November 12, 2013 § 23 Comments
It was magic! My shower has been working and functional for a long long time but without having the greywater system hooked up I didn’t want to use it and flood under the house. I have been using friends’ and families showers for a while, it feels AWESOME to get to shower in my own house! My Eccotemp FVI 12 does a wonderful job! I do have to turn it all the way up to hot hot and then back down to temp for it to keep heated, if I just turn it half-way it seems like the heater really doesn’t kick on strongly. It is awesome though, I had a nice, long, hot shower with even heat, no flash hot or flash cold. I have to also say I am pretty dang impressed with how far a tank of propane has gone. I’ve been living in my house full time since mid June and started with a little over a half of a tank of propane and I haven’t had to fill it yet. My stove and water heater are both running off of propane. I admit I haven’t been cooking up a storm but I haven’t really been shy about it either… I probably use a couple of my burners at least a couple times a week… hot water every day basically to do dishes and wash hands etc. I’m expecting I will have to fill my little five gallon tank soon but getting pretty close to 6 months out of about 3 gallons of propane is pretty cool. We will see how much having regular showers out here will affect that.
Another quick review… My heating! I had planned on using my radiant floor heat as my main heating source which works well down to about 50 degrees. Any lower than that and it doesn’t quite cut it. I have been using my radiant heater as a supplement, the same one I used during construction. I have it on the lowest possible setting and it works really well. I should also note, I tend to leave the bedroom window cracked a couple inches throughout the day and night. I do this for a couple reasons, if I don’t at night the body heat builds up in the house and it actually gets too warm by the time I wake up, second, throughout the day it allows things to vent. It’s pretty tight ventilation wise and I have a large dog who smells… like a dog. I used to come home and leave the doors open for a while to air it out but I have realized it’s better if I just crack a window and then I don’t have to walk in the door to a wall of dog smell. I think it helps keep things balanced inside too, not to stale of air. So it’s a trade off, it’s the best balance I’ve found though between heat and freshness. The floor MIGHT be enough without the cracked window, but I doubt it. That being said, I LOVE that I have the radiant heat floors. My feet stay warm and cozy, it will be great for MiniMiller too so she won’t have a cold floor to crawl around on. It really makes the space super comfortable even though I have to supplement the heat a tad.
Third, I get to do other projects now! That’s pretty cool. Sunday evening I was feeling like a bum just sitting down and watching TV so I decided to sew a little at least while I watched, then I didn’t feel SO lazy :). Before I knew it I made a skirt! Not a bad one either! I haven’t sewed in years, happy to know I have some skill still.
I loosely based it on another skirt I have but I added a belly band for my pregger self. I have discovered that leggings are my new best friend. I LOVE them, they are cozy and don’t cut across my belly all uncomfortably like pants. So, I think my wardrobe will be consisting a lot of insulated leggings and skirts! Also, I started my prenatal yoga class last night. I have been really concerned about my back since I broke it just over a year ago. It has been hurting me quite a bit lately with the shifting center of gravity of my body, it’s passed the pain of my foot now (which has also never healed correctly), I’ve got a permanent ‘gangster limp’ I think… both of those injuries are concerning to me as the next months roll on. I started yoga to hopefully mitigate some of the issues along the way, it was a good class with other pregnant ladies. My body is surprisingly sore from all the low impact stuff that happened :), sore in a good way. I am planning on keeping that up a couple days a week until MiniMiller makes her debut! I also got a back support band that seems to help as well. The last tidbit is that Ms. MiniMiller is getting a little routine, that is a weird thing to realize. She’s her own person with her own schedule. I notice she gets real active every morning first thing, right after breakfast and then again in the afternoon right around 2pm until 4 or so and then again around 8pm. until after I fall asleep. It’s getting pretty routine, it makes me wonder if that will be her active times after she’s born, if so I am ok with that, I hope she isn’t a morning person :).
