Archive for December, 2015


Lighting and Electrical

I am not an electrician. And as much as I enjoy learning about things and feeling self sufficient and like I can do almost anything myself I do not feel that I need to master all the trades. So my plan all along has been to hire or work with an electrician to wire my house. But what I couldn’t have guessed was that the perfect person to do it with me would come along! Her name is Rebekah¬†Carpenter and she owns Finger Lakes Renewables. She was the one who installed the solar system that John and I now have at ecovillage, where it lived originally, and she is another badass woman who is living in an off grid house that she built herself. So off grid doesn’t scare her, and DIY doesn’t either. Neither does unconventional! Together we have been mapping out and figuring out my electrical over the last two weeks. The first step has been figuring out where all my outlets and fixtures are going and putting boxes in those spots.

To help me do this I ended up using painters tape to map out the rise and run of my stairs and how I will divide up my closet space under my stairs. It is amazing all the little decisions that go into wiring a house. Here are some of the questions I had to consider.

  • Where do I want outlets?
  • Where do I was single gang (2 outlets) or double gang (4 outlets) boxes?
  • Do I want to wire for internet?
  • What about speakers?
  • What kind of fixtures will I be using for lights? Sconces? Overheads? Plugins? Where do I want light switches?

Every tiny house blog I had read says put more outlets then you think you will need. It is silly to have to run extension chords in a tiny house! And yet right now I look around my house and I think, jeez, I have enough plugs for a small city in here! I have tried to widdle down some of my outlets, making some single gang boxes rather than double gang, and really thinking through where I’ve places each one and what I imagine might be plugged in there. But it isn’t easy! I don’t want to end up with too few and at the same time too many feels kind of ridiculous in a tiny house.

Thinking about electrical has also led to an exciting hunt for light fixtures. First I went to Lowes and home depot. There lights are fine and decently priced. Probably completely functional but nothing too special and perhaps a bit cheaply made. Then I went to a high end electrical store and lighting showcase room that Rebekah recommended, with the intention more of just gathering information, but also found myself ogling over the fancy designer lights, many of which were in the $200 to $400 each range. Yikes! But I did want to have lighting I was pleased with and that looked good…

But then one day on my way home I decided to stop at the antique mall, and suddenly a hole other possibly opened up for me. What about antique and salvaged light fixtures? Often these older fixtures are made of high quality materials such as brass, but there price is actually reasonable. And perhaps some will take a little extra work to rewire but they would give my house the personality I am looking for!

So then fo rthe next two days I had fun going to all the reuse centers around Ithaca: Significant elements, Fingerlakes Reuse, Ithaca Antique Mall, Mimi’s attic…. And I think I am now set with just about all my lighting fixtures and probably spend no more than $200 total on them. And I love them!

Take a look:

IMG_4681

This beauty will be the central main light above my kitchen area. It has a three bulb fixture in it and I think should light the space beautiful!

IMG_4692

Next to the stain glass overhead chandelier is a little lantern like light that will go outside under my overhang on the wall that has the herring bone.

IMG_4680

this cute little one (the red one in front) will be my overhead lamp in the bathroom.

IMG_4691

Then I got these two silver sconces that will provide light in my stairwell area.

IMG_4688

And lastly, in my loft I plan to have this beautiful gourd lamp from Graham Ottoson, a local artist here in Ithaca!

I think pretty much covers all my light fixtures. I am still keeping my eye out for a vanity light that I like for over the mirror in my sink, but otherwise I think I am set. And quite pleased with the lights that I found and that they all have a history before they got to me…

Ok, thats all for now! I hope you enjoyed seeing what I have been working on for the last while.

For a couple weeks now I have been working on the inside of my house!!! It is quite exciting that I have finally made it to that stage ūüôā

After moving to Hammerstone I began with building my bathroom wall and the small loft that is above my bathroom.

IMG_4654

I built the bathroom wall using 2×4’s that I ripped in half to be 2×2’s. This makes the wall skinnier so that I lose less space to it.The door to my bathroom will be a within the range of dimensions of a standard¬†door: 32 inches. Many tiny houses have bathroom doors that are more like 24″ but a complaint I have often heard about this is that if down the line you say you want to use an RV shower insert most shower inserts won’t even fit through the door! I know that I do want a shower in my bathroom, perhaps even a tiny ofuro style tub, and so I didn’t not want to limit myself as to what will fit in my door. And so I framed out a standard sized door but plan to built it as french doors, thereby lessening the space I will need to be able to fully swing open the doors.

