Friday, August 30, 2013

Dark Bronze

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a color for the roof and window trim!  The winning color is dark bronze.  I really struggled with the copper option, but after looking at a LOT of copper roofs and awnings that were 1-5 years into patina, I realized that the finish was too dull for me.  I've opted for standing seam metal instead.   Roofing materials and windows are being ordered today!

 Here is a photo of Jay's Gifford with the roof photoshopped brown:

But the front door and window trim is still the colonial red, so for me it's still a bit difficult to visualize.

Here is a color photo of the Gifford with my window trim color chip over the front door, and my roofing color sample set on top of the gable.  It's primitive, but I can sort of see what the color will look like:

I plan to stain my front door to match, and "age" it like I did the big Tuscan style cedar dining table I had built in my backyard of my Patricia house.  I beat it up with a heavy chain and a hammer, and then stained it.  It turned out just beautifully.  (You can see a photo of it here.)

I've got to attend to a few remaining related loose details and I can turn my focus to the interior design of the house.  SO EXCITED for the next stage!

I need to speak with my roofer about skylights and order those.

I need to figure out if I have any other roof penetrations that need to get in place.  Mostly what comes to mind is my bathroom exhaust fan...

Another huge step forward - yippee!!

Minnesota Summers

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Window Relief

On Friday afternoon I loaded up in my Mini Cooper and headed West.  Far west.  West past downtown Fort Worth, and further west on Camp Bowie Boulevard than I even knew you could go.  My destination?  Omniview Window & Door.  I needed to meet Rudy, with whom I'd been emailing about windows for my tiny house.

I'd spoken with him on the phone and he had an amusing outlook on things - we hit it off - and although he offered a Dallas location that was closer to me, I really wanted to meet HIM.  I am doing business with him, and I wanted to meet him, look him in the eye, shake his hand, and form a relationship.  Honestly I wanted to make sure I liked him - it's important to me to like the folks I'm in business with.   I am so glad I took the time to make the trip!

First, of course, it was good to feast my eyes upon the windows that I'd chosen after just a glimpse at the Marvin windows installed in Jay's Gifford, and some Internet surfing.  I love them - they are gorgeous and high quality.

And I got to see the window hardware in person - super important - and I'm really glad I did because I had immediate and very strong opinions about the colors and finishes!  I couldn't tell that from looking at images online.

Also, I didn't understand the window screen had an option - aluminum frame or a wooden frame.  The wooden frames are crazy beautiful - and they make the edges of the screen just "disappear" into the window.  The wood is a lot sturdier than the aluminum as well.

It was just so nice to deal with people who are knowledgeable and love what they do.  Aside from the materials to frame in the house, the windows are the biggest ticket item in construction, so I really want to be comfortable with the company I'm dealing with, and all of the decisions I'm making.  Rudy was so patient with me, answering all of my questions and walking me through all of the options.  And each and every time I've called or emailed him, he's gotten back to me very quickly.  That's soooo nice.  Really nice.   I heartily recommend Omniview to anyone who needs windows.  I've struggled with windows for many weeks and to hand it off and say it's done?  WHEW.

So, order-wise, I'm amending my order to have the oil rubbed bronze hardware, and the wooden screens.  That alone made the trip worth while.  But THEN --

I befriended another employee there who is  totally a tiny house groupie!  His name is Joel, and while Rudy was re-running my estimate, he and I were talking about window features.  He was referring to some extra feature that could be added, and he said, "But, you know, probably not really worth it unless the window is really featured in the room -- " And I started laughing and I said, "Well, I don't really have rooms - my entire house is only 112  square feet."  Joel wasn't facing me when I said that.  He whipped around and looked at me and said, "You.  Are.  Not.  Building.  A.  Tiny. House."  Me, laughing, "Ohhhhhhhhh yesss I am!"

Seriously I thought he was going to strip naked and run down the boulevard, he was so excited.  Fortunately instead he just gave me a high five.  He kept asking me questions and I was answering, and finally Leslie shouted to him, "Joel!  Too bad you are married - she is the perfect woman!"  Ohh we all just laughed!   And then Rudy, Joel, Leslie (she runs the place, you can just tell) and I all hung out in the showroom and talked about tiny houses - it was so fun!  You just have to love Fort Worth... everyone is so friendly...

