Loft Framing and Flooring

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Looking into our future kitchen, underneath the sleeping loft. The bathroom will be on the left (out of frame). The green showing through the windows is the bottom tarp we have covering our currently roofless house.

I just wanted to give a quick update on the house – we’ve finished our storage and sleeping lofts, floors and all!  It was nice to finally be able to do a little bit of design work instead of just focusing on structural components. We used cedar loft beams that created the ceiling for the bottom floor. Underneath our sleeping loft is the bathroom on the left side and the kitchen on the right. I’m finding myself really preferring knotty wood – it has such interesting textures and patterns that I never really took the time to appreciate before. Drew, with Z’s help, installed the flooring boards (white pine) on top of the lofts while I cut them to size. He used a pin nailer, which allowed him to hide the nails in the grooves of each of the tongue and groove boards, so the nails won’t be visible from the top. After we were finished, we sat out under the stars for a while on our new loft.

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Underneath the sleeping loft, looking toward the front door and storage loft.

Working on the house has been an interesting experience for me personally. Fifteen-hour workdays are becoming the norm for us. Because of this, I don’t get to rest as much as I need to. I’m becoming more in tune with what my body needs in order to function at its best. I’m learning I need to rest more. I need to lift with my knees even when I think it’s easier to lift with my back. I need to wear my face mask while working around sawdust, even when it’s burning hot outside. When in doubt, I should wear my ear protection while walking through the shop, because chances are someone is going to use a loud saw while I’m in there. I need to wear my eye protection, even if Drew is nailing on the other side of the house (flying nails happen, I’ve seen it). I now know I need to use knee-pads or a foam pad when working on a hard floor, or my knees will ache the next day. I know I need to carry the ladder from the inside, or it will bump against my shins and create bruises. I need to sleep right when I get home and stay off the Internet, or I’ll be up all night and unable to concentrate the next day.  I need to remember to stay sharp around power tools and not take short-cuts. To pay attention when I’m sawing, no matter how easy the piece is. I need to remember to drink more water.

And most of all, I need to be more okay with delays. I need to remember that I am not a machine, and that exhaustion is not a trophy. I need to remember I’m human, and that it’s okay to take a day off, or to do something that isn’t related to the tiny house. In fact, it’s needed, otherwise I’ll burn myself out more than I already have. I still have yet to take a complete day off from tiny house work. I feel like I’m losing time. Somehow, I’m always losing time.

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I have a habit of pushing myself harder than I should in order to complete a project. This house has been a test on slowing myself down. So far, it’s been a difficult process. Currently construction has lulled to a halt. We’re trying to figure out how to change the framing plans for the roof, since our trailer is wider than the one referenced in the plans. This creates all kinds of problems, especially since this will influence the angles of the roof beams. It’s been a challenge to try and drudge up all that old high school trigonometry. (If only I knew I’d be using it later to build a house – I probably would have paid more attention, or at least held on to my notes.)

I guess I should welcome this time as a break – spend more time sitting in the loft rather than trying to calculate it. I know we’ll get there eventually. I think I’ll relax more once this house is in the dry (as in we don’t need to cover it with a tarp and bail water off the roof at 10pm during horrible thunderstorms anymore [true story]). Hopefully then I can slow down and enjoy the process, rather than always racing to finish it.

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