Saturday, January 2, 2016

Post 18 (Jan. 2)-Life is a Crowded Dance Floor

A side view of the trim around the dormer windows--at long last!
Life is a crowded dance floor.  You choose to walk on to the dance floor, slightly anxious, thinking, "What if the music isn't good?  What if my dance moves are laughable?  What if I bump into someone else and inadvertently start trouble?  What if I step out onto the dance floor, only to find that my friends haven't joined me and I'm all alone?"

Once you're on the dance floor and a song you like comes on, it's easy to dance.  The moves are natural and you might even find yourself singing along.  Often, without quite enough warning, the song changes and sometimes it's a song you've never heard before and don't like very much.  The moves are unnatural, you damn near have to count beats to dance on rhythm, and the joy of dance fades away.   In that moment, you can choose to walk off the dance floor and wait until a new beat resonates with you.  Or, you can work a little bit harder to keep up, look for cool moves around you, and hope that the song grows on you.  I've done both.

Inevitably, on a crowded dance floor, you'll lose your balance.  Your heels are tall, the floor is sticky, the dance isn't choreographed, and there are lots and lots of people.  If you're lucky, really really lucky, just as you start to lose your balance, someone will be there there to stand you back up on your own two feet.

On New Year's Eve, I really was on a crowded dance floor.  For the past 45 days (especially the last two weeks), my life felt a whole lot like a crowded dance floor.  I found myself anxious before making a big decision, heard news I didn't like and could have run from or run into the challenge, and lost (and found) my balance.  Here are the big accomplishments.

1. Chose (and paid for!!) solar system.  We figured out how much electricity we will need and worked with Wholesale Solar (shoutout to Alfred and Jeremy) to design a system that will allow us to be completely off-grid and have the ability to charge the batteries with a generator or with a grid connection.  Purchasing the solar system was my "Uh-oh, the DJ changed the song and I'm not sure I like it," moment.  Solar systems are expensive.  I mean, really really expensive.  I made the decision to step on to the metaphorical dance floor and purchase the system.  I was still feeling unbalanced when I got home and Kacey brought me back to Earth, reminding me that, "Yes, this is a big risk.  Yes, this tiny house if full of big lessons.  Yes, this is an adventure.  And yes, this is gonna be fun."  Life is a crowded dance floor, and I was so happy he was there to help me regain my balance.

2. Started electrical work. We are installing electrical boxes, purchasing LED strip lights, deciding where the switches will be, and putting more outlets in our 242 sq. ft. house than in our current full-size rental.  The first night Kacey and I went out to decide about switches, we came to almost immediate agreement.  Thank goodness we didn't have boxes out there with us that night because on the second night, we went back out there to confirm the previous' night's decisions and came to immediate agreement on switch locations that were ... completely different ... than the decisions we'd made earlier.  Repeat that at least two more times.  Now we are putting the boxes up.  And, still, changing our minds every now and then.

3. Relocation of water tank. Previously we thought that we'd locate a 55-gallon water tank underneath the kitchen counter.  We had this nagging worry that a faulty $1 fitting would allow 55 gallons of water to escape the tank and ruin the interior of the tiny house.  This was one challenge that we wanted to run away from rather than into.  Kacey came up with a brilliant solution!  Using Unistrut, we will suspend a wide, flat water tank underneath the trailer.  We have roughly 7 inches of unused vertical space on the underside of the trailer.  Now, we'll have 95 gallons :) Enough for 1 shower a week.  We really want to figure out how this Nebia shower head will fit in our tiny 32"x 32" shower.  It would mean we could have at least 4 showers a week, each!

4. What's on deck? Siding! With the electrical connections through the exterior walls getting installed, the siding will be going up. Just when we were beginning to like the house wrap/red contractors tape motif... :) Also on deck is insulation. As soon as the electrical is installed, the spray foam insulation will be going in the exterior walls and sheep's wool for the ceiling.

5. New friends because of tiny house.  We love when neighbors and people passing by on the bike path show interest, exclaim that they love the "little house" or ask fifty questions (the "What are you going to do about the toilet?" question being the most asked. One neighbor is a serious tiny house aficionado, as well as a contractor. He looks forward to bringing his own tiny house dream to fruition in the future, and in the meantime has been extremely helpful and friendly.  We are so happy to add friends and supporters to our circle.

We finished the trim around the dormer windows.  We had to wait until the roof was on so that the trim could lay over the flashing.
Side view of the trim.
Notice the electrical box in the lower right corner.   
The electrical box next to the outdoor speaker.  This box will provide electricity to the string of lights we'll put around the dormer loft. 
A close-up.
Check out this tiny little ceiling fan!  
Today we installed three boxes in the back room (the room with bathroom, shower stall, closet & laundry)
This is the LED light that will go in the box.
We will also have a fan in the middle of the back room.  Because the ceiling is the floor of the loft, we can't countersink the fan into the ceiling. 
Notice the fan sits level with the rafter.  We installed some shelves the tongue and groove can rest on so that is flush with the rafter when complete.  An added bonus is that we use the extra space as a much-needed way to have electrical wires run from one side of the house to the other.
More electrical boxes. 
In case you hadn't seen enough :) 
A mini electrical panel!  
The inside view.


  1. I'm sure the $olar $y$tem was a big decision, but I anticipate you'll reflect on that as a very smart choice. When I saw the ceiling LED light, I first thought it might be a smoke detector. Will you include one? It could be battery-operated. I noticed you had JeldWen windows, headquartered in Mount Vernon, OH. (The owner contributed his architectural and landscape design expertise to a new large park that opened this past year.) Congratulations on your continued progress! Stew

    1. Stew, I love the new spelling of "Solar System" :) Yes, we will include a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector (my father purchased them for us the same month we started building). What an interesting tidbit about the owner of Jeld-Wen windows.

      Happy New Year, Stew!

      Catherine and Kacey

  2. This is all awesome! We love the tiny fan! We love the trim around the windows. We love you! Mom and Dad

  3. Looking good guys!!

    I hope the Diode LED system is working out well! I wouldn't be surprised if there was a hiccup or two, but hopefully Diode and the boys at Royal were able to help you some more along the way.

    Can't wait to see pics of the finished project!

    -Michael D'Alessandro
    (Formerly) Royal Wholesale, Concord

    1. Michael,

      Great to hear from you! So far so good!

      Catherine and Kacey

  4. Hey there - thanks so much for this post and mainly the pictures!! The flashing and roofing has been causing me a lot of thinking recently as I've just ordered my roof! It looks like you have some form of standing seam maybe prolock? Thanks again! These images have helped me a lot!

    1. Hi Al,

      Glad the blog is helpful for you! Yes, we used Image II Standing Seam roofing from Metal Sales ( We chose the Dark Bronze color.

      Good luck!

      Catherine and Kacey

    2. Just about to install the roof - so nervous about this process, do you have any other pics of the gable edge as it meets the ridge? Thanks.

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