LONG OVERDUE

Day 07-10 and everything in between | JULY 18 - AUGUST 30

My apologizes for such an extended absence. This last month has been absolutely crazy and I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Working towards graduation!

Southern Florida experienced almost 20 days of rain. The relentless down pour created a delay in construction. Although 20 days of rain sounds absolutely devastating, it actually came at a perfect time because I was in the process of applying to my thesis year at USF School of Architecture and Community Design. The way USF SACD works is that once accepted into the graduate program you must then submit a portfolio of the work you have completed to be accepted into the next stage of the graduate sequence. The last sequence is Thesis and I am proud and relieved to say that I was accepted into my final year with "high pass" and a nomination for the USF SACD Advanced Design Portfolio Award which will be given to one of the nominees in April. You can view my portfolio if you follow the link bellow to Issuu.com.

Stephanie's Advanced Design Portfolio

While working on my portfolio I was also able to do a few drawings of what I want my Tiny House to look like. Bellow are select pages from my portfolio showing my Tiny House Design.

Hamlet + Tiny = Hammy

Tiny has a new name! With an underwhelming four contributions on name choices I decided to go with Hammy because why not. 

Windows, Walls, Roof OH MY!

Hammy has had significant progress. This past month I purchased my ten windows that will be installed in a few weeks. The windows took two weeks for them to be delivered to my local Home Depot. Home Depot estimated 2-4 weeks on shipping, so if you are going the same route be sure to factor that into your time. I purchased Jeld-Wen Premium Vinyl Windows. All of which have painted trim, bronze on the exterior and white on the interior. The cost of all ten windows was $1800. Getting the windows was so exciting.

We were able to complete all four walls and this past weekend, with the help of family and friends, we raised the four walls and nailed them into place. You have no idea how awesome of a feeling it is to be able to see the walls up. It took about 3 hours to lift all the walls and get them right. It is a good idea to have people there to help you that have previous construction experience for this part. It was so helpful to have extremely knowledgeable individuals during this. They were able to see issues before they became a problem.

First Annual Tiny House Jamboree!!

A few weekends back Nick and I flew to Colorado Springs and participated in the first annual Tiny House Jamboree. It was so much fun! We met great people and were able to tour a dozen or so tiny houses. The guest speakers were all really great. Zack Giffin from Tiny House Nation was there as well as Tiny House Exhibition, Sprout, Tumbleweed, Andrew Morrison, Jay ShaferDerek "Deek" Diedricksen, and so many more. It was a great time! Nick and I hope to take Hammy to the Second Annual Tiny House Jamboree.

Thank you Tilcor!!!!

On our way back from Colorado I had the great pleasure to meet a man named Tony who works for Tilcor, a metal roof maker. Tony told me all about his amazing product on the plane ride and he graciously donated enough of his roofing to my tiny house. My house will have the most beautiful tiny house roof. One of the nice things about the roof is that is ecologically friendly so when it rains the run off from the roof will be safe for my hanging garden and for me water collection. This had beed a concern for me when I was looking at roofing options because many of the roofs are painted or treated with toxic products that are potentially harmful to plants.

A huge thank you to everyone who has donated to my GoFundMe!!!!!

I have had an incredible amount of generosity from people wanting to help me out. I want you all to know that I couldn't do it without you!

What's Next?

Next weekend I plan on beginning the loft. If we can get the loft completed in the next few weekends, I will be ecstatic. After the loft its on to the roof and then the fun stuff, the interior!

Thank you for following my blog, if you are interested in helping me or have any suggestions, comments or just want to say hey you can  me at


Day 05 & 06 | July 11-12, 2015

12 Hours of Work

 

This weekend couldn’t have gone any better.

We have finished one wall!  That might not sound like a huge accomplishment, but I promise you it is the biggest. I do have to reiterate that I have almost no idea what I am doing when it comes to building a house, so building a wall to a small house that I am intending to live in is beyond exciting. I think now that I understand what goes in to building a wall the next three should go quicker. If not quicker then they will definitely be easier.

You can also see in some of the photos we had a lot of rain this weekend, but that didn't get our spirits down!

