Since Labor Day weekend I have been working on a tiny house. Most nights after work and every weekend day and into the night, minus a few here and there. The tiny house is being built in a shop in South Park. I had never heard of South Park. It is a neighborhood of South Seattle, near Boeing, along the Duwamish River, sandwiched a few miles between Georgetown and White Center. For all the booming of Seattle’s economy, seeing this place you can’t help but feel guilty and a little scared. It is an impoverished part of our beautiful city that you likely will never see. Homeless sleep outside the local community mental health agency, doorways wreak of urine, junkies walk around looking for their next fix, vans and dilapidated RVs crammed to the gills with possessions park on neighborhood streets till someone asks them to move along, businesses are boarded up and or painted in gaudy mix-matched paint, front yards littered with broken down vehicles and children’s toys. The Shell station and taco truck provide a local hangout, while “Work Wanted” notes scrawled in Spanish, inquiring about dish-washer positions, are posted to telephone poles.
No, you have probably never heard of South Park or been there. But there it is. Situated on the Duwamish River, near 99 and a couple miles from White Center. And it is there, across the street from the South Park Marina (referred to as the boat yard from here on out) and one block from the new South Park Bridge that Kalib found an oasis to build his tiny house.
So here we are. Just about the 6 month mark and the tiny house is more than half way done. What does that even mean? Well lets see, I’m going to list a bunch of things (should have started this blog a lot sooner), things that have been done thus far include: custom tiny house plans ordered (after one plus year of looking at designs, perusing every single YouTube video about tiny houses, renting tiny house books from the library that have yet to be returned, countless hours pinning on Pinterest, and absorbing every ounce of knowledge from how-to-videos and documentaries about tiny house living); custom built trailer ordered and picked up, 12″ subfloor built and insulated, custom SIPs (structurally insulated panels) ordered, delivered, modified, and installed; electrical wires pulled through walls (DC and AC), gutter and rainwater collection system built-in atop the roof, air conditioner installed, cabinets installed, custom countertop built (understatement…will explain more later); SIPs sealed and housewrapped; windows purchased from second-used building supply stores, flashed and tacked in place; special DC only (aka battery powered) fridge bought from some guy off Craigslist (4+ hour car ride round-trip saved us about $800, score!); drywall installed; walls sand primed and American Clay finish applied, ceiling color matched and painted; naturally aged cherry wood milled to be beautiful tongue-and-groove flooring; water filtration system installed, kitchen sink, bathroom sink and shower plumbed; Nature’s Head composting toilet purchased and put together; bathroom ceiling fan installed; closet framed; office platform welded and built; stained glass window and front door made (hand cut glass, copper foil and lead soldering…swoon!)
The list doesn’t capture the minutiae of cutting the tape that covered every single screw on the floor or prying out unwieldy nails while balancing atop a ladder. It doesn’t capture the five trips to the hardware store in a single Saturday, or calling every single Home Depot in the greater Seattle area to find the right flashing tape, or even the coordination it takes to make sure the camera is charged and pointing in the right direction. But the list does show what we have been working on mostly exuberantly, but at times a little wearily.
As we put March and its gray days to bed, our hope is this blog will not only serve as a historian of our excitement, but maybe even help some future tiny house obsessed individual see the humor and downright craziness there is to be had in building a tiny house.