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high desert. small house.

Days 125-134: Framing the Bathroom, Part 2

Monday 11/16
It was wayyyyy too cold to work at the house.  By 5:00pm, the temperature was below 30 degrees and ‘felt like’ 12.  A very windy day and it snowed all afternoon.  It was an unusual event for this time of year.  I think an inch or two accumulated on cars; basically nothing on the roads.

Here are some pics of our driveway work that we forgot to post the other day –

Gravel pile and dog helpers

Gravel pile and dog helpers.  Sydney chased the frisbee so many times that day that she had trouble walking for 3 days after.

Just a little bit more...

Just a little bit more…We were about 1/3 of the way done in this photo.

Tuesday 11/17
We recently spotted light through a gap where the siding hits the bottom of the bottom of the endcap framing.  Not cool.  Not cool when it’s cold outside.  Tuesday’s project was more drain pipe, shower enclosure and stud placement brainstorming as well as air sealing.  We used spray foam around the door gap and caulk along the bottoms of the endcaps.

Wednesday 11/18
We researched and ordered our toilet.  Whoo hoo!  We’re going with a Toto.  It has some special features, like being able to file your taxes, apply a spray tan and potty train your canary. It can even be programmed to say different greetings when you flush it.  For $200, that was a deal we couldn’t pass up.  [In all seriousness, it is just a regular toilet but has received great reviews by plumbers and toilet-users alike.]

We wrote about building our first wall in the last post (Days 123-124).  At some point in our brainstorming early this week, we determined that it needed to have different stud spacing to accommodate the shower enclosure.  After taking it apart, we started to rebuild it with the proper spacing.


Placement of the bathroom had to take into account the crossbeam above and the floor joists below.  Sliding the whole thing a few inches to the south made all the difference: we got structural support form the crossbeam and easy, joistless,  drain pipe locations for the shower, toilet and plumbing wall.


Tentative bottom plates.

Thursday 11/19
We screwed the top plate directly into the cross beam, which not only gives us incredible strength/stability but it locks in plumbness.  We also screwed the three bottom plates into the floor.  The shape of the bathroom is set!

Friday 11/20
Bathroom framing continues…

Saturday 11/21
More bathroom framing.  We ended the day way earlier than most Saturdays because we were invited to the ‘open house’ of an earthship that is being built nearby.  They just reached the dried-in stage and were welcoming friends and friends of friends to check it out.  It’s a very neat structure.  They built it into a hill (as is done with most earthships) with an 8′ radius.  The completed structure will be circular with an area of ~201 square feet and its walls are made of earth-packed tires.

They have a wood stove installed and a loft over half the space.  They plan to build an outdoor kitchen and outdoor bath.  Eventually, a few friends that are building with them will also build earthships on the 9 acre property and they’ll share the communal spaces.

[It should be noted that their home isn’t actually an earthship and it isn’t aligned with the philosophy of the earthship founder.  It is a modified, less efficient, code-evading version.]

It seems there is some confusion regarding the building code and small structures.  Many believe that as long as your home is less than 200 sq ft, you don’t have to abide by the code.  However, the language used in the code applies this (sub 200 sq ft) exception in reference to accessory buildings (i.e. sheds, playhouses, etc).  Perhaps that is another reason they are putting the bathroom and kitchen outside – so that their house is more like a shed in its lack of house amenities.

In any case, it’s good to see people building homes with a smaller footprint.

Sunday 11/22
More gravel moving and spreading – the pile is about done and I’m now 1/3 of the way done covering the other side of the building pad (the space to the east of the house).

Bathroom framing status – the piano wall is done and we attached two studs and the top plate on the pocket door wall.  We are also making a strong stub wall for the side of the shower enclosure that juts out on its own.  The enclosure is 48″ wide and the bathroom is 60″ wide.  So we’re building a 2×4 wall to support the side that doesn’t hit a bathroom wall.  The space left between the shower wall and the bathroom wall will be about 8″ wide and will contain shelves, baskets, towels, etc.

This is round two on the first wall of the bathroom.

This is round two on the first wall of the bathroom.  You can see it’s connected to the cross beam on top and the spacing of the studs is uneven.

The first wall...

The first wall is done!

This is the start of the second wall of the bathroom.

This is the start of the second wall of the bathroom.  Other than making a BHAL corner, there were no complexities or surprises here.


The second wall is complete!  Brian checking square for the next wall.


This is a ‘bumper’ that Brian created to hold the vertical 2×4 in place while he got it in position and fastened it in place.

Monday 11/23
First things first – check out what Black Friday specials are going on locally.  It looks like we’ll be able to get our bathroom vanity for 40% off and our kitchen sink for 30% off.  Not bad.  We also picked up 8 more 2×4 studs for the pocket door wall.  AND our toilet arrived!  Hip hip hurray!


Wow they all just about line up.  This is as straight as lumber gets around here.

My, what big toilet box you have!

My, what big toilet box you have!


Marking the location of the other side of the shower enclosure.

Tuesday 11/24
We finished the framing for the pocket door wall and started on the mini wall.

Framing the pocket door wall

Framing the pocket door wall

Giant moon on our hill

Giant moon on our hill.  Taken at the same time as the picture below.

This picture was taken at the same time as the one right before. This shows how nestled into the hill our property is. Unless you climb up a little higher, the sunrise comes later and the sunset comes earlier.

This picture was taken at the same time as the one right before. This shows how nestled into the hill our property is. Unless you climb up a little higher, the sunrise comes later and the sunset comes earlier.

Wednesday 11/25
You may be wondering the status of the electrical exam retake.  Well, it turns out that it takes this man (the local inspector) one week to return a phone call and two weeks to schedule to administer the test.  What a drag!  We could have run wiring over the holiday weekend.

We finished framing the stub wall for the other side of the shower enclosure.


Stub wall!!

Space created between short (shower) wall and bathroom wall.

Space created between short (shower) wall and bathroom wall.   Note temporary plywood strapping to hold the stub wall plumb and square until the ceiling joists are in place.

One Comment

  1. Looking Good

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