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!

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.

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.