They are all really excited about the project, and are really taking ownership of it - the tiny house phenomenon continues...people can't help but want to be a part of it - it's so fantastic and I am so grateful!  Window retailer identified?  Check!

So now - color selection must. happen.  LOL  

Monday, August 26, 2013

A Tentative Schedule!

I am to glad to be able to tell you that I have a tentative schedule for my house's arrival in Dallas!

Daniel, the supremely talented finish carpenter who helps Jay teach his workshops is super busy, but he says he can commit to having my front door designed, built and installed by September 15th.   I've given him a basic design that I like, and I completely trust him to build one that suits me and the house.  I've ordered my speak easy and my door entry hardware and had those shipped to him.  I still need to let him know what height the speak easy should be.  I am so thrilled that he has taken on this project.  I owe him many many thanks, and some cash.  : )

So once I had that date, I emailed James, and he says he will start looking for LA to Dallas transport for me beginning September 1st.  If he can line someone up for pick up on the 15th, my house should arrive in Dallas by roughly September 20th.  I'm working on getting a banner made to put on the house for the trip with my blog address on it, and asking people to go to the blog and note where and when they saw the house on the freeway. I think that would be really fun!

That will give me just a shade less than 3 months to get it habitable. Totally manageable, right?  I need to really make good use of the time before it arrives to research plumbing and electrical and so that I am ready to tackle those as soon as the roof and windows are in.

I had a meeting with my window retailer yesterday - that will be a separate post - and I'm tentatively meeting with my roofer tomorrow.  I must decide on colors.  I'm finding it really hard to pull the trigger on them.

I need to order the windows this week to stay on track.  Windows and roofing are my last big ticket items - I'm excited to have them under my belt.

 I'm so excited!!!

I'm working on it, by golly!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Trust the Silk"

I went to my first aerial yoga class yesterday morning with my friend Brandye.  Brandye does all sorts of super cool classes - she's such an inspiration - and she has been emailing me about aerial yoga class locations for several weeks.   She knows that I have ordered an anti-gravity kit for my tiny house living room and that going to a class has been on my list of things to do.

We went to a class at Vertical Fitness Dallas up north.  $25, 30+ minutes away... and worth every penny and every mile.  I.  LOVED.  IT.  I mean, I really loved it.

I was laughing with Amy the other night - I told her I realized that I'm seeing a trend, or I'm forming a habit or something of jumping in, and then confirming.  

Exhibit "A" -  I sold all of my possessions, and sold my house before I ever set foot in a tiny house.  When I went to the Four Lights Tiny House Company workshop in northern California in February of 2013 (was it really that recently??  Yikes!) we got to tour Jay's Gifford house.  I texted friends that afternoon, "I stood in my first tiny house today - I LOVE it!  So relieved, as I've already sold my house and all my possessions...!  LOL  Good thing I like it, as I am sort of committed..."  Amy said when she got that text she could hardly believe what she was reading...

Similarly, I ordered the anti-gravity kit  to the tune of about $400 without ever having tried aerial yoga.  I knew that I liked yoga.  I knew that I adore being upside down.  And so, I knew I would love aerial yoga and that I wanted a ceiling sling in my living room.  I got the kit, and then I went to a class - and indeed, I like it!

But it's a funny way of doing things, I must admit.  It's worked out so far, but ... lol

So the class:  I got there early, and the instructor was kind enough to show me how to do the upside down hang before class started.  It was fairly easy - sort of sit in it, grab the silk and lean back.  When  you flip upside down, you wrap your legs around the silk and let go with your hands.  "Trust the silk," she said.  Ohhhh my did my back rejoice!  Nothing like hanging upside down from your hips to decompress your spine...

The class room.  Bad lighting for a photo, sorry.
 The class was small - there were maybe 10 silk slings?  Purple, orange...  the instructor was fab - totally loved her.  The other women in the class were really nice.  The only sort of weird thing was the music - it was a cross between spa music and some creepy clown carnival music.  Maybe I've watch too many movies... I mean it wasn't horrible, but every once in a while the melody creeped me out.

