Favourite Feature #2: The Ladder

Our next featured design from Tiny is the Ash ladder leading up to the second loft above the bathroom.

The final ladder design emerged after testing out several different prototypes. In the original plan, the ladder was incorporated into the shelving unit itself. But, as the building progressed, and different designs were tested, it was decided that this was too complicated, and the desire to have a simplified design led to the current version.

As you can see from the pictures, the ladder is designed to slide behind the shelving unit, in a space between the bathroom wall and the shelf. The ladder has wheels on the bottom that are only engaged when it is in the upright position to facilitate sliding back and forth. At the top is a simple hook and eye system, allowing the ladder to be slid out; when pulled into position, the hooks automatically engage, holding the ladder securely in place.

The ladder itself is made out of Ash, from Windhorse Farms‘ sustainable woodlot on the mainland of Nova Scotia. We love how it turned out!

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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!

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.