Of roofing hitches and ever changing floor plans…


My dad and I got the off-side standing seam roofing on this sunny afternoon in fine time, like we knew just what we were doing, and feeling very chuffed indeed. But the feeling ended abruptly when we reached the last panel as reality politely informed us that we mostly don’t know what we’re doing.

This being the case, the plywood roof sheathing is not square at the front of the house, so instead of the panel’s edge running parallel to the edge of the roof deck, there is a very-much-not-straight 2 inch discrepancy that will really muck things up when we try to put the eave closures on.

This will likely result in another bout of house sawing, but then I suppose with the amount of first hand house sawing experience we’ve had, you might actually say we do know what we’re doing in this particular part of the process. I didn’t photograph the current conundrum, but I’m sure you can imagine.

I have realized that I have no set floor plan (wishy washy as I am) and with electric and plumbing looming not so very far away, it has come to my attention that I had better stop changing my mind so I don’t end up with an outlet in the shower or pipes running through my closet. I came up with one the other day that I think I could live with after laying it out in the house with scraps of 2×4’s and 40lb boxes of sheep wool insulation. For the record, they make an excellent visual for prospective shelving.


18 responses »

  1. I have been enjoying your postings along the way. Thanks for your generous sharing of ideas, pictures, trials and successes. You are a natural educator!

    One thing occurred to me as I looked at your sketch of potential floor plan. I love the location of the coat rack, but I recommend a small bookshelf under it for two reasons: One, the shelf itself makes an awesome place to put shoes so that you don’t muck up the whole house, and Two, having a surface in arm’s reach of the door — in Feng Shui it’s called a “compassion table” — makes it soooo much easier when you come through the door with stuff in your arms, keys in your hand, etc.

    Again, gratitude for your efforts.

  2. Floor plans can be the most difficult part of construction! Some times a fresh set of eyes can help. I haven’t taken the workshop, and may be asking/suggesting things that they have discouraged for practical reasons, and, of course I don’t know your life style and preferences. I HAVE spent plenty of time living out of a motorhome and, having planned and designed a few remodels and a much larger home I might have some ideas that you might find helpful…

    For the bathroom doorway, have you considered a pocket door? They stay out of the way and don’t take up any floor space when they are open.
    Have you thought of opening the door into the bathroom, toward the shower/tub area? Being alone in the house, you could leave the door open when brushing your teeth, and it would be out of the way…

    Is the room outside the bathroom your dressing area? Do you have enough clothing storage?
    Where is your sleeping area, and sleeping area access? If it is in the loft, which I am assuming, the ladder placement can get in the way!

    Where do you anticipate placing your heat source? Will there be one or two heat sources?

    The kitchen does look functional. The closing cupboards are a good idea in a home that will be moving!
    (And I LOVE the Roofing color TOO! What colors are going with it then? Canary yellow trim, and a Canary yellow door with purple trim?)

    Some day I dream of building little mountain cabins on trailers to place on our winter ski trails. These seem so cozy and practical, and utterlly charming!

    • The pocket door is an excellent idea! I’ll have to look more into it. And it does make more sense for it to open in if I opt for a standard door as it would leave much more usable space in the wee room. I’m planning on using it as a sort of changing room but also as a place to store my harp when I’m not home. I figure if I close curtains on the windows and in the hall then no one will be able to see it from the outside.

      I have FAR too many clothes (a flaw to be sure) but this choice of mine is going to force me to be very critical. I haven’t got too terribly much else, so you may just find some under the kitchen cabinets 😀 I’m sort of approaching this as taking what I have and letting reality dictate how much I can keep in the house. There comes a time when you can’t fit anything else and I’ll have to adapt! I’m sure it will be a very good change 🙂

      The sleeping area is in the loft, and I’m planning the ladder to fit in the little hallway between the kitchen and shelves. I was thinking of just putting it up in the loft when not in use, but I’ll have to see. As far as heat goes, I’m putting in a 3 burner stove/oven for my love of cooking and am planning on just turning the oven on when I need warmth. I’ll likely be living in a coastal or temperate climate and I’m pretty sure that will be enough. If it’s not, I can always get a little space heater!

      The outside window trim will be a dark, teal blue-y green which I think will look lovely with the yellow door and purple/red roof. I plan on staining the siding a nice rich colour too…can’t wait to see it out of my head! Thanks so much for you suggestions, and I think having them on ski trails is brilliant. Hope you had a lovely Christmas!

      • Sounds like you have some great ideas! My one concern with heating is using the stove for heat if it is gas. There might be CO2 concerns. You might want to plan for a small wall mounted heater. Even marine climates can get cool, and coastal areas are known for being a bit wet. Moisture can start making things a bit green and fuzzy.

      • I also have to speak out against using your gas oven as a heat source unless the manufacturer SPECIFICALLY says you can use it that way. Many, many people have died of CO poisoning that way. If you’re planning on an electric oven then CO won’t be a concern but I think you’ll still want a seperate heat source. It’s possible that the fact that I live in Canada may be influencing my opinion on that though.

  3. Ella,

    We are enjoying your pursuit. We are building a 14×16 cabin in Maine. Had a shed company build frame on skids, altered 4/12 pitch to 12/12 and clad it in cedar shingles. We are doing the rest–we are able to stay during any season now as we have put in an inwall 240 volt 14inch square electric heater– and yes it heats the whole place on a lower setting. Just using electric, want to keep utilities simple as we drive up from Ohio 4-6 times a year.
    I would suggest measuring the 3″ taper on leftover pieces (watch orientation of standing seam) and take to a sheet metal shop– most furnace companies can do. You may wish to have them come and meas themselves. hacking off the 3″ you’ll regret and not worth aggrevation. Also be sure to seal all penetrations with steel wool, spray foam and cover w/ 1/4″ hardwarecloth– we just have resolved a mouse infestation.