What we did this weekend:

  • Our work days always begin the same. Take out all the tools, set up our work site, remove and fold up all the tarps (there are tarps on the wood and over the entire trailer).  If the tarps are wet we leave them out to dry before folding up. It is important to keep a clean and organized job site to prevent injuries and frustrations later on in the day. My dad and I have become very efficient setting up each day. We know where everything should go now and who is setting up what.
  • After set up, we screwed down the sub-floor (we finished laying and cutting out the previous weekend). Have I mentioned how difficult it is to drill into steel, because it is very? We have these self-tapping screws that are designed with little wings. The wings make it easier to drill through the wood and once you hit the steel the wings break off and are suppose to go into the steel with no issues. What a lie. We went through exactly 195 screws building the Sub-Floor and about 75 of those were tossed or shot off somewhere in the grass. The screws were not the issue; they are designed for this use. It was mostly user error. The screws have to be held perfectly straight and have the right amount of pressure applied to it to go in without any issues. If you are at all fatigued this is almost impossible to do.
  • Next we filled any cracks and holes in the Sub-Floor with exterior/interior wood filler. This will protect the insulation from the weather and any odds and ends that might get kicked into the gaps during construction. Filling the cracks actually saved us this weekend. While we were building Sunday the rain came quickly and because we had sealed the cracks in the sub-floor, the insulation was protected while we rushed to get the tarps over everything.
  • Onto the fun part! We started to layout the first wall. The image bellow shows roughly how we laid out each 2”x 4”. Notice the double header beam, double ends and the window and doors are also framed all the way around with double 2”x 4”. This is to stabilize any weak points in the wall. Beams can be either 16” O.C. (on center) or 24” O.C. We went with 24” O.C., to cut out excess weight from extra wood. 16” O.C. is usually reserved for larger scaled buildings. You can see in many of the photos we stacked 2”x 4”s up to raise the wall above the threaded rebar. We did this because my walls are too tall to fit flat on the Sub-Floor.
  • It is extremely important to have a structure that is square. In order to do this we measured opposite corners of the wall and made sure they matched. We moved the wall back and forth a couple of inches at each corner to get it just right. After we got her perfectly squared we tacked down each corner to prevent the wall from moving later.
  • Then comes the strapping, while my dad measure and cut a template of the wheel well to use later, I nailed the strapping across the entire wall. I realized that I really enjoy hammering, like a lot.
  • Lastly, we nailed the plywood sheathing to the entire wall. This was kind of sad considering we had to cover up all the hard work we did this weekend. If you notice we did not cut holes out for the windows, this is because it is easier to sheath the entire wall then come in after with a router, jigsaw or regular saw and cut the opening out.

Next weekend will be a lighter weekend. I have to finish up some school work and my dad will be out of town on business. I am still going to try and the other large wall cut out so I can just out it all together the following weekend.

COMING SOON....

In lieu of a lot activity on the tiny house I will be updating my blog with information every tiny home owner should know about zoning and places you can take your tiny house, as requested by one of you! If you would like to request something for me to blog, go to the About tab and fill out the form. I will then do my best to include your request in my next blog submission.

Overall I am really excited about what I have accomplished so far and I can’t wait to continue on “tiny."

 

Help me name “tiny”!

As most of my friends and family have noticed, I have been referring to my little house as “tiny”. Recently, I was told this was not a sufficient name for her. I totally agree! My movable home needs a name desperately! Help me out by filling out the form bellow. Then in a week or so I will post the names I have received and we can all vote on them together.  

Your Name (optional)
Your Name (optional)

Want to help build? email me at searchingforhamlet@gmail.com

Want to donate? You can at gofund.me/mytinyhousedream


DAY 03 & 04 | July 4-5, 2015

8 Hours of work


Happy Independence Day!

Our plan for our holiday weekend was to frame out all four walls. Those plans changed once we realized that the sub-floor we had installed the previous weekend was installed incorrectly. What a bummer. Most of our time this weekend was spent correcting this potentially huge problem. The issue was that we didn’t set up the 4’x 8’ plywood sheets so that the seams would fall on a beam.  If we decided to leave it this way then later on when the flooring is being installed, we would run into bigger issues. So, we begrudgingly removed the floor and started over. It was a very frustrating and irritating day for both my dad and I. Now it is done and it is done right, which will be better in the end. Building my Tiny House is a huge learning experience that everyone involved. We have never done anything like this before, so mistakes will be made.

The image bellow shows how you should lay your plywood on the beams of the trailer. If you do not do it correctly your floor won't be supported and could be potentially dangerous later on. You will also run into issues when installing your floor finish. 

