My humble quest to build La Petite Maison!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Updates...TEDYouth, Moving, And...High School?

This is Suzannah, mama to La...

As I write this, The Child is finishing up an essay on biological warfare for school, a requirement before she can go thrift-store shopping for the last parts of her Halloween costume. We have moved up to Baltimore and LPM is in Delaware, a short two-hour drive for weekends out of the city:

We have made a few changes to the inside, mostly so that the loft feels a little more safe and the house is easier to live in with two people. We still have plans to build a sitting area that turns into a table and then a bed for additional sleeping options. and, well, the shower still leaks, so we have to fix that. And we are planning on building a free-standing deck. But there is time for all of that later.

One of the biggest changes has been that La is now in a regular high school instead of being with me full-time. She is really enjoying her school, though, and I can't hold her back if she wants to spread her wings. She may be going on a class trip to Paris in the spring, and there are other amazing things on the horizon for her, including giving a talk for the TEDYouth conference in New York City in November.

We have also purchased a house to fully rehab in Baltimore:

I would love to say we will be doing the work, but it is too extensive, and we'd like to live there sometime before Sicily graduates from high school. So while we are designing the interior, we will not be executing the plan.

This is just a quick update; we both really appreciate all of the love and support you have shown us on this journey, and for those of you who mentioned that you were building or wanted to build or were running into motivation issues while building, please post in the comments below how it's going! We would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thank You

Many Tiny House builders will tell you that building a house takes a village, and I would like to give credit to those that helped me. Many of these people put in 12-hour-days and on top of that were my go to people if I had a problem. So with a heart filled with love, and lungs filled with gratefulness: thank you, thank you, thank you.

My two uncles, Goose Odom, my BFF Ella, The knowledge of all other tiny housers, Everyone at home depot, and Ikea for the majority of my interior decorations.

Monday, May 12, 2014

How Much Did I Spend? (It's An Adventure for All of Us)

For some people, a setback to building a tiny house is the money aspect. There is a range for expenses when building or buying a tiny house. There are high-end tiny houses that can go for upwards of $150,000. There are also homes like mine that are self made with help of donation that cost less than $10,000. My building process took 7 months. I bought many of my materials. If you are looking to keep costs down using reclaimed and donated materials would do the trick; the problem being that the building process would take much longer and any plans or blueprints would have to be loose and able to adapt to materials you gather.

 Before I break my budget down, I am going to explain how I, a 13-year-old without a full time job, could save $10,000. The majority of my expenses were paid by my tuition. When the project started I was attending a project-based school run by my mother, so I didn’t need to pay tuition. My mum took what would be my tuition (approx. $7,000) and bought the majority of my materials. The second source of money was my Indiegogo campaign. I raised 1,660. I also worked odds and ends jobs to raise about $500. This is about $9,160, the rest 700 or so dollars were a gift from my excellent mother.

As I was going through receipts I realized that this would be a very short blog if I only told you what my house cost and didn’t break it down (beat boxing in the background). Probably the most expensive category (that is definable; we’ll get to that later) was wood. In total, wood cost $2,783.96. This does not include trim because as the wonderful planners my mother and I are, we never got enough trim, so as I was going through receipts there was a piece of trim on every. Single. Receipt.

The trailer: a vital part of my house yet such a pain in the a$$. We got a donated, homemade farm trailer which was amazing when I first got it, but I came to realize that this trailer was very difficult to find parts and wheels for. So in total finding and buying new tires, new brake pads, welding on scissor jacks and a new hitch, and wiring electric brakes and lights cost $1,948.79. However, I think if the cost of gas was added it would add an extra $6 million. We searched far and wide for these parts, so I definitely recommend buying a new trailer.

The interior cost $1,029.83. This included the appliances, silverware, decorations, etc. This was my favorite part. What can I say? I’m a teenaged girl.

The least expensive category is plumbing. Plumbing cost $659.64, this included pipes, fixings, two RV hookup inlets (we cut some things wrong, okay?), and a water heater.  
The last and most expensive category was the unclassified. We spent $3,629 on random things, things that include a toilet seat, a bucket, staples, etc. $1,000 was probably caulk. (Just a tip to any new builders: budget $1,000 for caulk. You are going to use a lot.)
In total we spent $9,838.69. There may be a few small things that didn’t make it into the receipt bag. I also didn’t add labor or donated items. This is just the moo-lah I’ve spent. In the next blog I am going to do a master post of all the people that have donated knowledge, time, and/or money because they have been a vital part of my house.

What was (or is) your budget for your house? How are you going to raise money?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Art in a Tiny House

Art in a tiny house is not a common topic, but I think it’s an important subject. Now, I am no art aficionado. I’m 13. But I do find things beautiful (as most of us do). In a tiny house there is not much wall space, especially if you have lots of windows (as I do). But there is always space. So take a moment right now to find that place on your wall that is begging for a painting or picture. We all have that space, so go find yours.

Once you find the blank space, the next step is finding art. However, do not buy a painting for the sake of having something on your wall. This defeats the purpose of art. In my home, I have four pieces of art. I have my dad’s boating license:


A picture of the boat he captained:


A souvenir from my TED Talk in New Orleans:


And a melted crayon portrait:


(I have made about a thousand of these; if you would like a tutorial comment down below)

These paintings/pictures/memorabilia/souvenirs make me extremely happy every time I see them. I also think they fit perfectly into my home. There is a quote by William Morris that says, “Have nothing in your home that is neither useful nor beautiful.” I believe this is a rule to live by in a tiny house.

Just to reiterate, bigger is not always better. If you have a blank wall, you don’t need fill it up with meaningless pictures. Tell a story with your space. Size doesn't matter (hehe) so find something that makes you happy.

Tell me; do you have any pieces of art you absolutely love? Is there a picture or painting you’ve had for a long time? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How To: Exercise In A Tiny House

Imagine this blog in the voice of an infomercial:

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to exercise in a Tiny House? Or dream about how to do it? Well, this is the blog post of your dreams!

The first exercise I will be showing you is how to plank in a tiny house. The first place to plank is the stairs:


If stairs aren’t an option, there are always chairs:


Or on your bed:


Just kidding. (Not)

The next exercise is jumping jacks. You can try:


But probably not for long:


This usually happens.

After these exercises I’m not sure what else to do. Small tip: Don’t exercise in a tiny house. Go outside, or do something smaller, like yoga.

(Infomercial voice over)

Did you find this helpful? Did you enjoy it? What would you like to know how to do in a Tiny House? Keep it PG-13 please. I would like to do a how-to every two weeks if you enjoy it.

*Side note: this was a parody of a how-to. I was being funny. Don’t you think I’m funny?*

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?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Tiny House Conference Wrap-Up

Standby for a wrap-up: stats, facts, and figures about La Petite Maison. We just got back from the tiny house conference and I have a few things to finish up on the house, but I will post a total budget, a better video, and lots of pix!