One Big “Tiny” Update!

Well we are back with another Tiny House update, and we must apologize for the rather lengthy delay in getting more pictures up. Matt has been burning the midnight oil, so to speak, trying to get Tiny done and ready to head off to its new landing site in a few weeks’ time. It’s been a busy time here at Howling Dog Construction, but the effort is paying off, and the results are looking amazing.

This post will bring you up from our last update a few months ago, to what Tiny looks like now, today, on this fine Thanksgiving weekend.

Tiny Updates!

Since the last post, all the interior walls and ceilings have been completed with tongue-and-groove pine, and it’s beautiful. The ceilings have been left natural, but with a clear-coat for protection and to bring out their natural richness. The walls have been painted to add colour and vibrancy, and create an overall atmosphere of warmth and comfort.

The next step was to complete the plumbing, running all the pipes and waterlines along the inside to protect from freezing. Because of the small size of Tiny, there were a few challenges when trying to keep everything compact and minimize the exposed plumbing throughout the home. For example, the main water supply and filter has been contained within the bathroom vanity to keep it hidden. In order to get water to the shower and on to the kitchen, Matt needed to run pipes along the interior walls. To keep them hidden, he designed the couch and baseboards to cover them up. The result? No pipes are visible throughout Tiny!

Once the plumbing was done, it was time to move to flooring. One of the first things the owners purchased for Tiny was Ash hardwood flooring from a local company that was shutting down. Honduras pine was used for the loft flooring, which looks amazing from both above and below, which was important, because it is exposed on both sides, and is the kitchen ceiling. The Honduras pine was finished with a natural oil for protection, and it has become one of the favourite features of Tiny.

Once the flooring was complete, it was time to move to the interior features, such as the stairs and custom couch. Although the stairs were pre-designed when conceptualizing Tiny, each stair was custom-designed for the space to maximize space and storage capacity. The bottom three steps are removable, so that there’s room to get the fridge and other appliances into the kitchen. They are also storage containers themselves, with opening stair treads. The couch area is actually an integrated unit, containing the couch, a folding table and desk, storage units, and a shelf. It was custom built in the garage, and then installed in Tiny.

The kitchen cabinet boxes and drawers were an exciting feature to add into Tiny, as it really gave a sense of the kitchen, and defined the area. These were all custom-built to take advantage of every bit of usable space and to ensure that all of the clients’ kitchen implements would fit.

Once the cabinet bases were complete, it was time to install and finish the solid maple countertop. This is a gorgeous feature of Tiny, and was finished with BioShield Oil, which gives it a beautiful golden glow and a silky smooth feel. Everyone loves the countertop!

And then it was time for hook-ups, including propane for the appliances and heating and electrical. It was exciting to get Tiny all wired up and ready to go, and we are really happy with how the lighting levels have turned out. Kudos to Flux Electrical from Middle River here in Cape Breton for making this happen, and all the hard work it took to wire up Tiny — no easy feat!

Finally, Matt has been working hard on all the finishings, including storage shelves and racks in the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom, ensuring maximum storage space, even when living small. These are looking great, and it’s amazing how much storage can be designed into a tiny space.

Tiny Open House

On October 17th, 2015, we are having an Open House and Goodbye Tiny gathering at our house. Matt is busy doing finishing off the house, with this week bringing the cabinet faces installed and the completion of the much-anticipated doggie elevator!

Leading up to that exciting day, we will be releasing a new post a day, highlighting some of Matt’s favourite custom-made and custom-designed features in Tiny. Each day will bring a new insight into how to design “Tiny”, so keep checking back!

Tiny Home Featured on CTV Live at Five

We are always happy when others are interested in learning about the process behind building — and choosing to live in — a tiny home. Today, we were happy to share with Ryan MacDonald from CTV’s Live at Five.

Ryan came to film on location, and featured Matt as the contractor, and Nicky Duenkel and Judy Pratt, the Tiny Home owners. This segment was broadcast throughout Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick to over 220,000 viewers.

It was great fun working with Ryan and sharing the story of Tiny with the Live at Five audience.

To view the clip, click here.

Here are some pictures of the filming.

Tiny is Featured on CBC

We just found out yesterday that Tiny has been featured on CBC News online, complete with an audio-visual essay containing a clip from the CBC Radio Mainstreet Cape Breton Interview and pictures of the progress, as well as a write-up. There’s also a link to the radio interview where Matt provides an update.

Great to see the interest that Tiny is generating, and to see so many people interested in reducing their ecological footprint and living more simply and gently on this planet.

To check out the article, click here.

Adding the Siding

Well folks, this is the last in a series of five posts to get everyone caught up with where the Tiny Home process is at. Today we are featuring the beautiful Cape Cod siding, sourced and purchased from a Nova Scotia company, Cape Cod Finished Wood Siding.

The clients chose this company because of the local connection, the beautiful high-quality products, and because of the opportunity to order the siding finished in any colour that you choose. The siding is made from lodge pole pine.

This has been a great product to use. It goes on easily, and it comes with custom nails painted to match the colour of your siding, as well as extra paint to touch up ends or any nicks. And, as you can see, the colour is rich and vibrant and really pops next to the white trim, lending to the sense of happiness and celebration that surrounds Tiny.

You can also see in some of the pictures the cedar shakes that will be framing all the dormers. Once the siding is complete, Matt will begin finishing the cedar shakes, and then it’s on to the inside finishings!

While our next updates won’t be on a daily basis, we promise to keep them more up-to-date as the process continues. Stay tuned, stay posted, and check back soon!

