My humble quest to build La Petite Maison!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Hello everybody! As I was stumbling on Facebook this morning, avoiding my work, I decided to give everybody an update!

My first snippet is the fact that I gave a TED Talk! I spoke at the TEDYouth conference in New Orleans. It was an amazing experience, I met two girls my age; I think one of them as my long lost twin (that was a year older than me). We even have the same birthday! I also met a 16-year-old DJ, who is really famous. This was the first time I have ever publicly spoken, so to say I was nervous is an understatement.

My second snippet is....I was published on the Huffington Post! Thanks to the TEDYouth team, I was offered to write an article for Huffington Post Teen.

Last but certainly not least, I am going to Seattle for Christmas. I will be seeing my dad's side of the family, and I am so excited. It has been seven years since I visited my birthplace, and we are going to be taking a tour of the best places in the city. Maybe, we will even stop by my first home! Throw riding and airplane into the mix (I have a not so secret love of airplanes and airports) and, needless to say, I am ecstatic! I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Here is a happy video to put everyone in the holiday spirit:

Friday, October 4, 2013

Siding Update

From Suzannah Kolbeck, Mama to La:

We have spent four days siding, some longer than others, and here is where we are as of today, the days before the clouds roll in and the raindrops fall:

The long view

 Closer view of the back. Note the oddly-shaped window; this window was
salvaged from a boat in Alaska by La's papa. She put it in herself.

 A peek around the back. The side facing the fence is the only side that is
completely done. Of course.
This last view above The Pimple (which is itself completely detachable for travel and will be finished with blue 1/4" plywood on the door, painted blue, and the star) shows one side of the window with one more board than the other. The one thing I have learned the hard way is to stop when you are tired. If you don't, you will make mistakes and hurt yourself. As much as I wanted to finish this section today, I didn't want to have to go back and rip it out on Monday. So I stopped, even though I had a piece cut. It wasn't quite right, and it was just time to stop.

Must give a shout-out to PMC Building Materials here in Marietta. When they found out what we were doing, the gave us a great deal on our siding, delivered it for free and didn't balk at our little order. Great guys, great service!

And of course, a final shot from Day 2 of siding of La herself.

She's going to be so mad I posted this shot, but too bad. That's what
happens when your mama takes over the blog!

If you want to meet this amazing person (and the author of this post), please make sure and sign up for the first ever Tiny House Conference in April 2014. The plan is to bring LPM with us, so you can see what we have been doing!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting Closer to Moving Inside!

From Suzannah Kolbeck, mama to La and hod carrier at HoneyFern:

Here is where we stopped today before La had to go to practice. We are just a tiny bit of trim (and a ton of caulk) away from siding, hopefully getting it delivered on Thursday or Friday to take advantage of a five-day stretch of nice weather.

The last window is in, and the only other change we need to make is to install the water inlet, and then a-siding we will go!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013


From Suzannah Kolbeck, mama and hod carrier at HoneyFern:

We are still working on La Petite Maison, albeit a bit slowly. La has started another blog on our travels in the mid-Atlantic region and will probably move most of her writing to that site, but I wanted to keep everyone here in the loop. I will probably be the main updater here; returning to this blog has been difficult to La.

Here is where we are:

 (La models; house on the slab required for zoning)
(the far side, with a view of the pimple)
(The Pimple before Tyvek. This will hold our propane tank and tankless water heater)
 (interior wired and taped out; still have one more window to add in the loft)

(view from the back to the front)
Our plan is to return home mid-September and get going. We are leaving town again in December, and I'd like to be done before then. As tiny house builders know, the best-laid plans go oft awry, but Sicily and I are speaking at the first-ever Tiny House Conference in April 2014, so it must be done to deliver by then!!
Thanks for everyone's support and patience! We have had more donations come in to finish the house, which is very helpful, as the concrete slab destroyed our remaining budget. If you would like to donate to help, please use PayPal address Thank you for your continued support!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Life, Interrupted

From Suzannah Kolbeck, mama to La Petite and executive director and hod carrier at HoneyFern:

You have probably noticed zero blog activity here for quite some time. On February 16th, La's father was killed in a car accident, and, for a time, she lost interest in this project (and pretty much everything else); we both spent a lot of time sitting on the window seat in our sunroom, staring out the window. As you might imagine, although we are both mostly off the window seat, we still spend a good bit of time staring out the window, and La just can't quite bring herself to blog. This project was something that La and her papa were doing together, and for awhile, she couldn't bring herself to stand next to the deck that she and her dad put on the trailer.


The tiny house is progressing, and I have continued to blog for La on the HoneyFern blog. To sum up here, we have miraculous friends who have come to the rescue, and we are looking like this:

You will have to excuse the ladders and other construction debris. To get to this point, we had several 13-hour days, and if I had to move another ladder, my arms might have fallen off. The house is nearly dried in (we still have two triangles by the dormer end to deal with, and a door to add), and we also need to find an egress window and one more window for the dressing room before we can start to side.