Before all that nonsense occurred we were able to pick up most of the materials for the frame itself. My uncle Rick graciously let me borrow his truck this weekend to pick up all that we needed. It took 3 stops to Home Depot.

This weekend’s purchases: 14 sheets of sheathing, 88-2”x 4”x 8’ framing lumber, 12-2”x 4”x 10’ framing lumber, 6-2” x 4” x 8’ framing lumber, 2-1” x 2” x 8’ framing lumber, 2 large containers of wood filler (made for both interior and exterior), 3 putty knives, extra pair of gloves and safety glasses (for extra help),  8-5/8” Straps, 8-5/8” bolts, 8-5/8” washers, 2 rolls of 25’ strapping, 1 box of 200- 1 ½” nails, 1 pack of drill bits to make various size holes (to the embarrassment of my dad I called these “circles” on the purchase list), 2 more drafting pencils (they always seem to disappear), and 2- 24 packs of water bottles (Florida is hot!)

Even though are set back a weekend, my excitement didn’t waver. I am really excited about what we have accomplished and I can’t wait to get started next weekend on framing all four walls.

Thank you to all those helped this weekend!

  • My dad was there to help me every day to work on this crazy little dream of mine.
  • My mother the wonderful photographer.
  • My wonderful friend Laura, drove a 2 hours each day to help build this weekend and to celebrate the Fourth of July Holiday. It was great having her there to help out.  She got right in there and helped measure and cut the lumber to get it ready for framing. She also took great pictures!
  • Chris, my dad’s friend, has helped so much by allowing us to borrow his big expensive tools (chop saw and nail gun).
  • My uncle Rick helped by loaning his truck to us.

 

LATER THIS WEEK I WILL POST MY FLOOR PLANS with tips to laying out your own floor plans!


Helpful Knowledge | Cedar 

Why should you use cedar?

I used cedar (2” x 4”) lumber to line the outside of my steel trailer which was suggested by Tumbleweed.

The wood that will line your trailer will be exposed on the bottom side making  it vulnerable to nature, like bugs and mold. So, you are going to want this wood to be strong and resistant.

Cedar is incredibly resistant.

Pros:

  • Cedar doesn’t change in size through temperature changes like most woods do.
  • Cedar is lightweight.
  • Cedar is naturally a great insulator.
  • Cedar resists insect damage more than others because of its capabilities to fight off moisture.
  • Cedar is beautiful!

Cons:

  • Cedar is more expensive than other woods.
  • Cedar it can be difficult to find in a range of different sizes.

Uses for cedar as a building material: decking, siding, windows, fencing, planters, roofing, and more.

Cedar is just all around a great material!


DAY 02 | JUNE 28, 2015

TOOK US 3 HOURS | Sub-floor took a total of 8 hours

Rain, Rain Go Away….

Day one was brutally hot, so we decided to get an earlier start the second day. I woke up, made a quick stop by home depot to pick up much needed sawhorses, safety glasses and nails for the nail gun and then it was off to the job site (grandma’s house).  My dad and I pulled everything out of the garage that we would need for the day. After we got our first piece of wood cut it began to rain, which is typical for Florida in the summer time. It rained for a couple of hours then we were able to get back to it. Trying to beat the heat and get done early did not work out too well for us. Even so, our day went really well.  We finished the sub-floor and I got to use a lot of new tools! 

What I learned|

  • Don't add nails to a nail gun when it is plugged into the compressor 
  • The pressure in the compressor needs to be set to match the pressure of the nail gun (mine was 70 psi)

 

TODAYS BUILD |

Step 1:  Set Up

  • Be sure to leave your trailer covered with tarps until you know it will not be raining anytime soon. Also, it is safe to keep your tarps close by for emergencies.

Step 2: Cut Plywood Trim

  • Cut 4" wide strips to line the outside of the cedar trim
  • Use the nail gun to attach

Step 3: Sill Sealer 

This should be done as close as possible to putting the plywood down because it likes to fly away

  • Apply sub-floor adhesive
  • Roll out sill sealer
  • Cit sill sealer to desired length

Step 4: Plywood

  • Cut plywood (sub-floor tongue and groove) to your desired dimensions
  • Drill holes for rebar 
  • Nail around edge with nail gun (holes at least 7" apart)
  • Screw self-tapping screws in field ( this is again a lot harder than it looks)

Day 01 | June 27, 2015

took us 5 hours ( with a lot of breaks )

I can't even believe it, but today I got a very enthusiastic start on my tiny house.

