Tiny House Tuesday // The Walls We Build

The tiny house sat flat on the hill.

It sat this way for a few months. We didn’t want to rush the foundation and who could forget the tropical monsoons that blew through our area in May?

 

But then came June and with it, the first wall.
Tiny House Wall One

With one hefty hoist, the tiny house began to take shape in all of its 9′ x 16′ glory.

 

Then came the second wall and with it, the first corner of the house.

Tiny House Wall Two

 

This is the corner where I’d planned to place the mini-fridge and above it, the mini K-cup coffee machine. But it quickly became evident that this corner would give just enough room for the kids to climb the ladder to their loft, and no more. It’s funny how space seems so much larger on graph paper than in real life.

 

A week later, the third wall and with it, my 8′ window facing the mountains.

Tiny House Wall Three

 

This hoist was the heaviest of all because of the bracing required for that size window. Thank goodness for our neighbor who was kind enough to come over and help.

 

And finally, the day came. The fourth wall was put into place, and with it, a dream began taking the shape of reality.

Tiny House Wall Four

 

Sometimes our circumstances can feel like walls. They close in, suffocating the very life from our lungs, not to mention the peace from our mind. At every turn, we’re reminded of the what if’s, the could be’s, and the plan B’s. It’s often when we feel surrounded with no way out that we look in the one direction where our circumstances don’t cloud our vision: Up.

 

To you, I lift up my eyes, to you whose throne is in heaven.  Psalm 123:1

 

I recently had back-to-back situations where I felt enclosed by my circumstances. In the first situation I was completely helpless. I’d done all I could do to fix a situation but the results were out of my control. After a day of pure panic, I finally looked up. And what came down was a strong sense of security, strength, and peace. Being assured of God’s love and presence allowed me to not only scale the wall of circumstances but to also tear them down.

 

Are there circumstances in your life that feel like they’re closing in? Lift up your eyes, my friend!

 

 

 

Tiny House Tuesday // The Waiting

I stink at waiting.

But I knew waiting was part of the deal when we set out to build our pocket-sized paradise on the hill. We are weekend warriors, after all. But it was the month of May that put me to the test.

 

So, why the wait?

 

First, God opened the floodgates last month. Then, my week-long writer’s conference quickly followed, and finally  we needed to wait on the tax refund check to help with the window purchases.

Ah, the windows. We finally decided to go with two panes over one, a shorter width and a longer length to give it the desired vintage vibe. (I’ll share pictures on Instagram when they arrive.)

While all the windows are energy-efficient due to the books and papers to be stored in my creative space, there are two favorite components which will be vintage: the front window and door. See what you think!

First, the window (minus the wreath), which will sit to the left of the front door. We’re trying to decide if we want to paint it white to match the others. But I love the patina on this window so I’m leaning toward keeping my one black window. Thoughts, anyone?

Tiny House Front Window

 

And then, there’s the front door. I love the larger-than-normal four panes in this old find. Once again, the patina tugs at this old soul but I’m not sure I want a multi-colored front porch. (The Underground Salvage Store in Brevard, NC for the win!)

Tiny House Front Door

Here’s the thing.

We would’ve preferred to continue working on the tiny house but instead, we had to wait. And yet, it was the wait that freed us to discover our vintage treasures.

 

Sometimes we see treasures in the wait that normally escape our notice. Click To Tweet

 

As I type, I await a phone call. Thankfully, it’s not a medical issue⏤and yet, it is an issue, to say the least. I can’t see how something good could come out of this situation if it goes south, but God is meticulously grand at this sort of thing. So, I bow the knee…and trust.

 

I suppose you could say I continue to find treasures in the wait.

 

But these treasures aren’t constructed of wood or glass. Instead, they are truths, gathered from hard lessons that are undergirded in hope.

 

“…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2,3

 

What treasure(s) have you discovered during a waiting period in your life?

Tiny House Tuesday // The Anchor Holds

Tiny House Tuesday

 

 

And holds, and holds…us up.

 

The anchor holds

At first glance, this auger (anchor) appears to be an innocent bystander with its curved staff-like silhouette⏤but don’t let it fool you.

Anchoring the Lil Red Writing House into the ruddy clay ground has proven to be the most aggravating and time-consuming part of this process by far. Because the winds whistle to their own tune on the mountainside all year long, we decided to use six augers on our 9′ x 16′ tiny house. I mean, installing six of these bad boys couldn’t be that difficult, right?

Wrong. I’m convinced I burned enough calories for a honeybun just watching Brian churn the blades into the ground. His entire body weight rested on top of the handle while he went round and round. Today, only one stands above ground. Apparently, that auger made friends with a rock at some point on its journey four feet down and now refuses to budge. But the rest of the augers are where they belong…up to their necks in dirt clay.