We did some stretches, and some hanging around poses, (I totally fell out of the sling once - gratefully it was really more of a slither, and it wasn't very far to the floor...) and then a relaxation session at the end where we all laid down in the sling, completely encapsulated.  During that, "someone" came and gave me a foot rub!  It was hilarious - I'm all cocooned, Zenned out, and then... my feet were being massaged.  I couldn't see a darn thing - and wondered "is everyone getting a foot rub?  Did the foot massage squad slip into the room?"  I guess because I was the only newbie?  Maybe my feet looked nervous??  LOL  It was like a heap of whipped cream on top of your favorite dessert, though, I know that much.

I don't even know how to describe the whole experience except to say it was nirvana.  When I get my sling hung up in my living room, you will be hard pressed to get me out of it.  I'll probably SLEEP in it. 

Here's a video I found that shows some of what we did in the class.

If you are at all intrigued, you should try it!

Friday, August 23, 2013


Just shy of 16 weeks, or 4 months.  That's how long I have to get my house to Dallas, and get it habitable, and move into it before my apartment lease is up.  And people keep talking about their Labor Day plans, and don't we all know that once Labor Day is here it's a slippery slope to the holidays?  As in, December?

At work when we are getting ready for trial, four months is the equivalent of tomorrow - you have so much to do that the time just goes SO FAST.

Yep.  I'm feeling like that.

I always say I'm nothing without a deadline.  Well - here's a deadline!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Windows, Windows - What a PANE!

I know - clever, right?  HA

I'll tell you - I had no idea that windows would require so many decisions.  And so much research.  Holy smokes. 

But now?  Want to talk windows?  Let's talk windows.  I'm ready.

Jay Shafer used Marvin windows on his Gifford and when I toured his house I loved the look and feel of them.  I did my own research on windows - Andersen, Pella, Marvin - and for a variety of reasons (style, sizing, color) I decided to go with Marvin as well.  And some of my conversations were pretty hilarious - as in, "is the house going to be in a high elevation?" (discussing Argon gas or capillary tubes.)  "Maybe.  I hope so."  [long pause, computer clicks selecting capillary tubes.]  "Is the house going to be near salt water, on a coast line?"  "Oh I really hope so - maybe."  [Another long pause... more computer clicks for coastal coating.]  And finally... "This is quite an unusual project, isn't it?"  "Yes, my friend, yes it is..."  LOL

I met with a handful of window retailers, asked a billion questions, made a ton of notes, but when I got my window quote I still didn't understand a whole slew of the terminology on it! 

Now that I have (successfully, I believe!) navigated this path, I'm sharing with you what I've learned.  With quote in hand, going line by line, let's decipher the quote.  (I have casement and awning windows, but for this exercise I've just listed the casement.  Other than the style of the window, everything else is the same for both.)

Marvin's website is fantastic - so I've provided links so that you can read more if you want to.  (I predict you quickly reach your saturation limit for window data...)  They also have a ton of photographs for your viewing pleasure.

Get several quotes.  I got 6 quotes - three in California and three in Dallas, and I had a price swing of over $7,000.  Yes, you read that right - seven THOUSAND dollars.  One rep told me that Marvin (company) is stringent about territories - that they want you to buy from the retailer that is closest to your project.  Because my house is on wheels, I had some wiggle room there. 

Lead time for completion of the order is 3-5 weeks, depending on who you ask.  Bids generally do not include installation, so if you don't want to install them yourself, be sure and tell them that, so they can add that hefty fee onto the bottom line.  (I am installing mine myself. Unless you want to come and help me - in which case I'm installing mine with a friend.  I'll provide the hummus and wine.)

[Wineberry] Clad Exterior
The color of your exterior finish

[Bare Pine] Interior
The color of your interior finish

[Clad Ultimate Casement - Right Hand]     
Window type, and what side the crank is on

Note that the diagram of the window on your estimate is the view standing outside your house, looking at the window.

More info here:

(Doesn't she look so pleased??)
CN 20 x R.O. 41.5”        
CN is Call Number, which is for a standard window size.

