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October update on the Tiny House

Gosh – what a heavy heart I have writing this post after the tragedies we have had within the United States, (not just continental) this last month… hurricanes and shootings, some close to home, some close to friends.  The circle of life and mother nature are not being very friendly this late summer and fall of 2017.

Today – Oct 4 – We are COMPLETELY sheathed in (vertically).tiny house sept a8

We have made progress!  Visible progress!  I fear that once we get inside, hopefully this month, that progress will not be quite so visible.  The next step (roofing) also makes me quite nervous.  We’re still open to possibly hiring that out, I mean, who really wants to strap into a harness if you aren’t doing a zip-line? Not this girl, but I will, (if dear hubby can do it, I can do it).

We had quite a few visitors, some unwanted, this month.  Ms Black Widow Spider, and her sister came to nest in our concrete block pile.tiny house sept a4-spider

“Spot,” the frog, named by one of our granddaughters, took root in the barn, seemingly entranced by this bottle of water on top of a tool box.

 

 

tiny house sept a3-frog

…and there is always “Hank” the neighbor dog who comes by most days for a treat and spray of the hose.  He’s also camera shy, and actually dodges the treats if you toss them to him, but he will sit and high five for a treat.

Now for the guts and glory!

  • House completely sheathed, check
  • Five front deck 6×6 cedar posts installed, check
  • Decks on front and back framed, check
  • Roof deck on back deck framed, check
  • CoPpEr roof gables, ordered, delivered and installed, check (my FAVE this month)

Oh yeah, there were a few watermelon success stories from the garden, this beauty came home with us today.

oct 4 2017 - 9

 

 

 

 

This month we also took a mini time-out for ourselves.  We were headed to South Carolina to a sweet house that backed up to a waterfall, (here – photo from airbnb)westminster sc, airbnb photobut passing thru Chattanooga we got a call that Hurricane Irma had impacted the sweet treehouse, and the power was out at our destination for the duration of our quick trip.  So I got on the phone and we re-routed to Lake Lure, NC and landed in the Patrick Swayze Suite IMG_20170912_195306482at the Lake Lure Spa and Inn who claims Mr Swayze actually stayed in the same room as us while filming the classic movie “Dirty Dancing.”  Luckily, (depends on your perspective), we just missed the 30th anniversary of the filming festival.  But we did get to do some amazing rock climbing and garden viewing… pizza eating… beer drinking… etc

And saw this Devil IMG_20170913_100055035_BURST001

near the top of Chimney Rock, which we climbed… over 900 steps, (there is a staircase to the top, IMG_20170913_093404595i.e. stairway to heaven, then a 2 mile hike to a waterfall, at over 2,000 feet elevationIMG_20170913_094951741_BURST001

where I relaxed, finally!

IMG_20170913_095653665

 

 

 

So it was a nice break from hammering nails, sawing up boards, taping seams, etc… but it’s always amazing to be back “home,” and working on the tiny house.

P.S.  The church painting challenge… I believe I finished 25 paintings in 30 days – and we were traveling 5, or so of the 30 days, so I feel like I made my goal… the fact I was still painting every day after a week is pretty amazing – here are some of the pieces I didn’t post last update.

 

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September Update – with a 30 paintings in 30 days BONUS

Here is where we are at the end of today!IMG_20170903_144000388.jpg

Isn’t that stone foundation just the BOMB?

We’ve added a roof – square cedar columns for the back porch roof & rail, “tar” felt on the bottom exterior sheathing, and started the second row of sheathing using the “Zip system,” (it means we won’t have the extra step of coating the exterior with Tyvek or something similar because it is built into the 4 foot by 8 foot sheets (coated in green).

Some terminology, (because I had to keep asking Mr. Architect / Construction Foreman / Sweet-Patient Hubby).

tiny house august 7.jpgRidge board:  the LEVEL 2×10 board at the peak of the roof that extends from the back to the front.

Rafters: the boards that are angled from the ridge board to the top plate of the walls.

Roof joists:  the horizontal boards going across the house perpendicular to the ridge board that host the rafter tails.tiny house august 8

Bird’s mouth cut:  the special v-shaped (also special angled cut) that allows the rafter to sit on the top plate.  The bird’s mouth cut is mostly covered up by my amazing hurricane clips (300+ nails driven by hand = sore forearm).

 

 

 

The roof rafters were a challenge – second to getting the ridge board straight and level.  The most challenging part, of course, was trying to stand and balance on top of the roof joists while lifting and bracing to make everything “plumb and level.”  (Plumb & Level seems to be really ReAlLy REALLY IMPORTANT!)

