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.

And Then There Were Walls… and a Floor

Things have been a little bit quiet here on Howling Dog Construction website over the last few weeks, as Matt has been focused on building the Tiny House and getting as much done as possible in between the blizzards, storms, and freezing rain that have frequented Nova Scotia this winter.

Despite the unpredictable weather, the Tiny House is really taking shape! Once the spray foam was finished, the subfloor screwed to the frame of the trailer. Once the floor was laid, it was time to stand the walls. But first, they had to be dug out from two feet of snow!

Standing the walls was an exciting moment, as it really gave a sense to the shape and size of the Tiny House. And it was a bit of a relief that everything fit together so well, given that each wall had been pre-built.

Then came the sheeting of the walls, which enclosed the Tiny House and brought further stability to the frame of the house.

Next up: putting in the ridge beam and framing the roof, with pictures coming soon.

And the Building Has Begun!

It’s been a busy week here at Howling Dog Construction, with construction starting on the Tiny Home.

Despite the cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, we were able to successfully spray foam insulate the trailer frame, which will become the floor for the Tiny Home. In order to meet the conditions required for spray foam installation, a temporary structure had to be built around the trailer to keep the weather out, and the heat in (there was a lot of ice on the trailer to melt!).

Matt also got started on the walls, starting construction outside with the long walls, and then moving into the garage due to weather to complete the end and dormer walls. Here are some pictures from this week’s progress:

Up next this week: laying the plywood for the floor and attaching it to the trailer, followed by the standing of the walls! It will be an exciting week of transformations and development, all in our driveway.

Stay tuned for regular updates and pictures as the construction progresses. And if you are interested in learning more about the process of downsizing to a Tiny Home (or the adventures in ‘right-sizing’ as they describe it), please visit the blog kept by the soon-to-be Tiny Home owners.

The Tiny House “Foundation” is Done!

We have some great news here at Howling Dog Construction: the “foundation” (i.e. the custom Trailer) for the Tiny House is done, shipped, and has arrived in Cape Breton!

Ronnie from Kerr Trailers in Quebec was kind enough to send us pictures of the finished project before it shipped, and we are excited to share! It’s now sitting in our driveway, covered in snow, and getting ready for construction to begin.

This tri-axel trailer is 25 feet long, and custom-built to carry up to 18,000lbs. I worked back and forth with the manufacturer over several weeks to make sure we got the specs just right. A strong foundation is essential to building a strong Tiny House, and we are pleased with how this turned out! Can’t wait to start building.

Tiny House on CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, Matthew Willox, Owner/Operator of Howling Dog Construction, joined host Wendy Bergfeldt on CBC’s Mainstreet Cape Breton to discuss the Tiny House movement and designing and building a Tiny Home right here in Cape Breton. Here’s how Wendy introduced the segment.

Since 1973 the size of the average home has grown by 50%, but that trend seems to be reversing. The tiny house movement is about getting less space for a lot less cost. It’s about living more simply and about not having things you don’t really need. This is a great idea if you live in California or Arizona where you don’t have to worry about the winter cold but in Canada is a tiny house a possibility? Some people think it is. Matthew Willox is a contractor who’s building one for a couple right here in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

To listen to this great interview, and to learn more about Tiny Homes, click here.

Tiny Home Building

While I enjoy all sorts of renovation and construction challenges, over the last six months, I have been working on an exciting new project to design and build a Tiny Home for a great couple who are on a quest to downsize, simplify, and live in a more environmentally-sensitive way. This has been a great learning experience, that has stretched my learning and design skills to a new level, and challenged the way I look at houses, housing solutions, and space usage.

We are now moving into the construction phase, which I hope to start by the middle of January, pending the completion of a custom-made trailer that is currently being manufactured by Kerr Trailers in Quebec. Given the size of this Tiny Home (175 square feet, 25 feet long by 7 1/2 feet wide), I’m going to be building it in my driveway here in Coxheath. For more information, check out my Tiny House Project page, where I lay out more details and share some photos.

Stay tuned for pictures and videos as the project continues.