A year of progress

It was a year ago this weekend that our tiny house adventure officially began with the arrival of our trailer. We had hoped to be finished and moved in by now, but we have pushed back our estimated move-in date so many times we decided to stop making one.

We’ve been working on the interior walls off and on since the beginning of January. We finished putting up the 1/4 inch tongue-and-groove pine board wall material and began priming it today. As I mentioned in this post, we had to finish filling the space in the walls with loose fiberglass insulation and we ended up using 5 bales worth. Thus the tedious 4 month project!

As the walls went up and I saw how cozy and pretty it was inside, I began to question our previous decision to paint the walls white. We didn’t want the cabin-feel that wood walls with knot holes tends to create, so in the end, we decided that we’d better stick to our original decision, and began priming this weekend.

Not too many projects left! Here’s to hoping move-in day is before this time next year! 🙂



Homemade Lancet Window

One of our fancy wishes for our tiny house was a lancet window in the loft above the front door. The Tumbleweed Elm tiny house was our inspiration. Tumbleweed told us they get their lancet windows from Lowe’s; however, try as we might, we weren’t able to find one small enough. In fact, Lowe’s said they didn’t even make them with the dimensions we were looking for (18″x24″).

So, what do you do when you can’t find the cute window? Make it yourself, of course! When Kyle said he would just make the window, I was thinking, “You can’t just make a window. Those come from the store.” As though windows just appear and aren’t made by someone somewhere. 🙂  But Kyle’s craftsmanship continues to surprise me!

After making a template of the desired size and shape, Kyle made a mold to create the curve to the sides of the frame. He glued 4 layers of 1/8th inch hickory boards together, then while the glue was still wet, shaped the boards in the mold, clamping it together until it dried.

The bottom of the frame was made out 1/2 inch hickory. After the glue was dry, Kyle sanded the sides of the frame and fastened them together, creating the lancet shape.

When the frame was completed, Kyle took it to a glass shop to have the glass cut. We decided on clear double blue chip obscured glass. He made a wood stop on one side of the glass and caulked the other side using a silicone acrylic caulk that the glass cutters recommended.

The exterior trim was made out of scraps of cedar boards (same as the rest of the exterior window trim). Kyle traced the window and and cut it using a bandsaw.

I love the window, and the lofts are quickly becoming my favorite spots of the house. I like the first loft for the unique window, and the second loft for the unique (and troublesome) roof line. Actually, I have lots of favorite spots. I’m also really excited about drinking coffee and having morning devotions on our homemade couch by the large picture window in the great room. And I’m sure there will be more favorites along the way! 🙂

PS. We’ve also been plodding along with the interior walls and ceilings. It’s taken forever and we’re really ready to be done with this project! With every board we nail in place, we have to finish stuffing the wall with loose insulation (see post on insulation for that whole story). More pictures on the interior walls to come, but for now, here’s a sneak peak!

Why not DIY?

Well, we’re back at the construction process after a month in Thailand for Christmas! Before we left in early December, Kyle had put in a one-inch layer of rigid foam board insulation in the walls and ceiling. We had originally bought enough foam board to fill the ceiling, but after some more research, decided that spray foam wouldn’t be that bad to do ourselves. Since we had the foam board, the entire house got a layer of foam board.

After a layer of foam board, Kyle ran all the wiring for the electric and installed all the electrical boxes. The week after we returned from Thailand, Kyle, Zac, and Kyle’s brother Dean filled the walls with spray foam. Originally, we were thinking about hiring out the spray foam insulation, but Kyle’s a diy kind of guy, so why not learn something new? He used Foam-It Green, a diy kit he found online. The kit came with foam, sprayer, and protective gear. After a few hours of prep, including heating the house to above 60 degrees and covering the electrical boxes, the actual spraying process took about 4 hours, plus clean-up.

As we began putting up the wall material, we decided that there was still an inch gap in most places between the insulation and wall, so we picked up some loose fiberglass insulation.

Not the most conventional way of insulating a house, but it adds up to R 17. One inch of rigid foam board (7 R-value), 1 to 1 1/2 inches spray foam (7 R-value per inch), and 1/2 to 1 inch of loose fiberglass insulation (3-4 R-value).

It made for an exciting weekend!

Lessons on shou-sugi-ban

After a month in Thailand, we are back at the construction and blogging on house-related things. The outside of our house has been mostly finished since mid November. The roof is all sealed up and trim finished. The shou-sugi-ban siding is all up (minus the front of the house). Kyle even made a makeshift door to keep the snow and wind out and a little warmth inside while he works through the winter.