And in other incredible news, we found an angel roofer, Kurt Waggoner at Dr. Roof, who is going to put on the metal roofing, gratis. At first, I sort of felt this might be considered cheating a bit, but truly, very few people build a house by themself, and La can't get up on the roof anyway (safety first, plus she is scared of heights like her mama, who braved them anyway to help with the roof. We all need to do something we are scared of once in awhile. Keeps us fresh). So many giving, selfless people in the world.

We are also on pace to keep the project under our projected $5,000 budget, but La Petite has gone quickly through her Indiegogo funds. If you would like to contribute to help finish the project, you can do so via PayPal with the PayPal address Every little bit helps; $15 buys a sheet of foamular insulation, and $5 buys a can of Great Stuff foam or a 2x6 to hold up the loft. It takes a village.

We aren't giving up, but our completion date has been pushed back to June 15th. Please head on over to HoneyFern's blog to follow our progress, and thank you for your support!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

18 Hours Left!

Only 18 hours left until the end of my Indiegogo fundraiser! Can you help? Let's see how much we can raise in a short amount of time. Thank you to all of my contributors and the people that made it possible.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hope for Alana, and Miscellaneous

Good Morning, Afternoon, or Evening! Some exciting things have happened in the last week and I thought I would share them with you.

First, I would like to share an Indiegogo I believe we can all help out on and get them to (and maybe over) their goal. It's called Hope for Alana.  Alana's father died two weeks before his daughter's birth, never being able to hold his little girl. Alana's mother, having to pay for the funeral, has very little money for basic baby needs like diapers. She has to go back to work in 3-4 weeks. Please open up your pockets and help. If you cannot contribute, spread the word. Thank you.

On a brighter note, the filmmakers of Tiny: the Movie generously donated a screening of their movie at HoneyFern! It is still unclear if it will be in person or over Skype, but it is very generous of them! Thank you, Christopher and Merete of Tiny. The film has its world premier at the SXSW film festival in March, so it will be sometime after that (we think).

Speaking of tiny house movies, lately I have been obsessed with this awesome 20-minute video of Zach and Molly's 'Quest for Powder' . Hopefully you will understand my obsession.

I might be the only one that noticed this, but their stairs and loft follow the Fibonacci number. The Fibonacci number is like the shape of snail shells and is found everywhere in nature and architecture.)
This week I will be working on my composting toilet for the tiny house; I decided to go with a sawdust composting toilet because it's cheap, but just in case I am installing plumbing for an RV hookup because I want to be #1 in the business of #2. Like a boss.
Have a great week...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

What a Fiasco!

I have an unbelievable amount of things to talk about, so get ready.

First, I will start with where we went and why: we went to Orlando, FL to go to a Tumbleweed Tiny House workshop and see if we were on the right track in the building stage. We expected a fun, non-stressful weekend; is that what we got? Of course not!

Our first fiasco happened when we were looking for a cheap hotel to stay at. Cheap and clean rarely go together in Orlando, FL. After about 30 minutes in a gas station parking lot looking at hotels in the coupon book we got at the first rest stop in Florida we decided on one that was $40 a night. Not a great hotel, but it would do for a night (we found another one but it was fully booked that night so we would move the next day). We arrived at the hotel and went to our room. It was very noisy because it was next to a water fountain. We went to the front desk and switched rooms. This one was quiet and it would do. My mother and I got in our beds and started to read when we hear : DRIP....DRIP....DRIP. You've got to be kidding. There was an active leak in our hotel room. That was when we decided to switch hotels. It was 11:00 when we walked into the lobby of the amazing hotel. We went and saw the room and it was fabulous. We got all settled and staying in there was like staying at the Ritz Carlton compared to the other place.

When we get to the first day of the workshop we each stood up and gave an introduction to ourselves. When it was my turn I said I was in the building stage. I have the deck on my trailer and I'm ready to find out what's next. Jay Shafer then asked me how old I was. When I said twelve the whole room gave me a round of applause. I was embarrassed and flattered at the same time. My mother whispered to me, "Don't get a big head." I was then brought back down to earth.

Many things at the workshop I knew already, but I am at the building stage where everybody else was just considering. I recommend it for those that are still in the beginning stages and considering. We talked about an array of things including the seven principals of design and a talk from Austin Hay. The funniest thing that happened was a retired woman stood up and said, and I quote, "I have to leave early, but if any of you would like to start a community of tiny houses my e-mail is blank blank at blank blank. Thank you!" She said this right after Paul, the man who got the entire thing together, said the same thing. People, people, people...

