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Tiny House: Presentation 

11 Jul

Being apart of the Tiny House community has opened me up to two really cool outreach opportunities. 

The first was taking part in a survey of questions for a dissertation someone was writing, they found me through this very blog, and the second was being asked to do a presentation for the Dover Public Librarys’ Tiny House Series. 

I was absolutely flattered when I was asked to be apart of this series. I was told about 65 people had signed up to hear my presentation and when I got there over 100 had come; we had to find more chairs!

I presented before and after photos showing every step of the renovation process and I talked about what it has been like living tiny. The audience asked a lot of questions and I had an absolute blast answering them and talking to everyone about my journey! 

My family sat in the back and live streamed the presentation to Facebook watch it here: Live Stream of Tiny House Presentation and to see the presentation click here: My Tiny House Presentation Slides

The Christmas Card 

16 Dec

15326351_10104927238232114_9134524054777893964_nI’ll start off by admitting I did not want to do a personalized Christmas card. Those are for families and people with babies…not single girls. That’s awkward. But my best friend talked me into it by saying it would be fun, people would love it, and “you live an amazing life in Florida show it off!”

So to continue on my path of “brave, proud, single life”, I sent out 15 personalized Christmas cards. My best friend and her husband took the picture for the card and I created them on Shutterfly; I love that website so much. I buy way too much from them.

At first the plan was to take the picture with the Scooby Shack… but I couldn’t think of a way to take the picture that wouldn’t look exceptionally awkward, as well as have other people an their homes in the background. Ultimately we decided to take the pictures at the beach and the they turned out awesome! The water was a beautiful shade of aqua that day and I wore a great Lilly Pulitzer dress.

img_0791For the card itself I decided to add some intentional “funny” to the body of my card by adding the chorus lyrics to “Single Bells”. On the front I put “Seas & Greetings”. I even made the envelopes special by coloring a large monogram of everyone’s last initial on the front, a snowflake on the back, as well as matching address labels I ordered from Shutterfly. 

It’s funny how there are just some things in our society we don’t do because of social convention, seriously it’s just a Christmas card. But it’s not the norm. All of the Shutterfly examples used to showcase the different styles were of parents with their children, and a few young couples. Our society really sends mixed messages about “single life”. For the most part it is glamorized, exaggerated and celebrated by the entertainment industry. But when it comes to product sales relationships and families are hailed.

The small group of close friends and family I sent the cards to all seemed to enjoy them. I sure would love to know the reaction of the person who printed my cards… I wonder if they thought they were funny, clever, or strange?

 

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Tiny House: Paint Job

19 Nov

492d9c5e-6a6f-4944-a760-f60bbdc6653bA lot of time and energy was spent on the inside of my Scooby Shack, and it is beautiful.

However the first thing I said when I saw the camper, so many months ago now, was that the red stripes had to go. Until recently I didn’t have the time to make that happen.

A quick trip to the hardware store for paint color options started the process. Since the inside was whites, grays, and blues I wanted to go with a blue for the strip. I spent a week looking at shades of blue before I finally landed on a trio of beachy aquas.

Supplies

Supplies

I purchased a high quality quick dry oil based outdoor primer that accepted all types of paint on top of it. I purchased the highest quality outdoor water based paint for the trio of aqua blues.

I purchased rolls of painters tape that I ended up not using and returning; I was able to flow the lines and grooves of the siding. I also purchased a sponge brush that was a mistake. Fell apart. Had to go and buy a regular brush when I returned the tape.

So far the color is holding up nicely to the sun and rain. Just changing the old razed red with fresh blue made all the difference! It easily took 15/20 years off the appearance. I’m very happy with my color choice.

Overall I spent under $100 and eight hours for a major curb-appeal improvement! I also took the time to paint over the old logo stickers and added a fun decal that reads: “not all who wonder are lost -JRR Tolkien”

Before

Before

After

After

From the back

From the back

Tiny House; Tiny Bread 

27 Oct

It’s difficult to buy groceries when you live alone. You either waste a lot of food or eat a lot of food that is bad for you to avoid wasting it.

I stopped buying bread over a year ago for that very reason…but I miss bread, I love, love, love it.

My solution: I found a little Pyrex loaf pan in my moms endless cabinets of kitchen gadgets. She makes homemade bread a lot from frozen bread dough and it is delicious so I thought that this would work the same just on a smaller scale.

