About That Entertainment Center….

I wasn’t planning on using the entertainment center.  I’d forgotten it existed.  I’m not sure it is an entertainment center, as it also has a matching, rather large chest of drawers that goes with it, so it’s got to be for a bedroom.  Anyway, I’d planned on building nearly everything inside, and have lots of spare wood and plywood to do so, but honestly, I don’t think my building skills are up to it.  Sure, the build itself is solid.  I’ve been told many times that I over-engineer things.  But my detail work can be…sketchy?  Hehe, yeah, sketchy.  I believe with practice and some hands-on tutorials from a more experienced builder, I’d be able to put together creditable cabinets and whatnot, but not now.  I priced out cabinets and they are rather expensive, and heavy, and the sizes are mostly not right for the space.   So, what to do?

Look around here is what to do.  I thought about scavenging bits and pieces from this house, but I didn’t want to damage it. Plus there’s still that whole having to “build stuff” thing.  As I wandered from room to room, assessing what was available, I stumbled upon this oak wood set.  Ah-ha!  As it is modular, it seemed a perfect solution.  Without further hesitation, I started grabbing parts.

The only thing that took a lot of time was figuring out the placement of the upright attachment boards.  They had to be placed just right to set the hooks on the back of the shelves and cabinets properly, as well as being as close to the studs as possible for strength.  My spacial skills are apparently not too bad, as no mistakes were made.  So attach those boards securely to the walls, hook in the various bits, and done.  Well, except that after an experimental drive, several of the shelves fell down!  So, back to the hardware store for metal brackets to permanently attach everything.  Cheap and effective.

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Modular oak shelving pieces. See those metal rods sticking out from various bits? They stick into each other and the uprights.

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Shelving, cabinets and desk all hook onto uprights before I added the little metal brackets.

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I have a desk under the window! 🙂  The toilet will go between the desk and the kitchen cabinet.  The cabinet in this picture is pulled out and there’s actually quite a bit more room than shows.

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Re-purposed solid (even the back is wood!) EXPENSIVEquarter-sawn oak entertainment set from my aunt and uncle. Heavy, yes, but solid and, FREE.

As for the two matching white cabinets I really like and wanted to use, they turned out to be way too heavy to hang.  Sadly, I won’t be using the longer one at all (which was going to hold most of my kitchenware), but the squarish one got some legs and a top, and is now firmly screwed to the walls.  To build the top, I had to glue and clamp two pinewood panels together and then cut them down to get something large enough.  The cabinet is now a good place for heavy cast iron and random largish stuff.

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Painted legs to transform the hanging cabinet into a floor cabinet.

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Strong wood braces made from random 1/2″ plywood pieces added to the bottom of the white cabinet, and a thing to screw the legs into.

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Revamped upper cabinet. Painting the cabinet white, but I might try the tangerine color for fun. 🙂 The door is nearly ready to install, and it’s been painted a matching green.  I think I’m going to paint the bit of pink on the side wall above the counter top white.

Taking the place of the longer cabinet is a bunch of roll-out closet baskets.  Light, strong, semi-attractive… works for me!

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Drawer racks installed. The baskets are in the house being filled and sorted.

The lower kitchen cabinet was the real bear.  I couldn’t push it back against the wall, because of the front fuel line sticking out of the floor and wall.  Solution?  Either build a shelf behind it to cover the huge (8″) gap, or cut a hole in the back/bottom of the cabinet. No more building!!! 😦  So, my son came over and cut a hold for me, as cutting holes into furniture was something I couldn’t bring myself to do.  My anxiety over it was ridiculously overwhelming.  Even though I’d added strong supports to the underside of the cabinet after bringing it home, I had visions of the whole thing collapsing in on itself.

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Meet Richard from one of the local big box stores where I bought the cabinet. He helped me clamp in the support pieces I added to the bottom of the cabinet. Nice guy, right?

Yeah, that didn’t happen, and now the cabinet is against the wall and out of the way.  Thanks very much, dear boy!

