The fact that I haven’t posted anything in, what, 6 months, does not in fact mean that Casa Chica has sat idle and un-worked-on since she moved out of the shed. On the contrary! The biggest news is – she’s unfinished, but occupied! By me! Since just before Memorial Day. We also moved her to her “permanent” location and have made serious progress on the interior, although gardening and haymaking and other summer farm activities have slowed things down somewhat. But still, she’s now a home.
I’m going through my photo album to determine the order of things. A rapid update on progress requires a bulleted list, so here’s what’s been done since March:
- Exterior: Installed soffits and soffit vents, and the battens and all of the window and door trim are on. We still haven’t stained the outside, but the Seal Once waterproofer seems to be holding its own. Even in the remarkably wet weather we’ve been having lately, including a 5+-inch deluge a few weeks ago.
- The fresh water tank and water pump are installed and plumbed, but I don’t have sinks or a shower yet. I have all the necessary equipment and accouterments though, in boxes taking up half of the bathroom. Including the hot water heater – after reading some posts from other tiny housers who have one, I decided to go with the PrecisionTemp RV-550 tankless water heater. I had initially planned to get a small electric water heater, but the electricity vampirism kept niggling at me, since I am loosely trying to keep possible future solar panels in mind. And six gallons of hot water ain’t much; I didn’t go tiny to go Navy.
- Wiring is finished, so I have electricity. I have 50 amp service on a pole, and will eventually have my own meter so I know how much of the farm electricity bill is mine. Recessed lights in the bedroom and bathroom are all in, and enough track lights in the living room/kitchen to be able to function. Finding LED bulbs that don’t buzz (a persistent problem with LED lights on dimmers, I’m told) is the hold-up. The lovely and expensive SORAA bulbs I originally bought buzz like a beehive. I’m having better luck with cheaper bulbs but haven’t settled on one yet. And we’ve been having some hot weather of late so I hauled the ceiling fan out of the box and installed it. I bought a Wave by Minka Aire, in distressed koa finish to go with the other dark wood accents we have going on.
- Many of the built-ins are in! The installation of the bed and bedroom drawers was what allowed me to move in officially, followed by bedside tables, entryway and sitting area cabinets. Lower kitchen cabinets and counter top are the latest additions. And man-oh-man is everything beautiful! Maple with a natural finish, with black walnut tops and accents. The kitchen counter top is a laminate. I have more than enough drawers for all my clothes, more space in the six storage areas under the bed than I have stuff to put in them, and in general far more storage than I thought possible in such a small house. My brilliant designer friend (Andrea) and my artist of a cabinet maker (Scott) are having so much fun maximizing space (with my input, but the details make my head explode. I’m mostly the final approval authority with the checkbook). The built-ins are officially pushing this project into the “high budget tiny house” category (if there is such a thing), but for me it’s worth it. Building tiny is allowing me to be able to afford far higher quality materials, fixtures and finishes than I would if I were building a normal-sized house, even a small one.
- I also have refrigeration. I bought a Danby 4.4 cu refrigerator because of its relatively good energy efficiency. I loved the space in the refrigerator and the somewhat useful can storage (you can’t get a compact refrigerator without can storage in the door, which I find to be an almost completely useless space since I don’t do canned drinks), but decided I couldn’t live with the teeny-tiny freezer that wouldn’t even hold a pint of ice cream without squishing it in on its side. So I replaced the Danby with the EdgeStar 3.1 cu refrigerator/freezer that Tumbleweed recommends. Much smaller refrigerator space but much improved freezer space for me. And it’s still pretty energy efficient for a compact refrigerator.
Up next: the open shelves in the kitchen and the bathroom built-ins are in the works. I may have running water in the next couple of weeks hooray, and a working stove! The cork floor installation is fixing to happen. And the metal hearth pad an artist friend made for underneath my wood stove will deserve a post of its own once it’s installed.