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

Track Progress

Tracking Progress

During July 2019 I thought it would be a prudent idea to begin keeping track of my day-to-day progress on the house, only a brief sentence or two, so I would have some record of where all my time went! I haven’t always been overly diligent at producing these notes, so with the assistance of photographs and a poorly kept diary, I have strived to fill in most of the blanks.

Naturally, it’s pretty dry stuff, and unless you’re a KEEN BEAN, you probably don’t fancy starting from the beginning of time. That said, if you do, I’d suggest clicking here to take you right down to start, and scrolling your way back up. Though maybe make yourself a pot of tea, and grab yourself a patty cake or two, first. To those passing through with polite interest, pick you preferred month for a taste of a Tiny House builder’s life, (I know, what a thrill). Otherwise, simply take a wee scroll down memory lane. heh heh. (No you’re right, that was dreadful.) 

[26/2] Continued work on the bathroom shelf unit and made some design choices that I am excited about. Oiled shelves and sides. Ran out of wooden nails, so a forced pause on this one until I get my hands on some more.

[24/2] Successfully cut the final set of brackets, though a more complicated design, so a bit trickier to cut with the jigsaw. They will require a fair bit of extra whittling to get them to a shape I am happy with.

[23/2] Continued whittling of the second brackets, cut a third set but wasn’t pleased with them.

[22/2]  Whittled the brackets to soften the cut edge and to give them some character. Connected the bottom shelf to the brackets and sides using wooden nails. Cut a second pair of brackets for the next shelf.

[21/2] Began building a shelf unit for the bathroom window using the French Oak. Cut and dressed first shelf and two sides and using a jigsaw, cut a pair of brackets from some spare Merbau.

[19/2] Had been given some aged French Oak to use should I wish- a bit warped and split in places, but definitely will sharpen up into some very nice timber. Made a rough jig to cut a straight edge on the planks and used an electric plane to try level it out. Worked pretty well considering, and it has revealed itself to be quite a lovely looking timber.

[18/2] Borrowed a better dowel jig and progress was greatly improved! Finished the door, structurally, after fixing up some shoddy dowel work from the previous day and now all it will need is some finishing; oiling, handle & hinges etc.

[17/2] Decided to have a go at building a pantry door out of some spare WRC, so roughed together a design on Sketch Up. Wished to use dowels for the joinery, as I haven’t had much experience with dowels yet. Had issues with my own dowel jig and keep the bit straight so not the best results and it was very slow going.

[16/2] Decided to cut the pantry down by 100mm, so dismantled and trimmed the width and reassembled per new design. Gathered together some ideas for the pantry door.

[15/2] Finished off my stool and decided to build a second, to sit on top, to add a higher reach. Probably not the best or most lightweight of designs but it shall do the job to begin with at least.

[14/2] Due to the height of the pantry I decided it would be good to have an easily accessible stool to reach the higher shelves. I put together a design on Sketch Up and then cut and built it in the afternoon.

[13/2] Ripped ply sheet for pantry and mocked up design in place. Put together design ideas on Sketch Up.

[9/2] Cut and temporarily attached front panelling to fridge counter.

[4/2] Reassembled fridge counter and propped in place.

[2/2] Reassembled sink counter and popped it in it’s rough place within the house. Also refit the Sea Chest together and marked out wardrobe space.

[29/1] Made a jig to cut thin strips of Western Red Cedar for trimming of the plywood edges. Stained and attached finishing pieces for couch.

[28/1] Chalked up along the walls, the rough electrical plan for the house- marking in power points and plumbing.

[27/1] Worked on finishing up windows cleaning the panes of glass, plugging screw holes, re-oiling jambs in places of wear.

[26/1] Cut and dressed remaining window trim pieces.

[23/1] Cut and attached trim for double casement window

[22/1] Cut trim for front door, sanded and stained the pieces and left to dry.

[18/1] Removed the remainder of the paint from the putty. It doesn’t look brilliant, and yes, I wish I hadn’t painted it in the first place, but it’s at least better than yesterday. Recut the trim pieces, without mitred corners and am happy with the results. Countersunk the screws and plan to plug the holes with dowel.

[17/1] Painted the putty of the desk window sash- first with an undercoat and secondly with exterior water based paint. DID NOT like the results, just terrible- looks shiny and amateurish. Couldn’t stand it so I started to scrape it off. It was that bad. Had to remove the dried layer of putty, which probably isn’t the best but…

[16/1] Attempted the first exterior trim for the windows. Cut my three pieces of WRC with mitred corners using the table saw. Less than great results.

