Author Archives: ellaharp

About ellaharp

I am a musician and artist just out of college. During the last year of my degree in Scotland I caught the bug and have since become infatuated with the practical coziness of tiny houses. I worked my tail off, saved my money and, despite my complete lack of carpentry know-how, I shall build one, it shall be marvelous, and I shall call it Little Yellow :)

Of mistake making and taking my ceiling apart…

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Mistakes happen. They are one of the few, infallible certainties that plague my doings, no matter how familiar or simple such a doing may seem. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the most difficult and least familiar of my doings to date would be no exception. The only difference is that when I mess up on something I’m relatively versed in, like sewing, I can eat the 20 something dollars it cost to buy the fabric, throw it into a corner with a few choice words and forget about the whole thing. Mistakes made on Little Yellow? Proportionally less forgettable.

And I made a lot of mistakes building my house. Most of them are cosmetic (the word ‘square’ didn’t get used much around here) and many of them actually ended up creating some lovely, unexpected outcomes, but there are a few major ones I would so love to have a time machine for. So here’s my pile of least favourite screw ups for your consideration, in the form of a list that I wish I had seen before I made them. Go forth, and don’t do what I did.

Unless I’m speaking to the unmistaken folks who have never had this sort of reoccurring disaster befall them. If you are in on this in crowd you’d best go out and build something perfectly and do some skipping while you’re at it. I would like your phone numbers before you go

1. Do not build your 18’ house on a trailer with only 7000 lb capacity (GVWR). Even if you’re lucky enough not to have your build be overweight, the fear of a fat house will haunt your every move. Every one of them. Like blinking, it’ll haunt that too.

2. Do not buy windows the exact same size as your rough openings. They will not fit. They will not. Now you will have to either widen the openings or shrink the windows, and both options suck.

3. Do not buy aluminum windows. Aluminium is a fantastic conductor and a terrible insulator. Imagine two cups of cold liquid on a hot day, one aluminum and one wood or vinyl. Condensation will form almost immediately on the aluminum cup while the wood or vinyl cup stays dry because both are better insulators than aluminium, which is in fact one of the worst insulators ever. This means watching the condensation sweat of death form on the interior frame of your windows, creating an ever evolving, unwanted hippie commune of mould on your window sills.

3 1/2. Do not buy said aluminium windows from a company called ‘Superior’ (Aha. Hahaha.) In two years of having them, you can watch in merriment as your clearly superior purchase falls the HELL apart to the point where only 4 of your 10 windows still operate properly (or at all), and 2 of which are completely broken. Like glass-separating-from-the-frames-which-are-separatinng-from-each-other kind of broken. Chalk up the change for aluminium clad wood windows or go with vinyl if your budget requires it. SUPERIOR. Jerks….

4. Worst for last: do not forgo venting your roof. Rotting sheathing and black mould are bad, bad words in the world of shelter, and that’s what waits for you living full time in an unvented shoebox. You will have to fix it later when it’s much harder after a year or so of dreading and putting it off. And then you will CRY, Ok? Remember how you don’t like mould? Vent your flippin’ roof.

When I was in the build stage I didn’t know that ventilation was a thing in roofs and regrettably, my logic did not lead me in the direction of figuring it out. Leaving holes in your ceiling may not seem obviously helpful, but believe me it is. I wrote a bit about the theory of it and the measures I took to try and make up for overlooking it here, but I knew, in my climate especially, it wasn’t going to be enough.

So I formulated a plan to rip down my entire ceiling assembly starting from scratch, and took 6 or so months to work up the gears to do it. And finally the time came.

This was one of the least pleasant things I have ever done. Second only, perhaps, to mucking several months worth of waste from at least 7 baby goats all crammed into an 8×12 Norwegian barn where the air within was so strong that any metallic object on your person tarnished purplish black upon contact and your lungs could stand maybe 2-3 minutes inside before breathing became improbable.

