Thursday, September 29, 2011

Park City!

I picked-up 80 metal studs in 10' and 12' lengths for $1 per piece this week. All together I now have about 120 studs. Should be about enough to get the whole thing done. 

No work this weekend. Mountain bike weekend with the crew in Park City!!!

Next week I'll get all the goodies I salvaged from the camper orginized in the garage, demo the platform and take the remaining trash to the dump. Then the real fun can begin!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sorry neighbors!

Here's where I started at 7:30 am yesterday. With the windows out, the entire camper nearly collapsed.

Once I started peeling off the siding, the whole thing started to fall apart. My attempt at keeping things organized and under control was a failure.

Soon, the roof caved in...

Then all hell broke loose. What a mess!

I put everything in piles. Metal here, 1x1's there, etc. It took all day. I had originally planned on taking all the metal to the recyclers but when Casper and his son stopped and asked if they could have it. Well, it was well worth the $50 or so dollars I might have made to let them haul it away. Nice guys too. So along with the metal, I gave them all but three of the camper windows. Some other people stopped and took some of the wood. I bagged a lot of the small stuff and set it out for trash collection.

At the end of the today this is what I have left. I'll slowly bag the rest up and leave it for trash day. 

I still need to demo the old rotten platform but, not bad for two days work. Will I do it again? Not anytime soon! That was way more work that I thought it would be. I'm tired!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Making progress

A little bit here and there in the evenings. The trailer is pretty much gutted now. Next step: take each window out. Then the long strip of aluminum on each side that basically holds down the aluminum siding. Save the siding. After that, I'll use a come-a-long to pull the whole frame down onto the driveway. Hopefully by the end of the weekend it'll be tore down to the frame and all the trash hauled away.

Here's a shot from inside my garage looking into the back of the camper. Good times!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Demo Begins!

As you can see, I started the demo. Honestly, not nearly as much fun as I expected. It's slow going as I'm trying to save everything I can including the screws, hinges, etc. 

The good news, the camper was NOT worth saving. For a minute there I felt a little guilty that maybe I should do a restore rather than a total tear-down. However, the walls are water damaged and most of the wood is rotton. I've even resorted to wearing a resperator while working. 

Here's the furnace. Its actually in really good condition so I'll reuse this.

You can see the stove in the back here. Also in good condition.

Here's the fridge. Also works great on both electric and propane. I found a company that sells rolls of stainless steel with an adhesive backing. I'll use it on the fridge and it'll look better than when it was new. 

Next I'll demo the bathroom. I can use the shower base, the tiny little sink, and the faucets. The toilet is shot and I want to use either a full size composting toilet, or a regular toilet, as our property in Mexico will have a septic tank.

Now I just need to figure out a cheap and relatively easy way to get rid of the trash. Maybe I can burn the wood? Maybe recycle the aluminum siding? Possibly sell the windows? Probably best to order a dumpster...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interior Layout

Starting to put together the interior. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Latest design.

Even though it's likely to complicate construction, I want to use a verity of siding materials and roof heights. This will break up the space and make it more visually interesting. This will also make the tiny house appear bigger.

The 1"x1" wood cladding also covers two windows in the master bedroom. This will allow air and light to come through without sacrificing security while we're away. Because of weight restrictions, the wood cladding is likely something that will need to be added once set in location.

Here you can see how the green roof will double as a patio. I'm not so sure about climbing through the loft window to get there though. Might have to add an outside staircase (or at the least a rope ladder) once the house is permanently in place. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I'm working on the plans using Google's free 3D program SketchUp. I'm planning on building with aluminum studs vs. wood 2x4's. One of the major considerations when building for a tropical jungle climate is mold. I'm also researching wall materials that are healthy for the environment, as well as resistant to mold and rot.  

Security while we're away is also a big concern. In the screen grab above, you can see how the deck will fold up and lock, blocking access to the sliding door-wall. 

The windows will likely have some sort of metal mesh as well.  

Or better yet, I can use 1x1's to make a cladding that would double as a railing for the upstairs porch/green roof. Thats the magic of SketchUp. So easy to plan and make adjustments before you start the real construction.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

$200 for a trailer?!?!?!

So, what did I get for $200? He said the trailer was 26'. He was wrong, it's 20'. I'm hoping I can add another 4' to the end.... we'll see about that later. I can salvage a lot of the parts. Sinks, shower, gray and black water tanks and the plumbing, maybe some windows, maybe some cabinets, and of course the trailer.

The trailer has a 7000 pound capacity, with dual-axel and 14" wheels. I was hoping for 15" and maybe this is something I'll change later? Maybe the 14's will give me a little more room to build?

Was it worth the trip and extra hard work? Yes! I'm excited to start the demo, but will try to hold off until my other household obligations are caught up. Also, would be nice to work when it's cooled off some...

Stay tuned, the real fun will begin soon.

Rocky Mountain National Park... and the big bad idea.

Yesterday I drove 2 hours northwest to Grand Lake to pick-up the trailer. The guy I bought the trailer from had the tires and wheels here in Denver so, I filled them with air, and had one tire replaced with a good used tire. The tires are in rough shape, but I had hoped that would make the two hour trip home. 

The guy had also taken off the hubs on one side of the trailer. He told me the lug nuts were rusted on, but actually, he was turning them the wrong way. Back in the day they would reverse the lugs on one side, theoretically so they wouldn't un-screw while driving down the road. Once I found the trailer, I made fast time getting the drums back on and mounting the wheels, but before I could get moving, another tire went flat. I took it off and headed to near-by Granby to get it fixed. 

Finally, everything put back together, taillights hooked up and blinkers working it was time to head out. No insurance, plates or title I decided that avoiding major roads would certainly be the best route, and if I could toss in some beautiful scenery that would be great too. Up and over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park? Perfect! 

I reached the ranger station and asked him how tough is the drive. How steep? 7% he said, no big deal. Sharp turns? You betcha, but you can make it. Just go slow and don't get intimidated by the people behind you....

You'll notice that there are no pictures of this part of the trip. Going up was hard, the little Astro was pulling as best as she could, in first gear, at about 15 miles an hour. Sharp curves every quarter mile, cliffs edge on both side. White knuckles, stress, and no way to turn around. 

I eventually made it to the top, 12,000+ feet above sea level. One thing the ranger neglected to tell me, (b/c maybe all good Colorado residence should know) Trail Ridge Road is the highest highway in North America. Did I mention I was stressed-out?!?!?! 

I was hopeful that the way down would be easier. Hopes dashed! No guardrails, 1000+ foot drops on either side, and the little Astro with no sway bar or electric trailer brakes. I put her in 1st and rolled down slowly, traffic piling up behind me. I think the classic Michigan plates might have saved me here. Maybe the folks behind me gave me some slack...

About half way down the mountain I realized that one of the 4 trailer tires was flat. In retrospect, all four tires replaced would've been a smart idea. After another 5 miles I found level ground, changed the tire, and continued into the town of Estes Park, on to Lyons, bi-passed Boulder and took the back roads into Broomfield. Home.