[14/1] The windows had been taped for journey with masking tape. You know how masking tape is never sticky? Well, not this stuff. It left sticky residue all over the glass, but worse removed some small chunks of putty. Less than impressed, spent the afternoon cleaning it off.

[13/1] Took house into town to have it weighed. My predication was 2.6 tonne, but happily I had overestimated, weighing in at 2.4.

[12/1] Arrive at new worksite without any dramas at all! Such an incredible relief after too much worry.

[11/1] Time to say goodbye to the original worksite, as the house is squeezed past the eaves and hits the road for the first time.

[10/1] Installed that last piece of CGI, and ran a few last screws through the interior frame. Evaluated the site, and locked in plans for the Tiny House move, occurring the following day.

[7/1] The double casement window still was missing a piece to seal up the join where the two sashes meet, so I cut and attached a piece of trim with the table saw. Turned out rather well, and hopefully will do the job.

CHRISTMAS BREAK!

[21/12] Finished up the last few tricky screws for the CGI.

[19/12] Installed the flashing and skylight for the lounge. Also installed the edging trim along the four corners of the house- quick work! And, because clearly it was a productive day, the fascia- which means that exterior is almost complete!

[18/12] Installed the first skylight with flashing- a perfect fit!

[12/12] Worked on desk window, cutting and installing stops and testing out weather stripping solution. Despite the casement stays, it seemed a good idea to install a small pin bolt lock in the top corner or the casement windows, to ensure the seal of the window whilst travelling, so messed around with this. Installed bathroom window stops.

[9/12] Placed order for skylight flashing, fascia and edging.

[07/12] Fixed down the roof and side walls with their four rows of screws. 

[06/12] Worked out the details for the corner edging, skylight flashing and fascia. Put together order using Stratco’s Flashing Designer Tool.

[04/12] Cut and installed all the sheets of CGI on the roof- easier to fix down than the walls. Had initially had trouble finding long enough screws to pass through the external insulation but we tracked some down and they worked wonders. 

[27 – 29/11] Three days of CGI installation- back wall complete, front wall complete and two sides started. 

[25/11] Commenced installation of CGI along the short wall- all sheets up, though didn’t complete the three row of screws. Quick results, very satisfying, only fiddly part is cutting the window openings. 

Lock Up!

[21 – 22/11] Worked on installing the lock body and handle. Success, if maybe not the neatest of installations! Installed door stop around jamb. CGI was delivered.

[20/11] Cut the remaining sheet of Cavity Battens. Calculated how quantities and lengths of CGI required to clad exterior. Placed order with Stratco. 

[14/11] Began folding of aluminium head flashing, and installation of rubber back silver flashing around window openings. Worked on the two windows along the front wall, plus door. Also installed Accoya trim to the Skylight boxes, plus rubber flashing. 

[13/11] Installed last two sills. Nutted out window head flashing plan, plus design for exterior casing. 

[11/11] Installed the last window- the double casement. Re-hung the bathroom sash.

[09/11] Installed the desk jamb for good and test fit Lounge window stops. Filled incorrect hinge holes for the bathroom window, after we discovered the sill had been installed too high and sash was no longer closing. 

[06/11] Purchased front door mortise lock body, plus euro cylinder, handle set and two casement stays. 

[05/11] Installed the lounge window for good, with the exception of the sill. Test fit the double casement with decent results. 

[03 – 04/11] Made a jig for cutting the strips of cavity battens. Very effective, cut down the two 2.4m sheets into 70mm widths in no time. 

[30/10] Spent the day installing the front door once and for all. Installed sill pan and flashing, hung the door, shimmed the jamb so it closed with an even gap and finally installed the jamb.

[29/10] Folded sill pan for the door and installed the house wrap along the front and back wall. 

[27/10] After its earlier coat of primer, I decided to paint the door jamb and threshold with Colorbond Terrain. The fascia and guttering will likely be in coated in this colour.

[22/10] Folded our own sill pans using 7mm aluminium flashing, and used plastic wedges to create angle.

Test fit of Front Door

What with the mortising of the door hinges, the installation of the bathroom window and the assurance that my beast of a door will hold itself strong and proud in its door jamb, this week was rather enjoyable. Thanks to the success of our flashing plan, our next step is to see the final installation of the remaining windows! 

