Monday, March 11, 2013

A Place for Construction!!

I'm having to back track to catch you up. I actually wrote this on March 7th, but I just couldn't get it into post-able form. 

* * *
The workshop I attended was put on by Jay Shafer of Four Lights Tiny House Company.  One of Jay's sidekicks in the workshop was Daniel Bell, who is a high school construction teacher at Thousand Oaks High School outside of Los Angeles.  Daniel also has his own construction company.  (He and his students had built all these awesome 3-D demonstrative boards about sections of the house that we used in the classroom portion of the workshop - they were so cool!)
Daniel mentioned during a lunch at the workshop that he was looking for someone who is ready to build who would allow he and his students to build their house.  I put down my fork and looked at him and said, "Me.  That's me."  He said he was offering it to everyone in our (workshop) class and that he was interested.  Conversation moved on.  My mind, however, was spinning. 

Daniel on the workshop job site...
Fast forward a few weeks after the workshop.  I had given Daniel a couple of weeks to get settled back into reality (and I was, too) before I started pestering him.  "Daniel!  Let's talk!  Your class, my house...."  We connected by phone tonight.

He told me that his ultimate goal is to create a self sustaining construction program at his school.  (He has done that at another school.)  The kids really want to build a full scale project - they are more invested in it that way.  He also really wants them to interact the the OWNER (holy buckets that's ME!!!)  He would like me to come out a few weekends and meet them and also Skype regularly.  I believe he said there are 6 high school students, and they are so excited that they have offered to work during the summer!  Daniel isn't so sure HE wants to do that... ha ha.. you can't blame him for wanting the Summer off!  These sound like some seriously AMAZING and TALENTED students.
So then there is another piece - my trailer.  One of our Firm's clients, James*, is a steel erector.  He has offered to build a custom trailer for me.  I know it would be amazing quality, custom and cheaper than I can buy.  But - Dallas is a long ways from LA and I'd have to GET the trailer to LA.  

But as things tend to work out, there is another piece:  Daniel thinks he is going to Santa Fe over Spring Break (end of April), and has offered that if I can get the trailer to Santa Fe, he would take it from Santa Fe to LA.  Hmmm...  I mean, I could  buy a trailer on the West Coast, but I sooo love the idea of James' piece in this puzzle.  To decide, there were more questions to be answered:  How fast can James fabricate?  How much will he charge me?  How much would it cost to get it to LA - either being towed or put on a truck?

As far as the class building my house we will have some type of written agreement between probably me and the school, you know, so I don't end up with a go kart instead of a house. (!!)  For materials purchasing, we discussed a few options, but  I'll probably open an account in LA that Daniel will be a signator on - and he will let me know what purchases he is going to make prior to making them.  But these are uncharted waters, so we are still figuring out logistics.

He and his class will at least get the house weather tight.  I was worried that me wanting to be IN the house in December was going to be tight scheduling but he doesn't think so.  He thinks he can have it dried in by the end of this school year.  And if I choose to let them do the inside, he thinks he can easily have it done for me by December.  

So...!  More decisions to make.  I had initially said that I wanted to drive every nail myself - but this is such an amazing opportunity for the students - and Daniel is very persnickety about his work product so no worries there - and then I really want to be in my house when my apartment lease is up in December.  Realistically I must admit that finding the space to do construction (James graciously offered his shop but it's an hour away... that would be too much driving to say, work on it after work...) and the time to do the construction while holding down a regular job (yeah yeah yeah all of you who know me are laughing at that characterization!) would be challenging to say the least.  So I think - say YES and say THANK YOU and it's mutually beneficial to so many people - and in time I can build a second one while living in the first one.  And then I can pound every nail if I choose to.  But for now?  I am going to let it go and be apart of this great experience. And --

What another amazing chapter to my story!  FIRST being the FIRST to register for the FIRST Four Lights Tiny House Company.  Then the workshop I attended was the FIRST workshop that Daniel helped out with.  And then to have my FIRST tiny house be the FIRST house that Daniel's class builds... Pretty cool stuff.  SO.  EXCITED.

I am meeting with James about the trailer early next week, and then Daniel and I will have another conversation.

Disclaimer:  Any facts that I have misstated are my fault - my poor memory - hopefully if I've made errors Daniel will correct me... Thanks...

* There will be an entire post dedicated to James in the not so distant future.  He started out skeptical of this whole adventure, and now he's one of my biggest cheerleaders!  His mind-set has really changed and he has some great ideas he is contributing!  : )  Happy.


  1. Building the house is really exciting, and I know you felt more than that now that your plan is turning to reality. The construction is a long process, but seeing your designs and inspirations, I know you will not be bored on this journey.

    Kayce @

  2. Kayce,

    I can't really believe that soon I'll be framing my little house! My trailer is fabricated, and construction begins June 24th. I'm over the moon!

    Thanks for stopping by!


Thanks for commenting! I love feedback.