Monthly Archives: February 2012

Siding finished…

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So I didn’t quite make it to finishing the exterior by today as I had ambitiously planned, but I did make a bunch of progress and have completely finished the siding! All around between the rafters, in the roof triangles and everywhere but just above the loft windows where I am planning something different.

One of the reasons I didn’t make the ‘Sunday get ‘er done’ goal is that I spent my entire Friday afternoon redoing the siding and window border on the hitch end of the house. This had been the first border we’d made and the first siding I put up by myself and, as learning curves often are, both were shifty at best. I’m glad I fixed it while I did, though in doing so I used up most of the normal coloured boards and was left with only dark, interesting sort of ones for the triangles. It makes the top colour pretty different from the bottom, but I’ve decided it adds character.

Another reason is that I’m having trouble sourcing wood for my fascia boards. Ideally, I’d like to use redwood since we’ve used so much of it already, but I’m finding it damn near impossible to find a long length 1×6 redwood. It doesn’t help that lumber generally comes in standard lengths, like 18′ or 20′ and that my roof is of the 20′ 4″ variety. Those last 4 inches are out to get me.

I’m so pleased with today though! Somehow, I appear to have ordered the precise amount of siding we needed and despite my concerns at having bought too much, I was left with a single board by the end. Putting the last piece up on the front of the house was incredibly liberating. I’ve been hoarding little scraps of cedar from my dad’s kindling pile since the early siding stages but I’ll be happy to burn the buggers now ๐Ÿ˜€

Of painting, squint windows and getting siding between the rafters…

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In my quest to get the outside done, I have to inevitably reason with things I’ve been putting off. One of these things is painting. Painting window borders to be exact, and I have an irrational dislike for painting window borders. Generally, I try to do it in sections so as not to have too much at once, but this always happens to backfire and I end up with more and more bouts of the task.

So this time I went for it, the whole hog as they say, and finally reached the light at the end of the sticky painting tunnel. I rejoiced in my accomplishment for a few glorious moments then found out I measured the two top boards for the loft windows wrong and will have to redo them in the morning. Darn.

The day’s highlight was definitely how the bump out windows came together. I haven’t written about the issues we had with them because it was really pissing me off and I was worried that they wouldn’t look nice, but as they are lovely I feel I can face the subject.

Basically, there is a super awkward amount of space surrounding the sides of each of the three big windows. The front one in particular is tricky because it isn’t centered so very well and neither side had enough for a 2×4 border. I eventually decided (actually, I think it was my mother’s idea) to use 2x2s instead and filled the gaps with a strip of some cedar fence boards that my neighbor gave me.

They happen to be almost the perfect thickness to look nonchalant and since they’re the same wood as the siding, it’s surprisingly nice looking. In fact, I feel it’s almost as though we meant it.

A great deal of today was also spent making little pieces of siding to fit between the rafters. This part, I can imagine, would be a jolly little breeze if your house was square. If it’s like my house, it involves tweaking each side to dimensions that are very much not symmetrical and hoping that no one looks long enough to come to this realization. Things are also at a wicked angle up there for the drill motor, so most of my little crooked boards are haphazardly screwed in at laughable directions. Good thing most people aren’t 9 feet tall…

For the love of a house…

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This may be a bit of a gushy post, but I just wanted to say how much I love my house. So, I really love my house.

I’ve been out there most nights recently with the light and many layers on, listening to music play through my computer in one of those fantastically functioning outlets. I usually get in a bit of wall paneling, but sometimes I just sit there and stare at it. I think about flooring and stoves and light fixtures or where would be best to store silverware. And I am constantly amazed that through my stepdad and my efforts, we have made this colossal thing that commandeers the driveway.

It’s funny, despite all of my uncertainty surrounding the build, I’m not in the least bit concerned about actually living in such a ‘tiny’ space. Someone asked me the other day if I wasn’t a little worried about adjusting and I was surprised to find out that I’m not. At all, really. Perhaps this isn’t very smart, and perhaps it will be different when I do move in but I just can’t find anything about it that would bother me in any major way.

Maybe it’s just because it will be mine, and there’s something to be said for that. I shared a room with my sister my entire life before I left for college and even after, I wasn’t allowed to put so much as a tack into the walls of my boxy room in student halls. My third year was spent sleeping on a couch with my life shoved into a closet (occupied mostly by a water heater of epic proportion) so I just can’t wait to have my own little home. It was a great couch though; squishy and of the most atrocious purple tartan…

Or maybe it’s that I won’t have to give up the space. I moved at least once every year while in Scotland and I’m so sick of packing, finding new accommodation and leaving somewhere I became comfortable in. How beautiful that all that will change is the view from out my window.

Ok, next post will have pictures! We worked really hard today and tomorrow should be the same ๐Ÿ™‚

More plumbing, more siding and a bit of determination…

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This has been a delightful little week of progression with wall paneling, plumbing, window borders and siding having all come on a fair ways. Perhaps the most exciting happening occurred on Sunday afternoon when my neighbor got the plumbing ready enough to hook up to the hose and I watched as real live FREAKIN water came into my house!!!!

There’s nothing connected to the pipes (like a sink) or anywhere for the water to go (like a drain) so we just attached a temporary bendy tube doohicky and stuck it out the window, but it totally worked and it was totally wonderful ๐Ÿ™‚ The next step is to put in a gas line from the water heater to a propane tank and figure out my sink and shower faucets/ drains. Looks like luck put metal support bars for the trailer directly under my planned locations so the latter should be interesting.

