Well, we are finally settling in here at 355 Haywood Rd.! Between cleanup, paint, permitting, electrical work, bay door remodeling, sign work, and Wishbone work, we have been full throttle the last two months. We are thrilled to share our progress with you, and look forward to your feedback over time. See below:
Day one after closing: assessing the work ahead and handing over utilities. Seeing the space opened up with some of our equipment in it was a new level of excitement for us. Ahead of us was a serious cleanup job and paint. Below, Stefan loads some of his last items.
The scaffolding on loan from Steve Bellich came in handy for the painting. The first wall is done here and it already feels more spacious. Is it good luck when paint poops on your shoulder? I think so. After paint, we installed these wood racks and stashed some of our materials on them. It felt great to begin the organization process.
We found a home for my dad's drafting table set up. We call this room the think tank, the drawing room, or the lab. The next photo is a gutter job we took to right away. As you can see, a chronic drain issue was degrading the block and needed to be fixed. The gutter did the trick! On the right: we used some wood that Stefan left behind to make our mailbox post.
. . . And a little time for reflection. . .
Here Stefan removes the last remnants of Steebo Designs from the shop. He's a magician with that crane. To the right, we are busy carving out 2 additional vertical feet for our bay door. We need the full 14' to get our homes on wheels in and out.
Ahh, the sign. A big moment for us. On the left, I used our business card as a reference for the city (for permitting) and the sign makers next door. They did a great job matching the colors.
It's official! Once we moved our model over to the shop, we felt like the culmination of a lot of efforts had come together. We are settling into a good routine at the shop, and the cat (Minnie Mao) is warming up to us. It's feeling like home! Thanks for following our progress. . . please feel free to comment below.
We had the great pleasure of meeting Sicily and Suzannah Kolbeck at the Tiny House Conference earlier in 2014. They were in attendance, but Sicily's beloved tiny house, La Petite Maison, was not. We learned that a hired driver not only failed to get the house out of their yard, but also caused quite a bit of damage in the process. Upon hearing this, we immediately offered our services to move the house should they ever need to move it again. As it turns out, the need did arise when the Kolbecks decided to move to Baltimore and bring La Petite Maison with them. Naturally, we obliged when they asked us to be involved. Then. . . the Kolbecks got a call from the White House! Sicily had been invited to bring her house to the White House Maker Faire, which commemorated the President's national "Day of Making", June 18, 2014! So, plans changed. Now we were to get La Petite Maison to the White House for the event, then take it to its new home in Delaware. Here's how it went:
En route to DC from Marietta, GA. This shot was taken on I-26 W, the Scenic Byway, my favorite stretch of highway in the U.S. The house travelled well on the open road. I was able to average between 60 - 65 MPH. There was some concern about the tires rubbing the frame of the trailer, so we took it easy over the bumps. The other major concern was the lack of lights and brakes. We picked the house up on Father's Day (a Sunday of course) and there were no mechanics working. There was no time to spare so we had to go for it and hope a mechanic would tend to the issue on the fly.
Somewhere in Virginia we found a truck stop with a large shop. Two young and eager guys took on the task of troubleshooting the wiring and ultimately fixing the lights. I have to give these guys credit, they typically work on tractor trailers, and they approached the job with open minds. I am pretty sure they have not worked on a house in their shop before. I also let them know that because of their work, the house would make it to its destination: The White House. That seemed to motivate them.
The Secret Service
Upon arrival to D.C., we were directed to an off-site screening location. We were ushered into an outbuilding while they went to work on the numerous larger vehicles slated to drive onto the grounds of the White House. After looking through the truck and house, they drove an x-ray truck around and presumably took x-rays. I found myself slightly disturbed by this, wondering how the radiation was contained to its intended target (we were not that far away). Eventually, we cleared the first hurdle and were instructed to go to the next.
