We’re on the MOVE!

HELLO THERE our faithful readers, family, friends, and those just stopping by!!  Thanks again for being patient as life happens and I find the time to sit down and catch up with you all.  At the end of the last post it was time for us to start thinking about our next move with the TH and Mutt was working on finding someone to help teach him the skills he needed to finish the inside of the house. Fast forward through a wild and crazy two months and I’m coming at you LIVE from Ridgway, CO!


All packed up and ready to go!

Most of you know that we spent a good chunk of time in the beginning of this project collecting materials.  Our goal was to complete the house using mostly recycled materials.  We succeeded at that better than we ever could have hoped.  We have ended up with some REALLY NICE materials to use including cedar siding, big cedar beams inside for the roof and outside as supports in the front for the loft.  We also scored the beautiful bay window, not to mention the hook up on the roofing and the sweet hunk of 1970 International that the whole thing sits on!  We spent lots of time and energy and the outside of the house turned out nicer than we ever could have dreamed.  During the process we also have inherited a variety of beautiful hardwoods.  In order to do the whole thing justice, Mutt thought it best to have some help finishing the inside.  He is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow as a craftsman and thought there must be someone out there who has the tools, space, and time to teach him.  He was offering a work trade kind of deal in his add on Craigslist.  Mutt got a few responses from some gentlemen in the Denver area.  He met with each of them, grateful for them reaching out, and started talking plans for the TH and working out their agreements.

At the same time, my pub was looking to hire a new manager and I was excited about pursuing the new position.  It looked like we were going to continue living in the Denver area, while we continued looking for a place to park our Tiny House.  If the TH was finished before we found a place, we thought ‘we can just live in it in the driveway for a little while!’.  Our idea was to stay in the Denver area at least through the summer and into the fall, but to have a more permanent spot lined up by the end of the fall.  Our plan from the beginning was to get to the mountains even if just for a little while.  We always said if nothing happened before our deadline, we would just bounce around the National Forest camping near a resort town, Winter Park exactly since Mutt had spent some time there before and has friends there, then we both could work and enjoy life in the mountains for a while.  We were ready for a change, ready to slow things down and bring it back to the important things in life.  Not a bad back up plan, though it was just that, a back up plan.


Trey getting used to life in Ridgway!

We really wanted our next move to be to a place where we could park for a long-ish period of time.  Always staying open to all options, we moved forward with life.  Work became slow with the TH build, but Mutt stayed busy drawing plans, always collecting materials and working odd contracting jobs while I moved forward with my potential promotion at work.   And then, just like that, the Universe threw us a GAME CHANGER!!!!! I kid you not, it was a Sunday night when I checked my phone during my break at work and had a text from Mutt saying to call him ASAP, he had some exciting news.  My heart went to my stomach, I knew it was something about the TH.  I called right away, and he told me about the offer he had just received from a gentleman in Ridgway, CO.  I had never heard of Ridgway, but I had heard of Telluride and Ridgway is located about 30 miles outside of Telluride.  I liked what I was hearing already.


Scott and Jill’s view from their driveway

So, Scott the furniture builder from Ridgway, CO called with a life changing opportunity.  He had been searching on Craigslist to purchase a planer when he stumbled upon Mutt’s post searching for a mentor, their posts were a match and planer was the magic word. Scott, read the post and by some strike of Universal magic, decided to call Mutt and see what the deal was.  The two of them had a nice hour long chat and by the end of it, it seemed they were thinking some kind of deal could be met where we would; bring the Tiny House to Ridgway to finish it and in exchange  Mutt would be trading him hours in his shop and around the property helping with projects.  It was a dream come true! Not only could we finish the Tiny House with access to Scott who has the knowledge, skills, tools and, space, but this was also our chance to make it to the mountains!


The workshop, where all of the MAGIC happens!

Scott and his beautiful wife, Jill, also have a Yurt on their property that they said we were more than welcome to stay in while we completed our project.  It seemed like one hell of a deal and though my essay to apply for the management position was due, Monday, the very next day, I decided we would be silly if we didn’t at least go down to Ridgway and check it out in person.  Monday at work I had the tough job of telling my boss that I may have a sudden change of plans.  I was a little torn up about it, moving up and joining the management team was something I had been looking forward to for about a year and a half at that point. I can remember calling my Pops, as I often do when faced with big life decisions.  He had great advice as always, he told me that you can’t always know how things are going to work out and sometimes you just have to have your partners back and go all in.  So, the Universe was giving us this chance, I had Mutt’s back, this would be a great opportunity for him to learn and grow his skills, so, I was all in…at least to check it out…. 🙂 Luckily, I had one kick ass boss lady who totally understood, she encouraged me to check it out and told me to get back to her after our visit.  It just so happened that I had the next two days off, we packed some quick bags and headed south west for a few days.

We visited Ridgway in January, everything was covered in snow, and fell in love immediately! Scott and his family are wonderful! Their house and property are perfectly situated in the San Juan Mountain Range surrounded by ranches and hot springs, seriously, pinch me!  As we joined them for dinner and got to know them, we quickly realized that we had a lot in common and many reasons to use the phrase, ‘What a small world!’ It turns out that both Scott and Jill are from the east coast.  Not only that but Jill is actually from the same town as Mutt!  It was so much fun to chat about the people and places that they both knew, we all quickly bonded over that.  The chemistry was there and now it was up to all of us to make the decision whether or not we wanted to give it a try.  By the end of the visit we were all convinced that this could be a good thing, so we set the wheels in motion, next stop Ridgway.  Mutt and I headed back to Denver excited and overwhelmed!


The Yurt in the middle with the Tree House to the left and the Tent to the right

It was now time to switch gears, we had a plan and it was time to get moving.  I came home and let my GM know that instead of applying for the management position I was actually going to be leaving at the end of March 😦  February is always a CRAZY month for the Mountain Sun Pubs.  During the entire month they celebrate something called Stout Month, a must DO if you’re in Denver during February.  Between that, and an already planed vacation with Mutt’s family, we decided that we would shoot for April 1st as our moving day.  With the long hours at Vine Street and getting things in order for the move the time flew by! Mutt halted all work on the interior of the TH and got into downsizing mode.  We spent the next almost 2 months selling and donating all extra materials. It was game time, and we were ready!!  We started checking things off of our Denver Bucket List and making sure we spent time with the people we love.  Mutt also bounced back and forth a few times between Arvada and Ridgway to start getting the Yurt set up for us.  The last time we were there it was in the middle of some renovations.  A neighboring Tree House was to become an addition to the Yurt, the vision was for it to be a kitchen.  I could see the vision but I could also see the outside through a hole in the wall 😡 it was COLD to say the least.  Mutt had a blast helping with that project and he was able to help them get the walls finished, insulated, and the roof done. It wasn’t finished when he left the last time, but he had a make shift kitchen set up for us and we were ready to rough it a little bit until we could help get the Tree House part finished.  Mutt also wanted to put hours in working with Scott, making sure we held up our end of the deal.  We are so grateful for this opportunity and we want to make sure everyone remains happy to be making this deal.

The days ticked by and we got closer to moving to Ridgway.  It’s been an exciting time but life will teach you that you can’t have the ups without the downs and we have had a few bumps along the way.  We’re currently in a spot where we are pretty reliant on the sale of Mutt’s VW custom camper van so we can buy a trailer for everything that wont fit in the TH, i.e. tools, camping gear, a motorcycle,  and a few other valuable items that we feel we should keep.  We also need a truck to tow it.  The day Mutt put the Van online for sale, it broke down 😦 luckily, with a lot of diligence and hard work, Mutt was able to remedy the issue and life was able to move on.  The Van is not sold yet but we continue to move forward while we stay positive and wait for the cards to fall into place. It’s also been hard for me to relocate, again.  It’s always hard to leave family and friends and I find myself again, in a new place having to make new friends and find another job.  I’ve done a bunch of moving around in the past 6 years or so and every time it’s hard to move into the unknown from a place of comfort.  However, I’ve learned time and time again that the hardest and scariest things are the ones that are usually the most beautiful and worth it in the end.  We will use some of our fear to make sure we stay on top of the things we can control, constantly moving forward in a positive direction, our fear eventually becomes our courage!

