Cat on the Roof!?

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Cat Pro Tip: Surprise them when they least expect it!

At least he’s safe and sound now, but would’ve been nice if he cleared the snow off while he was dancing on the roof  ^_^   Afterwards I let him nap on the fullsizerender-1bed… on my beautiful linen duvet.  I can’t seem to stop spoiling this little mischief-maker!
In other news the tiny life is great!  We entertained more friends last night.  Our propane stove has been keeping us toasty, though it needs to be filled once a week when the weather’s this cold.  It’s a bit inconvenient when the propane runs out since it doesn’t give much warning.  At least the fill station is close to our gym and grocery store.  At some point perhaps we’ll  get a bigger tank, but the 40lb tank is the largest we can carry around.  Hopefully warmer weather is around the corner!

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My New Hobby Is Terrible for Tiny Living

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What’s the hardest thing to do in a tiny house?

Is it showering?  Nope, we have a normal 3′ x 3′ shower.  Using a composting toilet?  No, got used to it.  Changing the sheets?  Well yes, that is annoying…but not even scooting around on the floor to make the bed compares to the difficulty of my newest obsession.

I got hooked on a hobby that is pretty much a nightmare for living in a small space.  That hobby is QUILTING!

If you sew, you know how much space is required: you need a giant table to spread out your fabric, cutting mat, and sewing machine.  You need an ironing board and storage for fabrics.  You need a big open space to spread out the quilt layers.  I guess all my quilts willnatesewing be under 5′ wide, which is the widest useable part of the house!

How did I get addicted to quilting?  I got this antique sewing machine from my aunt.  It’s so old it was made in West Germany!  I wanted to make a quilt because we need a nice-looking blanket.  Plus, Nate’s mom has tons of fabric that is begging to be used, and I enjoy having a project to keep me busy (and from catching cabin fever again).

Making it work.  The sewing supplies tuck away in the 9″ crevice separating the bathroom and living room.  No space goes unused!  The downside of sewing is that it makes a complete mess: lint and thread pieces EVERYWHERE, so each session is followed by a thorough cleaning.

Quilting in a tiny house is a challenge, but it’s sew fun!

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The finished mini quilt!  Blanket trifecta is sooo cozy!

 

 

Entertaining & Cooking

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Entertaining

A house becomes a home when filled with great food and warm hearts.  Our first dinner party at the tiny house was a success (check out my friend Sarah’s wonderful tiny house)!

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Kitty thinks the treads are comfy to walk on and nap on

Rose Home is great for entertaining because the stairs fold up against the wall to make
extra room.  That way more people can fit at the table (the main purpose of the white “bench” is actually to hide our plumbing and the trailer fender!).  I hope to make a pretty cushion for it soon.

Speaking of the stairs, we love them!  They go up and down in a snap and are sturdy to walk on.  A lot of work went into making them thanks to our carpenter friend Colin.

Cooking

Cooking in a tiny house: cramped chaos or piece of cake?  While it’s difficult to change the size of your kitchen, certain cooking methods can make things a whole lot easier.

Most meals are cooked on the grill, in the crock pot, or on the hotplate.  Grilling beats crockpot, crockpot beats hotplate.  And not cookingtiny-house-party obviously beats everything 🙂

I know “hotplate” doesn’t sound very upscale or good for people who cook every day.  I was skeptical at first and thought we had to have a “real” stove with multiple burners.  But the hotplate is great.  It gets hot and cooks pretty evenly, and we never need more than 1 burner at a time.  When we’re not using the cooktop, it is stored in our cabinets out of the way.  That way we have maximum uninterrupted counter space.

We do have a good-sized toaster/convection oven, but we haven’t used it much.  Our electric kettle, on the other hand, gets used daily!  In fact I think it’s time for some tea now  ^_^

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Evening tea sweetened just right with honey from our local bee farm

 

 

Catching Cabin Fever

It was a bad combination of circumstances: Nate was sick or at work, I didn’t have access to a car, it was the middle of January, and my semester didn’t start for another week.  So naturally, I’ve been in the tiny house a lot.  It might sound ideal – staying home and having time to do whatever.  Well, for me it got old fast.  Not being able to go anywhere for days isn’t my idea of fun.  Especially when your house is really, really small.

