Constructive Deconstruction

Saturday was our first opportunity to work on the tiny house in a real, tangible way, and there was a marked sense of anticipation from everyone involved. I think it was sometime in the wee moments of that morning, after four hours of fidgeting and leg-jiggling and thoughtful humming that I finally had to say, “John, go to sleep.

Given a worthy mission, my husband is an enthusiastic whirlwind of energy and good humor; and as he pulled down row upon row of cabinets, systematically disassembled the plumbing, extracted appliances in varying states of disrepair, and tore out paneling and insulation from the walls and ceiling, he was all but unstoppable. There is no one I’d rather follow onto the battlefield of such an immense undertaking!

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We hoped to have some fleeting chance of keeping our scrap metal and throw-away piles separate, so instead of knocking the whole thing over and sorting through the devastation later, we gutted the inside and left the camper’s exterior shell standing. That way, we could also get a more concrete impression of exactly how much space we have to work with.

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080214-08Not even counting the fact that we can make our tiny house a whole foot wider and five feet taller than this camper and still remain road legal for towing, it’s amazing how spacious the interior felt! At least, to those of us who have spent months studying minimalist floor plans. The others were less sure. Innovative organization is the key, though, and the tiny house movement is known for its clever space-saving design elements.

It was revolutionary to be able to walk through an empty structure with almost the exact dimensions of our house-to-be, improving our layout and exploring new ideas; and we felt even more confident that this is the best fit for the early days of our marriage.

By the end of the afternoon, with the roof sagging so pathetically that our modest 6’1 heroes had been developing progressively worse posture throughout the day, someone put forth the idea that perhaps we could just… peel the roof off the camper, you know, like a tin sardine can. James had joined us with The Little Truck That Could and a set of tow straps, and our boss, Mike, and assorted children gathered along the edge of the parking lot. We even invited a client who had stopped by to tour the shop – and who learned a bit more about our hobbies than he’d probably bargained for.

I manned the camera with a only a mild sense of impending doom.

The camper roof may not have peeled away quite as cleanly as we had hoped, but our efforts left us with exactly the prize we’d sought. The trailer is free, awaiting a good scrub and a coat of rust inhibitive primer before we begin to build the floor. Good work, guys!

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