A New Twist ~ Netting

Heh, see what I did there?

Over on my Pinterest page, I’ve pinned a couple pictures of the coolest thing ~ heavy nets used as “floors”.  Way back years ago, when reworking a travel trailer first occurred to me as a temporary home (before I’d ever heard of Tiny Homes), I thought to use some sort of super heavy-duty wire mesh for the loft floor.  I figured it would save a ton of weight, give a much more roomy feel, and allow air and heat to circulate much better.  After a whole lot of googling though, I just couldn’t find any metal products that would work, so gave that idea up.

When I first came across this picture, I remembered that old idea, but tossed it aside since I couldn’t see myself crawling around on what’s essentially a big hammock.  But a couple days ago, it came to me:  put netting in only where I planned my bed to go!  But, would it work?

After some sketching and more googling, and thinking of how I could access my planned overhang of books, I decided that yes, it could.  So onto ebay I went, to a seller I’d already sussed out for other netting needs, and bought this.   For the duration of the build, I’ll keep the hole in the loft covered with planks for obvious reasons.

So now I’ve delayed buying lumber for the netting, and for a last, perfect window for the loft that I had to buy retail.  Darn… but I can’t really complain.  Most of the others are new and all of them were purchased cheaply from the ReStore.  I had to commit to this window so as to know what size the rough opening needs to be.

While waiting again to accrue enough money for the lumber needed to finish up, I’ve gone ahead and cut the short studs for the pony walls.  Of course, it’s raining again, and much of the wood is pretty soaked, so I’m going to remeasure the pieces after they dry to see if any need some trimming.  Each step forward feels amazing.  Each cut made feels empowering.   Lost beloved friends and mean ol’ horsies aside, life is looking up.

Hope yours is too!




Building Hurts After A Kick In The Ribs!

Ouch.  Ouch….ouch ouch ouch.

I’ve worked with horses most of my life, so know my way safely around them, at least you’d think!  But even though I KNEW Gaia has a potential of kicking (she’s not the most gentle soul), and I thought I was being careful, she smacked me a good one yesterday ~ she, I found out, is flexible, and has terrific aim.   I’m pretty sure I yelped comically as I flew (!) backwards into the mud.  I’m so very, very glad I had the heavy loft beams already up before this happened!

I’m fine, just bruised, no ribs broken.

I’ve been working hard on Oliver’s Nest, as the weather has been outright beautiful and staying busy keeps me positive instead of sad.  As of tonight, all of the framing in the lower portion is complete, including the framing of both doors (finally!), and as I already mentioned, the loft support beams.  Woot!  Also, as I was able to use some 4x6s from the old barn for the loft support as I had hoped, I could place them much further apart than if I’d used 2x4s.  I want an open look to the area under the loft, and having fewer beams will help with that.  I’m short at 5’5″, and decided to place the 4x6s at a height of 6 feet, which makes the ceiling between them 6’4″ ~ plenty of head room for me, even in heels!  The reward is a lot more head room in the loft.  I have learned from living in the truck camper that being able to sit up in bed is REALLY important to me.  The ceiling height in the loft will be an amazing 4’4″!  I’m thrilled!

Next up is buying nice looking 2x6s in 14 foot lengths for the loft floor.  I don’t want to build the pony walls while clinging to framing – I want a good solid floor to stand on while up that high.  It’s not that I’m afraid of heights, or even of falling – it’s just a lot harder to work with power tools safely when doing a monkey impersonation.

There’s one particular lumber yard in town which caters to higher-end contractors.  Super nice guys.  They have the highest grade of wood available (#1) in the widest variety of width and lengths, and are more than happy to dig through that nice stuff and find the best boards for me.  I plan to use them for all visible wood in my little home, and for my roof trusses, too.  The snow load is so heavy where my property is, I don’t want to mess around with iffy wood for the roof support.  I’ve shopped at nearly every lumber yard in the greater Olympia area, including the big box stores, and for most applications, any place has acceptable wood.  But it’s worth it to spend a little more for great quality wood when you have to look at it every day, and for anything that need to be really strong.

It’s kind of funny I suppose, that I’m using such a wide spectrum of materials….reusing old wood, re-purposing all sorts of things including the trailer bed from an old travel trailer, and then going first class on some things.   Wool insulation, expensive roofing materials like thick EPDM over the best quality lumber, big new windows….I like how it’s coming together though.  If I save money where reasonable (and safe), I can spend more on what matters the most to me.  It is such a personal creation, this tiny home of mine.  I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of myself.

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The loft beams! I’m a messy builder, aren’t I? My big red beast of a truck is back there, and a glimpse of the lovely tarp.


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Look at that blue sky through the trees!


