Matchbox mini-update

Progress on the Matchbox has obviously slowed in recent months, and our present cold snap has certainly delayed a few parts of the build. That said, autumn and the start of winter have brought many changes to the tiny house.

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Kitchen

Two (induction) burners, a working sink with triple-filtered rainwater, shelf room for 25+ spices and 70+ jars, built-in compost and recycling pails, a (mini-)mini-fridge, ample counterspace for chopping and food processing, two full cabinets for bulk food storage, and a floating fireside dining table with seating for four all make for a pretty decent kitchen in such a tiny space. Beyond a few small finishing touches here and there, the kitchen is the first true realm of the Matchbox to be considered complete, and with its five-foot windows letting in both cool breezes and natural light, it’s an absolute pleasure to cook and eat in.

Bathroom

Arguably the most important part of the house has also been the slowest to materialize, but thanks to some great work from Robin and Tony, the 2′ x 4′ bathroom now has a custom concrete showerpan, four enclosed walls all sealed up with caulk and exterior paint, and a fully-operational low-flow showerhead that offers heated rainwater (nearly) on demand. The bathroom’s outside walls—which will be covered in a floor-to-ceiling world map—still need work, and the toilet is far from complete, but I’m proud to say that the bathroom is making great strides toward, well, full functionality.

Loft

Not much has changed up here beyond the linens. The solar-powered skylight blind has done a terrific job of keeping heat in (or out, depending on season), and a few built-in boxes around the mattress are on their way. I’ve also built a frame for the atrociously-large flat-screen, around which the very talented Katherine Tucker will be painting a canvas that will hide the television’s dull façade with something (a lot) more beautiful for those many hours and days when it’s not in use.

Living area

Having finished work on the Minim House several months back, Dave has graciously been helping piece together some seating and storage furniture: a full couch and bench, along with a coffee table and a few other items. Though it acts as little more than bike storage now, the living area will soon be able to comfortably seat up to seven for casual dining, games, or lounging.

Closet space

The back-right corner of the Matchbox formerly served as a mini-office with a full-sized desk and 23″ computer, but having recently upgraded to a much more portable 15″ laptop—and subsequently removing the desk—that precious corner has been repurposed as daily wall storage, with two brushed aluminum pegboards on the way to keep clothing, camping and climbing gear, photography equipment, and assorted odds and ends all within arm’s reach.

Elsewhere on the Boneyard, we recently said goodbye to the Lusby (and have been exploring other options for that space), congratulated Lee for making fantastic progress on the Pera House’s interior, and began planning for a new studio shed to replace our trusty shipping container, while otherwise doing our best to stay warm during this frigid January.

(I recognize this post is a bit short on photos, but rather than delay an overdue update any longer, I’ll just aim to get those added soon.)

Cross-posted at Adventures in Simplicity.

Saying goodbye to the Lusby

About a year ago, we welcomed Elaine Walker‘s red-and-white Tumbleweed Lusby to Boneyard Studios—the fourth house in our tiny house showcase.

It’s been a pleasure having Elaine’s house on the lot for so long, allowing us to show yet another tiny house design to the many folks who have toured the site during our regular open houses. But last week, the Lusby hit the road once again for a new adventure, leaving our tiny house showcase with the remaining three models: the Pera House, the Matchbox, and Minim House.

Lusby (Elaine)

More change is coming to the lot soon, of course—we recently announced our plans for a communal studio shed to replace our rented shipping container, and we’re currently exploring options to put the space between the Matchbox and the Pera House to good, creative use (suggestions welcome—or if you think you could personally use the space, get in touch with us with your ideas). More to come soon! In the meantime, farewell to the Lusby, and many thanks to Elaine for her wonderful contribution to the Boneyard Studios project this past year.

The Lusby hitched up

The Lusby hitched up

Lusby being driven away down the alley

Lusby being driven away down the alley

Empty space on the Boneyard Studios lot

Empty space on the Boneyard Studios lot

A workshop designed like a tiny house

We believe tiny house workshops should be like tiny houses: small, intimate, and designed to your individual needs.  That’s why a couple of the professionals involved in building houses at Boneyard Studios put together a tiny house design workshop for the DIYer who wants more technical information and planning materials for their tiny house build. Our first workshop this past fall was a success and a lot of fun to put on, so we are redoing it again this Spring at Howard University.  Find out more details about the workshop and watch a video from our past workshop.  Check out our photos and materials from the past workshop below and see why I, Lee, was motivated to help design a workshop with these professionals after my experience building a tiny house.

