A Tribute To The Bell Maker

Front Porch

Front Porch- Zen gong and antlers in place!

Much time has passed since I’ve posted, but a thank-you is long overdue.

I had decided early in the project that a unique “door bell” was in order for such a unique home. Ornate door knockers were considered until the round window motif for the door settled in. I’m a fan of architect Henry Yorke Mann’s work, and upon perusal of some of his project photos, spied an image of a Zen gong in an entry porch and felt something similar would be the perfect way for visitors to announce themselves to Runehaven. Finding a bell/gong maker was not easy, but eventually an Internet search uncovered Silvio the Bell Maker, an artisan in Half Moon Bay, CA. Through some introductory email communication, we agreed that the timing would be perfect for him to craft my gong after his annual Spring desert retreat.

Zen Gong Door Bell with Autumn spider pal

Zen Gong Door Bell with Autumn spider pal

Throughout the transaction, Silvio was a pleasure to do business with. He claimed to be a little too “old school” for Paypal, so when the time came, I called him with payment information and he made a point to head out to the shop to play the bell’s tone for me over the phone– absolutely gorgeous, and I found it even more so in person when it arrived. Silvio is also “old school” when it comes to providing charming and solid customer service, not to mention the fact that my “door bell” stands as evidence of his superlative craftsmanship. For anyone interested in his work, he can be found at www.imakebells.com. Thank you, Silvio, for your stunning contribution to my home!

First Runehaven Tour

It’s been quite a journey to get to a (fairly) finished little Hobbit-cabin, but as the dust begins to clear, it all feels worth it. The moving-in process has commenced, and more photos will follow once the place is stocked and furnished, but for now, here’s a peek at the freshly pressed project!

Getting close…

We’re into the final weeks of construction, and although I don’t yet have many interior photos to share, the final touches are going into place. Flooring installation and cabinets are in progress, and I just ordered the plumbing fixtures for the tub and shower.

Here’s an image from about a week ago, pre-kitchen-counters; the tall cabinet on the left side is a built-in pantry:
interior progress

And here’s a view of the back end of the house, with its “Medicine Wheel” window. I’ll eventually get around to painting the instant hot water heater to something more subtle than bright white. The hatch on the right side is access for the propane tanks.
Medicine Wheel windowI’m presently in the process of seeking a place to put the cabin… either in the northern neighborhoods of Seattle in order to remain with my current job… or through landing a new job on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula where opportunities for parking tiny cabins are likely easier to come by. Wish me luck!

Construction Photo Update

I’m so excited about the progress happening with the cabin construction! Things are moving quickly now that interior work is progressing. Plumbing and electrical are in and the interior birch tongue-and-groove paneling is partially in place. I’m scrambling on the final items left on my design plate: tile selection, door hardware, bathroom door and various interior hardware items… in addition to the daily decisions made in response to a flow of questions coming from the builder. This morning’s discussion was on the construction of the exterior doors; they’ll be vertical-plank painted fir on the exterior surface, and birch plywood on the interior, to match the birch ply used for most of the cabin’s interior vertical surfaces (the birch T & G, on the other hand, covers the interior curved surfaces, thanks to the boat-like shape of the structure).



birch tongue-and-groove

birch tongue-and-groove

tankless water heater- to be painted black

tankless water heater with pipe cover


Tiny House Gift Guide

Winter Magic by Per Breiehagen

With the year-end holidays approaching, the question arises:  what do you get for someone who lives in 200 square feet or less?… someone who likely does not have the extra square inches of space for this year’s trendiest nicknacks and gadgets?

There are several good options out there. Consider giving the gift of an experience, rather than a material object. Concert tickets, restaurant gift certificates, festival passes, sporting events, and travel vouchers are all fabulous ideas. Take into account your gift recipient’s interests and hobbies– is there a local gathering or convention that she would appreciate attending?

Books are a great option for the avid reader, especially if said bibliophile owns an e-reader such as a Kindle, or an iPad (and if he doesn’t– well, there’s another fantastic gift idea). Good old-fashioned hard-copy books remain a solid classic gift idea as well, even for the Tiny Houser, because of the ease of end-of-use trade-in at a local used book store.

And then there is music… and film… both readily available in digital formats galore, which, like e-books, don’t take up any physical space at all. Grab an iTunes gift card if you’d prefer the recipient make her own media selections.

