Sanding Stairs and Pondering More Lighting

Stairs of Parallam

sanding the beams before cutting to size

“Parallam” is an engineered structural beam material. Its designed to be very strong and very straight and consistent. I’m using it for my stair treds. I like the look and the fact that its a sustainable material. I like the balance of the machismo of the steel stair structure in combination with the softness of the wood. This wood material reminds me of a bundle of sticks or grass. I think it relates well to my bamboo floor and my bamboo shade that is the “door” to my stacking washer/dryer room.

rough placement of the treds pre-install

Here you can see the rough placement of the treds before final trimming to size. I have to admit I was a bit concerned about the scale of these hunks of wood in the small space but, happily, my estimates seem to be okay. There will need to be a railing of course but I do like the way that it looks without any railing. I’m working on sanding and final finish before I get them in place.

 

What About Bedside Lighting?

tolomeo wall light

I need to get all of the outlets and light fixture electrical boxes in place. Since I want as clean an installation as possible it seems necessary to determine the type of fixture before I can decide on the exact location of the electrical box.

At this point I am imagining an adjustable light fixture on each side of my new bed. I would like the fixture to mount to the wall without any cord, therefore I need to know what kind of light fixture as well as how wide the bed is going to be and how the fixture attaches to the wall.

Options, Options

Of course there are many options here just like all the other types of fixtures. So more research to do here too. I do want something that has some softness to it and doesn’t seem overly technical. Some of these get very technical very fast. It would be nice if there was some warmth to the light too like this one with a fabric shade. As always cost is a major deciding factor and some of these are too expensive.

 

ledino wall light

philips swing arm

ledino wall light

 

 

 

Status Report, September 2012

Where things are :

In the past people have asked me to clarify the locations of things so I hope that this illustration helps to show where things are on the second floor. This is also an opportunity to give a status update.

Layout of the new upstairs

  • The deck and the terrace are both going to have tile on them. The deck area tile is done but the railing around the deck needs to be finished. I posted a process picture of the tile deck on facebook  here.  The basic railing design I posted earlier on this blog here.  I am still tweaking the design a bit so it is slightly different than the illustration. There are different designs for varying transparency in different places. At the end of the deck  2 of the railing sections will be glass.
  • The arbor I made already and is ready for install when I am sure that it won’t get in the way of any other installation.
  • The stairs are in process. The metal frame is in place but I still need to level everything and make the final connections to the building. There will be plenty of work to do here. The engineer specified a beam under the floor where the stairs hit the lower level. The treds are wood and need to be cut and attached, then metal verticals are attached to each tred and those are topped with a solid wood handrail.
  • The bathroom and closet walls in the new bedroom have not been built yet. The entire bathroom has not been started yet. I want to wait until I get the new bathtub before I commit to exact placement of the bathroom wall.

I hope this helps to show where things are in relation to each other.

November 2011 Update

I have been spending a lot of time underneath my house

foundation plates attach the foundation to the sill plate

There is a bunch of new metal holding my house together. Drilling concrete and inserting epoxy seems second nature to me now. Of course, now that I know what I’m doing, I’m done with the seismic retrofit part of the project.

Simpson hold down holds the stud framing to the foundation

 

 

 

I mentioned these brackets in an earlier post. I bought them a long time ago and have been asking questions of my engineer and my contractor ever since. One thing that wasn’t readily obvious was that the hold downs are actually raised up away from the sill.

You call this sweat equity?

Simpson clip for tying the sill plate to the rim joist

palm nailer allows the user to get nails into tight spaces

For me I think it is more like blood and sweat and tear equity. I’ve left a fair amount of blood and skin behind while inserting these little clips into very tight spaces. My engineer tells me that contractors generally open up part of the floor in order to attach some of the clips and brackets that are necessary to add for the seismic retrofit.

 

I bought this palm nailer in order to get the nails into the tight spaces that I was working in. It was worth it for me since I really didn’t want to remove any of the floor that I had put in myself a while back. We’ve had a few small earthquakes lately and the “big one” is due any day. As my engineer knows, I am very motivated to do this job right. There is a bit of comfort in knowing that an engineer has calculated the forces and designed the seismic additions.

Finally finishing the lower level

finally added the siding and new trim

I changed this lower level window from a large picture window to a smaller window that doesn’t interfere with the new stair placement. I matched the existing siding and built a custom redwood trim for the window. I’ve kept the original siding in a lot of the lower level and also repeated the original siding design at one place on the upper level. I want to remember and respect the history of this little house and the use of redwood siding is part of that history.

This house was built with older growth redwood before our better understanding of sustainability. My respect for those trees is shown by keeping it in place rather than tossing it in a dumpster. The patch shown here is actually pine from New Zealand. Of course there are issues with shipping the material so far but there is apparently enough of a market for it that it makes some sense. My contractor used redwood which is usually well controlled to be sustainable these days. When examining the new redwood compared to the older redwood, you can certainly see a big difference in the tightness of the rings and the weight of the wood and even the darkness of the color.

