Tag Archive: siding


I feel like I can see and feel the end in site. As I have been talking with my old cabinet teacher from Heartwood about going and using his shop to make my cabinets I have been chipping away at insulation and interior siding. And little by little it is starting to feel like an almost finished house inside!

The insulation I chose to use is mineral wool sold under the brand name of Roxul. I’ve been excited about this stuff for a while now as I noticed a few green builders using it in Vermont back in 2013. What are the advantages of it? It comes in board and batt form so can be used in any application that fiberglass batts would be used and in most applications where rigid foam board insulation would be used. But unlike fiberglass it is not a known carcinogen and it performs way better; The batts are much more rigid, friction fitting into cavities and not settled over time. They also do not loose their insulative value if they get wet and keep their shape and form as well, even when dunked in a bucket of water. Mice do not seem to like it much, and it is practically fire proof. It also is comparable price wise to fiber glass insulation, which is generally the cheapest insulation on the market. Compared to foam, it is a natural and inert material, not made from petroleum and with no off gassing potential. It does have a slightly lower r value than foam, which can have as high as R-7 per an inch, while roxul is about R-4.3 per an inch, but after finding out that spray foam is a fire accelerant and extremely toxic when it burns I decided I did not want that in my house.

And so I went with roxul. Insulation is a job that very few people enjoy doing; it is itchy, dusty, and messy. Yes, despite all of roxul’s “green” attributes it does still create an itchy dust that I did find irritating to my lungs if I did not wear a dust mask. But I was comforted by the roxul website and other sites that say that the roxul dust particles, although still uncomfortable, are much larger in size and so a dust mask does seem to effectively sblock them, and they are not a known carcinogen the way that fiberglass is.

I am really grateful that two of my friends came out for a day and the three of us busted out the insulation for my whole house in a single day! Take a look:

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Woohooo!

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Thank you so much Prema and Jeremiah for your help!

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And after a thorough sweeping and cleaning…

Oh, and did I mention that on the same day that we put in my insulation Rebecca Carpentar also came and made my electricity live?! So now I can plug in my little space heater inside my insulated house, and guess what? It warms up! And stays warm!

With insulation done I was ready to begin putting ip my interior siding! This feels like a huge step. And it felt so good to be back to working with wood after doing electrical and figuring out plumbing decisions and getting at itchy and dusty with Roxul.

Here are some pictures of the interior siding going up, which is 1×8″ pine tongue and groove. Isn’t it pretty?

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Thank Adam, another friend, for coming out and helping!

Each of these boards I hand sanded with a random 5″ orbital sander with 100 grit paper and then 150 grit paper. This was a decision I went back and forth about as these boards came from the mill already planed and quite beautiful and smooth to the touch. But after talking to a few people with more experience then me I was convinced that sanding would be worth it as they all said any finish I put on the wood will look better if I have sanded them. And if I don’t sand them that a finish will likely amplify any nicks or imperfections in the planing job.

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note the loft ceiling!! Boy did it feel good to get that covered up! I can almost sleep up there now 🙂

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Me putting a board in place.

The above picture is one that Jim Bosojolie took on the day that channel 9 news from syracuse came out to take some shots and interview me! Yup, that is right. They called Maria from Hammerstone school asking if she knew of any tiny house people and she referred them to me. I was told it should be about a minute and 30 second clip that should air on February 28th. When I get the link to the clip I will make sure to post it here!

I am not done yet with the interior siding but feel like with another solid week I should be very close to or totally done. I leave for Mexico tomorrow though for 10 days of playing in the sun and waves, so that week of work will be the first full week of March! Then it will be time for the building of my stairs, my hearth, and cabinets and trim! Woohooo!! Lately I have been saying my goal is to have the house ready to start moving in on May 1st. I think I can do it. And I am determined that the house sitting gig I am in now, which will end sometime mid may, will be my last one before I move into my tiny house. Which, by the way, I have decided can no longer be just “Tiny” but needs a new name. Tiny worked for construction but feels too generic. And so I have been on a quest for a name. For a while I was leaning towards Subako, which means nest box and bee hive in Japanese, but 3 syllables felt just a little too long. Then the other day the word Cocoon came to me, which is Ma-yu in Japanese. So far people seem to like that name when I tell them it and it feels good to me. More feminine than Subako, and easier to say. I am still sitting with it for a while but I think that is going to be Tiny’s new name!

