Beginning a journey to live more simply…

Archive for the ‘Stainless Steel.’ Category

Shelving in the Kitchen.

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011:

We had our first Ikea experience on our recent trip to Portland and the Oregon coast. Woah.

While there, we fell in love with some storage solutions for the Tiny House’s kitchen. We purchased and have now installed some items from their stainless steel Grundtal collection, including a dish rack/drainer, spice rack, and small stainless shelf.

What we like most about these pieces is how they take advantage of flat wall space for hanging things, creating a vertical storage solution. We think it is a great fit in the tiny house!

Interestingly, it appears that many items at Ikea are only available through in-store purchase. We had hoped to be able to order these items once home from our trip. Turned out we could not.

We did, however, discover an enterprising person who helps solve this problem for folks like us who don’t live anywhere near an Ikea store. will take your list and do your Ikea shopping for you, then ship it directly to you for a reasonable mark-up. We did pay extra for our items, but found the service fair and a good alternative to making the 6 hour drive to our nearest Ikea store.


Tying up loose ends in the shower.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011:

Starting to really tick through those “we’ll get to that later” projects.

Readdressed the water connections on the shower fixture to alleviate a potential kinking issue, put up the cedar trim around the edges of the shower stall, and sealed all stainless steel pannel joints with silicone caulk to prevent water leakage.

Shower Fixture in place.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011:

Coming together: cut holes for running the flexible water supply lines and assembled the shower fixture for installation.

Many thanks to our good friend Katie Birge for her help with figuring out how all the guts to the shower controls went together. Those things are more complicated inside than we ever knew from our general-user background. Pretty cool learning about how things work throughout this project!

Stove heat shield.

Monday, July 11th, 2011:

We installed one of the last components in our cooking area today: a stainless steel splash guard and heat shield.

Our friend Eddie Cler, of Paul’s Machine and Weld, designed and built this small piece to fit in behind our two-burner propane stove.

Our motivation for this addition is two-fold-

First, we felt that the burners of the stove were awfully close to the knotty pine wall and we worried about the potential fire hazard.

Second, we intend to cook. A lot. There are many pasta dishes in our tiny future, and the thought of scrubbing tomato sauce (splatter is inevitable!) off of walls so carefully constructed makes us cringe a bit.

With the stainless steel guard in place, we were able to finish the counter and window trim, leading us closer and closer to a finished kitchen!

Our continuous appreciation and thanks go out to Eddie Cler for all of the help and support throughout this project!

Getting closer on the shower.

Saturday, June 25th, 2011:

Enjoyed a bit of down time from another great week of summer camp by putting up the stainless steel ceiling pannel in the shower.

Our friend Eddie Cler, who designed and produced our shower stall, advised us to secure the stainless steel panels to the mildew-resistant dry-wall using 100% silicone caulk. Installation was a very easy process, though the vinegar base in the silicone got the tiny space pretty spicy as it evaporated off…

We braced the ceiling pannel with some spare 2X2’s and let it sit for a few days for the silicone to cure. Then we returned to put up the shower head and controls. Next step will be to hook it into the plumbing!

Beginning Shower Installation.

Saturday, May 28th, 2011:

Eddie Cler of Paul’s Machine and Welding stopped by the Tiny House to help install the stainless steel shower that he designed and built for us.

With a continued focus on minimizing our use of plastics, we were very interested in an alternative to the standard fiberglass shower unit. Finding a stainless steel shower enclosure became immediately attractive to us, but a quick internet search returned some sobering prices… -Getting into a custom-sized, commercially made stainless steel shower was going to be a few thousand dollars.

We were very fortunate to discover that one of our Camp Ondessonk co-workers had a brother and father who worked in their family’s machine shop business. We were able to enlist the help of some very talented and experienced folks to design a modular, custom-built stainless steel shower enclosure that would meet the needs of our tiny house nicely.

The footprint of the shower is 32″X32″X75″ and consists of a floor panel w/drain, 3 wall panels, and a ceiling panel. All fit together with an overlapping lip system to create water-tight joints and corners. Each panel is attached to the underlying mildew-resistant drywall using 100% silicone caulk as an adhesive. With all panels in place, a final bead of silicone will be drawn over all joints to seal everything up completely.

We are extremely pleased with the shower so far. While it was still a bit of an expense -and has added a lot more weight than fiberglass would have- we really couldn’t be happier!

A HUGE and heartfelt THANK YOU! goes out to Ed Cler for his help with this project. We certainly couldn’t have the shower we wanted in our tiny house without him. Words cannot describe the feeling we had when we heard Eddie say “You know, we can build this thing” when we described to him what we thought was probably going to end up being a pipe dream… He’s been an invaluable friend, teacher, and fearless supporter of this project. Thanks Eddie!

Beginning the Plumbing.