One LAST thing I want to mention… in getting prepared for after baby is here I have decided to invest in an upright freezer and some tupperware to make some big meals in bulk and freeze them for easy meals later. This will let me have some nutritious meals and be able to focus on baby without running to a food store or eating crappy. In looking at the cost of things tupperware is just crazy, it occurred to me to try a restaurant supply store and looking at some of the take-out stuff they have.
A lot of the time those things are microwave and dishwasher safe, they have decent seals and seem like they would be ok to separate out a meal and freeze. Oh, ad they are WAY cheaper! Any thoughts? I will probably post a few recipes I find for crock pot meals to stick in a bag and freeze or for delicious looking food stuffs that would freeze well, if anyone has any particularly good resources or ideas on this I would love to hear them!
The next thing to look into is also going to be insurance for MiniMiller… I don’t need to get into that debacle right now though, I’ll save that rant for later :). Hope everyone is well!
November 10, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Long over-due update :). I have been juggling quite a bit as of lately so I have been torn away from consistent updates but here is one! So, I have been dealing with my bank to talk about financing for a place, I was looking at a property to have as a rental that I could park my tiny behind. The trick is a foreclosure that is on my history, even though the foreclosure process started 7 years ago (wow, that’s a while) it didn’t finalize until 2 years ago, yeah, it was a MISERABLE 5 year process. So, because that is on my record I knew there would be hoops to jump though but I decided to see how bad it was anyway. The loan officer was genuinely shocked at the situation and the fact that I have pristine credit, if I didn’t have the blackmark I would be the ideal candidate and eligible for the best rates. She went so far as to check into alternates to an FHA loan which would typically be my ONLY option with a foreclosure until a full 7 years after the final date of foreclosure. FHA is not all bad or good, what it does require though is that I pay mortgage insurance the full term of the loan instead of the typical first 20%, since I planned on putting 20% down it didn’t feel great to know I would be paying about 160 buck a moth for ‘extra’ purely because ‘technically’ I didn’t meet the requirements for a conventional loan, even though by the bankers own words I am a much better candidate than most conventional loan candidates. Also, and FHA loan comes with a higher interest rate than conventional. So, She took some info and talked to her bosses and said she would get back to me…
A couple days later she called me back with ‘good news’, which is in fact good news, but not great. After talking to her supervisor and their supervisor my bank said that they were willing and able to ‘portfolio’ me which means basically that they will personally be loaning me the money rather than a mortgage company. What this does for me is get me a ‘conventional loan’, my payments would be going to them, I wouldn’t have to pay mortgage insurance for the duration of the loan. This is good news! The bad news is of course they would add their cut on top of it. The ‘going-rate’ for a 15 year loan is 3.2%, for a 30 year loan it is 4%. They would only go at a 30 year term and at 5.125%… When you calc out the math I would be paying almost double what I would over the term of the loan. My ideal of course would be to put 20% down, pay a 15 year loan, on the house I was looking at the payment is right around $750.00/month. On a 30 year term the payment would be around $520.00/month. Now the house I was looking at I think could easily be rented out for $800.00 a month so really, either of these are fine. What they ended up offering me was a payment around $760.00/month but for 30 years. So, if I am prepared to pay $750.00/month for 15 years and what I was offered was essentially $750.00/month for 30 years… I don’t like that and I am not comfortable, even though it is ‘do-able’, signing up for another 30 year commitment if I am not completely comfortable with the terms. Yes, I could probably refinance in a couple years, who’s to say where rates will be though… It would be an added stress I really don’t need at this point.