Throughout my tiny house project, I have realized how much building requires project planning, understanding major decision points in the process, and a knowledge of building code and materials.  I didn’t fully understand how one decision impacted another or what building decisions and techniques were unique to tiny houses.  I had naively bought into some of the promotional materials in the tiny house world that claim you can build a tiny house with just 14 tools or that make it seem like building a tiny house is simpler and easier just because it’s smaller than a regular house.  Our experience has been the opposite: a tiny house actually requires more planning, and a pretty thorough knowledge of building science, health and safety, and codes (International Building Code, RV code (ANSI/RVIA), and city code and zoning) in order to build a structure that is safe, durable, and is an efficient use of space.  Come learn with us again this spring!

 

2013: A year in review

It has been a tremendous first full year for Boneyard Studios since the start of our tiny project. Here’s just a little of what we’re proud to have accomplished in 2013:

Thanks for a great year of support, everyone—happy 2014!

Boneyard Studios: (L-R) Lee's Pera House, Elaine's Lusby, Jay's Matchbox, and Brian's Minim House.

Al Jazeera America airs a documentary and specials on Tiny Houses Nov 22-24

Update on dates/times for Al Jazeera specials on tiny houses:

Watch the documentary Tiny: A story about living small on Al Jazeera America station on Sunday, November 24 at 9pm EST  Details here. This is the television premier of the award-winning documentary by Merete Mueller and Christopher Smith about their experience building a tiny house in Colorado with no previous building skills!

In addition, you can also check out two Al Jazeera shows on tiny houses where you’ll get to see a tour of the Boneyard Studios lot and our houses and an interview with Christopher (the filmmaker).  The Stream airs on Friday night, November 22 at 7:30pm EST and America Tonight will broadcast their special at 5 pm or 6pm EST on Saturday night, November 22.  If any of our supporters have cable and DVR and want to record these shows for us, we would greatly appreciate it! None of us subscribe to cable and Al Jazeera U.S. doesn’t post their shows online, so make sure to catch them live if you can!

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Al Jazeera America crew at Boneyard Studios

Insulated at last…Pera house update

What a busy month it’s been.   After I finished up the siding of my house with other furloughed feds at the beginning of October, I built my my kitchen cabinets with a professional cabinetmaker at the Build Tiny workshop that my friend Robin Hayes led. Robin has been an amazing resource in my build.  As a master plumber and general contractor, she has helped me to understand how important project management is in construction and even more so in tiny house construction where every decision and detail matters.

Most newsworthy, however, is that last week my house WAS…FINALLY…INSULATED! (with closed-cell foam by AC&R insulation). Eight months after originally planned and with freezing temperatures descending upon Washington DC, it could not have come at a more appropriate time (unless it would have been installed last winter when I originally planned it to be!).  Insulation was a big step – no longer am I just building the structure of my house, but I am moving on to the interior, a more personal space.  Given that shift in the build process, I took some time the morning of insulation to do a space clearing with some sage that my friend Margaret, another tiny house builder, had given me.  When she gifted me the sage a year ago I had fully expected to be done with my entire house when I used it. Yet I felt I needed to honor this step in the build process to thank those who’ve helped me on this journey up until now, and to challenge myself to finish this project in a timely manner.  I’m now very motivated to move forward quickly with the interior of my house, and I’m excited to be working with some new builders/designers since Tony and Matt have moved on to other full-time jobs (thank you both so much for getting the exterior of my house looking so wonderful).

I look forward to posting our progress on the interior over the next couple of months.  In the meantime, check out photos from the past month, including cabinet making during the Build Tiny workshop, a trip to the Hicksville lumber mill (best prices in the area for lumber), a visit from my mother who helped me to organize my supplies and our shipping container (thanks, Mom!), and my closed-cell foam insulation.

 

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