And so here is one last picture of Ma-yu glowing in the evening light on a beautiful winter snowy day.

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My Honey-Gold Tiny House

Today I sat in the sun on this beautiful fall day and looked at my tiny house and took it all in. The south and west walls are completely sided now and and so if you sit at that corner the house looks finished!

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With the sun shining, it also takes on this beautiful honey gold color that I have to say I absolutely LOVE!

I am feeling blessed and grateful for all the help I have been receiving recently. Having my family come two weekends ago was so much fun and got me from no siding to more than half of my siding up. After they left I continued to work carefully and diligently on some of the more complex parts, including the siding around my octagon window:

careful notching around these tricky angle!

careful notching around these tricky angles!

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I kind of enjoyed the challenge and am pleased with the results!

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having scaffolding set up that I borrowed from John was definitely helpful to be able to do this…

Then this past Sunday night my friend Olympia, who took a cabinetry course with me at Heartwood School, came and helped me, staying until this morning. And with her help the west and south walls are now completely done and the north wall is more than half done!

Putting the finishing touches on the west side: gable fascia and trim!

Putting the finishing touches on the west side: gable fascia and trim!

Couldn't have done this tricky detail work without Olympia's help!

Couldn’t have done this tricky detail work without Olympia’s help! We had beautiful sunny days, until the last day…

Then the last day it was Windy (so windy a ladder blew over! Luckily with no one on it) and rainy! But we were determined and maybe crazy so we went out their anyway!

Then the last day it was Windy (so windy a ladder blew over! Luckily with no one on it) and rainy! But we were determined and maybe crazy so we went out there anyway!

Afterall, we were SO close to finishing the south wall!

After all, we were SO close to finishing the south wall!

And now both the south and west walls are done!

And the north wall isn’t too far from being finished either!

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I got to say, even though the inside is still bare studs, it is starting to feel like a home, with a personality and everything! On days like today, I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave this home to go back home…

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feeling ready to move in?

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I can’t wait until I can indeed welcome people into My Home!

In the meantime, I am working on figuring out where I want my light fixtures and outlets to go so that my electrician can do his rough in… And plumbing will have to happen soon too! I am starting to get the itch to move to interior work but trying to stay focused on the outside while the weather is still decent!

That is all for now 🙂

Good Vibes All Around

Do you believe that the energy that goes into the creation of something becomes the energy of the creation itself? Well if you do, this past weekend definitely imbued my house with lots of love and positive energy. It was a cold fall weekend, where the first snowflakes of the season fell, and nighttime temperatures dropped into the twenties but my Aunt, Uncle, and Mom and Dad braved the chilly weather and drove up six hours from Boston with smiles, tools, and warm layers, ready to work. And we sure did accomplish a lot!

My mom and dad arrived Friday around noon and I taught them the basics of carpentry. We went over how to change a bit in a drill and driver, some basic saw safety, and then I explained to them what we were doing and why; furring strips on top of the insulation board to create a rain screen, bug screen at the tops and bottoms of the walls to keep wasps and other insects out, and then siding. As we got ourselves into building mode my dad started doing what is now officially “The Tiny House Jig” …

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It was serious business 😉

Friday night passed in a blurr of fun times taking my parents to see Liz’s finished tiny house and Amy’s almost completed tiny house over at Hammerstone and then going to dinner at The Finger Lakes Cider House, a hopping scene of delicious local food, cider, and music on Friday nights located at The Good Life Farm, an amazing horse powered permaculture farm.

Saturday we made a big pot of chili and put it in the crock pot which we brought to the site and plugged into our solar power so we would have hot food all day, and then we got back to work, starting in on putting up siding! An hour or so later Peter and Melissa arrived, reporting that they had driven through snow and rain! But here at my tiny house site it was sunny and beautiful, if a little chilly, and I was grateful!

Saturday went amazingly well. We got siding going on two walls and Peter got my southeast corner post up!

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Peter working diligently to figure out how to notch the pieces of wood that would be my corner trim around my wooden braces. And me in the background starting to figure out my door trim. John came up with a brilliant solution to my door that allowed me to keep almost my full 180 degree outswing!