I bought a bag of dinner roll dough, same thing my mom uses just smaller portion. I mashed 3 of them together, let it rise, and bake! Makes about 3 or 4 sandwiches worth of bread, I’m not wasting anything, and I’m eating less bread because it makes a mini sandwich!

Tiny House: Floor Rehab 

13 Aug
New floor going in.

New floor going in.

The floor in the camper wasn’t terrible, it was just cheap stick on squares. That’s fine for a part-time camper. Since I’ll be living in it for at least 8 months I want it to look really beautiful, and thinking down the road to resale nice floors are going to help get a higher price.

To start everything need to be off the floor. All tools, furniture, use a shop-vac to get it nice and clean because you’ll be down on your knees to get the old flooring ripped up off of it.

I used a pry-bar and a utility knife. The knife to cut along seams and edges and the pry-bar to slowly lift the floor off the wood sub-floor.

In this camper, at some point, someone put 12×12 squares over top of the original which was one big piece. Everything came up pretty easily, the only thing left was a thin layer of paper from the back of the original floor…I’ll be honest getting this off was a major pain, ultimately it will produce a better finished product.

I’m now all ready for the beautiful new floor, which is a vinyl plank wood look in a gray tone. This is adhered with special glue. Make sure and run your lines to follow the longest direction to help make the space feel larger. Work from the middle out, staggering your end lines.

The Tiny House: Replacing Rotten Floor

26 Jul

I purchased the camper for an incredible price, so when I discovered the bedroom floor in the back was soft I didn’t get too worked up about it.

Once I had the bed removed it became clear the floor was gone; there was no where solid to stand. This was a project I would definitely need my dad for.

I keep making progress on the rest of the camper, totally avoiding the back until my dad had a day off work and we could get to it. We took a little time one day to get the floor cut out, the insulation pulled out, and all the flaking destroyed floor and jousts removed.

I then sat up a fan and let it blow back there for a few days. Clearly the back camper had major water damage and we wanted to make sure it was bone dry before we did anything to it.

If you’re going to do this make sure to leave the thick plastic sheeting alone and undamaged that’s there for a reason you’ll need to pull the staples to get it off the old joists then once you’re done rests plenty to the new.

We just spend the last two days finishing up the removal of the old floor. We also removed all the extra storage doors so we could get to everything and then we jacked the camper walls up off the frame a couple of inches.

We replaced all the base supportive joists as well as ran all new center floor joists. We bolted them to the frame and used metal plates to screw all the floor joists together for added weight distribution and strength.

Sounds easy but it took a very long time and was a ton of work. But totally worth it because now we know for certain everything is solid in excellent condition.

Speaking of condition…pretty sure a busted water heater was to blame for the floors so I got on Amazon and purchased a new Eco tankless water heater for $165. It’s small but rated for RVs so it will work out perfect!

Getting started cutting out the old rotten floor.

Getting started cutting out the old rotten floor.

This is a daunting project.

This is a daunting project.

This is some serious damage. The floor just flakes!

This is some serious damage. The floor just flakes!

camper jacked up off the frame a little bit.

camper jacked up off the frame a little bit.

Starting to get it cleaned out. That old floor just disintegrated!

Starting to get it cleaned out. That old floor just disintegrated!

This is the plastic i mentioned you needed to keep unharmed.

This is the plastic i mentioned you needed to keep unharmed.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

The light at the end of the tunnel.

New floor coming along!

New floor coming along!

Floor done! Now we need to get the siding and doors back on, and replace the ruined walls on the inside.

Floor done! Now we need to get the siding and doors back on, and replace the ruined walls on the inside.

The Tiny House: Cabinet Painting 

23 Jul

My camper is a variety of ugly fake wood tones. Not my preference what-so-ever. I want to feel at home in this camper because it will be my home for a while. I refuse to look at ugly fake wood cabinets while I live there.

The only cost-effective option is to paint the cabinets. I decided to paint them white to help make the small space feel more open. Now the most cost-effective way is to brush paint the cabinets. A gallon of good paint is less than $30. I am -major understatement here- really bad at brush painting.

Even though its significantly more expensive I decided to spray paint the cabinets. Spray paint now includes the primer and is effective in covering wood, metal, and plastic. As well as covering more neatly. They also make outdoor paints that would be more durable.

You will need painters tape, I’m not done yet and I’ve used an entire roll so buy two. You could also buy sandpaper to rough up the cabinets before you paint them.

