The New Old Interier Layout

North Facing Wall

Only one window in this wall as it will face North

After posting those interior sketches a few days ago, it struck me that I didn’t want a bathtub in my kitchen.  If it had remained a stock tank*, that would be ok, but not a “real” bath tub.  Yes, I’m going to have an actual real live bathtub in my house!  It’s 24″ by 40″ and is deeper than that stock tank.  It fits perfectly.

Don’t bother wondering why a big, black, rubber tub would be more acceptable to me in the kitchen – I’m just odd like that.  Anyway, with the decision to go with a real tub, I needed to revisit my original plan to have a separated bathroom area.

The problem I’d previously run into was how to get into the loft area without using a ladder.  I really don’t want a ladder.  It isn’t attractive, it requires more dexterity than I command in the middle of the night, and my cats wouldn’t like using it.  Can’t sleep without the kitties, you know. 🙂  The only way I’d devised meant moving the bathing area forward to the kitchen….

I think what I’ve come up with is terrific.  It’s hard to see how it works on the sketch, but basically, each step will have a rise and run of one foot, and be between one and a half and two feet wide.  So, steep but totally useable.  The stair will sort of twist around so you do a 180 when climbing.  The space below each step can be used to store things, and I’m really excited about having a utility closet under the highest step!

South Facing Wall

Multiple windows for passive solar benefits

There is still plenty of storage all over the place.  I like the flow of this plan.  I like that I’ll be able to separate the bathing/closet area off from the kitchen and lounge area.  I like that nothing obstructs any of the windows.  I like that I can have a sink at a useful height in the kitchen.

See that open space under the counter by the sink on the South side?  I’ll wall off that area for the batteries, inverter, and whatever else needed for a solar power setup.  Access to it from the outside.

The cats’ litter box will have it’s own home in an alcove of the 7 foot wide closet.  Above it, accessible from inside the closet, will be shelves for my motorcycle gear, shoes, and whatnot.  The rolling cart can live by the lower clothing bar, and has a handy butcher block top, and lots of pull-out shelving to hold random stuff for the kitchen.

I should mention that there will be a separate bathroom built outside, with a sawdust toilet and shower.  Therefor, I have no built-in space for a toilet in Oliver’s Nest.  If there’s need, I can bring a sawdust toilet inside with a Luggable Loo and store it under the stairs.  I currently live with an outhouse, no toilet inside, so I’m used to it and it’s been no problem at all.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 2014-02-28 12.33.40Thought I’d throw in a current picture of Oliver’s Nest, and of dorky ol’ me.  Actually, it’s not exactly current, as last night’s windstorm blew the tarp off the house.  Yay!


If anyone reads this, and has suggestions, comments or questions, please feel free to do so!




*My horse has been enjoying the use of the stock tank for her water, and I’ve enjoyed the face that she can’t knock it over when stepping into it to drink.  Yeah, Gaia actually stands in her water to drink, making a lovely, muddy mess that needs dumping daily.

Why am I having this trouble?

Drawn up a new set of plans.  They are much closer to my original plans for the interior, and will work a bit better than the ones I recently posted.  I’ll put them up here soon, but have other work that is more pressing.

I have started physically working on Oliver’s Nest again this past week, the first time in a year (embarrassing but true). The first day went great! I’m currently affixing hurricane straps and other metal “hold down” bits to the framing. My new cordless Makita drill helped me power through perhaps half of the job, and I’m in love with it! Small, so it fits in my hands easily, and lightweight, yet packs a nice punch to those wayward screws.

However. The second and third day of work, the screws revolted and won the battle against being placed securely. They would only go in partway, then spin like I was going through knots, even on clear lumber.  What the heck?

It’s been raining off and on.  I’m wondering if rain-soaked wood is harder to drill into?

Argh.  I’m off to do battle again.  I WILL live in this home by the end of 2014. 

“100 Things” and Oliver’s Nest Interior Plan

I am going to discuss the 100 Things Challenge,  a popular topic among Tiny Housers.  If you haven’t heard of it, the idea is to reach the goal of owning 100 items or less.  How you decide to count is up to you – some people count each. item. individually. and some group like objects (like clothing, or bedding).

I’m not fully on board.

See, I wish to live more lightly upon this earth through using fewer resources and by eating mostly local, in-season foods, among other things.  I raise some of my own food with plans to raise nearly all of my own food eventually, mostly own used clothing, tools,  and other non-consumables, and live by reduce/reuse/recycle in that order.  But because I don’t own only the (arbitrary) proper number of 100 Things, I’m told that I’m “not doing it right”.   Hmmm.