I was really feeling a rush to get somewhere before winter hit but I decided the best thing would probably be to just sit put until it thaws again next spring. At that point I have a feeling that things will be in a different spot, perhaps I’ll be eligible for a better deal. I am also keeping my eyes open for places that ‘fit’ that may have owner financing. Even though that is usually at a higher rate I would MUCH rather have that extra going to a real person than the banking industry, call me jaded :). I looked at moving to a couple different places around town, either with individuals or a semi-RV park situation. The rates were either just as high as renting an apartment OR the people seemed weird. I didn’t think it wise to have a baby be born around someone who may or may not me ‘weird’, it didn’t feel great either in my gut. And if I am going to have to pay 450-600 a month plus utilities just to park my house I am going to store it and just rent a place where I don’t have to juggle space and constraints. he whole point of building this is NOT paying someone else rent. I was blown away that it costs as much to rent a bare piece of property as it does to rent one with a house on it to use… dumb. But now I know it could be pretty lucrative to just buy bare land, zone it as an RV park for tiny houses/RVs, if I charged half the price I would be doing pretty darn good! So… I am staying put for the winter. That is that story.
Because I am staying put I had to winterize, it’s already been down to freezing temperatures. Daylight savings time messed with that process quite a bit but I finally got it done yesterday. My house is officially officially complete! I went out to celebrate with my brothers and Gia and I forgot all about the shirley temples! I’ll have to try again! My brothers are always putting on dinner parties, I don’t have enough house to have them over for dinner though so the thing I get to do is save money and take them out for a nice dinner every now and again :). So that is just what we did! It was awesome and it feels pretty damn good to be done even with all the non-glamorous work. The skirting is not pretty but it is very functional, just keep that in mind :). I suppose even putting a coat of paint on it would make it prettier, but I didn’t do that…
There is even a Denver update in there, he’s as handsome and sweet as ever! Branching out at the dog park and making bigger dog friends :). He is the best dog ever, I really recommend Danes to tiny house people, it baffles most but they are GREAT small space dogs, he is an old soul, not a ton of energy, totally content to crash out most of the day. He goes to bed before me every night, steals my pillow. He doesn’t think he can get up the stairs by himself, even though he can. He gos and puts his front feet half way up then looks at me and whines for me to help him. Of course I can’t lift his heavy butt up there anymore so I just place his feet for him and he walks up them. I think he thinks I’m lifting him but he just needs to work on his confidence :), he will get it again soon!
And MiniMiller is growing leaps and bounds, I’m pretty sure she will be just as fidgety as her mom AND dad (she’s got no choice in the matter) if how much she flips around is any indicator. 24 hours a day there and somersaults being done in my belly. Denver seems to be paying more attention to her too, he likes to lay his head on my belly which he’s never really done before. Random kids walk up to me and stare at me and chatter at me, kids have always liked me but I think they are showing me more attention, it’s weird… and at the dog park so many dogs seem to walk well out of their way to come and smell me, even with all the distractions they are interested in me more than others, a couple of their owners have even mentioned that they were oddly drawn over. Because of these occurrences I tend to believe what they always say about kids and pets being in tune with pregnancies. My next appointment happens to be the same day as Ryan’s and my next Tiny House Chat on the 19th, I’ll have another update then, I am pretty excited and blown away that in about 5 months I’ll be a mom, that’s a pretty cool big deal!
Which brings me to my next point, Ryan and I have a Tiny House Chat on the 19th, this one is going to be awesome! Please, make the time to join us if you can! Here is the information to log in and what it is all about. Take a few minutes, watch THIS TED talk. We will be talking to him and the folks over at Found House. 3D printed houses, Ikea style :). If this was a kit for your own tiny house would you look into it? I think this is an amazing concept that could change the face of so much! Making affordable housing available to all!
I have had a couple questions on the format of the Tiny House Chat. I want to clear up some of it, don’t worry, you do not need a camera or a microphone to log in. What happens is that Ryan and I appear on camera with (usually) our two guest hosts the four of us are the only ones with voice and camera, to chat about whatever our topic is for the month. Everyone else logs in and is linked via a chat room which we can all see. (people seem reluctant to appear on camera, so don’t worry, unless you’re a guest host you won’t, and let me know if you want to be a guest host and/or have an idea for a show topic!) So basically it is an hour long chat session with tons of people who have the same interests. There is a lot of discussion between chatters as well as questions interacting directly with the four hosts. It works best when we get lots of chat/host interaction on the topic at hand. Typically we have 30-45 people logged in but we have the ability to go up to 200 right now. If we ever have more than that we can look at upgrading our service to accommodate more, so share the word!