Nate once said that solitary confinement sounds like a treat instead of punishment.  He finds it restorative to be alone at home all day with nothing to do.  For me, going out and doing something or interacting with people is restorative.  We are so different sometimes!

What to do when you have cabin fever, your sweetie has an actual fever, and you’re cooped up in a tiny house in the middle of winter?

  • Create something.  That includes cooking something tasty
  • Clean and do laundry. Our kitchen, floors, and bedding are all sparkling clean now…
  • Connect and contribute on the world wide web.  If you need to buy something, take advantage of online researching and shopping.
  • Hang out with pets.  Take photos of them being cute and post them everywhere (guilty!)

In the end, I learned to make my own fun and productivity even in a tiny house.  The next time I have an insane amount of things to do, I’ll remember savoring the solitude.  And now that I’ve finished this post, I’m off to take some more of my own medicine – and give Nate some of his  ❤

 

 

Kitty Mischief

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If you follow our Facebook page, you’ll know we are fond of a certain feline that likes to visit our tiny house.  He thinks it’s his clubhouse, naturally, and loves to explore all the nooks and high-up places.

Sometimes he beckons at the door, wanting us to let him in his “big house” (Nate’s mom’s house).  Other times he wants to hang out in his “clubhouse” and search for messes to make, or – if we’re lucky – simply a place to nap.

We look forward to getting a pet of our own someday but in the meantime we are enjoying  this little guy — even if he does get into mischief!  He loves exploring the depths of our cabinets and testing the integrity of our windowsills.    kittycabinet1As I am writing he is perched sleepy-eyed on the cabinets overhead, finally tuckered out.  When he wakes he’ll be cuddly, but not for long.  He has a busy day ahead.

In other news, our stairs are here!  (As you can see they are kitty-approved).  Our helper Colin designed and built them.  They are much easier to use
than a ladder and give us more storage space (eventually we’ll put storage cabinets underneath the stairs).

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We’re looking mighty dapper today, aren’t we?

Top Investments for Tiny Home Owners

When building or buying a house, some things are worth splurging on.  Below are our top recommended investments for new homeowners – especially for a tiny house!

4. Big sink and adjustable faucetFullSizeRender

An oversized sink means you can pile up dishes and do them at your convenience (fun fact, we can fit all the dishes we own into our sink!)  We love being able to easily wash bulky items without getting water everywhere.  We also have a pull-out faucet which allows us to spray water where we need it – great for cleaning deep pots and the sink itself!

3. Powerful exhaust fan

Our bathroom fan is a lifesaver when battling indoor humidity.  Moisture from cooking and showering builds up quickly and the fan gets it out.  The fan can also vent out cooking smells.  In fact, it can exchange all the air in the house in under 30 minutes!  In bad weather especially, using the fan is way better than opening windows.

2. Gym membership  

Not only is joining a gym good for health, but it gets you out of the house.  We enjoy working out together and taking group classes.  I also love showering at the gym for many reasons –

  • Reduces condensation problems at home (see #3)
  • The sauna feels luxurious after showering!
  • Less laundering of towels & cleaning our shower at home
  • The promise of a nice shower incentivizes me to go to the gym… and exercise too, of course  ^_^

1. Comfy Couch

When we’re at home, we livingroomtinyspend a lot of time hanging out on the couch.  A bench-seat or daybed wouldn’t cut it for me.  I wanted a couch with a supportive back and cushy arms.  A sofa small enough for snuggling but big enough for napping or chatting with a friend.  A couch brings people together; it makes our house feel like home.  And for that reason, a good couch is a priority!

 

Finally Living Tiny!