I may have smelled better after fixing my ceiling than I did after the goat crusades, but it was right on par with the horrible. Every item in the house; every curtain, pencil and shoe removed or blockaded in the pink room. Every intentionally placed board of my ceiling ripped down. Every fluff of my wool insulation covering my counters, dish rack, hair and floor until the whole house was a foot deep in sheep. It did awful things to my psyche to see my beautiful home turned inhospitably back into a construction site.

Like many unpleasant things, I have blocked out most of the four, 11 hour days it took to do this thing from start to finish. I suppose it’s fitting then, that we seem to have somehow lost or deleted the camera card with all the photos, so I only have a few from my phone. And they are mostly blurry…oi. Anyway, here’s the basics of how it went down.

After the insulation was out and the ceiling boards were stacked and numbered to keep the order, came the work of scrubbing off varying degrees of greyish black mould, drilling vent holes at the soffits and ridge, and putting up baffles.

I opted to make my own version of baffles with 1×1 redwood strips and roofing felt. Somehow I thought it might be cheaper, or easier or…something. I don’t know. Never works out that way. Without a chop saw on site, I ended up using an axe to hack up the wood strips. Efficient I was not, but it did make for some pretty good therapy.

Without enough electric capacity at the house to run a hair dryer, let alone power tools of any variety, my boyfriend filled the air compressor (to run the nail gun) from our landlord’s garage and drove back up to refill it whenever we ran out. After the baffles were in place, the insulation and ceiling boards went back up and we got to navigate the human errors in our haphazard numbering system. Ascension of numbers and the difference between left and right are apparently still a work in progress for me.

In the end it was a very important redo and I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer. Still, if someone asked me right now if I’d rather take my ceiling down again or wrangle that barn, it’s hands up for goat shit.

A tiny wood stove for a tiny house…

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I am really good at procrastinating. Seeing as I haven’t written since January, I guess I’m about 7 months good at it. Think there’s a prize for that? No? Well shit.

We have been warm and toasty whenever needed since January, courtesy of our darling wee wood stove; a Kimberly from the WA based company Unforgettable Fire LLC. It’s a marvellous little thing, made entirely of stainless steel with a darn efficient secondary combustion system, and it has worked out great for us.

I grew up with wood stoves and have always loved them. When I was little, my sister and I used to run outside in the snow with our bare feet so we could run back in and tap our frozen footsies against the front glass and hear the water steam and sizzle while just barely managing to not burn our toes. Safety 3rd around here.

Anyway, wood stoves are my personal favourite heat source. They require frequent maintenance, can be messy, smelly and exceedingly dangerous so they aren’t for every person or situation, but the warm ambiance and cozy glow of a little stove on a cold night wins me over every time. Plus; zombie apocalypse friendly.

Aside from the cozy/zombie factors, the main reason I opted for one in Little Yellow is because the dry heat essentially acts as its own dehumidifier. So much so that you often see kettles of boiling water placed on them to keep the air from getting too dry. In my foggy, coastal climate (no kettles needed around here) putting in a heater that would also combat excess moisture made a lot of sense, and I have ended up with a built in dehumidifier that is multifunctional and also aesthetically pleasing.

Safe clearances are perhaps the biggest hurdle with wood stoves in a tiny space that is made almost entirely of such a stove’s fuel of choice. I remember seeing a picture of an early tiny house that had one smack in the middle of the greatroom, because it was the only place in the house that could accommodate the clearances.

Since the space we had in which to install a stove was so small, I was a bit concerned that we wouldn’t be able to swing one at all. Actually, we had several potential problems with our hopeful stove spot, 1. Whatever we put in had to be safe with only 4” clearance between the chimney and the wooden wall behind. 2. We could cut no wider than a 5” hole in the roof for the flue before hitting either a rafter or the rib of our standing seam roofing material. And 3. The hole we would need to drill through the floor for the outside air intake couldn’t hit the steel I beam of the trailer below.

Aside from it being super pretty and efficient, deciding upon the Kimberly was based mostly on its incredibly low clearances and its use of 3” insulated pellet stove chimney pipe instead of the wider class A pipe, which was too big for our roof situation. I had known about (and drooled over) the Kimberly since before I started building but couldn’t do anything about it at the time. That is because it is expensive. Sitting down are we? Sit sit. It is $3,750. And it is just so cool that we had to buy it.

