It’s seems like the holidays have served as an encouraging push for us to get to work on the tiny house! Sounds like the same old song as 2015, eh? Well, last year we were really waiting around for our builders to get to work. But, this year, in attempt an to correct the issues with the house that made it temporarily unlivable, we have set out with various contractors and our own bare hands to make this tiny house a home once again.
Progress is moving along nicely and we will hopefully be back in our tiny abode by Christmas. Check out what we have been up to:
Jared has wanted to take the wheels off the house for a while, but we finally agreed to keep them on and just get wheel covers. This meant Jared was determined to get the house level once and for all (or at least until we move). He bought several new stands to give the trailer a bit more stability and he and Tim leveled everything a few weekends ago.
- We had already poured cement and leveled concrete blocks under each corner of the trailer.
- We rented two 20-ton bottle jacks from Sunbelt Rentals to assist our trailer jack in the leveling.
- We used 4 Powerzone 6-Ton jack stands on each corner of the trailer with 2 Powerzone 3-Ton jack stands in the middle for stability.
- We placed 6 aluminum Camco Stack Jacks at different points under the trailer to eliminate some of the shake and for peace of mind.
- We had never used any of the “pads” before, so we just ordered a few different kinds! The best (but also most expensive) were the Camco Flex Pads. They are flexible but durable. For less flex, go with the yellow Camco stabilizer jack pads. When you stack them, they lock into each other also, which is nice.
- Staining and sealing the outside
We received our house in mid-December 2015, so less than a year later and we were less than pleased to see that that the original stain was almost completely worn off. And the lumber was starting to show signs of weathering.
So we found a trusted painter who had done work for Jared’s family in the past and paid $500 to have the outside re-stained and sealed with an outdoor sealant that should last much longer than the original stain. We were very pleased with the outcome:
Before and After the stain and seal-
- Sealing the Shower
A few weeks ago we realized we had to clear out all the old water from our water tank since we hadn’t been living in the house. The water was definitely old and smelled awful. Jared tested the water to be sure, but the result was we had to drain and bleach the tank before refilling it.
We turned on all the faucets to speed up the draining process, including the shower. This was when we found something sadly not unexpected given the quality of work we have come to know from our original builders- the shower was leaking. The original sealant was completely gone after only 5 months of use (remember it took us a while to get full use of the shower) and water was leaking through the walls and out the bottom of the trailer.
Jared did some research into what kind of finish we needed in a shower to prevent those kind of leaks and found that we would need some heavy duty Marine varnish, like the kind that go on boat docks! So he went to Rockler Woodworking and Hardware in Arlington to get the right stuff- they were very helpful and Jared has put on nearly 6 coats of this stuff. We should be good to go for quite some time!
- Rent to Own Porch
Last spring while driving from the tiny house to the lake house, we passed a small company in Cresson that advertised small, portable porches and buildings. We figured when the time was right, this would be a good idea for us to look into.
Turns out after all the rain we had last spring, we realized just how crucial it is to have a little roof over your head when you are locking and unlocking the front door. And when the weather is nice in Texas we both fantasized about having a drink on a nice, small porch.
So when Jared called the company in Cresson- Derksen’s Portable Buildings– we were beyond excited to learn that they had rent to buy options (especially great for us in case we move and can’t take the porch with us) and would deliver and set up the porch we want at no additional cost! Game on.
Jared removed the virtually useless canopy our original builders installed and we signed on with Derksen for a rent to buy 6’x8′ porch with a roof and stairs. A very nice Mennonite man and his son delivered and leveled the porch about a week later for about $50/month on a 2 year lease. The quality of the porch is fantastic and the stain on the wood almost matches our house perfectly. We couldn’t be more excited about the added outdoor square footage. We even just went on Thanksgiving morning to enjoy a good cup of coffee on the porch 🙂
- Custom storage
Finally we spent some time rethinking storage throughout the house. We have paired down even more kitchen items we found we didn’t really use in our first 6 months living in the house and invested in some great storage units- especially Elfa from the Container Store and some select pieces from World Market and Uncommon Goods.
We placed Elfa cabinet drawers in kitchen cabinets, under the sink, and under the stairs. And brought in Lazy Susans to help with the corner storage space we have in the kitchen.
We reconfigured our mattress in the loft to make room for this little nightstand from World Market.
And finally we removed our larger, 4 slot toaster and moved to a 2 slot as well as caving into a coffee maker- albeit a very tiny one! As much as we love our French Press, it does take a lot longer to get to the precious coffee you crave in the mornings.
A few more steps before we are back in the house full time- including some very important insulation work and some additional storage and built-ins on this inside. More to come on that soon!