She’s Beautiful but She’s Empty Inside

May Cover

“Look at her, isn’t she beautiful?” they all say passing by but once they get to know her, they face a disappointing reality. Inside she is an empty shell, a hollow skeleton. She likely needs years of work, totaling in the thousands of dollars to become truly whole, self sufficient, move-in-ready.

But damn… she looks good.

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Over the past few months the exterior of the 160House has undergone dramatic cosmetic surgery. We flashed the tires, installed vents, sided all four walls, caulked in the trim and windows, and sided and roofed the “rabbit hutch.” All there is left to do is attach the hutch doors and paint the front door an obnoxiously cute canary yellow.

The 160House’ makeover happened just in time for her very first celebrity visitors. My friend Chelsea, an old Sea Scout buddy, is considering making a horrible mistake and wanted to come see what my mistake looked like.

She brought with her Renee Randau McLaughlin and Hillarie Kaczetow, organizers for the San Jose TinyFest. Hillarie is also the builder and resident of Tiny Hell on Wheels (and proud mom to Crusher, the tiny pig!!!). While Crusher rooted for acorns at the foot of my parent’s old oak tree, we stood in the doorway of the house and enthusiastically swapped successes and set-backs. Renee and Hillarie were full of praise, helpful hints, and sympathetic anecdotes. Chelsea did not seem at all deterred from making the worst decision of her young life.

Those glitter counter tops though!

This was my first time kicking it with real tiny house people, and it was truly energizing. It made me want to get more involved in the tiny house community, if for nothing else than to use the successes of my peers as envy based fuel for powering through the remainder of my build.

So thank you to Chelsea and friends for coming to visit for the big tour and letting me show off my most beloved and resented child!

Other thanks this month go to Mio Metals in Petaluma for their well crafted custom flashing pieces we used on the wheel wells and as always to my dad for his skills, time, and mentorship.

Tune in next month to watch me play “Why the Fuck Did I Put this Wire Here 6 Months Ago?”

De-Siding

In September I chose to stain my siding using a blend of vinegar and steel wool. I was so proud of my swift decisive action that on the first Friday of October I declared that “I was the best decision maker of all time this month!” I then proceeded to spend the rest of the month agonizing over this decision.

On my first October work day, I applied a top coat of transparent stain to the wood. First off, I would like to have a discussion with the manufacturer of this product over the meaning of words like “clear” and “transparent.”

 

I thought that maybe it would dry clear (purple glue sticks had taught me this was possible) so I tested it on a few boards. It did not dry clear at all but instead turned my gray stains a distinct burnt orange.

What’s more, when I looked at all my boards after having let them sit for a week, I saw that they were wildly different colors and not just between boards but within the boards. Overall they had settled into a deep redwood color, not at all the cool gray I had hoped for originally. I didn’t hate how they looked but they didn’t look like I wanted my house to look.

 

Logical response: That’s cool. I’ll just paint over them.

Actual response: If I paint over these boards I am a failure who has wasted an entire month’s worth of work days. I better waste all of this month’s work days worrying about it just to be sure.

So that’s why there’s no first of November post.

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Good news though! This month I am back on track and have real progress to report!

Once I decided to paint my boards instead of sticking with my stain, I had another daunting decision to make. What color? Or I guess just which shade…

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I only tried out three, not 50.

I battled indecision and quickly settled on the middle shade. It’s called Chrome.

My dad set up a way better work station than my brain had come up with for my solo painting. Instead of using saw horses to paint three boards at a time and transferring them to ladders to dry, we used an elaborate series of ladders to paint almost all the boards at one time.

We decided to spray instead of roll the boards and it went so fast. It took three short days to get all the boards painted with primer, first coat, and second coat!

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CHROME

And I got to wear this super cute suit!

 

Next I paint my trim, prep the boards, and start installing

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FULL COLOR SCHEME Left to right: ash roof, gray-white trim, lime drop door, chrome siding!

One last piece of exciting news is that I dropped a day at one of my jobs so now I have double the tiny house time!

OK, it’s thank you time! Thank you to my dad for his superior painting strategies, to the guys at the paint stores for answering my many many questions, and to my wonderful friends and family for putting up with my tiny house related worries, especially Jonni, who knows there is no stress that cannot be cured by sushi and fried potatoes.