We are making progress! The foundation has been poured, and the concrete block foundation is in place. The stone mason (David Travis out of Hampshire TN) began his magic this week. What an amazing craftsman! What started as a big pile of LOCAL cut stone like this:
has turned into this piece of intricate stacked stone facade for the foundation of our tiny house, (back porch piers in the front, house business in the back):
I thought it might be interesting to share a Q&A I had with the architect, who wears many hats. The hardest, perhaps is being my husband, but he is also the foreman, the contractor, the heavy lifter of all things “heavy,” (decisions and physical), and the mind behind all things creative.
Q: When designing a house, what are the “ideal” dimensions?
A: increments from small to large – 8″ – 16″ – 2′ – 4′ – 8′ for room and exterior dimensions.
Q: When buying boards what are the actual vs. standard (aka “nominal”) measurements of the product?
A: A 2″ x 4″ board is actually 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ … any inch measurement on boards up to 8 inches is one-half inch short. Over 8 inches is three quarters inch short, i.e. a 2″ x 10″ board will be 1 1/2″ (the 1/2″ off) by 9 1/4″ (the 3/4″ off). The original cut boards are the actual size; the reduction comes from planing and dressing the boards. This works well withing finishing because they typical drywall thickness is 1/2″.
Q: OK, so what about other materials, like the concrete block we used for the foundation?
A: Concrete block is usually a 3/8″ nominal difference because the typical mortar bed is 3/8″. (A 8″ x 8″ x 16″ concrete block is actually 7 5/8″ x 7 5/8″ x 15 5/8″)
Q: What do you prefer for a framing material?
A: Southern yellow pine is preferred for structural framing, including rafters and floor joists. Spruce fir is common for studs. (FYI: Southern yellow pine is either loblolly pine, short leaf pine, long leaf pine or slash pine.)
Q: What can you tell me about roof pitch?
A: Roof pitch is rise over run (y-axis to x-axis for all of you geometry nerds like me). The range spans from flat to 12/12, which is 45 degrees. The Southeast is good for a 4/12 (18.5%) to 8/12 (33.75%). Our “barn” has a 8/12 roof. For perspective, Florida would be fine with a flat roof, but the snowy regions would need a steeper roof. An advantage of a steep pitch is a reduction in leaks.
Q: What is our tiny house roof pitch?
A: The pitch on the house is 8/12; the pitch on the porches is 2/12. The change in pitch is purely aesthetic.
Now for some credentials and personal interest questions…
Q: What and where did you study?
A: I graduated from Auburn University in 1985 with a 5 yr Bachelor of Architecture degree and a Minor in Art History. I am especially intrigued by the Mockbee Rural Studio that Sambo Mockbee started at Auburn after I graduated.
Q: Who is your favorite architect?
Q: What architect has inspired you?
A: A Nashville Architect, Robert Anderson. I knew of him and personally knew some of his family, and have lived in one of the first houses he designed in Nashville.
Q: What is your favorite Architectural style?
A: Traditionally, I would say, the craftsman style, specifically the Gamble House in California.
Locally, I would say, the Carpenter Gothic style you see in Rugby, Tennessee.
Q: What is your favorite house?
A: Like many others, Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Q: What’s next for you after the Tiny House?
A: Well, I’d love to design and build something for someone else, or build banjos, or furniture in my new shop.
More on the banjos and furniture in future posts… as wells as the 5+ house plans we’ve developed for this one site that could work on “your” site. We love using local craftsmen and incorporating the layout of the land to the plan… leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific questions or are interested in custom architectural / banjo/ furniture commission.
P.S. Life in the country is good.