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I can’t do anything about the metal bars, but was able to work around this fuel line.

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See how far the cabinet has to stick out? NOT GOOD. Oh, and in the background you can see the beginnings of insulating and covering the loft front area. OH!  And you can see the linoleum all laid down and looking pretty on the loft floor.

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Problem solved.

I did, however, cut the counter top to size, and cut out the sink hole, by myself.  So easy!  I still have the hand pump marine faucet to cut a hole for, but now I’m not worried about being capable of doing that.  My new saw blade for finish work has really impressed me.

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Look at that clean edge from my new finishing saw blade. So proud.

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And now the hold for the sink….

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BOOM. It still sticks out an inch due to the metal bars, but I can live with that.

So that’s the cabinet roundup.  I thought it might be interesting for people to get a sort of spacial sense of how I fit into this incredibly tight space.  I’m 5’5″, and the ceiling is 7′ high.

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I can easily reach and remove the top drawers to access the contents, but the ceiling doesn’t feel too low.  Yep, that’s me in glasses!

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And here I’m standing right by the bed loft area. The reflective ceiling really helps to add light. The camera I’ve been using is on my Kindle Fire, and has no flash. All the pictures pretty much reflect the actual light inside. You can also see the baskets I’ve found to store things on the shelves, and the cool closet curtains. I still need to find baskets to fit the upper shelves.

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Have Fun While You Work Towards The Future You Desire

The ankle feels mostly better, and the shoulder no longer feels like it’s partially detached (at least not most of the time), so I think it’s healing too.  Been taking brisk walks with my pup Hank to get some exercise and fresh air, and to look at how other people make their homes “homey”.  Just to get new ideas.  I love to think and plan how my place will look, and to consider different setups for the exterior gardens and such.  The town I live in has one of the most progressive colleges in the States ~ The Evergreen State College ~ and the students (“Greeners”) tend to live an interesting mixture of wholesome and anything-goes living.  There are a lot of front-yard food gardens, chickens, rabbits for meat, and DIY projects for simple or even off-grid living.

So, I enjoy looking at what other folk are doing.

Given that the snow levels on my property get to an easy 4-plus feet, being able to get around to do chores easily is high on my list of priorities.  Plus, living in such a small space while potentially snowed-in and unable to get to civilization for weeks on end mean I need to plan for cabin fever.  Luckily I love reading and have a guitar I am slowly learning to play, and like to do lots of fiddly little crafts like jewelry making.  Oh, and never forget gaming.  Love a good pc or console game.

Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve been sketching out ideas for where/how to set up a greenhouse or two, the enclosures I’ll need for my rabbits and chickens, and of course, my horse and the few sheep I plan to raise.  I’m thinking about essential stuff like where will the compost pile be?  Where will the outhouse be?  How will I get to the different animals easily so as to care for them in inclement weather?  Now that Oliver’s Nest design is fairly set, it’s been fun to turn to these other puzzles.

So, I’m keeping myself entertained while healing up and waiting for good building weather to roll around again.  I missed my deadline this year, but next year will do just fine.

Peace to everyone.

A Response To A Thought-Provoking Post

Over at a Laptop And A Rifle,  there is a very interesting post about the death/avoidance of adulthood.  I was inspired to write a response that is practically a treatise, and thought I’d post it here as well.  It sums up much of why I’m on this journey.  The link is to his post:

http://laptopandarifle.com/2014/10/14/thoughts-on-the-death-or-avoidance-of-adulthood/#comment-3521

And here is my response:

Fascinating. I have often thought of how I’m not “grown-up”, even though I’m in my late 40’s. I think I straddle the two generations ~ the one that valued stability and family over all else, and the one that values freedom of action and thought, even while battling a system that nearly guarantees financial failure. It’s an interesting view.

