timber frame

Arts & Crafts & New Garage

I think it's time to dust the cobwebs of this old blog and update y'all on what's new with Tiny Timber.  To summarize our activity over the last four months: we finished the last two homes on our Ellis Hollow subdivision, are currently working on three homes in the city of Ithaca on Hector Street, one of which is about to be finished, and will be moving on to a new Ellis Hollow subdivision in the next couple weeks. For anyone driving in and out of town on Hector Street, our homes under construction can be seen to the south up on the ridge like a big Tiny Timber beacon. The feedback that we have been getting from the Ithaca community has been wonderful and we appreciate it very much. To say that we have been busy is putting it mildly. We are currently booked through the end of the year and are working on figuring out just how to keep up. 

The last home that we completed was our final home on the Ellis Hollow subdivision. The model is called the Arts and Crafts Home. Arts and Crafts refers to a design and architectural movement that occurred during the late 19th and early 20th century. Click HERE if you're curious about it and like to be distracted by esoteric history. Arts and Crafts in this context refers to the roof line that we incorporated into the design. The roof slopes down in the front and back of the home with dormers that peek out from the top. Without further ado, here are some images of the home. These images and more can also be found on our galleries page.

I only uploaded one picture of the exterior of the home because to be honest I wasn't happy with how the photos were coming out. Ithaca looks a little bleak at the moment in my opinion. I'll upload more exterior shots once we start getting a little greenery around here. This home is the first slab on grade home that we have built and we are delighted with how it turned out. The sealant we used for the concrete gives the floor a nice sheen and radiant floors on the first level will make for some happy feet.

We also for this job built our very first two door garage! It's essentially a very small Tiny Timber house with the same aesthetic just with a pared down wall system. We now offer one and two door garages as a standard option for all our builds provided there is space on the lot. The clients for this job opted for glass front garage doors which I think look wonderful. Take a look below.

That's all for now and thank you for reading and checking out our latest and greatest. Also, keep an eye out for this sign coming to Varna soon on the corner of Freese Road and Dryden Road!

 
 

The Cottages at Fall Creek Crossing

We are thrilled to announce the release of our new website for The Cottages at Fall Creek Crossing (at www.cottagesatfallcreek.com) formerly known as Varna Tiny Timber. These homes are now officially on the market and ready to be sold! I urge anyone who is interested to peruse the new site and the listings posted on Brent Katzmann's Warren Real Estate page. We are very excited about what we have put together and hope you like it as well.  Thank you to those who have been waiting patiently for this news. It turns out that site plan and storm water management take a bit of time to iron out.

We have also significantly updated our model selection. Take a look! We added a few new models and phased out models that we don't think work as well. The "Models" tab has been changed to "Example Models" because the list of models is an ever evolving list. We don't want to give the impression that we are restrictive with model options and interior layout.

To be honest, the naming of models has become surprisingly difficult. We want to keep things as straightforward as possible in the way that our model options are organized and separated into series. There has been so much design overlap that it is difficult to categorize what we have. The easy thing to do would be to name our models arbitrary names like "The Charlotte." I'm not too fond of the idea but there are only so many iterations of cube names that we can come up with. It does make me very happy that we have a model named "Cuboid." It sounds like an 80's arcade game character.

We have posted two new galleries of completed homes on the Tiny Timber website. You can view them HERE. We are proud of the craftsmanship of our crew and the finishes on Tiny Timber homes continue to get better and more refined. I continue to be impressed by the way that our stairs are coming out. The big wooden homemade block treads, homemade railings, steel spindles, and steel stringers all come together so nicely. In the words of our fearless leader Buzz, "dude, these are cool."

There are a couple of new building methods that are also worth mentioning. Firstly, we have started doing our basement ceilings a little differently. Instead of using traditional floor joists and dry-walling the basement ceiling, we have started using rough cut hemlock beams with hemlock boards on top to create the same aesthetic as the ceiling on the first floor (see top right). Secondly, we have just started fabricating entire wall and roof sections in our mill (see bottom right). The wall sections will then be shipped to the job site to be assembled using picks and a crane. We are really excited about this change in method because we think (fingers crossed) that it will be much more efficient and save everyone time and headache. Our crew is pretty happy about it too because they get to work in the warm mill and not in the freezing cold out on the man lift. Win, win!

That's all for now. We here at Tiny Timber hope you all had a lovely holiday season!

Quick Update

Mill-workers constructing Big Cube kits

Mill-workers constructing Big Cube kits

Spring is upon us and for Tiny Timber that means prime building season is beginning! We have brought 4 new employees onto our team to prepare for the coming months and we are excited to have them on board. They can be seen above learning the ropes building kits in our newly operational mill. We're grateful to have such skilled builders on our team.

We have been working hard to finish our first home in Hector, finish setting up our mill/warehouse, begin development on the Ellis Hollow property, and prepare the kits for the next two homes that we will be constructing (both big cubes). Our friends at STREAM have put together complete timber cut-lists for us with detailed drawings of every piece and a schedule list of piece counts. This has made the whole kit building process a breeze. Here you can see what the cut list looks like all together; it's a Tiny Timber skeleton!

