On your mark… get set…

The last three Saturdays have been largely preparatory. Not unimportant, of course – but not exactly fascinating enough to warrant their own blog entries, either.

Most of our recent efforts have centered around the necessary hemorrhaging of money acquisition of materials and appliances, and we’re finding that many of our greatest triumphs can be traced directly to the influence of our fabulously thrifty parents, who never needed the hottest new item or worried about keeping up with the Joneses. For example, we discovered that the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Winchester is at least three times the size of the one in our hometown, and it was there that we happened to spy a practically brand new Kenmore drop-in countertop electric stove.

For $20.

stove

John was beside himself. That night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I kept hearing the same awestruck whisper in the dark: “Twenty dollars, Nikki. It was twenty dollars.”

We visited the ReStore in Warrenton for some used decorative windows the following week, then swung by the Home Depot before we left town to survey our options for hot water heaters. The tankless, at-source variety are really popular for tiny homes; but they come with a pretty hefty price tag to balance out their itty bitty size, so we felt willing to sacrifice some space for a smaller version of the old standard. Home Depot was selling a 10 gallon tank for $259, which seemed somewhat reasonable, despite the brief but painful tug at our miserly old hearts.

Then I, in my crowning moment of glory, noticed a clearance sign at the end of the aisle. And beneath that sign sat the exact same 10 gallon water heater for just $129.

You read that correctly. It was half the original price, and the only obvious imperfection was the open box. God bless scratch’n dent.

Other areas of progress include enlisting the help of our very generous friend James, who was especially helpful in putting together our subfloor. Unfortunately, every time I tried to sneak a discreet photo of James and John collaborating on something complicated and manly, James’s effeminate headband caused the camera on my cell phone to malfunction. I am left only with this shot of John welding extra supports onto our trailer and featuring a glamorous product advertisement for Porter Cable.

welding

The second invaluable addition to our team has been yet another coworker from the woodshop. Wyatt does most of our product design and modeling, and his long-term love affair with Google SketchUp is not limited to beds and chairs. He’s almost as enthusiastic about the tiny house project as we are, and one evening over fried chicken and beer, he helped us to draw up the bones of our house.

drawing collage

He also contributes an outrageous amount of sass to our team dynamic.

sass

Last Saturday, we started and finished our roof trusses. I wanted a pitched roof for aesthetics, and John wanted a shed roof for efficiency; so we compromised on a gambrel roof, which offers the most loft space consistently throughout the entire house and looks nice.

truss

And finally, perhaps our greatest and thriftiest exchange yet occurred just this afternoon. It turned out that Wyatt had two large windows and one small one, brand new, which were lonely and gathering dust at his house. It also just so happened that his wife had seen a beautiful set of wrought iron curtain rods on Pinterest and decided that they would be the perfect addition to her living room renovation.

That’s right. We’re trading blacksmith services for building materials. The barter system is making a comeback, baby!

windows

Day by day and piece by piece, our home is slowly starting to take shape. We’re always gaining steam. It’s amazing to watch! Tomorrow’s work will revolve largely around the plumbing components which have to be finalized before we can attach the subfloor to the trailer, and one week from then will hopefully be the big day. Framing! And a roof! And the shape of a real house!

Stay tuned!

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