build blitz

O'Keefe Build Blitz: Day 2

O'Keefe Build Blitz: Day 2

Yesterday we kicked off our second build morning by finalizing the detailing of our trailer and floor system so that the two were ready to be joined. Maile sealed the edge between the pressure treated undercarriage and the trailer with a sealant and Kevin and Peter installed lifting plates and put rigid foam around the perimeter of the floor system. Then we were ready for the real excitement to begin... Harold then brought the boom truck around and picked up the floor panel with an aluminum bar and three neverending loops. He hoisted the panel over to the trailer and set it into place.

O'Keefe Build Blitz: Day 1

O'Keefe Build Blitz: Day 1

Yesterday was Day 1 of the tiny house build and despite a few setback (there are always setbacks!) we made good progress. We started out the day by leveling the trailer (so fun to do that with John's awesome laser level!) and checking the trailer for square. (Wright Trailers did a great job on this trailer!) We did some tool orientation and safety so we could ensure that we're all on the same page and ready to roll. Then we measured and cut our pressure treated plywood as the undercarriage...

T42 Roof Raising & Storage Loft


Day 8 = Done.

On Friday we wrapped up our second Build Blitz and our eighth day of building on T42, the tiny house I'm building to live in with my sweetheart Isha (who also happens to be The Guy Next Door). Monday we did T42 SIPs Prep and Tuesday and Wednesday we had our T42 Wall Raising. I anticipated that the roof might give us some challenges, so we'd set aside Thursday and Friday for Roof Raising. Fortunately, the roof went together quickly and easily with the brawn, brains, and good humor of two Tiny House Helpers, Kelly and Andy.

We got into a nice rhythm of building our skylight panels, hoisting our panels onto the scaffolding then guiding them up onto the roof, sliding them on the panel before them, and then slipping them into place and anchoring them with SIPs screws in all the corners. We had the last roof panel up before taking a late lunch so we went to celebrate our success with warm bowls of Hawaiian noodle soup at Big Kahuna's. (It was, of course, raining on roofing day, so we were darn thankful for the covered build spot!)

After lunch Andy and I installed the perimeter blocking in the roof and the rest of the SIPs screws, while Kelly worked on sealing up seams between the SIPs panels with R-Guard Joint & Seam Filler. We were at a good stopping point by the time that was done so we cut out a little early and I jumped on a conference call for the Tiny House Collaborative.

On Friday Andy helped me put the finishing touches on the Puzzle Wall. We installed a few more studs to create the appropriately sized rough openings for the windows at the top of our tall wall and then cut 1/2" OSB for the sheathing. We were able to use up a few scraps of 3/4" OSB that we'd used as the subfloor as well.

Our storage loft, made from a piece of SIP scrap

After lunch we installed our storage loft, using an extra piece of SIP. When our SIP panels were cut from the master panel (check out Picking Up Our T42 SIPs Kit for more on that!) there was an extra piece that was sent along with the rest of the panels as filler for the stack during delivery. It was 38" wide, which was just shy of the 40" we were planning to make the storage loft, so we decided to go for it. We wanted the bathroom to be 36" wide to accommodate a 36" tub and we like the idea that a twin size mattress could fit above just in case we ever want to use it as a guest bed.

Andy and I measured and marked the height of the loft, measured and cut ledgers for the three sides along the walls, and then anchored our ledgers into place from the inside with beefy structural screws. (Before we install the siding we'll also anchor the ledgers from the outside with SIPs screws.) We dry fit the panel first to make sure it would go. Then we added mastic and shimmied the SIP into place. As soon as it was ready I crawled up to test it out and, sure enough, it's quite comfy up there!

We've made good progress in 8 days of building and I'm looking forward to our next Build Blitz when we'll be installing windows, a rainscreen, and our exterior siding! If you'd like to join us, you can sign up for the Build Blitz or be a Tiny House Sidekick for a day.

T42 Build Blitz Kick Off

We're so excited to pick up our Tiny House trailer and get to work on the floor system! I can't believe it's just a week until we begin building another tiny house! Eeeep!

The past couple weeks, I've been working on The Lucky Penny Punch List so that I'm ready to focus my attention on my new tiny house. (See April Showers Bring May Flowers and Finishing an Owner-Built House!)

Later this week my partner Isha and I will pick up the trailer for, T42, the tiny house we're building for ourselves. On May Day, we'll begin setting up our build site at Green Anchors.

On Monday, May 2 we'll be kicking off a series of Build Blitzes for T42 and you're invited to join us! As is typical for a building project, we know that our T42 Build Timeline is subject to change, depending on weather, material sourcing, and progress made, but so far we're on track for the following timeline:

  • Monday, May 2 – Thursday, May 5: Tiny House Foundation & Build Prep
  • Monday, May 16 – Friday, May 20: SIPs Wall & Roof Raising
  • Monday, May 30 – Friday, June 3: Rainscreen, Exterior Trim, Siding
  • Monday, June 13 – Friday, June 17: Lofts, Interior Walls & Painting
  • Sunday, June 26 – Thursday, June 30: Cabinets, Built-Ins & Stairs

If you want some hands-on build experience, please join us for a week-long Build Blitz or for the day as a Tiny House Helper!