Tiny Timber skeleton rendering

Tiny Timber skeleton rendering

I also wanted to let everyone know that we have one more lot available on the Ellis Hollow site if anyone is interested in joining the wonderful community out here. Below I have posted some pictures of the available lot as well as our progress on the shared driveway construction.

 
 

I will be posting pictures of the fully constructed Large Lofted L very soon to add to our homepage gallery and as always, thank you for reading!

Ramping Up

New work truck: Ford Super Duty F780

New work truck: Ford Super Duty F250

At the beginning of the week, Buzz and I drove all the way to to Lima Ohio to pick up the trucks seen above at Magnam Truck & Equipment. While we were there we serendipitously stumbled across a decal shop in the back of a gas station and deli down the road from the truck shop. We had these made up to put on the doors of our new trucks. Keep an eye out for us driving around town town! I've been procrastinating on putting them on though because it's cold outside and the application process isn't exactly easy.

 

Tiny Timber truck decals

 

We drove the Volt out to Ohio and ended up towing the car back behind the red truck. Everything went swimmingly other than the dense fog which slowed us down and the over-consumption of chain restaurant food. As a guy who normally drives a Honda Fit, towing a car behind me with a large truck made me feel simultaneously nerve racked and tough. Truth be told I'm glad to be back in my little car again but acquiring these trucks will help us stay on top of things as the springtime housing rush hits. This brings our total number of company trucks to 3. I personally think that's enough to start calling it a fleet.

We have been kept very busy in the last month listening to feedback from potential home-buyers and figuring out what works and what doesn't in our designs. We've been modifying our designs and creating new designs to accommodate for what folks need and want in a home. In the next week or two we hope to completely update the "homes" section of our webpage. We will be adding multiple new models and improving old ones. Here is a taste of what's to come. The first is a single story, 2 bedroom home. We will also be offering a one bedroom version of this home which will omit the wing on the beck side.

The second is what we call the "Big Cube." The cube design that we have already released on our website is an 18 foot by 18 foot square footprint whereas the Big Cube is 21 foot by 21 foot square footprint. This adds over 100 square feet per floor and we think really opens up the layout. We are really excited about this design because the layout is beautiful and it's about the best square footage price you can get for this size home.

We are looking into offering 3D virtual reality panoramic views of our homes as well. It's amazing what we can do with technology these days! This feature will literally allow folks to visualize how each model will look from the inside. Hopefully not too long from now we will have these to view for all of our models on the website.

Finally, I wanted to let everyone know we will be changing our pricing schematic soon. We will be changing our base price to include a finished basement. We've decided to go this route because although it does increase the cost a little, the square footage price drops dramatically and we think it's in most folks best interest to include the finished basement. Suddenly our little homes don't feel so little anymore! That being said we will still be offering an unfinished basement option or the option of omitting the basement entirely if that's what folks would like.

As always thank you all for reading and have a lovely day! Stay tuned for more!

New Model Renderings

Our friends over at Stream Collaborative have put together some lovely Computer generated renderings of the four models that we have so far. They really give a great perspective on how the finished homes will look and feel and allow you to visualize the size difference, More information about model can be found under our homes tab. For visual comparison, all the pictures of prototypes taken for the blog and the homepage are showing the Tiny Timber Two model design. Here are the model renderings:

Tiny Timber One single story one bedroom one bathroom

Tiny Timber Two two story loft one bathroom

Tiny Timber Three two story 2 bedroom (or 1 bedroom and loft) one bathroom

Tiny Timber Four two story up to three bedrooms and two bathrooms

Thank you as always for reading!

New Model Plans and Development

Hi all! Things are really beginning to come to fruition for us and we are on the brink of delving into our first real projects. We couldn't be more excited. Before we get to that though, here's a quick update on the second prototype: it's all done and looks as polished as we'd hoped! One of our favorite features of this house is a custom bridge that we built traversing the dip in the ground to the front entrance. We decided this was much more classy than leveling the land. Plus it makes it feel a little like a castle. Here are some picture of the finishing touches:

We are also happy to announce the release of many of our model floor plans! Due to a great amount of feedback we received, we have also decide to make a single story Tiny Timber home (named Tiny Timber 1) as well as a model with a larger downstairs, and a smaller upstairs loft (named Tiny Timber 5 for which floor plans have not yet been released). And for everyone who did give us constructive feedback we thank you! You can view the floor plans and look at Tiny Timber design specifications under our homes tab on our website.

In further news, we have decided to pursue another development project. We call this new development Quarry Ridge Cooperative. This will be a four home community off of Quarry Road. Here are a couple pictures of the site and the spectacular view from the ridge:

We are happy to do personal jobs for those who would like to build a Tiny Timber home on their own property. There are listed prices for the different designs under the models tab for these types of projects.

Lastly, I would like everyone to know that there are a couple more models and floor plans coming soon. Stay tuned for those! And as always, thank you for reading.

