My humble quest to build La Petite Maison!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Banged-Up House


To start this off I would like to state: my house is DONE. Yes, yes, yes. I know. Who would have thought I would finish? Not me. Just kidding. (Kind of) My second statement is this past weekend was the first official Tiny House Conference (THC), and I was there! And I presented. *whispers* the video should be out soon; check here. You will notice if you have been following the THC  I was supposed to bring my house. But for those of you that don’t know: I was supposed to bring my house.
 
My house did not make it. And you can thank the expletive hauler. The horror story started last Tuesday. The hauler e-mailed my mum and asked if he could haul my house on Tuesday instead of Thursday to which we replied no. The house is not done yet. He showed up anyway. And leave us with the comment, “Pretty good for a couple of girls.” At this point my mother and I had a bad feeling about this guy, but we didn’t tell each other. Why? I have no idea.
 
So Thursday night arrived, and it was time to move the house. Take note that the house was finished about one hour before the guy came, so it was practically like our newborn baby. The moment he took off I instantly regretted having him come. He lurched forward and I could hear all the pops and cracks from the wood shifting inside. The biggest heart attack happened when instead of backing straight off the slab (as we told him) he went off the side, and as soon as the first wheel came off the slab, it popped off. No, I am not joking. Most sane people at this point would have said, “Put it back on the slab; we aren’t moving the house.” Not me. I thought, “Oh I can just pull it into the neighborhood and fix the tire and it’ll be great!” Then he started running into the fence. Not once, not twice, but three times. Which in turn banged-up the edges of the house. Then he ran into the branches from the tree just outside our gate, peeling and bending back the metal roofing.
 
At this point both my mother and I told him to put it back in the yard. We didn't trust him to take it to the conference. He totally ignored us and pulled it into the neighborhood. Then stepped out of his truck and said, “Well, I don’t know what to do with it now.” If looks could kill at that moment, he would have been ten feet under. I am proud that neither my mother nor I laced our sentences with every curse word imaginable when we said, “Just put it in the yard; we aren’t taking it.” To which he replied, “If I can.”


Let’s just take a moment to comprehend this. Imagine all of this and throw in a condescending voice and looks. Anyone would be ready to fly off the handle.  He finally forced it into the yard and left with the comment, “I’m sorry you couldn’t get your house out.” After the anger had gone away, the hurt set in. It hurts when you work so hard, for so long and somebody comes in and (basically) trashes all you have done.


On a lighter note: the THC was great. I got to meet so many of the people I have been following online. For example I got to meet Dee Williams who is basically the queen of the Tiny House Community, and Macy Miller with MiniMiller, the first Tiny House baby.  I have to admit I was a bit star struck.


But I think that wraps it up. Upcoming blogs will include a better version of a tour, budget, and my first actual night in my house. It’s unbelievable that just a few weeks ago it looked like this:

 
 


And now it looks like this:

 
 
 


So now that I’m finished with my house…which one of you is next? What’s holding you back? If a thirteen-year-old girl can do it, why not you?

38 comments:

  1. Hi. I made a bit of a comment about the hauler on your moms blog, but having read this all I can say is burying is too good for the jerk!

    Personally, I'd have put him on a spit-roast! :-D

    Hope it doesn't take too long to fix LPM up.

    I'm afraid I wont be following your example as I'm in the UK living in an old terraced house ( built around 1900! ) and the rear yard is probably not as big as LPM! :-)

    Wishing you all the best for the future, Martyn

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    1. I have to say I am a bit jealous of your situation... an old house AND you' re in England. I can felt the green in my eyes! Don't worry if you can't build a house, it's not for everyone. But thank you for feeling the fury with me. A spit-roast sounds like a magnificent idea.

      -La Petite

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    2. Just for comparison. The house is around 30 foot by 12 foot. It has a living room, kitchen, toilet and pantry downstairs and two bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. The yard is 12 foot by 12 foot.

      Funny thing is that while people when it was built were shorter the ceilings are about 9 foot high instead of the 7 foot 6 ones in modern houses.

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  2. I'm so excited to learn about your story! I just got back from Deek's workshop in Memphis which was so helpful. Congrats on finishing your house! What's holding me back is student loans, but they will be paid this June! So then I just have to save up to buy the trailer & some materials. Thanks for being an inspiration. :)

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    1. I am so glad you will be starting your house soon! I'm glad Deek's workshop helped, he really is a great dude. Best of luck with your house. :)

      -La Petite

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  3. Great job on the house Sicily! Transporting houses is so crazy. Especially when so much has gone into getting them just right. If I remember correctly, we blew out close to 20 tires in the process of taking the Georgia Tech Solar Decathlon house to Washington D.C. Our project was slightly larger, 800+/- square feet. If you get a chance, you should take the short trip up I-75 to the Tellus Science museum in Cartersville to check it out. http://tellusmuseum.org/galleries-more/solar-house/

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    Replies
    1. Sicily's mama here - I had no idea that was up at Tellus. I think we will have to make the trip up there sooner rather than later. Solar is the one thing we really wanted to incorporate but we just ran out of time/money. Still committed to it, and will look into at least partial solar power in the future!

