Digging up the Roots

Discovering the Wisdom of the Past

We are about two weeks away from moving day, and the house is nearly complete (other than the cabinet fronts, which will just have to wait). We wanted to take our truck and house for a quick ride together and make sure they knew they needed to be good friends. We also wanted to move the house so we could clean the lumber scraps from underneath it before we left our rental. But mostly, we just wanted to see our house rolling on its wheels.

Well, Trent wanted to see it rolling on its wheels. The very thought of moving the house made me want to throw up with anxiety. Some of my most terrifying thoughts at 3 AM have included, for the last three years, the tiny house tipping over en route.

Trent unhooked all the utilities and tucked cords carefully underneath. Trent hooked the truck up and I realized that I needn’t have worried about the truck being able to handle the tiny house. The F350 is a hearty truck., especially with the horribly expensive new hitch that Trent installed that is rated for 20,000 lbs.

We pulled it about 40 feet down our driveway and surveyed the sight: Everything was well, the wheels rolled, and the truck stood proud. (Just a little sag in the back.) Now to back it up into its new home.

Have I mentioned that I’m an anxious person? This move was almost too much for me.

But all went well. Trent did a great job driving it and backing it up and I didn’t quite blow a fuse. I am really glad we did it; it gives me more confidence for the real moving day.

Not only does this house represent almost $30,000 of our dollars, but it also represents three years of weekends and many, many evenings and vacations. For me, it has been going to weekend parties as a “single mom” and putting the kids to bed by myself more times than I’d like. Neither of us regret this project and I am massively proud of it, but we have sacrificed a lot for it and it makes us really care about this house.

And I think that’s how a house should feel.

As a side note: for any of you skeptics out there that wonder how we will fit our family of 6 into a tiny house, let me present this picture as evidence: we will fit because they love to be crammed together.

And there’s nothing more exciting about a new front-loading washing machine with a light-up drum.

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Trent. I’ve been married to him for almost 9 years and I’m still feeling amazed by him. When faced with the challenge of making a ladder for us to access our loft, he couldn’t just make a “normal” ladder. (Is making a ladder even normal?) He has been slightly obsessed with timber framing for a while now, a style of woodworking involving interlocking pieces and wooden pins… and no metal hardware like nails or screws. Trent chose this style for the ladder, hoping to challenge himself and make a very sturdy ladder. Side note about Trent: these two things are important to him– challenging himself and making overly sturdy stuff.

Rungs hammered into the side rail.
How the rung fits with the side.
Pounded through, ready for the wooden pin to make it official.
Wood glue: Trent uses it a lot, but I have to admit I kind of hate it. It always oozes out annoyingly.

Most of these pictures of the ladder-making were from our second attempt: our first attempt included the side rail splitting as we pounded in the rungs. Tragic, especially because it was about noon on 4th of July and we just wanted to finish, feel contented, and enjoy the holiday.

Trent finished the wood with a slurry of dirt and hemp oil (we use this stuff a lot because we like it, but also because I bought a gallon of it from Amazon…). The dirt seeps into the grain of the wood and really darkens it. I also love how a little bit of dirt gets left behind in the cracks and makes the ladder look truly old.

You might also notice that the bathroom now has vinyl flooring. Trent was lucky enough of salvage this scrap from work and we swiped the adhesive from my Dad, so total cost of bathroom floor: $0. After spending about $25,000 on the house, it always feels good to get something done for free.

Anyway, now we can access our loft without a construction ladder, which is awesome.

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Getting Ready to Move

Getting Ready to Move

Posted By on Jul 29, 2019 in Tiny House | 0 comments

An emotional week is behind us, and many more emotional weeks are ahead, I’m sure. We have entered the home stretch.

We have about 6 weeks until we will leave our wonderful rental house that we have loved for almost 7 years now. There is a lot of work involved in any move, and this move is no different. Just the added stress of SERIOUS decluttering.

Enter: garage sale.

Garage sale day was so successful, we decided to cancel Day Two since there was hardly anything left.

Seeing my belongings drive off was strangely emotional. Each item had a story, reminded me of something or someone. I didn’t find it hard to let things go at all. I am a natural purger. But I do have to admit it was hard to have so many memories constantly flooding my mind.