What questions do you have about 3D printed houses for these guest hosts??
November 1, 2013 § 4 Comments
- Just recently Drew put out an e-book (a couple weeks or so ago) from tiny r(e)volutions on how to decorate a tiny house. I have had the chance to look through it, it goes over a lot of great ideas and is nicely priced for the info contained. It has a lot to do with storage types of ideas, psychological effects of various design components etc. It’s quick and concise. You can see download that HERE, definitely worth the money.
- There is another book called Compact Cabins: Simple Living in 1000 sf or less, this one is great for looking at various floor plans, sometimes it’s hard to make sense of the space for me in 2D like that but it’s got a TON of plans. It is not graphically ‘magical’ but there are some cool concepts to think about, unfortunately mostly in plan, not as much in elevation, still, is a good resource.
- Books like NanoHouse are great to flip through and pull ideas from. Not as much for reading but looking through for ideas at all the pictures. I personally get a lot of ideas that way. That one is more ‘modern’ in style, but there are others. I am assuming you may gravitate that direction though if you like my house :). Some other great flip through books I have got enough out of to purchase are Small Eco Houses, Off The Grid Homes, and The Big Book of Small House Design.
- For questions about any code issues (which may seem overwhelming in and of itself) Ryan at thetinylife.com put out a great little ebook called Cracking the Code. There just always seem to be questions from others and that book clarifies the main issues so you can at least talk back to those critics without letting them overwhelm you with doubts like critics tend to try to do :). It’s not so much about ‘design’ in the traditional aesthetics sense but great info that is highly recommended.
- For actual construction details on specifically attaching to a trailer Go House Go is highly recommended (I found this very helpful even if very technical, and not so much about the ‘design’ side as much as the necessary side of things). Depending on your area there are a lot of good moisture protection details in there too. Dee Williams put it out and she lives in the rainy Pacific northwest, that may or may not be helpful but it’s great info to know about at least.
- Another resource I will officially ‘plug’ is the Tiny House Magazine that Kent Griswold has been putting out. They have been running some great articles in there, I have even got to help write a couple! :). How to make your house your home etc. Lots of pretty pictures and ‘How-Tos’. I’m not sure if he’s running any now but he runs specials sometimes. I hear a lot of great feedback from those magazines.
- For electrical and plumbing steps I went down to home depot and snagged some basic wiring and plumbing books. I liked the Black & Decker ones (Plumbing, Electrical) but I’m sure any of them are great, it’s really pretty basic information that you need to know and fortunately tiny houses aren’t usually big enough to get too complex if you don’t want them to!
- I suppose a good framing book would be good too but some of that is in the Go House Go book too so I would start there and then look further for any other info on king-studs/top plates etc. that you’d like to know. The internet has some great basic guides on that too. Again, nothing will be too complex on a tiny house, they tend to be WAY over engineered because of their small spans anyway. A simple diagram like the one quickly Googled below can cover a lot of the basics about typical wood construction, if you’re interested in SIPs panels, metal studs or another more unique situation it is definitely worth looking that up and/or reaching out to another tiny house builder who has taken a similar path, referring back to the first link HERE. Hopefully those resources cover most of the big issues, I will certainly add to it over time, I have several other books that I could suggest as well, and I probably will at a point :)…
Please, If I missed something shoot me a note or a comment, I didn’t mean to!
October 23, 2013 § 16 Comments
It’s a GIRL!!! I feel good to know I do have some of those motherly instincts already, even if it’s just a little :). I have had virtually zero justification but very early on thought this was a girl. I’m not sure if my last post confused things for people, it sure wasn’t meant to, I am VERY excited to be having a girl, I would be happy either way but this makes things SO much easier, which has been a surprise for me (I really thought a boy would be best). There is so much stuff that is just going to be better though, public bathroom supervision, Making cute cloths (I am NOT a shopper but there is lots of cute stuff I could make!), and connecting on a level that most boys just don’t seem to do. I already have a boy (Denny), now I’ll have a boy and girl! Besides, Denny is very partial to little girls especially, I think he still misses the little girls from the house he was born at.