After a Secret Service escort to the South East gate to the White House, we were again inspected. This time with more hard core Secret Service guys and dogs. At one point an agent waved me over while looking under the hood and asked what that "ticking" sound was. I was happy to let him know it was the hazard lights flashing, and not a home-made ticking time bomb.
Here are Sicily and Suzannah standing by while agents inspect La Petite Maison. After final clearance, we went through the next gate and waited. Then we were ushered through two more gates. And then we got to work.
Can You Do This?
We were informed that the location they had chosen for the house was a good one. In the East Wing, at the visitor's entrance, there is a long portico where cars can drive up. This is where the house was to go.To get to it, one must navigate another tight gate, a winding driveway, and the narrow entrance to the portico. I was asked if a) it was possible, and b) if so, could I do it? After taking careful measurements and doing some mental visualizations, the answers were yes and yes. I was slightly nervous knowing that two houses were involved, both of which were extremely important to their owners. I had the Secret Service, White House staffers, and other exhibitors watching, which didn't add any pressure at all ;-) Below, note the route I had to take, backwards.
Leaving our mark at the White House
We were assigned an usher when we got on the grounds. He was our main POC for the time being, and my set of eyes while maneuvering the house. There was one blind spot that was my biggest concern, and I expressed this to him. . . the gable end on the right side of the house. By my measurements we had 2-3" of clearance between that and the column on that side. All was going well with the parking job when I heard a little scrape. . . Noooooo! My biggest concern had been realized. The usher looked as surprised as me to see that we had indeed rubbed the column of the White House with the edge of the metal roof of the blue house. I was totally shocked as I had heard no warnings of any sort. He shrugged it off like that kind of thing happens every day at the White House. I got back in the truck, made a correction and backed her in. See pics:
Set up and a tour
A note about the staff we worked with at the White House: they were extremely professional and polite. While setting up we were assisted by the official White House electrician and woodworker. After leveling the house, decorating the inside (Sicily has an impeccable sense of interior design), and mounting the stairs and pimple (what Sicily and Suzannah call the shed), we were given a tour of the White House! See below:
Here is the electrician, providing power to La Petite. He had that look that a lot of experienced electricians have - like he had been shocked more than a few times and therefore had the proper respect for the beast that is electricity.
The White House Carpenter. We talked shop. When I asked if he could provide a cross brace for the stairs (you know, thinking the President might be using them the next day), he whipped out a tape measure and hurried off. Before I knew it, he had a 2 x 4 cut and was securing everything in place like a pro.
The shots below provide a sense of the parking place. All visitors for the Maker Faire would be entering and exiting here, and would have a chance to take a tour of Sicily's great work. Our fingers were crossed that the President would come by during the event. . . but alas, he kept his photo opportunities limited to the more technologically-related exhibits. His loss.
After set up we were given an opportunity to cool down in the waiting room of the East Wing. We all wished we were given more time in there to appreciate the details. Every painting represented a major figure in history. Every piece of furniture had been impeccably maintained through the ages. It was overwhelming. Also mind-blowing was looking through the window of the waiting room and seeing another house out there - La Petite Maison! Here are Sicily and Suzannah having fun with that.
I wish I would have taken more pictures of details like this thermostat. I was struck by the antiquity of this particular thermostat, and by the fact that the dial was made of wood. How long had this thermostat been in service? I was going through administrations in my head and guessed that it was probably Nixon or prior.
Day of show
Although Suzannah and Sicily were kind enough to invite me to the event, the White House had not, so it wasn't in the cards. Instead, I was escorted to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is directly beside the West Wing. It was the old Pentagon (or "War Building" then) and was very well fortified. I had a great time exploring the details of this huge architectural feat. One of our ushers told us that Dick Cheney tried to start a fire in one of the inoperable fire places and in the process caught a portion of the building on fire! I also enjoyed the great view of the White House from there. We were permitted to watch a stream of the event in a room called the "Library" (although not a single book was to be found) with many other attendees who had not made the cut for the actual event. The atmosphere was electric as entrepreneurs and industry taste-makers mingled. See pics:
Last leg of the trip!