We had several rain days this week, (thanks Harvey), but nonetheless, we “topped” out the roof tiny house august 6.jpg

We installed the posts on the back deck for the rail.tiny house august 9c.jpg

And we put on the tar felt and zip-system sheathing (pic at the top).  It’s been a great week – but EVERY week is a great week when Hubby and I are out at the site – working together.

My father-in-law was out today, and he said we worked together like a surgeon and a nurse – I’m pretty sure it was a compliment to both of us.

BONUS TIME
Just to keep this blog interesting – since it is about more than our Tiny House Project, I’ve got a personal side challenge going – 30 paintings in 30 days – my theme is rural Tennessee churches, the first 5 are below, but you can follow me on Instagram to see my daily posts for the rest of the month – click here

Old Trinity Episcopal – Mason, TN1 churches - Old Trinity Episcopal - Mason-Actual Painting-7x9.jpg

Unknown Church – Adams, TN2 churches - Rutledge TN-Actual Painting-9x12.jpg

Cobb’s Chapel – Santa Fe, TN3 churches - Cobbs Chapel Methodist - Santa Fe-Actual Painting 8x8-1

Headricks Chapel -Wears Valley, TN4 churches - Headricks Chapel - Wears Valley - Actual Painting-8x8.jpg

Abandoned Church – Adams, TN5 churches - Adams - Actual Painting-9x12.jpg

August Update

Well, well, well – it’s been really sunny AND really hot!  But sunny days make awesome work days on the tiny house front.  We’ve made A LOT of progress, (for us) in the last month!  As in, you can see where the walls go, and that there’s going to be a roof!

Tiny House foundation 07-06-2017Here’s where we were a month ago… see that dark sky – that was one of the not so sunny days, where we were spending more time carrying the tools in and out than we were actually building anything, but hey, a day building in nature is a good day.

We were so proud – we had squared a not-so-square foundation and we had leveled a not-so-level foundation.  So we were “good to go!”

 

The most recent “lumber package” as hubby so fondly calls them, came this week.  I think he only orders lumber in “packages” so the cost is at a level he can swallow, and the visual is a level I can fathom.

We built the walls in sections of approximately 9 feet high by 10-12 feet wide.  We used 2 x 6 studs and we placed them 16 inches on center, for all of you building techies.  2017-07-29 framing week 1-3Additionally, each wall section that fell in a corner had a diagonal (literally) inlaid support 1 x 4 mounted to maintain structural support and “square-ness.”  By the way – in the words of Huey Lewis, it is TOTALLY “hip to be square!”  (That’s my Huey doing the hard work.)2017-07-21 wall building.jpg

2017-07-24 framing 1

As of today – we have all of the walls in place, interior and exterior.  We have the temporary supports in place (and level, of course) for the ridge beam (roof).  The stone columns in front are for a covered porch that wraps around to the front door (where the step ladder is on the right).  There is an equally cool set of even taller stone piers on the back side for a similar covered porch and awesome view.

2017-08-09 Roof Images 3

In the meantime, I made PICKLES!  First time growing the cukes & actually canning ANYTHING! 2017 pickles

 

Life is good in Santa Fe (TN) and I couldn’t be a luckier girl than to have this awesome builder/boss for a husband!

Sill plates + rim boards + floor joists, oh my!!!

My vocabulary has certainly changed in the last year!

Last July I would have been talking about bytes, data analysis, Perl code, quality analysis, and TimeTrax (don’t ask); now I’m tool belt pocket deep in galvanized and sinker nails, deck screws, and when to use each.  And I just need to add – I’ve never had more fun, been more challenged, felt what “good tired” means, and actually NEEDED a shower at the end of the day — and one more thing… loved and respected my husband any more.

blackberry vineA week ago the tiny house was where it was a month ago – foundation poured, block foundation up, and “sweet” rock exterior foundation applied.  We still had work to do on the “barn.”  A staircase to erect, a deck to build, hand rails, deck rails, blackberries to harvest… just seeing if you were paying attention.

 

Today, the tiny house has sill plates, rim boards, AND floor joists!  (Notice those dark clouds in the sky – we’ve been dodging them ALL week – take tools out – Tiny House foundation 07-06-2017-2.0work 30 minutes – take tools in – ask each other, is it over… take  tools out – eventually learn to work in the rain, as I sit here now, it is still pouring outside, but dark, so I’m not wimping out on a rainstorm.What took us so long, you ask?  The well-placed foundation wasn’t square.  You can watch YOUTUBE all day on how to frame a house/building that is square, but try finding how to re-square a foundation that isn’t.  It’s pretty damn hard, and takes A LOT of patience – just sayin,’ but grateful, we both have a lot of time, and my husband has a lot of patience.