We considered it our forever Christmas present to each other. A sort of ‘here, lets be warm for the rest of our lives’ kind of thing. It’s an incredibly well designed and USA made stove with some very cool features, if you want to read more, check out Unforgettable Fire’s website and the tiny-house-specific Kimberly website here.

Installation went pretty darn good. We were lucky to have Vanessa Kelly, our dealer and the Business Developer for Unforgettable Fire, help out with our installation and Kimberly’s inventor, Roger Lehet on the phone to get all our questions answered. After a few hitches and a custom chimney pass through the roof, this stove looks like it was never missing.

I let my boyfriend do the hole drilling (I have a great fear of holes in my roof. A great fear) and he did a fantastic job. In a traditional installation, the chimney pipe would pass through the roof in what’s called a cathedral ceiling box. This would require about near 10″ hole, so Zac got creative, as he does, and fabricated us a new, much smaller part that does the job perfectly.

And now we have heat at our disposal :) We get hardwood and kindling from our local firewood spot in two big bins for $10 each which buys us about 3-4 months of warm. OH MAN, I love being warm. It’s such a luxury to be a comfortable temperature after two heatless winters of cold. Like, try to warm yourself up with lightbulbs cold. Like, consider getting whatever rocks hold heat best, warming them up on your cooktop and hugging them cold. (I have done these things.)

I feel like we bought what we expected to be only a wood stove, but what we also acquired was two people and a dog’s worth of comfort. I have decided it is the best thing I have ever purchased because we have serendipitously secured ourselves an endless number of winters in homebody bliss, that won’t involve crowding around 20 something tea candles (this too).

Some nights we do nothing but pull up pillows and just lay on the floor in front of the stove for hours. Lobster is a huge fan. He gets his little dog face SO close to it I almost worry, but he’s in total heaven. When it’s chilly out and there’s no fire he’ll lie down by it and look at me, then look at it and look back at me. And then look back at it. He’s very subtle.

There are so many things I need to write about. They’ve been coming from all directions recently and I am going to try, try try to write at least one post a month. And if not, I’m going to figure out this procrastinator’s prize thing. That could really go places.

 

Disclosure: I am new to this affiliate thing, and am excited and proud to be one in regards to the Kimberly stove because I love it so much. If you were to purchase a stove from one of the links in this post, I would receive a small portion of the cost. I would be just as happy if you were to find the links on your own because I really just want these guys to do well, so feel free to do that if you would rather :) To warm and happy tiny homes!

The rebuilding of a table and a Swedish, firewood dealing carpenter…

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So the most exciting news is that we, after over a year of living in Little Yellow with no heat source, are getting a woodstove. That’s right, heat! What a concept :D Actually I’m so behind that as I write it’s sitting beside me, but more about that in the next post.

First there was some work to do, because I didn’t leave space for a heater in my house when I built it. I figured ‘I live in California. I’ve got sweaters’. You may recall that I never planned for a refrigerator either (not sure how the logic worked on that one), and I wouldn’t consider either of those decisions among my top ten best ever.

While I do live in sunny California, my spot on the coast seems to be about 52 degrees ALL THE TIME. Which puts a pretty damp damper on whatever theory I may have had because happy, perishable food likes to be colder than 52 degrees and happy, perishable people like to be warmer.

As a result, the tiny fridge I bought last year after my failed ice box and zeer experiments (nothing like molding, sandy flower pots to store your edibles) had to live outside and under the trailer because I didn’t allow anywhere for it inside. Same ‘where do we put it?’ deal with the unplanned stove, only this time around what we had to work with is a little prettier than a plastic mini fridge.

However I fought it, my lovely old school desk was the weakest link. It’s been acting as a table between the bench and the edge of the kitchen counter which turns out to be the only feasible place in the house to put a little stove.

