1-week tiny house workshop

Cilantro Poncho Build Blitz: Day 5


Cilantro Poncho Day 5 Team Photo If you’d like to come see what we accomplished during the Cilantro Poncho Build Blitz, please come visit us for Cilantro Poncho's First Open House at 5:30 pm on Friday, March 11 at 4674 N Kain Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705.*

Yesterday was Day 5 of a week-long build blitz for the Meyerhofer’s tiny house, Cilantro Poncho. Day 1 was a prep day, Day 2 and Day 3 we worked on wall raising, and Day 4 we got our final wall panel up and prepped for the roof. Yesterday we finished up roof prep, applied liquid flashing for the windows, and got the first two roof panels up.

Richard blowing out the candles on his bday cake!

We also had a special lunch and dessert for Richard, who was celebrating his birthday. It’s so cool that he chose to spend his birthday week helping Courtney and Kurt to get their little house started! His help has been invaluable this week and we’re so grateful for him! Richard’s birthday presents from me were enrollment in my upcoming Tiny House Considerations Course and a design consultation, so I’m glad that I’ll get to help him move his tiny house dream forward, too.


The day’s tasks included:

  • Beveling perimeter framing for roof panels
  • Leveling the trailer
  • Applying liquid flashing around the exterior of the windows
  • Cutting and attaching “outriggers” to the end roof panels
  • Hoisting the first panel into place
  • Squaring up the panel
  • Attaching the first roof panel to the top plate with SIP screws
  • Installing the first spline into the second panel
  • Installing the second panel

It was hot yesterday so we were mindful of staying hydrated and sunscreened. We also took breaks in the shade whenever we needed them, but we still made good progress. After all the head scratching related to the trailer camber on Day 3, it was exciting to see how nicely the house settled onto the trailer and leveled out once we removed the shims and lowered the stabilizing jacks. Having the top plates attached at the top of the walls really helped and we expect the additional weight of the roof panels will make the house level out completely.

Mark, Richard, and Kurt worked on ripping, beveling, and mitering the remaining framing for the perimeter of the roof panels while Courtney prepped the roof panels for the framing by removing a little excess foam with the 6” foam cutter. Meanwhile, Andrea worked on liquid flashing on the windows. All those years of cake decorating have made her our go-to liquid flasher! She’s good! Courtney and I joined Andrea for window flashing a while later and I enjoyed visiting with Courtney while we passed the sausage gun back and forth. With so many power tools going all week long, it was nice to have a little quiet time to visit!

Getting those first two roof panels up was really exciting and we were tempted to do more, but it had been a long, hot day and Andrea and Mark had a special invitation to have supper with some friends of theirs, so we decided to end on a high note. And by a high note, I mean that Kurt and Courtney climbed up onto their roof to admire the view of the Santa Catalina Mountains!

Tomorrow we’re eager to get the last of the roof panels on, do some touch ups on the water resistant barrier, and install a window so Courtney and Kurt know how that’s done.

If you’d like to come see what we accomplished during the Cilantro Poncho Build Blitz, please come visit us for Cilantro Poncho's First Open House at 5:30 pm on Friday, March 11 at 4674 N Kain Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705.*

*If you’re reading this after Cilantro Poncho's First Open House and you’d like to visit, please be sure to contact Courtney and Kurt to arrange a day and time. They can’t accept unannounced visitors because they’ve got work to do finishing their little house and they need to make sure everyone who visits can do so during a time that’s safe. Thanks!

Welcome to Less Is More

a quick model-making activity with found objectsLast night Dave Cain and I greeted our students for Yestermorrow Design-Build School’s Less is More class. We started out with a round of introductions in which everyone shared photos that inspire them. Then we moved on to a parti exercise borrowed from Paul Hanke, one of my co-instructors for the Tiny House Design-Build course. Each team of two students selected a found object which became the “big idea” for a shelter design. It was amazing to see what they dreamed up in 20 minutes! Check out our Welcome to Less is More Slideshow to see what they came up with! This morning we started out our first full day with field trips in the nearby area. You can see photos of our field trips and studio time in the Day 1 Slideshow.

Before heading out we made a list of things we wanted to observe while we were visiting small homes. Here are just a few of the things that made the list:

  • material selections,
  • feel of light,
  • workspace,
  • designated vs. multi-functional spaces,
  • movement and flow.

krunkle tour

Our first stop was Ben Cheney’s house, which was designed and built by the Yestermorrow Semester Program two years ago. This 680 square foot home features a woodshop on the ground floor, a kitchen with spaulted maple cabinets, a living room with a Vermont-made wood stove, a deck with river views, a cozy bedroom. The showstopper at this house is a dramatic cantilevered dining room nicknamed The Krunkle, which features magnificent views of the forest and river below.

filing into Susan & Emily's tiny house on a trailer

Our second stop was Emily & Susan’s tiny house on a trailer. The shell of this home was built during Yestermorrow’s Tiny House Design-Build class three years ago. It’s not quite finished, but it was fun to see how much progress Susan and Emily have made since I first saw the house in October. I especially enjoyed getting to point to various features of the trailer as I shared information and tips for connecting a tiny house to a mobile foundation.

This afternoon was spent playing with big ideas. We discussed which activities we’d like to do in our small homes and which we’d like to have access to. Each student generated a set of lists: activities, wishlists, and site characteristics. Then we moved to drafting tables and broke out the markers so we could spend the rest of the afternoon playing with bubble diagrams and figure ground exploration.

This evening we discussed our observations from today’s field trips and explored the question “How BIG is small?” I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures: more field trips, a drafting lesson, and sharing pretty pictures to illustrate interior design tricks for small spaces. Follow along!