Summertime and the Living is Easy


Sunday was the official start of summer and typically living in Portland means a sense of desperation by the time June roles around.  The rain and clouds sometimes make their way into what should be the summer and it makes a person ready for some much needed sunshine. This was one of our dilemmas when considering life in a very small space. We moved in at the end of July last year and wondered if the first few months were so enjoyable simply because we spent so much time outside. Picturing the weather changing and the use of outdoor space declining made me wonder how it would change our feelings for the house. We will be coming up on a full year soon and I am happy to report the weather never gave us cabin fever.  There is nothing like a cozy space with lots of windows that has everything you need or want.  We have actually had an unusually nice year in Portland and it has felt like summer has been brewing since February. But…I won’t say I am not excited for the gloriousness, the magic, the pure bliss of summer in Portland, OR.

FullSizeRender (8)IMG_4330I have a passion for summer, I put summer on a pedestal.  Summer represents all things fun, amazing, and carefree.  I get a thrill from seeing rhubarb in the store because to me nothing says summer is coming like rhubarb for sale.  Before the start of summer I like to make a list of things I want to do while the weather is nice, things like berry picking, backpacking trip, Brew-cycle, sunset picnics, paddle boarding, and the list goes on.  Often it is too much to accomplish in one summer but it inspires us to take advantage of any free time we do have.

Our plan has been to live in the tiny house for at least a year before purchasing a house, then use the tiny house in our future backyard to rent on Airbnb.  Adam will be done with Academy in July and we have decided that a couple months of good old-fashioned summer fun are much needed.  Last summer Adam built this house while working full time and with our current plans of buying a house to re-model, it would be nice for him to have some time between Academy and home renovations.  Plus, we love it here and can’t think of a better place to spend the summer.  We live next to a 90 acre park so it feels like we are surrounded by nature, on the other side of us we have a lively neighborhood with restaurants and bars that we love walking to on summer evenings.  

This year has gone by so fast, but it feels like we really lived it to the fullest.  Looking back at pictures from this year I realized how many new things we did or became interested in.  Adam is really into fly fishing, and I mean REALLY.  I climbed my first mountain with my dad.  I think the tiny house has a lot to do with it.  Its amazing how fast a year can go by, and when you reflect on it nothing out of the ordinary happened, it just got filled with the day-to-day busyness that all seems to blur together.  That still happens occasionally and in no way am I suggesting I have unlocked the secret to living life.  I just think we have had the opportunity to be less in our own world and more out in the world.  Without being surrounded by a larger house filled with our belongings that remind us “I really need to finish that project” or “why did I buy that” we can focus more on the moment and how we ultimately want to be spending our time.

I hope you all have a memorable summer!

Adam & Chelsea

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The garden beds Adam built
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This was in the Spring, BLOOMS out every window!
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Our resident fireman
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Our resident porch sitter

I Married a Cabinet Maker


You know when you are really busy in life and you still find time to build cabinets all by hand? Me either…but I live with a mythical creature who did just that. _IGP4794 There were a few things that didn’t get finished in the house before Adam started Academy, the biggest was the kitchen cabinets.  Until now we just had open shelves beneath the countertop, which worked fine, just didn’t look as nice as finished cabinets.  I didn’t think Adam would have the time to try his hand at custom cabinetry, but a couple of months ago he decided to start working on them.  He likes having projects to work on and it seemed to be a nice break from studying and thinking about work.  Though he has never built cabinets he did an amazing job!  He added some great features that we couldn’t have had when purchasing pre-made cabinets.

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IMG_0883 I would give the cabinet-maker 6 stars out of 5 on yelp
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They are the same color as the exterior of the house
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Countertop is birch butcher block from ikea
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The bottom drawer is designed for dog bowls, they will be recessed in and out-of-the-way when needed.
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Leaving the drawer half-open for access to the water dish will be much better than having it on the floor and constantly kicking it over!

