Small Home under 600 square Feet

Small homes

BUT WAIT… what have you done ?

This past week it appears I did nothing.  Oh sure, I stained the fascia and roof over hang.  Raked the yard, met with the septic installer, visited with the electrician, and had a campfire.  But nothing big like the roof or wall. 

 Staining the fascia meant dealing with the ladder all round the cabin. The front is sandy and easy to move around in, but the back of the small house has the plants, roots, and uneven ground. It’s a challenge, and an area I avoid. I had purchased a small airless sprayer, from Home Depot which made the painting  job easier.  Yet, up and down the ladder really wore me out.

When Gordon showed up on Tuesday we reviewed the next part of the building process.  Completing the inner walls, blocking for drywall and preparing for a Shear nail and wall inspection.

Gordon walked around the cabin and noted areas on the walls I needed to add more nails.  His pencil marks, my red pencil, were reminders “more nails here”.  I busied myself for hours nailing away.

When the building inspector arrived, more nails were needed!  He noted with red paint, and I got to work, and this filled my Wednesday afternoon.  (so much for going to the beach to play)

Gordon reviewed the drywall blocking again on Thursday and Friday, and provided help on the “two-man jobs” to move my project along.  The blocking is to allow the drywall installers a nail surface to mount the drywall on, without it, drywall will just flap in the breeze.

And I am extending the nine foot inner wall to reach the vaulted ceiling height in the bathroom and mechanical ( storage) room.

These walls have to meet the rafters, be straight, provide a stabble surface for nailing, and perfect.  It should take me a week to complete.

The image  on the right is an example of the blocking required in the vaulted wall at the end of the house. Walls need to extend upward, and provide that nailing surface needed.

Next week septic tanks and drainfield with be installed, roof gutters, and I continue my practice of ladder climbing, nailing, blocking.

Roofing Complete & Week in Review

Oh..I said to myself, “I’ll have it done by Wednesday!”  Then on to ….Well Friday rolled around and I was just putting the finishing touches on the roof.  This was hard work.  I had safety brackets at the roofs edge, but working the extension ladder, and sitting on my butt, was stressful.  And to think I wanted a higher pitched roof.  Now that was a very dumb idea!  I was glad I listened to the advice of Gordon who suggested against my high roof, and settled for a 6/12 pitch.  And that was still steep.

Francelle came out on Monday and assisted in removing the interior bracing, cleaned the cabin floor, and pulled nails. Now you can see the interior walls taking shape.

Gordon came out on Tueday to check on my progress, and install the roof and pumbling vents. Later in the week I received a tutorial on completing the roof and installing the roof cap. Friday I began staining the underside of the roof.  This will prevent mold, and its easy now without siding, windows, and gutters.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Links – Suggested sites

Here is a few links to beachy and coastal sites I visit when home:

And The Tiny Life, Tiny Houses, Tiny Living always provides great information on tiny houses.

The Small House Society is an excellent site.   From the home page:

“The Small House Society is an outreach of the Housing Resources Group. We are a cooperatively managed organization dedicated to the promotion of smaller housing alternatives which can be more affordable and ecological”

View from the Living Room

View from the Living Room, looking out to the pond behind the house. 

Be sure to visit for updated information on the Small House Society.

Roofing Friday and Saturday

 With the plywood roof complete, Gordon was done for the day.  I received a detailed set of instructions on how to complete the roof.  He demonstrated the layout, cutting of shingles, starter shingles and safety.

Friday morning I began laying out the shingles, and this was hard work.  Very scary too!  That close to the roofs edge, and so far to fall… I took my time. 

I had my own compressor, and the roofing nail gun from Gordon, but no circus acts here.  I needed to stay sharp and concentrate on nailing the asphalt shingles.

I was hopeful that I could complete the one side of the roof on Friday, and yet only was able to lay half of the roof. Saturday I completed the balance, leaving a small section at the top for later.

Monday will find me back at the beach cabin to work on the roof.  I hope to have the whole roof layed by Wednesday August 1st. 