Yay!

I have to be honest I was not prepared for how exhausting it would be! After this house is built I will almost certainly have hulk arms to look forward to. Instead of a greenish hue I will have a sexy farmers tan. I realized today that I decided to build during the hottest time of the year. I recommend not doing this if you decide to build your own tiny house.

Even with the intense Florida heat, we were able to enjoy building. My dad helped me with labor while my mom did an awesome job taking pictures and making sure we didn't dehydrate. Most of our time was spent trying to figure out what we were doing. There is a huge learning curve, especially for me. I haven't had a lot of experience with power tools. While in architecture school I have built dozens of buildings out of glue and basswood small enough to carry, but I haven't had many chances to make anything to the scale of a human. I did make a couple of chairs last summer in a furniture making class but it doesn't come close to comparing.

After we figured it all out, with a few bumps along the way, we were able to finish insulating and adding the cedar to the outside of the trailer. Tomorrow all we have to do is attach the sub-floor plywood and then next weekend we begin the walls!

Overall today was a fantastic day and I can not wait to keep working! 

Todays Build |

Step 1: Set up  

  • Sweep and remove any leaves or debris that might be in your trailer. If you are working outside under trees, like I am, this is necessary.
  • Bring all materials you plan on using for the day out near you work site.
  • Make sure you have everything you need;
    • What I used today: pencils (I found its better to have extra), box cutter(s), circular saw, impact drill, back up battery for drill, extension chord, level, tape measure, square triangle, pop up tent (for shade), gloves, knee pads, screws, trash bag, subfloor adhesive, insulation, and cedar 2"x 4"
                             score the insulation 

                             score the insulation 

Step 2 : Insulation

  • Measure the length and width of where insulation will be placed
  • Measure again! seriously
  • Cut the insulation to the right size then place in trailer bed                            
    • We chose to cut the insulation with a box cutter and we used a 2"x 4" as a straight edge. This way was a little rough but it did the trick. You can also use a table saw or hand saw
    • A little trick  | score the insulation along the top (a score line is just a shallow cut with your box cutter), it makes it easier to place the insulation inside the             c-channels

Step 3 : 2"x 4" Cedar Trim : The cedar is attached around the perimeter of the trailer to give the sub-floor something to attach to and it will give you an extra 2" on each side of your house.

  • Measure the cedar pieces to the length you want
  • Measure again
  • Cut each piece with notches so the the 2" x 4" sits flat against the trailer around the rebar. ( we used a chisel and hammer to get the notches in the wood)
  • Glue the cedar with sub-floor adhesive; If you don't have someone to hold the cedar up while you attach it to the trailer you can use clamps to hold the piece
  • Screw 2 1/2" self-tapping screws through cedar and into trailer, this part is a lot harder than it sounds (where the hulk arms come in)

 

Want to help build? email me at searchingforhamlet@gmail.com

Want to donate? You can at gofund.me/w4vzgdw

 


Lets talk money and supplies|

Running Total | ~ $6,220*

Updated July 7, 2015

Make sure you have a safe place (preferably locked) for all tools and building materials!

Trailer | $4,500 - $700 (discounts from the 2-day workshop) = $3,800*

Tumbleweed Floor Plans | $759 - $259 (website discount) = $500*

Tumbleweed 2-Day Workshop | $399 - $120 (early bird discount) = $279*

Tumbleweed Construction DVD |  $59.95 - $20 (workshop discount) = $39.95*

Although not necessary for building a tiny house, I chose to purchase the floor plans, trailer, and construction DVD from Tumbleweed to help me with my build. All materials have been incredibly helpful in this process. 

Sub-Floor | 7 sheets of 5/8" sub-floor tongue and grove plywood; 1 sheet of 15/32" plywood sheathing, 10 sheets of 3/4" thick polystyrene insulation boards; 5 sheets of 2" thick polystyrene insulation boards; 12 Pack of 28 oz sub-floor adhesive, 2 rolls of 3" wide sill sealer; 10 - 2"x 4" x 8' rough cut cedar;  shank nails; screws 2 large containers of wood filler (made for both interior and exterior), 3 putty knives; $700*

