A project of Just Fine Design/Build

A project of Just Fine Design/Build. If interested in a tiny house commission: matt@justfinedesignbuild.com

Friday, October 26, 2012

Email me with any inquiries: matt@justfinedesignbuild.com

Friday, August 24, 2012

settling in

been living in the tiny house for 8 months now, haven't gotten to work on it much in the last few months, but it's in a good place for now

Friday, July 27, 2012

Trimming out the windows makes such a difference

Monday, June 18, 2012

tiny voids: the importance of empty space in the tiny house

As I go about the design build process (as a teacher of mine once said, it's design then build then design then build, not clearly delineated and distinct) i've noticed a theme with the built-in furniture and interior, which is that I usually try and subtract from the volume of space that an objet takes up: the stairs and the desk for instance use the houses' structure (stud wall) as supports so that it can be visually light and floaty.  I've also gotten to the point of having all of my day to day things inside the house, and I'm left with some voids, some empty space. There's a voice in my head that says "it's a tiny house, you have to use ALL of the space," but when i think about it more, I've noticed that I like being in my house so much because of the voids: in my opinion, having empty spaces and 'unutlized space' is what makes living in a tiny house bearable, and enjoyable.

I don't want to ruffle any feathers in the tiny house community, but to be honest I have not enjoyed any of the Tumbleweed interiors for precisely this reason. The interiors are too bulky, and they are over using the space.  There has been an absence of places that can become pools of airy light, for ideas and feelings to circulate through the house. I'm sure there are lots of Tumbleweeds out there that feel just right to me - I just haven't been in them.

Here are some of the latest photos. There's a new cantilevered staircase going up to the loft (ash stringers with cherry and walnut treads), and one of the cushions for the couch is done.  Also made a little contoured poplar stool. Next up is a handrail for the stairs and interior trim! I'm hoping to do it in such a way that it blends into the wall. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

One legged table/desk

 I finished the desk/table. Well, it's almost finished, gonna make a drawer and separate filing cabinet too to replace the metal one that's under there. As usual, the tiny house is a place for me to experiment on ideas/techniques that i've never done before. I've talked a lot of shit to my students about staining wood (why not just start out with the color wood you want?) but this time, I stained the ash with india ink. I love the grain of ash (plus it's way cheaper than walnut) and wanted to preserve it while coloring it evenly and cleanly. I'm not gonna lie, i love what the india ink did, and it's super cheap and easy to apply.
 The apron detail was a chance to geek out: rather than continue the apron all the way to the wall, I cut it short and put in the universal sign for a drawing where you can infer the continuation of a certain line/gesture. Because i mounted ledgers on the wall, and because the table only has one leg, i didn't need the apron to go any further, so i decided to be playful and let the apron be continuous only in the imagination. The joint is a mortise and tenon and the leg is jut a piece of cherry tapered in two directions - was some tricky angle finding but what fun.
Damn, now i have to make a chair for it. . . 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

tiny updates! I finally got the rest of the siding on, though i still have quite a bit of trim work to do, but the exciting thing is that the front stairs are in, and the top tread extends farther to be a bench and a place to put plants AND THE TINY PORCH SWING! I'm hoping to come up with a landscape plan for the front yard, and make some window boxes to fill with herbs for the exterior.
Also, I made a tiny window so i can see the street from my bed. Still have to trim it out though

Next week I think I'm gonna be in the shop working on the desk/dining table. I have my design finally and I am ready to crank it out, i'm thinking cherry leg(s) and a walnut top.

thanks for reading! I'm gonna stew over some more reflections about living tiny to write about too, just been so busy with non tiny house related stuff. . .

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

i finally finished the tiny couch frame. It's a corner couch, for two (maybe three) and my friend tamar is gonna make the cushions. The frame has cherry legs and drawer faces, milk painted plywood frame, cedar drawers (so things smell nice!) and a secret corner storage compartment.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I live in a trailer down by a creek

It's true, I'm THAT guy.
My love for the tiny house has grown deeper as the details get added, though I must admit, my pace of working on it has slowed with the pickup of other work, and I'm wary of getting burned out, because there's still A LOT left to do.
Some of the latest updates though: a new shelf with custom wood brackets in the kitchen, a bookshelf in the living room, and I had five people over for a tiny pancake breakfast!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Settling in

Some tiny updates: I had my first dinner in the tiny house! It was simple but awesome, (or simply awesome?) Dark leafy greens and brown rice and an egg from the chickens that are literally 20 ft from the house.