 

Prototype #2 Update

We keep moving along with construction and refining the way we put everything together. The siding has all been installed and slid into place. This time around we decided to do something a little different with the construction of the exterior walls. We decided to give the flashing a little flash by utilizing copper for the task (please forgive the pun). We think that this addition really adds beauty and character to our houses.

From a practical standpoint we've installed this new flashing to ensure that no moisture pools in places that will compromise the structure. We've also designed the exterior walls so that there is a gap between the wooden siding and the structural walls in order to allow airflow behind the siding to keep moisture from stagnating and leading to rot. Buzz learned this technique as a mason and is utilizing it in this context to improve the longevity of our Tiny Timber houses. We want to make sure that these house will stand the test of time.

Now it's time to move on to finishing the interior. The wiring, the plumbing, the drywall, the trim, the stairs, the painting, the wood sealing, the kitchen cabinets and drawers... fun ensues. There will be a deck and front entrance ramp too! It won't be long now before everything is completed. For now I'm just really enjoying the view.

Thank you for reading! We'll be writing again soon.

Raising the Roof on Prototype #2

Who wants to deal with scaffolding and and clambering around on top of a roof nailing shingles? That's a rhetorical question of course. It's tedious and time consuming to build scaffolding and put a roof together two stories up. So we bypassed all that difficulty by building the complete roof, trusses, shingles and all, on the ground! We then lifted the roof into place like a gigantic hat. Take a look!

With every new innovation we utilize, construction gets faster and more efficient!

Prototype #2 Construction

Construction on the second prototype is underway. the first prototype used poured concrete piers to support the post frame so the entire house was above ground. We have now adapted the design to have a basement! The basement will be made from precast concrete panels. Here we have the first step in the process which is of course to dig a hole for the foundation to fit. Then the drainage pipes are put in.

Next step is to set the concrete panels into place making sure that everything is square and level. Then the concrete is poured to form the basement floor. Here is the man himself with the help of Mark and David making it all happen.

So far so good! Next, the first floor deck is constructed and the basement is back filled. From here the design diverges slightly again from the first prototype. On the last prototype the walls were assembled, for the most part, directly on site from the base up. This time around the walls were almost completely assembled separately on the ground. No scaffolding required! We then lifted entire walls and set them into place using a forklift. However, getting them to fit snugly together did take some coxing... with a chainsaw and a sledgehammer. Take a look!

We'll keep you updated on construction as it progresses! Until then, all the best.

Completion of the First Tiny Timber!

In mid May of this year we had a race against the clock to finish the first model. The house was booked for Cornell and Ithaca collage graduation. I guess there's nothing like a little pressure to expedite a project. It was the four of us bustling around trying to get the final details taken care of. I can tell you from experience, it's a daunting task to paint with so much potential for paint splatter on bare wood. It all got finished though.

We are happy to announce that the first rendition of a Tiny Timber house is complete! And in our humble opinion it looks marvelous. Even though this model, at around 500 square feet, is the smallest option that we will be offering, it surpassed our expectations in how roomy it feels inside. Any excess space is efficiently utilized. For example, drawers are placed in the bottom four stair risers for extra storage. We derive a great deal of inspiration from the innovations of Japanese compact design.

All in all, we are delighted at how the whole thing came together. We'll let the pictures speak for themselves. additional photos will be posted on the home page as well. Now the only thing left to do is christen the place by having a big BBQ on the deck. I very much hope this will happen soon... If anyone is interested in staying in the new Tiny Timber we are open to visitors! Please go to the Stone Quarry House for additional information.

Constructing the Prototype

The first wall is up!

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A lot has happened since beginning construction. The concrete piers were poured, the wall frames were assembled and set, and the first floor deck was built. Although this may sound fairly straight forward, there was a great deal of complexity that went into preparing the posts and beams. Namely, each piece had to be notched and cut just so for it all to fit together like a puzzle. It's a wood craftsman project as much as it is a construction project.

There are a multitude of benefits to using a notched post and and beam construction. They may be more tedious to implement but in our opinion it's worth it. Our end goal is to streamline this process in the production of our kits so all the tedium is alleviated from home buyers and those interested in buying kits. The benefits are as follows:

    1.  A notched wooden structure adds durability due to the strength of its interlocking joints.

    2.  Notching allows you to eliminate unnecessary joint hardware.

    3.  A notched joint simply looks nicer than the alternative.

Also, as can be seen in the picture above, a groove has been cut out of the center of the pillars. This allows us to slide tongue and groove boards, interlocked, into place, reducing the need for fasteners. In the end its a lot like putting together Lincoln Logs, really heavy Lincoln Logs. Buzz assembled the west side wall apart from the rest of the house in order to make the process a little easier since this was the first attempt st putting it all together. Here are some really great pictures that give a glimpse into how the wall was assembled.

In the future we intend to change the design slightly so that modular sections of the wall are built separately and then assembled afterwords. Hopefully this will streamline construction. But for now we need to focus on getting the rest of the siding and roofing on before winter comes. We are excited about how things are coming along!