Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Progressing Toward The Goal

This past weekend was very productive. I have one room in the Cottage that is fully functional and it is the bathroom. I was able to get the "repaired" composting toilet in place and all the vent pipe went in without a hitch. I still need to get some supports for the stack but it is stable for now. And the thing works. I did not realize the fan it runs 24/7 which is a bit of a bummer, not that it is loud but in this small of environment and with no door it is noticeable. Not sure what I am going to do about it, but it does make great white noise for sleeping. I will keep updating as the unit matures, still pretty curious in how it will work once I am able to use it on a regular basis.

Not really exciting photos but I did get in the shower door as well. Pretty excited about that since it fit perfect. It was one of those Craiglist gems. Paid next to nothing for a brand new but 10 year old shower door. Box was completely sealed and was never opened, they had it in their garage collecting dust. It fit just perfect and it will work great, the water heater after re-calibrating is working as expected and so I am pretty happy with the set up. I am not taking a lot of showers here at this point but that's okay, its time will come. Can't use a bunch of water anyway, we are having the driest December on record since the late 1800's. Go Figure, I need rain we don't get any for a month in DECEMBER.

I am taking the Christmas holiday off from working on the Cottage and will start back up over the New Year 3 day weekend, the next on the punch list is either Window trim or "The Ladder".

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ah Hot Water....Again

Okay I have a confession. I can procrastinate on certain things in my life if they don't really bug me. I can ignore them for quite a while if necessary. So my hot water was not working and I chose to ignore it. I have lived a long time on a sailboat that did not have a hot water system and I just learned to work around that little inconvenience. But I made the mistake of posting on the blog yesterday that I was without hot water. I would like to thank Ethan who woke me up from my stupor and well guess what. It took me all of 7 minutes to fix the problem once I got home. Precision-Temp did a great job in customer service to address my issue sending me clear and specific directions on how to re-calibrate my hot water heater that had forgotten who it was.

I really don't care that I had the issue in the first place. What I do care about is that it was able to be resolved quickly, both via email and a call that I initiated that was unnecessary. As the email really did answer the question. Hot water is working fine now and I ordered a Cold Weather kit and should be good down to 20 below. May it never get that cold in Oregon.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Still Lot's To Do

I started last weekend with a list of 5 things that must get done, by the time the weekend was over it had grown to 26. It is funny how I knew I had a lot of things that were nagging at me but I am really at a point that I should  just set the tape measure down and step away from the table saw. But that is not going to happen at least through the next three weekends. Good thing is I should get a bunch done. On the hot list is getting Hot Water working again. I killed my hot water heater, well at least I injured it. I have not had hot water working for about three weeks now. I really don't need it at this point as I am still in the house (next door) but it needs to get fixed. Cold weather killed it, dang. Lot's to learn about the "house" stuff, I have been living on boats way to long...

Here is what is on the top of the agenda:

The Kitchen cabinets are an issue and eventually a stove. I have yet to get my mind around how I am going to get these cabinets done. I have come to one conclusion, I am the one who is going to be doing it as I will not hire it out. So I have to get a plan committed to in my mind and then figure out how I am going to build it. I have a picture I found on the web, so I have an idea how I want it to look but nary a clue how to build it. Should be fun.

Actually before I do the anything with the kitchen I am working on the bathroom. I need to put the floor down. I fixed the damaged composting toilet last weekend so it is ready to go. Once the floor is in then I have to drill out the vent pipe path, all the work on the metal roof is done so I just need to pop the final hole and I am good to go.
Guess where all my crap has been collecting. My fancy little R2D2 Vacuum is going to have to go somewhere...Probably the loft at this point. This should actually be a pretty simple process get the Biolet toilet in place. Hope the thing works, there is way to much research and investment to see it come to failure once I start using it. Stay tuned I will give a full debrief, the good, the bad and the ugly after a couple of months of use.

I have some significant wire management issues still to deal with. This is a lot of detail work that I just need to address. On my list this is like #56, #65. Not really top of the list stuff but it needs to be addressed. All the windows needed to be interior trimmed out, the door needs interior trim. I still need to trim the upstairs window. I really want a curtain on the door window and am scared to death about picking out some fabric that makes the first "lady friend" who shows up barf right on my front step due to my poor choice of fabric. Things that keep me up at night, too funny really isn't it.