It’s been almost 3 weeks since moving into our tiny house!  Now that we’ve settled in a bit, here’s how things are going so far:

THE TRIUMPHS

sunburstbright.jpgCooking.  I was worried about how our cooking routine might change when transitioning to tiny, as we have only a crockpot, microwave, and single burner hotplate for cooking appliances.  For simplicity’s sake, we’ve been shifting more from big made-from-scratch meals to sandwiches, salads, and other easily-prepared foods (e.g., veggies & hummus; protein smoothies).  Meals like this require minimal clean-up, which is important for our sensitive greywater system.  And since we wash everything by hand, it’s easier on us too!

We also grill a lot outside – even in November!  We learned that cooking indoors can contribute to excess smells and humidity in such a small space.  Fortunately, we can run our bathroom fan to vent out stale air.  While the crockpot doesn’t put steam into the air, ikeadresserit’s not the most pleasant thing to have everything smelling like chicken pot pie for a day or more (we actually did make pot pie in the crockpot, pie crust and all!)  Other meals we’ve made in the tiny house so far include tikka masala, pesto pasta, and tacos.  Not bad!

Storage.  For being only 300 sq ft, our house has a good amount of storage.  We have plenty of cabinet space for dry goods and cooking stuff.  We even have a dedicated hutch for our dishware.  Right now it’s just plastic plates and old mugs, but hopefully soon we will have some cute dishes…though we don’t need many!  Clothing storage has been more of a challenge, but we managed to fit both of our winter wardrobes (minus our few pieces of extra-fancy attire).  We just assembled our coat closet and dresser from IKEA.  Of course, we will need to switch out clothes when summer comes, but we are accustomed to doing that anyways.

The bathroom is also coming along nicely!  This week we installed a medicine cabinet and
corner shelf unit. With ample space under the sink, there’s not much more storage needed!bathroomsink

It’s so fulfilling to be finally able to enjoy our hard work!  Yet we are far from done!  There are still lots of little improvements that we’ll be working on over the winter  🙂

THE TROUBLES

Fireplace.  Mere days after finally moving into our tiny house, we discovered a big problem with our propane fireplace!  Upon removing the glass for routine cleaning, we noticed huge amounts of soot in the firebox and on the artificial logs.  Something’s not right, and we can’t run the fireplace until we figure out what.

Luckily, our electric space heater is doing a decent job keeping the house warm.  Thank goodness for our great insulation, electric blanket, down duvet, and hot tea!  Hopefully we can get our fireplace running properly before the truly cold season comes.

uppercabinetlightsHumidity.  A chronic nemesis is indoor humidity.  Getting it below 60% in the tiny house has been a challenge (for the record, relative humidity should be around 40-50%, and even lower once the weather gets below freezing).  What happens when it gets too high?  First, humidity makes the air feel sticky and provides an environment for mold, dust mites, and other nasties to flourish.  Most importantly, it contributes to condensation forming on window panes, which can cause damage if the water is repeatedly settling on the wood frame.  And if condensation is on the windows, it is probably happening inside the walls… not good!!!

Did you know that you emit 1/4 cup of water into the air PER HOUR just from breathing??  After a night’s sleep, that means a lot of excess moisture in a small space.  While our tight building envelope is great for keeping heat in and preventing drafts, it’s bad at allowing humid indoor air to escape.  We run our bath fan for about a half hour each day to keep the humidity in check and slowly infuse fresh air into the house.  We found that this works better than a dehumidifier, and probably uses less electricity.

We learned that other preventative measures can help control humidity, such as:

  • Limiting houseplants – they emit water vapor into the air
  • Covering pots and use kitchen exhaust fan while cooking
  • Using a bath fan while showering (and/or opening the bathroom window)
  • Not hanging laundry indoors to dry
  • Limiting use of gas ranges – water vapor is a by-product of burning gas

Now it’s time to sit back on our cozy couch and plan our next set of projects…

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Our homemade back-of-couch table is perfect for holding decorations and the occasional cup of tea (or cocktail!)