Week In Review – Part 2 – July 22 through 28th

With the roofing material paid for, and delivery date scheduled, nailing plywood on top of the truss system was ASAP .  Gordon created this tripod to hold four sheets of plywood. I was to lift the sheets and place them on the tripod for Gordon to place and nail them on the roof. He is truly a master at this task. A few spits in his hands, and he grabs one sheet of plywood and places it into the correct location. ALL WHILE STANDING THE ROOF TRUSSES. Cirque du Soleil of master builders!  What feats of strength he displays! 

When the roofing material arrives Gordon stays on the roof to supervise.  Correct placement of the material is important. I paid for roof top delivery, as there was no way I could carry this material up a ladder. Too Heavy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Week In Review – Part One – July 22 through 28th

With the trusses in place I continued to assist Gordon building the beach cabin.  Monday the front porch truss was mounted on the cabin, giving us the position and placement of the 4 x 4 posts and support beams.  I used the hammer drill to create holes in the concrete piers and mounted the brackets. Then positioned the wall brackets, while Gordon cut the 4 x 6 beams.  With a series of braces, carefully placed nails, and master planning, Gordon had the support system of the porch complete and ready for the trusses.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pond Behind the Beach Cabin


Pond Behind the Beach Cabin looking to the left.  Dark and dreamy.

8000 Nails and counting – July 16 – 20 the

This covers the work week of July 16 through the 20th.  We have used 8000 nails so far, and just opened the next box of 4000.  Where do they all go?  Wall.  Inside wall were created on Monday and Tuesday. 

Next up was the water line from the street to the house. Gordon was able to use the excavator to dig a 2 foot wide 3 foot deep trench 80 feet to reach the cabin.  The ground water began to seep in at 36 inches, but we worked fast to lay the pipe and fill the trench.

The balance of the week was completing the installation of the roof trusses.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wow! This is really hard work.  More than I had expected.

Pond behind the beach cabin

pond behind the beach cabin, view from little bridge

Four Days – Four Walls

Here are the images of  the hold downs and bolts that will keep this small cabin tight during a storm.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The body of water behind the cabin is just breathtaking this time of year, and walks across the bridge are far and few with construction going on.

With the foundation ready the flooring getting the approval, all we needed was wood.  And then the walls began to form. From Tuesday through Friday, working 8 to 10 hours a day, Gordon and I were able to build and erect all four walls. See the handfull of bent nails…yeah they are mine !  Nail guns are hard to use.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Inspection Results – Monday 9th

Around lunch time today Grays Harbor County Planning and Building inspector stopped by for my under floor framing inspection.  I was signed off and ready to move on to the next step. Yeah!

Tuesday plywood for the floor and 2 x 6’s for the walls will be delivered by Levee Lumber.  Roof trusses have been ordered and will arrive on the 20th. 

Spent the rest of today beach combing for shells.  Nothing like walking the beach in my construction boots!

Under Floor Framing, floor truss work, & sunny days

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First thing was the wood delivery from Levee Lumber of Ocean Shores.  Under floor framing was done with 2″ x 10″ s, resting on a large 4″ x 6″ beam in the middle.  I took many of the pictures standing on the framing so you could get and idea of what I would see from kitchen, back deck area, and living room.  Sunny weather, high 60’s, allowed the driveway to dry out. 

Next up is county inspection of the floor framing, that’s on Monday.  Tuesday a delivery of plywood for the floor and 2 x 6’s for walls.  Weather forecast is for sun the next 5 days.  We’ll have this done in no time!

Foundation Backfill July 5th

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Foundation forms were removed and Gordon began backing filling with dirt around the foundation.  I worked the rack, and pressed the dirt next to the outside walls.  Sunny and clear, perfect day for working outside.  Ray Young Trucking delivered two loads of sand.  This goes in the craw space.  12 inches deep, and wow it really made the place look good.  Ready for wood on Friday.

Copalis Beach Seagrass On The 4th

Small Beach Home Update July 2 -3

Monday and Tuesday found me assisting the foundation subcontractor with the remaining stem walls.  The walls need to be three feet off the footing.  I am now an expert in cutting rebar, tying rebar, and running around picking up rebar.  They even let me go to the store and buy MORE rebar!  Later in the day we installed the massive hold down bolts, vents and outlets for water and sewer.  Being the new guy on the project, I was the dirtest. Mud and water all over my pants, rustly hands, but..I was having fun.  I have learned a great deal being an active part of the construction of my small beach home.  I called for an inspection of the foundation wall for Tuesday.  After the “Okay” from Grays Harbor county, the pumper truck arrived, then concrete truck, and I allow the professionals to go to work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

June 28 – 30 Update Foundation, Water, & Electric

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Update: Grays Harbor PUD connected the  temporary power pole to the main electric across the street.  Water bib was installed to allow the concrete foundation workers to wash off tools and such.  Foundation forms for the footings installed, and ready for inspection by Grays Harbor Planning and Building. 