I first thought we’d have to get rid of it which made me very sad because it’s Little Yellow’s only piece of proper furniture, but the end, I imagined life without a table would be about as sensible as life without a fridge or a heater and I decided to keep the cast iron legs and build a smaller desk/table top so it could stay.

I found the most beautiful piece for it at a funky old place that has huge wood carvings of bears and totem poles and a sign that says ‘firewood’, just off the highway going down the hill to town. I’d driven past it a hundred times but this was the first I’d stopped to check it out.

It’s owned by a sturdy, cheery Swedish man named Magnus with a cocked wool hat and an orange chainsaw that he seems very fond of. Lucky for us, he had a pile of Chinese Elm slabs that were absolutely gorgeous and we scored the smallest one, a Eucalyptus stump for wood splitting, two round oak stumps for cultivating mushroom dowels (that were given to me at the Philly workshop last year by some wonderful attendees) and a few pieces of tiny-stove-sized firewood for $50.

As I heard him chatter away on this and that, I found that listening this older Scandinavian carpenter talk about wood slabs felt very familiar. His accent, trade, and enthusiasm for Little Yellow reminded me so much of Flemming that I could only smile, such a nice thing to revisit my memories of him.

Chinese Elm is a wood I hadn’t heard of or used before, but it looks awesome finished and came out a rich, dark gold that compliments Flemming’s pine counters very well. But first, several hundred hours of unnecessarily complicated cutting, sanding and filling cracks.

I’m fortunate to have access to my boyfriend’s Uncle’s garage down the street, but I felt a bit useless working in a different place with different tools that have different quirks from what I’m used to. I guess I’ve become a tool snob. Well, I’ll take it, because boy I miss my dad’s garage. Most notably the endless clamps, flat work surfaces and table saw…Anyway, everything worked out and I got it all done in a very long afternoon. Sealed it, screwed it to the cast iron legs and viola! Instant (7 hour) table :D

On the subject of sealing, I found myself in the same situation as last time when I tried oil finishing my counter tops. No amount of any type used could keep the grain from raising and changing colour after so much as one minute of water contact, so this time I was prepared. I soaked the surface several times with a sponge to let the grain raise evenly across the whole top, sanded it down one last time, and oiled after.

It’s a wonderful table. As frustrating as it was to be out of my element putting it all together, I’m rather proud of how it turned out and I love love love the raw edge.

I’ve been back to the firewood place a few times since to show Magnus pictures of the finished product, then to pick up some firewood for our new stove and I’m so grateful each time to see him there. It feels like I’m getting a second chance to learn from another fascinating and talented carpenter as I never did with Flemming. These men are surely two of a kind, and I’d bet if they ever got together in the same room the conversation would never cease.

 

Tiny for 3…

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Turns out, 2 people in 120 square feet wasn’t quite enough. Who would have thought? So we got a puppy :D. Well, he’s not exactly a puppy but I will call him one just the same. His name is Lobster (Yeah. Lobster. You can thank my boyfriend) and he is a very good boy who loves his little house.

He’s a rescue, so we don’t know much about him besides that he was a stray. He found himself in a high kill shelter before he got saved by a wonderful lady named Laurie who runs a small scale rescue out of her home called Heartfelt Hounds. We started looking for a dog on a Sunday, talked to Laurie on Wednesday and had a Lobster by Sunday evening.

In the shelter they called him Rock, but Laurie didn’t think dogs should be called Rock so she named him Rockster. Then Zac started calling him Lobster, and now we have a dog named Lobster. Laurie was thrilled. I don’t think much of it anymore, but every now and then when I’m the girl at the beach chasing my dog and screaming ‘lobster’ I do get a few odd looks.

Lobster totally gets the tiny thing. He sits very nice in the house, and only seems interested in his two happy places; on the bench or on the mat by the door when the bench is taken by those two very rude people who don’t seem to understand that it is in fact, his.

I have never had a dog before, so this is all very exciting. He likes to chase pine cones and has a weird obsession with dried sea weed. Like, really. There is nothing cooler to this dog than chewing up seaweed tails, which probably explains his love of the beach (seaweed central) but not the water. If there’s truly no seaweed, sticks are probably the next best. Fetch is totally exciting for about 3 throws and then he’s over it.