During this first Build Blitz we'll be working on the floor system for our tiny house, which will involve:

  • installing our undercarriage to protect the house from the ground - whether we're parked on on the road
  • insulating the floor system
  • installing our subfloor
  • making a cut list for our lumber package
  • measuring thrice and cutting once for our window framing, sill plates, and top plates
  • laying out and bolting down our sill plates so that the walls can be raised during our next Build Blitz
  • ensuring that our site and materials are ready for our Wall Raising Build Blitz

We hope some of you will be able to join us for the build if you're so inclined. And either way, please know that your encouragement and moral support are greatly appreciated!

Cilantro Poncho Build Blitz Prep

Kurt & Courtney starting off on a good foundation We’ve had a lovely spring in Portland (read: plenty of rain!) so I felt parched the moment I stepped out of the Tucson airport. I immediately wheeled my tool-laden suitcase over to the nearest drinking fountain and began the hydration process that will ensure survival during our week-long build blitz in the desert.

Look, Ma, windows!

Kurt and Courtney are the homeowners for this tiny house (tentatively named the Cilantro Poncho) and I’ve been working with them since they signed up for The Package Deal in the fall of 2015. They took my Tiny House Considerations E-Course, my Downsizing E-Course, and we worked through a custom tiny house design together. (Their design is based on the Skyline tiny house built by Eric Bohne, which they stayed in at Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel last fall – and we tailored it to suit their needs. Thanks, Eric!) For the past 6 weeks we’ve been working through project management together: getting quotes for trailers, SIPs, windows, water resistant barriers, and roofing so that we can get their little house dried in.

Ruby was as swoony about Kurt as he was about his new Trailer Made Trailer

As they wrapping up Friday afternoons at work, I hit the ground running with a list of errands. My first stop was reserving scaffolding at Sunbelt Rentals so that we can get the SIPs roof installed on this tiny house safely. Then I headed to the build site to receive deliveries and finalize the tool, material, and supply lists.

Once Kurt arrived we walked through what materials and supplies we have on hand, which are arriving with Kurt’s dad, and which we need to pick up. We were just wrapping up when the trailer arrived. Damon and Natalie of Trailer Made went the extra mile (literally!) to ensure an on-time delivery for the trailer, driving it themselves from Denver to Tucson. I met them at Tiny House Jamboree last summer so it was a delight to see them here in a different context. Kurt was as swoony about his new trailer as Natalie and Damon’s dog Ruby was about Kurt! We admired it for a while, Kurt walking around “in” his new house to get a feel for how it will be in now that he has a life-size foundation. I told him that the house will go from seeming really big to really small to really big again as we add the layers. The window delivery from Window Depot arrived shortly after Courtney did and it was especially exciting to see the tiny windows that will go in Kurt and Courtney’s “away room.”

Investigating protective eyewear

By evening we had all the major components we’ll need for the Build Blitz: trailer, SIPs kit, windows, and water resistant barrier. So we headed out, list in hand, to the hardware store so that Courtney and Kurt could select and stock their tool belts and a few basic jobsite tools. The part I’m most excited about for their sake is the impact driver and drill set they picked out. My Makita impact driver and drill set was one of the best presents I bought myself for my build and I’m sure they’ll appreciate having this great tool set for their own build and beyond.

By the time we wrapped up at the hardware store it was late, but I still stayed up talking with my host for the week, a friend from college whom I haven’t caught up with in way too long. She has a sweet little house not far from the built site and it feels splendidly serendipitous that she also has a guest room at the moment. Hooray for the week ahead! We can’t wait for everyone else to arrive! (And we still have a couple A Day at the Tucson Build Blitz spots available later in the week if you're in the area and want to join us!)

Tiny House Build Blitz in Tucson


SIPs Wall Raising during a Build Blitz in Spring 2015 Are you considering building a tiny house of your own? Do you want to learn how to build with SIPs (structural insulated panels?) If you are getting serious about building your tiny house this year, one of the very best things you can do is get some hands-on building experience.

I'm going to be leading a week-long Tiny House Build Blitz in Tucson, AZ at the beginning of March to help a fabulous couple build their tiny dream home and we're excited to share this learning opportunity with you, too! If you're ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work, this workshop is for you! 

SIPs Walls Going Up

Sign up with a buddy and you both get $100 off when you sign up! Space is limited, so please register for the Build Blitz in Tucson to claim your spot today! 

I built my tiny house with SIPs in 2014 and I've been helping other people do the same ever since. In a week-long build blitz using SIPs we can typically get the floor done, the walls up, the roof on, and the waterproofing on. We'll work together each step of the way! And the best part is you'll get to do this with the encouragement of other people who are embarking on a similar journey. (Hint: the people in the workshop may help you build YOUR house someday!)

The $395 workshop cost includes:

  • Hands-on experience building the shell of a tiny house on wheels using high-quality, energy-efficient building materials including SIPs and a liquid-applied water resistant barrier!
  • Personalized instruction to use basic hand and power tools!
  • Your very own tool belt with basic hand tools to take home with you!
  • The satisfaction of helping an awesome couple start their tiny dream home!
  • Lots of laughs, high fives, and an awesome sense of empowerment!

This six-day workshop will run from 9AM to 5PM each day from Sunday, March 6 through Friday, March 11 in Tucson, AZ. 

Register for the Build Blitz in Tucson to claim your spot today!