Also: My friend and housemate Tamar (she lives in the big house on our property) printed this amazing sign on piece of VG fir. Thanks Tamar! My new address is 3400 1/8

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Politics of the Tiny House

I've been living in the tiny house for about two months now, and I'm starting to observe changes its made in both my outlook towards the world as well as how I'm perceived by others. One thing I realized: I'm now an eccentric. Even though nothing changed about me, I have been at a few parties recently where people REALLY want to talk about the tiny house unsolicited, and try to understand how I live in 120 sq ft (i mean, i don't fully yet.) It's fun, and always in good faith, but nonetheless leaves me feeling like I just stepped into this other category in people's eyes: someone who makes extreme life choices. And I'm totally okay with it, proud of it even, though I realize that I might be now introduced only as "This is Matt, and he lives in a tiny house." I shouldn't be complaining, It's actually really exciting to now have an(other) eccentricity, instant conversation starter, girlfriend filter, added joke opportunity (tiny house jokes NEVER stop!,) and of course, place to be on my own.

In addition to this realization, I've also been try to reflect on the experience as a whole, because it is an education in itself. I've been reading the book "House" by Tracy Kiddier, which is a (sort of cheesy) chronicle of a couples experience having a home built, both documenting their relationship dynamics as well as the relationship among the architect and builder, and all of the complexities that go into making a house, both technically and socially. That's the most immediate takeaway: there is so much labor that goes into even the tiniest of houses. Every building I see now, even the crappiest Home Depot renovation reminds me of the amount of work and energy that went into putting it up. Taken further though, the tiny house makes me think about every object that fills it. I have had my hands on making the whole structure and furniture in the house, but the appliances, dishes, spoons, mattresses, linens, that I am buying all now have an added weight: who made them and where did this come from? Building a tiny house and then living in it makes you particularly sensitive to the culture of convenience.

I've also been trying to ask myself: Is the tiny house radical? The tiny house is about autonomy, both from the pressures of living in our current economic system via the sacrifices made for rent or a mortgage, and also about having the ability to have solitude while being in your own handbuilt space. The tiny house is also about having less stuff: only what is necessary and less space to heat and cool it, but also a different relationship to stuff, one that recognizes that things are just that, the acquisition of such should not determine the program of a building, rather people should.

But In many ways, the tiny house is ordinary. In most of the world, people live in such small amounts of space - it's really only in the global north and elites in the global south that such a need for extra space exists, if it should be called a 'need.' Our thresholds for square footage are certainly culturally conditioned. In another sense, tiny house living is just a smaller version of exactly what we do now: the materials are more or less similar, the creature comforts reliant on industrial processes (although having an off the grid tiny house is totally doable.)

Aside from wrestling with that question though, i've been trying to think of socially responsible applications of the tiny house. I think the tiny house form could lend itself particularly well to issues of agricultural worker housing. I started preliminary research on issues related to migrant farmworkers in California, and substandard housing is one of the biggest. What if workers were able to take their own housing with them or provide it, that was not full of toxic pressboard? Similarly, relief housing has much to be improved upon. When I was in Mississippi after Katrina i went into several FEMA trailers and could tell right away they were toxic, but more than that, they were sterile, and had no relationship to the outdoors. They were literally like an air conditioned chamber. I can see groovy organic farmers in Sonoma getting tiny houses made (actually we have already been contacted by one) which I think would be cool, but I'm more interested in expanding the tiny house, maybe not by size but by reach. Or maybe that's just a stupid idea?

Wow, I'm not usually so earnest in blog postings, but I suppose that's where I've been at recently. The kitchen is working! I'll have pictures soon. . .

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

maple countertop!

I've been working on the maple counter top these last couple days ad the cabinets that will go underneath. today is the first time i got to mock up the counter with appliances, so satisfying. hoping to install this weekend