Oh yea on the list is a Ladder, shelves, closet doors, bathroom door. Yikes this post is starting to make my head hurt. Hopefully once we get into the new year I can have some of this stuff knocked out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Life Change - Mini House Living....Almost

It has been almost three weeks since my last post. Long time for me, but I have been busy. I Spent a week on the East Coast last week for work, packing my weekends with work to address the little issues that are coming up. I took the week of Thanksgiving off and got 90% of the floor done. I still need to finish the bathroom but the floor came out stunning.
 The Greenhouse became the work area for the pieces that did not fit. The space actually worked great, one of the goals is to get the greenhouse working and get some salad stuff growing.

 After several days of work I realized I need to back off the Coffee. Yikes.

 I laid down flooring foam on the plywood and that really seemed to help in laying out the floor boards. There is no squeak in any of the boards. I used a flooring gun where I could. The biggest pain is that I am no spring chicken any more and I bet my average was I got up twice for each board I put down. I needed a hammer that I could not reach, or needed more nails, or I had to cut a board - oh about 4 times, or none of the boards next to me would fit right, it just never ended. I think my next cottage will have vinyl floors.
 The closed cell foam insulation has been awesome. I have a hard time believing that it is 28 degrees outside and 60 inside and I have had the heat on low low all night. It is really air tight in the cottage as well, the picture above is the Dehumidifier to get the moisture out of the air. I generally am running around 70% and it is something that I will have to monitor. I never installed any of the three fans I have but am ready to do so if need be. We will see.

 I have my kitchen pretty much set up but don't have any way to cook anything. I had a discussion with the local govt. and they were concerned that I was "living" here and you can not have 2 residences on one property in Dundee, OR. Now I did not get into any discussion that there are 9 other RV's or Trailers in the neighborhood that ALL have kitchens. I just have chosen not to install any of that gear. I have a room in my brothers house and use his facilities for the most part and certainly do all my cooking/eating within the house. We will see how this plays out, don't think I will push the issue as I don't have to, knowing soon as things dry out the cottage will move. I still have a fair amount of work to do to tighten up the cottage and get it dialed in but don't plan on having dinner over at my house anytime soon.

 I abandoned my plans for a table runner that I can slide the table back and forth on. I used movable table brackets for a boat so that I can move the table to two different locations. There was just not enough room for it. I have come to the realization that there is a whole different perspective from what I thought about this space to the way it really it is when you are living in it. I will address this more in a later post but let's just say my views are significantly changing my layout plans.
 I was even able to do a little decorating and put up a Timbers Army scarf (I am going to have to buy another one to wear to games). I am big soccer guy and have followed the Portland Timbers since I was in high school in the 70's (RCTID).

 One of my design goals was to be able to take advantage of some off the shelf components for drawers and shelving so I when I built my closet and refrigerator room they were designed to be able to fit in these cabinets (Thanks IKEA). I knew my limitations on my skills and cabinetry is not anything I am skilled enough to do without taking a bunch of time. Which is why the kitchen cabinets are not done. These are functional and will work fine for what I need.
I was even able to get some clothes in the cottage. My project is becoming a home.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How To Poke A Hole In A Metal Roof

I was asked a question yesterday about the fire place (Dickinson Stove) and how I was able to get it in place with a metal roof. These types vents take place long before I was able to install the fire place. I will go back and talk about the process of preparing the hole for the stove. First we identified where the stove would be placed.
We then cut a hole appropriate for the shaft in the roof liner and cut out the hole in the plywood. We then covered a large 2ft x 2ft space with the same Butel tape we used around the windows and doors. Heavy Duty and very water proof. I then drilled a hole through the whole mess. We figured out where the hole would be in the metal roof and where the "fireplace chimney would be placed. Our big concern with the hardware that was provided was there was no upstream prevention plate to stop water draining down the roof from seeping in. So Stet built it with aluminum stripes I bought from home depot.

 You can see the Cardboard template that Stet used for the Chimney. I learned very quickly the "cardboard" cutout can prove invaluable to form fitting.