Here is Sicily striking a pose as I drive the house back out through the gate. This process was a breeze compared to coming in. Sicily did an amazing job during the event and met several distinguished guests. Bill Nye had to be the coolest. The drive to Delaware was. . . surprisingly amazing! After the chaos of D.C., the open farm land of DE was refreshing.
La Petite Maison arrives at her new home! This location in Delaware is two miles from the beach and is completely surrounded by national forest. I think they found a gem of a spot. Soon there will be a concrete pad, water, and electricity. It was Bitter/Sweet heading home from here. I owe these ladies a huge thanks for entrusting Wishbone Tiny Homes with this mission. I had a great time hanging out with them and come away from the whole experience feeling inspired. We wish them the best with their move to MD;-)
Thanks for reading!
We were recently asked to move a beautiful tiny home from Buena Vista, VA down here to Asheville, NC. Grace and her husband Michael moved to Asheville a year ago and have been missing their tiny Tennessee ever since. Tennessee, named after a beloved cat, is an 18' tiny sanctuary on wheels. The owners wanted a peaceful place away from everything where they could hangout, meditate, and sleep. The builder achieved just that by mixing tasteful design elements with a rough-hewn look. Here is the road leading to where the tiny house was parked.
Once we arrived to Buena Vista, we had a short visit with Pat and Grace the hen. Pat travels the country talking about the art of raising chickens. Grace the hen is a lucky one that became somewhat of a favorite (and is named after Grace).
To prepare Tennessee for her road trip, I affixed corrugated plastic to the vulnerable windows to minimize the risk of potential highway debris damage. After removing the leveling jacks, checking the lights and brakes, loading the stairs into the truck, and fastening the license plate to the porch, we hit the road. I had to B line it to the nearest gas station in order to fill the tires to recommended pressure. This reduced the fishtailing we were experiencing significantly. However, at speeds at or above 55 MPH, she still wanted to move left to right. This will be mitigated next time with stabilizer bars. Needless to say, the return trip to Asheville took significantly longer than the trip up to Buena Vista. It was a gorgeous drive through the Shenandoah Valley, so that helped.
Tennessee makes it through the Smokies! This tiny home looks right at home in NC. I will be moving another tiny from Marietta, GA to Delaware later this summer, so look for another post on the subject. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment with your tiny house moving story!
We finally found a new location! If you're an Ashevillain you may know Steebo's spot at 355 Haywood Rd in West Asheville. . . well, it's Wishbone's spot now! We are so excited to have a new manufacturing facility in such a vibrant part of town. I am going to document the move process here in two parts. It's a big step for us since we have been at our old location for 17 years!
Above: We rented one of those POD deals. It serves our purpose well since our occupancy at the Haywood Rd. shop will overlap for a few weeks with Steebo's. This is a 16' unit and it occupies the same parking space that our Wishbone Tiny Home model did just a few months ago. The game here is to fit as many things as possible inside without exceeding 4200 lbs. . . not easy with heavy machinery!
Here is our new place! Stefan has brought beauty and creativity to this old sign shop since he bought it in 2003. Here you can see some of his "Serious Sculpture with a Sprinkle of Whimsy". In the back is a patio oasis with a huge fire pit and water fall. It's a bit dreamy.
Here is a quick dimension scribble we took. It's about 30' x 60', making 2000 sq', with 16' ceilings. There should be enough room for at least two tiny homes on wheels inside. That is, of course, once we upgrade the bay door from 12' to 14' so we can wheel those beauties in and out. From the scribbles here, we mocked up a potential set up below:
Playing around with the space is really fun. The goal is to create a work flow around the tiny homes inside. To give you a sense of scale, these are 16' homes. I think one 30' or three 12' homes would fit in the space. In this Sketchup we have the wood storage on the right as you come in. Next is the radial arm saw, joiner, planer, and table saw. In the back left corner will be a few benches and other tools. My dad's extensive chisel collection will also go there. There is also a bathroom, shower, kitchen, and conference area! This is a marked improvement from our old shop that didn't even have a bathroom. Sweet!
