this, perhaps:

Custom-built, oversized french doors welcome you to this 240sqft portable micro home (tiny house) designed for urban living or rural relaxation! 10-foot ceilings and exposed rafters create an open feel, with enough height for a basketball player to feel comfortable. Hardwood floors in the living area and tile in the bathroom make this a maintenance-lite home.

The kitchen features tons of storage, granite countertops and backsplash, extra-deep stainless steel washboard sink, 5.5 cu.ft. undercounter refrigerator, and “hidden” appliances including toaster oven, induction burner, and griddle. The bathroom is a European-styled wetroom with ceramic tile throughout, a compost toilet, sink, and shower with dual heads and spigot.

Two massive 8 ft tall wardrobes provide ample closet space, and the oversized sofa/couch transforms into a comfortable king-sized bed complete with extra storage below. The building also features built-in surround sound system for the media center, which includes a flat-screen television. Suspended shelves wrap the living area, providing extra storage space.

This gem has multiple uses. Built on a 15,000 lb triple-axle steel frame (a movable foundation), its portability means it can live almost anywhere. The light impact on the land makes it perfect for a non-buildable lot in the city or in the country. Simply hook up water and the 50-amp electrical and you have a spacious and beautifully appointed accessory dwelling unit; artist studio; “cabin” in the woods; office; (wo)man cave; in-law suit; or vacation rental.

Ahhh, Realtor speak.


What changed?

I was just strolling through our website here, and realized that the concept drawings on the “Our House” page are nothing like what we built. So, what changed? Well, we had a baby.

When we designed the house, we were a hip couple looking to minimize our living space so  that we could maximize our lives outside the home. Our beautiful daughter has changed the way we live in our space significantly. She needs and has more stuff than the two of us combined. Being a minimalist and a parent has proven challenging, but do-able. Even still, there are things we must have to keep her happy and healthy.

We had already started construction on the tiny house when we found out we were pregnant. The decision was made to continue the build, and also the decision to live in the house for at least a year – even with the baby. But one day we realized that babies need “stuff,” and we didn’t even have a place for a crib!

What followed was actually a total boon for the house: the development of a much simpler, streamlined design that provided room for all 3 of us. The result is a spacious, open layout that is easily convertible to a variety of uses for when  we are no longer full-time residents with a baby (the plan has always been for this to become our vacation home one day).

A few more pictures

Yes, we really live here! Here are some more details of how we live.

Sofa configuration (with cat)

Sofa configuration (with cat)

Detail of baby corner

Detail of baby corner

Working from home with a newborn: the key is a fold-away laptop desk

Working from home with a newborn: the key is a fold-away laptop desk

When Grandma comes to visit

When Grandma comes to visit

I work from home, too

I work from home, too

The king-sized bed (unmade, 'cause the baby's relaxing in it!)

The king-sized bed (unmade, ’cause the baby’s relaxing in it!)

Post some pictures already!

Jeesh, how hard is it to take a few pictures and put them on a blog?

Yeah yeah yeah. The long awaited reveal is finally here. We thought about “staging” the house by putting away any non-essential and/or personal items… but when I used to go trolling on the internet for pictures of tiny houses, I was always curious about what they looked like when people actually live in them.

Without further ado, here is our very lived in tiny house: 240sqft, 2 adults, one baby, and a cat.

Welcome to our tiny house!

Welcome to our tiny house!

Exterior oblique of front door and bathroom.

Exterior oblique of front door and bathroom.

"Back wall" and bathroom

“Back wall” and bathroom

Panoramic A: Front door, kitchen and Nic's wardrobe.

Panoramic A: Front door, kitchen and Nic’s wardrobe.

Panoramic B: Sofa/bed, Natalie's wardrobe, baby corner, and TV

Panoramic B: Sofa/bed, Natalie’s wardrobe, baby corner, and TV


Milestone: My First Shower!