I raise animals, and I need tools to do that.  Not just rakes and shovels and such, but also first aid supplies, food and water containers, bedding, and clothing appropriate for working around the critters.  I like to cook from scratch, so I need a more completely equipped kitchen than someone who mostly heats up prepared foods.  I am building not only a Tiny Home, but a future for myself off-grid on raw land, and need lots of different kinds of tools – and supplies to care for them like sharpeners and oils, and racks and containers to organize them.  I have several hobbies that involve keeping lots of stuff handy, like sewing, jewelry making, candle making, gaming, riding (horses, my scooter, bicycles)…..  Let’s see, I need multiple medications and health supplies…. See what is happening? The number 100 is long gone by the end of my list!

I have a list of items I want inside my home with me.   I have a limited amount of space to keep them.  Logic tells me that I’d better make sure I have room for everything.  So I made a list and numbered each thing (or group of things, if more appropriate), and then wrote the numbers onto my interior plan.  It has helped me know where I need to allocate more space, and where I can minimize.  It also changed what I had thought to keep inside, as it became clear there isn’t enough room for everything I would like.  My animal first aid supplies will have to be kept in the barn.  I won’t be able to have all of my books in the house at the same time.  Same goes for crafts and games.  That’s ok though.  I need a barn anyway, as well as a shop, a root cellar, and an equipment shed!  Yikes!

Anyway, here is the interior design I’ve come up with.  It might change, but it’s looking good so far to me 🙂

Oliver's Nest West Interior

Oliver's Nest East Interior
The pink thing in the upper sketch is the built-in couch.  Every square equals 1/2 a foot.  The interior dimensions are 19ft by 7ft.  I’m short, so the loft is at 6 1/2 ft height.  There will be 2 sets of doors – a narrow one on the hitch end, and french doors on the other end.  Eventually I’ll have a wood burning cooking stove, but for now I have electricity so use a space heater.  I have an alcohol stove for cooking.

I’ve started working on Oliver’s Nest again!   Woohoo for me!

I’m Baaaaack (Kinda)!

Well, not really, not yet.  But soon!

So, I tried to learn how to use Sketchup and failed. Dang, it would be nice to use, and being as I’m a reasonably intelligent person, I thought I’d pick it up quickly.  But nope!  It’s back to good ol’ fashion grid paper for me.  I like the pencil and paper thing anyway, but it just doesn’t photograph well enough to post here.  I’d love feedback on my design so maybe I’ll keep playing around with Sketchup, or some other 3D program.  Or get a better camera (someday) so the graph paper drawings show up more clearly.

So what HAVE I been doing? 

  • Sold my beloved 1987 Toyota 4Runner to fund more tool buying and building supplies, and to pay off a few little debts.  It hurt to let it go, but honestly, I don’t need it.  I’ve got my sexy green scooter and my He-Man huge old diesel truck.  Mostly during these wet winter days I drive my mother’s little “SUV” Chevy Tracker, hauling hay, grain and my mother around.  She LOVES all the alfalfa leaves in her car, I assure you!
  • Immersed myself in playing The Secret World mmo on my new laptop – A big Thank You to my loved ones who splurged on a new laptop for my B-day/Christmas present!  Whohoo!  This sucker will be coming with me when I move to my property.  Love it!  Gotta have fun, and I’m a gamer for sure (yes, I’m a geek).  Love, love, love it!
  • Moved Gaia (my young mare) to a new paddock to hang out with Hank the cowdog, and started working with her in hand, preparing for next summer when we’ll work on her driving skills.  I won’t be putting her under saddle until the summer of 2015 to give her bones more time to grow and strengthen.   She’s getting tall, Yay!  Definitely looks more like a Quarter Horse than a Belgium.   She’s turning into a lovely girl. 🙂
  • Umm, been studying basic carpentry skills for the upcoming interior work.  I want to build my own cabinets and other built-ins, which takes different skills than house building.  It’s funny how I’m more worried about not being able to build a nice counter than I am about building a sound and stable house!  Wait, that didn’t come out right – I mean, I am confident in my ability to build a safe and strong house, but worried about making it look nice inside.  Thank goodness for all the DIY bloggers out there (especially the female ones) who take the time to write tutorials and draw great how-to sketches!  Thank you muchly!