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  4. I am going to show this to my son. He started his build at 12 years old and now at 13 he wants to give up because his dad doesn't have time to help him. Sicily, you are a fabulous example of strength. I am so glad you finished your home despite your loss. As for the "mover" situation, it takes a stronger person to remain calm than it does to lash out. Don't let that experience effect you. I wish you and your mom all the best. Thank you for the inspiration.

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    1. I hope he doesn't give up. The middle is the hardest part because that is where it gets tedious, but you can also move pretty quickly. We did the interior walls in just a couple days and it went form looking like a shell to looking like a house!

      Good luck!

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  5. Beautifull Sicily and to your Mum Suzannah , this Tiny One is Lovely and is Very inspirational for me , i want to get and may be build ( dont know if i CAN ;-) a Tiny too l'm a bit older than You but anyway i would feel Better in a mini mobile home low impact low cost Free to go ......Thanks You for having Shared your story , You are a Very courageous person , May be could i ask You later for some others infos about the Tiny to build mine ?!
    Thanks a lot. Catherine from France

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    Replies
    1. I don't know any builders in France that could help. Maybe try to get on some Facebook tiny house pages? There are lots of international people building, and maybe somebody near you!

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  6. ok wow. you are 13? you're right. i have no excuse now! I <3 macy and minimiller!! im so jealous you got to meet them.

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  7. It is hard dealing with jerks that are condescending to women...especially when the women they belittle are clearly more intelligent. (I don't mean all women are more intelligent than all men, only chauvinists against can-do women.) I like how you handled the situation and acted the wiser person. At thirteen you show much maturity.

    Your stairs are perfect!!!!

    Question...what did you use to seal your trough? I tried to use a brand spanking new trough as a tub that leaked like crazy.

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    1. We did not seal the trough, so we shall see. We also have yet to take a bath or shower, but I think we will use some silicone caulk, the clear kind, and just go over the interior joints. If we are really motivated we will picked up the tub and seal underneath, too, but that is a production!!

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  8. Amazing! What a great work! Please post pictures of the first party you throw in your house, that's gonna be fun!

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  9. Terrific little house you made, I love it! I was considering a similar shower. Nothing is holding me back, when you have time check out my little house being built now... http://skrewconventional.blogspot.com/

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  10. Love your house, sorry about the idiot-fool who was unable to complete the haul. M/b that's a blessiing in disguise - just imagine what he'd have done when out of sight. Most of all I am very touched by the story of your family & community, my heart goes out to you, your mom on the loss of your father. I'm sure he's watching over you.

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    1. Actually, we met Teal of Wishbone Tiny Homes as a result, and he did our hauling for us. He was AMAZING, and the houses he builds are incredible. So it was a blessing in disguise after all!

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  11. I just want to say how proud anyone who has ever known a teenage girl is of you. You and your mother are strength, and I'm so glad you have each other. Baltimore will be different, but you sound like the kind of girl who can take on anything. And the change will be good.

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  12. I read your story on CNN.com and wanted to say congratulations on building your tiny house and working through tough times! Your house is beautiful! I wish you and your mom the best in your upcoming move and transitions.

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  13. Hi. I read your story on CNN.com this morning just as I woke up to read news and updates from all over the world. I am a Nigerian, living in Nigeria and I am so inspired by your story. Even after your loss, you and your mum still found the strength and courage to finish up what you started with your dad. I wish schools in my country can encourage students to pick up projects even if it's not about building tiny houses.
    Thank you for being such an inspiration and I am so sorry for your loss. I know he's very proud of you

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  14. Wow...you two are awesome. What a team! Your house is beautiful and the love and determination you share is inspiring.

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  15. I love your little house! I am a writer and want to build a little house out of a shed for a writing space (seven people in my house!!! I need a place to escape). Very inspiring and lovely . . .

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    1. I like to draw in the bump out. It is quiet and has nice light!

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  16. I found this story on CNN and I am so glad I stopped by! You did an excellent job and you should be very proud of yourself! I am sure you learned so many repair skills that will be helpful for years to come. Congratulations on your beautiful project!

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  17. Your tiny house is amazing! It has given me some inspiration for ours. Though I do have question: what did you use for your interior walls? I love the look! And how did you waterproof your walls around your shower? These might be silly questions but I must know!
    Again, your home is beautiful and congrats on being done.

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    1. Our interior walls are yellow pine, painted, but the bathroom is stained and finished with an orange oil. We have to put up a shower curtain because the wood is not waterproof (just "resistant.").

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