Another update we did recently was to paint the exposed plywood walls. Originally we had white washed the plywood and really liked the look of seeing the wood grain, but after a few months it seemed like the walls looked more yellow than white. We realized that we probably should have put a stain-blocker on first to seal the wood and prevent any oils in the wood from bleeding through. We ended up putting on a coat of stain-blocker and then painting all the walls the same color (Designer White). I really liked the wood walls but this made a big difference visually, it looks more finished and brighter overall.

http://www.stikwood.com

I recently discovered Stikwood and think this will be the next addition to the back wall in the house.  If you haven’t seen this stuff check it out, I recently discovered it and wish I had known all along! It is real wood but cut super thin, it has adhesive backing so you can create accent walls, headboards, anything really!  http://www.stikwood.com

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This pullout is great for stool seating
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I think its safe to say Jesse has fully adjusted and is enjoying her small domain

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

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Typically getting in the Holiday spirit for me involves a few key things:

1. The Christmas tree hunt– This is by far the most important tradition, and was practically law in our family growing up.  We have never set foot on a Christmas tree lot or tree farm in all of my existence, well there was the year my mom came home with a tree from a lot, we were stunned and confused.  Anyway… we like to forget about that year.  The weekend after Thanksgiving we get a $5 permit and head to the forest to find an inevitably  homely looking tree with tons of natural charm.  This year was no different except the tree was about 1/4 the size.  Adam even felt the need to yell “timber” as he sawed down the little Doug Fir using a plastic butter knife or something with similar strength.

2. Collecting insane amounts of evergreens, sticks, pinecones, red berries and other natural flora to make wreaths out of, or simply drape on any open surface that can use a little Christmas cheer.  This had to be toned down quite a bit  this year due to size restrictions and lack of surface area but was still possible.

3.Making and decorating sugar cookies –This one was not achievable in the tiny house, in-fact sometimes it barely feels possible in a regular sized kitchen; the rolling, cutting, baking, frosting assembly line moved to my sister’s house this year.

4.Giving>Getting – This may sound cliché but nothing makes the sentiment “it is better to give than to receive” more true than living in a tiny house!  Each year we like to do something for people we don’t know.  Usually we take cards and Christmas cookies to homeless people.  This year we tried something new.  We “adopted” a family through a local charity and based on the information given about their situation and needs we bought items for the family.  The idea was to focus less on buying and receiving gifts among our families and instead help out a family who really needed it.

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Charlie Brown could see the beauty

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I want to prepare you for what you are about to see…if like me, you imagined living in a tiny house as an opportunity for a simple, minimal lifestyle where everything has its place, then you are right, but that Feng Shui can be thrown out of whack REAL FAST.  Let me reveal a glimpse into the reality of living in a tiny house, or at least my occasional reality.  You see, everything may have its place but what happens when you have 15 Holiday packages to create for instance?

This does…

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BEFORE and…… AFTER

I usually just laugh and send a picture of the chaos to my co-workers.  Doing any kind of project is tricky, and for my job I often have them.  When I have tasks for work like organizing 30 pairs of demo running shoes I do it at a friend’s house.  This hasn’t been a problem necessarily, just a change, a slight inconvenience.  The silver lining is spending more time with friends!

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Christmas morning sunrise

Christmas was different this year, not just because we had a smaller tree or less presents for each other, but because we woke up Christmas morning on the North Shore of Oahu and the day before Adam had no clue we were headed there!  We had to cancel a two-week vacation we had booked to Peru when Adam took the job with Portland, we paid a change fee to the airline and had to use the vouchers before February.  He had 4 days off at Christmas and we decided to use them for a mini-vacation.  Two weeks before I saw that flights to Hawaii had dropped in price and I asked Adam if he was ok with me surprising him with a location, he is always up for these kind of shenanigans!  I packed our bags and kept it quiet.  He didn’t find out until I met him in the car wearing a snorkel as we headed to the airport on Christmas Eve.  Though it didn’t feel like a typical Christmas, eating at a food truck for Christmas dinner and basking in the sun turned out to be a special way to celebrate without the distraction of presents and production of a big dinner.  We missed our family but it was just what we needed.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  2015 is full of possibility and we hope good things come to you whatever they may be!!!!