But once they’re all in, we’ll use steel wire and turnbuckles (I love that word!) to secure it to the Lil Red Writing House. Knowing she’s anchored brings us comfort on those days the winds rip with such velocity that our metal gliders slide across the deck with ease.

 

Augers aren’t installed once a house is built or when the winds begin to rally their forces. We install them in preparation for the winds that sure to come.

 

Life, like ripping winds, can sometimes threaten to unhinge us but biblical hope assures us that no matter what circumstance comes our way, we are anchored in the promises of God. Click To Tweet

 

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey! If you’re not following me on Instagram, I’d love to meet you there @cathysbaker. If you enjoy all things tiny house, stop by my Pinterest board Future Tiny House Ideas. It receives 701K monthly views so surely there’s something there for you to enjoy! 🙂 If you’re on Instagram or Pinterest let me know in the comments.

And if you missed the backstory post to this tiny journey, you can read it here. Once a month, I create a newsletter that includes a thoughtful word, helpful links, a pretty sweet giveaway, and a new column called Tiny Tidbits. Simply add your email address in the sidebar slot on my blog to receive your monthly copy. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Interested in receiving a monthly newsletter that focuses only on the #lilredwritinghouse journey? I’m considering the idea of creating such a thing so if this would interest you, please take a moment to hit the contact button in the top right corner and let me know. Thanks!

 

So, which promise of God are you leaning into these days?

 

 

Tiny House Tuesday // Foundational Truths

Tiny House Tuesday

As we begin building our tiny house, I’m learning that one of the first things that must be determined is the foundation.

There are options, after all. If you want to travel with your tiny house, you’d opt for a trailer. If you want the option to move it at some point in the future, it would most likely be built on blocks or some other propped up way. And if you’re serious about staying where you live, you might cement that sucker to the ground.

Although we don’t have any plans to move in the future, we chose to use cement blocks for a couple of reasons. One is the flexibility to move it and secondly, it is much more cost efficient than a concrete pad.

Tiny House Foundation

So, a couple of Saturdays ago, Brian and I trekked our way up the hill to determine where the tiny house would go. We took into consideration three things:

  • The view from my desk
  • How we could avoid blocking the pool view
  • How to allow sufficient room for a future picket fence {framing old-timey flowers!}

It’s times like these when I’m reminded how blessed I am to be married to an engineer. While he was spouting out mathematical equations in an effort to get the corners square, I was sipping coffee thinking how much easier it would be to line things up by eye. I guess you could say the tiny house falls under that blessing as well.

If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed a red element in every tiny image. In the photo above, I wrapped the measurements in red in hopes of making it easier to visualize the perimeter of the house (9′ x 16′ + 4′ for the front porch.)

Determining the placement of the house, nailing down stakes, tying strings, leveling, and measuring took several hours but it’s worth the time. If the foundation is off, everything else will be as well.

 

Tiny House

The next to-do was not nearly as much fun, especially for the hubster. He dug down into the southern red clay a few inches around each block, added gravel and stacked flat solid concrete blocks as close to the level string as possible. I enjoyed hauling off the dirt in the wheelbarrow. It reminded me of days when I spent a lot of time working in the yard. And my back reminded me the following morning why I need more exercise.

Tiny House Foundation

Tiny House

Finally, the leveling is done. What made this Saturday workday so special was having my dad come over to help. Can you believe he’s 76? Growing up, we enjoyed doing a lot of projects together. We planted tomatoes and peppers in the backyard greenhouse, cared for an organic garden (before organic was cool), and fished on red banks of clay. I’m thankful the memories continue to build as we work on the tiny house together.

Dad gave me a firm foundation for life and now I see how this also ties into the building of my #lilredwritinghouse.

Structural integrity is required for life and tiny houses alike. Without it, there will be little to show for it in the end.

Tiny House Foundation Scripture

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey! If you’re not following me on Instagram, I’d love to meet you there @cathysbaker. And if you missed the backstory post to this tiny journey, you can read it here. Once a month, I also create a newsletter that includes a column called Tiny Tidbits. In it, I share behind-the-scenes tidbits that aren’t told anywhere else. Receive your copy by simply adding your email address in the sidebar slot on my blog. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Is there something in particular about the journey you’d like to know or see? I’d love to read your comments!

 

 

The Tiny House Dream is Becoming a Reality!

I’ve loved small spaces for as long as I can remember.

The secluded corner in my backyard where wild violets grew, my aunt’s 16′ Bambi Airstream, the treehouse coop by the lake, and the edge of my grandmother’s concrete back steps where I baked magnificent mud pies if I do say so myself.