My dad says good bye to 144 Biltmore Ave and Floating World. It has been real, but it's time for the next chapter! Stay tuned for Part 2 which will show more of the new facility. Thanks for reading!
Will Rice of Henco Reprographics. Many of you probably know Will as an Asheville native and all around great guy. Will and I took Cabinet and Furniture Making at Asheville High with the legendary Paul Kendrick, so I have known him for a long time. As owner of Henco Reprographics, Will plays a key part in the local business community by providing high quality blue prints - as well as any kind of print for that matter. Here he is with our recently branded pop-up tent. The work is high quality and done in a professional manner. Go see Will for any printing needs, he'll hook it up.
Josh LittleJohn of Green Opportunities. I met Josh at Warren Wilson College. Our paths have crossed again as of late through a shared interest in energy efficiency, sustainability, and renewable energy. As a lead trainer for Green Opportunities, Josh shares his valuable skills with the community so that others can benefit from the ways of green building. We look forward to an ongoing partnership with Josh and Green Opportunities as Wishbone Tiny Homes forges onward.
Mike and Bryan of Camping World of Asheville. These guys were a great resource on our current build. By applying their expertise in RV plumbing to our tiny house, we were able to provide a great onboard water delivery and holding system for the future owner. Extremely professional and well-equipped for the job, we recommend these guys for any help you might need with your tiny house. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more episodes!
These beauties can't just go around naked, so they will get tailored jackets for year-round protection. The Purlins cantilever beyond the roof and are thus vulnerable to sun and rain. Flashing is recommended in this situation, so that is what we did... flashed our purlins!
After first cutting our 26 gauge metal to the full dimension, we laid out the lines that were to be bent on the big machine called a metal brake. The layout process requires you to plan out the folds in the metal so that you end up with the desired shape. Here we planned for a 1" edge with a 1/2" under fold. Not sure what I'm talking about? That's because I am making up some lingo here and I am not a metal worker. It will become clear...
Here are some shots of the metal in the brake. This awesomely huge machine is very basic in its function. It man-handles the metal and reminds you to keep all limbs inside the ride at all times. I did the 1/2" folds first. Next, we enter the third dimension by folding the 1" sides 90 degrees downward. Once you enter the third dimension on the brake, it is essential to understand the order of the folds. It is quite easy to find yourself not being able to complete a fold because a previous fold is in the way. The last fold is done manually with a hand brake. I folded this upward to meet the rafter. The last picture shows a purlin flashing complete and ready for installation.
Check out the three rear purlins with their newly installed custom flashing! They are much happier under the protection of this metal. They look nice too!
Thanks for reading. As always, feel free to comment or contact us directly with questions and/or feedback.
Due to the unique plumbing requirements placed on a portable home, we decided to tap a few friends for their talents. Phase I of the plumbing project was made possible by Mike and Bryan of Camping World. The plumbing design we chose called for a bimodal fresh water system that allows the homeowner to store 32 gallons on board or hook up to a source directly. Either way, grey water is routed into/through a 30 gallon holding tank mounted underneath the framing of the trailer.
We also needed propane plumbing for the on demand water heater and the Dickinson Marine heater. Tanks are stowed in the shed on the back of the house when in transit and placed outside the structure when in use. Here you can see the home in the Camping World garage, where it looked a little out of place. Honestly the Wishbone Tiny Home got a lot of love from the staff at Camping World as they are accustomed to seeing RV's all day.