Going Live (Almost) & Keeping Warm

We are learning that when you build a Tiny Home, things take longer than expected. Working in a small space means that you have to slow down and take great care with every action and decision.

The electrical work was no different and, as with everything else, took longer than we all expected. One of the main reasons for the extra time was the sheer amount of planning that went into the electrical layout. Matt was lucky enough to work with Brandon Nielsen from Flux Electrical in Cape Breton, who understood the importance of getting it right the first time, and minimizing the number of holes drilled in the structure in order to run the wire.

Overall, the wiring process went very well. It seems like a lot of wire for a Tiny House, but every circuit has its purpose. We also had to run some 12 volt circuits to support the winch for the dog elevator (everyone’s favourite feature), and for the on-demand water heater control.

Next steps with electrical: once the house is finished, the final lights, receptacles, and switches will go in, and then Tiny will be ready to be hooked to a power source!

Once the wiring was done, it was time to insulate the inside. Once again, we used spray foam for its high R Value and air sealing abilities, as well as to provide further structural stability. Before EcoHome Insulation could spray though, all the Douglas Fir had to be covered up to avoid getting foam on it. It was challenging for the installers at times, because there were a lot of small spaces to fill, which are difficult to fill evenly. But the results are great, and all this work should help to keep Tiny nice and cozy.

 

 

Douglas Fir-ing it Up!

Once Tiny was water tight, it was time to start getting to work on the inside details. First up, was the loft framing, which was not only an integral part of the structure, but would ultimately be exposed wood. This meant we needed to find a material that was both strong and would finish beautifully.

Douglas Fir became the obvious choice, because of its strength. Matt was extremely happy with how this turned out, as the Douglas Fir has a subtle red tone that adds richness and depth, and will be a great accent to the overall aesthetics of the finished home.

The post you see in the middle of the house in the pictures below is designed to bring the load down from the roof onto the black steel angle. Being able to transfer the load at a midpoint meant the ridge beam could be reduced in size, allowing more space in the loft. In a Tiny House, every inch counts!

CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton Tiny Home Interview

A finished roof! Just look at that colour!

A finished roof! Just look at that colour!

Yesterday afternoon, Matt joined Tiny Home-owners Nicky Duenkel and Judy Pratt, on CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton to talk Tiny updates and developments.

It was a great interview, full of interesting perspectives and insights from all facets, including planning, designing, and building, to philosophies of Tiny Home living, to making the choice to ‘right size’ and place values and beliefs at the core of one’s life. You can listen to this fun interview here.

Raise the Roof… and Cover it in Red Steel

Matt couldn’t wait to start on the steel roof, and see how the bright red colour looked on Tiny. It did not disappoint! The roof has added a beautiful accent to the home, while also being extremely durable and long-lasting. The steel roof comes in 16 inch panels, designed with a hidden fastener system, so that no screws are exposed. This gives a clean finish, and doesn’t disrupt the aesthetics of the roof, while reducing the possibility of leaking through the screw holes. Because of the small size of the overhangs and the roof in general, a lot of the trim was very tricky to do. On a regular-sized roof, things are more spread out, giving more room to lay out the trim, and more space to work with. But, on Tiny, some of the areas were so small, there were four or five overlapping pieces of trim and flashing. This meant that special attention had to be paid to how these pieces overlapped each other to ensure proper water diversion, even on the highway at 100 km/hour! Overall, it took a lot longer than anticipated, but the results were well-worth it!

Catching Up…

Well, it’s been a long time since we last posted an update on the Tiny House building process, but we have a good excuse: the weather got better in Cape Breton! And this has meant opportunities for longer days working on Tiny outside, and less computer time inside.

But, we have been receiving requests from far and wide (special shout-out to folks in Nunatsiavut, Labrador) to post more updates and photos, so we decided it’s time to sit down at the computer, go through the photo files, and start updating.

Since it’s been so long since the last update, we have decided that for the next 5 days, we will be releasing a new post, with new pictures. This should catch us up… and we promise we’ll be better at this blog posting thing as we go forward.

First up: Windows!

Every house needs windows, and even though this is a tiny home, there are still 17 windows. Most of the windows are smaller-than-average windows, but all are strategically placed to give it as open and spacious a feeling as possible, and to maximize views while not feeling like you’re living in a fish bowl.

Windows are a critical part of the exterior shell, so a lot of care and time went into properly installing them, and making sure that they were water tight. To ensure the windows are 100% water tight, Matt used a special flexible membrane for the window sills. This membrane is a fairly new product that wraps around the window opening as a full stretchy piece, eliminating the need for cuts or joints.

Once the windows were in, Tiny was transformed! The placement of the windows really gave a sense of the interior space, and what the light levels and view points will be.

Raise the Roof!

The Great Roof Raising finished last week, starting with the placement of the ridge beam (2 ply LVL) on the newly-erected frame. The ridge beam runs through the centre of the house, and is designed to carry the load of the roof. We choose this design to allow for the cathedral ceiling, which maximizes interior space.

Once the ridge beam was in place, infilling the roof joists went quickly, giving the full shape of the Tiny House roof line. Since the house is designed to be mobile and on the road, there were a few additional items that had to be added to the roof to ensure it can stand up to the rigours of transportation and conditions on the road. You will see in the photos all the metal hangers and ties, which help hold everything together, nice and tightly, whether in motion or in one place standing up to wind and weather.

Sheeting the roof between snow storms was an exciting moment, as it not only gave the full sense of the height and width of the Tiny House, it brought some much-enjoyed shelter from the storms.