Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mr. Plywood Sells Ship Lap!? Paneling Installation - Part 1

Ship lap has been around for a looooong time....

When we were building My Tiny Empty Nest in 2015, Mark and I tore down an old cottage that had been built on his parent's property in the late 1800's. We carefully "harvested" the ship lap that was used for the walls and then used it on my loft walls.

However, it wasn't until Joanna Gains started featuring ship lap in most of her remodels, that the rest of the decor world caught on to the unique look and easy installation of ship lap.

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For each of my tiny house builds I try to use different materials so I become familiar with the installation and attributes of each type. To make a long story short, if I ever install dry wall again it'll be too soon.

And, at the risk of preempting the conclusion of this article: I LOVE SHIPLAP!!!

Step 1: Decide on a finish or paint color or stain. Whitewashing or painting ship lap all white is a trend that doesn't appear to be waning any time soon. And, while this does cause the space to feel open and bright, I wanted to do something entirely different than everyone else. So, I chose Navy Minwax Stain from Sherwin Williams.  I tried it on a sample piece and although I was nervous it would be too dark, decided to just go for it.  

My Tiny Hideout will be a masculine space, cozy, with flannel curtains, and black floors.  So I knew the look would blend well with the overall theme.


Step 2: Install the ceiling first. I chose plywood for my ceiling and maybe I'll write another blog post someday about why that install was pretty easy and I love the results!  The short story is, if you have Mr. Plywood cut them to size length wise, set the ceiling joists 16 inches on center, and have help to life them into place; there's only a few pieces to the entire project. (not including trim of course)  

Installing the ceiling took my son and I only 2 hours.  Painting, on the other hand, took 4 days due to the very wet weather and the number of coats it took to get the dark paint to cover properly.

To say I am in LOVE with my ceiling would be a gross understatement!

I used my neighbor's garage to paint them BEFORE I installed the ceiling panels.

Step 3: Find a reputable source that can help you measure and estimate your material requirements. For this step I also used Mr. Plywood. I approached Bret with an idea and he ran with it. Not only did he do all the estimating and arranged for delivery, but he also gave me some install tips.

As a side note, using pieces that are 12 - 16 feet long means you'll get much better utilization of materials. So, with that in mind I decided to have the material delivered. The $100 delivery fee was well worth it!  I totally avoided the hassle of loading, strapping the load, sweating on the freeway and hoping something doesn't fall off, and then unloading.

Delivery via Mr. Plywood's fancy new truck!!

Step 4: The first piece is the most important one and will set the tone for the rest of the wall.  So, start at the bottom, and set the first piece on a flat piece of material to ensure proper spacing from the floor. Also, when cutting the boards to length, always cut a hair long to ensure VERY tight seams and work clockwise around the room, finishing one wall entirely from bottom to top, before starting the adjacent / next wall.

You can see here that doing this will also ensure the corner pieces match PERFECTLY!

The first wall was installed and stained before I installed the 2nd wall.
 I REALLY wanted to see the final look before I went too far into the installation process.

Installation of the ship lap in My Tiny Hideout went faster than I thought it would (another reason why I really love it) but this step still took over 2 weeks to complete.

Step 5: You certainly don't have to do it this was but Bret recommended this spacing method to me and I really do like the look.

Use a paint stick between the pieces, on each end of the piece, to add some dimension to the wall. Installing them without a spacer is an option but will yield a wall that is merely flat with horizontal seam lines. It will totally be easier to paint or stain but the look is defiantly more traditional than I would prefer.

Using a paint stick will also, again, help with the corner plank matching and spacing.



Step 6: Paint or stain prior to trim installation. Since I used a gel based stain, I worked in 3 foot x 3 foot sections to stain, wait, then wipe off the excess.  It was pretty hard to control the saturation of the color since it seemed to act differently depending on the weather, humidity, and temperature. And, I also worked on this step for several days so doing small sections at once was really my only option.

Here's a pic of one of the loft walls once the stain was dry.

Next: Installation Part 2 - Paint Touch Up, Window and Door Trim, and Cedar Bathroom Walls Installation














Wednesday, December 19, 2018

My Tiny $1,000 "House" On Wheels

As a manner of practice, every week or so, I go on craigslist randomly and type in “tiny house” just to see the boots-on-the-ground trends for tiny houses. (Or I see what people CALL their “tiny houses” which doesn’t always match my definition….but I digress…)

What I mostly see is people selling shells built atop trailers that cannot bear the weight of the house they built.  Interestingly enough, they hardly EVER mention this in their ad but it is likely that they might not even know or are too embarrassed to be that transparent.  And, of course, I see ads posted by builders and am always astonished to see them occasionally listed for $100K or more and wonder….do they ever sell a tiny house worth that much on craigslist?


The chassis was originally constructed for a 1959 Nashua Single Wide Mobile Home.

