where to begin? again.

IMG_5448JM here! – After going through a library worth of images from the past year, I’m having trouble figuring out where to pick up this blog again. Truth is, after what felt like winter’s revenge following the longest autumn of 2015, progress on the T-House O’ Steel was moving along quite nicely. But then, *groan*, I had to go and change my mind… More on that in a bit.




The hard part about building something while planning it at the same time is that you end up with a lot of beginnings and never a full sense of completion. Luckily, the most of the design work for the SteelMaster building was done. Though some things did take some figuring out, there was comfort in knowing that as far as how this thing was going to stand up – their engineers had figured it out.



There still is a fair amount of “field work” to do, namely, these end wall panels that had to be trimmed on site to fit the interior of the curved edges. Nothing that can’t be done with a good jig saw or grinder, you might say. But you really only get one shot – it’s not like you can run down to Lowe’s and get another panel if you screw up. In the end, holding each panel up against the edge and tracing the edge with a Sharpie seemed to work fine.

JC: There are a few things JM is not telling you about the past year. I have to say, this tiny house (and blog) is a great experiment, not only in building, but also in relationships. Namely, our relationship. What secrets am I allowed to reveal here? What underbelly do we want to show?

Being artists, our family lives financially close to the bone. Everybody knows that couples haggle over money. So, truthfully, money was my #1  worry when I said yes to the tiny house. Money is involved in every decision. And, I think, money (both in terms of time away from paid work and in goods) is part of what has caused this project to inch along so slowly.

Here’s what happened to JM while he was creating the fourth wall, the wall that he chose not to buy with the  SteelMaster kit since it wasn’t clear exactly how it was going to be finished.

He decided to build it out of wood.


He framed it with 2″ x 4″ studs, over which he laid plywood, leaving room for door and windows. This took him a few months. When it was done, it looked well-made, like all his work does.

But something about it bugged him. He couldn’t sleep. He became haggard and distracted. I felt happy the space was contained, argued with him about his inability to be satisfied with his work. I felt frustrated, not knowing what to say to make him see that what he did was good.


Then, one day, I heard the rip of nails from wood. I went outside to find him tearing the whole thing apart. I shouted, “What are you doing??” and he just kept saying, “It’s not right. It’s too heavy, it’s ugly, it’s not right.”

Next thing I knew, the wall was gone. All I could think about was money, how much the materials had cost him, how much time he had put into building that wall, making it right. I was pissed. I fumed. But after awhile, I realized: It’s like writing a novel. People always ask me why it takes so long to write a novel. “Why don’t you just write ten pages a day? In a month, you’d have 300 pages!” They are right. I would have 300 pages. But they’d be 300 BAD pages that no one would want to read. It has to be GREAT, not just good, or it’s not going to be worth the paper it’s written on. On any one novel, I have ripped out hundreds of pages, all for the sake of making a great product.

So, when JM asks in the title “Where to begin again?” he’s got experience. Another wall has come into being since that wooden one. More about this new wall, and other tales from the underbelly, next time.


3 thoughts on “where to begin? again.

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