My husband and I are sitting at the Department of Motor Vehicles. The rows of plastic chairs, the artificially bright-lit room, the sighing and squirming of people in their seats, the office hum. I’m reminded of the waiting room scene in Beetlejuice — the limbo, the agony.

“This is why most people don’t build tiny houses,” I say to Nick.

Annoyed, he nods his head. I pat his upper back, reminding him that this is what you do at the DMV. You wait in lines, fill out forms, and then hope for a smooth, uneventful process in which you end up with an official piece of paper that says you’ve successfully endured such a banal but required human experience.

This is what happens when you register an automobile, or something normal. But registering a tiny house on wheels? It’s complicated. Continue Reading

We haven’t made much progress with the house, despite some exciting deliveries. Nick and my dad worked with Northern Arizona Wind & Sun to create a solar system for our tiny house on wheels, including a Magnum mini-panel (MMP) and three 250-watt Kyocera solar panels. This equipment (and much more) is sitting in a big crate in the garage — we have solar energy in a box!

We also have a dozen Marvin Integrity windows, waiting to be installed within rough openings we cut back in August.

Yep, we’re slow. And so, here’s the thing: we’ve decided to hand over the house to a tiny house builder. Ultimately, it’s the best route for us right now, and while it was hard to admit at first, Nick and I aren’t able to build it ourselves in our “free time.” Coming to this decision is a long post in itself.
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We’ve had our tiny house for three weeks. To be honest, it’s been stressful. Tiny house = big headache. There are a number of reasons, but the primary ones are not having an appropriate build site or much free time to work on it. I expected to be overwhelmed in general, but each new step feels like a hurdle. Some problems can be googled and solved, while others don’t have clear solutions. Continue Reading

This Labor Day weekend, we covered the house with Tyvek wrap and worked on the five windows in our loft. Our barn raiser is already sheathed in OSB zip board, a protective moisture barrier, and the seams are secured with wide durable tape. I’ve read different opinions on zip board versus Tyvek on tiny house blogs and building forums: some say they offer the same level of protection, others prefer house wrap, while others choose zip board. We decided to wrap the house in Tyvek, as the extra layer won’t hurt. We’ve been using the discarded zip board pieces for various things in the yard — a flat surface for potted plants, for example — and notice how water interacts with it (it doesn’t run off the board like you’d expect). Continue Reading

Our barn raiser was delivered on Saturday. After the driver left and it was in our possession for a few minutes, it really hit me. I was excited, but totally overwhelmed: an unfinished house, staring back at me. It feels like we’ve been waiting for it forever, shaping this thing, this concept in our heads. It’s been a challenge to stay motivated this year, in the planning stage: studying plans, looking at pictures, and talking theoretically. It’s hard to envision space and how things work, especially having no construction experience. Now that our house is physically here, there’s a sense of urgency, and a voice of productivity in my head telling me to use each free minute to research, build, and plan ahead.

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