We’ve been walking and hiking so much more, I love how taking the dog for a walk has turned into a great shove to get out and do something. Luckily though, Lobster’s a pretty chill guy so he mostly lays around the house after he gets some exercise. I’d say good consideration for a tiny house dog is one that is relatively low energy. Something that bounced off the walls it would probably be a bit much in so small a space. It seems counterintuitive not to have a chihuahua in a tiny house, but bigger dogs (anyone read Macy’s blog? I love her Great Dane, Denny :) ) are more likely to be up for laying down and hanging out.

Anyhow I love my Lobster! Also known as Slobbster, or slobber dog. He’s a very messy drinker.

There are other developments I need to write about soon, so I’ll try to get on that in the next few days! Good stuff! Happy new year!

October anniversaries…

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Last year on October 7, I was panicked beyond previous comprehension. I packed my life, got the house road ready, built Little Yellow some stairs and gave a few headless chicken style tours. I cried. On October 8, I rose from 5 hours of half sleep, half house-shattering nightmares and got in a truck that hauled in its wake the contents of my year’s work and life savings. I cried. I watched my house leave its little nesting spot and saw it go down every street, highway and freeway with my eyes glued to the rear view mirror. I cried. I met wonderful people at the two scheduled open houses and tried to be present.  I tried make note of how many got in there at one time. I didn’t.

On October 9, I woke up in my house in a Travel Lodge parking lot, full on Dorothy Kansas style. I figured this day would feel more normal. It didn’t. I open-housed again and watched Little Yellow rear-view mirror it up the coastal route. I got to my new spot and said goodbye to my almost mother Jill who pulled the house and rocked this trip. I had $200 to my name and felt oddly scared and silly that evening.

On October 10, I met a friend who invited me to my landlord’s party that Friday. I got a hose and some jacks for the house. On October 11, I tried to unpack some things and didn’t. On October 12, I hostessed at the restaurant I got a job at and went to the party with my new friend Maria.

On October 13 at 1:30 am, a very tall, very drunk fellow started dancing with me. Proper dancing. I went home and thought I’d never see him again. On October 13 at midday, I saw the tall fellow walk down the street and into my restaurant looking much less drunk. I walked with him after work and sat on one of the many cliff benches by the beach. He said we should sit on all of them and see which one we liked best. I was in love :D

I am so glad that I moved here when I did, and so happy to be where I am. In absence of pictures, here are a few things to look into. My sister and her husband are embarking on their own tiny house and I am SO thrilled for them. They are making a serious of ridiculous youtube videos that are worth watching if only for the dog, the accent and structural asparagus references.

I started recording some old man hating songs a few months ago. I have at least 20 but got distracted after 3, so here is a cheery one from before the happy days.

Also! A Little Yellow tour video when I was still in the driveway, and one from the new spot.

Happy fall!

Siding stain, vented ridges and life going on…

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September already! I am sorry to have not given an update in so long. My dear 2007 laptop I got second hand in Scotland isn’t quite dead yet, but it’s certainly been crapping out on me, so it lives at my family’s house down the road where there is internet. I feel like nothing comes out right when I try to write in that space, so I haven’t. But I find I miss writing, so my boyfriend and I got a new-ish one so he can store photos and I can write at home again.

Modern technology is remarkable, this little computer (a nifty craigslist find) is super lightweight and the battery actually works unplugged for longer than 3 seconds before wildly warnings that it’s running on reserve power at 99% capacity. Oh well. Thanks 2007, that was an admirable run.

All is well in Little Yellow, I’m happy to report. Life is alternately skipping, jumping, and creeping past as it sees fit, and I follow as best I can in my bumbling way. Somehow I always feel a little behind.

I am so very grateful to be where I am. Travel and adventures take me far off places I never imagined myself going to, and simple life in Little Yellow on the coastside continues to fulfil my soul.

