House Update: I came back to DC after a few weeks on the West Coast and can see progress on my house – thanks, Tony!  We were feeling frustrated with all the modifications needed, but they are mostly done now.  Tony rebuilt the front wall, was able to get all the walls plum (yay!), has sheathed the walls, and cut out the windows.  Next week he will frame the dormers and put in the rafters, so that I can order my roofing.  I hope to help out more with building the actual interior portion of my house, but in the meantime I’ve been keeping busy (and having fun) trying to find supplies and appliances on Craigslist and at various salvage and reuse stores in the area.

Old front wall sitting outside tiny house

Inside house, window rough openings and roof off

Windows:  While I was hoping to find used windows, most of the windows I found at reuse stores and on Craigslist felt too big for my tiny house.  So, I just placed an order with a Baltimore-based fabricator of windows called Weathermaster.  Their custom window prices are quite reasonable.  I ordered 9 of their mid-range windows (they have good, better and best options) – 3 for the loft area and 6 for downstairs – for a total price of $1850.

Toilet:  Before I left for the West Coast, a friend and I made a last-minute trip out to West Virginia to buy a used toilet.  I never thought I’d be getting excited about (or willing to travel 4 hours for) a used toilet, but it saved me $900.  Incinolets are incinerating toilets that are a great off-grid option, but they are expensive, costing about $1800-$2000 new.  So, I started scouring Craigslist and Ebay.  I found a couple options and the customer service folks at Incinolet were really helpful – they took the serial numbers of the used models and advised me on which ones they thought were good deals or not based on their age.  The one in WV was a newer model and in good condition, so it was worth the trip out to Morgantown and the $900 I spent for the toilet.

The incinerating toilet I bought

Architectural Salvage Stores: Earlier this week I combined a trip to BWI airport with a trip to some Baltimore architectural salvage stores. Wow!  These Baltimore stores/warehouses are so much larger and better than any of the Habitat or Reuse stores in the DC suburbs.  One had a warehouse full of just salvage hardwood flooring.  Although there are a few more in the area, I only had time to check out two: Second Chance – a bit pricier than the other store, the Loading Dock, but it had more options and was better organized.  Plus, they had a Finnish sauna unit for sale for only $200! – Sauna on the tiny house lot perhaps?

The Loading Dock Architectural Salvage Store in Baltimore, MD

View of Baltimore housing from the Loading Dock’s parking lot

Warehouse at Second Space

Tiny house community discussion with Jay Shafer:  Last week when I was out in California I was able to meet up with Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes for lunch.  He’s sort of considered the founder of the tiny house movement, and I took his workshop last summer here in DC.  We chatted about city code and design and creation of tiny house communities.  Fun and inspiring!

Well, that’s the August update for me.  While we’ve had many setbacks this summer, the lot and projects are starting to really take shape.

Lee, The Houses

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. Sounds like lots of progress! I am so excited things are starting to fall in place a bit more. Eager to see the house and visit when it is done.


  2. How exciting to hear about the progress. I love the toliet!!!


  3. Looking Good! I hope we enjoy a long stretch of weather like we had yesterday, which will make working on the roof and inside your house so much more pleasant. What have you worked our for HVAC and air exchange for when it really starts to get cold?


  4. Can it be? A tiny house community at long last? I would love to hear all about the process of how you were able to site the tiny houses (zoning, permits, resistance from planning departments,
    etc.) Is it zoned commercial or residential? Can you leave the houses on their trailers? Did you have to bribe anyone? (Stuff like that!)



    • Hi Amy! We do have a couple posts on zoning. We aren’t living here full-time. Yes, we are leaving the houses on the trailers. No, we didn’t have to bribe anyone! Feel free to get in touch via email too (Contact us button) if you have more specific questions.



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