Tiny Housers:  for those of you who do have a list of ‘wants’ or ‘needs’ for your small abode (or for your life in general), set up an Amazon Wish List and share the link with friends and family so they know what you do actually have (or will make) space for. Mine is here, and I love surprises (wink, wink): http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/28PBR2MK7ABVV . Be sure to set up your Wish List with a preferred mailing address so would-be gift givers have the option of shipping treasures directly to you (it shows up publicly as a basic city location, so you’ll remain safe from your personal army of stalkers). And Amazon now has a Wish List feature called Wish From Any Website, so you’re not limited to Amazon’s repertoire, vast as it may be. It’s simply a matter of downloading the browser add-on (it was a painless process with Firefox), then clicking on the new Amazon icon in your browser’s tool bar whenever you visit a web page displaying a desired item (it allows you to add notes which will appear in your Amazon Wish List, if you want to specify color, size, desired options, etc.).

Of course, all of these gift-giving ideas apply to celebrations throughout the year, not just Yuletide:  birthdays, anniversaries, just-becauses, and of course Tiny House warmings!

Happiest of Holidays to you! May your home be a place of every warmth and coziness this season, regardless of its size!
Christmas tree snow

Design Changes

A number of design changes have happened recently with the project, mostly due to a return to the big picture after taking my head largely away from the project to deal with other aspects of life, and subsequently realizing that some of the factors driving earlier design decisions have changed or no longer exist. None of the changes will yet be illustrated by photographs, as the project is poised at a point to move from the exterior envelope to the interior, and is, as such, currently an empty shell.

The earlier version had an RV-inspired dinette just inside the entry, which converted to a guest sleeping space. But the character of this space was defined by an original intention for end-wall windows flooding the space with natural light… which ended up not being feasible due to the building shape. Out of concern that such an important functional space would be less desirable to occupy out of relegation to a somewhat dim corner, a closet and and entry bench have replaced the dinette. And a more flexible ‘lounge’ sitting area (which can still double as a guest sleeping space) occupies the space between the entry zone and the more open central portion of the structure (forming part of a ‘great’ room). Dining now takes place at the end of the galley kitchen, at a location which doubles as desk & workspace (with pull-outs below to stow away the office equipment when not in use).

Because blog posts have happened more sporadically of late, I’ll include the latest construction photos, for those of you who have been asking for updates!

Back From Distractions

After a lag in time since my last post, due to such distractions as needing to find a new job and a new place to live, I’m back to post a few recent project photos.

The exterior shingling is well underway…

shingling in process

shingling in process

exterior shingles

exterior shingles

And the skylight framing is in place…

skylight framing

skylight framing

And in the back end of the cabin, the instant hot water heater is in place. The rectangular opening in the lower right is an access hatch for the propane tanks, and will be fitted with a door that follows the curve of the side walls. Both the large circle and the small diamond shapes are window openings.

the back end

the back end

Operation Purging and Packing- Phase I

Before I get started with the purging and packing process, here are the latest construction photos:

Purging and packing is something that most people go through when facing a move, but it takes on an entirely new significance when moving into a very small abode. Admittedly, I am going about it in two phases, packing up certain things for now that may or may not fit into the simple living lifestyle, with the understanding that a second purge will happen with anything that does not fit upon move-in. That said, many trips have been made to donation centers thus far, another growing pile is destined for my brother’s neighborhood garage sale this weekend, and this evening’s project is to photograph anything worth putting on Ebay.

Over time and through experience, I have come across some great advice for the purging/clearing process… such as, when trying to decide whether or not to keep an item, pay attention to your initial gut feeling about the object. Does it remind you of a particular person, or a time or event in your life? Is the experience with the person or the event positive or negative? Subconsciously, every time you see this object, it elicits the same emotional response, so for a peaceful home environment, it is important to only house items that have positive associations.

Another gem is to take time before you begin a clearing project to get really clear about what you want your life to look like. Develop a character name or a title for the person you most wish to be. While choosing between the keep and discard piles, ask yourself, “Is this something my Super Self would want or need?” Living like your Super Self brings you that much closer to being that person.

And here’s one more. If you find yourself resisting giving up objects because you value the memories they represent, consider taking photos of the objects (digital photos that do not take up any physical space are a particularly good way to go)– you’ll access the same memories through the photos, and won’t have the residual objects cluttering up your living space.

Keeping things simply because you “might need it later,” is a fear-based pattern. It’s a message to your inner self that “I won’t be able to afford to get another one later if it turns out I need it.” Perhaps a better way to think is in terms of trusting the Universe that you will always have what you truly need– it’s a more pleasant way to think, anyway. Trust tends to draw the good things in life to you. Fear does the opposite.

These books have also been a great personal inspiration in the purging/clearing process:
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Happy clearing!

Recipe For A Cabin

I would rather live in a cabin than a house, so that is what I’m calling it.

John Bauer

Recipe for a cabin:

  • wood stove… check.
  • hammock… check.
  • sleeping loft… check.
  • cast iron cookware… check.
  • low-tech toilet… check.
  • teakettle… check.
  • candles and lanterns… check.
  • cozy reading nook… check.

Let’s see… did I leave anything out?


Project Photo Update