Big commitment… # ?


Proof that I can, indeed, make large financial decisions.

OMG I just dropped $2800 bones at Home Depot for 8 windows, my roof, some housewrap, and a table saw! As if a custom trailer on the way (which, by the way, appears to be late) wasn’t enough of an assurance that there’s no turning back now, maxing out credit cards (you didn’t think I wasn’t going to get cash back for this project, did you?) on a custom order is a pretty sure indicator that I’m on my way to home-buildership if ever there was one.

I noticed a slight smile lingering across my lips for 5 minutes after swiping the cards. I couldn’t quite tell if that was a sign that I’m a shopaholic enjoying the rush of spending a lot of money at once (can’t say that I’ve ever spent that much money at once on anything) or just a happiness of the increasing probability that I am going to achieve a long-held dream that I will build and live in my own house. It’s funny how sometimes for us wispy wandering folks, sometimes we set dreams and goals in motion without even realizing it until it is being realized/materialized. It’s also interesting to note (am I repeating myself here?) that the sometimes-enveloping fear/hesitation that I was experiencing previously, appears to be waning significantly. Something about having material proof in front of me, that I am indeed taking steps towards a goal and that I will continue to take steps and step by step I will reach the goal….. makes it all a lot easier to charge ahead.

Back to practicalities: I went with Jeld-Wen windows for several reasons:

1.  I knew I wanted wood windows for their warmth and traditional, sturdy, dignified look. Jeld-Wen makes a nice wood window without the foo-foo cost of an Andersen, etc. while still offering lots of nice options like different finishes, hardware finishes, trim, screens, etc.

2. I sorted through their brochure a lot and compared them to other brands, and their system of organization helped me make sense of the infinite possibilities available.

3. This was a deal-sealer: They use FSC-certified wood, recycled materials in their vinyl products, low-VOC compounds in their wood treatment, and are of course Energy Star qualified. They’re a PNW company, and I liked that they’re taking steps to be more responsible manufacturers.

4. Best of all- I just happened to walk into a Home Depot during the last 2 days of a Jeld-Wen promotion, which saved me hundreds of dollars.

I ended up sacrificing some of my time for money, as I ordered the windows primed on the outside and bare on the inside. That means I’ll be doing a lot of painting/staining. I plan on painting the exteriors, TBD (any ideas? I’m thinking turquoise. Crazy, I know.) and staining the interiors to keep the pretty wood look. It saved me about $78 per window to opt out of a finish, so I was pretty happy about that. Good thing I enjoy the monotony of painting.

For roofing, I stuck with my original vision, which is just a plain basic old-thyme corrugated galvanized steel. It still cost over $400… But without the time/patience to look for salvage, I’m OK with that.

Table saw I gave in on, since it looks like I am going to have to rip a lot of boards if I’m to do board & batten siding. I got a quote on cedar for that, and it’s going to be $1500 in siding, which seems insane to me, so I’m waiting to mull it over. I’m hoping if I keep scouring Craigslist, something will turn up salvaged and cheap that I can use to achieve the clean-yet-old-thyme look I’m going for.

I think what annoys me most about this planning phase is that you really never know what all of these choices are going to pan out looking like, until they are all actualized. I am depending almost completely on my own powers of visualization. I think this is a real skill and asset in this field of life – one I’m not sure I’ve developed very much. But I guess we’ll see, right? I can only imagine how many choices go awry in a 3,000 square foot home!

Yes, today was a big day for the casita bella. The sheep’s wool insulation got delivered, and was quite manageable! We stored it under the edge of the garage since space is tight and I haven’t created my little tarp house for all of the materials yet. Early next week, for sure! First we have to split and stack a bunch of big  logs laying in the spot where it’s going.

Last weekend we had a yard sale and made $600 which was great, and met some interesting characters right in our front yard (haha). Although for the incredible amount of effort it required, that was probably a modest profit. Unfortunately we ended up with a lot of leftovers, which have yet to be distributed. It was an excellent reminder, however, that a) my family and I are closeted hoarders and b) I never ever want to end up with that much STUFF. I mean, I’m as guilty as the next person of having a junk drawer and random memories lying around and such. But boxes full of random knick knacks and old broken lamps and kid’s books that haven’t been touched in 15 years and a velvet dress with full-on shoulder pads and doilie lace from the 1980’s? I’m pursuing this rule: If I don’t use something for a whole year, I don’t need it. Which is largely what this tiny house project is all about. I am currently experiencing the suffocation of a cluttered material life, and working towards a deeply simplistic life. Although in the juxtaposition that is Nature, it sure will be great next week when I’m ready to build my materials tarp house, we can pull out that 5-year-old unopened box of 9×12′ tarps in my parents’ garage that are left over from their festival-vending days. 🙂

I’m off for a 30-mile backpack of the West Rim Trail in the Grand Canyon of PA tomorrow. I hope you are all smiling and happy, as green inside as the blooming spring around us.

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4 thoughts on “Big commitment… # ?

  1. Your process makes me smile 🙂 It is so true though, I think the most terrifying thing is compiling lots of materials under a grandiose sort of faith that they will all look sensible together. Not to worry though, most of my scattered choices with Little Yellow have worked out well to my aesthetic. And the other things are…interesting 😉 I’m certain yours will be wonderful!

    • your process indeed makes me smile, chuckle and sort of… well beam… am i kind of vicariously living through you? I want to build one too!!! rip a lot of boards?? wow. amazing. makes me want to put on my pink carharts vest and join you.

  2. glad to hear that you are enjoying yourself! i’ve spent $2,400 bucks in one go, paying off a student loan, and I think for me that warm, fuzzy sensation which manifested into a lingering smirk was the was awe… at the absurdity of money, or rather numbers on a screen, being transferred from one electronic place to another with the swipe of a piece of plastic or the click of a mouse?!!? enjoy backpacking!!
    peace love happiness

  3. Oh I do love the reassurance (Ella) and the support (all of you) and the giggly visual of a pink Carhaart vest (Marta) and the interesting parallel experience of spending lots of “money” (Joe). Thank you all for reading and going through the process with me, and please share with anyone you think would be interested – I’m greedy for more exposure! 🙂

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