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  • Writer's pictureJim Martin

Backing Up to Go Forward

With the Tiny House now safely in its new home, I was eager to tend to some of the scruffier consequences of the move and subsequent exposure to the Vermont winter.

But reality has a way of interrupting my eagerness from time to time. In this case it was the reality that we had just moved into a house that had be inexpertly filpped by the previous owners. We knew we had a lot of painting to do--the entire interior of the house had been primed but not painted. But there were several other things that we hadn't fully appreciated, such as:

  • None of the closets had shelves.

  • Most of the interior doors lacked some hardware--things like striker plates--to make them work properly.

  • The kitchen cabinets were missing lots shelves, shelf-pins, and any sort of hardware pulls.

  • The fridge door opened the wrong way.

  • And about a hundred other things.

Clearly what we needed was a prioritized punch list so that we could settle in to the big house before doing more work on the Tiny House.

Also, and not insignificantly, we both still have day jobs, which we are working largely remotely. We needed to set up a couple of office spaces (and internet) stat.

Once that was done, I unpacked some tools and got to work on the shelving projects. First came a couple of sets of shelves for the garage to further aid in the unpacking of tools and storage in general. I may have over built these. They are just garage shelves after all. Did the plywood need to be recessed into rabbets all the way around? Probably not. But it looks nice and clean.

Then it was on to some of the interior closet shelves. There was a lot to do here, and the speed at which it needed to happen might bear some explanation. So, let me digress a moment.

Jenna and I, over the course of our 30+ year marriage, have moved a lot. And before marrying me, Jenna had already set some kind of ill-conceived record of sixteen moves before heading off to college. Added to that, over the course of our marriage we've moved a head-spinning eighteen times. For Jenna, that's a total of thirty-eight moves. (And, to be clear, that's full-on moves to a new address, often a new school district, etc. Not your piddly moves into a college dorm, or a house-sit for a friend.)

So, mustering the kind of resilience that would become a hallmark of GenX, Jenna developed expert-level moving skills. In fact, this extraordinary skillset, cultivated over many decades and life stages, is largely what kept us safe, sane, and alive over the course of this most recent move. (If you haven't read about the challenges of this most recent move, you may want to start here. It's quite a story.)

The upshot of all this is that Jenna is a world-class unpacker. I've never seen anything like it. Before the moving truck has even pulled away, there is somehow already art on the walls and chocolate chip cookies in the oven.

All that to say, we needed shelves for the closets, and we needed them fast. So fast, the Jenna wouldn't let me paint them. In they went, commando.

I did five closets in all, but apparently I was moving too quickly to take pictures of the others.

There were other issues that needed solving as well. The lack of bedroom closet space led to the decision to install a set of cubicles in this empty space behind the bedroom door. Here's a slideshow of that transformation. (These I did take the time to paint since they would be sitting out in the open.)

One more digression before I get back to the Tiny House. As I was packing and unpacking my tools, I realized that I had multiples of too many things: drywall taping knives, wrenches of the same size, speed squares, etc. This is mostly because I am an inherently disorganized person and often can't find a thing when I need it. So, rather than becoming inherently more organized (something I gave up on years ago), I decided to build something that would serve as an organizational aid. This was a fairly ambitious project inspired by one of my favorite YouTube woodworkers, John Heisz. It's a large ten-drawer tool box in which even the drawer slides are made entirely of wood. It was fun challenge.

Here's a little tour of what stays organized in there.

And we did, of course, get some painting done, because... we are not barbarians.

And then... finally it was time to give some attention to the Tiny House. This is the "backing up to go forward" part. I was really not looking forward to what I might find under the torn Tyvek. How much of the plywood would I need to replace? I mean, it wasn't looking awesome.

Passenger's side is not looking awesome. (But note the siding that's just been delivered there in the foreground. Can't wait to get to that!)

Time time to hitch up the pants, strap on the tool belt and get to work. First I tore off all the plywood that seemed damaged or had started to delaminate.

Then I replaced it with nice fresh plywood.

Aahhhh. So satisfying. Then came the new Tyvek.

It's like it never happened!

Finally ready to get some of that siding on!

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