Counters and mortise locks and dish racks and coat racks and porch posts and…


Oh my. Gad zooks I’ve been a while! Things are doing very well, and I’m at the point when I can almost say my house is done πŸ™‚ It’s not, exactly, but it’s so darn close that most people probably wouldn’t know to look at it. Ideally, I would delve into each section of progress in individual posts, but life is running away with me so I hope this picture laden compilation will do.

Firstly, a bit on the kitchen. The counter is attached (with little, 4 screw angle irons), I’ve gotten all the shelves in, the sink installed and the stove set up nice on top. It’s a denatured alcohol version by Origo where one pours said fuel directly into the unit, and since it doesn’t really need to get cut into my counters to work, I decided that it was fine just as it is. I’m quite please with it actually, because now I can put it elsewhere if I need more counterspace, then bring it back again when I don’t. I could also use it outside or take it camping, or just keep it in my car so I could cook wherever I go πŸ˜€ Less likely, but it is good to have options…

The finishing of Flemming’s priceless counters was an annoying puzzlement that spanned many attempts, reattempts and re-reattempts plus that ‘this is never going to work’ feeling that can do a number on one’s perseverance. But work it did, by cracky, after much ado. Essentially, this particular wood took very poorly to water. By poorly, I mean that each time any amount of water got left on the surface for any amount of time, the grain would raise and the wood would turn white, leaving an entirely displeasing trail of bumpy ugliness.

I’m sure this all could have been quickly solved by a layer or however-many of polyurethane-type counter finish, but that would have been too easy. I hate that stuff, probably for no good reason, but I’m an advocate for easily re-doable finishes and was dead set on oiling it. Boy howdy did I oil that thing. I put over 3 pints of oil on it (butcher’s block oil, i.e. mineral oil) thinking that the waterproofness would improve when it was saturated. I was wrong of course, and no amount of oil, different oil, beeswax or anything I thought of could keep this grain from raising.

With the advice of a few clever neighbours and a slow return of some good sense on my part, I finally stopped trying to keep the grain from raising and and started trying to get it to raise. I covered the whole thing in water. I literally poured cups onto it for several days until every little piddly section was grain-raised to the max. After it dried, I sanded everything down and there you go! Simple as that. Grain raising white spots of doom? No longer an issue.Β  I then oiled it again and now my counter is ready for anything. Well, at least water.

My cats live with me in and out of Little Yellow now, and they are the most delightfully entertaining, boot chewing, and lap warming little jumping beans. They are all curled up innocent-like on my knees right now, purring their tiny hearts out.

I spent the last 2 weeks scouting somewhere to put my house up by San Francisco. I haven’t got anything definite yet, but I have a few thoughts for the short term, and I plan to move by this time next month. It’s terribly exciting. It’s also terribly terrifying, but that’s the path I chose, and if my life didn’t have a reasonable balance of the two, I doubt I’d be very happy πŸ˜€

30 responses »

  1. Your story makes me happy .
    Knowing that someday, somehow I will have my own tiny house, well that’s a good reason to wake up in the morning.

  2. Might want to be careful with the dish rack. Does it sound like a missile when water drops from the dishes? Been looking forward to another post, thought you might have done something to yourself πŸ˜€

  3. Pingback: Finishing Touches on the Little Yellow Door | Tiny House Living

  4. Wonderful, creative ideas. Love the final effect of the closet/wall unit. Do put a dish under the hand soap dispenser to protect your lovely counter. Just can’t help making drips there all the time. Gorgeous post on the porch. Beautiful work all around. I love the way you so casually “just felt like” building a drawer. Your skill base has already changed the way you look at the world. I wish you great joy in the next phase of your adventures. And a double lock on that front door. There’s a reason skeleton keys are not generally used any more, however quaint….they are really generic and easy to break into.
    Be well, be safe, and have a ball!

    • Thanks! Good idea about the dish for the soap. I know the skeleton key wasn’t the most burglar-proof of choices, but I figure if someone is going to break in, they’re probably going to get there whether or not I have an easy lock what with my 10, shiny windows!

  5. What a lovely house you are building! I laughed to read your trials with your counter, and I love the whimsey of the porch supports. And they certainly aren’t going anywhere. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  6. First of all, I love how your home reflects *you*! And it’s so well put together! It’s also really crazy to me how many of your choices are just about xactly what I’ve been putting together, lol – like a lovely preview of what my place could look kind of like.

    Where did you get that door knob/plate? Also, how did you make the copper angles?

    Good job, and congratulation!


    • The knobs came from an awesome antique store in LA and the plates I got off ebay. It’s kind of crazy, because the look like they belong together. True door love! The angles were standard 1/2″ copper pie, cut to length, squished in a vice, drilled, then bent to 90 degrees πŸ˜€

  7. LOVE your dish rack idea. I might have to steal that. So jealous of all your wonderful cabinets/shelves. Hoping to get our tiny house “finished” this year (4 years in), so this is an inspiring post! Great job with the copper angles.

  8. I’ve been following your progress of little yellow from the beginning. You’ve done an awesome job! I am in Canada but I lived in Berkeley for a number of years, and I may be able to connect you with some people there if you wish. Will you be looking for work as well? These connections may have job opportunities as well.

  9. Hey, Ella! I’ve been quietly following your progress for months and I’m so excited for you!! Your house looks amazing and your kittens are adorable. Best of luck with the move! I live 30 mi. east of San Francisco and it is a great place to be. πŸ™‚ Thanks for all the inspiration. I’m still in the planning and saving phase but I’ll get there someday.

  10. All coming together brilliantly. I look forward to a photo of the harp in situ.
    Good you have a cat. With a special harness you could spin it to find out the spatial adequacy of your little house.
    I would actually be interested to see where it is eventually put. My guess is that for a tiny house having congenial outdoor space would be of utmost importance. A nice view, a good tree for shade and fruit, a barbeque and pizza oven?

    • oops it just occurred to me that spinning cats may not be a system of measurement in the USA. Sorry.
      Will you still wear your tool belt as a fashion accessory after you finish?

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