Our very first post!

We are Erika and Michael (and Lucy and Scully)!

 

Our family first started in March 2015 when Erika and Michael met in a three-month firefighting academy in North Carolina. By July 2015, they were already living together in a tiny homestead in the Appalachian mountains. Lucy, who grew up on another farm, came to join the family in January 2016 as a rescue from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Shortly after, Scully, our red heeler who was also believed to have come from a farm, became the fourth member of the family!

In July of 2016, we decided to sell our 500sqft 1 1/2 acre homestead to downsize even further. 🙂 We moved to Arkansas to save and build in August of 2016.

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While we were saving for our trailer, we used sidewalk chalk to create our floor plan. We also used some printed plans to help along the way.

We saved the money we needed by November 2016 and by December 2016, we were driving our 28′ custom-built trailer home to begin construction! Our first step was to stabilize the trailer and frame out our subfloor.

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First steps on our trailer!

We spent the majority of the winter planning, working, and saving for the next steps of our tiny home. Erika works full-time as a special education paraprofessional, attends school online full-time to earn her teaching degree, and Michael goes to school full-time in a Fire Science and Paramedic program and is a volunteer firefighter! Lucy and Scully spend a lot of time chasing squirrels and napping.

In March 2016, Michael completed the tiny home subfloor!

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Almost done with the subfloor!
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Another goal down! ✔️ Subfloor!

In April 2016, we also paid the sales tax and received tags for our trailer! We’re so official.

As for now, we have a plan to get the trailer with subfloor weighed, for peace of mind and to assist in planning, and then we are moving the trailer to a secure, open, and flat site for further construction. We have ordered all our building lumber, windows, and a front door. So far, we have spent ~$10,000 on our home, which puts us about 1/3 of the way through our spending for the home! Yay!

 

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It’s almost a box!

It’s about time for our second post. Lots of things have happened in the last 3 months! We have been enjoying our summer- though it hasn’t been free from work. Michael has been spending every day working on the tiny home and therefore we are seeing a lot of progress! Erika has been hitting the books to complete as much of her college coursework as possible before her job starts back at the high school in August. The dogs are enjoying having their people home more often. Most nights are spent planning on Sketchup or gathering ideas from Instagram. So, let’s get to the good stuff.

Our last post was in April and Michael had just finished up the subfloor on our trailer. It was a huge accomplishment, but we’ve already moved some mountains since. Our home is completely framed out and sheathing is near completion! Michael built and raised the walls in 8 total sections. Many of the sections he was able to raise himself, though the heaviest section took four of us and we almost lost it at one point, heh. 😆 After the walls were up, Michael constructed the rafters and is working, as I write, to complete the sheathing. As of this moment, he is 2/3 of the way through sheathing our walls. It will soon be a box! Yay!

Most of our evenings are spent on Sketchup where we’ve created a ridiculously detailed portrait of our future home. This was first spawned over a very long and boring winter. Now it’s become a focus of pride and a source of entertainment for us.

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Other planning we’ve been doing has included getting an idea of (and collecting materials for) our electrical and plumbing plans (both of which we will be hiring help with), where we will park the tiny home when it is completed and how much that will cost, finding ways to be more weight and energy-efficient, etc.

As far as finances go, we haven’t actually spent much more (at all) on the tiny home since our last post, because we had already pre-paid for a lot of the materials we’ve been using. Our next purchases will be the roofing and siding.

And a few brief tips from the man behind the saw (Michael):

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*If you raise your wall and you have a double top plate already installed, a 16d nail will barely make it through a double top plate. Therefore, in order to attach my fascia, I bought a 4.5 inch structural screw that is rated for shear strength. That’s how I installed the fascia.*

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*It’s important to stay safe. I tied off the extension ladder to the tiny house while climbing. Erika also helped butt the ladder at times*

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*I used 2×6″ rafters because we are going with closed-cell spray foam and therefore did not need a lot of rafter space. I used four hurricane ties per rafter and nailed them to the roof fascia.*

*I used OSB exterior sheathing because we are going with a 26 gauge metal siding, so I need something really sturdy to back the siding up against, in order to prevent a wavy effect. That’s why I did that as opposed to doing OSB only on the interior. On our interior walls, we are planning on doing 1/2″ pure bond plywood.*

*I used USP clips between the sheets of OSB to provide correct spacing. Also used construction adhesive between OSB and all of the studs. *

*When I’m done with the sheathing, I’m going to apply a vapor tape over all of the joints.*

*I used our Sketchup model to plan walls and assist in building. *