What else?  Well, I’m super excited about my latest tool, a Makita LXDT04Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver.  I’ve really enjoyed using the cordless Makita tools, and I feel that they are a good investment.  My old, corded drill jams up and is really hard to tighten enough (and then refuses to loosen), which is really frustrating!  Now I’m just waiting for some reasonably dry and not freezing days to try this new bad boy out.  It’s a whole lotta hurricane clips and straps and whatnots, and then on to the sheathing!  I’m going to leave the reworking of the roof trusses for later.  Ugh. 

So, no pictures or progress to show at this time, but my motivation is revving up!  I want Olivers Nest to be liveable by the end of 2014.  Wish me luck, folks!  Happy New Year to everybody!

Another Wrench in the Works aka It’s Always Something

Here it is already almost through June, and nothing, nada, zilch has been done to move my building forward.  I can’t blame working on animal housing this time, no, this time it’s pure an simply money trouble.

My patient mother, who generously lets me stay on her property (way in the back behind the woods in a truck camper), has done something disastrous.  Or perhaps I should say she *hasn’t* done something, which ended in disaster – she hasn’t been paying her property taxes.  For years.  Four years, to be precise.  Now the sh*t has hit the turbo-powered, industrial sized fan, and some has gotten on me.   Nice visual, eh?

When she came to me asking for help, my first reaction was to hurry and get as much of the building done as possible, given I might have to live in it as I can’t afford to rent both an apartment and a place to keep the home.    After looking over her finances in great depth this last couple weeks, I’ve come up with a plan that isn’t quite as painful – I’ve set up her bills automatically and am saving the rest of her income towards paying off the amount owed just before the house goes on the market.  The hitch is she won’t have quite enough saved to cover the whole amount, and no payments are accepted.  So, I’ll save too, and put all the money I have to pay off the balance.

I’m glad I didn’t get the plastic covering off the building, as now it has to protect Oliver’s Nest through another winter.  But, my mother gets to keep her home, and I will still have mine – just later than I planned.

Walls are started and the cabin starts looking like a….home.


18V Makita circular saw


3 nails into each 2×6 at bottom and top

Walls!  This was a very exciting step to take, as it showed the outline of the cabin still to come.  The first picture shows my trusty 18V cordless Makita circular saw that I used to cut the 2 bys to proper lengths.  I have 3 batteries for it so there was never a slow down in cutting – no waiting for batteries to charge.

To make the walls, I nailed together sets of studs connected top and bottom into “boxes” of no more than 4 feet long.  I needed to do this in order to lift them up by myself.  The studs are set at 24″ on center as described in Value Engineering/Advanced Home Building Techniques/Advanced Framing.  This type of building is very appropriate for Tiny Homes as it reduces waste, weight, cost, and difficulty.

That being said, I still ended up with doubled 2x6s every 3 or 4 feet due to the stud “boxes” being set next to each other.  If I hadn’t had to build this way I could have been much more efficient, but….single and short woman here!


A section of wall built before lifting into place.

Hopefully, this picture shows the stud “box” I am talking about – a section of wall about 3 feet long.


This is a whole wall of studs all ready to lift

Here are the studs ready to lift up along the non-window side of the cabin.  I started on this side because it seemed the easiest to frame.  I forgot to mention earlier that I painstakingly worked out a framing diagram so I had all the measurements already figured out.  I’m glad I took the time to do this, as I was able to determine where any extra weight would be placed on the wall and build in extra crossbeams to nail things like counter tops too.  Ok, that sentence is awkward, but hopefully clear enough!


Kitchen window brought home on my wonderful scooter

I thought a picture of the final window I purchased would be nice to show, as I brought it home by scooter.  I brought a lot of my supplies and equipment home this way.  I do have a truck,, but prefer driving the scooter, and enjoy the funny looks on the way home.

Building a new deck on the newly-painted frame

First the frame needed rust removed and to be painted.  I used a rust-bonding paint at first, but it didn’t seem to bond as it should have.  Possibly the damp and cold weather caused the problem, but I soon switched to plain old Rustoleum-type paints.  This stuff worked well, sticking and covering smoothly.


The tires and axles need to be replaced, contrasting markedly with the painted sections.

The tires are rotting, and the brake wiring is cut.  The old axles actually work and are strong, although old.  I will be replacing the tires, and probably the axles in the future.

Once the paint was dry, it was time to start the new build!  This is picture-heavy, as I wanted to record lots of details.   The camera used is pretty old and I apologize for the picture quality.


One of many hauls from the local Restore. I got the whole box for $15. Not visible are 2 unopened boxes of heavy metal strapping, a real find.