After building my bathroom wall and loft it was time to build the sleeping loft! Having an actual opening in my loft for stairs made my¬†framing job a¬†little bit trickier. I wanted to avoid having any big bolts or screws being visible but new I needed to do something to beef up the structure of my loft. So after some care drawing out I decided that some piece of the loft would actual be two 2×4’s laminated together in order to accomodate the extra weight. But that connections would be made by screwing pieces together with heavy duty structural simpson strong tie screws before laminating together so that the screw heads were actually hidden between the two pieces. It took some patience and time to pull off this design. First planing and sanding all the pieces to make sure they not only matched in their exact dimensions but also looked aesthetically pleasings since they will be visible in my finished house. Then fastening and gluing pieces together paying careful attention to order of operations. But I am quite pleased with how it has come out!

IMG_4655

Lots of clamping action.

It was a couple day project as I didn’t have enough clamps to do more that one piece at a time.

IMG_4657

and more clamping action…

And as glue dried Parker helped me get my collar ties in place! These also had to be sanded and made to look pretty ūüôā

01-interior

And when we still had time to¬†kill before the glue had set we just goofed around a bit ūüėČ

02-interior

03-interior

Monkey bars anyone?

I had been worried about headspace but it seems headspace is going to work out quite well. John, who is a little over 6′ can just walk under my loft, and I can stand with my arms pretty much fully outstretched above me and still be fine!

Then I finally got to take all the clamps off and give my loft one last good sanding.

IMG_4669

IMG_4671

What do you think?

And now with both lofts framed out and my bathroom wall I think all the major, structure framing on my house is done!

And what do you know, my interior siding was also all ready to be picked up this past week: some beautiful 1×8 tongue and groove pine from Halstead lumber in Owego, NY.

But before I can put up my interior siding I have to rough in electrical and plumbing and put in the insulation. So can you guess what my next post might be about? Electrical!

November was a month of transitions. Closing one chapter, opening another. New beginnings and bitter sweet endings.

It was the¬†weekend before Halloween, Saturday, October 24th, and Ecstatic dance was hosting the Masquerade Ball. I was going to gather with some girlfriends and we were going to paint each other’s faces before attending together. But things came up for both of them and I found myself preparing to go to the masquerade ball alone. This was not a new experience for me. Sure, going to a social event alone sometimes feels a little bit more intimidating. It can feel harder to get excited and I always get a little anxious before I walk in the door. Will I have fun? Will there be people I know? Maybe I should just stay home. I think many people share these fears. And although sometimes these fears get the best of me and do keep me in for the night, often I have gone out alone. And learning how to do so has been important for me. It has been important for me to learn my own strength, to feel my own independence to know that I am ok and well on my own as well as with others.

And so that night I headed off to the Masquerade ball on my own. I didn’t paint my face but I got dressed up and put on some feather earrings that my mom gave me, to give me some extra wings of confidence, and enjoyed myself. Walking in the door, music brought movement to my body. Eyes closed, I let any lingering self consciousness fall away, beginning with small pulsing movements, then curling an arm out, greeting the air that hummed around me, drawing an imaginary circle with the tips of my outstretched fingers, a sacred protective circle; This was me, my space. And only those I allowed could enter. And so I danced. The orbit of my energy weaving, pulsing, in and out of the energies of others. Both an insignificant planet in a galaxy of stars; alone I am nothing, together we are everything… awe-inspiring. And the most significant star in the solar system of Me; I am the sun radiating warmth and love out, touching those that orbit around me in ways I perhaps will never comprehend. And I danced. Grateful to be alive. To be healthy. To be me.

A curious soul entered my orbit, drawn in by a smile that I was not aware I wore. Like Earth and Moon we danced around each other. Separate but connected, feeling the pull of the other holding us captive. Once I considered spinning away, a comet briefly there but not to stay. Its own inertia keeping it traveling, on its own, beautiful and blessed path. Gracing our skies but for a brief moment with its beauty. But something said “Stay. Keep your heart open. It is safe.” And so I stayed, circling like a distant second moon.

He reached out a hand, and cautiously I took it. With flourishes and twirls I still kept that little bit of sacred empty space between us. A figure eight of energy maintaining my sacred circle and his, connected, and separate, free to go at any time.

When the music slowed I smiled and bowed my head just slightly, hands on heart, signaling love, and a need to end this night of dance on my own. I had arrived alone but felt I may not be leaving alone. But at least I could close this dance feeling just my own energy. What was this I was feeling?

“What is your name?” I asked in the silence that followed. “Parker.” He said. “And you?” “Miwa.” And so something new began.

That night we shared tea, and then I went home. The next night we shared dinner and then he went home. But not before a quick kiss by the car left me standing somewhat speechless, stunned,¬†smiling under the moonlight, as he drove off. I knew it was coming, didn’t I? But still it took me by surprise. Had I dared to hope? Do I dare to hope that I felt the whisper of a ruby?