I recall the first time I spotted a tiny house on HGTV in 2013. It would become the catalyst for countless tiny dreams along the way.

As an adult, I designed tiny spaces in my backyard framing them with picket fences and fragrant shrubs. And then there was Buttercup, the 62 Shasta that Brian surprised me with upon returning from the Blue Ridge Mountains Christians Writers Conference in 2015. It was downright dreamy!

Shasta Buttercup

That is until we tried spending the night in it for the first time. Let’s just say my asthma kicked into high gear and we were forced to sell it. Sigh. But the dream continued!

When we moved to the country in 2016 I scouted for spots on our 3-1/2 acres where a tiny house could perch just so⏤you know, with a full-on view of the mountains. Recently, while perusing tiny houses on the Internet {because that’s what I do *wink*}, I came across my dream tiny house. For copyright purposes, I can’t share it here, but this is the doodle Brian drew.

Tiny House Doodle

 

On the fly, I showed it to Brian at the risk of having the white from his eyes blind me as they rolled back in his head.

 

But without hesitation, he said, “I could build that for you.”

 

I can’t say for sure, but I think I heard the hallelujah chorus play in the background. And just when I thought the dream-come-true couldn’t get any dreamier, my dad offered to lend a hand when we begin building this spring. Family time, fresh air, and the scent of lumber. What more could a girl ask for?

It turns out, I’m not alone in the desire to step away from the distractions.

 

Most of us think of a tiny house as a place to free ourselves from debt, from want, and from material burdens. Perhaps just as important is their ability to free the mind. You’re probably familiar with Thoreau, who sought refuge in a tiny wooded sanctuary to reflect on the nature of simple living. He wasn’t alone in his approach, and in fact, plenty of famous writers built tiny secluded structures to escape distraction and let their creative juices flow. – Tinyhousefor.us

 

I’m excited to see what the Lord will create during my time in the tiny house, as well as other writers who will join me!

 

Unlike the brave, beautiful {and debt-free} souls who live in their tiny homes full-time, I will use our tiny house as an office. Stay tuned as I plan to share more about that, along with its unique features, in future posts called Tiny Tuesdays {every second Tuesday of the month.}

In addition, I hope you’ll enjoy a new column, Tiny Tidbits, in our monthly newsletter. Not a subscriber? No problem! It’s easy. Simply add your email to the sidebar and voila! {You can unsubscribe at any time.} The newsletter is the go-to place for behind-the-scenes on my books in progress, relevant links, and a monthly giveaway that always adds a spark of fun! As a new subscriber, you’ll also receive my e-book, Praying in Every Room of Your Home as my gift to you. Thank you!

Mostly though, you’ll find our new Tiny House journey on Instagram. If you’re not already following me there, please do @cathysbaker #lilredwritinghouse. The #lilredwritinghouse will host an 8′ desk with an expansive window facing the mountains, along with a couple of other unique features. Nope, the house itself won’t be red⏤but that’s where the fun begins!

Bonus: Check out the Tiny House page Susan Stilwell designed for me here.

So, what one thing would you be sure to include in your tiny house?

 

To see famous writer’s retreats, check out this post @ tinyhousefor.us.

The Fragrance of Love: An A-mazing Tiny House

Tiny House

Yes, I LOVE Tiny Houses!  I’m especially drawn to those on the whimsy side, much like the one featured below.

 

Look closely. You may just spot Hansel and Gretel nibbling on the roof.

 

These A-mazing (pun intended) chalets were built in the ’70’s as a vacation rental community in Blowing Rock, NC. Today, they’re sold to private owners.

My guess is that these tiny house houses are propped on the side of ski slope. Can you imagine skiing all day and then coming back to sip hot cocoa by a mod fireplace in this special space? I can’t help but wonder if orange shag carpet might have been involved.

Blowing Rock, NC has a rich history of skiing. Appalachian Ski Mountain began in 1968. It was the first ski area in NW North Carolina and the second oldest in the state.

As a teenager, I drove to the mountain with friends but hunkered down in the ski lodge while they made their way down the mountain. Hey, somebody has to hold down the fort.

A whimsy A-frame at its best

I love how these tiny houses were lined up one-by-one like petit fours on a silver platter waiting to be enjoyed.

 

After all, nothing says cozy like a tiny community.

 

This introvert’s dream tiny house, however, is propped in the middle of nowhere, surrounded only by mountain air and the sound of a stream all astir.

 

A line of A-frame tiny houses in Blowing Rock NC
How about you? Could you see yourself in one of these A-frames? If not, where would your dream second house be located? 
 “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
– William Morris

 

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