One more thing ~ I am loving my new Makita impact drill!  It has made the construction process go a lot faster and easier!  I highly recommend the 18 volt cordless Makita line.  Now that 24 volt tools are showing up, the 18 volt tool prices are dropping and it’s easier to find them for a steal.  I’ve got the circular saw, the impact drill, the sawzall, and the battery charger with three batteries.  They charge really fast, and having three has kept me from ever having to stop building and wait.  I realize I’m sounding like an advertisement for Makita….it’s the only brand I have hands-on experience with.  I’m sure most of the 18 volt brands available are just as good.  Hurray for cordless tools!  Just be sure to buy an extra battery or two ~ it’s well worth the expense.

Be well, everyone! :)

To My Most Beloved Oliver.

This isn’t a post about my house.  Anyone reading this who is interested in building Tiny Homes should give my blog a pass today.



My little tiny black friend, with his soft yellow eyes and perfect van-dyke beard, he who always walked on tiptoe with his tail in a happy curl;  he who would get my goat by purposely banging on doors or knocking things off counters if he felt ignored;  he who never, ever turned away from me even when I was so low no one else could reach me, passed away yesterday after several weeks of declining health.

I’ll keep on working on your namesake, sweetheart, which will keep me active and take my mind off of missing you.  I love you.


He loved angel food cake too.

He loved angel food cake too.

I can almost make out his little beard here.

I can just make out his little beard here.  Wow, the place is a mess!

My constant companion.

My constant companion.

Oliver's Nest complete with an Oliver.

Oliver’s Nest complete with an Oliver.

Oliver supervising  my build.

Oliver supervising my build.

Oliver sleeping on a pile of stuff in the storage unit.

Oliver sleeping on a pile of my sketching stuff.

Snuggling with me a week ago.

Snuggling with me a week ago.

Oliver helping me clean my truck.

Oliver helping me clean my truck.

A bag of clean clothes, for me?

A bag of clean clothes, for me?

Reclaimed Wood: Sweat + Time = Treasure

Things are moving ahead.  The pasture is  cleared of stacked wood (yay!), over half of the barn wood has been de-nailed and had the worst bits cut off, a large amount of 4x4s and 4x6s have been found and look great (!), and the tree overgrowth is getting whacked.  Feels good!

Those 4x4s and 4x6s are at a minimum 8 feet.  Some are over 12 feet.  Since they came from the barn’s interior, they are in perfect shape, other than some nails and green growth.  Well, everything here has green growth.  It’s the way of the Pacific Northwest to cover anything and everything with life….Anyway, the plan is to clean them up and use them in the build.  I’ve decided to use the 4x6s for the loft beams.  I love that by doing so, the supports can be placed much farther apart, thus making more perceived headroom underneath.  I also love not having to buy more lumber, and as always, I love reusing materials.  The 4x4s will be used as headers for the doors.  Nice!

Building a house on the cheap means compromises.  I’ve had to put up with piles of stuff EVERYWHERE for several years – even dragging some of the piles with me when I moved here.  It’s been absolutely worth it (for me, if not for house-mates or mothers).  Some of this stuff came free from a nearby closing metal recycling place, lots from the barn, Craigslist, the local ReStores, donations (which also involved accepting things I really didn’t want), and plain ol’ scrounging.  I’d call all that a compromise, when compared to a quick jaunt to the local lumber mill to buy exactly what you want, when you need it.  Another possible downside is the necessity of drawing up plans in accordance to what you have on hand instead of the other way ’round.

I don’t know.  I’ve been ok doing things this way, but I can see it being literally unbearable for other folks.  It adds a ton of effort.  If you can view it as an opportunity for creativity and thriftiness and keeping your carbon foot-print low, then the effort is worth it.  It becomes…an adventure.

More Has Been Accomplished, Despite – You Got It – Rain.

So here I sit under my new tarp tent, which only took two hours to erect, lol. After several glorious days of sunshine and 50-ish degrees, we’re back to rain, drizzle, mist, rain, downpours….yeah. Out of desperation, I searched online for pop-up tents, and hoo-boy, are they expensive! And the buyers’ reviews don’t look promising, either. As I was up feeding the rabbit colony, I looked around and noticed all the tarps I’d already put up to keep various things dryish. Hey! Oh yeah! I forgot about those! Actually, I also dislike how ugly they are, but I can’t deny that they do help. Tarps are your friend. Your ugly, obnoxious, yet helpful friend.
I’ve been busy working on the barn wood. It’s in such bad shape – dry rot in places, tons of nail holes, cracks and knots. I won’t be using it on the exterior of Oliver’s Nest. It’ll be new wood (bummer) and metal siding. However, I think there’s enough after cutting off the bad bits for the interior walls! I sure hope so, as I want to use reclaimed materials as much as I can. Plus, it has a LOT of character. I’m thinking to use a strong wood glue and small nails to attach the boards to a half-inch plywood base. That should give a nice, sturdy wall with a nice cabiny feel. Yay!
Speaking of nail holes, wow, it’s been taking days to get all the nails out! So far, I’ve accumulated two 5 gallon buckets full of nails, and the job isn’t done yet. Phew!

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The nails…the nails… oy, the nails….

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This is only part of the big pile of barn wood to go through.