To start you will want to clean all the walls and cabinets. And let them dry before you tape off everything you don’t want paint to get on, newspaper is great for covering large areas.

You will also need to take off all hardware; hinges, knobs, any curtains and curtain hooks, any random screws in the walls…strip everything out that will get in your way later.

Before and after pictures to come, stay tuned.

The Tiny House: Demolition 

20 Jul

To get the renovation process started on my camper I cleaned out anything left by the previous owner and tossed everything out the door and into a pile.

Next I started to rip out any of the furniture I wasn’t planning on keeping, or that I am going to redo some how. This included the bed that is a full size (I have a new, very nice, expensive queen) and it is poorly placed to fully take advantage of the space.

I also unbolted the couch combo with fold-out-bed from the floor as I have plans to get it upholstered with a beautiful and comfortable material. I also took out the entire bench/table set because it is so large. That space will be put to better use with custom shelving and desk set.

Finally I took down all the boxes on top of the windows. These were used to hide the brackets that housed the blinds.

The biggest thing that I learned from doing demo on a camper is the amount of screws used to hold everything together. Seriously…soooo many screws! And the bed was massive as well as very heavy. Even with all the screws out of it I still couldn’t get it out of the camper so I finally used a saws-all to hack it into pieces.

Now that everything is out of the camper it is time to move onto the next step in the renovation process; Painting!

The Tiny House: Delivery 

15 Jul

The journey to joining the “Tiny House Movement” has just overcome the next hurdle.  With the decision made to go with a specific camper, then able to locate a camper that fit those requirements (big thank you to my cousin Caitlin for finding it!) the time has come to move to the next step!

Last night the previous owner, a gentleman out of West Virginia by the name of Hatfield let’s pause for a second here an appreciate the historic Hatfield and McCoy family feud- dropped off the camper at an Amish neighbor of ours then pulled the camper down the street to our house with his tractor.

Our driveway is very steep and the truck we have wouldn’t be able to pull it up the driveway. Something to keep in mind while you’re looking or thinking about a tiny house for yourself: how are you going to move it?

Check out this short video of my “tiny house” coming home where it will now begin the transformation from dated utility camper to comfortable beach inspired home away from home.

The Tiny House: Search

13 Jul

While initially I wanted to build a tiny house, cost and time steered me to the camper option. Once I decided I wanted a camper I started to do research.

31da558a105e9b7aca3fffe0d4f3b28cThere are a lot of options out there:

  • Pop-up camper- easy to haul but too temporary.
  • 5th wheel- great space but requires special equipment in the bed of a heavy-duty truck to transport.
  • Pull behind trailer- the best option as far as being better for full-time living and for transport.

Once I decided on a pull behind I needed to narrow down more options:

  • Length- anywhere from 14-36 feet..ultimately I decided I really didn’t need larger than 22 feet. It’s just going to be me the majority of the time so I didn’t need anything huge.
  • Slide outs- the extra space is nice but the possibility of the slides leaking wasn’t worth it.
  • Age- I could buy a new camper that would have a warranty, but with that also comes a large price. Lets be real: if a car doesn’t hold its value after you drive it off the lot what do you think will happen to a 10k-35k camper? So I decided I was okay with an older camper because once they get to about 10 years old or so they hold their value at 2k.
  • Price- I did not want to spend more than 5k and really I would rather be under 3k which at that price I’d be spending as much as I would on first, last and deposit to get an apartment. With the camper at the end of the day I would own something and I wouldn’t be tied down with a lease.

Once I decided I wanted 22ft. and under, no slide-outs, under 5k, and 10+ years old I needed to start looking:

  • Online at retail stores- such as camping world, I found a couple of interesting options and went out and walked around a few with my mom and nephew. Walking around them really helped narrow down the search to include not being smaller than 18ft. Looking at them in person I decided new was just not for me; I wanted to be able to update and make the space my own.
  • Craig’s List- since I wanted an older camper this was an obvious choice to check out, and I did find a couple but that just makes me too nervous, you don’t know who you’re talking to… so I stopped looking there.
  • Newspapers- I found several great campers for sale in the newspaper.
  • Facebook- I reached out to friends who might know of campers for sale, found several that way. I also joined local garage and resale groups for my area where I found several more options.

Overall search where you feel comfortable, and give yourself time to look so you don’t feel pressure and urgency to make a decision.