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high desert. small house.

Days 143-145: Starting the Plumbing

Friday, 12/4
One of the things to consider when purchasing an arched cabin is the loss in square feet created by the curved side walls.  I think we hit on a good width for dealing with it; the tighter the arch curve and the more head clearance and attachment issues.

We only have two fixtures that have to be installed along the arched wall.  The toilet sits parallel to the arch and has a required clearance of 15″ from the center of the toilet to the wall.  Our toilet tank is very narrow so you could say that the clearance requirement causes us to lose usable square footage.  However, that loss overlaps the arched wall unusable space.  So putting the toilet there is a magnificent use of unusable floor/arch space while also complying with the building code.

The other object is the kitchen sink base cabinet (and for others, top cabinet if you were to have one).  Again, because our arch is only slight for the first 3.5 feet off the ground, this will work out okay also.  Our base cabinet is 36″ off the ground.  When we stick a yard stick against the arched wall, straight up and down, the curve at 36″ high puts the base of the yard stick about 1.5 – 2 inches off the wall.  So we have ~2 inches of loss there.  Not bad.

In the narrower models, I think the arched wall could cause a problem and there would be considerable loss.  If you look at the narrower models on the arched cabins gallery page, you can use the humans walking around to guess how much square footage is compromised.

We removed the tarp and started digging the supply & drain plumbing trench.  Brian quickly discovered the shovel was not effective that he needed a spiky hand tool.

This is where we start digging. Unfortunately, the plumbing wall is on the OTHER side of the house. That means we need to dig a 20' long trench.

This is where we start digging. Unfortunately, the plumbing wall is on the OTHER side of the house. That means we need to dig a 20′ long trench.

Saturday, 12/5
We closed the shack two hours early and headed to Cruces.  After visiting a used bookstore and eating some delicious Thai food, we headed over to Lowes.  Our shower door was waiting to be picked up at Home Depot and we had picked out a bathroom vanity from Home Depot.  Prior to going over and loading up the car, we wanted to double-check that Lowes did not have anything we wanted.

We looked over the kitchen cabinets and got a sense of what they were about.  Lowes also had a nice bathroom vanity that nearly suckered us into purchasing it.  It had a nice dark colored cabinet that looked like mostly solid wood, a vitreous china top and most importantly a drawer.  We talked ourselves out of it once we discovered that it was not mostly solid wood and by re-identifying the reasons behind purchasing a bathroom vanity – function, function, function.  We want the basin to be vitreous china or porcelain but we do not need faux fancy woodwork.  That vanity was $279.  Actual solid wood ones are more like $1000 and up.

Once at Home Depot, we immediately checked out their kitchen cabinet selection.  Oddly enough, the options looked exactly like Lowe’s with different brand boxes.  They’re probably manufactured by the same company.  These ones, however, seemed to have better cabinet door bumpers.  I liked the look of the darker wood but it was $100 more expensive than the medium wood color.  Again, we looked at our priorities and selected the better deal.  $100 extra on 10 different items works out to be $1000 extra overall.  That’s a lot of cinnamon rolls.

The bathroom vanity we wanted was by Glacier Bay (a Home Depot brand), had great reviews and was the only in-stock option in our target price range with a porcelain basin.  We had a store associate slice open the somewhat abused box, then we examined it for damage and headed to check out.

It was a challenge to fit the giant cabinet box, the large vanity box and our long, fragile shower doors in the car, but we did it.  Phew!  Total spent – $149 on Chelsea vanity, $160 on kitchen cabinet and $290 on Delta doors.

Thai dinner at Renoo's Restaurant - Drunken Noodle on the left, Phad Thai on the right.

Thai dinner at Renoo’s Restaurant – Drunken Noodle on the left, Pad Thai on the right.

Thai dessert - Mango sticky rice

Thai dessert – Mango sticky rice

Handstands at Home Depot - Brian

Handstand attempts at Home Depot – Brian (yoga crow?)

Handstands at Home Depot - Chelsea

Handstand attempts at Home Depot – Chelsea (extended crow or floating back-bend) 

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Car is loaded up.  Time to strap the doors down.

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This is tricky to see – the big kitchen box just barely made it through the opening in the back of the fit.  Then we (carefully) shoved the bathroom vanity through a passenger door to sit in front of it.

Sunday, 12/6
We were seriously pooped when we got home Saturday night.  We took the shower doors to the house but didn’t bother unloading the rest until Sunday.  We ended up sleeping in until around 10:00am, took care of stuff and got to the property around 12:30pm.

In the plumbing trench, we seriously feel like we are mining – we are crouched under the house with a pick-ax tool, hacking and scooping solid, compacted dirt.  We made it about a third of the way before we called it at night at sunset.  We developed an efficient relief system that allows us to make progress without getting worn out.  One person digs under the house (in a squat or on knees) and the other person pounds in fence posts in the lower, north corner.  Then we switch.  They are both labor intensive tasks but utilize different muscle groups.

Our original fence plan was to run 6-8 rows of wire – all of them being barbless except for the top two (to discourage human invaders) and the bottom (to discourage dogs).  The fence posts went in super easily, compared to the posts at the top, south corner.  We were able to complete one side before nighttime.

View from the trench - Sydney and Trooper absolutely love it when we work outside. They usually hang out near us and always seem super happy.

View from the trench – Sydney and Trooper absolutely love it when we work outside. They usually hang out near us and always seem super happy.

245 feet of fence (posts) on the southwest side - this line of fence will terminate near the white post in the foreground. That's basically where the driveway is and obviously we don't want a fence across the driveway. On the other side of the driveway, the property line turns due north; that run of fence will be about 204 feet.

245 feet of fence (posts) on the southwest side – this line of fence will terminate near the white post in the foreground. That’s basically where the driveway is and obviously we don’t want a fence across the driveway. On the other side of the driveway, the property line turns due north; that run of fence will be about 204 feet.

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