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Merrily I burn the junk wood that’s accumulated over several years!


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Here’s a quick shot of some of the sheathing. There are lots of big holes because there will be lots of windows on this side (faces South). Also visible are those metal straps I want to salvage.

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Hank the cowdog. My faithful companion. He can’t wait for the new house to be built, as our tiny camper is TINY.

Sheathing Is Up! Well, Some Of It….

Yes!  All the trusses have been cut off:

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Several of them are still “hanging around” (heh, I amuse myself) up on the top plates to keep them out of the way.  I need to set aside a block of time to take them apart and try to salvage all that metal strapping on their joints.  If they won’t come apart, I’m considering throwing them onto the burn pile to remove the wood.  I really would prefer not to, as the wood might be usable in some project, but I really want that strapping – it’s a nice, heavy gauge, and definitely reusable.

The hurricane straps are all finally on the lower portion of the house, and the frame is looking strong!  Even before putting them on, I could climb the structure like a monkey and nothing would move, but having all that extra strapping tying things together soothes the worrier in me.  The weight it adds is negligible.

There was nothing keeping me from starting on the sheathing, so I went for it!  And quickly realized a big problem – I canNOT put 4×8 pieces of wood up by myself.  Nope.  Not gonna happen.  So, what’s a girl to do?  Why, ask her 78 year old mother for help, that’s what!  Oy.

It sounds worse than it was.  I did all the heaving and hefting , and piled up cement blocks to prop the plywood sheets at the proper height.   My mother just sort of leaned on them while I clamped them into place.  She helped eye the spacing between sheets, too, while I shifted left, right, left, right, holy cow this is getting heavy, left, right… Yeah.  I strongly recommend having at least two reasonably strong and healthy people working together during sheathing.  Three would be better.  One person…nope.  Unless it was He-Man.  Or The Hulk.

Working together, we got sheathing up all around the lower half of the house.   None of the sheets are completely nailed up yet, only enough to hold them firmly in place.   This has allowed the upper half of the vertically placed plywood sheets to wave in the wind a bit.  I know it looks funky and unprofessional, so refuse to post a picture.   Once everything is neatly nailed up, then I’ll get some pictures up for posterity.

So.  I need to finish nailing up all the sheathing that’s in place, and to salvage the metal straps from the failed trusses, and then to get the loft beams into place.  Been popping outside to work between rain showers the last couple days.  I plan to start on the loft by the end of this month, weather permitting.  Yay!

I want to put out a request to anyone reading this, to feel free to give feedback on my interior layout sketches.  Did I miss anything?  Is there something that you like, or don’t?

Sunny Days Are Here (again)!

It’s been gorgeous out the last few days, sunny with blue skies, temps in the 50′s….perfect weather for moving forward on Oliver’s Nest.   Been removing those problem trusses – finally.  It’s such a relief.  All but the last two are off, and I plan to tackle them today, along with starting to put up sheathing on the sides.  Woohoo!

I wish I’d remembered to take some pictures of “before” and “after” the truss removal, but I’ve only got the distance shots of them up, nothing showing the (probably) overdone way I’d attached them.  Nails, screws, plus hurricane straps on both sides…it’s a lot of metal to get through.  My trusty cordless Makita Sawzall comes through again – it’s a heavy beast of a tool, but with the right blade it’ll cut through just about anything!  So, not only have I made progress on the house, but I’ve been getting an upper body workout, too, heh.

If you’ve read the “About Me” blurb, you know I struggle with BPD, coupled with chronic depression.  Because of that, I tend to be alone most of the time, and I’m happier for it.  However!  Sometimes life is easier, better, with help from other people.  Building a house, even a Tiny one, is one of those times.  Even just to get design feedback, if not actual sweaty, hands-on labor-type help.  I believe I would not have let over a year pass since last working on Oliver’s Nest if I’d allowed people to come over and help with it.  Because it turns out that even the most intimidating problems aren’t necessarily all that big of a deal.  I’ve been dreading, yes, DREADING dealing with those trusses.  Turns out all I needed was to cut ‘em off!  So easy, anyone could see that – if they weren’t feeling drowned as I was.   There’s a lesson here, folks.  Even the most die-hard loners and chronic “I’ll do it myself!”-ers would likely benefit from allowing suggestions, feedback, critiques.  Let people in.  Get together and toss ideas around.  With help, even when you think you’ve painted yourself into a corner, you’ll find a way out. (A little house-building pun there, didja see it?) :D

Hey, and a big thank you to Lone Stranger for your suggestion of drilling pilot holes to rein in those wayward screws.  It really helped!  All finished with those as of yesterday.  I can’t believe the walls are finally going to get some sheathing on…it’s a big step, visually.  So, let’s see: sheathing, then the loft, then the pony walls, then the new roof beams.  With weather in my favor, I’m hoping to get all that finished up by the end of March.  Yeah, I know, the rain will come back soon.  But a girl can dream, can’t she?