The house is now a structural reality. Charley McKenney and I met the general contractor Pat Fuhrmann today along with his subs to go over the custom cabinetry and the electrical needs for my tiny house. It was perfect spring weather with an incredible cross breeze blowing through the window and door openings. And the views from the windows are even more spectacular than I had imagined. Again, I should have taken my fancy camera with a zoom lens, but instead shot the following photos with my iPhone.
With the foundation complete, I and my architect, Charley McKenney, took Eco Friends Pest Control out to Tumble Moon to do the first phase of the termite treatment. The second and final treatment will have to wait until after all construction and exterior grading have been completed.
Tumble Moon now has a well, pump house, and garage. Things are really beginning to pick up steam, and if I’m not careful, I could easily become overwhelmed. Even though I experienced the renovation of my home here in Dallas, building something from scratch is a whole ‘nother ball game. And then there’s the driving back and forth to Saint Jo in a single day (two hours there and three frustrating hours back) that will have to be done more frequently.
When a traditional nightstand won’t fit, a wall-hung option can be a perfect solution. My bed will be located within the gable alcove, and with only an eighteen inch clearance on either side, a traditional nightstand was going to be too much mass and clutter. After an extensive online search, I found a very affordable option that also had interesting character at El Paso Import Company. I’ve ordered one to make sure it will work for me. If it doesn’t, I would have only spent $29 and can easily use it somewhere else at Tumble Moon. There is one concern, and that is the depth of the shelf, which is listed as being seven inches. That’s not deep enough. Perhaps it can be replaced. We’ll see when it arrives, and I’ll post photos of it.
Design Development. We (Charley McKenney and I) have now moved from the schematic phase to the design development phase. Actually we’re further along and are now way into the construction document phase, but this post is about the design development and includes all the interior elevations. You know… the fun stuff. Once you have clicked over to the entire post, please remember that by clicking on an image, you will see a much larger version. While you’re in the large version mode you can click the right arrow which will take you to the next drawing. This way you don’t have to exit this mode in order to get to the next image, but you will need to exit in order to read the captions.
I finally decided on a name for my new piece of heaven, Tumble Moon. It’s the name of a Texas Dude ranch in an old campy film called Lightning Strikes Twice (1951). It seems that all the other name combinations that might describe my property’s uniqueness were already spoken for by multiple apartment complexes.
For my new piece of heaven, I envision a traditional southern vernacular. What I don’t envision is an open floor plan where the ground floor is one room with the kitchen lining one to two walls and all the furniture grouped in the middle. This trend seems to be prevalent for just about all new builds of small houses. In my opinion, an open concept is a cop-out for traditional vernaculars. It’s a lazy approach to space planning and has no appeal or charm, and it certainly isn’t what one would expect to find when viewing the house from the outside. On the other hand, having a lot of walls and interior doors can be claustrophobic in a small house. I believe a compromise is in order.
Since the chosen building site within the 8.5 acreage is a small open meadow, a compact footprint (600 to 800 square feet total) is required with the living and kitchen spaces on the ground level and the bedroom(s) on the second floor. In the last five years, the tiny house movement has really caught on, and there are now numerous online sources where you can download free tiny house plans. I found one particular plan at The small House Catalog that is a great example of how a small home’s interiors can be divided without a lot interior walls and still be open. Click on the link below to see this floor plan.
Topography maps are fascinating and incredibly beautiful. To get a better understanding of the terrain on my soon-to-be-purchased piece of paradise, I turned to my old friend Google to hunt out topography maps. The map I chose for this post, which includes my acreage, is especially beautiful because of the etched valleys spreading south from the Red River creating what looks like green crazy fingers or maybe upside down Christmas trees.
With this topography map and using InDesign, I then layered it with two other image files, the site survey and Google’s aerial view, in order to know exactly where my property lies and verify what I already suspected, the entire 8.36 acres lies on the north slope of a large bluff. Sometimes this hill and the larger one to the east are referred to as Tyler Bluff, but more often, the larger east hill is the only one labeled as such. At least one edge of my acreage lies at the base of the hill where an access road has been created.
Click the link below for the entire topography map of this area.
Located just outside of Saint Jo, Texas in what’s referred to as the North Texas Hill Country, lies 8.36 acres of paradise. The closing isn’t until November 25, but I’ve been calling this place “mine” for the past two weeks. Saint Jo lies in Montague County, but this acreage is in Cooke County. This area may not be fashionable for those looking for a country retreat, but that’s what makes it so perfect for me—an unspoiled weekend getaway. Plus, on a good day without road construction, it only takes 1.5 hours to drive there.
I caught this bug while visiting a good friend’s place up there. She owns 34 acres and is currently turning it into a retreat for school and church groups. She knows all the different contractors that would be required to install fencing, sink a water well, install a septic tank, and build a house. In other words, she’s done all the hard work for me.
In the next post, I’ll go into further detail about the location and terrain. And a third post will be needed to explain my ideas for a tiny house. So stay tuned. In the meantime, click the link below for more photos taken during my walk around this property.