Last month I expanded my search to include the entire state of Oregon and found my newest project.  It was originally listed for $1,750 but had been listed for a month. It’s almost as if the project was literally waiting for me to find it.  

And, to be honest, sometimes “destiny” can be fun to imagine.

I made an appointment and showed up to meet the owner and hear the story behind what used to be a cook shack for a local club. The Cottage Grove Gold Miners and Prospector’s Club is a group of lovely, community minded people who get together on the 3rd weekend of July to make and sell pancakes on the top of a mountain, 40 miles outside of town.  They then use the money raised to establish scholarships for local students, and contribute in other ways to their community and its less-fortunate members.

The interior before they removed everything, per our agreement, prior to pick up.

Behind the scenes, they accomplish this monumental task by first loading up the “cook shack” with propane and supplies. They head up the mountain, flip down the ramps, flip open the serving windows, fire up the four cast iron grills, set up the chairs and tables, and have a breakfast party every year since 1964.

The metal frames mounted to the sides were flip-down ramps for hungry customers!

I had been participating in a tiny house build workshop in Roseburg, not far from Cottage Grove, so in order to go see it I had to sneak away for a couple of hours. I didn’t know if I was going to buy it but I knew I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity.

After I met with the President of the Prospectors, and the keeper of the cook shack, I apologetically offered him $1,000 in cash on the spot.  Even considering buying another tiny house with My Tiny Hideout already under construction was pretty crazy.  It may not sound like much, but scraping together $1,000 in cash was tough to justify.  

He asked if I would be taking the propane tank that was strapped to the back. I said “Nope”. 

He asked if I would like to take the cast iron skillets.  I said “Nope”.

The frame isn't too shabby, with openings that will accommodate 5 windows and 2 doors.
He accepted my offer and next I went about making plans to move it. 

I’d met a contractor at the workshop who offered to pick it up and move it to his shop near Roseburg while I awaited the chance to drive down and get it with Mark’s truck.  A week later the contractor and I met and I followed him for a bit to make sure it was at least somewhat road worthy.  It “tracks” to the left (indicative of axles installed incorrectly) but overall looks great going down the road.

The roof line is still a work in progress but here's an elevation draft of the entry side.

As I write this, My Tiny Wine Wagon, is sitting in a shop awaiting demolition. The same contractor who hauled it there has expressed interest in helping me renovate it and, if all goes well (although I have to admit my confidence changes by the day) it’ll also be done in time to join My Tiny Hideout in My Tiny House Village for the 2019 Travel Season.

The backside will have a lovely window over the kitchen sink.


As I write this, I still can’t believe that I spent only $1,000 on a tiny house shell on wheels with two 5K axles, and if my estimates are any good (which they normally are great actually) I will spend less than $12,000 total renovating it. 

A FIRST DRAFT of the floor plan.

This truly will be the BEST before and after tiny house renovation you have EVER SEEN!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Story Behind My Tiny Bird House - Part One

Two days ago I welcomed my first official guest to My Tiny Bird House. And, in usual style, the last push to get all the details done was pretty brutal. (as is my hang over from our first tiny house village party last night....but I digress....)

This morning, however, I realized that although I have posted pics here and there about this latest addition to my tiny house collection, I haven't really told the back story behind this little, tiny, blue, Glamping cabin on wheels.

Step 1: Get it from the backyard to the road

When I was approached with the idea of designing and building Amelia for the Street of Dreams, I knew I wanted to say "yes" but the only way to justify the time it would take for me to do so, was to use the money I made from Amelia to expedite the build on the Hideout. 


Step 2: Get it off the road and onto the trailer.

As it turned out, however, Mark's work schedule didn't really support the Expedite Hideout plan.  


OK, we're ready to go!  Well, almost......

I am a bit of a craigslist addict and will often kill an hour just perusing what tiny houses are being sold there. And so, on one of these "excursions" I found this little skid-based backyard cottage that someone had originally purchased to offer on AirBnB but was not getting the bookings she had imagined she would.  I already had the money set aside for the Hideout, which wasn't being used, and so in the best interest of making money by spending money, I scheduled an appointment to go see it.

Strapped up and ready to GO GO GO!!

First check was the building itself.  Was it responsibly constructed?  Yep!

Second check was the Return-On-Investment math.  Did it look like a reasonably good investment as a short term rental? Yep!

Once I made the decision to purchase it, the cottage owner and I turned our attention to precisely HOW I could take it off her hands. So, who do you think I called?  Greg the Trailer Guy of course!  He had a somewhat-used 16 foot long utility trailer that he wanted to sell at a good price. The cottage owner's friend then donated his time and forklift and the next part of the plan was hatched.

I love this pic....it was so quiet that morning on the St. John's Bridge.

Next, I called a friend with a free Sunday and a truck.  He brought more strap downs than should be legal to use on a single load (and maybe was!?) and in the quietness of the morning we moved the house the 35 miles to the current spot where the Bird House now sits.