Unlike you, my childhood taught me to think for myself, but at the same time to fear non-conformity. To quite an extent, I raised myself (latchkey kid) in a time when that was rare. I suppose our parent’s desire/need to take care of us financially in an economic down-turn was the breaking point for the next generation ~ we grew up watching them struggle, both parents often working while we stayed home alone, seeing the difficulty and sadness of that life.

I am building a Tiny Home on a trailer to tow to my own property in the wilderness, miles from even the tiniest township. I know this decision scares my 25 year old son, but also impresses him with the idea of choice. There is a purpose right there. I want to live lightly on my property, therefor leading by example. It don’t plan to do much more than care for my 20 acres ~ thinning out stands of trees that were planted for lumber then neglected, for example, to allow them to grow more healthy. There is another purpose.

I too would love to meet someone compatible and live with love in my life, but so far I haven’t met anyone who can both cope with my mental health disorder and live the type of life I desire. Even one of those stipulations is hard enough! Instead, I plan on inviting someone to live on my property in their own little home. This is to continue learning how to be comfortable with other people and to have support and help when needed (and give it, of course). That’s yet another purpose.

Maybe I don’t live like a typical “adult”, but I think my life plans are worthwhile and meaningful, which is a good definition of acting mature.

Parker

Wow, Oliver’s Nest Is Looking Like A House!

Well, the building felt is going up, and it’s doing a bang-up job hiding the ugly sheathing.  Makes me quite happy.  I have to dig out my stapler/brad nailer thingy to finish off the edges.  I’m going to tape all the seams and cover the nails for extra water protection.  Once again I’m unable to do a “best practice” job, because no way can one person hold the roll, unwind it, keep it from crumpling or ripping, and nail it straight alone!  But with shorter pieces, well layered, I (hope) think the felt will do it’s job and shed water.

Here’s what things look like tonight ~

First the excess wood was trimmed off the bottom all the way around.

First the excess wood was trimmed off the bottom all the way around.

I don’t think I ever explained what the huge opening over the wheels on the south side is for.  Originally it was to access the water tank salvaged from the trailer (it’s tucked under Oliver’s Nest for safekeeping), but I’ve changed my mind and now the solar stuff like batteries will be housed there.  Access to them will be from outside through this space.

The paper has handy lines on it which help tremendously with keeping the paper straight.

The paper has handy lines on it which help tremendously with keeping the paper straight.

I’m not sure how to handle the window and door areas, so left them nailed but not taped.  For now, getting the paper up and nailed securely is my goal.  I don’t care if there are loose ends flapping in the openings.  They will get figured out.

Another view of the mound of wool.  It's almost dry!!!!

Another view of the mound of wool. It’s almost dry!!!!

I think I’ll be able to replace the sub-floor within the next few days.  I can’t wait to be able to walk and dream inside again!  This seems uanreal to me…that I’m actually BUILDING MY OWN HOME!!!!

The Drama Is Over ~ The Sheathing Is Up.

The last bit of sheathing on the northern side only took four hours to put on.  I felt so much relief to have it finished!     I think this last bit looks pretty good.  Had to sit down and drink a blueberry beer to celebrate.

 

Sheathing up all around!

Sheathing up all around!

Look at that sad and lonely little window.  It’s the only window on the north side because I’m trying for passive solar, but it is so plain on this side!  I’m worried about making the exterior look good.

The floor is now totally ripped up to allow all the pooled up moisture to evaporate.  I know what mistake I made ~ I shouldn’t have layered the rigid insulation over the wool.  It kept the water that leaked in from the exposed edges from having a way to dry.  I should have known to trust the wool ~ after all, it’s ability to drain and dry and stay great is well known.

So it’s all out now, and there is an immense pile of mostly dry, fluffy wool that has taken over Oliver’s Nest.  It looks like a herd of sheep exploded in there ~ in fact, there is more insulation than floor now.  I think all the fluffing has expanded it greatly.  I wonder if I was supposed to fluff if this much before I put it in?  That would explain why there didn’t seem to be enough wool left for the rest of the house…I just put way too much into the floor.   I’ll have to start stuffing stud spaces where no wiring or plumbing will go to handle the overflow.