R.O. is Rough Opening, which refers to the opening left in a frame wall to receive a window or a door unit. The jack studs on each side, which supports the header across the top, form it. Cripples support the rough sill at the bottom. The rough opening generally allows 1/2" or more in each dimension in excess of the window or door unit dimension. 

Rough Opening 21 x 41.5     
Rough Opening is the size of the window cut out in your wall

Frame Size 20 x 41
The size of the actual window frame     

IG - 3/4 in - 1 lite
IG is Insulated Glass
¾ inch is how thick the glass is
1 lite is - well honestly I've forgotten what that is... hey I can't remember everything!

Tempered LoE 366   
Glass type; Tempered – I went with tempered glass in hopes of reducing window cracking from rocks on road while traveling

LoĒ³-366 glass provides increased performance for high sun exposure locations.  This top-performance glass is formulated to reject solar heat while letting light in.  With LoĒ³-366, light and visibility are maximized, while up to 95% of the sun's damaging UV rays are blocked. 

Capillary Tube          
A majority of window manufacturers are located at elevations of 1,000 feet or less and use an inert gas, mostly argon, to improve energy efficiency (lower U-Values). Argon, in dual pane glass units, requires the units be sealed to preserve the gas.  This seal is accomplished by deleting the capillary tube found in air-filled glass units. Seal units are not able to equalize pressure so as the windows are shipped, the gas expands with the altitude gain and without the breather tube, bow outwards at the center. The higher the altitude gain, the greater the pressure – to the point that the seal between the panes can weaken and/or fail, or the glass can break. (I got this option in case I go through areas of high elevation when I travel.)
7/8" SDL - with spacer bar   
SDL:  Simulated Divided Lite: an energy efficient way to create the look of divided lites. 

SDLS bars are permanently adhered to both sides of the glass.  A spacer bar is installed between the glass, creating the essence of authentic divided lights.

[Cottage] - Special Cut 3W1H         
Cottage is the style of the small row of panes at the top. 
3W1H is 3 wide and 1 high, referring to the panes

[4] rectangular lites
This is the total number of panes in the window.

10" DLO Height       
DLO is daylight opening

More information here:

[Ogee] Glazing Profile          
Three interior glazing bead profiles are available to match your desired aesthetics – ogee, ovolo or square.

More info here:

 Standard Bottom rail    
[Black]  Weather Strip
Beige or black
[Bronze] Folding Handle
A variety of colors available
[Bronze] Multi-Point Lock

More info here:

[Aluminum] Screen
The screen frame.  (Wood or aluminum.)          

[Bronze] Surround
The color of the screen frame.
 [Charcoal Fiberglass] Mesh
Screen color    

More info here:

4 9/16” Jambs
One of a pair of vertical posts or pieces that together form the sides of a window frame

Nailing Fin
One of the methods of attaching the window.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Tiny House Bathroom Design

As my tiny house construction progresses, I have new sections of it to tackle - both design-wise and self educating.  Some portions are easier than others; I was familiar with framing, so that was easy.  Insulation I'd done before (traditionally and on another tiny house) so that was easy.  

Metal roof design?  A greater learning curve but pretty manageable.  (I still keep waffling on color. Colonial Red?)

And the windows - that has been the biggest challenge to date.  Holy smokes who knew there was so much to learn?

Next came the front door.  Design, and hardware.  I've got those figured out for the most part.

And now I'm facing some portions that are more daunting to me: Plumbing and electrical.  Plumbing seems like the most difficult, specifically those pesky reservoir tanks.  Where do they go?  How large should they be?  How and why do you access them?  The actual running of pipes doesn't seem scary.  And then there is the water pump, and the filters, and the tankless water heater... those?  A wee bit more challenging.

But before I get to plumbing, I must address bathroom design.  The toilet I've mostly figured out; I wrote about the various options here and I've decided to go with the bucket and sawdust as written about in the Humanure Handbook.  I may or may not add a Separett Privy Kit  to the set up later. So that leaves a sink, some bathroom storage and the actual shower design.