So, for the record, we are officially square.  (I’m kinda like the Huey Lewis, “It’s Hip to be Square,” and he’s more like the “wait Robyn, if we don’t get this square, the whole house will be wrong.)  While I love me some Huey Lewis music, hubby is right – the house MUST be square, or all kinda things north of the floor joists go south… you know, like especially when you get to the roof.

But in the meantime, I played the “Chef Robyn” card and made some blackberry jam.Blackberries and jam.jpg

I also cooked Mr. Wonderful a birthday dinner, complete with a big bone-in piece of prime rib!  prime rib.jpg

Now we are BOTH happy and tired!

Until next time…

The Next Chapter…

I lost my job.  Not sure whether to follow that with a happy or sad face emoji… so I just won’t put either.

My husband, the architect/woodworker, retired about 2 years ago.  We sold the only house we’ve ever owned together and moved to “the country.”  In full disclosure, we’d been planning this move for a while, but with the loss of my job, we decided to go full tilt and start building the next house on our 10 acres of land.

A little history… about 18 months ago we started “the barn.”  It’s really hub’s woodworking shop, but it was an experiment — well, many experiments.  Can we really work together on a job site (aka can I take direction)?  Do we really like it out here?  How fluid are we on the plans?  Are two “retired” people able to co-exist after living in the corporate world for so long?  I’m happy to say, all of the answers have been a resounding “YES”!!!  Here’s “the barn” as it is today – still needs shutters, siding on the back, deck on the far wall… and more, but basically, it’s a go… AND WE DID IT ALL OURSELVES!  (except for the roof).

barn Apr 2017.jpg

As these posts evolve, I’ll include the barn raising story, but for today, the excitement is all about breaking ground on the TINY house.

breaking ground

Our 600 square foot house will be close living quarters, but I think the most challenging part will be a single bathroom!

Our inspiration…

houseplans.com tiny house photo.jpg

What’s the goal?  Well, given our record of a pretty slow pace, it’s “this year.”  Given, we are renting, “it’s 4-5 months” until occupancy and giving up our rental.  Maybe putting that goal out into the world will give us a greater goal, and we’ll “make it,” otherwise, we’re still renting!

The great part in building a tiny house when you haven’t built a “big” house, is that it’s practice:

  • building walls (check on the barn, done that)
  • building decks (check on the barn, done that)
  • picking out cabinets
  • picking out lighting
  • picking/installing flooring
  • downsizing… do you really need 45 t-shirts when there’s only 7 days in the week?

Oh yeah, we also upgraded to a Toro 60″ deck, zero turn mower… I’ve always loved mowing (thanks dad)… but I hated my first time mowing and accidentally taking this “big” guy out… I never saw him (thank goodness), else I’d been doing a wheelie back to the barn on the mower…

snake.jpeg

Next up… I’m trying a hay bale garden

 

 

One of the Coolest Cabins ever…

We recently rented this very cool cabin on the Toccoa River in Blue Ridge GA for our anniversary.

Toccoa River Cabin

Toccoa River Cabin

While a cabin that sleeps 14 would be considered a bit excessive for a party of 2,  the cool factor was just too much to resist for my architect husband and me.  There were walls of window facing the river… a two story windowed garage door that opened up the dining area to an outside deck… an indoor / outdoor fireplace… a hot tub… and a beautiful kitchen with concrete countertops.

We spent the first afternoon lounging down by the river soaking up some rays, relaxing and reading.  It was some much needed down time for us both and the comfort communing with nature brings doesn’t come often enough.

River reading chair

River reading chair

anniv

Vintage cookware

We spent the next day taking a scenic train ride into the Copperhill/McCaysville TN/GA area and explored the old mining towns.  While there we enjoyed a burger and onion rings at one of the local establishments, “Roger & Carol’s,” picked up a souvenir train themed necklace for my granddaughter and rummaged through the numerous antique shops, where my amazing hubby threw down some cold hard cash for this beautiful set of vintage enameled cast iron cookware from the 60’s. It was a perfect turquoise color that I just so happen to be using as an accent color throughout the house and it cooks like a dream!  (He conveniently had not already bought me an anniversary present, so this just worked out perfect for everyone!)

The day was finished off with an evening around the fire-pit, eating a delicious homemade pizza from “town,” smoking a cigar (well hubby did, not me) and enjoying a nice bottle of wine.  We completed our long weekend adventure with a two hour rafting trip down the river in a funyak… (basically a kayak shaped blow up inner-tube with room for two).  We started upstream in the Toccoa River and finished 6 miles down, just across the Tennessee state border in the Ocoee River.

The weekend definitely made it an anniversary to remember.

Next up… white rafting down the Colorado River!

“C”olorado River Raft Trip!