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Mid-excavation. The wool hasn’t expanded to it’s full potential yet..

I took the day off today to rest my knee again.  It was really hurting by the end of the day Thursday, I’m not sure why.  It feels better now, here at 1:45 am, so it looks like I’ll be able to get started on hanging the felt paper.  I’ve read how-tos online and watched videos, so hopefully this will go smoothly.  It is recommended that you have two people work on putting up the wrap so it will be tight and secure, but with my house being so small, it might be OK.  We’ll see.

Plywood Sheathing Almost Complete

Once again I change my plans.  I’m free to do so as no-one else is inconvenienced by it. 🙂

I was going to skip hanging the building felt paper altogether.  I forgot, though, what my favorite website Building Science has to say:

“The drainage plane in this assembly is the building paper or building wrap. The air barrier can be any of the following: the interior gypsum board, the exterior stucco rendering, the exterior sheathing or the exterior building wrap.”

Since Oliver’s Nest will live in a very cold climate, the air barrier should be to the inside and  latex-painted barn board attached to thin plywood will serve that function.

(Quote and pictures copied from from  http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-106-understanding-vapor-barriers)

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In Oliver’s Nest, substitute ceder siding and metal roof panels for the painted stucco with paper bond break.  They act similarly.  Then the thin rigid foam panels, which were going to serve as the drain field.  But the author recommends building paper (ah-ha!) as the drain field.  Then, plywood sheathing and the wool inside the wood stud cavity.  On the interior of the wall will be a very thin layer of plywood and latex-painted wood boards (fastened to the thin plywood), which act like the “Kraft facing on a fiberglass batt or a “smart vapor barrier membrane” combined with the latex-painted gypsum board.  I researched and it’s a very fine substitute. The big change is that my drain field *was* going to be the water-impermeable rigid foam panels, instead of the more water-permeable building felt.  This change allows a much easier exit for water vapor inside the wall assembly.  It’s important.  I’m glad I caught it.

As the rigid foam panels I have are very thin at a quarter inch, my walls are more like the above than the below illustration:

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If I were able to use much thicker foam insulation, I would go with the above design, but I’m limited by house width and (mostly) financial constraints.  If I had the funds, I’d go wide.  After all, the roof is almost 10 feet across.  In fact, now I’m wondering whether to use the foam panels at all, as they won’t provide a thermal break as much as the drain field does, rendering them pretty much unhelpful.  They are a process I think I can safely skip.  Very nice.  I have a future project on my property that they were originally intended for anyway.

I went ahead and finished with the plywood sheathing across the South side.  It ended up looking like this:

Yeah, there are wider gaps...I know.

Yeah, there are wide gaps…I know.

Ugly but functional.  Now just the upper part of the North side and I can go forward with the building felt.  I had a couple rolls from the Restore that got wet in a sideways rain storm, so went back and got a couple more for $5 each.  Not happy that the originals got ruined, but so it goes when you don’t have an indoor space to build and store supplies.  I’d recommend one.
Based on my past performance, it’ll take a couple to three days to finish getting up the plywood.  I have no idea how long hanging the building felt will take. Hopefully not more than a couple days.  We’ll see!

Oh! And the wool?  It’s drying so fast that I’m fluffing a couple times a day instead of every couple days, so the whole process is going super quick.  It’s looking like I won’t need the dehumidifier.  Unless it starts raining again before I get this baby weather-tight.  My poor knee.

Taking a break

My knee kneeds (hee) some time to heal, so now that the roof is mostly on, I’m going to stop working for a little while.  My doctor had told me to stay off of it for a couple months and knit or something, but I just couldn’t til now.  Weather and building a house trumps comfort sometimes.  It’s apparent in the photos how the edges are still loose ~ I have a fascia idea I want to try still before it all gets affixed.

EPDM sealed down except at the edges.

EPDM sealed down except at the edges.