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Melissa and my dad working on the siding on my south wall! My mom was working hard too, but was behind the camera lens taking many of these pictures!

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Barry showed up too for parts of both saturday and sunday and allowed Peter and I to work on staying ahead of everyone with trim details while he was the cut guy and kept the nailing crew of my mom, dad, and melissa busy. It was definitely a team effort!

Saturday ended with us all feeling quite satisfied with our full days work and tired. Melissa and Peter had gotten up at 4am to get on the road and be in Ithaca by 10am! So we went home, freshened up a bit and then headed to downtown Ithaca for dinner. My aunt and uncle had never been to Ithaca and so we walked through our newly finished car free commons and then found a delicious Mediterranean restaurant called Sahara to fill our bellies at. I had never eaten there before but will definitely go again as it was very yummy!

Sunday we were back at the sight by 9:30 and zoomed along with siding even though snow did start falling from the sky! And Peter got the last corner post in too! Wahoo!!

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Hammers, smiles, and tape measurers

Here is the crew near the end of our second work day:

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Can you see the white snowflakes falling? And look how much we got done!! WoW!! So grateful 😀

Many have been asking me what my siding is so let me tell you. It is just hemlock shiplap siding from a local mill operation run by Cory Schillif. And then I stained it with a 50:50 mixtures of raw linseed oil and pine tar, a natural wood preservative, that I got from Solvent Free Paint.

Sunday afternoon my parents had to take off to get back to Somerville but my aunt and uncle stayed and we got the 3rd wall started!

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The first course is often one of the trickiest- getting it level, going around the wheel well, all those details that if done right will make the rest of the wall go relatively smoothly. So having three of the 4 walls started is a huge deal!

It was an amazingly production weekend and I am immensely grateful. And thank you crew for making it such a fun time!

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from left to right: Barry, Iku (mom), John, Michael (dad), Melissa (aunt), and Peter (uncle)

After we finished our work for the day Sunday I got to take my aunt and uncle over to see the other tiny houses at Hammerstone, which was also quite fun. It is amazing how much variation there is in style and aesthetic choices even in a tiny house; they truly can be like an art piece that reflects the personality of the inhabitant. I am quite pleased with how mine is coming out thus far! And now I must say, I am tired in that best kind of way; satisfied after a good full weekend of work. Buenos Noches!

It feels like I have been putting the winter coat on my house the last couple days, and it has been quite exciting! Even though it is just roxul insulation board that I am doing on the exterior it somehow makes the house suddenly look much more finished. Take a look!

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Here it is from one more angle. Not bad, eh?

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Today I tackled the window trim of my tricky, but beautiful octagon window and am quite pleased with how it came out.

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Tomorrow I hope to start putting up furring strips which will allow me to start putting up exterior siding when my family comes for a big work weekend next week! So I have spent this evening sketching and brainstorming how I want to put up my siding, as my furring strips will determine this. Here are my sketches.

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Above is my north wall and below is my south wall. I am pretty sure I like this design, of horizontal for most of it with small vertical sections in the dormer.

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And in the top right is my west wall. Pretty set on horizontal for this whole wall. But then my east wall… I don’t know what I want to do there! 

As you can tell from my 4 possible sketches, I am undecided for my back east wall, which has the little overhang and braces. I would love opinions and feedback on these possible designs, and any and all permutations of top and bottom. which is why I have 1a and 1b, etc.

Someone once told me that horizontal gives a grounded, Earth energy feeling, and that vertical is more the Tree energy and diagonal is Fire energy. It feels good for my house to be mostly earth energy, grounded and sturdy. But I feel I want a little bit of Fire and Tree energy as well. Perhaps I am getting too philosophical here but the upper left design of my east wall, 1a and 1b, is the one I am drawn to most at this point and it feels to me like it has a nice balance of energies. Although diagonals may be Fire, it somehow to me also feels like it has a boat like Water energy. Can you see how it could look like the bow of a boat? A boat that can cut through even fire… And then I also see mountains and hills in the herring bone pattern, making it have a grounded earth energy… This pattern may be the trickiest to pull off but I probably will only build my own house once, so why not go all out? I would love to hear what others think about the possible designs I am considering. Do you have any thoughts or opinions?

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