Thought we’d give an update to the fading of our shou sugi ban siding that I mentioned in the Siding and trim blog. The sweet tiger stripes that comes with burning the cedar boards faded significantly once the cedar siding was installed on the house and exposed to the sun. After a few months of being all up, it’s starting to blend and the fading lines aren’t so obvious.

Without a lot more experimentation, we’re not sure how to make the burned look not fade. If you’re wanting to use shou-sugi-ban, maybe try a stronger seal. There are some places on the back of the house that need to be re-stained/sealed. When we are completely done, we will likely re-stain and seal most of it. We’re not counting on that brining back the nice shou sugi ban contrast, but at least it will ensure it is protected.

Here are some progression pics of the fading process.  After 3 months of exposure, the contrasting lines have almost completely faded.

Siding and trim

Fall has officially arrived here in Kansas, brining many beautiful days to be working outside! While the roof was plodding along (check out that project here), we’ve also been putting up siding.  It’s been exciting to see projects moving forward, the outside getting closer to completion, and work beginning on the inside.

Here are a a few pictures of the siding going up over the last few weeks. What do you think of the shou-sugi-ban siding? (In case you missed it, here’s a link to our post on burning the siding.)

Trim: While friends have been focused on hanging siding and Kyle has been working on other small projects and started some inside work, I’ve been focusing on getting the exterior window and corner trim and fascia boards painted. Got that finished up this weekend.  As of today (Oct 12), the only thing that remains to be done on the outside is finishing up the siding on the lofts, building a front door and window for the front loft, and trimming a few trim pieces on the roof.


The goals is to be completely done on the outside and the walls insulated by winter so we can continue working inside. In the last two weeks or so, this has started to look like a reality!

The little red roof

When we started on the roofing back in mid-July, we had no idea it would be this time consuming! Kyle figures there have been 80 hours of work put into installing the roofing alone.

In deciding what to use, shingles were right out – too heavy and would likely fly off as we move the house. Kyle decided to use a standing seam metal roof, which we got from a local lumber yard. This is a concealed fastener roofing system, meaning that there are no screws showing, eliminating holes for water. Before we ordered, the lumberyard sent a rep out to measure the roof so we knew all the proper pieces we needed. Good thing too, because there are a lot of pieces!

Once the roofing was delivered, Kyle and various people cut the panels to size by hand and fastened them to the decking. That was the easy part. After that, there was lots of little, unnoticeable trim pieces and water-proofing pieces that took a lot of time.

The dog-house dormers over the second loft proved to be troublesome again as we figured out how to ensure that water drained off it appropriately. Kyle and a buddy spent several hours figuring out how to tie in the two ridge caps that met at the peak. Since the 12 pitch roof line was taller than the 4 pitch, the smaller ridge slid under the taller one and both ridge caps were able to run all the way through.  After a bit of trimming here and snipping there, they sealed the ridge caps with several layers of caulk.  Hopefully that makes more sense in the pictures. So far, we haven’t had any leaks with the few light rains we’ve had since the roof has been completely sealed. All that we have left for the roof is cutting back some of the trim pieces and bending them over to look nice.

Standing seam metal roof, in our experience, proved a bit trickier than we expected, but the only reason is that we have a tricky roof line. I asked Kyle if he would do it all the same if he could do it again. He said yes – though it’s been time consuming, the dormer lofts will be worth it for the space they will provide, and standing seam is a great roof to use in our situation.

So there you have it. The project, and thus the blog, that has been 3 months in the making is finally done. Feels good to move on to another project!

Building a house is like a roller coaster…

This summer, we’ve had a lot of people ask us, “Are you guys still working? I haven’t seen much progress.” So we have a little explanation via an analogy. (credit goes to Kyle, Zac and Brandon) 🙂

Building a house is like a roller coaster.

There’s lots of thrilling moments, twists and turns, as well as long hill-climbs. Since we got the trailer the first of May until about the end of June, there were lots of thrilling things going on and lots of visible progress. First a trailer appeared! Then, with one day and 5 strong helpers, BAM! the walls were up! Sheathing, roof framing, decking, and even a red roof made progress look impressive.

Then in July, there came a hill-climb. Lots of work was being done, it was just not near as visible from the glances of the passer-by. Kyle has been plugging away on finishing the trim of the roof for about a month now. You can’t tell anything is happening, but when you look closely, you see the progress.
Before long, viewers will have another thrill as we get the siding up. And then, I expect we’ll hear “You must be finished. When are you moving in?” Well, folks, there’s another LONG hill-climb ahead on the inside!

Another wonderful analogy from Kyle himself – “Building a house is also like reading Lord of the Rings. It’s really exciting until you get to the Counsel of Elrond. Then you have to force yourself to keep going and get through it until the next exciting part.”

The things we entertain ourselves with!