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Under Construction: Build in progress for a Tiny House Christmas
A tiny house progress journal
I know... it’s been a good while since my last blog update. But I’m excited to be back at the QWERTY, sharing the next chapter in our ongoing adventure of constructing a smallish dwelling with you – just in time for (all going to plan) our first Tiny House Christmas. Exciting developments are afoot: the builder's deposit has been paid, the trailer construction is progressing, and the windows and doors are currently in production. Even a shipping crate awaits the completion of our window order in China, ready for its journey across the high seas to reach us Down Under in late September.
Yes, friends, the tiny house-build wheels are finally in motion!
This time last year, we had the keenest of intentions to be parked and living in our tiny by now, but then came along a client who wanted every building detail to be mulled relentlessly over to ensure a bruise-free living space, architect-wannabe specification of materials and most importantly, optimal positioning of the (my) outdoor shower. The delay feels more than worth the investment. This little luxe shed will be providing us with many unforgettable life experiences – so that couch/day/night bed needs to be 6-star comfy, those stairs spaced just enough to avoid the midnight bathroom run tumble, and the shower under the stars be every bit as wonderful as it’s planned to be (Can you tell it’s an important inclusion?).
We’ve been working with talented building designer Sam Bell from Bellhaus this year. He has transformed our 2D conceptual drawings into professional builder’s plans with pinpoint accuracy, bringing much-needed expertise to the design process. I thought our builders would be slightly thrown with all the detail, but it has been warmly welcomed. We’ve minimised any construction guesswork by providing a millimetre-accurate roadmap.
As some of you would have experienced, countless hours of conversations, research and rethinking go into creating a new living space—more than you could ever imagine. I’m unsure if planning tiny builds requires the same time and energy as needed for a larger dwelling. Still, I’m sure the work we’ve done to date is a decent slice of a more traditional house design… just squashed into a little box on wheels with no formal building code to stick to!
I spoke to our builder last night. He’s committed to having us parked this November, just in time to celebrate that first off-grid, composting toilet-loving Christmas (Loving, as long as that ventilation fan keeps humming). To say that’s slightly exciting is an understatement. Adriano and I are like little kids in a lolly shop.
There’s a load to do in the next few months, including procurement of all house fittings and, importantly, finding our dream north-facing parking spot with endless vistas around 60mins from Melbourne. We’re actively circulating our website and flyer on community noticeboards, Facebook Groups and amongst friends. If you have or know someone with space, please drop me a line! We’ll also annoy our builder with regular Gippsland drop-ins to see how the construction is progressing.
Thanks for sticking with me, and I’ll be back in the next few weeks with a progress update as the months are going to fly. In the meantime, here are a few learned tips.
A few tips for budding Tiny House builders
Be clear on your living space requirements from the word go. All design decisions will stem from this all-important starting line.
Write a ‘day in your tiny life’ plan, from sitting up in bed in the morning to gaze out the window, without banging your head for a cuppa, to having somewhere to put your reading a book, to where you put the rubbish when cooking, or store your winter jacket and boots when coming in from the rain. Try not to miss a second!
Ask experts and ‘people who’ve been there before’ lots of questions about building materials, space flow, storage and room positioning to ensure they are fit for purpose. Facebook Groups are excellent for this kind of support as the tiny house community is loyal, supportive and not short of opinion!
You have virtual earthquakes and tornadoes to deal with when transporting your home from builder to final destination, plus it will be exposed to the full force of Mother Nature when parked. Be open to less traditional material specifications to meet weight requirements and durability to ensure the longevity of your home.
Love your design but be open to change. The first idea is rarely ever the best one.
Be patient… there will be plenty of lesson-learning bumps in the road.
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