A New Twist ~ Netting

Heh, see what I did there?

Over on my Pinterest page, I’ve pinned a couple pictures of the coolest thing ~ heavy nets used as “floors”.  Way back years ago, when reworking a travel trailer first occurred to me as a temporary home (before I’d ever heard of Tiny Homes), I thought to use some sort of super heavy-duty wire mesh for the loft floor.  I figured it would save a ton of weight, give a much more roomy feel, and allow air and heat to circulate much better.  After a whole lot of googling though, I just couldn’t find any metal products that would work, so gave that idea up.

When I first came across this picture, I remembered that old idea, but tossed it aside since I couldn’t see myself crawling around on what’s essentially a big hammock.  But a couple days ago, it came to me:  put netting in only where I planned my bed to go!  But, would it work?

After some sketching and more googling, and thinking of how I could access my planned overhang of books, I decided that yes, it could.  So onto ebay I went, to a seller I’d already sussed out for other netting needs, and bought this.   For the duration of the build, I’ll keep the hole in the loft covered with planks for obvious reasons.

So now I’ve delayed buying lumber for the netting, and for a last, perfect window for the loft that I had to buy retail.  Darn… but I can’t really complain.  Most of the others are new and all of them were purchased cheaply from the ReStore.  I had to commit to this window so as to know what size the rough opening needs to be.

While waiting again to accrue enough money for the lumber needed to finish up, I’ve gone ahead and cut the short studs for the pony walls.  Of course, it’s raining again, and much of the wood is pretty soaked, so I’m going to remeasure the pieces after they dry to see if any need some trimming.  Each step forward feels amazing.  Each cut made feels empowering.   Lost beloved friends and mean ol’ horsies aside, life is looking up.

Hope yours is too!




Building Hurts After A Kick In The Ribs!

Ouch.  Ouch….ouch ouch ouch.

I’ve worked with horses most of my life, so know my way safely around them, at least you’d think!  But even though I KNEW Gaia has a potential of kicking (she’s not the most gentle soul), and I thought I was being careful, she smacked me a good one yesterday ~ she, I found out, is flexible, and has terrific aim.   I’m pretty sure I yelped comically as I flew (!) backwards into the mud.  I’m so very, very glad I had the heavy loft beams already up before this happened!

I’m fine, just bruised, no ribs broken.

I’ve been working hard on Oliver’s Nest, as the weather has been outright beautiful and staying busy keeps me positive instead of sad.  As of tonight, all of the framing in the lower portion is complete, including the framing of both doors (finally!), and as I already mentioned, the loft support beams.  Woot!  Also, as I was able to use some 4x6s from the old barn for the loft support as I had hoped, I could place them much further apart than if I’d used 2x4s.  I want an open look to the area under the loft, and having fewer beams will help with that.  I’m short at 5’5″, and decided to place the 4x6s at a height of 6 feet, which makes the ceiling between them 6’4″ ~ plenty of head room for me, even in heels!  The reward is a lot more head room in the loft.  I have learned from living in the truck camper that being able to sit up in bed is REALLY important to me.  The ceiling height in the loft will be an amazing 4’4″!  I’m thrilled!

Next up is buying nice looking 2x6s in 14 foot lengths for the loft floor.  I don’t want to build the pony walls while clinging to framing – I want a good solid floor to stand on while up that high.  It’s not that I’m afraid of heights, or even of falling – it’s just a lot harder to work with power tools safely when doing a monkey impersonation.

There’s one particular lumber yard in town which caters to higher-end contractors.  Super nice guys.  They have the highest grade of wood available (#1) in the widest variety of width and lengths, and are more than happy to dig through that nice stuff and find the best boards for me.  I plan to use them for all visible wood in my little home, and for my roof trusses, too.  The snow load is so heavy where my property is, I don’t want to mess around with iffy wood for the roof support.  I’ve shopped at nearly every lumber yard in the greater Olympia area, including the big box stores, and for most applications, any place has acceptable wood.  But it’s worth it to spend a little more for great quality wood when you have to look at it every day, and for anything that need to be really strong.