GH Planning inspector came out Friday morning to inspect and check property boundaries, all okay and cement was delivered that afternoon.  I was able to help out, and only got hit in the head once! Foundation footings are wider at the front door and living room windows to allow for the large bolts and hold-downs in the walls.  I have designed large windows in these area, and this type of foundation is required to support the house.  Plus with all this cement rebar we will be able to withstand any tropical storm or  natural disaster !

Looking forward to foundation stem walls, more cement, additional inspections, and daily visits from deer.

Sunday, Monday Tuesday Update on Beach Cabin Build

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images above  from the Sunday through Tuesday build.  Driveway brush cut and removed, red rock delivered by Ray Young Trucking, two loads ! Gordon worked the heavy equipment and with little effort made the machine work for him, and got the driveway soon smooth.  He is a real professional. Gordon also dug the 4 feet deep hole for the temporary power pole delivered by Buck Electric of Ocean Shores.  A group effort made for a successful standing of this very long 6″ x 6″ pole.  The excavator under the direction of Gordon’s superb skills dug the hole for the foundation.  He was able to save one frog,  12 bricks, and a small dark salamander. Not to mention countless fine ferns.  It was amazing to watch him use the bucket pluck out these fine plants without disturbing the surrounding area.  A master for sure!  We made great progress for the three days.  Wednesday is a no work day.  I went shopping for water supply line, more marking paint.  New garden hose, as we will need water when the foundation gets poured next week. 

Looking ahead: I meet with the foundation form subcontractor on Thursday, and with hope they can start later that afternoon.  If so, I’ll call the county inspector and get the first inspection under my belt.

Friday Clearing and Progress

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Friday proved to be a very productive day.  Light rain, sound of the ocean, and the deer coming to visit made the first real work day a treat. 

 The tractor arrived on Thursday, allowing the contractor and I to start at 8:30am clearing the remain brush, roots, and  filling in the septic test holes.  We made two trips to the wood recycler in Ocean Shores.  Filling the contractors trailer with wood and debris was easy with the tractor, yet was very labor intensive to get the materials out of the trailer without it ! 

Next day of work will be Sunday, when we will remove more Salal roots, smooth driveway area and prepare for foundation footings.

Floor Plan – Cabin at the Beach

Tuesday Update

Today the portable restroom was delivered.  All nice and clean ready for use.  I had to test it out, several times, just to make sure it was working right. Also defined the property line on the north side of the lot.  Next up….tractor delivery.!

Monday Noon Update

Tractor has been ordered, and will be delivered on Friday of this week.  Bathroom was ordered and will be installed on the neighbors driveway Tuesday morning.  Image

In addition, temporary power will be installed on Friday, property lines defined, meeting with foundation subcontractor.  Weather outlook for Friday at Copalis Beach should be great!  And for those who need to know where I will be for the next 16 weeks, check out Google Maps.

Rumor Has it, Rumor Has it ….

Rumor has it that a tractor will be rented this week and clearing of the tree stumps will begin.  Just think, me learning to work a tractor….don’t worry your safe, I will not leave the lot at Copalis Beach. 

Utilites, Revisions, and Reviews – an update

After our clearing, and the permit granted by Grays Harbor County, water service was ordered and installed.  Electric and the temporary electric pole are still pending.  The pole required is 18 feet high, and a bit much for me to load into my small car, and duct taping it to the roof was not an option. I still do not know why.

The roof pitch was changed, lowered, to a 6 / 12, with a 4 / 12 pitch on the inside cathedral ceiling. I also had the front door sidelights removed, one window removed.  This simplified the front of the house, and eliminated the need for factory made shear walls. These changes were suggested by a very experienced contractor that has agreed to work with me on this project.  His years of building experience will be an major asset the cabin build.