Designing and Building a Tiny House, and Everything In Between. 

Ribbons, Sails 

& Dandelion Fluff

May 2020 –

Building a Shelter

Steel Frames & Cladding

Apr 20 – Jul 19

Doors & Windows

The Beginnings of a ‘Tiny’ Project

Apr 19 – Aug 17

Succulents & Raspberries;

A First Foray into Gardening.

Oct 17 – Apr 15

Wednesday afternoon, 5th June

It’s completely cliché, but books, film and music are my favourite things in the WORLD. (I mean, family and food are great, but that’s somewhat a given). It is this trio that have fed my imagination and creativity for as long as I can remember, not to mention, offering refuge from a world that can be somewhat mediocre at times. Nearly everything I make is influenced, even if imperceptibly, by a favourite book or film, and the building and making are almost always powered by music. Illustration is one of the offshoots from these loves, and it is this that has sparked my most recent project.

I think my sister introduced me to Natalie Andrewson’s work about a year or so ago, and for this I am most appreciative because I just love, love, love so much of her work. Her illustrations remind me of the movies and stories that filled my childhood, (and adulthood), and consequently, I never weary of them. (I suspect we share similar tastes, for Natalie has created illustrations inspired by Harry Potter, has produced as entire graphic novel of The Nutcracker, once commented that she was listening to the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film soundtrack whilst working, and if her Spotify playlist is anything to judge by, enjoys Hayao Miyazaki, The Last Jedi and LOTR. All I can say, A KINDRED SPIRIT!) As I am sure you have guessed by now, the print featured in today’s post is by the great artist herself; bringing us, in a very roundabout way, to the fuse box excitingly installed by my electrician last week! (Bear with me, all will make sense in a moment.)

Yes! I now have a working fuse box (and power in that power point you can see below!), though its placement is rather front and centre, pretty much the first thing you look at when you enter through the front door. This raised the question of how I wanted to conceal this rather ordinary white box? Due to it’s position, I figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to build around it something of a stop-and-drop space, a little unit with dividers and hooks. A spot where I could place the things I use every day i.e.; phone, drink bottle, wallet etc and the circuit breakers could be accessed through a small timber door. Yet when it came to the making of the piece, I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the idea of building another hinged door. I was in the mood to continue with a little more window work, after the success of my last project. It was then that I had the superior idea of replacing the unexceptional timber door, with a sliding pane of acrylic, a frame for a piece of art! Happily, I had the perfect picture for the job, ‘Summer Dragon’ by Natalie Andrewson. Now it is this beautiful Risograph print that greets you as you enter my wee home.

 

The build of the little wall unit was pretty breezy. I had some dressed 7mm WRC which I had been saving for something special, and so these lengths I used for the horizontals, and I’ve plenty of offcuts from the windows, making up the verticals. The panes of acrylic for the door and side openings were offcuts from the interior window, installed into small channels, cut using the table saw. As a result, the unit it is exceptionally light weight. (And, if you are wondering, that masking tape works a charm for holding pieces together as you’re waiting for glue to dry.)

As typical it’s not quite complete, but since taking the above photos, I’ve given it a sand and a rub of oil.  I am super pleased with this piece, but honestly, that is 95% thanks to the brilliant Risograph print. 

Saturday Afternoon, 25th October 2020 

The most recent addition this week was one of those uncommon but brilliant projects that are small in effort but big in reward! The idea was to take advantage of the skylight just outside the entrance by installing an interior window above the door way to allow in a little extra daylight into the bathroom. As I didn’t want to fuss around with cutting glass to this unconventional shape, I bought myself a sheet of acrylic and cut it to size with my jigsaw.  I used Western Red Cedar for the frame so it matches my exterior windows and installed the pane by channelling a groove along the four edges. Easy peasy! Almost suspiciously so.

Saturday Afternoon, 10th October 2020 

Since the beginning of September, I have been, (slightly impatiently,) awaiting the arrival of an order of 7mm plywood; the cladding for the ceiling and walls of my home. As the hold-up has prevented any substantial progress, I have found myself with no excuse but to commence some of the ‘finishing’ work on the pieces I have built this year.  Sanding, gluing, staining, etc. All my favourite things. -_- However, as I raided my offcuts for suitable pieces for edging/moulding, I discovered half a sheet of 7mm ply in my stock, giving me the idea that I could have a go at cladding the small skylight. Much more exciting. 

Using leftover Foilboard, I insulated the supporting steel boxes, of both skylights, and attached the strips of cladding with tek screws- fun, fun, fun! (Though I suspect the ceiling is going to be anything but).  Despite not having enough plywood to finish even this small task, it did give me a taste of the next step, a glimpse of the transformation the house is soon to face! (Hopefully!!) The exercise also decided how I will hide the screw heads and ply sheet joins. Win! 

In the below photos you can see me playing around with some ideas for the moulding, (nothing too fancy as I am limited to the table saw). I’ve narrowed it down to two similar-but-slightly-different designs, but once all has been painted I am hoping either will look pretty neat! Opinions welcome!

Tuesday Afternoon, 22nd September 2020 

Though I frequently post incomplete pieces on here, this one is particularly rough. Essentially, it’s a mock-up of a mock-up, but one I am most excited about. It is also one of the final pieces of the puzzle. Finally, I have made a start on the Dining Table.

This has been left to last for a couple of reasons, but the biggest problem I had was I didn’t believe I had much space for one. I had been picturing a table, which would double as my desk, that would have to pack down to fit at the end of the Murphy bed, a space only 100mm wide. It was going to have to be a darn slim table, only functional when it had been unfolded. Not ideal, but better than nothing. It was only last week that I realised I had a rather perfect sized gap between the couch and the kitchen counter. A space I hadn’t considered, with the exception that if I was going to need a fan or a heater it could sit there out of the way. It didn’t take long to decide that would not be the best use of this spot.

I had always been keen on the Ikea NORDEN Gateleg table but it’s rather chunky, and even now wouldn’t fit, but now that I had a bit more space, there was no reason I couldn’t build my own. With a bit of research, I found two DIY gateleg tables with instructions, the first a sewing table using pocket holes and scrap wood, the other a handsomely crafted piece of furniture with drawbored mortise and tenon joinery. Opposite ends of the spectrum, both time wise and expense wise. Knowing I would have to make adjustments to suit my own scale, yet uncertain on the exact dimensions, I decided I would start with the first design, made from pine and ply. This would be relatively speedy and allow for mistakes and change of mind, and will be the table that I can road test. Once I am happy that it will comfortably seat five, function as both a desk and dining table, prove to be easy to move around and use, and free from any other issues, I shall invest my time into building the final piece with nice timber and slick joinery, as per the second method. A sensible plan! More excitingly, it means I get to pretend to have a dining table so much sooner, which is what this afternoon was all about. 

Yesterday I cut the pieces for the centre base and the first gateleg, and this afternoon I assembled the sections and had a play. I don’t currently have any plywood pieces large enough for the tabletop, but I found an offcut that was almost the right size, at least big enough to give a good indication of what the table could be. I also didn’t have enough hinges, hence the single gateleg for now. Despite it’s humble state I was quickly using it as a desk even though the table top was only sitting in place- a promising start! You may have to use your imagination a little, but these photos capture the general construction of the piece.