My dad has had a chance to work on the house for the first time in over a month and we’ve been putting up siding all over the place in the last few days. I had been in a sort of building stalemate with cedar siding for a little while so I’m really grateful for the help.

Sometimes it seems like there’s so much to do that it can get procrastinatingly overwhelming. I have tendencies to start on several hundred small projects (with no particular regard for a sensible order) leaving lots of things partially done. While this is fun for my short attention span, it does little for the feeling of accomplishment that comes with actually finishing something.

But! I have become recently determined and procrastinate I shall not! I will finish the exterior of Little Yellow by this coming Sunday! I am on a mission! I am excited! I may be underestimating my time frame. Right, Sunday…

Plumbing started…

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This weekend, my neighbor began the task of running pipes through the walls. Though I worked on more wall paneling and wasn’t much at all involved, it’s a very exciting step to Little Yellow’s housedom and is making a good dent in the list of things about this project that scare the pants off me.

I don’t really know the specifics, but the procedure included an RV water entry, a water filter, a 50 ft roll of semi flexible pipe stuff called pex and a bunch of other plumbing related things that I should probably know the names of. And of course there is the most important part which is my shiny new water heater.

It a tankless model (requiring a 12v connection and propane) called an RV500 from Precision Temp. I’m still not sure how it all works but I believe the 12v DC tells the thing to start working and the propane heats the water as it runs through the pipes. It only runs when a hot tap is turned on so it is supposedly very efficient, and is considerably more compact and lighter than having a 10 gallon tank on board. A review that helped my decision can be found here: http://www.rvdoctor.com/2010/03/product-spotlight-precision-temp-rv-500.html

I looked religiously for a less expensive alternative, but most everything else I found was either not intended for moving structures or not intended for indoor use. I also researched a cheaper competitor by Girard, but heard too many negative comments to be convinced. I spoke with the company I got my heater from before buying it, and they said they had stopped carrying the Girard because of numerous complications. So, I coughed up the funds and bought my very own RV500. It looks pretty mental to me, but my neighbour seems to find it straightforward enough so hopefully it’ll get up and running soonish.

Monday brought a confused little snow storm that has been hovering around the last few days, intermittently dumping down bouts of promising flakes between constant sputters of tiny slushy bits. Basically it’s too soggy for spending extended periods of time outside, so my dad and I have been working in the big house by the fire on my window seat bench. It was finicky and used a shit ton of clamps, but it looks half way decent. I’m looking forward to the sitting part.

More siding, more wall paneling, more insulation…

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My sister and brother in law came up for a few days to help this weekend, just in time for the cold weather’s return. It’s been a while since she’s seen my house so I spent nearly all of the first day excitedly pointing at things and rambling about far distant plans of interior paint colours and kitchen cabinets (while her husband patiently worked on his car) but we did get up some siding onto the front and in by the doorway. She also did a fine job with the saw and cut up some new borders for the bump out windows which I hope to start painting soon.

First, though, we made a redwood border for around the porch overhang and spent a stupid amount of time trying to get it right. We figured we’d make them both at 45 degree angles which should meet up all nice and pretty, right? Well, in my world of carpentry, no. Just as well I’ve given up on the fantasy of a square house.

Interiorally…is that a word? Hmm. Interior wise, I spray foamed the other wheel well and am continuing on with wall paneling and insulation. It’s hard to believe that quite a few sections require only these two things before they are finished! I am just loving this inside work, it’s so gratifying and really makes things seem like you’re getting somewhere ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been knocking around the thought of putting up some form of wainscoting in the great room and finally decided to go for it. Lowes sell another kind of 1/4″ pine wall paneling with a bead down the center, so I bought a bunch and put it up vertically to just above the window line.

I’m thinking that whatever moulding I end up using to cover the seam will hang further over the vertical panels so they look a bit shorter. I’d prefer them not to be so high (41″), but where they are now puts each panel at the perfect horizontal 2×4 in the wall framing and I’d rather not have to stick another board in there. Especially as I’m having to put in an extra 2×2 for support in the middle anyway so we don’t get bendy walls. Nobody likes a bendy wall…

Small progress, more spray foam and the evolution of squirrels…

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As I appear to have recently contracted the PLAGUE, (and so has my mother) the last week has involved more couch sitting and tea drinking than house building. Not to be stifled, however, I have sniffed and sneezed my way through a few more projects nonetheless.

I got a start on the off-side cedar siding, put some new spray foam in the interior wheel well cavity and fixed a funky sliding mechanism in one of my windows thatย did more banging and stuttering than sliding.

For the record, the spray foam stuff I used first did not, and really did not go very well. Though it started promisingly enough, within a few days it proceeded to turn crumbly and disintegrated upon the slightest touch.

Luckily, I had two things on my side. 1, I waited to see how the first wheel well panned out before I sprayed the other, and 2, I didn’t move right on and close up the space before the disintegration occurred. To any who may think a brand called DAP might suffice in such a wheel well filling application, please think again.

Round two, aptly called ‘Great Stuff’ has proved to be much better. It is intended for window and door gaps, so it supposedly stays relatively flexible to accommodate expansion and contraction over time. I also bought and applied some fancy kind of caulk for the outside gap between the metal of the wells and the wood of the siding so any water will have to reckon with that before even getting to the spongy foam business.

For something completely different, the squirrels that frequent our porch rail feeder have evidently tired of the easy target and moved on to the so called ‘squirrel proof’ hanging bird feeder that resides just next to it.ย  During periods of couch sitting, my mother and I bore witness to their monumental evolutionary achievements and generally laughed our asses off. Squirrel proof? Not on this porch, buddy.