The wetroom has been a BIG project that has taken a long time to complete. Having never done one before, we had no idea how many steps went into the process, nor that each step — sloped concrete floor, waterproof membrane, sloped sand floor, tile, grout — required at least a 24 hour set time. Needless to say (like everything else), it took a lot longer than expected.

The good news is it is now “done enough” that I took my first shower in my own house this morning! No more showering at the pool, at work, at the main house, or at the marina. I can now get out of bed and stumble into my own bathroom like a normal person. Even better, the shower felt AWESOME: good water pressure, good water temperature from our on-demand hot water heater, and good space in the shower area where I did not feel cramped at all.

This marks the last of the major systems installations! So what’s left? All those pesky little details that you all have in your houses, too, and that get shuffled into the “around-to-it” category. When are we going to do those things? When we get around to it.

3 months

We’ve been living in our tiny house for 3 months now, and it’s been (mostly) awesome. We are still working hard to finish up the last of our projects (read: wetroom), but should be done by the end of the week. I’ll post pictures then, but since I mentioned this blog at a tiny house mixer this past weekend (hosted by PAD), I thought I should at least add a quick update.

Probably the biggest piece of advice I have is to do the bathroom FIRST. Regardless of if you are keeping it simple with just a galvanized tub and a sawdust toilet, or going crazy with a wetroom like we are, the bathroom build-out makes a huge mess and (at least for us) was shockingly time consuming.

My next piece of advice: buy the Big Box. Whether it be nails, screws, grout, insulation, whatever: buy more than you think you’ll need, because it sucks to run out mid-project. EXAMPLE: This past weekend, as I was putting the finishing touches on our wetroom, I ran out of grout — with only 20 square feet to go! How frustrating, not to mention a huge time set back, since now I have to re-order the grout, wait for it to arrive, complete the job, and then wait 24 hours to be able to get the last of the grout haze off. THEN and only then can I finally take a shower in my wetroom. What should have taken me about an extra 30 minutes now costs me almost a week. Sigh.

Enough complaining! Pictures of the finished product coming soon!

Whatcha’ been up to?

It’s been a while. I’d like to say that we have been absent from the blog because of all the relaxing vacations we’ve been taking, but actually we have been going non-stop since we moved. So, what have we been doing?

  • Painting and Trim (interior and exterior)
  • Kitchen
  • Suspended Shelving
  • Built a landing and two sets of stairs for access
  • Electrical (installed all lights, heaters, exterior panel, and connected to the main house)
  • Water (it’s running! and not leaking!!!)
  • Bathroom — still a work in progress, but we have a ceiling, insulation, plumbing, a sloping concrete floor, drains, a medicine cabinet, lights, and happy thoughts.

Folks have been asking for pictures of the “finished” product, but it still looks a lot like we are living in a construction zone because, well, we are. I’m not ready to share our glamour shots yet, but in the interest of tiding everyone over for now:

Kitchen --- almost done, just waiting for backsplash.

Kitchen — almost done, just waiting for backsplash.

Nic working on the ceiling in the bathroom.

Nic working on the ceiling in the bathroom.

Natalie's handiwork on the concrete floor for the wetroom.

Natalie’s handiwork on the concrete floor for the wetroom.

Moving Day (Part 2)

Today we are officially out of our apartment on Mississippi. Tonight is a landmark: our first night in the tiny house.

Nic and I are exhausted. We have been building and moving and packing and just GOING for so long that I almost can’t imagine a future that involves a relaxed, quiet night in, possibly with a movie. Thankfully, unpacking always seems to be much smoother than packing, and now all of our stuff will be literally within arm’s reach.

We still have a LOT to do on the house. Primarily the bathroom. Also our kitchen, which will be a temporary setup until we order our cabinets and countertop. There’s also exterior paint, interior trim, the suspended shelving… In short, we are a long way from “done,” but it will feel really great to be able to just roll out of bed and pick a project.