    Feel free to pick our brains.

    Jeff and Suzanne

  4. Found your site recently from the Tumbleweed House blog. Really enjoying following along. I hope to build a small/tiny house someday as well. It’s been a decades long love affair. Thanks for sharing your journey – muddy spots and all. Best of luck moving to the “inside” construction!

  5. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with a roof askew :p I put the roof on my Tarelton a couple weeks ago and had the same problem. I’m planning on just putting matching metal gable trim on the ends and sealing it with butyl tape. If you contact your roofing supplier, they should be able to provide a couple sizes of trim that would cover any gap you have. It also has the advantage of keeping wind/rain from coming up under the roofing- a nice feature when driving down the road!

    • We ordered the gable trims after the original roofing but before we noticed our little problem, so I really hope they turn out to be wide enough to cover it! Good luck with your Tarleton!

  6. Once upon a time, I was a little girl who dreamed of living out of a gypsy wagon. This may have been influenced by a wonderful free spirit, who lived in a named houseboat and played guitar. He was so happy and free, and as a friend, I knew that part of this came from sailing around in a small vessel and parking it wherever he chose to. “i can go wherever i want, whenever i want.” he told me with a smile. he made beach glass objects and sold them for fun and profit, and to me, that was the life!

    As life moved on, and my interests grew, this dream was replaced by what i thought was a more mature dream, owning a large, spacious home. I dreamed of a home large enough for when my family visited, i could house them for the night. I dreamed of libraries to house all of the books that i would read, walk in closets for an arsenal of clothing, art studios with the space to create enormous projects, and mother in law suites, so i could care for my mother when she became an old woman, and of vaulted ceilings and celebrity style kitchens, with refrigerators to match, and i wanted to build it. all of it. every last square foot. In short, i had an idea that the bigger and more complex that the house was, the happier that i would be to live in it.

    The dream bubble burst when I turned 21, when I took a second job as a maid with a military style cleaning service to make ends meet. Each day, I drove to distant places and cleaned homes that were not unlike my previous dream home. I scrubbed yards of floors and miles of tiles. I climbed ladders to reach 3rd story windows and scrubbed urine off of strangers toilet seats. many of these houses were “blessed” with more bathrooms than children. Some of them had owners who just needed our help to keep up with the cleaning. Their dream homes started to look like hulking nightmares. i felt like if i had lived in such an enormous space with huge cleaning bills, i would be living in a prison.

    When i left the position, the first thing on my mind was “i want to live in a studio apartment, where i can clean the entire place in just a few minutes, instead of an entire afternoon.” i distinctly remember telling this to my friends who could not even imagine living within such a small space. but i felt the old feelings come back this holiday break after i saw a news segment on Tumbleweed homes. When i read and saw the progress on your Little Yellow Door, I was happy to see that you were succeeding. You only have room for what is the most important to you, and most people’s lives, it is not clothing. i have remembered this when i decided to stop collecting and start utilizing. If I only have what i need, chances are, that i will keep only the things in which i love the best.

    My goal is to be able to fit almost everything that i own in a suitcase, so i can focus on what is truly important to me. if i want an army of books, i will go to the library. if i want a family vacation, i will go visit them. As for the studio space, ill rent one with the proper equipment. Instead of the pursuit of an enormous home to inflate my sense of self worth, i want to own a small space which can be the dream home of my childhood: a small cozy place that can travel with me.

  7. Ella-
    While the walls are still open you might consider a 12volt dc rv battery system like a camper has, water heater, heater, fridge and sink (plus they are wee-sized ) can run off either dc or ac (as well as propane for heaters and fridge.) You also install a converter that senses and adjusts to whether you have ac and if not, draws from rv battery. A 12volt water pump and small water tank would take the place of city water if none available. This will give you flexability on the road. All the components are available at a place thats sells trailers and popup campers. I studied our popup camper front to back and then duplicated it in our cabin. If I can do it, you can do it . We have many power outages. Oh also want an easy warm outdoor shower? Look into an Eccotemp L-5 propane water heater–runs off city or 12v water pump pressure and 20lb grill tank. Many horse people also use them. Dometic, Suburban, Atwood are all manu’s of wee sized rv multi-fuel appliances. See PPL website.

  8. I AM a mother, with daughters your age, and as a mother :^) I must tell you how concerned I am that you are considering heating your home with your gas oven. In the 60’s and 70’s, people with older cab over truck campers would sometimes heat their campers with their ovens with tragic results! As a child,I remember when a whole family sucumbed to CO2 poisoning. When there is a power outage in the near by city, we still have families who take their hibachi’s inside, to heat their home, and die of CO2 poisoning.

    If you want to use a portable electric, that is fine. If you use a gas heater that is vented to the outside(sailboats have lovely ones that look like little wall mounted fireplaces), that works too. My husband was able to find a furnace from a wrecked trailer home that warmed our camper wonderfully well. So there are other safer options! I just have been thinking about your darling home, and hoping that you could enjoy it for many years, and want you safe!

  9. Fabulous results. Great foresight. With the evolution of “Drive – thru women” owning no particular skills other than ward robe artisans you are refreshing. I find myself subliminally (?) sharing this type of individuality with my sons. The world needs more people like you.

  10. Hey Ella!
    I was just wondering what the dimensions of your “pink” room and bathroom are?
    p.s. I LOVE your tiny house. Best one I’ve come across so far 🙂

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