I started looking at the standard bathroom design for the Gifford, and the shower area is 24" x 24".  I'm not sure that I can wash my hair in that much space without hitting my elbows on the walls, and I'm positive that I'd have to be a contortionist to shave my legs in that space!  To remedy that I've decided to make my bath a wet bath - you know, like on boats, where the whole room becomes the shower.  I'll need to figure out a way to cover the toilet and storage, and I'll have a curtain that pulls over the window to protect it from water.  The door may or may not be waterproof - depends what it is made out of.

Japanese Ofuro Tub (the more I look the less crazy it seems...)
I've started researching what materials I could use for the floors.  I like the look of galvanized metal, and I found one couple that built their own.  They wrote a step by step instruction of how they did it, and you can read that here.  I am less excited about having metal on the floor in the shower - doesn't it seem like it would be freezing on your feet in the winter?  But I could put down my teak bath mat and that would solve that issue.  And I do have a couple of friends who do commercial metal working, so I think a design could be within reach.

Then with a few Google searches I found some commercial options that aren't metal - they look like they are rubber (I've always suggested I may need to be in a rubber room... here is my chance, lol.)  Here is one: Altro Floors.  They do floors and walls, and it looks like they come in a variety of colors.  Hmmm

And here is another idea: DIY Wetroom.  This kit gives you the option of a tile floor (won't work for me - the tiles will probably crack as I travel) or a vinyl floor, both of which can get wet.

I haven't researched those in detail yet, but pretty soon I'll be digging into the details.  I have a feeling I am going to be in a RV supply store before it's all over.  Or maybe a nautical supply - that sounds more fun.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Front Door Hardware

My front door is going to be built soon, and so hardware decisions need to be made!  Talk about an overwhelming number of choices..  I've been all over the board on what style I like.  In the end, simplicity won out, as it should.

Here is the speakeasy I ordered:

And here is the entry lock set I plan to order, if Daniel blesses it - since he's building the door, I need to be sure what I order will work with the design and dimensions:

I chose oil rubbed bronze for the finishes.  I love the simple lines on both.

Amy thinks she has found a welder for me to help me do the wrought iron decorative design on the door!  I'm really excited to connect with him and exchange ideas.  

And I am SO pleased to be researching something other than windows.  They were wearing me out.  It's fun to be making decisions though!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Messages, Part 1

The girls at MAGIC Camp wrote so many messages in my house - I am going to start posting a few of them at a time for you to see.   They don't require any explanation... These are the photos I took on Day 2.  (There were a few more I wanted to include, but every stinkin' time I uploaded them they got flipped upside down. I've been trying to upload 2 more photos for a half an hour.  I am annoyed, and I am done trying.  Hmmph!)

Just be free

Adventure is out there!

Discover Your Purpose

Do what you love.  Love what you do.  Just do it!

Good Luck BA!
It's not the destination, it's the journey

Positive, Loving Energy


Where are you?  Are you traveling?  What state are you in?  Is Nina with you?

Where is your house?  Is it here?

I get those questions sort of often.  And I totally understand how it's challenging to follow what in the heck is happening with me - my plans are fluid.  My house is being built in Dallas.  Oh, wait, we are going to build it in California.  At a school.  No, not at a school, at a day camp.  Okay camp is over, it was amazing.  The house is going to Boulder, and then I am going to bring it to Dallas to finish it.  Ohhhh wait.  No.  I'm not bringing it to Boulder and Dallas, I'm going to keep it in California and travel there to work on it.  OHHH.  No.  Okay, right.  My house is coming to Dallas.

My house is coming to Dallas.  My house.  Is coming to Dallas.  : )  

I think.

My brain & my wallet made the decision without collaborating with my heart, and it's taken me a few days to wrap myself around that decision.  I have a couple of more quotes to receive to seal the deal, but yeah.  Dallas.  And do you know why?  Because prices for roofing and windows in California are so high they are in outer space.  Even with the cost of bringing my house here, I am still going to be about 5 grand ahead.  Five.  Thousand. Dollars.  That's about a third of the cost of my whole house.  Okay, maybe a fourth.  But whatever - it's a chunk.