Even just a few miles out, the mountains and cliffs and beaches and tidepools and trails are there for the taking under chilly, overcast skies that remind me how much I love long, wool sleeves. And with wooly warmth, I sit, draw, play, and run like I’m 5 years old through the beautiful surroundings as often as possible.

I find my little house doesn’t make me spend more time outside because I feel the need to be outwith its tiny-ness, but that I venture out more often because I know I am only a few feet away. Though interestingly, some days I don’t because being inside can feel almost like being outside with views from 10 windows in sight. Either way, I love how much living tiny has knocked down the walls between nature and my wish to explore it.

I mostly stay on the coast when given the choice. I like knowing where the edges are, where the land ends and the water begins, and then nothing. No more highways, just a vast expanse of deep blue question marks. Something about it puts me at ease in a wonderful way like nothing else can. And as long as I’m close to the ocean, I will of course go in. Every day, wetsuit-less, regardless of weather or sensibility. I live for bodysurfing, but even when the waves suck, the shorebreak still suffices.

Not long ago I was out in the lineup catching some of the best surf of the summer, and a pod of dolphins swam past 3 times in the hour I was out. 8 feet away at most, I could see their eyes and the scars and lines on their skin so clearly. They seem like such happy animals, leaping and squeaking and bodysurfing far better than I ever could. I do run off on tangents. Focus. Right, back to the house…

Just about the only maintenance I’ve done was re-staining the exterior wood. Superdeck is supposed to be good for a year, so we put another coat on in May. Smelly, smelly stuff that didn’t smell any better this time. Last year when I coated the house, I accidentally dumped a quart of it on my favourite skirt that then smelled like a delightful vat of oil for about 30 washes, so this time I got smart and pulled out my one pair of pants.

Since working at Tumbleweed and talking with other tiny house builders, there is one (major) thing I didn’t do in my build that is very important in small spaces. A ventilated roof allows air to travel through wavy-gravy space makers called baffles that create an air gap on the underside of your sheathing. Vents at the soffits connect to vents at the ridge through these baffles, and convection passes the air up and out, keeping the roof deck (sheathing) dry and free of rot and mould.

Imagine hot, moist air rising up inside as high as it can go. If it reaches the ridge and can’t get out, condensation can form over time and render the sheathing useless. In ordinary houses, vented ridges keep what is usually the attic from moisture issues. In a tiny house this is especially important because the ‘attic’ is most likely your bedroom, and mouldy bed spaces are enough to scare anyone.

When I ordered and installed my roofing, I did not know about this, and instead thought to keep the ridge of my house as waterproof as humanly possible. So a few weeks ago, I gathered my courage, tool belt and building skirt to spend a solid few hours on the good old roofline to remedy this oversight. With my roof done now, removing the underlayment from the ridge and drilling some air holes was the best I could do. Here’s hoping that will help.

I can’t say I had an easy time motivating myself to get back up on the roof.  During the build, I was constantly up against situations I didn’t feel entirely confident or comfortable with, but throughout the year I got pretty used to it. Now, not so much. I don’t climb ladders or swing hammers all that often these days, and I had to remind myself getting up there that I did, in fact, build this house so damn it, I can fix it.

Being up there did not bring back pleasant memories. Last time I could barely walk for several days and I didn’t fare much better this round. 12/12 roof pitches are miserable things to be plonked on for any length of time.

We also took down the chandelier because in the last year I’ve turned it on about 3 times, and 2 were by accident. So instead we put up a spider plant which hangs from the same spot and sort of looks like a chandelier, but is a nice, air cleaning little bugger and is supposed to be very hard to kill. Guess we’ll see how that goes…

I love presenting workshops. I think tiny houses are the only thing I could still want to talk about after repeated, jam packed weekends of the same, solid material, because the people are so encouraging. Ridiculously encouraging. I thought I had a good gauge of the average tiny house enthusiast, and I have been totally wrong. Doctors, physicists, 9 year olds planning to build for college, 75 year old women planning to retire, empty nesters, mobile geared entrepreneurs and countless others. 50-120 attendees in every city I travel to all around the US are totally excited about tiny houses. It’s inspiring to hear so many different stories and such different situations that lead folks to the same path. These little, alternative houses solve a lot of problems for a lot of people. Far more kinds of people than I thought.

