A little help please?

With swollen fingers and elbow I’m a hot mess and really should not have a drill put into my hands! After struggling to get the zip panels up on the dormer roof area last week and breaking a large picture window trying to lift it by myself, I set about asking for some volunteers to come up and help. Yeah, I can’t do it all alone. Darn.

Thank heavens some of Deek’s tiny house workshop enthusiasts offered to help me raise the rest of my front roof! I am psyched!

They arrive on Saturday; first chore, fishing their keys out of their car with my daughter’s creative invention: a walking pole with an empty paint roller.


The motley crew finds the keys!


Although the snow squalls and chilly weather (22 degrees F) were a challenge to these tiny house enthusiasts;  they were ready to learn all about the equipment and get to work. Alicia, Sean, and Jessica were definitely a colorful and cheerful crowd swarming all over the silver bullet like busy bees.

Having broken a window earlier that morning I had Sean and Jessica help me retrofit the rough opening for a smaller one.


Then we got busy returning to securing the upper framing and roof rafters.



Sean starts work with me on an upper window rough opening while I get some rafters secured with hurricane ties.GableVol.1


Our “silicone queen” sealed up the small gap between framing and the double wheel cover.


“I’m cold, you got anything to cover my legs?”, quips Alicia. My daughter, Belle, offered up the leg warmers I knit for her.


We were able to get some more rafters attached, complete the retrofit window rough opening, do the window flashing, silicone axle cushioning and zip panel cutting just as the snow took over!

And can you believe it? They are coming back next week for more! And I get to taste Alicia’s shepherd’s pie! Yummy!

Up on the Roof

Now that the ridge beam is up, I am ready to design the rafters for the back and front roofing. I did my rafter research a year ago and forgot about the complex math in rafter calculation. After looking at all the formulas necessary I totally freaked out. Even though I was a math wiz in college (which was useful for all the golden ratio artwork I did during my art career), I really wanted my house to be an organic experience, like nature, in the “now”, Tolle style.

My intent from the beginning was to approach the silver bullet tiny house build differently than most of my fellow enthusiasts.  Of course I want the build to have some structure (respect for safety, building codes, engineering, necessary customized features, off-grid, small footprint, etc.); however, I wanted the experience and myself to “imprint” each other. You know, the “what is a home”, really, question materialized and honored by my animus.

I decided to approach this project as I did a body of artwork for a show. I had ideas, concepts, a palette and media materials in mind; yet, I wanted to hold the greatest respectful space for my intuitive, accidental inflection, and creativity. Yes, I knew that might mean some delays, some changes and some challenges, and that’s okay with me.

To meet my challenge of building an organic tiny house (no formally purchased plans from a “big-box” tiny house company), no architect boyfriend or contractor relative handy, just a few outside sketches, some found ecologically recycled and repurposed materials and a list of necessary features. I constructed an entire rafter template plan based on my back end framing using a basic framing square. Luckily the rafters all fit beautifully on the dormer area. Whew!



You can see the dormer rafters in this picture above the head of one my sponsors who came from France to visit my progress on the Silver Bullet.


Over a glass of French wine late that night I was thinking, “I’ll have to ask if she’ll help me with those gigantic ZIP panels…”. Her plane left too early. Ah, maybe the UPS guy?


As you can see from these pictures above, I chose to have an eave to hide the gutter water collection system I will install later. Take care that you have measured this properly so it fits within the width guidelines and wind aerodynamics of traveling on the road. I chose to give up a few interior inches on each side of my trailer’s width in order for water collection/filtration to become part of my permanent off-grid collection system.