And gosh please don't ask me how long it will be here.  I don't know.  I do know that my goal remains to move into it prior to December 12th, when my apartment lease expires.  But past that?  Dunno.

So suddenly I feel very busy.  But happy busy.  Immediate things to do?

1) Finish gathering quotes, advise contractors of decisions.
2) Collaborate with Daniel on a front door design (Thank you Daniel & Manny for building my door!!)
3) Round up door hardware - order and get it to Daniel.
4) Arrange for house transport from LA to Dallas
5) Order banners to put on house for transport (entertaining...)
6) Order roofing materials/crew
7) Order skylights
8) Order windows
9) Get window to  David for stained glass design!

Meanwhile my head is buzzing with bathroom design (that's another post), flooring & wall coverings, plumbing questions...

Gable sheathing going up

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Parking Options

I got a phone call from an old friend this morning that resulted in a renewed offer of a place to park my house in Texas when it's completed.  The offer is on some land in East Texas, and there are water and electrical options. That is my fourth offer of a place to park my house in Texas - so fun!  

Another offer is on a ranch outside of Dallas and the owners would like someone to just sort of watch over the place.  I don't think there are any livestock or people living there.  And, water and electrical are already connected.

I can't remember where the third offer was - it was some rural land - but I remember who offered it, so I can track it down if needed.

And then my career coach has offered her 5 acres a few miles away from me for both construction and living post construction.

I also have a handful of offers in California and one in Oregon.  It's fun when people get excited enough about the project that they are willing to have you nearby...I am so grateful.

Ohhhh to dream of the days I am living in it full time.  I cannot wait.  It gives me all the more motivation to stay of top of getting my roof and window estimates.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Status of Things

I need to do a blog post... but I'm really struggling.  My dog is on a health roller coaster - I think we are going on two weeks now, but it sure feels like longer.  It started out with a very long early morning of vomiting and a day trip to the vet.  Then two days later it continued with 5 days in the doggy ICU.  (She came home the afternoon of the garage sale.)  Here she is on the "new" bean bag chairs that replaced my couches:

She was certain the bean bags were for her...
We sailed along for a few days and we had a handful of more trips to the vet.  Amongst this have been nights where I get up with her at 2:30 a.m. and I'm up for the day.  And man, if there is one thing you shouldn't do to me, it's take away my sleep.  So, I've been hunkered down with her inside, pampering her, pampering me, enjoying the air conditioning and watching her every move. Some days she's bringing me toy after toy - and some days she looks more like this:

But I'll tell you - I am exhausted.  I am strung out.  I am frustrated.  And, on top of all that, this is freakin' expensive.  But what do you do?  You have to do it - they're like children.  I'm having trouble getting the energy to focus on things other than dog.

So....... no posting.  But I've been doing things here and there.  Thursday of last week I called several metal  roofing companies near Thousand Oaks, CA where my house is, to get estimates.  I've gotten one so far - I need to call the remaining companies and see if estimates are coming...  The one I've gotten so far was about $4400.00.  (A company in Dallas says they will do it for $2400.00.)  But, it will cost me $1000.00 to bring my house here, so I have to factor that in.

Yesterday I contacted 8 Marvin window retailers.  I've gotten one estimate back so far:  TEN GRAND.  I almost dropped the phone.  That MUST include installation - which I do not need.  He is going to email me an itemized  estimate, and then I'll see.  I have a Dallas Marvin retailer who will estimated $5,000.00. Do you see a trend?  

So...... I don't know.  Mildly discouraging, but I know there is a reason that things are coming as expected.  And I can own the fact that my head isn't totally right - although I am WAY better than I was last week.  I let myself wallow for two days, and then I gave myself a kick in the ass.  I went to the grocery story and filled my fridge with really healthy foods that I love.  And I've re-framed the gym to be my sanctuary.  I have totally just hitting the gym hard  for several weeks now - it's good for my mental health, and my body is responding nicely.  I still face plant at my desk around 1 p.m. after being up half the night, but ... (Did I mention I gave up coffee last week?  Supreme timing.)

So, waah.  That's my story.  It's not the best chapter of my story, but it's what's going on with me.