A LOT of my rabbits got free from a hidden burrow of their pen.  They like to come down and hang out with me.  Please ignore the drying laundry, LOL. Seriously, this is long-term camping these days, complete with wee beasties at my door.

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What’s up?

 

I got the underlayment cut out on half the interior and made some interesting observations.  First off, it definitely looks like a more recent water incursion (thank goodness).  I’m sure that it got wet this past spring after I took off the tarp ~ I should have waited for drier weather.  It’s hard to know in these parts when that’ll happen, though.  The tarp I had over the floor didn’t cut it, and leaked around the edges (I’m guessing).

The underlayment underside, showing how the water got in at the edges.

The underlayment underside, showing how the water got in at the edges.

The house appears to have settle slightly to one end and more slightly to one side.  The great part about that is the water settled there, too.  Well, mostly.  The puddle was there, but higher parts were damp to quite wet.  I cut down through the layers to the insulation, and removed some sections of it to dry and to allow the structure to dry.  I just stir the wool up every couple days to help it.  The wood is all ok, even the parts that were somewhat underwater.  It’s drying out well.

Because of an oddity to my joist design, most of them weren’t even wet.  I used a sort of box idea to hold the wool and built it 6 inches deep.  To allow a thermal break, I only hung 2x4s for the joists, leaving a space between the bottom of them and the floor of the box.  This worked well except in the middle of the house, where I didn’t get them fastened in tightly and securely enough (springy floor!).  I haven’t decided whether to wait until everything is dry to fix that or if I should just go ahead and pull that part out now and redo it.  It will hasten the drying if I do it now, perhaps.

The rigid insulation is holding up well, even wet.  It’s drying too.

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Rigid foam board under the wool revealed to allow it to dry.

Plywood underlayment cut and pulled off to expose the wet wool.

Plywood underlayment cut and pulled off to expose the wet wool.

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Wool is wet and still fluffy! The space below the floor joist is visible in this picture, too.

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The brown is just sawdust from cutting the plywood. On the left is a joist and rigid foam boards underneath.

 

The wool is the most interesting part.  One of the many reasons I choose to use it was due to it’s high insulating value even when wet.  It is still fluffy and thick and has no mold or weird smell.  It’s wet as a sponge in parts though, and I might need rent a commercial size dehumidifier to completely get it all dry, after the house is closed up.  I think I’ll do that even if it all “looks dry”….just to be safe.

So the floor is all torn up, but is fixable.  I admit to being scared to cut into it, afraid of what I’d find.  It’ll just take time and a bit of work, and nothing terribly complicated.  It’ll be nice to have a solid floor everywhere. 🙂

While that all is drying, I’ll finish hanging the wall sheathing, and then hang the rigid foam insulation on the outside of that.  It’s super light, so that part should go quickly.  I have some rigid foam glue that I’ll use at the corners of the building, and I’ll nail it up all over with these special nails with plastic washer-things I got at the ReStore.  I do not intend to use building paper as originally planned, as I want the entire wall assembly to be able to breathe to the outside.  Instead, I’ll just have the plywood sheathing, then the rigid foam boards, then some blocking for a rain screen effect, then the siding.  To allow wetness out at the bottom of the wall assembly there will be a small gap around the entire house, which I’m thinking to cover with a wire mesh.  The last thing I want is mice or other critters to get up in there!  I found a big roll of wire mesh at the ReStore the other day, enough for the whole house and only $10.  I’ll have to figure out a way to securely attach it to both the inner, foam and plywood section and the outer, sheathing section without it showing.

After all that, I guess the next part is weather-sealing the door and window openings, then installing them.  After that the house will be officially “dried in” and that’s when I’ll rent the dehumidifier to finish the floor.  The weather should hold reasonably well through the end of September (fingers crossed), which gives me a little time….I just want to get my knee to a less pained state and hopefully get it healed enough.  Living alone on a mountain will be challenging enough without being lame, LOL.

OK, off to play some Civ 5 or something!