Saturday, January 8th, 2011:

Secured the Stove-side stainless steel counter top in preparation for installing and hooking up the propane 2-burner stove. Applied a liberal amount of 100% silicone, smoothed it out with a concrete trowel, and put the counter right in place.

Next, we situated the point-of-use electric water heater where it will be to begin running copper water pipe. We had originally hoped to install a propane tankless water heater for it’s energy efficiency. We met challenges along the way concerning adequate clearance to alleviate fire dangers. After realizing that a propane tankless water heater wasn’t going to be in the cards, we explored electric tankless water heaters. We were limited here as our electrical system is 30 amp/110V, and all but a few of the electric tankless water heaters we could find were 240V. The few that were 110V were either too high in their amperage needs and would suck all of our power that we’ll need for the rest of the house, or only provided a very small rise in temperature that would make for some very cold showers… So, though not what we had originally set our hearts on, we found a great little point of use 7 gal water heater, the Ariston GL 6+ from Bosch. It only draws 12.5 amps, and will provide some really hot water for the tiny house. In the end, we are very pleased with the hot water solution we’ve found.

We have made the decision to utilize traditional copper water pipe instead of more commonly used PVC. We are making considerable efforts to use non-plastic and non-petroleum based materials in this tiny house. Copper, while it is heavier, more expensive, and a little more work to install (you have to solder each fitting instead of simply glueing), its use is keeping consistent with our plastic-free (in areas where we have a choice) efforts. We like the idea of making an effort to keep the water we’ll be drinking from running through plastic pipes in our tiny home. (We’ll just forget about the miles and miles of plastic (PVC) piping it came to the tiny house in…)

We ended up the day putting some time into the food storage pantry shelves.

Thanks go out to Colleen Shaughnessy, recently back from South Africa, who spent some time in the tiny house with us today working on the pantry shelves and sink dry fit. Thanks as well to Eric Brennan for getting us started on running the copper water pipe!

Dry fitting the stove.

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011:

We put the stainless steel counter top and propane stove in place for a dry-fit test. All is good, and we’re ready to soon secure the stainless steel with silicone, install the stove, and connect the propane line!

Our stove, as recommended by the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, is a nice little 2-burner RV stove made by Suburban. No pilot light or electric ignition, so we won’t have a problem cooking if there is a disruption in electricity.

It’s been a really good holiday break, and we feel like good progress was made on the tiny house. Thanks to all of the folks who helped us get this project to this point, we are so very grateful!

Counter top installation.

Saturday, January 1st, 2011: Happy New Year!

Cut out holes for the bar sink and propane stove in each of the 3/4″ plywood kitchen counters in preparation for installing the stainless steel counter tops.

Eddie Cler came by to assist with installing the first counter top. After cleaning the surface of the plywood of any dust or debris, he applied a generous amount of clear 100% silicone caulk. He used a tile trowel to create an even coating of silicone with a groved surface all over the plywood. From there, we simply laid the stainless steel counter top in place and weighted it down with whatever we could find laying around to keep pressure on the steel as the silicone cures. Pretty simple, and he says that the counter will be kept securely in place for the life of the kitchen!

Thanks to Eddie Cler for designing, manufacturing, and helping to install our stainless steel countertops!

Gas, Tongue Oil & Steel.

Friday, December 31st, 2010: NEW YEARS EVE!

Hooked the low pressure regulator up to the propane tank and charged the gas system to check for leaks. Painted bubble solution onto all of the fittings and then looked for bubbles to form. The system checked out and is good to go!

Before kicking off our 6th annual New Year’s Eve gathering, we put some time into finishing the surface of the knotty pine interior walls. Many hands pitched in as friends began arriving for the evening, making the work quick!

To finish the interior walls, we are using tongue oil, rubbing it into the wood by hand with rags. We choose to use tongue oil as opposed to other wood-finishing products -such as polyurethane- to remain consistant in our desire to avoid petroleum-based materials in this project.

This traditional wood finishing oil is typically diluted with solvents, such as turpentine or other chemicals, but Gabby was able to find a jug of 100% pure tongue oil without any additives for our project. It produced a beautiful effect on the knotty pine, keeping the wood very light and delicate in color, but really allowing the grain to pop out. The oil will harden to a tough finish, and should keep our interior well protected.

As the evening festivities began Ed Cler arrived with our stainless steel countertops and shower pieces! Eddie designed and produced these items for us through his family’s business, Paul’s Machine and Welding Corp. in Villa Grove, IL. They look amazing, and we are excited to see them installed. Thanks Eddie!

Many thanks to Bob Coulson, Hunter Coulson, and Gail Close for their help with the gas line! As well, we are extremely grateful to Emma O’Brien, Kyle Klues, Jen Rheinecker, Josiah Redwood Garvey, Lindsay Rathnow, and Ryan from New Mexico for braving slimy hands to help us apply the tongue oil!

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