Wall Framing | 88-2”x 4”x 8’ framing lumber, 12-2”x 4”x 10’ framing lumber, 6-2” x 4” x 8’ framing lumber, 2-1” x 2” x 8’ framing lumber, 8-5/8” Straps, 8-5/8” bolts, 8-5/8” washers, 2 rolls of 25’ strapping, 1 box of 200- 1 ½” nails, 1 pack of drill bits to make various size holes; $780*

Misc. | Circular saw = $50*, Level = $30, 2 Pairs of Gloves and Safety Glasses = $40*, 2 Carpenter Pencils= $0.36*

Other tools and necessities | FREE | (donated or I already own) Impact Drill, Jigsaw, Gloves, Framing Hammer, Knee Pads, Tool Belt, Chop Saw, Tumbleweed Carpenters Pencil, Tape Measure, Hefty Lock Box for tools.....

 * Prices will vary store to store, state to state, day to day. What I paid  might not be what you will pay, it is just a reference.

Breaking New Ground!


The Journey Begins! 

June 26, 2015 | Tomorrow I finally get to put my brand new, framing hammer to use as I begin constructing my tiny house. I am beyond excited. It has taken me a year to mentally and financially prepare for this. Once finished my boyfriend, Nick, and I will be living in this 83"x 20', 144 square foot house on wheels.

I have enlisted in valuable help from my family and friends to get this house built. My father, Joe, and boyfriend, Nick, will be working with me everyday helping me with the construction process. Currently we all have full time jobs, so like many other tiny builders, we will be building primarily during the weekends. So far, I have purchased a trailer and have set up the construction site.

Thank You Tumbleweed and american Made trailers!

I purchased a Tumbleweed Trailer. My decision to go with a Tumbleweed Trailer was after I participated in one of their two-day workshops.  I have received my trailer and I am so happy with my decision. It is really a relief to not have to worry about my foundation failing and it saved me a couple of weekends in trailer prep (that gives me more time to build the house!). The trailer is strong and reliable, reinforced with steel, lined underneath with metal to prevent unwanted bugs and road damage, coated to protect from corrosion, balanced to help distribute the weight of the house, has 5/8" threaded re-bar already welded to trailer to attach the house frame, has 4 jacks welded to ensure the house is level when stationed and lastly the trailer is positioned is lower than most utility trailers, giving Nick and I an extra 4" in the loft space. The trailer's estimated assembly and delivery time is about 6 weeks. It only took about 4 weeks to have mine completed. It will be different depending on where you are located and how busy the manufacturers are at time of purchase.

My dad, boyfriend, friend Chris and I loaded in Chris' truck and drove the 4 hours each way to DeLand, Florida to pick up the trailer from American Made Trailers. Picking up the trailer saved me $200 (that is money towards tiny!) and it made it more exciting.  American Made was great. They made sure to walk me through each piece of the trailer ensuring that nothing was out of place. That is very important! You don't want to have to bring the trailer back (in my case 8 hours!) to the manufacturer if something isn't right. 

The trailer before we pulled it home (St. Petersburg) from DeLand, Florida.

The trailer before we pulled it home (St. Petersburg) from DeLand, Florida.

When Picking Up Your Trailer |

  • Make sure you have the right sized trailer hitch ball (mine required a 2 5/16", which is not a standard ball size)
  • The correct trailer connections (for brakes and lights) 
  • Locks for you trailer! (Once you get home with your new trailer you are going to want to be sure to lock that bad boy up! I chose a standard hitch lock and I put a chain and lock around the wheels just in case. 

Since I chose to buy the trailer at the workshop it saved me another $500 dollars. If you are at all on the fence about whether or not you want to build your own tiny house, I highly recommend you visit one of Tumbleweeds workshops. It was a really great opportunity to meet with other tiny home builders and discuss all that goes into building one of these movable structures and believe me there is a lot that goes into it. The speakers Art, Guillaume and Jenna were awesome. All three were incredibly helpful and knew a lot about going tiny. Guillaume and Jenna even brought their home to share with us. I have to say, their house was beautiful! It was really fun for Nick and I to be able to feel what one of these houses is like and the good news is, we still wanted to go through with it! 

I can not wait to start this big adventure! As an aspiring architect, it is dream to be able to build something of your own. Going Tiny has given me the opportunity to do so. 

Whats next |

Tomorrow we will be installing the sub floor! I will post pictures and descriptions shortly following. I also will  be documenting my freeing and at times stressful process of downsizing!

 

Want to help build? email me at searchingforhamlet@gmail.com

Want to donate? You can at gofund.me/w4vzgdw