Our First Week
The first priority for our first week of building was establishing a temporary support structure. We are building this V House (which we have given the slightly clinical term-of-endearment “V2”) on a wooden subfloor resting on top of some massive tree stumps. Once the building is done and we are ready to move V2 to its new home, we will jack it up, remove the subfloor and lower it onto the trailer. Easy, right? Here's hoping!
The subfloor support structure went up well, and we levelled everything to within a 64th of an inch. If there's any variation from that at this point, we're blaming frost heaves and changes in gravitational force. Once it was prepped, we started on the actual floor of the house.
The floor consists of 2x8 joists infilled with reclaimed rigid foam from a local roofer's stockpile, set on 16” centres and sandwiched between 1/2” plywood on both top and bottom. From our crawlspace underneath the support structure, we were able to nail the plywood on from the bottom without having to build it upside down first and then try to flip it over. We're pretty tough, but for two guys to wrestle a 23' by 10' flooring system 180 degrees would take more energy than we had, so brain over brawn, baby! When we installed the rigid foam, Seth had the brilliant idea to cut all the foam over the floor joists, so that any foam shavings or small chunks would fall into the floor system and not onto the ground where it could get washed away into Nature. It worked well and soon we had the top plywood sandwich fastened and were ready to frame up the walls.
Our V House design has proprietary (not actually) “wings” that extend beyond the roofline. On our smaller houses, this is a beam that runs all the way through, acting as a structural component. On this 23' long house, we wanted the same look but had to fake it a bit, because we didn't have a 28' 4x6. We built up a 20 something foot long 3 ply 2x6 beam and then that connected with a three foot lap joint to the wings. The final product was a super strong and handsome piece of work that crowned the long back and front walls. We framed these two walls on the floor, stood them up and then hoisted those beams onto the top. It took some trickery with leverage and gravity, but worked well and once everything was up and well-braced, it looked very good indeed.
By this point in the week we were rushing to beat the first big snowfall and the temperature was starting to plummet, so we forged ahead and built the roof. We cut the rafters (enough birdsmouths to start your own flock), strapped it all, sheeted it, papered it, peel-and-sticked the vitals and screwed down the corrugated metal. Once that was done, we framed the two side walls in place and starting laying out and framing the interior walls.
We'll post one or two more episodes of the Nelson Tiny Houses building blog, and then we're taking two weeks off to be with family and enjoy the festivities.
Thanks for reading and check back again soon!
Well, the rain that was featured in our V House video tour has turned to snow, and Nelson is now deep in winter. The temperature dropped to -15 degrees celsius, but we kept rolling!
As mentioned in the previous posting, we have started building another V House. In the next few postings, we'll talk about our design and building process, and keep you up-to-date on our progress. We'll try to include pictures where possible; let's hope the camera doesn't freeze up.
The clients for this project gave us some general guidelines as to what they wanted – V House design, 10' by 23' layout – but after that they, bless 'em, gave us free rein and a license to build however we saw fit. We love working closely with a client to give them exactly what they want, but if they trust our eye and skills, and say go-get-em, we won't argue.
At 230 square feet, we had quite a bit of canvas to work with when doing our layout design. We divided the floor into three separate spaces – the bathroom, the kitchen and dining room area, and the bedroom. We designed a loft over the bathroom that will serve as a storage area and a guest bedroom.
The kitchen will have a concrete countertop (one of our specialities) that will include a special design feature. What is it, you ask? You'll see once we build it. It's going to be awesome. The dining room table will also be a super slick design. Again, check back to see what we do with it.
The bedroom is different from what you might expect after having seen our previous V House. Many tiny houses make use of the loft bed. We do it, and there's no shame in it, but having a loft bedroom is problematic to us on two main fronts. One, it requires a certain ability to climb the ladder or steep stairs. While many of us are comfortable with this level of dexterity, many of us also view it as an unnecessary risk. We hosted an open house a few months ago, and we got quite a bit of feedback from folks about this. Two, while a loft creates two separate living areas (above and below), it also compromises both those living spaces in a tiny house. Below you have low headroom and above you have at best a crawl space. Don't get us wrong, lofts serve their purpose well, but in our design for this house, we took a different approach. Instead of having a loft, we are creating an elevated floor about two feet above the kitchen floor. It will require one step to get up to and the entire space under the elevated floor will be accessible through a series of deep drawers and a 4' by 4' hatch in the floor. What we love about this design is that it still leaves plenty of headroom in the bedroom and provides the house with an immense storage space. We're really stoked about it and think it will be beautiful and functional.
The bathroom will have a composting toilet and a claw-foot bath tub with a shower. We will also put a big closet in there for all sorts of storage.
We'll get some pictures up soon, and in our next post, we'll describe our first week of building.
Welcome to our brand-new, ultra-classy building blog. Here we will try to keep you up to date and informed about current and future building projects, share tricks we have learned, attempt to inspire and, of course, rave about tiny houses. Check back often to see what we have going on.
Currently we are building a 23' x 10' V House. Over the next few weeks, we'll post some photos and write up some building reports. This is our biggest tiny house, and definitely showcases the versatility of the V House. Check back for more soon!
N.B: The plan shown is what we had drawn up for another client who has ordered a similar V House. Our current build is similar, but there are a some notable differences that a few fastidious readers have noticed (Thanks for pointing that out!). One, our current build has replaced the shower in the bathroom with a big storage closet and two, the kitchen layout has been changed to allow for the elevated bedroom floor. Window layout and exterior colour will also be different.