Wednesday, April 23, 2014

All the Fuzzy Details

I’ve always been a visual person.  I’ve always had a knack for being able to easily see what my project will be, when I’m done, before I even start.  I am also an optimist at heart so the “it’s gonna’ be awesome!” thoughts running through my head, during the course of a project, certainly don’t hurt my chances of success.   If you could step inside see the picture of my Tiny House in my head, however, you’ll notice there are still some somewhat fuzzy details.  These fuzzy details do not necessarily detract from the overall appeal of my teeny, tiny, house in my head.  They do, however, require some additional consideration before they become a clear part of the overall design scheme.

Ah yes, “the fuzzies”….
those details that sometimes get us tripped up, frustrated, and downright unmotivated.

My floor plan.  (today, anyways)

For me, the biggest fuzzy of all is the roofline of my tiny house.  I waiver back and forth, sometimes numerous times a day, on the final roofline and its implications.  I do like the shed style roof (a very gradual and simple slope from one long side, to the other) and it lends a LOT of head room.  It seems like it would be simple to frame, and roof, and generally be low maintenance.  Architecturally, it lends a very modern feel to the house.   The shallow pitch style roof (a traditional “A” line roof style with very shallow slopes emanating from the center) is also appealing and I like it’s more traditional look.  I wonder, however, how it will affect the ladder or stairs location to the lofts and I don’t want a ladder in the middle of my living area.  I REALLY like the traditional “A” line roof style with dormers but they look complicated to frame (read: expensive and heavy) and I’m not sure they’re worth it given that the end result would be the same as the shallow pitch or shed style rooflines.

See!?  I’ve got this great house in my head, with a fuzzy roofline.

Then, there’s the stairs.  I know I don’t want a ladder….or, rather, a ladder in the purest sense of the word anyways.  (two handle rails with numerous shallow rungs)  There are so many designs to choose from!  If I were to deepen the rungs, notch them so they allow for knee movement, and decrease the angle of the climb so they’re easier to ascend, that might be OK.  But that still leaves a ladder in the room.  If I construct a light weight ladder that I can swing to the side when not in use, that would require it to be more vertical.  (read: harder to climb when I do need it)  I LOVE the idea of stairs but they can be complicated to build and I have to many steps do I need?  How deep should they be?  Rise and Run?  Straight on design, or with a turn-the-corner configuration? And what about the storage underneath? Doors or cubbies?

Notched Ladder

And what about that bathroom sink? Do I need one? I currently have the bathroom, sketched into one end of my house, with the kitchen on the other end.   The door is in the center of the 8 foot wide by 3 foot deep room with the shower on one side and the composting toilet on the other.  In the center on the front exterior wall, is the window.  Or is it?  If I put a sink there, it would really need a mirror over it.  If there’s a window there (thus allowing a full length view, with the bathroom door open, from one end of the house to the other) then I cannot put a mirror there.  Do I need a mirror?  Do I need a sink?  While I am not “high maintenance” in the girly-girl kind of way, I do wear a bit of makeup most days and enjoy dressing up.  Where will I store my then tiny collection bathroom essentials if not behind the mirror?  How about the towels?  No problem.  Hang them on the wall or the back of the door.  Toilet paper?  Easy.  Stack them on corner shelves behind the toilet.  But the sink / mirror combo?  Fuzzy.  Just plain fuzzy.

Here's another bathroom storage option.

If you remember nothing else about me and my fuzzies, remember this:
Allow yourself to move forward with your Tiny House dream,
even if all the details are not yet in place.

If you have more stuff than will fit in your smaller space, make a goal to downsize, even if slowly.  If you don’t have a vehicle to move your house when you need to, assume that most people don’t, figure that you’ll have to rent or borrow or hire a company to move it for you…and move on with your dream!  If you’re not sure if you want white bead board walls, or wood slats, or sheetrock; cross that bridge when you get to it!  (just make sure to budget for the most expensive option, then you’ll have covered your worst-case-scenario…expense wise.)

Despite all of the less-than-crystal-clear solutions to my tiny house problems, My Empty Nest is still my happy place.  It’s that spot in my brain that provides me with both an intellectual and spatial challenge as well as a solace from the everyday stress in my life.  So if you’re wondering how I have all this time to ponder these quandaries, I really don’t.  What I do have is small moments, here and there, as I drive to work, as I take a break from work, as I run or walk, or before I drift off to sleep; to solve these little aching details.

People often comment on how I am able to fit so many projects and activities into that same sized day that they have.  I am, after all, a super busy single mom of two teenaged kids with a big house and I work a more-than-full-time job.  So, how do I do it?  I do it by taking small steps, every day, in the direction of my dream.  Someday, I’ll get there, even if only one tiny, fuzzy, step at a time…

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