On March 31st, we loaded up our cars and made the move to Ridgway.  On our first trip we brought necessities; clothes, kitchen wares, bedding, things like that.  When we got here we were MAJORLY surprised to see that Jill and Scott and finished the Tree House Kitchen!!


The kitchen from standing in the breakfast nook

It’s complete with vintage counter top, sink and stove as well as an awesome little breakfast nook! Not to mention the beautiful Cherry hardwood floors oh, and THE JUNIPER TREE THAT RUNS THROUGH IT!!!


The kitchen from my favorite spot on the couch, right in front of the wood stove 🙂

Jill didn’t like the idea of us having to live in a construction zone, I told you Jill and Scott are the BOMB! WHAT A SURPRISE! Mutt didn’t know if he should be pumped or bummed that he missed out on getting to finish it 😉 It’s been a ton of fun spending the last 10 days settling in and figuring out life in Ridgway.  It’s a huge change but, one we both welcome and are doing our best to get used to. Trey, our black lab/hound, is probably doing the best at adjusting 😉


A view of the living space inside the Yurt

Now, I said our first trip because the Tiny House stayed in Arvada.  We decided for safety, to have it towed.  Driving over the mountain passes to get to Ridgway is no joke.  We thought the job might be best left to the professionals.  We know that the International drives well and that the house is sturdy, we just thought for the safety of Mutt, who would have driven it otherwise, and everyone else on the roads, its maiden voyage shouldn’t be 300 miles of Rocky Mountain Roads…. As I type, Mutt is in Arvada putting the final touches on the truck.  He’s spent the last 4 days making sure Bertha and the TH are ready for the trip.  Tomorrow, Monday, April 10, the Tiny House will start its journey to join us in Ridgway and I’m going to be a HOT MESS! I’m sure I’ll just be a ball of nerves.  This is everything riding on this move and we can not afford for anything to go wrong.  I will hold on to the fact that we did as much as possible to make sure everything goes smoothly and safely, the rest I will leave up to faith and the Universe to take care of.  (Although, if you’ve got some extra time for prayers or good vibes or whatever, could you send them our way?)  Mutt and I are ready to be reunited, ready to have our TH here with us and REALLY ready to get back to work on it!!


The Bedroom area in the Yurt

It was sad to say good bye to our friends in Denver, I hope they all know how much we love them and are going to miss them! Denver became a home for us and we will forever hold it in our hearts.  It is the place where we fell in love, where we started our life together.  Denver, you will always be a special to us, thank you for your hospitality!!! At the same time, we are extremely grateful for this opportunity to live out our mountain dreams and could not have imagined a more perfect place to finish our TH.  We are forever grateful to Scott, Jill, and their family for helping us along our way.  Thank you times a MILLION for taking us into your home and giving us a safe place to be while we finish our home .  When we started this project, I would have never believed it if someone told me that this is where it would have lead.  It’s becoming hard for me to find the words for just how amazing of an adventure this has all been and for the gratitude that spills from my heart for all of the people who have helped us! I have said it before and I’ll say it again, without our family, friends, and now people who have started as strangers and turned into friends helping us along the way, this would not be possible.  Wow, people can be just amazing if you only open yourself up to the possibilities.  Though this ride has not always been smooth for Mutt and I as we sometimes struggle to stay on the same page and take our stress out on each other, I would not trade it for anything.  I feel we are learning more about ourselves and each other than we ever would if we continued to live life in a place of comfort and complacency.  I’m so proud of us for stepping out and not being afraid to do things differently to make ourselves happy.  I love ya Mutt, thanks for taking this crazy ride with me! And thanks to all of you for coming along with us! If you happen to be on 285 in Colorado tomorrow, keep an eye out for the TH! If you’re not in the area and you think of it, send us some love and good luck, we could use it!

I’ll be sure to keep you all posted on the trip and let you know as soon as the TH lands!! And, make sure you stay tuned for more exciting news in the adventures of Mutt and Mapes, it’s pretty much never ending 😉 Sending much love, and until the next time; WE LOVE YOU ALL! Thanks for reading!



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Slow and Steady.

Hello my patient readers, thank you for hanging out while we work away at our Tiny House and I find time to write to you.  Settle in, this post is a bit long but we’ve got some ground to cover.  It’s been a few months since the last post and in that time we’ve


The back of the truck taken 1/2015

celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas, had a visitor or two,  and traveled to PA twice! Life doesn’t slow down so we’re just doing our best to keep up and make every day count!  The past few months have gone by slow and steady.  We see the time on our lease ticking away and we are aware at every moment of how we are spending our time.  Mutt works outside on the Tiny  House every day despite winter settling in here in Denver.  I feel, some days, like we should be much farther along than we are.  Then, again, I remember that this whole project is a learning process for me and the reality is that its never that easy.

The work that happened since the last post was tedious and less instantly gratifying than some of the other steps.  It’s a funny part of construction that I never thought about


The same view 1 year later picture taken 1/2016…time actually flies…

before, half of the stuff you do will never be seen! The work will be covered up by insulation, siding, or trim, even cabinets and flooring.   It makes for tedious times during this project but, its kind of a nice thought for life.  Just because it can’t be seen, doesn’t mean its not there and just as important as the parts that can be seen.   The magic of the Tiny House (or life) is in every detail working together.

I am very proud of Mutt and impressed every day with his dedication to chipping away at the To-Do List.  He works extremely hard and gives each process his full attention to detail and wholehearted effort.  Even when each task seems to have 3 steps ahead of it, for instance the siding, he takes his time to know


There he is, doing his thing! Taking advantage, always, of that CO Sunshine!      

or learn exactly what he needs to do and then executes it with a demand for perfection.  At the end of the last post we had the framing done and Tyvek up.  The next logical step was siding, but first, we had to put on the trim.  Then the trim had to be primed and painted, with two coats.  Still before the siding could go on, we had to pick a spot for the outdoor shower. We needed to know exactly where the shower was going so it could be plumbed and we would know where the breaks in the siding needed to be.   Mutt had to make the cuts in the house and add trim to the door that opens up to hold the shower head.  Simultaneously, we had to pick fixtures and make the shower come to life. Now, the house was ready for us to put siding up but, the siding itself was not quite ready.


Our driveway turned into a lumber yard! Grateful for patient roommates!

We got our Cedar siding planks from a gentleman who had it on his house for the past 20 years.  He took meticulous care of it, staining each board  every 2 years to maintain its water resistance and quality.  He decided to change his siding to something lower maintenance and once again, one


The siding going up!

man’s trash became another mans treasure.

We needed to start our job with fresh boards so, each of the Cedar siding planks had to be  sorted and cut to our desired length.  That process was done by Mutt.  Then it was my turn.  Each plank needed to be sanded and then stained on the ends to make life easier when it came time to stain the rest of the siding.   Not having to worry about getting stain on the trim saved us time, this time!  It will be a different story in 2 years when we do it all over again 🙂  We set up a little assembly line and most of the siding went on fairly smoothly.  Mutt, with a little help from me, placed each board meticulously one on IMG_20151209_124458177_HDRtop of the other starting from the bottom of each side of the house and working his way up. Finally, after the siding was on the house, it was time to be stained.  Luckily for us, I have a father who has painted many houses in his days and a mother who is not afraid of a home project.  I felt totally confident taking charge on the project.  At first I thought my main jobs during the


Working into the night. I had to get this side done so that the stain color would be consistent on each side.

build were going to be; 1) pitch in financially and 2) pick up the slack in our home lives now so Mutt could work full time and work on the TH in his free time.  We learned quickly that it was not realistic to have Mutt do all of the work himself especially with our timeline.  Although we have had tons of help from friends along the way, my participation in the actual build was going to be crucial in freeing up Mutt to work on other tasks.IMG_20151119_120509743



Speaking of tons of amazing help along the way, we were extremely lucky to have a visit from Parker, Mutt’s dad, at the beginning of December.  He is a skilled woodworker and has been a huge support during this project.  We had hoped to be able to use his skills to help us start on the inside of the TH, building cabinets, because that is the most intimidating part of the build for Mutt.  However, his visit came just in time to help us finish the siding and put the ridge on the roof.  It actually worked out perfectly as tying up some loose ends with the siding was proving to be more difficult than the rest.  Parker spent 5 days with us and the boys worked hard during that time.  They were up with the sun and worked well past sunset each day.  They spent their mornings solving problems, bouncing ideas off of each other and creating cherry paneling from the floor planks that we planned on using to make our kitchen cabinets.  As soon as each day warmed up enough, they were outside working on siding, or the roof, or anything really.  Mutt loved having the second set of hands and his dads knowledge to help move the process along.  Mutt always says things go three times as fast when you have a second set of hands and he could not have been luckier to have such capable and skilled hands to help.  I think though, most of all, he just really enjoyed working side by side with his Pops.  They got to bond and do something together that they both love.  They even sneaked in a quick trip to our favorite tiny cabin in the woods.  It was very special for Mutt and for Parker, I’m sure a time neither of them will soon forget.  Thank you for your visit Parker! It was good for the Tiny House and for the soul.