Approximately 75% of the metal strapping, fasteners, and whatnot came from a local Restore.  I did some comparisons of what I paid vs. costs at local big box stores, and found I often paid only about 10% of retail.  I checked out the two Restores close to me at least once a week, and usually more often than that.  The gas used was more than offset by the great finds.


I couldn’t afford metal sheathing, plus I have a lot of thin plywood on hand. So, I made this non-load-bearing wood layer to protect the floor insulation.

The underside of this plywood is completely painted with Behr Premium Plus Ultra exterior paint to repel water.  I have 4 gallons from the “oops paint” section of local big box stores that cost $5 each.  I’m not overly worried about not using metal sheathing, as although it makes a superior insect/critter barrier, it is very prone to condensation – and water getting in is my worst nightmare.


Chickens and turkeys are fascinated by the activity, and would often come by to check it out.

It’s never lonely, even when I am alone.  Too bad they can’t give me a hand….


There are requirements for building in the Pacific Northwest, which include a canopy and coffee to fend off weather effects.

My new 10′ by 20′ canopy made it possible to work on the trailer and flooring even in late winter/early spring.  Cost a lot, but I’ll use it for other things after all this is complete.  The 2×6 planks stacked up on the sheathing are for wall framing, and are just sitting there after being unloaded from my little hauling trailer.


Foil-faced rigid foam covers the wood sheathing.

After finishing the screw & glue of the wood sheathing, I filled in the spaces between the 2x’s with 1/4″ rigid foam I had purchased a couple years ago for $6 a bundle.  2 layers worked well, with staggered seams and flexible foam sealant ensuring good protection from water coming up from below.  I want to keep my floor “box” as dry as possible.


Flexible foam fills in spaces inside the box, and silicone-based flexible sealants fill gaps on the weather-exposed sides.

You can’t be too careful with sealing when fighting against water intrusion.  I did a lot of research on the best products to use in each step, paying close attention to chemical interactions.  It’s important to use compatible materials, or your seals will fail.


Wool insulation between joists

So, the order from bottom up is: painted plywood, rigid foam boards gapped with flexible foam, wool insulation, roofing felt (to repel water from above), and another layer of rigid foam, this time taped up with waterproof tape.  So far, so good….


My wool insulation personally delivered by the owner of Oregon Shepherd. See how it all fits into the back of a pickup?

Lovely, lovely stuff, wool.  Go to for facts about this product.  I choose it for obvious reasons:  incredibly effective insulator that only works better over time as it always tries to keep expanding, natural and reasonably local, light-weight, long-lasting, and not as expensive as you’d think.   I can’t recommend Oregon Shepard enough.  Here’s a picture of the owner dropping off my order FOR FREE (free shipping was included in the purchase price, and as she was driving up my direction anyway, she dropped it off personally.  Nice woman.).  Another Tiny Home builder used it too:  Funnily enough, I bought my insulation before knowing other Tiny Homers were using it.  I thought I was the only one!


Next up is the plywood under floor.

I decided to put a layer of rosin paper between the rigid foam and the 3/4″ painted plywood.  It should keep things from squeaking.  No pictures taken, sorry.

Next post will cover some of my wall framing experiences (traumas and triumphs).

Taking the old floor off.

After staring at the heap ‘o junk for several weeks, the next step was getting all the torn down bits off and to the dump, burn pile or re-purpose pile.  NEVER trust a friend’s teenage son to “help” with deconstruction unsupervised, or you too might face this.  I though he was old enough to be responsible….

I had help with the cleaning u, as the mess was simply too cumbersome for me to handle.  What I ended up with was this:


Now to get the old flooring and subfloor off.


Looking much larger without the junk on it.

Nasty, eh?  That’s what happens to old RVs, campers, travel trailers and whatnot after living in the Pacific NW all their lives.  Rot, rust and mold.   Back when I embarked on this project, I determined that my housing would need to be well-insulated for my property on the mountain, and leak-free for while living here.  I knew I’d have to do better than a pre-built home.

Getting the old floor and flashing off:


There was much less rot than I expected – and the wood was much thicker, too!


Now to get that torn up flashing off!

Oh, notice that old barn is now torn down?

Another Tiny House blog for your consideration.

OMG!  What now?

OMG! What now?

Hello and welcome to my little blog.  For my first picture, I decided to show the scariest time so far in my build.

The purpose here is to show my Tiny Home build, now in the final stages of framing.

I’ll post pictures, explanations and observations of the various steps (and setbacks) in separate entries, to make the whole thing easier to follow.

Hopefully there will be something here to help you!

Be smart, be safe, be informed, have fun!