[18/10] Successfully installed the front door, which was an immense relief! Gap around door is even and it opens and closes with ease, well as much ease that can be achieved without a door handle. Does not sag!

[15/10] Door jamb pieces cut to size and test fit together. Hinge mortises chiselled from jamb.

[14/10] With the front door to be hung soon, the three hinge mortises had to be chiselled out of the slab.

Final lime wash of Sea Chest & clear coat of oil

Ordered and received two hand-forged pulls for set of drawers- very pleased with them! Installed them both and decided to order another two for the bottom larger drawer. 

[11 – 12/10] Installed the bathroom casement window for out test fit using shims and packers. Turned out really well, the window hangs almost perfectly and the quality of the hinges is apparent. Also test fit an awning window to ensure the process will be similar – appears so! 

Ordered and received my Bushman refrigerator for the kitchen as I wished to design the counter system with access to the real deal to ensure the dimensions would allow for it to work in ‘real life’.  Spent an entire day designing the counter on Sketch Up because after designing a drawer system, concluded it wouldn’t be the best use of space and could prove tricky to build, spent a fair amount of time trying to find a better solution. 

[08/10] Cut the pieces for the fridge and built the main shell of the counter, the space which will hold the fridge. Ran out of screws so final bracing was put on hold. 

[06/10] Paid a visit to Bunnings to pick up more Ply. 

I confess I have been remiss in updating the timeline for over a fortnight now and somehow we’re suddenly into the second week of October. My drive and mood had dropped over the past few weeks, and at such times, the last thing I wish to do is reflect. Happily, this week has been an improvement, and I am feeling back on track. I deem the slump was due to a decline in productivity as uncertainty and issues arose around the cladding of the house.  After much conversation and some frustration last week we managed to get the exterior insulation on the roof, and things began ticking away again. Fingers crossed this snowballs into a flurry of action.

[02/10] Cut and Installed Foilboard on the roof and front end wall. Installed flashing along wall where the front wall meets the roof. 

[20/09 – 21/09] Checked out flashing options at Stratco and ordered Foilboard.

Interior- Locked in Sketch Up designs

[17/09 – 18/09] Designed bathroom door on Sketch Up and made costing- regrettably likely cheaper to buy then make, which is no fun. Locked in dimensions for sliding door track and therefore could continue throughout house confiming design dimensions for wardrobe, the utilities space and kitchen counters. Decided on sink. Tested wardrobe height

[14/09] Took the first window to work site and tested it within the frame. Discussed Foilboard, house wrap and flashing-  need to confirm some details before we can proceed. Researched available products and collected notes.

[11/09] Closed up the house for good with the front wall ply bracing, ran out of screws so couldn’t complete entirely but it certainly looks the part now.

[10/09] Cut front wall steel K braces and plybrace sheets to size.

[09/09] Spent the day detailing the plan of attack for the remainder of the year and December move. Ordered some sample paint from Dulux for the door jamb and interior walling,

[04/09] Continued fixing down the ply along every vertical stud, screws every 150mm. Fixed final steel K bracing to end walls. Forgot to insulate unreachable areas so will need to remedy that with the next session. Tarped the house, rain expected.

Recent days have been spent finishing off the frame with many, many, many fasteners. And what’s more, as the roof and then the walls begin to be clad with Plybrace, one can finally get a feel for the tiny space in the world which will soon be my very own. It’s all rather exciting now!

[03/09] Began fixing plybrace to the frame commencing with the roof, followed by the back wall. Had to insulate areas that we would no longer be able to access- just small pockets where the roof meets the walls. Purchased a pack of Earthwool batts to do so, very soft!

[02/09] Purchased myself some Osmo UV Protection Oil, sanded the door back down to 120 and oiled the exterior side. Happier with the colour than I expected. 

Fastened the frame together once and for all

It’s been a very long time coming but with the conclusion of this week I have myself a very solid, very wonderful frame! That’s right the steel frame has been assembled once and for all. This is a huge step and to finally see the space that one day will be my home is really something. I am truly very excited.

[29/08] Finished fastening the walls and roof together, including missing roof section. Measured and cut additional steel bracing pieces.

[26/08] Finally tested the sample of Osmo UV Oil on some Accoya, rather yellow but I think I am warming up to it. Measured, marked and cut most of the plybrace for the back wall, two ends and roof. 

[24/08] After little success finding any appropriate trim at Bunnings, decided to paint the ply edges of the couch a dark brown and it actually looks pretty decent.

