And so it begins!

It’s official: FRAMING HAS BEGUN.

I’ve delegated this first part of the build (floor, walls, roof) to a company called WestCoast Outbuildings. WCO is a local company that specializes in small dwellings, from tiny homes to off-the-grid modular cabins — they do awesome work, I couldn’t be happier to have my home in such good hands! John helped me drop off the trailer a few weeks ago (in the pouring rain, again), and there has been much progress since, as well as a few bumps to test my tenacity.

1)MATERIALS

As soon as I dropped off my trailer I exhaled a sigh of relief, thinking I was in the clear. I had been worried over the past 6 months about the trailer being pelted by relentless rain and wind storms… and rightly so. Apparently organic material doesn’t fare so well under a tarp in outdoor storage for a full winter. I got a call from WCO the next day telling me that a lot of the insulation was ruined, and that the wood bolted into the trailer was mouldy:

Well, what do you do? I sucked up my losses and spent a full afternoon down at the shop neurotically scrubbing my trailer with bleach. I spent another afternoon with the bleach trying to salvage some cork flooring.. crossing my fingers for a full recovery.

Check it out now though, all fixed up:

Speaking of materials, my window-hunt has been a bit chaotic, and Daniel from Tinytechture has been adjusting things as we go. For one, who knew windows are directional?! Those little weep holes? Yeah they drain water and are supposed to go at the bottom of the window, meaning you can’t just flip a window on its side and call it horizontal.

(pella.com)

Anyways, after a few trips back and forth to ReStore (Disneyland for thrifty homebuilders), I think windows are finally checked off the list.

2) LAND-HUNT

Now that I have a deadline for framing, I’ve been on a serious search for somewhere to park the house. I’ve tried Craigslist, multiple tiny house fora, selective flyering, and even an occasional cold-call, but none were successful. What I’ve noticed from the people I’ve talked to is enthusiasm about the project but a literal “not in my backyard” mentality when it comes to putting the house on their land (which is fair, it’s a big ask). That said, I have been lucky enough to find some leads through word-of-mouth! First and foremost, my friend’s parents have offered to let me stay in their backyard while I work on the siding/interior!! They’re an incredibly warm and open family, easy-going and enthusiastic about my tiny house project. I couldn’t have found a better fit 😀

In addition, I was contacted by a woman in Australia who’s piloting a business that helps tiny home-owners locate land for their homes. She’s been successful in Sydney and Melbourne, and wanted to see if she could do it internationally too — turns out she can, apparently she’s found a few leads for me in the area! So either way I’ve been lucky, and it looks like I’m not going to be left out on the streets, if you will.

3) INSURANCE

That said, my insurance lady told me that a tiny house is only fully insured when it’s on the streets. Once it’s parked and settled, it can no longer be insured as a vehicle (or an RV). But at the same time there’s a minimum dwelling size in most municipalities. In Vancouver, the minimum size of a “dwelling unit” is 398 sq ft (or 280 sq ft for a laneway house or micro-dwelling). So apparently I won’t be living in a home nor a vehicle… I’m in no man’s land, and have a few big things to figure out.

 

Stayed tuned for more regular updates, now that the building is underway! In the meantime, next steps:

-Continue the search for cedar siding (I think I’ve struck gold with the city’s demolition permits — so much unwanted siding to resuse!)

-Figure out electrical needs.. lots more on this later

-Discuss the potential for legalization of tiny homes with fellow advocates and city staff… if anyone has any leads on the status of this discussion, please let me know!

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