Here she is ready for the trip back to the shop. A note on hauling the home: My Ford F-150 handles the approximately 7000 lbs quite well in local commutes. However, any incline at 55-60 MPH requires full power. The wind resistance combined with the overall weight prove to be formidable for the 300-HP 1/2-ton truck. The truth is I will need a 3/4-ton turbo diesel to effectively move these homes to their destinations. Another note: Mike at Camping World measured the tongue weight at 600 lbs... that's less than I expected. When we ordered the custom trailer from Mike Moore, we requested the axles be mounted 18" rear of center, which is more central than most. This helps with tongue weight but does make the trailer more sensitive to turning inputs on the highway.
One of these things is not like the other:
Phase II of plumbing perfection was brought to us by Jeff, of Four Season Plumbing. We hired him to tackle the water heater plumbing. He did in a day what would have taken us five. Here he is peering through the water heat vent... great stache. Jeff made it clear several times that he would be just fine in a place like this. We made it clear that we could make that happen.
Here is Jeff taking a breather to survey the chaos. It's quite easy to make a serious mess in a tiny house. Luckily it's quite easy to clean messes too. We worked with Jeff throughout the day to provide input and framing where needed. Below are some fairly uninformative shots about the roughed-in plumbing. Mainly I want to convey the sense of how much is going on in such a small area.
Cheers folks, and thanks be to the plumbers of the world!
It's time to cover that insulation! We decided to finally put our stack of alder to use as our inside wall covering. After cutting a lap joint and ripping three different widths, we pickled the alder with a layer of SafeCoat from Build It Naturally. Our main goal in doing this was to create a warmer, more open feel inside the home. Many tiny homes feature natural wood finishes on all surfaces. As much as these two woodworkers love the look of natural wood, sometimes it can be overwhelming, especially in a small space. The great thing about pickling is that you can still see the grain of the wood.
Thanks is due to my mom here for her big help with this process. Here she is back in late 2013 going to town with a paint brush. The artist in her comes out in jobs like this. Each brush stroke looks good. It's nice to have talented help around!
The first plank goes in place! We created a pattern using the 3", 4", and 5" widths. It went something like this: 5-4-5-3-5-4-5-3-5. The drummer in me loves the rhythm of it. We are starting at the top and moving down. Lines were chalked to maintain consistent spacing.
We used the same material for the walls as well. I am holding some pics back until we are completely finished... The big reveal.
OK folks, this is our first ***Blog Bonus*** thus far, so stay tuned for a chance to collect them all. I'm reserving this section for randomness. For example, this ***Blog Bonus*** features one of our most stalwart work companions... The MPS. We rigged this bad boy up with a Porter Cable compressor, nail guns, and a retractable hose reel. The MPS is frequently useful for its main purpose (being a Mobile Pneumatic Station), but also as a good, flat surface to work on/place coffee. Thank you MPS for all your dedication and hard work.
That's it for this one! Thanks for reading and catch you next time.
Stephen Bellich, owner of Top Notch Tree Care. Stephen and his father Steve have always been friends of Wishbone. Stephen stays very busy as a top-notch arborist. If you need any tree work of any sort, he is your guy. He has the know-how, the equipment, and the crew to get it done. Here he is helping us move a Wishbone Tiny Home.
Mike Murphy, co founder of Online Marketing and Consulting and ProctorFree. Mike has been a great friend and resource to Wishbone Tiny Homes by providing website consultation and moral support. He and his partner, Velvet Nelson, have made strides in their own entrepreneurial careers and set a great example for other new businesses to follow. If you have questions about getting an online platform going for your project, I encourage you to reach out to Mike. He is super professional and knowledgeable.
Matt and Megan of Materia Designs. Matt is pictured here comparing matching Land's End gear with my dad. He and his wife Megan create amazing repurposed interior collections, custom furniture, and offer design services in upstate NY. I grew up with both of them and can say they have one of the best combinations of creative vision and work ethic I know. Wishbone can't wait to collaborate with them in the near future...Stay tuned on that front. Cheers, thanks for reading.