The nurse zoomed through all of the visuals finding all of the critical pieces of anatomy she was looking for, things are developing just perfectly and MiniMiller zoomed all over the place throughout the whole thing! I already know she is a squiggler but it’s nice to have that confirmed visually too. She is very healthy and right on point for 19 weeks of development. The Dr. said she comes in at about 9 ounces and about 7 inches long, pretty typical beanie baby size, which is crazy. Her heartbeat is right between 140-150 beats per minute which is totally normal. All of her blood-flow is going the right way, she has all the parts she’s supposed to have, her head is about 4.5 centimeters wide. I have only gained a grand total of 3 pounds so far which is actually pretty good considering I just lost a whole bunch more than that from being stressed out, I was happy to make a come-back. Baby is not suffering at all from that thankfully and my diet seems to be back on track too. (Hoping that keeps up!)
Now the names begin, I have a few in mind for MiniMiller… The main ones being kicked around right now are: Lux, Hazel, Paisley, Lumen, Daisy, Amity, Lola, Rigby, Artimisha, and Page. I am certain this list will expand and contract over the next five months but that is where I am with the names since that is the #1 question people seem to have!
October 21, 2013 § 28 Comments
I think I have a new next project. Many people have wondered just how and where the up-coming baby will be sleeping, well, here is the answer for a while:
As of right now I have a king sized bed. I don’t really ‘NEED’ that. I have debated sticking a crib in the tiny house, having a movable one that I could tuck behind the media center when it wasn’t in use but that is probably a pain that ultimately wouldn’t happen much because it wouldn’t be convenient enough (not being lazy, being realistic). As of right now I have 16″ on the side of my king mattress, if I replace the king with a queen, or even a full sized mattress then that grows to about 38″ clear. That is more than enough room to put a co-sleeper and potentially a crib eventually. The plan for the house is for 2-3 more years, by that time I will be ready to upgrade and give the kid some of their own space. In the mean-time it should be pretty darn convenient to be so close!
I like the way this looks and I bet it’s pretty darn easy to make. I think I will call it one of my winter projects :). I want to keep my eyes out for other styles I might like to emulate as well but this looks pretty classy :).
More on the property, I have been working with the bank on being financed, turns out I am fanciable, and not as bad off as I sort of expected after a foreclosure but still not as good. I am going rounds with them at the moment. I could potentially buy that property I like so much and rent it out making a little bit (accentuate ‘little’) of money every month. I feel I should be in a place where I could potentially stand to make at least $150-200 a month from renting it after the mortgage is covered though. And I am looking for a 15 year term and all they are offering is a 30 year term… so the search will continue. Even though I am feeling the pressure to get moved before winter hits I am not feeling up for hooking myself into a 30 year commitment without considering all options. (It is tough to not get caught up in the personal feelings of how awesome it would be!)
And finally, I get to find out if I am having a son or a daughter tomorrow morning, pretty exciting if you ask me! Whichever way it goes I know they are tough, they’ve been kicking up a storm and can easily be felt/seen from the outside now. Even though I am not gaining nearly as much as I should I am certain it is MY body that is suffering, not the babies :). If you would have asked me before if I wanted a boy or girl I would have said hands down boy… they are easier, and I just get along with ‘dudes’ better, I am a tom-boy myself so I would feel obligated to ‘girly it up’ for a daughter. Now though, I have just had the feeling it’s been a girl since pretty early on, I’ve got myself pretty convinced of it and I would feel duped if it WASN’T a girl. I’ve definitely warmed up to the idea, I think it would be pretty fun to have a chica ;-). I hope everyone’s had a great weekend!