[23/08] Really am interested in having two tones of CGI so sussed out the options at Stratco. I am interested in Colorbond’s Terrain, though they didn’t have any samples of the actual product. Visited an RV store and browsed the fridge/freezer section. 

[21/08- 22/08] Frame Assembly Days 3 and 4. Fitted all the remaining sections of the frame together bar one final piece of roof. Had to re-tarp so finished a bit earlier than usual. Felt really good to be standing in the enclosed space- pretty spacious, but I am sure that will change with the installation of the cladding.

[19/08] Mind mapped every single aspect remaining of the house (that I could think of) and listed all the questions  that need answers. 

STARTED FRAME ASSEMBLY

[17/08- 18/08] Drilled holes for the connection points, fitted the frame pieces and connected three pieces of frame- starting from the bathroom end. Tarped- rain predicted!

[16/08] Hired a courtesy trailer to collect all the sheets of Plybrace required to clad to entire exterior, (the largest sheets measuring at 2.7, hence the hire trailer).

[14/08] Cleaned the trailer bed, sealed it up, fitted insulation and fixed down plywood subfloor. 

[13/08] Made some calls and emails to people who can provide in the blanks of my knowledge: staining, coating and details about refrigeration.

Of late I have been learning the importance of juggling orders and deliveries to ensure you have the materials at hand when you’re ready for them, but not so early that they clog up the shed. The rain has in part slowed our progress down, but it looks like next week should be better. Ordered, collected and received deliveries for the subfloor plywood and insulation and spent a couple of days measuring and cutting these to size, ready for installation when the weather clears!

[08/08 – 09/08] Measured and cut 5 sheets of EPS for subfloor insulation. Set up the panels on the saw horses, propped up with bricks then ran a length of steel below and above the sheet which I clamped together. I then used my Japanese saw, the only one which didn’t have a spine that would get in the way, and cut along the steel. Very neat, square cuts. Ordered one VERY LARGE tarp.

[07/08] Needed to learn more about the kind of lock situation I would need to install for my door- a lot of options no conclusions drawn. Ordered and accepted order of subfloor insulation- speedy turnaround!

[06/08] Received order of single marine ply sheet and set about measuring and cutting the pieces to size using Circular Saw, as per Sketch Up drawing. Took most of the day, due to the awkward size (and weight) of the sheets- cumbersome for one person.

[05/08] Purchased five sheets of 2400 x 1200 ply needed to cover the trailer bed to create the subfloor. This doesn’t include the bathroom which we will line with a sheet of marine ply.

[28/07] Had a few missing pieces to attend to for the roof frame. Also cut down a large branch which will soon be in the way of the assembled house. 

Spent the week sanding and staining all the window jambs, about 50 pieces. Thank goodness that’s done, though I should note that was only the first coat! If they eventually dry in this winter weather I shall get onto the 2nd soon. The roof pieces have all been assembled and we fixed up any errors we had previously made, surprisingly not many! We will be needing the subfloor insulation any time now so that was a priority research-wise. 

Fixed together all three roof sections. A super productive day, & now that's it. All thirteen frame sections pretty much complete. 

[23/07] Had to re-measure and re-cut the double casement window after having previously cut the vertical lengths too short so I finally got around to cutting the new pieces. I also measured and cut all the interior window stops. 

[19/07] Spent the entire day marking, cutting and ‘nibbling’ all the pieces for the frame of the roof. 

[16/07 – 18/07] So winter is not the best time for staining, the drying time is so much longer.

[11/07] FINALLY finished my blog rebuild! Maybe not completely perfect, but definitely ready for launch!

[10/07] Our efficiency is increasing with every piece! Finished the only interior wall in about 3 hours.

[02/07] Today we built the final exterior wall! 

Life’s been a bit all over the place of late!
June began with twelve days in NSW for a most brilliant break, but upon return, I was ill for the following week. Belatedly we managed to squeeze in a couple of days work on the frame, but then abruptly it was my BIRTHDAY! Two days later, I was off to TASMANIA for a family reunion; regrettably only for a couple of days because I absolutely love it there. But now, finally, it is time to get back into things properly, and I am KEEN to get busy! Oh and you may have noticed that I have made some changes and additions to my blog, (this timeline being one of them), so please take a look around and let me know what you think!

BIRTHDAY BREAK!

EXTERIOR

FRAME
WINDOWS
FRONT DOOR

INTERIOR

COUCH
MURPHY BED

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