I’d like to think that this counts as a “cabin” although the cabin will be a tent on the banks of the Colorado River deep in the Grand Canyon.  First off, I feel very, very lucky – this trip is booked solid throughout 2013!  In fact, back in March when we booked our trip, I think we snagged some of the last slots available and they just so happened to be during DH’s birthday week!  Check out Western River Expeditions here.

photo from www.examiner.com

photo from http://www.examiner.com

So here I am, a self-proclaimed “high maintenance” kind of gal, in a weak moment agreeing to go WAAAYYY out of my comfort zone for several days with what seems to be a trip that will be sans makeup, shower, electricity, running water… you get the picture, to celebrate my husband’s birthday.  (I hope he understands that I like my birthdays to include things like a steam shower, hot tub, wifi, a printed menu… (oh yeah, a food truck — some of you will understand), but I digress  He gets the idea for this birthday adventure from a book I bought him – (I should read the synopsis on Amazon a little more carefully).  He read in the book about an adventure of this kind on the Colorado River, and how the guides do ALL of the work — even preparing your meals, river-side.  Being the foodie/chef that I am, he won me over with the “how will they provide us three (gourmet) meals a day on the banks of the Colorado river?” — if I can’t even take a shower or flat iron my hair!?!?!?

So we make our reservations and get our information packet.  Now I think I’m going to summer camp — 2-3 quick dry shirts, 2 piece rain suit, 1 pair socks… oh and did I mention your suitcase / aka duffle bag can weigh no more than 20 lbs?  WHAT?  This girl needs 3 outfits a day / 4 if there is water involved… day outfit, swimming suit, dinner outfit and sleepwear… multiply that times 4 days and I think that’s in excess of 20 pounds, even without the makeup, hair styling tools and coordinating shoes!  No wonder I never went to summer camp after the year in 6th grade when I spent a week at Treemont in the Great Smokies and broke off my front tooth on the first night!

The countdown has begun – DH and I are both looking to lose a few lbs before the trip to prepare for all of those gourmet meals and so far so good!  He’s down 12+ pounds over the last several weeks and I’m starting on the 5 & 1 plan this week.  And just in case we don’t get those promised gourmet meals on the banks of the Colorado, there’s always the All You Can Eat Buffet’s in every hotel in Las Vegas!

The 2nd C… Cabins

Front "Yard" View

Front “Yard” View

We love cabins!  We’ve been finding heaven in the middle of nowhere for over 12 years now… it is so much fun to load up the dogs – our “C”hesapeake Bay Retrievers, Rocksanne & Tabasco, our “C”anoe,  a “C”ooler full of food and head to the mountains of East Tennessee, North Carolina or Georgia and leave behind the cell phone, internet and rat race for a few days of exploring and enjoying nature.  Our cabin requirements are pet friendly, outdoor hot tub on a porch (in case of rain) and preferably on some water, whether it be a rushing creek, trout stream or even a lake – Tabasco says, “a Chessie on vacation has to swim!”

For the last several years my dear husband (DH) has been spending most Saturdays in the hills of Grundy County on our 6 glorious acres building our very own cabin!  That’s a current photo from the progress we’ve (I really mean HE) made to this point.  Our goal is to rent it out to other nature lovers who would enjoy camping on the border of an 18,000 acre wilderness area complete with trails, waterfalls, campsites and swimming holes.  Savage Gulf also boasts some of the last remaining virgin forests in the Eastern US!  Oh yeah, did I mention your rental cabin can come loaded with packed hiking luncheons, items ready to grill, etc from Chef Robyn (http://www.ChefRobyn.com)  Lots more photos of the area to come, but in the meantime check out this website http://www.state.tn.us/environment/parks/SouthCumberland/ – this is our “backyard” at the cabin.

Mounting the "C"hessie Weathervane

Mounting the “C”hessie Weathervane

Last weekend we celebrated getting the roof on by capping it with a chessie weathervane I purchased last summer.  DH has made it this far with little to no help and without electricity and water!  I’m so proud; it has been a labor of love.  All we need now are the walls and finished floors!  And of course a hot tub.  Oh yeah, there’s a much enjoyed fire pit for cool nights, ghost stories, dreaming and of course cooking some awesome steaks!

We have quite a little community up there now – when we started the road stopped quite a ways from our property and there were probably only a couple of other property owners.  We, I mean DH, carried our building supplies back to the building site with a sling blade in hand “paving” our way.  Now the gravel road has been pushed thru, there is another nearly completed cabin down the road and all of the available property has been sold.  Several weekends during the summer and fall the “community” has a shrimp boil and camp out.  The “neighbors” lovingly refer to my DH as “the mayor” and there are quite a few stories to tell of experiences we’ve had over the last 12 years with locals and visitors.

This weekend I’m working on a few projects I can show you in my next post, “C”rafts.

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