This project is of course is not without its troubles.  One step in the building process had us install vents at the tops of the walls between each of the studs to insure air will circulate appropriately.  There was a hick-up with the placement of the vents that went unnoticed until the job was nearly complete.  We had to rip out half of them and reinstall them with


These are the vents, you can imagine this being a tedious job!

the correct spacing.  This mistake cost us some time and seemed like a big deal at the time though, looking back, we are lucky that there haven’t been too many real set backs along the way-knock on wood…

Now that; the door is installed, the trim is up and painted, the siding is up and stained, the roof is finished, the awning is made and installed, the water tanks are in place and the outdoor shower is installed, I’d say the outside of the house is 99% finished.  With just a few details on the roof and siding above the Bay Window needing to be finished, it was time to move the build inside. First, Mutt filled the spaces between the studs in the walls and the ceiling with several layers of insulation.  This was the first step so that the house would hold heat and be warm enough for him to work in as it gets colder outside.  The insulation for the house  has been stored under tarps in huge piles behind our house since the beginning of this project.  It was the first material we bought for the house, after the truck, and it is amazingly rewarding to see the piles disappear!!! Its one of my favorite parts really, I love seeing the whole vision come to life and to see piles of materials go away!  After all, one of my main focuses is DOWNSIZING!


The loft with insulation

After the first layer of insulation was installed it was time for Mutt to figure out how to do the electrical wiring and plumbing.   He has had some experience with these things but never for anything like this.  We had to decide first where each light in the house was going to go.  To do that our design and layout for the inside had to become more permanent and well thought out.   This took us some time on CAD, the computer design program I mentioned in my last post, and lots of bouncing ideas around.  We learned on a flight to PA for a wedding ((BIG SHOUT OUT TO MY HOMIES VINNY AND ABBY ON TYING THE KNOT! WE LOVE YOU GUYS!))  that the cabinets we picked up from Craigslist last fall and stored all of this time to use in our bedroom were not going to fit. After that, we realized quickly that standard sized cabinetry and materials were simply not going to work in our unique space.  The game then became, we have to design and build everything from scratch.  It was an exciting realization as I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy custom built…well, anything and


Wiring, so professional! Great job Mutt!

everything.  It’s also intimidating.  Cabinetry is where Mutt is least experienced and probably what he is most excited to learn about.  So, we took it in stride and sketched something up on CAD so we would have as good of an idea as possible what the bedroom would look like, and went with it.   Dimensions and layout of furniture and fixtures are important so decisions can be made about style, placement and, the brightness of the lighting in each area. We were able to order all of our lights off of our new favorite tool, Amazon Prime, and Mutt got the wiring done according to what we think we’ll need for lighting and power outlets.  The bedroom cabinets ended up being just the first of many design details we have had to reconsider and work out along the way.   I continue to relearn the lessons- go with the flow, enjoying the movement -and, -always keep yourself open to all options- in this project, and in life!

With the wiring complete and lights ordered we are set up for 12 volt LED lighting as well as mostly 12 volt outlets with the exception of 4- 110 outlets.  Our Tiny House is equipped with 2-30 gallon water tanks, one will hold fresh water for showering and cooking and the other will gather our grey water.  Grey water, for my friends who are unfamiliar, is just used water that comes from washing dishes and showering mostly, and occasionally, laundry, etc.  We will being using all sustainable and environmentally friendly products so that our grey water will not have a negative impact on our environment and can be drained responsibly. We will have a separate 5 gallon tank with a pump under the sink for drinking water.  We have a stand up shower that was recovered from an old RV and, with a HUGE THANK YOU to Parker and Ally, Mutt’s dad and step-mom, our TH will have a Natures Head composting toilet!!  When we are all finished, and equipped with solar power, the Tiny House will have the ability to be completely off grid!!


Mutt taking the Natures Way Composting Toilet for a dry run!

We believe in living smaller and more simply. Some day we would like to own our own piece of land and live off it to provide for ourselves and our community.  As Mutt and I grow closer and closer each day to completing the Tiny House, we also get closer to living our ideal lifestyle.  We get one step closer to living a life supported by the land and farther from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind that our world seems obsessed with.  In our dreams for our Tiny House landing spot we see a place where we can be a part of a smaller community, a place where we can have a garden and maybe even some chickens!  I see a place closer to the mountains and nature and a little farther from the conveniences of the city and suburbs.  Ideally I’d love to find a family who has a farm and could use some extra hands.  I’d like this next step to gain us the experience and knowledge we will need before we can consider moving to the mountains or being on our own piece of land.  I don’t have very much experience with gardening or raising livestock.  I’ve never had a green thumb and I’ve only ever had a few encounters with animals that count as livestock.  I do dabble in making my own household and beauty products, but I still rely heavily on the grocery store and other people to provide me with these items.  A work trade situation would be an amazing way for me to learn, hands on, some of the skills I desire to have and will need to have to thrive in a homesteading situation.

As it stands, Mutt has an add up on Craigslist for a cabinetry mentor.  He is hoping to find someone who has the skills he’ll need to learn, workshop space, and who might be willing to help him with some of the build.  Really, he is looking for someone like Parker, Parker are you sure you don’t just want to move to Colorado?!  I also have an add up looking for the place, just like the one I described above, to park our Tiny House.  We’d like to find a place close enough to Denver that I can continue to work for the brewery I currently work for and so Mutt can continue to build contracting business.  We plan to spend our first 6 to 8 months of Tiny House Living in the Front Range.  We figure this way we can give the house a shake down, save some money, and get ourselves prepared to move father into the mountains in mid to late summer.  We have had a few responses to our ads but nothing that seems like a good fit.  We will continue to be patient in our search and are comforted by the fact that we know we can stay right where we are, with our Tiny House parked in the driveway if we really have to, to buy us some time for the right opportunity to come our way.


Happy New Year, from our Home to yours!!

So, in the mean time, we keep plugging away.  Mutt and I are happy to be where we are, surrounded by the support of our Denver community and always dreaming big to live a small and simple life.

Thanks for reading and being interested in our process! Sending love out to all of you and hoping that today you are living your dream! So much love, until next time!





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They Say, ‘Timing is Everything’

As I sit here at the home we are renting for the next 3-ish months, in front a warm fire on a rainy afternoon, I’m reminded that the seasons are changing whether I’m ready or not.  The days are getting shorter and colder, weather more harsh, and time is ticking away on our deadline.  Luckily, Fall came nice and slow here in the Denver area.  Mutt was able to take advantage of a month straight of beautiful Colorado Blue Bird Skies to get the framing done.  At the end of the last post I wrote that Mutt had some help from friends and finished framing, sheathing, and Tyvek-ing the main floor of the house.  We also had some help from about 6 friends and neighbors to get the loft up and into place.  Mutt then worked tirelessly and was able to finish sheathing and wrapping the loft.  All of the windows were put into place and waterproofed including our bay window. The bay window was then framed.  The top was done so that it would blend into the roof and protect the window.  The bottom was framed in to become a storage space.   By finishing that, the framing on the TH was complete.  It was then time to put the roof on and not a day too soon! I kid you not, it rained the next day!

We get by with a little help from our friends, THANKS NICK!!!!

We get by with a little help from our friends, THANKS NICK!!!!

The Bay Window framed in

The Bay Window framed in

IMG_20151004_173713602_HDR We knew our days without rain were numbered. Just in case of an emergency we had a tarp system ready but ideally we wanted to have the roof on ASAP.  Protecting the inside from any rain damage was a top priority.  Luckily it never came to that and we were able to get the roof on without any rain.  With the help from Matt, at the lumber yard, we were able to secure BEAUTIFUL Cedar beams to use for the roof.  We’ve got one long center beam and then several shorter ones to make up the skeleton of the roof.  Then it was time to start using some of the roofing supplies we had collected last fall/winter to complete the water proofing.  This includes plywood from a recycled supply store in the next town and a bunch of other supplies from Craigslist-er’s.  An exciting part of this project has been collecting materials.  We have tried to only gather what we need but our house is only 150 sq. ft., using such small quantities, we are bound to have extras.  This project is now entering new phase.  We are getting rid of supplies that no longer serve us, passing them along and keeping them in use.  This past weekend Mutt was able to sell a bunch of left over roofing materials.  Some of them even went a girl working on her own Tiny House! That is a cool thought, one roll of Tyvek was large enough for both of us to cover our houses.

Mutt caught me sneaking out to the TH for some quite to practice! I <3 the TH!

Mutt caught me sneaking out to the TH for a practice!


Steadily Mutt continues to truck along on this project.  He is still working his handy man jobs to fund the project and spending any free time working on the house.  Another awesome milestone was putting in the steps.  They are stunning!! They are Brazilian Cherry that we recovered from a house being demoed.  They are the same Cherry hardwood we’ll be using for the floor.  They look so amazing and it might be silly, but having steps makes the house feel more like a home. A reminder that we’re one step closer. Once again I am learning that this project is a practice in patience.  The steps make me excited to see the floor’s and I’m gently reminded that they will pretty much go in last.

No more ladder, we have steps!

No more ladder, we have steps!

One step at a time 😉 (man I’m full of them!) the TH comes together.  Mutt is currently working on the door.  Our original plan was to use a super unique old door we had found.  It was composed of small carved squares, note I said WAS.  The door was also both too wide and too tall for our doorway.  On top of that, we are 100% set on having a Dutch Door.  The Dutch Door is important for a few reasons. One- so that we can have the top open for air flow without worrying about our dog getting out of the house if we don’t want him to. Two- there is a chance that we will get snowed in and having a door that opens half way up will, for sure, come in handy on those snowy days!  It will be an important feature during winter time in the Rockies.  So, with that being said, we were looking at door surgery.  We moved forward with the door plans. Mutt used his circular saw to make the first cut down the middle of the door.  Our saw was just not able to do the trick and the cut came out wavy.  Luckily, as most things in the project, we had a friend to reach out to for help.  Our friend Sean hooked us up with his buddy who let us use his BEEFY table saw to cut the door in half length wise.  This helped to remedy the width issue.  Then, Mutt got the door home and attempted to cut some length off and slowly the door started to show its age.  The glue started separating in some places.  We assessed the damage and moved on with the project, determined to get it finished.  Next Mutt had to cut the door to make it a Dutch Door.  I’m not exactly sure what happened after that because I ran to the grocery store to get ingredients for dinner and when I got home, our dear friend Steve and Mutt were in the driveway.  As I got out of the car i noticed that they were sanding their little hearts out.  The door was now in what looked like a million pieces.  Still so determined to make this door work, they were sanding the squares with the attitude- ‘we have to sand all of this anyway’.  I saw the amount of work ahead of them to make the door happen, and the amount of work that still needs to be done on the TH and decided that we needed to let go.  We had to let go of the original plan and go with the flow.  Mutt and I decided to get a new door.  We were able to find an Alder door for a really awesome price at a discount supply store called Extra’s.  A BIG THANK YOU to the people of Extra’s for their friendly and helpful service! It is always a pleasure to stroll through there, this time we found the perfect piece.  We love our new door AND it was less work! Sometimes, you have to pick your battles!IMG_20151025_095720198

The door frame

The door frame

The bottom of the door frame

The bottom of the door frame

We continue to move forward every day with construction as well as the all of the other things that come a long with building a house and moving.  We are constantly aware of money in and money out doing our best to maximize our dollars and time.  We are learning how to live on a budget as we have some serious costs coming up with the build.  We also face, almost daily, the question; “Where are you going to put your house?”  We get this question from everywhere, if not from our own wondering then from strangers or, family members.  The answer right now is that we have a few options but everything is up in the air.  We feel confident that when the time comes we’ll know what one is our best option.

We’ve got a ways to go on construction and for now that is the number one priority.  As far as non construction goes, we have purged a good amount of clothes and household items we no longer need.  We also do our best to refrain from buying things that aren’t a necessity. We are constantly learning lessons in consumption and waste.  We do our best to resist the temptations in society that tell you, you need something to be happy in life. We are always doing our best learn and grow, living tiny to realize our BIG dreams!  We’ve still got some major downsizing and organizing ahead of us, that might be what I’m most excited for.  We have to decide on most shelving and organizing before we move in as it will all be built in. ((Say WHAT? Custom built everything, someone pinch me I must be dreaming!!)) Hold on friends, things are getting more real every day.  Thanks for being interested in our journey.  Until next time, sending you all good vibes and tons of love. Thanks for reading!IMG_20151026_174422386

Much Love


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Is That a HOUSE You’re Building?!

Most people, including myself in years past, use Labor Day Weekend as a time to escape, relax, NOT WORK OR SCHOOL.  You know, trek to the mountains or the shore, spend time outside enjoying the last bit of summer, picnicking with loved ones, drinking beer and eating BBQ.  That is not how this years Labor Day went down at our house.  This year Labor Day proved to be just that, a day of labor!

Let me first start by saying that, this world that we live in is very small and that NONE of this would be possible without the help of our friends, neighbors, and family.  Steve is from West Chester, right near my home town of Coatesville, PA and moved to Colorado a few months ago.  We didn’t really know each other when we were both living in West Chester.  The relationship started as a friend of a friend and now he is not only taking on home improvement jobs with James but he has become a great friend and a HUGE help with Tiny House Construction.  We are so lucky that Steve has taken such an interest in our project and that someone so capable, patient, and generous has given us so much of his energy and love.  Thank you Steve, we are forever grateful to you!IMG_20150906_141033410

Labor Day Weekend was the weekend the framing started and like a puzzle the walls of the house started to come together.  This is where all of Mutt’s hard work learning how to draw on CAD (a computer design program) and many hours measuring and drawing out the house really started to pay off.  The advantage of using CAD is that the house is already built.  Now that its time to use wood and screws, the measurements are already done!  Mutt is able to know exactly how much of each material we need and from that point he is just reconstructing the drawing.  Most of the 2×6’s used to build the framing are recycled from a construction site.  These boards were left over from a huge neighborhood going up in the area and Mutt and Steve liberated them from their destiny of corporate toil.  *of course with permission from the foreman, and a few PBR’s 😉IMG_20150906_143107751


Just like everyone told me, this house is going up in rapid speed! After a long Saturday, Sunday and Monday of building we had 3 walls for the main level erect and the three walls for the loft built but not attached.  The loft was a few step process.  First it had to be framed, then it had to be removed from the truck (WITH THE HELP OF OUR AWESOME ROOMIES! Thanks again,as usual, WE COULD NOT DO THIS WITHOUT YOU) It took 5 of us to remove the loft from over the cab of the truck, and sit it in the driveway.  The loft frame sat there for a few days until we could get is sheathed, stained, and water proofed.IMG_20150907_171036501_HDRIMG_20150911_104506664

Every single day Mutt comes home from work and works for a few more hours on the house.  In the days after the framing he was able to get the sheathing up on the rest of the house, put in a few windows, and wrap the house in Tyvek. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, its crunch time with the Tiny House so every hour of every day counts.  Not only is Mutt spending time building but the Craigslist-ing continues.  He was IMG_20150907_130325221able to find and track down all of our cedar siding, reclaimed from Gary in Monument for $.25/linear foot compared to the $3-4/ linear foot the it would have cost from a store.  We are also lucky to have a friend working at a lumber yard.  He was able to hook us up with a great deal on cedar beams for the roof and two really beefy 6×6’s to use as loft supports that will be attached to the front bumper! It’s going to look so amazing, like a cute little cedar cabin on the back of a beefy 1970’s farm truck! It’s the things dreams are made of, THANKS MATT!

                    This past weekend Mutt, Steve, and I IMG_20150919_110431222_HDRput the bay window in and Mutt spent some hours framing it in this week.  We had a huge crew over on Saturday to help put the loft back on the truck.  This project however, does not move forward without a few setbacks.  After we got the loft back on the truck Mutt had a plan to get the radiant heat tubing in asap.  Then the sub floor could go down and the loft walls up this past weekend.  Instead, while he was screwing down the last of the sub floor despite his meticulous measuring and careful placement of each screw, he missed a mark and drilled a hole in the tubing.  NOT a good thing, the hot water wont stay in the tubing if there is a hole! Mutt was stressed that the mistake might set him back a week but he refused to let it keep him down.  He was encouraged by friendly customer service when he went to get the pieces to fix the tubing and Steve generously donating his time.  Mutt’s spirits were also lifted by a surprise power tool gift from his Pops, THANKS PARKER! And a big THANK YOU to both of our families for all of your continued support and love through this project!Mutt figured out a way to fix the problem and a few days ago with help from Steve he was able to fix the mistake, get the sub floor down and, the loft walls up!! It was surreal to see the loft walls up.

This is indeed a tiny house my friends.  One of my favorite parts of this project is getting to know people along the way and enjoying the conversation we get to have with excited onlookers as they pass by.  We’ve started to have several people pull over in our neighborhood to get out of their cars and talk to us about the Tiny House.  Some people have questions for us, comments, or their own stories to tell.  It seems some days that its a part of the community, we share the excitement.  The conversations we get to start and have with people change this from just a personal experience to one we get to share.  It gives the Tiny House more life than we could have ever imagined when we started this project.

IMG_20150921_194428560With each step complete it becomes more real that we are going to be living in 150 sq.ft.  We are that much closer to living a life of simplicity.  We are just doing our best to lessen our negative impact on the environment and the world.  I believe with my whole heart that life is that simple.  You live and you learn, you take what you need and not what you don’t.  You be kind to one another and our Earth and, you LOVE.  You spread your love out into the world so that the world may shine brighter.  This Tiny House is fun, its exciting, in all of this hype it is my hope that the message of living small to dream big is not lost.  To live within our means so that we are not restricted by the confines of what society and the world will let you believe you need to survive.  I believe living this lifestyle will free me to do my life’s work and not restrict me by possessions and unnecessary stresses.   Please stay tuned as more building is being done every day and I explore what it means and will mean in the future to LIVE LIFE TINY and DREAM BIG DREAMS.

Until next time, Much LOVE!



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As we speak I’m sitting in the driveway writing while Mutt is hard at work building.  This is a familiar scene around our house these days as Tiny House Construction is in full swing and I’m going from one entry every 2 months to material to write about every single day!! Mutt always told me that once building started that house was going to go up faster than I thought, he was right (he never gets sick of hearing that!) I’m blown away by the progress!

The heavy lifting crew (minus yours truly) Thank goodness for friends and neighbors!

The heavy lifting crew (minus yours truly) Thank goodness for friends and neighbors!

Radiant heat floor tubing

Radiant heat floor tubing

A few weeks ago we were able to start construction on the house and have been going strong.  Mutt started at the bottom as you do with any house.  Instead of pouring a concrete basement foundation, we had to build a wooden one to place on the newly built steel bed frame.  This part was constructed on the ground so that when it was finished it could be flipped over and covered in galvanized metal to protect against wear and weather.  I will always remember the day that the floor framing was finished, it was the day that I realized this was not just a dream any more, it was becoming a reality.  The 2×6’s for that part of the frame came from a construction site, they were left over and destined to be trash or firewood.  You know us, REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! The galvanized metal was leftover metal from our favorite place for steel Altitude Steel! The metal was cutoffs from larger sheets which meant using “waste” and a cheaper price tag!!! Thanks again for the hook up friends!

Adam and Devon (our two bomb.com roomies) chipped in to help lay the radiant tubing! Thanks guys!

Adam and Devon (our two bomb.com roomies) chipped in to help lay the radiant tubing! Thanks guys!

After the frame was galvanized it was time for it to be placed on the back of the truck, easier said than done let me tell you! Thank goodness for good friends, amazing neighbors, and lifting with your legs! It took 6 of us to get it up and centered onto the bed of the truck. The placement was very important as the floor frame needed to be strategically bolted to the bed of the truck.  As a matter of fact, Mutt says that cutting the slots in the galvanized metal was one of the most stressful parts of the build thus far.  The cuts needed to be exact so that they would line up with the existing tabs on the bed frame. If the cuts were off, even by the smallest bit, the galvanized metal would have been pierced and ruined.  Galvanized metal is being used because it’s water tight, if there are holes in it that sort of defeats the purpose!

Our dear friend Steve, helping James late into the night. THANK YOU STEVE FOR ALL OF YOUR TIME, HARD WORK, AND MOTIVATION! We LOVE you!

Our dear friend Steve, helping James late into the night. THANK YOU STEVE FOR ALL OF YOUR TIME, HARD WORK, AND MOTIVATION! We LOVE you!

From there the floor came together in layers.  The next layer is insulation, finally we were able to use some of the HUGE PILE of insulation we’ve had stored at the house since we bought the truck over a year ago! Everything is coming together, its a beautiful thing! On top of the insulation layer is our radiant heat tubing.  This tubing will have water pushed through it from our future tank-less hot water heater to keep us nice and warm on those long, cold, winter nights in the Rockies! To finish off the floor frame sub floor was laid. The final step will be laying our Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floor that we reclaimed from a house that was being demo’d!

CAD drawing

CAD drawings

CAD drawing


Over the past few years we have worked and dreamed about living in our Tiny House.  We have gathered materials, worked hard, saved money.  We have sacrificed and spent many hours talking and planning for the Tiny House.  Finally it is time for the dream to become a reality.  All of Mutt’s hard work teaching himself how to use CAD (a computer program used to design the house) can now be put to use.  I am in awe of him every day.  It is inspiring to me that he is able to have this vision and be so dedicated to it.  He knew that all of his long hours ‘shredding the list’ and chasing the materials would all be worth it. He has spent countless hours learning how to use a computer program that hes never used before to create this home digitally and now he’s putting it to use in real life! I’m one proud girlfriend and I don’t care who knows it 😉

Cheers to Tiny Houses and BIG Dreams yall’! Stay tuned for another post coming soon! Framing is done, my blog post is not 😉

Much love,



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Out With The Old, In With The New

At the end of the last post I mentioned that construction on the house would have to wait! The condition of the existing truck bed was not acceptable.  It was not sturdy enough to bear the weight and take the toll of being the foundation for our Tiny House.

Let me explain the situation a little bit, the truck bed is built in two pieces, and the original plans had us detaching them from each other and moving the top frame back two feet.  It sounds kind of insignificant, however, when you’re talking about your entire life fitting into 100-ish sq. ft. of space, 2 feet is HUGE!  Mutt removed the frame and realized that the large piece on top was not nearly as strong and sturdy on its own as we had originally assumed.  Mutt thought it would take several people to move it and instead, he was able to move it himself, not really a good sign.  This raised some red flags and we immediately questioned if it would be strong enough to support the weight of the house.  After talking to a few friends and taking a day or two to think about it we decided that we needed to build a new frame.  Not only did we desperately need those 2 feet but we had to consider safety and durability.  This is our home after all, and its a mobile cabin on wheels, not a typical home.  Thoughts of safety and longevity are even more important than they would be typically.  We also want for this house to be an investment.  To be able to sell it in good conscience at a later time, we have to know we’ve got a strong and safe foundation.  Our best option was to use a newly built frame.

Trey getting comfy in the Living-Kitchen Room!

Trey getting comfy in the Living-Kitchen Room!

The project then became how to get a new steel bed frame built.  Sourcing the steel for the frame was one challenge and where to get it done was another.  Where to get the frame built became the most challenging part. Since almost the beginning of this project we have been searching for the perfect solution to our welding woes.  Along the way we have had many leads (that’s a welding pun!) but none that panned out.  Now it was crunch time, the project can’t move on without the frame, we had to find something relativity fast so construction on the house could continue as we saw time on our lease tick by. Hoping for something to come through and staying in the spirit of completing most of the build ourselves out of reused and recycled materials, Mutt reached out to an old friend. This friend has been around since the days of Club Work Shop ( a Denver based tool sharing workshop available to members where Mutt did a lot of his work during 2012-2014 until Club Work Shop unfortunately had to close its doors to the public) and the friend was ready and willing to help! It was the perfect solution as our friend (who I’m not naming to protect his privacy) was not only willing to help but very excited to have Mutt work side by side with him to help the project move along more quickly.  An ideal situation as Mutt enjoys every opportunity he gets to learn a new skill.  We spent the next few weeks working to save money to pay for materials and labor.



The easier piece of the puzzle was finding a place to source the steel.  After doing some research Mutt found the place, BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE VERY FRIENDLY STAFF AT ALTITUDE STEEL!!  They really hooked it up and helped us out on sourcing, cutting, and delivering our materials.  We are very grateful for your amazing customer service!  Thank you, THANK YOU!

So then we were ready! The boys worked very hard for a few days straight and got the frame built.  We had help with the heavy lifting from multiple friends (THANKS ADAM!! and our AWESOME NEIGHBOR BOYS!) and a very accommodating tow truck driver, unfortunately the video was lost in a freak phone accident…

Bertha's Beefy new bed! Well done boys, thanks!

Bertha’s Beefy new bed! Well done boys, thanks!

The frame is now painted and on the back of our truck.  Mutt had the paint sprayer out again and he finished off Bertha’s paint job too!!  She is looking better than ever and the construction may begin! It’s hard to think that after everything we have already accomplished, the work has only just begun.  Seeing the house come together piece by piece is motivating and exciting.  We are ready to keep it rollin’!


Since I started writing this post, 2 months have past! Not too much construction process has happened but a WHOLE LOT OF LIFE sure has! We’ve spent the summer working extremely hard and we couldn’t be more grateful. Mutt’s handy man business has kept him busy, as well as a growing yoga business of my own.  Between that and my time at Vine Street Pub; we have managed a few nights out under the stars, seen some amazing music, squeezed in a few weddings, and enjoyed some laughs with family and friends. Its been an amazing whirlwind summer, as they all should be!

With that being said, we saw the end of our lease coming very quickly! Our original plan had us being in the Tiny House by the end our lease.  With some of the hick-ups along the way and a crazy packed summer, we knew that wasn’t realistic.  Not wanting to resign a year lease, we searched for other temporary housing options.  My favorite idea and one we heavily looked into was buying an RV.  The thought behind that was that we could live in it for the rest of the summer and fall, and sell it once we were in the Tiny House.  However, our landlord was excited to hear we were not yet in the Tiny House and possibly interested in sticking around.   He worked with us and let us resign a 6 month lease.  This plan won as it made more sense to stay than to have to do another move between our current house and the Tiny House.  It also makes storing the house and our materials and building a whole lot easier! Our new deadline is February 1, 2016.  I honestly feel good about the extension on the time.  I felt rushed before.  Timing just didn’t feel right and this is something we both care about and want to do right.  We want to have the time and the resources to put into this house and let it be an asset for us, let it be the beautiful home we know it will be.  I’m very excited to move on and into our Tiny House, but only when we’re good and ready! Plus, February 1st is my birthday, I think that’s a good sign or something! 😉

Summer has started to slow down and although life surely wont pause for us to finish our house, we are heading into the fall months more motivated than ever.  We’ve got a plan and are excited to see it through.  This week Mutt, with the help of our good friend Matt, were able to start and nearly finish the frame for the floor. Mutt has been putting in lots of hours after work and the bottom of the frame is now almost complete, metal sheathing and flashing and all! Construction has more than officially started, the house can only go UP from here 😉

a favorite of mine from Mutt's cousin's wedding on the East Coast!

a favorite of mine from Mutt’s cousin’s wedding on the East Coast!

Thanks for reading and being interested in the crazy life of Mutt and Mapes’ Tiny House Project!

Until next time, sending much love!



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Mutt Gets a Paint Sprayer, Bertha Gets a Paint Job!

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in so long!! I’d love to use the excuse- “Life is crazy!”- but isn’t that just always true? Instead I’m going to send out my deepest apology, I hope you all can forgive me! Here’s a good one for you.  The learning never stops and the adventures keep on rollin’! Mutt and I are having a blast figuring things out, may we never stop growing and learning!

Spring has sprung, the temperature is rising, the days are getting longer, and besides the little bit of snow, and mostly rain they are calling for in the next few weeks, the weather is looking beautiful and its time to start building! Like every house, we are starting from the foundation up.  For a house being built on the back of a truck that means under the hood and with the body and bed of the truck.


the beginning of the taping process

Bertha, our 1970 International Farm Truck is running very well these days.  Mutt put in a new alternator and a battery a few months ago and she’s running like new (I still need to post a video of her horn for you all!).  Her paint however, needed a little facelift.  When we got Bertha she was painted a shade of yellow, maybe school bus yellow?  Being an old truck there were many scratches and rust spots. We knew we needed to have the truck sanded and painted before we could start building, once there’s a house back there it would just be more difficult to tape off and protect the house from the paint being sprayed.IMG_20150319_124829575

Using a pressurized spray painter to paint a vehicle isn’t something Mutt or I had ever done before so it was going to be one of the very few jobs we had to outsource.  In keeping in the spirit of trying to build the house economically and responsibly, we put an ad up on Craigslist asking if anyone would be willing to trade some work.  The idea is they help us paint the truck, and Mutt helps them with whatever job they need done, carpentry usually.  This way of working is a part of the community of this project, we use Craigslist as a platform to reach people who embrace this way of living, embracing synchronicity in our lives. We work every day to embody this lifestyle more and more in our daily lives, and in this project to fully embrace the power of working hard, and working together.IMG_20150319_124908580_HDR

We had a few bites, some sounded really promising.  People are very interested in our project and love the idea of being able to contribute and help us out.  After a bit of communication back and forth with a few possible options, they all fizzled out. The deals usually failed when it was time to set up an actual date to get the job done.  We are on a pretty tight time schedule and can’t afford to mess around with people who aren’t serious or committed to the project.  We started to think of some different options, maybe going with a professional company, until one night a few weeks after we posted our original wanted ad, Mutt got a very vague text message from a person saying that they were a painter and could help us paint our truck.  Mutt exchanged a few text messages with the interested craftsman, we’ll call him John to protect his privacy, and he seemed really excited to help us. John said he had years of this kind of painting experience.  His parents owned a paint company back in his hometown and currently is working for a paint company here in Denver. John, just looking to make some extra cash, was willing to take his payment some in cash and some trade, our ideal situation.  Because of his current position, he would be able to buy us the paint and rent a sprayer through his company.  He was able to talk intelligently with Mutt about paint options, and realistically, we thought, about time and price.  They both seemed eager to move on with the deal.IMG_20150324_151933384

Mutt had him come to our house to check out Bertha.  John came over to asses the job, let us know what kind and how much paint to purchase, let us know when we could start. When he was at our house he seemed very competent and confident in the job.  He and Mutt talked shop for a bit. He, along with our AWESOME neighbor kids, even helped Mutt move a HUGE piece of granite we’re going to use for our counter tops(or at least some of it!) from Mutt’s van to the garage.  He obviously won points in my book for that, I was NOT sure how Mutt got it into the van by himself and was SURE we were never going to get it out 🙂 Anyway, at the time we felt the meeting went well.  Now looking back, there were maybe a few red flags.  One was, John expected some of the money he quoted us upfront.  Mutt kindly explained to him that it wasn’t going to work that way.  We are relying on people we don’t know to do a job for us for less than retail cost with no contract and no guarantee.  To some people that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, for us we are trusting that we do the right thing, and there are other people out there who want to do the same. With that being said, we can’t go into these situations blindly.  It is because all of those ricks I listed, that we also have to be very cautious, and smart not to get the wool pulled over our eyes. Doing things the unconventional way doesn’t always go as planned.  So in the spirit of protecting ourselves, Mutt let John know, we would cover the cost of the paint and we would gladly pay him for his time, when the job was done.  We had planned for this to be a one day job.

In the days leading up to the truck being painted, Mutt had some help from a friend, Steve, in getting the truck ready.  They took off all of the hardware, mirrors, and hood.  We had to wait for a day with good weather conditions, not too windy with plenty of sunshine.  We painted in our driveway so wind was a huge factor.  When we finally got a good day, John headed over to our house in the morning and the boys spent the morning taping the truck and by mid morning it was time to prime! We were so excited, I was thrilled to see progress happening on the truck, I’m totally an instant gratification kinda girl, and Mutt was thrilled because he knows every little step is a step towards the final product!  John got the first coat of primer on and then it was time to wait.  It was our understanding that the primer would need just a few hours to dry and the next 2 coats could be laid on after, the truck would be done in one day, maybe the next morning if we really had to.

IMG_20150319_132411980It became apparent to Mutt almost immediately after the primer layer was painted that John didn’t actually know what he was doing.  Mutt assumed that he had some experience painting external metal surfaces with a paint sprayer but that he had never painted a vehicle before.  Mutt decided to keep good faith and gave the primer some time to dry.  It was when; the primer was taking twice as long to dry as John had insisted it would take, and the drips and unevenness became more and more apparent, and the time on the 24 hour- $100- sprayer rental was running out, that Mutt decided this deal was not acceptable.  John didn’t actually know what he was doing, and we were now wasting time instead of making progress. Mutt paid John for his time and told him that we would be handling the job ourselves from now on.  We had the paint but needed to return the rental sprayer.  John couldn’t come through on using a sprayer from his employer, as was promised, so it was now costing us $100 a day.  We did some calculating and decided that it would be more economical for us to buy a sprayer and for Mutt to do the job himself.  He had watched and learned from the mistakes John made and felt confident in doing the job.  He has also started a pretty steady flow of handy-man jobs from this experience so the access to a paint sprayer really means he has the ability to do more jobs in the future. IMG_20150326_100659529

I am so proud of the way this truck’s paint job turned out.  It wasn’t the way we intended the job to go down but, all in all, it worked out for the best, as life always does!  We have a beautiful Army Green truck for our house to sit on.  Mutt has another skill in his arsenal and, because he owns the paint sprayer, he is able to secure more jobs and is excited about the building business he is producing as a result of this project.  It’s really a dream come true for him, and us!IMG_20150401_163005851_HDR

The truck has been painted for a week or two now and we’ve run into the next little hick-up we hadn’t anticipated.  When we took the bed apart to move it back the two feet we originally thought we would be moving it, we found that the metal frame of the truck is not as sturdy as we thought it was.  So now we are facing the decision, can we still build on it safely, do we build a new one ourselves, do we pay to have it done? With flexibility as the name of the game in the project, we are rolling with it and will keep you all posted! We hope to have this figured out in the next week so we can move on with building!



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One Man’s Trash Is Another Mans Treasure

It’s an oldie but a goody, one mans trash is another mans treasure, and it could not be more true with this project.  Mutt has a

This is a sculpture that, at first glance, Mutt wanted to know if it was for sale, he just can't help himself!

This is a sculpture that, at first glance, Mutt wanted to know if it was for sale, he just can’t help himself!

serious talent for finding good deals, and I don’t just mean spotting the sale rack from a mile away.  (Not that that isn’t also an amazing talent that I’m proud to posses, “Spend to save!” right Mom and Aunt Rita?!) When I say this, I actually mean, he has an eye for value.

Rescuing some beautiful  Redwood, in a snow storm!

Rescuing some beautiful Redwood, in a snow storm!

What one person sees as Trash, Mutt see as a potential Treasure. This is true about most things in life and especially when it comes to this Tiny House build.  He can see the beauty and value in things that seem to get lost on a lot of people.  This point has been proven over and over again by the free section on Craigslist.  Every day during his routine “shredding of the list” Mutt is able to track down some very valuable resources for us.  There are tons of people who have extra building materials, cabinets, windows, etc, at their homes. A lot of times they are materials left over from a remodel at their homes that they are giving away for free.  Sometimes its because its such a small amount of material they don’t think its worth selling, perfect for our 100 sq ft home! Or, its because they just can’t be bothered by it, in which case, again, one man’s trash becomes another mans treasure!  In this way we have found materials such as tile, hardwood flooring, wood stove venting, tar paper for roofing, windows, shutters, slate tile, and trim.  Some of the trim came from an 1800’s house in Gettysburg, PA!! We picked it up from a person’s barn about 45 minutes north of where we are.  We’ve even collected building materials as well, framing and plywood, silicone, electrical wiring and voltage converters, even some tools, paint and stain.

One of the hardest parts is not taking too much.  A major practice of this project is to live within our means, only taking what we need and not leaving anything behind.  Our plans are fluid and constantly changing because every day the treasures are different.  If something comes along that we are confident is better than our existing solution, we’ll pay the old one forward and keep the new one.  We are constantly taking inventory and either re-posting things to Craigslist, giving them to friends, or passing them along to second hand construction material stores like our good friends at Uncle Benny’s!! Our garage is turning into quite the work shop.  Its pretty amazing to see our project growing in front of our eyes.

Mutt's van, from a camper to a work truck! Thank you for your help!!

Mutt’s van, from a camper to a work truck! Thank you for your help!!

My car PACKED from one of our adventures, so grateful!

My car PACKED from one of our adventures, so grateful!

Some of the people we meet are completely random, they have an ad up on Craigslist, we need what they have, we go pick it up, many thanks are given and we go on our merry ways.  Some reach out to us because of our Craigslist post and are eager to help us.  One man named Tom, who lives further south of us past Denver, loves our idea so much that he is collecting materials from his own projects and projects around the neighborhood.  He starts a pile and when its enough to fill his truck, he touches base with us and brings it up to Denver so we can meet half way.  In another adventure, James found a man in Boulder who was giving away Knotty Pine tongue and groove to be hung on the walls.  He was getting rid of it in his house and we knew it would go perfectly with our wood themed truck bed cabin! When Mutt saw the ad he noticed that the man was going to have to take it down before be could give it away.  He promptly sent the man an email wondering if the hard wood was still available and offered to travel to Boulder to help him take it down.  The man replied that the Knotty Pine was still available and that he would love if Mutt could help him take it down.  After the job was complete, James learned that hundreds of people had replied to the ad on Craigslist and it was the offer to help him take the Knotty Pine down that allowed us to secure it! Thank goodness for all of Mutt’s hard work and willingness to extend his skills and help. These people are going out of their way to help us live our dream and we truly couldn’t be more grateful!

Our friend Michael and Mutt working on the RV!

Our friend Michael and Mutt working on the RV!

We’ve also built some lasting relationships through synchronicity with others working on their own projects.  People who are willing to trade skills for help on their own projects like our friend Michael! Micheal is an amazing human.  We first met him a few weeks ago when he reached out to Mutt because of our Craigslist ad.  He bought a 40ft long RV and needed some help gutting it.  He was wiling to trade us the shower stall and refrigerator for Mutt’s help now and in the future with this project.  He is planning to turn his RV into a Road Trip Warrior for his wife, young son, and himself to travel in.  It didn’t take long for us to become fast friends with Micheal.  He has been to our house for the boys to do some work removing the shower and fridge.  A second meeting happened after Mutt, knowing what Micheal was looking for for his remodel, found a set of seats for Michael.  The boys were able to work out a trade, the seats for Micheal’s futon that he no longer needed in his RV.  This Futon will be our main seating area and guest bed! We can’t wait for Tiny House Visitors!!! Mutt is also excited to be working on sewing some new curtains for Micheal!  This is a beautiful working relationship and part of the project that I really enjoy.

Michael's RV, in our front yard!

Michael’s RV, in our front yard!

It does become repetitive on “The List”,  so finding some of the specific materials is proving more difficult.  It is unavoidable that we will have to purchase some in commercial building supply stores. These places tend to charge top dollar for all of their supplies because they can.  That is why it is so important for us to off set some of the costs ourselves.  Creating a network for ourselves via Craigslist, Reused material stores, estate sales, and the people we have met within the community, allows us to continue to receive and give help along the way.

I swear Bertha is under there somewhere!

I swear Bertha is under there somewhere!

The collecting continues, though we are eager to start building we were reminded just at the end of February, why we have to wait! Waiting until the snow is gone for good, we will start building soon. Until then, I’ll keep filling you in on our amazing finds and people along the way! Sending lots of love



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Reduce, Reuse, Recycled Materials Stores!