It’s kind of funny I suppose, that I’m using such a wide spectrum of materials….reusing old wood, re-purposing all sorts of things including the trailer bed from an old travel trailer, and then going first class on some things.   Wool insulation, expensive roofing materials like thick EPDM over the best quality lumber, big new windows….I like how it’s coming together though.  If I save money where reasonable (and safe), I can spend more on what matters the most to me.  It is such a personal creation, this tiny home of mine.  I’m proud of it, and I’m proud of myself.

2014-04-13 18.28.44

The loft beams! I’m a messy builder, aren’t I? My big red beast of a truck is back there, and a glimpse of the lovely tarp.


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Look at that blue sky through the trees!


One more thing ~ I am loving my new Makita impact drill!  It has made the construction process go a lot faster and easier!  I highly recommend the 18 volt cordless Makita line.  Now that 24 volt tools are showing up, the 18 volt tool prices are dropping and it’s easier to find them for a steal.  I’ve got the circular saw, the impact drill, the sawzall, and the battery charger with three batteries.  They charge really fast, and having three has kept me from ever having to stop building and wait.  I realize I’m sounding like an advertisement for Makita….it’s the only brand I have hands-on experience with.  I’m sure most of the 18 volt brands available are just as good.  Hurray for cordless tools!  Just be sure to buy an extra battery or two ~ it’s well worth the expense.

Be well, everyone! 🙂

To My Most Beloved Oliver.

This isn’t a post about my house.  Anyone reading this who is interested in building Tiny Homes should give my blog a pass today.



My little tiny black friend, with his soft yellow eyes and perfect van-dyke beard, he who always walked on tiptoe with his tail in a happy curl;  he who would get my goat by purposely banging on doors or knocking things off counters if he felt ignored;  he who never, ever turned away from me even when I was so low no one else could reach me, passed away yesterday after several weeks of declining health.

I’ll keep on working on your namesake, sweetheart, which will keep me active and take my mind off of missing you.  I love you.


He loved angel food cake too.

He loved angel food cake too.

I can almost make out his little beard here.

I can just make out his little beard here.  Wow, the place is a mess!

My constant companion.

My constant companion.

Oliver's Nest complete with an Oliver.

Oliver’s Nest complete with an Oliver.

Oliver supervising  my build.

Oliver supervising my build.

Oliver sleeping on a pile of stuff in the storage unit.

Oliver sleeping on a pile of my sketching stuff.

Snuggling with me a week ago.

Snuggling with me a week ago.

Oliver helping me clean my truck.

Oliver helping me clean my truck.

A bag of clean clothes, for me?

A bag of clean clothes, for me?

Reclaimed Wood: Sweat + Time = Treasure

Things are moving ahead.  The pasture is  cleared of stacked wood (yay!), over half of the barn wood has been de-nailed and had the worst bits cut off, a large amount of 4x4s and 4x6s have been found and look great (!), and the tree overgrowth is getting whacked.  Feels good!

Those 4x4s and 4x6s are at a minimum 8 feet.  Some are over 12 feet.  Since they came from the barn’s interior, they are in perfect shape, other than some nails and green growth.  Well, everything here has green growth.  It’s the way of the Pacific Northwest to cover anything and everything with life….Anyway, the plan is to clean them up and use them in the build.  I’ve decided to use the 4x6s for the loft beams.  I love that by doing so, the supports can be placed much farther apart, thus making more perceived headroom underneath.  I also love not having to buy more lumber, and as always, I love reusing materials.  The 4x4s will be used as headers for the doors.  Nice!

Building a house on the cheap means compromises.  I’ve had to put up with piles of stuff EVERYWHERE for several years – even dragging some of the piles with me when I moved here.  It’s been absolutely worth it (for me, if not for house-mates or mothers).  Some of this stuff came free from a nearby closing metal recycling place, lots from the barn, Craigslist, the local ReStores, donations (which also involved accepting things I really didn’t want), and plain ol’ scrounging.  I’d call all that a compromise, when compared to a quick jaunt to the local lumber mill to buy exactly what you want, when you need it.  Another possible downside is the necessity of drawing up plans in accordance to what you have on hand instead of the other way ’round.

I don’t know.  I’ve been ok doing things this way, but I can see it being literally unbearable for other folks.  It adds a ton of effort.  If you can view it as an opportunity for creativity and thriftiness and keeping your carbon foot-print low, then the effort is worth it.  It becomes…an adventure.