Add a robust amount of silicone and well you have a very water tight enclosure. We used treated 2x6 for the wood structure. It would be good to note at this point that none of this structure will ever touch anything hot from the stove. The exhaust vent from the Dickinson is two pipes in one. A center pipe vents the hot exhaust out, and the surrounding pipe vents air in for combustion. This is the way the stove works and why I have one in my boat. They don't suck air out of the space. This is a good thing in a "tiny house" or "mobile cottage".
 The almost finished product. I covered it in plastic for travel and then later wrapped it in Cedar tongue in grove to make it look like the house.

The finished product is a looking good with the bell unit that comes with the Dickinson Stove. It appears to be functioning perfectly.

Now a week since install, it is all working well.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Incremental Steps

I am making consistent progress on the cottage and will be taking the week of Thanksgiving off to make some major progress and move to Dundee. As a follow up to the gutters and catchment system. I took some shots of the gutters since I was up there. The Purple Rain guys did a good job.

While at my current location it looks a little awkward it is very functional and is doing it's job superbly. I was able to run the water for about 10 minutes straight while testing the hot water heater and I had plenty of water.
Yes you read correctly, I have HOT WATER, the whole system worked flawlessly with the exception of the DC Breaker that I tripped twice during my testing. This is a very easy fix as I will just pick up a different rated breaker for the water pump. After thinking about my statement flawlessly is a not quite accurate as the fancy water filter needed to be removed as it was not allowing water through at the correct flow rate. Removed the filter and then it was flawless.

Other events was finishing the propane which allows for the water heater but it also means I have a heater. First I needed to get exhaust stack in place and that was easy enough, then I mounted the Dickinson Stove and hooked up the propane, checked for leaks and you guessed it, Heat.

Can't really tell but there is a bit of a blue flame going on here. I also put up the kitchen lights. I can now do the dishes, sweet.
I need a little wire management, but hey they work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bring On The Rain

Over the last year there are not too many times I have been thankful for rain. While I know it is inevitable here in Beautiful Dundee, Oregon it was a part of the landscape that I would rather not embrace. But now that I have my catchment system complete and I finished my plumbing today, all I need is RAIN. So bring on the sweet rain, it is too funny that I was fretting earlier in the day as I was missing a minor downpour, thinking "I gotta get this done". Well structurally it is done I still have some cosmetic items I plan on completing but in the mean time, BRING ON THE RAIN.

So here is the start of the Water Tower. I really did not have a plan when I started other then I knew I had this 205 gallon tank. Well after doing a little math I realized that is  1,640 lbs. Yikes. I had this vision in my mind of being able to use gavity to assist in this process of getting all this water into the Cottage. I had my nephew Jordan jump in and help in the build project. Jordan who built the battery box (that could also probably hold 1,640 lbs) does not built "lightly".

 So after constructing the frame and then moving in it place, we put a little cedar siding on it, which will be fully wrapped when done. Add a little roofing and BAM you got yourself a Water Tower. I really can't wait till I have to move this....
 Guess who has gutters! Since I am not a gutter guy and really wanted to do this right I worked with an outfit called Portland Purple Water. These folks are Catchment specialists and have been great to work with. That big tank below, the gutters and the filter systems are all from Portland Purple Water. They did a great job with the gutters and the Leafguard system. I will get some better shots from above to show the quality work. Jason and the Purple Water team were sharp, informative and very responsive, they get it. Excellent customer service, they were a joy to work with.
Add a little plumbing and all that rain water is mine to use.

Okay before you all freak out, I am going to build a planter in cedar and run the pipe through the bottom of the planter and you will never see it. I am all about function over form but even I get this. I will build a planter I promise.

Other great events of the weekend include finishing the plumbing, once I have water I can test her out. The filter you see in the picture (stainless steel tube) is a Doulton Ceramic Filter. If nothing else it looks cool, if you ever want to look under my sink.

I also have the Propane 95% ready to go. Should be done next weekend. But the really fun part of the weekend is all the electrical outlets on the east side of cottage work and are ready to go. I had to take a picture of the boom box happily humming way running off the solar system. Batteries got a full charge this weekend. Sweet. Okay so here is the milestone moment of the weekend. Lights. Yup, I have lights on a dimmer switch and that really pumps me up. This is definitely a step closer to moving in.