From Texas-sized 2 Tiny House For Three
*cue Jeopardy theme*
So, here we are. September 25th. Yup, it’s Thursday. Ho hum…
Oh, you’re still here? Well then…
We are in a kind of limbo right now because none of our roofing has come in yet, the beetle kill lumber was only ordered about a week ago, and the remaining window order (sans the big front nook window) was just a few days before that. We’re waiting on those items to arrive before we actually buy things like nails, screws, caulks, window flashings, etc, etc since, well, it just seems pointless to buy stuff just now. Unfortunately, though, there’s still quite a bit to buy just to finish the outside of the house and have it weather-proof for the coming fall/winter. I say fall/winter because in this part of Texas we don’t get a real WINTER winter like up north or even in the Panhandle where I spent my first nine years winters plowing through snow piles left after annual blizzards in my yellow Hawaiian bikini that I wore until it fell apart. Yes, you read that right: bikini. I have more than one photo of me tunneling around the snow in it with boots on my feet and a knit hat on my head. To say I’m hot natured is a bit of an understatement to say the least.
Anyway, North Texas (or NTx as we locals often abbreviate it) does have four distinct seasons, though they are not your traditional four marked by the solstices and equinoxes. No, here we have that fall/winter I mentioned, which is then followed by spring, summer, and August. We got married in August. Outside. On a Friday night at 7pm in downtown Dallas in front of a historic mansion part of a living museum. Outside. In August. I *think* by now maybe I’ve been forgiven for that transgression by our hundred-plus family and friends, but I can still feel the sweat dripping down my back and recall the look of relief on the face of my nephew, who served as a Jr. Groomsman, when I gave him the official go-ahead to change into street clothes. Yes, August is truly a season unto its own in NTx, and I for one am glad it’s behind us despite our unseasonably cool (as in less than 100 degrees every day) season this year. Strangely enough, ten years ago we also had a similarly unseasonably cool summer. We were married nine years ago, however. Go figure!
I’m particularly glad summer and August are behind us because the weather will genuinely start cooling off around here just in time for all our materials to arrive for a somewhat hurried application to seal up the outside of the house enough for the little dab of winter weather we inevitably get each year to one degree (and usually not terribly far below freezing) or another. Every year around this time Texas does a dang good job of trying to lull me into a false sense of weather security and make me think, “See, it’s not so bad here, you can manage these temperatures! Besides, all your stuff is here!” Yeah. And then April rolls around again, and it’s all downhill from there. lol I can’t tell you how just how much I’m looking forward to spending 70-ish degree summers in Washington State, but first we have to finish building the dang house! Yeesh!
Here’s a quick list of the tasks we must complete to make the house weather-tight for the coming fall/winter in no particular order:
You’ll notice I left out framing/installing the skylight because we’ve decided against installing one for now at least. Not that it’ll be an easy thing to do retroactively, but we agreed that we’d like to keep the number of roof penetrations to a minimum. Plenty of folks have skylights without issues and J&G of Tiny House Giant Journey are now traveling North America with two on their house, but as much as we love the idea of one we’ve just concluded that time, cost, and concern for future breakdown has swayed us against one for now at least. We did delete 2 windows completely from our plan, as well as dramatically shrank the two “bathroom” windows from 24×36 down to 17×17, but we’re certain we’ll still have more than enough natural light to go around and prevent the house from feeling closed in.
It looks like we might be making a “double” window behind the area we have designated for the sofa space since we need to move another window on that wall to avoid the stairs rendering it non-functional. The original idea was to move it over one space in the framing toward the front of the house, but then we were concerned about the fact that the Kimberly’s chimney would run right in front of that spot. I’ve been assured that placement shouldn’t be an issue since the actual clearances from the genuinely combustible window components are sufficient, but in looking at the marked up photos I sent to Unforgettable Fire I think we will just move it over 2 spaces in the framing to create a big “double” window by placing it right next to the other window on that wall that’s already framed and remaining the same. Initially I didn’t like the idea of a window directly behind my head on the sofa, but with two there the other concern I had – constantly fighting with any window treatments we use – will be reduced as they’d be located on the outer edges of the sofa space vs. the very middle with only one narrow window to span. That extra width spaces any curtains out more, which should reduce the likelihood one of us accidentally yanks them down. That’s the theory anyway.
I’m also investigating a product called Magnesiacore at the suggestion of Vanessa from Unforgettable Fire, who was referred to it by another client. It’s a non-combustible material that will be going in the immediate vicinity of the Kimberly stove no matter what based on the awesome safety features I read about, but now we’re investigating it for possibly replacing at least the wall materials on the fireplace side or even the whole house if the weight isn’t too big an issue. I wrote to them and mentioned our intentions for heavy travel, too, and they suggested using the smaller pieces with flexible caulk-type sealants between the panels, which would give them a bit of flexibility with the bumps and lumps endured with highway travel. Definitely something worth thinking about anyway, especially since we’ll have actual fire as our heat source in a matchbox on wheels. I can’t deny the appeal of having the house sheathed in materials that don’t go up in flames instantly!
I also got a call back (finally!) from the Home Depot I stopped at to get a quote on a Jeld-Wen French casement window. Now, I haven’t personally seen the mockup Jeld-Wen sent back for approval (going to stop in later today or Friday), but while the sales rep was shocked at the quote price for one reason, I was shocked at that same price – $1700 – for a very different one. Pella had quoted me somewhere between $4800-6000 for a French in-swing casement window only a week before, so I’m still not convinced the Jeld-Wen quote is for what I actually want to order. We had to “build” a window in their ordering system, print it out, handwrite/draw the adjustments needed to make it a French in-swing, and then fax it off for a quote. While $1700 is still a pretty dang steep price for a single window, there’s no denying it’s better than the roughly $5k quote I got from their competitor. I still have a specific list of alternative windows I’ll get priced for that space before we make any final decisions, but I’m at least hopeful that there’s still a snowball’s chance in Hades we *might* actually get the type of window we really want. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed. Well, not really, but you get my point.
Anyway, I’m working my next-to-last night shift at my full-time job right now (switching to day shift at the end of next week), and the sleep deprivation is starting to kick in. Time to walk around and chug a green tea Monster.