Off topic: I got a new car! And by new, I mean 3 years older than my previous car which was by no means new. New to me anyway :D A 1987 tin top Suzuki Samurai that was A BEAST to find. If I have previously seemed sensible to anyone, here’s concrete evidence to the contrary. Drove 500 miles to LA to pick up this car (mistake 1). Car wasn’t as we thought, bought it anyway (mistake 2,3,4,5,6 and 7). Drove 167 miles up the 5 and broke the hell down. Towed 150 miles home with my boyfriend’s fancy AAA. Perfect car appears on Craigslist the next day, 60 miles from home. Drive to check it out. Promise we’ll pay the guy as soon as we sell Bad Sam. Spend over $1000 getting Bad Sam smogged and running. Some guy drives all the way from Oregon to buy Bad Sam and doesn’t. 3 guys from Fresno come to buy Bad Sam and actually buy Bad Sam. Dance instead of walking everywhere for the next few days. Buy Good Sam :D

Easy, right? Nice, stress free way to acquire a car. Good Sam is rocking the $50 rustoleum paint job in flat green these days, courtesy of a very wonderful boyfriend. Who knew you could paint cars with a roller? It’s super cute :D  It’s also the bumpiest thing I’ve ever driven. I’ve heard them described not inaccurately as riding ‘like a haywagon’ and as providing ‘the full 3rd world driving experience’. 65 mph tops. I am tearin’ up this town :D

Ok, a little more mush because I’m just so happy. This house and occupation have transformed my life so much from what I wished it could be to what it has come to be that I feel like I have time to do anything I have the means and moxie to attempt. I can barely believe this lifestyle is possible for a girl like me at all. Feeling so very blessed :) Crazy that it’s been almost a year since Little Yellow and I went coastal! And remember, if you’re going anywhere, better coastal than postal.

Spring, travel and writing elsewhere…

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Spring is springing on the coastside, with beautiful sunny days and perhaps a bit more wind than I’d like. Local folks say that’s pretty typical for this time of year but we’re talking blow your hair off wind here. Yesterday we went to the beach and the wind had herded giant collections of sea foam into every available space between the rocks. It was like a blowing blizzard of golf-ball sized fluff that stuck to the surrounding plants and wobbled like globs of jello. Weird…

7 months in Little Yellow, 6 with my boyfriend and 2.5 with Tumbleweed. Little Yellow and the boyfriend are always wonderful, and I’m starting to feel comfortable presenting these workshops. For a while I found it tough to overcome the thought that I don’t know what I’m saying. I mean, I obviously know enough to have built my house, but to stand in a room with 100 paying attendees and spew the information in an intelligible way was a totally different game. I just have to remind myself that here, in the tiny house section of the construction world, I know what I’m on about. People at the workshops I’ve done so far are AWESOME, and they’ve made it so much fun. I can’t believe this is my job!

We took a road trip last month, north through Oregon and all over Washington to visit family. Nearly 2000 miles driven and so many beautiful sights. I have a new favourite place! Vashon Island, WA. 20 minutes on a ferry from the heart of Seattle, it sits in a perfect state of laid back, middle-of-nowhere chill. I’ve put up some pictures just because :D

I have written a few posts on the Tumbleweed website! They’re more on the lines of informative article type stuff, but I thought I’d put some links up here so this poor site doesn’t have so many months of wordless drought. There’s some other very good content on the TW blog as well, but I’m sure many of you read it already.

So! Here they are, and a few pictures.

Finding a Place for Your Tiny House: Renting

Let’s say you’ve just built a wonderful Tumbleweed. Construction is over and you’re ready to move in, but where do you put it? Where can you live in your wee house on wheels?

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The Other Freedoms of Tiny Houses

‘Financial freedom’ is a phrase rooted in the appeal of tiny houses. I used it before I lived in mine because not many people seem to have it, and it was a great reason to give to inquiring minds that must know why the heck you want to build this unusually small house…

continue reading…