Monday, February 24, 2014

Above The Walls

Ten work days in a row! Not bad for February. The cottage now looks like a completely different building.

Come inside and take a look at the changes.

The columns between the windows feature prominently now.

A shelf has been added along the east wall. It will provide support for other kitchen shelves below.

A second shelf has also been added above the entrance. It will be used as a storage area.

Back outside the transition the cottage was taken is very noticeable.

This is about as high as the building will go on the west side with the roof beam being the final addition.

Just a few more work days and the cottage will be high enough for the center ridge beam to be installed. Here you can see the north wall starting to aim for ridge beam height.

A look from overhead.

And looking back toward the loft.

The east side is less finished in appearance while the end walls rise to their final height.

The south wall is 20 inches higher than five days ago. Amazing.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Loft and Lintels

Half of February was lost to winter weather but building has now resumed.

All windows have received lintels, starting with the kitchen window. A lintel is a component that helps to distribute the load of the structure above.

A lintel has also been added above the west window. This west wall is now nearing its final height and is ready for a roof beam.

A lot of the work this week has been focused around the loft area. The loft is really taking shape.

Uh oh. Snow and ice from a winter storm melted and it softened the yet unsupported cob above the window and a section collapsed.

No worries. Lintel support was added and repair is well underway. Cob is such a forgiving material to work with.

Walls on two sides are nearly nine feet high. When approaching the building both visitors and myself just smile with delight at the impressive size.

Another area that always evokes a positive response from visitors is the alcove under the loft. With the beams in place and the loft extending above it is easy to visualize the finished space.

Today lintels were installed above the south side windows. The remainder of the week will be spent adding height to the south wall.

Following that some final height will be added to the north wall to support a ridge beam. Then the cottage will be ready for roof work.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Three Major Milestones

The winter weather has taken over. Last week was limited to two building days but during those days almost unbelievably three major milestones converged.

Milestone 1. All walls are now over six feet high, as high as the window frames, and approaching seven feet high in some places.

Milestone 2. The beams for the loft have been set.

Milestone 3. For the first time I had a full time help for an entire day. Tiny house builder and friend BA Norrgard came all the way from Dallas to help build with cob and to collaborate on the design of the cottage.

It turns out that BA is a prolific cob builder. I demonstrated one time how to mix cob and how to apply it to the wall, then turned her loose. She built two sections of wall entirely on her own while I tried to stay out of her way.

A mock up was done of the loft area and the beams were set in their planned position. BA suggested fanning the beams. The beams were arranged in a fanned position and that was it! Immediately it looked and felt right.

Here are some other pictures of the current progress.

This sunset was unique. In a period of just a few seconds the entire sky started glowing. Looking west revealed this.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

BA's Tiny House

Every once in a while something comes along that really captures one's interest. And of those there may be an occasional thing that makes such complete sense it has the potential to change a person's life completely. Let me introduce you to BA Norrgard and her tiny house.

BA's journey from urban dweller to tiny house advocate is astounding. You can read all about it on her website and follow along on her blog.

The house is nearing completion but is in the process of being finished inside. Here is the main living area. Even unfinished this house feels comfortable and "right". Enter at your own risk ... you may not want to leave.

BA has an amazing eye for detail and design. This house absolutely radiates her design sensibilities. During my visit I was so impressed that I invited her to visit the cob cottage to help collaborate on the remaining design.

This picture shows three different spaces inside the tiny house. Above is a loft, complete with skylight. Below and to the left a bathroom is yet to be framed in. And below and to the right is a kitchen area. Note the custom built door! It is tiny yet just right.

Living in a tiny space requires all areas of one's life be evaluated to contain only what is truly important. Transition must occur. If you are considering building a tiny house by all means contact BA for a consultation for both design and lifestyle advice. Or attend her tiny house workshop on April 19-20 in Garland, Texas.

Above is my favorite space in the house, a very cozy loft area. Complete with skylight for star watching at night.

BA is living her dream, but is also living an example of empowerment and freedom. Yes! You can build your own house. And then what could you do with your life if you didn't have be making mortgage payments for thirty years? It makes complete sense to me...