At first we took our time, communicating a little through the week but not seeing each except on weekends. I continued to work on Tiny. He was busy being a first year graduate student in chemistry at Cornell. He came to Dances of Universal Peace and saw me lead a dance and play violin. I joined him and his fellow grad students on a Friday night and kicked butt playing darts in a college town bar. He came out to Tiny on a Sunday and lent a helping hand on the last wall of exterior siding; the back herring bone.

IMG_4542

Did I mention that it came out beautifully?

IMG_4584.JPG

Exterior of my house completely done!!

We talked late into the nights, eagerly getting to know each other, discovering and revealing the truths of ourselves… It was beautiful. And it is beautiful to drink in the sweet nectar of a young, blossoming love.

A new chapter opened, suddenly, unexpectedly, deliciously…

And another chapter closed; I discovered that my landlords cat had fleas and that they had made their way into my room. This discovery eventually lead to the second big transition of the month; a bittersweet decision that it was time for me to move from the place I had called home for over a year. And so I began to pack my things, putting some in storage until my eventual move into Tiny, and put the word out that I was looking for a place to live. And community rose up around me, with offers of rooms to rent, house sitting gigs, and couches to crash on. Despite it nearing the solstice, my inner energy has felt like spring; full of new beginnings, energy to travel and enjoy, to mingle and mix. And so living a bit of the nomads life has actually felt like a fun adventure as I continue to work on Tiny and look forward to moving in, hopefully in early spring!

And the third big transition has been that I moved my house Thanksgiving week from John’s land over to Maria’s, where it will stay for the winter! Let me tell you, watching¬†something as big as a house, even a tiny one, that you have put so much time, money, and love into, roll away is quite an exhilarating experience.¬†¬†But thanks to Maria and Liz of Hammerstone School¬†and a car jack borrowed from the Ecovillage at¬†Ithaca the move went incredibly smoothly. Here are a few pictures!

IMG_4595

Getting ready to move! Notice the snow on the ground. It was the first, and only, real snow of the season thus far!

IMG_4597

And off she goes!

IMG_4602

Out on to the open road…

IMG_4603

Luckily it was a short trip though. Literally around the corner of a country block….

IMG_4611

And in just a few hours she was all leveled and situated in her new home!

Leaving John’s land came with some sadness but I plan to return there in the spring and know that Maria’s place will serve me well through the winter. John also leaves for the winter, taking off to Florida, and so the site, which is already quite rustic and wild, can become almost inaccessible if we get significant snow. At Maria’s I have easy access to electricity that does not depend on the sun and can set up my tools and things inside her large pole barn. It may not be much warmer than the outdoors but it at least is protected from the wind and provides a roof over my head when it is raining or snowing. And so Tiny has settled into her winter home and I have officially transitioned from exterior to interior work! I look forward to writing about what has been going on in the interior of my house in my upcoming blog posts ūüôā

IMG_4574.JPG

A beautiful good bye sunset one of the last nights I was on John’s land.

Creative by Nature

Glimpses of a Creative Universe, by Christopher Chase...

aatinyhouse

Creating "new" from old has been a preoccupation of mine for a long time, but turned into a full-time adventure in building and living in a tiny "reclaimed" house. Beginning in 2012, I will live in this 120 square foot space for the length of my PhD studies in Literature and the Environment, and perhaps beyond. In this way, I hope to live a little smaller, leave a little lighter, and learn in what ways formal study can be acted in the every day.

Coffee with Collette

a smorgasbord of thoughts, poems & images about everything & nothing from a woman fighting cancer

She Works Wood

A WOMAN, HER WOODWORKING PROJECTS AND A BLOG. I HOPE YOU FIND USEFUL INFORMATION HERE.

FREE FAMILY ON THE ROAD

An adventure towards a lighter and freer lifestyle

Miranda's Hearth

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

A Little Short

Marcy Little blogs

Tiny House Of Our Own, Gypsy Style

Joining the Tiny House Movement

Blog - The Tiny Tack House

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

Choose to Advance

...your inspiration... your journey... your greatness...

Erin and Dondi

Our travels, exploits, and adventures

The Tiny Life

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

Micro Showcase

Tiny house tours and resources in DC

weeds a'tumbling

The realization of a tiny house on wheels.

Granny Earth

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

The New Paradigm Astrology Cooperative

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

JPG: Stories by Etan Doronne.

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

Jiling Botanicals

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

Green Prophet

Good news that impacts the Middle East and your world

flying birds

The blog of A. Miwa Oseki Robbins

%d bloggers like this: