In case you were wondering...
This blog exists to encourage all those who have ever wanted--and needed!--a tiny getaway close to home. A workshop, playhouse, garden shed, sanctuary, mini-greenhouse, studio, home office; whatever it is you need, it IS doable, with some sacrifice, imagination, and compromise.
It helps if you're handy, too.
Friday, December 31, 2010
You can read about it HERE, and thank you very much, Katherine! We did start this blog in the hopes of encouraging other artists to realize their dream...
As you know, I do work there virtually daily, and find it very conducive to concentration. No TV, no telephone, no computer, just books, art, and music. Plus a place to make tea, of course!
So thank you again, Katherine, we're delighted!
Thursday, December 30, 2010
You all may remember this post from mid-December--Shedworking's Alex Johnson has done his first annual awards for shed workers, and it's FUN. (One of my favorite early contacts, Uncle Wilco, won the lifetime achievement award, and it's well-deserved!)
Find them HERE...I'll be spending time browsing happily today, and hope you will as well!
Above is Shedworking: The Alternative Workplace Revolution, the book Alex wrote about the trend, and which I still intend to review here...it was a great read!
Sunday, December 26, 2010
If you love the idea of creating your own space, you'll love this old-but-still-good book!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
He called to say it would be too late yesterday, and yep, he came this morning!
So we have two new plug ins in the shed, 20 amp, so they'll be heavy duty and last as long as the shed, I imagine.
It was really good to see him again--he used to do all our electrical work, but then he retired to Texas...didn't take, and he's back. He's such a nice guy...we chatted a lot, catching eachother up with what's gone on in the past 10 years.
Meanwhile the insulation guy that was going to call back after lunch yesterday still has not. It's been over 3 weeks that we've been trying to get someone just to SHOW UP.
Monday, December 20, 2010
So still no insulation under the floor, and no word from the owner of the lovely rug I liked so much--the one with no price tag in THIS POST. Meanwhile, we hit Costco the other day and they had these little inexpensive throw rugs. I thought what the heck, at least under the desk where I work would be good!
I had no idea HOW good...it really, really helped, just that one layer of stuff, so once again I tried to rattle loose some response about the bigger rug...nada.
This is the rug Joseph brought with him from Virginia a couple of years ago...when we considered it this summer it really smelled musty, and I didn't think I could deal with that...so doused it with baking soda and let it sit for a few months. It's a bit dark for the shed, and we're a LONG way from Zen simplicity now, with that crazy flowered chair, plaid throw, and ethnic pillow underfoot, but you know what? IT'S WARMER.
It's 5 by 8', so it doesn't cover the whole floor, but it's a great help where I spend most of my time...
Meanwhile, our beloved old electrician (I thought he'd retired, which he did, but he's BACK!) came this morning with a bid on the new plug-ins so my lamp cord doesn't have to drag halfway across the room and across the bookcase, and perhaps we can simplify the spaghetti cords of the heaters. I also asked him about more efficient heating, and he pretty much said what Joseph has all along...we've got it. 1500 watts is 1500 watts. Oh. Well, yeah. OK. <:-D
And actually it's plenty warm once I turn it up, so I'll just hush now...
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
The blog is already in our list of links in the sidebar...a great place to visit!
If you're interested in a shed of your own, you may have noticed I've linked to the book of the same name (and from the same folks), Shedworking, by Alex Johnson. (As he says, no relation!)
I loved it...full of great advice and inspiration, and dozens of links. (In my copious spare time, I plan a book review...soooooon...) Meanwhile, check it out!
Sunday, December 12, 2010
I could hardly wait to get out there with the camera!
And yes, it was quite habitable, once I had both heaters going for 15 minutes or so. I'd left the tower heater on low, 38 degrees, so my paint water hadn't even frozen, but the bowl of water on the floor had, and stayed that way. Glad we're getting the new insulation under there!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
(At this point, all but one of the rigid Styrofoam panels have let go and are lying on the ground under the shed. Grrrr.)
Still planning to put a wool rug in there...this is the one I want, LOVE the Renaissance feel it has and soft sage green, but having trouble finding the owner of the booth to find out the PRICE. Must be out of town...
Kinda like the goofy rooster, too...J. thinks I'm nuts, and it IS a lot darker than I'd planned to use in there. I like checkerboard, though...and I KNOW how much this one costs (very affordable.)
I bought a cheap, small throw rug to put under the desk where I work, and the difference it makes is amazing. Like between comfort and not.
Meanwhile the ground feeders and squirrels are much appreciating our bounty. It was 45 degrees this morning, below freezing and snowing now...
And fooey, although it seemed as if the waterlogged board had FINALLY dried out and I put spar varnish on it, mentioned in THIS POST, this is now it looks now.
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER USE RECYCLED MATERIALS THAT ARE NOT SOUND.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Winter DOES come to the shed...and it isn't even officially winter yet, but the other day it was 39 degrees when I got there. With BOTH heaters going it doesn't take long to warm up, though, and today I go rug-shopping again. Bare floor in the winter is nuts, especially when it's just 3/4" plywood! I found one secondhand for $30, or we may trade out the one at the cabin...
Meanwhile my fleece robe, down comforter and heating pad keep me happy till the heaters do their work...
The birds have found the little platform feeder...nice to watch them crowding around...
Lovely working out there, though...ideas really seem to flow.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Here's another similar community: http://tinyhouseblog.com/stick-built/wyers-end/ Charming houses, with a lot of thought put into them--also Ross Chapin's designs, like the first link.
Building like this, several small houses on a multi-family lot, can help meet minimum square foot requirements of some town building codes. I've heard of several places where this has been done...not sure I could have built my shed if it was intended to be inhabited (and of course it would have required plumbing, etc., if that had been the case.)
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
The windows are wonderful! I love the views, and the feeder right outside the desk window. I've been less than 2 feet from the wild birds there. I love watching the seasons change...we WILL need to do something about storm windows, sort of, but I installed the last of the weather stripping this week, and it helped.
I knew the single layer of plywood wouldn't do for the floor, and it doesn't. Still need to fix/replace the insulation, but it's going to need more than that. The rug will help, for the winter...then, I'm not sure. Since the shed is up on legs for its foundation (with the wind whistling underneath!), it really should have a LOT more insulation than one slim layer of Styrofoam.
Live and learn...
We replaced the folding chair at the desk with one that's actually the right height to work for any length of time. Since I shove it under the desk when not in use, it really doesn't take any more floor space, and the folding chair is still there for company!
I love the hot plate...very, very versatile. I make tea and coffee, boil eggs, toast muffins....takes very little room but does a LOT.
I learned that I needed more light to do art, and we put in the studio light over the desk, which is terrific...
...and which reminded me that I really, really should have had more plug-ins installed. Retrofitting isn't as easy as doing it in the first place, but it's gotta happen. The cords are awkward, unhandy and unsightly...we need two plug-ins on that south wall (there's one, now, but I need one near the desk) and one on the west wall.
And the jury is still out on the heating situation. It's been down in the 20s, but it gets a LOT colder here. Eventually, with two heaters, a down laprobe and a heating pad under my feet, I've been comfortable enough...
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Before taking a chance on installing it in the shed--and it WOULD just be auxiliary, emergency, fun, luxury heat, since I'm not out there all the time to stoke it, and neither of us can cut enough wood for full time use--I called our insurance company.
No go. Any woodstove in anything they insure has to have the UL approved label for safety. I'd read that you could use these in outbuildings, barns, and such, and hoped my shed would qualify, but nope. So I guess we're looking at a new one...eventually. So far the electric heaters are working fine, without too much (any?) additional on our electric bill, so we'll see.
I DO like having the heat on a timer, so it warms up before I go out...the other day it was only 47 degrees, but that was a lot better than the 28 it was outside! 54 degrees this morning in the shed, but warmed quickly once I turned it up...
Guess this one will go back on Craigslist for someone who doesn't have to deal with insurance or plans to put it in a barn or workshop!
Monday, November 15, 2010
This is the little stove we were originally going to put in the shed...CUTE, but I'd forgotten insurance won't cover these old ones unless it's in a barn or some such. Fooey.
So I had an article to do for Watercolor Magic and figured I might as well sketch the cute little thing! In this case I made a "palette" by scribbing colors on my journal page, then lifting and blending them with water and a brush.
Friday, November 12, 2010
The colors were intense this morning; everything was wet and glowing. I love how the shed echoes the color of weeds and fall leaves. and stands out against the acid green of wild honeysuckle. I know it's invasive, but...
Monday, November 8, 2010
Finally, finally, the waterlogged door trim got dry enough yesterday that I could put the spar varnish on it and protect it from the winter weather! I hope we can get the deck and step done too, but they ARE YellaWood and treated, so they'd be ok...
You may remember this view...we tried fans, heaters, time...and finally the latter was enough. It stayed wet from June to about a week ago, and this is November. (I think this photo was from July...it still looked like that in October!) It would look dry in the afternoon, sometimes, but by morning it would have attracted moisture again...eeep! Mark said it had gotten waterlogged in his chickenhouse...and we used it WHY?? Featured in our OOops Page, above. Recycling is great, but ya gotta use good stuff. I figure those boards cost about $3-$4 each, new...we probably used that much electricity trying to dry it.
Ah well. Done now...
And here's our usual visitor, Pepi, inside looking out, watching me work...spoiled any, you think?
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Want #2: http://www.outdoorblogging.com/a-review-of-the-morso-1410-squirrel-wood-burning-stove/
Either of these are small, efficient, and relatively safe...LOVE the big burning window on the Squirrel. (OK, I like the name, too...I'm really fond of those silly creatures!
God I love wood heat...
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"HOW DO YOU RUN A STOVEPIPE THROUGH A COMBUSTIBLE WALL OR CEILING?
You don't. But if absolutely necessary, the following are approved methods:
- Build a 3.5-inch thick brick masonry wall framed into the combustible wall, with a 12-inch minimum clearance from the clay liner to combustibles.
- Use a solid, insulated, listed factory-built chimney, with a 9-inch air space to combustibles.
- Use a 24-gauge sheet-steel chimney connector with ventilated thimble, plus 6 inches of glass fiber insulation.
- Use a solid, insulated, listed factory-built chimney over a 24-gauge chimney connector, with 1 inch of air space, plus 2 inches from outer wall of chimney section and combustibles.
It followed me home, can I keep it??
OK, I'm not a pink flowered type. But I've been visiting this thing for months now...when we got the chair for the cabin I thought MAN, if that one just weren't FLOWERED. It's small (for an upholstered chair), it's comfortable, it's....flowered.
But the camp chairs in the shed were getting increasingly uncomfortable, and I thought I'd go visit again. J. said "visit, nothing, let's go BUY it." So we did.
Asked Pat at Olde Towne Mall how much...she gave it to me for TEN DOLLARS. Said she needed the room!
AND we found the flowers are just a slipcover. Of course underneath is a kind of white slubby silky stuff, also not me, but hey...
One thing I really like is that it swivels--I can see the birds out the back, the squirrels out the front, then check who's at the door...wheeee!
Deek's a great guy, full of talent, energy and plans--if you haven't seen his Tiny Yellow House videos on YouTube, you're in for a treat. They're fun and funny and inspiring!
Deek's like a throwback to my back-to-the-land days, willing to try things, exploring outrageous solutions that actually WORK. I've just been reading his Humble Homes book with its energetic drawings--as he describes it, “Gary Larson meets Bob Vila” housing/fort/small house/shack book.
I'll admit it's got me thinking, too...
And by the way the photo is from yesterday's artwork at the little desk...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Almost bought a little heater that looked like a wood stove--I know, it's nuts, but it was CUTE!! I was willing to give it space in the shed--till I read the review that said the fake logs were styrofoam and when they heated it made her sick. Uh oh...ceramic heaters don't do that...
>Not impressed with the oil-filled ones...J. knows of two that lost one of their two heating elements in a short time, and the one I had to do with simply didn't offer enough heat.
Five Tips for Buying a Heater
Choosing a space heater is a matter of sifting through a bewildering array of types, power ratings, and fuel sources. Let's break it down a little to make the process easier.
What are the different types of space heaters?
- Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly warms the objects in front of the heaters (rather than the surrounding air). If you only need heat by a desk or in a small section of a room, a radiant heater is quiet and will use very little power.
- Forced-air heaters use a fan to blow air that has been warmed by metal or ceramic heating elements. A forced-air heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but can be noisy.
- Convection heaters draw cold air from the floor; the air is warmed by heating coils and emitted from the top of the heater. A convection heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but also can be noisy.
- Radiators work by heating oil enclosed in a reservoir, gradually heating the surrounding air. If heating speed isn't an issue, you might want to opt for a radiator. These are extremely quiet and effective--perfect for bedrooms.
If you want a heater that will be available in emergencies, or that can heat areas larger than a single room, choose a "combustion" model--one that is powered by a gas or fuel like propane, kerosene, natural gas, or diesel. Which fuel type you choose depends largely on convenience and local availability. For example, diesel would be appropriate for a heater you take with you on long car trips.
How powerful a heater do I need?
Heaters are rated by BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit (the amount of heat needed to heat one pound of water by 1 degree F). To find out how many BTU you need:
- Calculate the volume of the space to be heated by multiplying square footage by height.
- Multiply that number by 4 if your insulation is poor, 3 if it's average, or 2 if it's good.
Do space heaters cost a lot to operate?
As a general rule, electric space heaters are more expensive to use than combustion models. To ensure energy efficiency, a thermostat is a must-have feature for any heater. For radiant heaters, models with a 360 degree heating surface can heat larger spaces. If you need a forced-air heater, models with ceramic elements tend to be more efficient.
Are space heaters a fire hazard?
Space heaters are implicated in about 25,000 residential fires every year. To ensure proper safety, always follow the manufacturer's usage instructions and fill out the warranty card to receive informational updates from the manufacturer. Also, look for extra safety features such as an automatic shutoff switch that can shut down the unit if, for example, it gets upended. In addition, choose a model where the heating element is adequately enclosed within the unit.
Thanks, Amazon, still considering...babble babble...
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Actually, the house is abandoned since a fire a couple of years ago. The owner started to rehab it and someone broke in and stole all the copper...he said to hell with it.
This is the view...not bad, and I don't see it from my desk or the chair, but if I'm on the deck...not so great. A tree would be better, and provide a bit more shade in the summer as well as cover for the birds!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Several people have commented to me that this space would be too small for them, that it felt cramped, that their bathroom was larger than that...and to each his own! I've always loved small spaces and spent much of my childhood in little tourist cabins, tents, or hiding out in my own forts under the front porch or the dining room table! 10 x 10 is what we could afford, what (theoretically!) fit within the City's guidelines as not needing a building permit (wrong), and what I wanted. Sort of an individual, freestanding cubicle--Dilbert would be SO jealous!
So how do you plan for such a small space, and make it work for you? Fortunately I wasn't planning to live there, so didn't have to have plumbing or a furnace...our "real" house is right next door. Here are some of our strategies:
The obvious place for storage is the walls, as most tiny-house fans will agree–even though we have big French doors, a regular door on the North, and two windows, we still have a fair amount of wall space. I purposely designed the shed with no openings on the south, both for privacy (neighbors and a small state highway 3 doors down) and for storage space. Of course, floor to ceiling shelves on that wall (not as deep as many bookshelves, at 8") hold a lot of books, art supplies, coffee and teapot and more, with rectangular baskets for things that are better out of sight. (We left the bottom shelf about 12 inches from the floor and my bedroll/yoga mat fits under there along with a small footstool and the wastebasket. No extra floor space needed!)
The desk, studio lighting, and kitchen area fit on that wall too.
I planned exposed rafters, which give us a great place to hang things so they’re handy as well as up off the floor. Where the rafters meet the walls there are a series of small cubbies–my husband built a narrow shelf to extend that space so lots of books, art supplies and miscellaneous things can be stored there.
Joseph also put Shaker pegs below this shelf, to hold drafting tools, templates, scissors, T-square, and my tambourine and jacket, at the moment. A vintage clothes hanger with two types of hooks holds cups and small pots near my hot plate–all I need for coffee, tea, or soup in this small space.
Three small cubbies are wall-mounted hold other small items–more art supplies, microscope, matches, whatever. Two are above the desk, and one is by the North door.
|An old magazine rack holds catalogs and watercolor blocks; the cubby is a gift from a friend. You can see templates and a ruler hanging from a nail, and more goodies between the rafters and on the windowsill...and OFF the floor.|
Double-duty furniture and accoutrements work too. I found a great little step stool that lets me reach the higher rafter-storage shelves over the French doors; it’s sturdy and the top is hinged for storage. It holds mosquito coils, dustrag, window cleaner, extra matches, incense or whatever–all the unsightly-but-necessary stuff that you don’t want out on the shelves!
|Sure, it was empty THEN...full, now!|
|The top will go up to accommodate larger paintings...|
|Folded up it takes almost no space...|
|The camp chair still folds, but it's a lot more comfortable now...|
Of course I also planned for outdoor storage–the shed has its own mini-shed attached at one side for construction equipment, BBQ, charcoal, tools–you name it. (Right now it still has a lot of the construction stuff.)
You can store things under the building, too. That’s where extra wood is...
When you're planning on a small space, you have to think about what you REALLY need–some things, I’ll admit, as an artist, are there just because they please me aesthetically. But hey, that’s a need, too.
Monday, October 18, 2010
First things first! The folding camp chairs were really inexpensive (under $10 new), but not exactly comfortable after a while. We both have bad backs, and it had gotten so J. didn't like to spend long out there because it HURT.
We shopped endlessly to try to find comfortable padded folding chairs that were also short enough, since I am, looking at hundreds of chairs online (used to have some, but they got away...) We looked at non-folding overstuffed chairs in a variety of thrift stores, but we really need the versatility and the option of chairs we can fold away, in the small space.
Soooo...here's my solution! I tied chair seat cushions to the back to pad that area, and put a nice big soft bed pillow in the seat...that helps a lot with the place where the diagonal legs wanted to dig into my fanny!
Ugly as can be, of course, but a nice down throw we've had for years covers one of them, and a polar-fleece throw the other one. Now they look almost like Real Chairs, and they are a LOT more comfortable!
The other project today was the new page on the tabs at top, dealing with and planning for small spaces! Click the link to see what we've done so far--I'll be adding to it as I think of things, I'm sure...
Saturday, October 16, 2010
But winter's coming and Missouri can get very cold when "there's jes' two bob-wahr fences between here and the North Pole and one a-THEM's down," as I heard an old farmer say once! I know, -12 degrees F. isn't as cold as it's been in some places, but it's not really conducive to sketching...
We didn't install a "real" heating system in the shed...certainly no furnace, no natural gas, and no electric baseboard heat or similar--in other words, nothing that comes on with a thermostat when the temperature drops below a certain level, so water WILL freeze at night or when I'm not there. I won't be storing paints, waterbrushes, or drinking water...
It's a small ceramic heater with 1500 BTUs** (Note! J reminds me that's 1500 watts, not BTUs...), about standard for most electric heaters. (Yes, the floor's still going to be cold till we solve the insulation problem...)
We had originally thought we'd install a small woodstove, and may yet, one day (I really do love wood heat)--but with the necessary clearance from combustibles, it would need nearly 1/4 of the floor space. Hm. That's a LOT.
Plus the fact that I've got arthritis and J. has a bad back, since a fall 4 years ago. Very much wood cutting, carrying, and splitting is NOT an option.
So. Here's something else I'm considering, a home made solar heater.
(Wouldn't you know, plans for one from the 70s fell victim to my Discardia mania a few weeks ago! Yes, I want less stuff, yes I want a simpler life, and yes, they WERE sort of beat up, but I wish I'd thought a bit first...)
Anyway, a home made one could vent right into the AC hole during the winter, and come down and be stored away in summer...I purposely left that big south-facing wall blank so I'd have privacy and plenty of wall space for the books and desk. Plenty of room for a solar panel, too!
Another possibility is a wall mounted convection heater...saw this link on the Tiny House Blog...here's the direct link. http://www.eheat.com/categories/Wall-Mounted-Electric-Panel-Heaters/
Hmmmmmm---wall mounted...more floor space...no vents or additional holes needed...energy efficient...
But for now the tiny heater and the timer are getting the job done...with a nice low-tech heating pad.