Moving up my old furniture and thinking up new furniture…

washing the clothes tower bun rack

In the process of moving my furniture upstairs, I realized there was an opportunity to do a thorough cleaning. My clothes tower is easy to move around for cleaning but there is nothing like pulling the drawers out and hosing it off.

This tower is going to be very useful in my new but still small bedroom. I’m rethinking my tower entertainment system though. I think I will leave the “tower of power” downstairs and create a new iMac based entertainment system for the upstairs. I’m thinking of a new lower, “loungey” system that still has power management and wheels of course.

September 2011 Update

The Contractor is Done

and now I have a lot of work to do :

I have new plumbing, new heating, new electrical and new stairs to design, build and install. You can see a window I am still working on in the photo above. I told my contractor that I wanted to do everything on the lower level. There was some crossover of work but I think the basic concept worked pretty well. Of course, since the contractor left the job, progress has been considerably slower. Some of my slow pace is due to my learning as I go but a lot of it is just the lack of time that I have to spend while working my regular day job.

My Contractor was great. He was really easy to work with and he allowed me to split the job up the way that I wanted. The work was very well done and managed very professionally. I am giving him an unsolicited recommendation here. Check out  www.eastwoodsf.com . His website helped me to decide on hiring him too. It seems that most contractors either don’t have a website or have something pretty primitive.

I’ve been hanging out a lot upstairs

Obviously I am very excited to be using the new upstairs. I am enjoying hanging out and sleeping upstairs and thinking about the future design for the space at the same time. I am thinking about the locations of heating ducts and plumbing and the bedroom closet.

upstairs shadows on the deck

I’m watching the shadows on the deck to design the deck surround panels. I want to block certain views for privacy while letting in the sun. I’m trying to figure out an angle for the panel boards to be at in order to allow in maximum sun. After hanging out at the deck for the sunset, I think I need to have some of the panels be glass in order to maintain an unobstructed view in certain places.

 

 

tiny bedroom in a tiny house

The new bedroom

Sleeping upstairs has been nice. Its great having a real bedroom. I’m still using the ladder to go up and down but it has been no problem. Just the concept of having an “up and down” is still novel to me. I am focusing on finishing structural reinforcement and getting the heating going. Basic necessities for the near future. Both earthquakes and the coming winter are sure bets.

Framing happens


Front view under construction

Construction begins amidst odd June rainstorms and neighbor unrest. I’m happy with the progress so far and two of my disgruntled neighbors are not so much.

my neighbor is unhappy with my construction

My neighbors expressed their concerns during the city council hearing and they continue to express their unhappiness. I realize that city council approval does not constitute neighbor approval but I would not have even have had to ask for any approval if my house was “standard” and “compliant.” Because my house is “sub-standard” I need to ask the city for a variance for everything that I do and that then triggers necessary neighbor review and they have a chance to plead their case to the review committee.

I have to be honest and say that I don’t really understand why they hate the idea of me adding my second story. I have designed this addition with the greatest concern for height and appropriateness to the neighborhood. I believe that the building commission and the planning department have recognized that in their full approval.

View of the back of the house

New framing shows the view from my new bathroom window

Meanwhile I am trying to breath through it and enjoy the fruition of my 3 years of work toward this goal.

Construction starts pretty early in the morning and I try to relax at night surrounded by the chaos of construction in a tiny house.

verb2 life during construction

My bed goes in the hallway during the day

Relaxation watching the office on Netflix surrounded by tarps and the general chaos of construction

Going Shopping

This is all the lumber needed for the lower level reinforcement

Went shopping today for the lumber needed for the lower level reinforcement. Doesn’t look like much and cost about $100. Rather heavy though and definitely tested the strength of my rack. Let’s just say the rack was sagging.

Reminds me of building my fence

just enough room for driving

8' lumber fit in my Geo....amazing

easy loading and easy access

I had a smaller car and no roof rack. It just goes to show you that you do not need a huge truck to get lumber home to your project.

I think even the lumber I just bought might have fit in my Geo but I’m not sure it would have handled very well on the way home……

In the beginning

This is the existing view from the street

This is the first post for this blog. I’ve recently received my building permit and this blog is here to document the process of adding a second story. This is a tiny house and I am not doubling the square footage with this addition but I think I might lose my reputation as a tiny house.

second story

On this blog I will show what I go through to achieve my goal. It is going to be a long process so subscribe to this blog and enjoy the ride. Please comment on things that you like or don’t like and help to refine this site. I want this to be interesting for everyone and for all of us to get something out of it.

THE EXISTING FIRST FLOOR PLAN

First Floor

THE PROPOSED SECOND FLOOR ADDITION

Proposed Second Floor Addition