Just seeing this stuff sitting around on the day after (when these pictures were taken) was almost overwhelming and I can’t really tell you why. I think it really hit me that we are truly moving into our tiny house, our plans are materializing, and our life is changing.

We had a plan, something we wanted, a life we wanted. We built the house. It is amazing me how difficult this is, yet at the same time how simple it can be to achieve your goals. This all exists because we made a plan.

This is what our family looked like when we moved into the pink house. We had been married for two years, Wade was 1, and Elsa was 6 weeks old. We were happy to be leaving the gloomy Oregon Coast.

September 2012

…and this was what we moved to.

October 2012

We have brought two babies home from the hospital, we have watched three babies learn to walk. We’ve taught our kids to be kind here, we’ve wanted to give up. I have laughed hysterically here, and I have also cried hysterically. And every emotion in between.

July 2019, normal play and movement happening in the front yard.

It’s been a safe place for us, a sort of nest for our four baby birds. But now our family has grown up; we don’t have babies anymore, we have two school-aged kids, we don’t nap anymore, and my kids don’t need me every single second of the day.

Time for a new adventure. Time to try something new! There is a lot of exciting days coming up as we finish the tiny house and move, and I hope you will join us for each bit. Please like my Facebook page so you are notified each time I post.

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Our most recent project on the tiny house has been making the beautiful medicinal herb drawers for the kitchen. Ever since I have been practicing herbalism for our family, I’ve dreamed of having my own “space” to put the herbs in a beautiful, condensed way, near a countertop where I can make the medicines and teas. Well, this tiny house is the gift that keeps giving, and as part of my “mini dream kitchen”, I get my own herb space!

Trent made the boxes out of plywood, and I oiled them with hemp oil, the same oil we used on our butcher block countertops.

Those look beautiful, but they could be better! We decided to use some old barn wood to cover the fronts.

Sunday afternoon family project: oil barn wood with hemp oil.

Tuesday evening project (after spending a whole day doing basically the same thing at work): attach the drawer fronts.

And there’s the finished product!

Trent designed them to fit various sizes of mason jars, which is how I store my herbs. I wish I owned enough herbs to fill these drawers, but I don’t… so I imagine I will also store some dry goods such as beans, rice, popcorn, nuts…

This is such a wonderful time of year, as the plants are growing and being harvested. It makes me feel so good to be drying our own herbs. Below, I’m drying mint (for tea), oregano and thyme (for italian seasoning), and roses, calendula, and self-heal (for skin-healing salves).

This is what I like so much about building our own tiny house, we are able to put a lot of these personalized touches that really make optimal use of the space. Before we built the tiny house, we thought about buying a mobile home, but we didn’t like how much space was wasted. I am able to truly have a fully functional kitchen in such a condensed space because we have really planned out every element.

I am now plotting what meal I will cook to inaugurate the new kitchen when we move in… if we ever move in…

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The end is in sight! (on the other hand… are you ever “done” with house projects?)

Trent has been finishing lots of little details that really make the house come together and look completed. The bathroom in particular is looking incredible and finished. Trent lined the shower with corrugated metal, installed gorgeous (and practical) copper pipes to supply the shower head, made a copper pipe light fixture, and installed mirrors.

Yes that’s me lurking in the shadows.

The pocket door is now complete with hardware. The kids love to lock it and the 3-year-old likes to lock himself in. Sigh.

Trent is in the process of installing LED strips in the kitchen ceiling. They add an incredible amount of light.

Trent is launching on a week of vacation from work, which we will use to make extra progress on the tiny house. I will be taking daily pictures and posting them on my Facebook page, so be sure to stay tuned for those!

The main projects left are shelves, cupboard doors, and the tile backsplash. We are hoping to be done by the end of July. After 2 1/2 years of work, I have to admit it’s going to be good to be done.

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We are now knee-deep in plumbing and electrical in the tiny house now. There are an endless amount of small projects to do, it leaves Trent and I both a little dizzy.

In the bathroom, the vanity was transformed to a finished unit, sans the cabinet door below! Trent was able to salvage the formica and the sink from work, which feels good.

Trent designed and built metal pipe handrails for the kids’ loft. He also added a rope for a super adventurous climb. Also note that the cedar accent wall has been finished as well! It looks absolutely gorgeous.