I now have $1,425 on my Indiegogo campaign. Seventy-five dollars more and I will be at my $1,500 goal. I want to send a thank you to Orr Partners. Even in hard times they are supporting education and the community. They sent $250 which is a major help. That can buy me so much wood and other supplies I will need.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gettin' My Work Done

Woo Hoo! I'm so close to getting my frame done! Here is a video to show you what I've gotten done so far:
This weekend we are going to a Tumbleweed Tiny House tiny house building workshop. It is in Orlando Florida, you know what that means... road trip! I will post pictures of the trip and me in action. More to come!
PS. My dad picked up a table saw so I can trim my scrap plywood! I can't wait to get the frame on my tiny house.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tiny House Village

Hello! This week, my fellow students and I decided to make a tiny house community! Well, in my case, a tiny, tiny house. I have decided to build the Gypsy Junker from Deek Diedricksen (I'm going to re-name my Gypsy Junker to the Gypsy Awesomer!). Here is a video to show you about it from Tiny Yellow House:

We all decided to make mini models so below is my finished mini model (I will show you my fellow students' models as soon as they are done).

(My model)

(Will's Curbside Kid Cabin from Deek)

(Sarah's 'Trojan Turtle,' also from Deek)
(Ella's 'Hickshaw' from Deek)

I can't wait to get started! There will be more to come throughout the process. My mother/teacher made us promise that all of the materials we use in our homes have to be repurposed and recycled. By the way, I finished my Tear Drop trailer birdhouse (I actually finished it two months ago. Details, details.). Here is a picture:
(The Front)

(The Top)
Have a great week! Next weekend I am going to a tiny house workshop; there will be plenty of pictures to come!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Important News!!

Important news!!!! If you are reading this you must have some free time; this means you will have 10 minutes to go check out my Indiegogo fundraising site and Facebook and Twitter your friends about me. I am raising 1,500 dollars in three weeks and I need your help. Tell every one, your mom, your sister, your uncle, your grandpa, your cousin's, best friend's, barber's, uncle's girlfriend! Thank you so much and have a wonderful week; you got past Monday!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stuff, Stuff, Stuff

It's moving day! Well, at least it is this Saturday. With our upcoming move there have been a few things coming up (in my head) that I think would be good to adress...

When my family and I moved into the house we are moving from (the farmhouse) I said to myself, "I am going to keep my room flawless!" Two weeks later the only place you could see my floor was the path from my door to my bed and closet. Obviously, I failed at my resolution. As we are moving into the new old house (townhouse) this week I said to myself, "I am going to keep my room organized." Some memories came up though. Why had I failed the first time? What did I do that was wrong? Then it hit me like a piece of a baseball bat flying from Babe Ruth's hands: I had too much STUFF! Yes, it all makes perfect sense now. No wonder I could only make a path from the door to my bed; I didn't have any space on my shelves.

My next question was, "How do I keep that from hapening this time?" The answer I think many of you know: Don't have do much freakin' stuff. Pardon my French. With that revelation I then decided to have a mini rant to my mother as we were packing. It went like this: "I hate all of this stuff. I just want to throw it all out. I hate it all. I hate it. I hate, hate, hate it! I...I...I don't..... I JUST HATE IT ALL!"  I managed to calm down after that. I guess the lesson is not to aquire stuff that you are going to lose your head over. After all, it is just stuff. When I think about it, by the time I am in college I will probably have thrown all of it out and gotten a new set of stuff. Who knows?

Friday, January 4, 2013

DC Has Been Good To Me

The first thing I would like to say is I'm sorry; I have been traveling over Christmas and this past week I have been sick! My apologies for not giving all of you information on my trip. There is so much to say but I don't know how. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here you go!

When we decided to go up North we knew we would go through Washington DC. My mother and I had heard that there was a tiny house village named Boneyard Studios. We contacted them and they said they would love to show us around! Everybody at Boneyard Studios wanted to keep the location private; I am going to keep the information they trusted me with secret. Here are some pictures from my time with them. (My dad took the pictures and took maybe five, so it will be limited)

 (The heart of our nation's capitol. Yay! We are in DC)

 (The outside view of the houses)

(The outside of Brian's House)
 (The inside of Brian's house)

 (Lee's House)

 (The outside of Jay's house)
 (Jay's living space)
(Jay's Interior) 
                                      (Their common area)
(Their beautiful garden) 

(Using a blowtorch...scary!)

(My beautiful family. Yes, my little cousin I am holding is apparently camera shy)

                             (Beautiful mountain ranges in West VA)
 (Coming back into GA)
More building in the weeks to come; we have a tiny house workshop in Orlando with Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, and we are planning on having a friend come down and help us with framing in mid-February.
If you would like to support this endeavor, please feel free to click the "Donate" button on this blog. Any amount helps me get closer to a finished house. My school is trying to be a federal non-profit, so we can send you a donation letter if you need one. Won't help for this year's taxes, but there's always next year's!
Thanks for all of the support and comments!