And, in true Oregon fashion, it was raining.

Seriously.  What better way to expedite the build-out of My Tiny House Village than by buying an adorable addition and merely remodel it and add a deck?

However, with only 48 square feet it was, and remains, a bit of a gamble.  

Will people really love it enough to pay to stay?

The worst is over!  Now, onward with the remodel.

The inside is pretty rustic and the paint they used is matte, and looks pretty old, and the trim is raw.  To what extent do I "remodel" it? I couldn't just touch it up. Once I started painting, I'd have to do the entire inside. So I decided to embrace and enhance the intrinsic personality of the space by choosing matte accessories and understated decor items, rather than embark on what would be an extensive aesthetic renovation.

"Add a shower?" You say!  "OK!" said Mark.

The goal: Get this new cottage listed in time to take some advantage of the busy travel season.


So much fun, but what a mess!!


But, exactly how much time and effort and money would it take to get this pretty little building, rent worthy?

Embracing the chaos.














The Story Behind My Tiny Bird House - Part Two

My Tiny Bird House is done.

It took less than 3 months to turn this dusty shed into an income producing short term rental.

Now, it is sooo pretty, and comfy; and I couldn't be more proud.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography

I fell in love with the architecture of this building from the moment I saw it.


Photo Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography

A simple ladder sets the right mood in this tiny space.
Functional and oh so NOT fancy.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography

I LOVE how the wood accent wall turned out.
Texture, color, and whimsy.
Perfect!

Photo Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography

The kitchenette is just large enough for prepping small meals.




The fresh air shower will no doubt be a huge attraction!




This hippie shower is complete with biodegradable shampoo and soaps!




Bring a bag of ice, some steaks, beer, and have a BBQ to remember!


Photo Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography

A pup's view....and oh so lovely!

You should stay here!!  Right!!?

Just click this hyper link....easy peasy!


Photo Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography

Hmm.....wait....something's still missing.

Next: Add dining space!!




Thursday, July 26, 2018

Amelia ~ The Tiny House with a Big Dream

Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

Once in a while, an opportunity comes along that you cannot say "No" to.

And, the invitation to design and build the first and only tiny house at the 
NW Natural Street of Dreams 
has been the opportunity of a lifetime.


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

In addition to building the tiny house, she also had to be landscaped and staged.

Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

And, we had to "fit" in.
Here she is....our tiny 204 square foot house next to her 6,000+ square foot neighbor.

And next, we step inside...


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

Inspired by "My Tiny Perch" the bed takes up the whole room and makes for a really cozy "nest" bed.
It also lifts up, assisted by air shocks, for easy access to almost 50 cubic feet of storage.

In a 204 square foot house, that's a LOT of storage!


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

Just imagine, you can put your laundry in the all-in-one washer dryer unit....
come home after a long day at work...
take the clothes out...
and hang them up directly overhead.

Very efficient!


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography


Seriously, the washer dryer is not only efficient but it's beautiful!


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

Not to be outdone by the bedroom, our bathroom has storage galore.
And not only UNDER the sink, but a built in cubby door doubles as a counter top.

(Dang, we forgot to take a pic of the cubby!)


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography


If you look closely, you'll see a decorative nod to "Ralph" in the shower.
the infamous frog from My Tiny Empty Nest's youtube video...


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography


If I told you how much effort it took to get these doors just the right shade of red, 
you'd never believe me.
In the end, however, I am so glad I did.

Everyone else may not agree...there was so much drama over these doors!


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

The kitchen is truly the center of this house and consumes over 1/3 of the total floor plan.


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

These appliances are nothing short of amazing.

Who needs art when I can stare at these all day?


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

For the next few weeks if you can't find me, I'll be here...
working on my laptop and drinking coffee with this amazing view of the golf course.


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

Yes, a natural gas fireplace in a tiny house; the first of its kind.
And this baby really heats up fast, and comes with a convenient remote.

(you know, in case you don't want to get up to shut it off)


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

Yes. I am obsessed with ceiling fans.
Or, frankly, fans of any kind.
Amelia has four of them; one on the ceiling, one over the stove, 
one in the bathroom, and one in the laundry closet.

There will NEVER be any moisture problems in THIS tiny house.

Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

It's too bad that this blog format won't let me display this stunning photo in the scale it really should be shown on.

This shot was taken late, and reflects the truly quiet surroundings of this particular night.


Photo by Mark Sharley Photography

The next morning we arrived to find THIS stunning cloud display.

And I really couldn't have asked for a better backdrop to the finale of this project...

Now, I get to process the emotions of letting her go.




MJ Boyle
Empty Nest Tiny Homes
Designer. Builder. Occupant. Advocate.

Photos Provided by Courtesy of Mark Sharley Photography.
Please respect his talent by including credit to his work on all use of these photos.