In the kitchen, the sink and faucet were both installed.

Trent built the light fixture above the kitchen sink. It is a fallen piece of black walnut from the tree in our back yard. It has incredible character, with insect trails, bumps, variations in wood grain, and a naturally rotted out spot for the light to shine through! I think it is beautiful and unique.

We are hoping to finish in the next two months! We are feeling very excited to be done.

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The kitchen is really starting to take shape and I’m excited to share the progress with you!

Beautiful butcher block counter tops, installed!

We got basic butcher block countertops from Home Depot and Trent cut them to fit. We oiled the bottoms with mineral oil and screwed them down.

That all sounds easy, but it was a whole Saturday and several weeknights. Welcome to building.

Then, I made a VERY strong black tea and brushed two coats on for a natural stain. The kids enjoyed being a part of this, and I enjoyed using something that wasn’t caustic and prohibitive for kids!

Stained with black tea

The final product was a little more yellow than we wanted, but we still liked it.

Then, we rubbed it with a few coats of hemp seed oil to seal it. Again, it feels good to use something that isn’t full of chemicals.

Trent looked at this expanse of countertop and almost tried to talk me into not having a sink “just like a dry cabin!” Usually, I’m all up for his crazy against-the-grain ideas, but not this one. Nope. I’ll willingly give up counter space for a big sink.

Cutting the sink hole

Then, Trent cut out the sink hole and we plopped it in! Trent was able to reclaim this sink after it was torn out of a remodel he was working on. It is so incredibly heavy! But I am so excited to use it and have a large sink.

Bam! Isn’t that the most beautiful sight ever?!

Once I saw the sink in place, and the contrast of the pure white with the honey wood… I screamed! I can’t believe I will get to cook in this kitchen every day!

Then, it was time for the kid invasion! The sink made an awesome Barbie pool! Skinny dipping, of course, since Barbies never seem to have clothes on.

If that ain’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen…

I’m excited to see such beautiful touches being added to the house. It seems to be going faster now, which gives us both hope.

What do you think of the kitchen?

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We’ve been really looking forward to meeting this milestone. It seems like a big turning point in the project to clothe in paint these cabinets Trent has been building for about 9 months.

Before the paint could go on, the window trim had to be installed. This is one of Trent’s specialties at work, so of course he put himself under extreme pressure to get the details just-so. Don’t blame him, he just doesn’t want to cringe every day that he lives in this house and looks at the trim.

Meanwhile, the 3 youngest played in their future room. Is Tate eating a bit of insulating foam? Could be.

Trent and I decided we would use Sherwin-Williams’ super awesome ProClassic paint, which gives trim and cabinets a hardy shell of smooth paint. We also decided to spray it on to get a super-smooth finish.

Trent took off a week of work to get this project done, which I thought was excessive. Well, it wasn’t. It took us all 6 days to finish.

First day: papering and taping everything we didn’t want sprayed with paint.

Second day: Painting the primer (it was very stinky and I think we got high)

Third day: Sanding the primer (this made our arms hurt A LOT)

The only picture of the fateful week… Trent sanding the primer for 12 hours.

Fourth day: I honestly don’t even know what happened after this point. Somewhere in the sanding/painting/cleaning cycle, we started to paint and it was running and creating a mini-disaster. Trent was really starting to lose it at this point. We both felt like we had put so much work into it, and we couldn’t hardly keep going or accept challenges.

The crux of the project was when Trent was laying on the living room floor with no energy to just go put on the last coat of paint on Saturday night, and the snake that the kids had rescued from Bruce the cat and had been befriending all day died. That thing had totally kicked the bucket, eyes glassed over and mouth open, but the kids still had to be convinced he was gone for good. Anyway, Wade and Elsa were crying and processing that death and we had a funeral for him. Buried him and put down flowers and everything.

It’s those moments that make me a strong woman: conducting a snake memorial service whilst hoping my husband has strength to rise and paint.

Let’s just say, in the end, the cabinets look beautiful, but not without hardship. I know every nook and cranny of that house. Once we got over our trauma, we were ready to admire the finished product and I hope you are too!

Are you ready for some addicting before/after transformations?

It’s nice to be done.

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