We are in full materials gathering mode!! Every single day Mutt wakes up, does his cardio, then “shreds the list” looking for any new posts on Craigslist.  After that its on to sifting through emails from amazing people who have responded to our post on Craigslist.  Some days this turns into a FULL day of running all around the front range gathering supplies.  If that’s not the case for the day, then we take advantage of the wonderful recycled resource stores in the area.  Some of our favorites are ReSource in Boulder and the Habitat for Humanity ReStores all over the Front Range and Rockies. We’ve found gems at ReStore’s as far away as Glenwood Springs and Vail Valley!  We have a BIG shout out to give to another all time favorite, Uncle Benny’s in Loveland!  All of these places are full of friendly and helpful people as well as tons of treasures for us to sift through.   We have gathered everything from windows to bedding from these places.

Our front Door! (Still needs to be cut to size)

Our front Door! (Still needs to be cut to size)

It was really important that we started with finding windows and doors so that when Mutt is ready to start building we have them and he can build accordingly.  Luckily, I have him as lead contractor on this project, because I so easily get wrapped up in all of the little details of decorating and organizing, windows and doors were not even at the top of my list!  I now know its going to be imperative that we have them when we start to build so we can plan accordingly.

Thanks Jeff in Lakewood, CO for this gem. We will be using it at the back of the house and our main window! Can't wait to see the views from this bad boy!

Thanks Jeff in Lakewood, CO for this gem. We will be using it at the back of the house as our main window! Can’t wait to see the views from this bad boy!

With that in mind, windows it was, they were our first mission and I think we picked the coldest day in December to hit ReSource in Boulder “just to look”.  When we showed up and heard they were doing 50% off of the entire store that day for all of the people who came out to brave the weather, all bets were off, remember, WE LOVEEE A GOOD DEAL!  As we walked through their yard and the sifted through the MANY window options ruling some out because of size, and others because of insulation, we couldn’t resist picking up a few!  We ended up with a pair of adorable non-opening, small, wood framed, double paned windows!! I’m picturing these to be perfect for the bathroom and perhaps the other for the main living room, maybe behind the wood stove (we have yet to acquire the perfect one).  This was the first major trip we took, dedicated to the Tiny House and it was a SUCCESS, there was no stopping us now!!!

This is one of the non-opening windows from ReSource and another from

This is one of the non-opening windows from ReSource Boulder, CO and another from HFH ReStore Glennwood Springs, CO

The Dado blade! Nice find!

The Dado blade! Nice find, Babe!

In the beginning of January, on a trip to some Hot Springs for our anniversary, Mutt and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop at ReStore’s in Glenwood Springs and Vail Valley.  There we were able to secure another window and one of Mutts’ best finds to date, a Dado saw blade, brand new, for $5!!! We instantly thought of Mutts’ dad Parker, knowing he would probably be the second most excited person about it, behind Mutt of course! This apple did not fall far from the tree. My favorite score from that trip however, were the $5 skis I found! Woo Hoo! I’m not sure how they will help us build our Tiny House but when I’m living in the hills I’m sure I’ll  be able to find a use for them 😉

With every find, our reality is becoming more and more real! Through our article on Craigslist we were directed to another amazing resource for recycled materials, Uncle Benny’s in Loveland, CO.  We heard from a friend that they sometimes accept trades and even will give you credit at their store as payment for useful materials.  Because we sometimes find ourselves with extra materials from our Craigslist adventures, this is appealing to us as trading is a wonderful way to help alleviate some of the costs we’re going to inevitably encore during this project.  Uncle Benny’s is a treasure in itself because of the FANTASTIC people who work there, let alone all it has to offer in materials and opportunity for us.  Uncle Benny’s has acres of yard full of adventure.  This place is piled high with every material you could think of for building a house. Some old, some new, EVERYTHING is full of character, having their own story of use before and ready to be used again! We explored for the first time overwhelmed with all of the opportunity.

On our first trip there we were able to find our bathroom sink. Finding sinks has proven to be more difficult than one would think.  Not only do we want it to look nice but it also has to be small enough to fit into our space.  This is an issue we’re really running into with most things. However, the bathroom sink we recovered is PERFECT! coming from an old RV counter piece, it came set into the counter with a stove top.  Having a good eye and keeping an open mind allowed us to see the potential in this adorable, retro, sage green RV sink. A lot of the fun is seeing the potential in pieces, I’m falling in love with the design aspects of this beautiful home.  Mutt is in the process of building us a counter top and matching shelves out of reclaimed wood from a Craigslist Friend. The sink will be finished off with a brass faucet from Luke in Englewood, CO. Just like that ta-da, a custom bathroom sink is born.


Great job Mutt!! Bathroom sink is lookin’ good!

Our second trip to Uncle Benny’s proved to be even more fruitful, believe it or not!  This time, we had some extra material to trade and Mutt was able to secure an AMAZING table saw and a double stainless steal kitchen sink, again, the perfect size for what we need! Mutt and I are huge believers in manifestation and putting positive energy into the universe, letting it come back to us.  We feel like this project is allowing this to come to fruition.  Mutt, for weeks, has been talking about needing a new, bigger, table saw to efficiently work on our house.  A few days after talking about it and finding one deal that fell through, the one he ended up with from Uncle Benny’s almost fell out of the sky and into his lap.  We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that are coming our way!

Mutt's new beefy Tablesaw, ow ooowww!

Mutt’s new beefy Tablesaw, ow ooowww!

If you think these finds are fun and exciting, you just better stay tuned for the stories we have for you.  When it comes to meeting new people and finding amazing finds, our Craigslist experiences top them all! I can’t wait to share with you next week some of the wonderful stories we are collecting.  I also look forward to answering some of the questions we’ve been getting along the way as far as our future plans, dos and don’ts, etc, so keep the questions and comments coming!

Thanks for keeping up with us, sending love to you all!



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you have to start somewhere!

Mutt and I came up for the idea of living in a Tiny House about 6 months ago, though I think really this plan has been forming since the beginning of our relationship.  We have always talked about boat life, and love the idea of moving to the Caribbean some day to join Mutts love for marine life and my love for hospitality to create a charter vacation business.  One day while watching a documentary about a Colorado boy building his own Tiny House, something struck a cord and the idea of Our Tiny House was born.  We thought this would be a fantastic stepping stone to realizing bigger dreams.  Our House has become a symbol in our lives, for living small, living within our means, having what we need not taking too much not leaving any behind.  We hope to live in our house, save money and use this opportunity to live a conscious and responsible lifestyle both for ourselves and our world.



After much debate and research about what type of truck to go with and whether we wanted to build an RV style home or a Tiny House style home, we decided on a beefy truck with a Tiny House on the back!


out with the old, in with the new!


Mutt, does it again!

The first thing we acquired was our Truck, Bertha! Mutt had previously purchased an 1963 Ford Pickup that we were able to Trade for our 1970 International Farm Truck! After an alternator change and a new battery she runs like new and you should hear the horn on this thing! (video to follow) Mutt ripped up the old wooden bed and we’re getting ready to lay a new foundation….stay tuned for some updates on leveling challenges….


just some of the framing we’ve received

In the early stages of this project James was working for a decking company. That allowed us to start a collection of building materials.  At first we were just using craiglist and the decking company to slowly gather a few things here and there.  Through that we were able to find: a front door, bathroom door, insulation, and cabinet fronts.  With these few things gathered it was all starting to become real. We took a little break and headed home to the east coast to visit our families in October.  After telling everyone what we were up to and got such amazing feed back and support, we returned to CO more energized and focused, really ready to start tackling this project head on. Sometime in November our Tiny House Project became Mutt’s full time job.  He has always been talented at knowing a good deal and is no stranger to Craigslist as a resource.  One day he had the genus idea of, instead of waiting to see what people post on Craigslist, why don’t we put a post up listing the materials we need and see if we can generate any feedback that way.  We now have it working for us on both ends, BRILLIANT!!  The feedback and support we have received from strangers has been overwhelming at times.  People are so generous and eager to help us out.  Not only are we gathering and recycling all of this extra and otherwise trash materials but we are also meeting some really amazing people.  I can’t wait to share with you all of the stories and amazing things we are finding for Our Tiny House! So, that’s where we are right now. Using this winter to network and gather materials.  This spring we will start to build and hope to be able to move into Our Tiny House by August of 2015.

Stay tuned for another post soon! I can’t wait to show you some of the treasures we have found!



Truck Boat

This is the closest we could find to what we want Our Tiny House to look like 🙂

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