Monday, November 12, 2012

My Trailer

I drove 40 miles northwest of Dallas on Friday and had my first real meeting with James, who owns a steel erection company, about the trailer my house will be built on.  (If you followed the blog I used to write about my 1929 Tudor house, then you will recognize James as the same guy who built and installed the back steps and canopy on my house.)  He does amazing work, and he has volunteered to custom build my trailer for me.  Walking through his shop is always an eye-opener for me.  Just the sheer size of the place is jaw dropping - it's enormous.  I wish I had snapped a few photographs.  Next time...

Before the meeting I had emailed to him the trailer specs for the Tumbleweed Epu and also The Lusby.  I also sent him a few links to companies who sell the recommended trailer, as well as some color photos of the houses.

He is going to build the trailer from scratch, as opposed to retrofitting an existing trailer.

The first thing he pointed out is that in photos, the house doesn't extend out sideways to cover the wheels.  He think we should extend it out on each side and gain some space.  He says it will maneuver the same, but my visibility when towing it will be slightly reduced.  I don't know yet if I need or want additional space, but it's nice to have the option.  It could be great space for some inset shelving in the walls.  I really want space in my kitchen for Mason jar shelving for my pantry items, and also some inset shelving in the bathroom.  Okay, maybe I want inset shelving everywhere... LOL

I reminded him that weight is a consideration, and that I don't want to be heavier than necessary.  He agreed that he does tend to build heavy.  I laughed and said, "I sort of figured you did - in the same way that Tom hangs things on the walls in my house that would withstand an earthquake... "  He said he would be mindful of that...

So the next step is mine - I need to figure out what length and width I want the trailer to be.  He strongly suggests that that I tape off the dimensions on the floor somewhere - my car port, our conference room at work, somewhere -- and walk it, and get a feel for it.  I've always planned on purchasing floor plans from Tumbleweed, so it may be time to do that.  I will still need to change them up, but I think I need their base plans to start from.  I know a couple of architects that have expressed interest in this project, but I haven't actually asked any of them to put pencil to paper.  James says that once he begins fabrication the width of the trailer will be set, but that he can adjust length as the project progresses.

We also discussed floor insulation.  From the construction videos I have watched of others building their tiny houses, it looks as though the insulation is typically on top of the trailer bed, and under the floor.  James says he can construct it so that the insulation is under the trailer bed, thereby giving me a few extra inches of interior space.  I don't know yet if I need that space for wiring, etc and if losing it would be a problem or not, so I'll need to research that.

I am going to get online and look around for trailer design discussions from fellow tiny house builders and see if there are any "lessons learned" postings.  I know I'll want to add some custom widget-y things to mine as plans clarify....  

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