After posting recent photos of Facebook today there were several questions about the build, galvanized steel frame, SIPS, etc. Hope this will make sense and y'all don't fall asleep while reading :-)
Initially I dreamed of building in standard construction mode. 2 x 4's, plywood, yada yada. Then I ordered a DVD from Tumbleweed not long after taking Dee Williams workshop in Houston, January 2012. Some things she said really 'clicked'... I finally heard ideas I had put into words that crystalized what I was trying to say and think. She did a great job of zeroing in on the core issues.
About a year after watching the DVD I came across an article about a fellow named Art Cormier who built his tiny home with SIP panels (Structural Insulated Panels: basically and construction Oreo cookie made using 2 OSB panels with insulation in between). Turns out Art gives workshops through Tumbleweed (the original tiny house company started by Jay Shafer) and is a "home boy" ...he lives in Lafayette, La.!!! What a SIGN from God that was :-) So I looked up Art, sent an email, talked on the phone with him ( he is VERY helpful and generous talking with folks about SIPS, tiny homes, etc.) He convinced me that SIPS were the way to go for several reasons: it greatly reduces build time from stick frame, one by one construction (from weeks to 2 days); the structural integrity of SIPS in a big benefit, generally stronger than stick built; minor off gassing according to Art, is less than the off gassing from a new piece of furniture. I was sold...
3 years passed while I continued to read, Facebook anyone and everyone about TH's, collect way too many tiny house related books, and design, design, design, dream, design some more. Then in Spring 2014 I took a workshop with Dan Louche' in Cummins, Ga. Another awesome experience! Workshops are fantastic if for no other reason than the other like minded "crazies" you meet. ALL tiny house folks at workshops are a huge inspiration and source of ideas... we all want to live a different, more meaningful kind of life. At Dan's workshop I saw my first true tiny home, up close and personal. Due to insane traffic on the way from Baton Rouge, La. to Cummins, Ga. BOTH interstates were shut down due to construction and several accidents. I missed the entire first half of the first day...grrr. As I flew into the parking area and ran down to the place where seats and a screen were set up... someone said "we just broke for lunch" ....aaaaahhhh!!! I wanted SO badly to dive right in!
So I trek up the hill on foot and walk up to the cutest little 12' version of a Dan Louche' TH... when I hear this lovely, deep woman's voice exclaim "HELL and NO!" A comment brought on by the extremely small size of that 12' THOW. Ha ha ha!!! Turned out to be a woman from Chicago named Marilyn. I was on the floor laughing at that intro. We've since become very good friends and even did a "Texas tiny houses and eco people tour" in January 2015. Anyway... back to SIPS, steel, etc.
I temporarily moved to Phoenix, Az. over the summer of 2015 and only a week and a half prior to the "Tiny House Jamboree" in Colorado Springs ... I found out about the THJ! My life blew up in many ways this year... that's another blog entry for later... so I grabbed my stuff and drove as fast as was legal to get there.... IT ~ WAS ~ UTTERLY ~ EPIC!!! Originally 1,500 people were expected. The week before over 5,000 had signed up... the DAY before THJ started over 11,000 people had officially 'signed up' and you know the story by now... in 3 days over 40,000.... YES a number 4 followed by 4 zeros!!! showed up. INSANE!!! It was the very "Viola" "Eureka" "These are my PEOPLE" thing I needed.
At the 2015 THJ I met Damon, Natalie & Ruby from Trailer Made, LLC in Denver. Also met a GREAT group who happened to be out of Austin, Tx. from a company called Volstrukt. At that time I was still in Phoenix and wanted to move back to Austin. Sign #2 from God ..."MOVE TO AUSTIN"
So I did sort of unoffically... don't even remember when but it was around late October? maybe.
Anyway... once I saw the metal frame, looked into issues of "thermal bridging" read more... I had planned to go with the metal frame and SIPS. Metal frames are about 40% lighter weight than wood. And the weight of wood changes with humidity. Steel remains the same. Then days before sending out checks, to get the ball rolling I heard/read about Huber's ZipSystem panels. Something in my gut has told me not to use the plastic wraps that we see everywhere. Just a nagging "don't use it" ...and Zip panels solve that issue, plus I knew I would use spray foam insulation for many reasons.
So sort of at the 'last minute' I decided to use ZipSystem panels after speaking to a dear friend and green architect Gayle Borst of Stewardship Architecture (based in Austin). The Geaux Tiny House has, as many creative things do, evolved organically. I am a HUGE believer in prayer, paying attention to 'signs' and listening to your own gut feeling about everything. That is our instinct guiding us. It's not always perfect but it's usually right.
In the end once I had to put money on the table as it were... that was the line in the sand where everything in me said "OK... enough research, planning, dreaming. It's time to pull the trigger" ..and of course once you've sold your home and have no physical address anymore... that tends to motivate this cajun. I have been so blessed to have dear, true friends who have given me a place to stay, constant support, encouragement, etc. "It takes a village"... even to raise a tiny house. And here is the final list of what I chose based on the best info at the moment. I'm sure there will be new discoveries, inventions, etc. There is always room for improvement... for me... these are the best choices and I'm thrilled with how it's going! THANK YOU LORD ...I am truly, genuinely aware and grateful for every single blessing whether it was an answered prayer or a non answered one. Peace y'all & more to come! It's WORTH IT...
All decisions were made based on
#1 Quality of material, long lasting
#4 SPEED ( I only have so much momentum)
* Custom TH trailer, chose BELLY PAN was the deciding factor, plus GREAT folks and good price for such a sturdy trailer: Trailer Made, LLC ~ Denver, Co.
* Galvanized steel frame, SUPER light weight: Volstrukt ~ Austin, Tx.
* Huber ZipSystem Panels, moisture barrier built in: East Side Lumber ~Austin, Tx.
* Cedar raw edged siding: Wampler's Lumber Yard ~ Bastrop, Tx.
* Reclaimed wood, vintage elevator lift: Reclaimed Space ~ Austin, Tx.
* Vintage Stained Glass Windows: all over, Texas, Louisiana, Ebay, Craigslist