Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Knife In The Shower The Dishes On Grass

The first months of living in the tiny house was a work in progress. Dishwashing continued to be a challenge as my dish rack did not quite hold utensils. And the drying mat it was attached to was looking a little grubby plus I didn't like the way it flopped over the toaster oven. 

Then at a thrift store I came across one of those European racks that look like a patch of grass. People mostly use such a design to dry baby bottles or small items, but for so little money I could give it a try. I pulled out my slide out extension to try it out, but later realized that it fit perfectly on top of my toaster oven and there it lives. 

I found I had a use for the slide out extension when I used my crock pot to cook up a batch of beans. I freeze them in containers that will fit easily into my cooler. In this picture you can also see where I hung my cast iron frying pan on the wall close to my stove which is in a drawer right beneath the crock pot pull out.

Tiny house designers like to put things on the wall with lots of brushed steel and magnets, but I didn't have that much wall space as it was taken up by shelving for my dishes. I put my cooking utensils into a mason jar and I was happy with my tray for eating utensils which lay at the back of the counter. I still needed a place to put my chef's knife. I spent some time thinking of nifty ways I could mount a single knife holder to my wall, but it didn't look right to have just one utensil on the wall so I grabbed my available magnets and temporarily attached the knife to the shower wall. The effect was somewhat macabre, but had a certain witty presence. I still haven't got around to gluing the magnets in place, but the arrangement would suffice.

Due to my diligence in measuring everything I planned to have in my kitchen I couldn't be happier with the shelving and storage. I did have my doubts about the storage cabinet where I kept my pots and pans because it was at floor level, but after several months of squatting to get at them I realized when I got to my karate studio that my leg strength had improved. Later I came across the books of Katy Bowman, a biomechanist, who pointed out how our lives were movement starved and I thanked my inner genius for having provided myself with extra movement nutrition!

Likewise the ladder to the loft gave my body a climbing exercise and I did not concern myself anymore with aging out of my tiny house due to this ladder. The five steps or so I must climb down in the middle of the night did not seem as daunting since there was plenty of ambient light from outside lights on the property and from the street. And as Katy Bowman pointed out the cliff dwellers who lived in their adobe dwellings could only access their houses via a ladder and continued to do so long into old age.

For a while I had a TV in my loft and my loft became my living room. I covered the bed with a queen size comforter I had on hand that had a nice homey pattern. I didn't like looking at all the noise of my clothes on hangers and wanted to hang a curtain across the rod. Then in a simplifying moment I realized the comforter was so much bigger than my mattress there was probably enough of it to reach up to the closet pole so I hung a couple of bulldog clips from the hangers at each end and clipped the comforter to the pole. As a final touch a client offered me her framed poster of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapter. It amused me to affix it to my ceiling and was just the right distance for studying this work of art.

This living space deeply comforted me now that I could entertain myself with free DVDs from the library. Then the TV broke and before I could buy another one I asked my ex if I could watch my movies at her house the nights she was gone. Eventually we started watching our favorite shows together and I offered to cook dinner, the more complex dishes I could not cook so easily in the tiny house. Soon I did not think about having my own TV anymore and my ex and I became better friends.

There were still problems with storage and access. When I sat at my desk my knees were crammed between my rolling file crate, which was also serving to hold my scanner, and the ottoman file box which also served as a purse podium. My scanner wasn't working with the new operating system and then I realized I didn't use it very much anyway so I moved it up into the loft and parked it in my closet. That allowed me to get rid of the rolling cart; the files I moved into smaller file boxes that I could store way at the back up against the wall under the desk. So the demands of space forced me to rethink my original desire to have the same desk I had in my old house.

And once I built my table for two I found I no longer needed to sit at my desk and simply left the chair on top of the desk and sat at my new table to use my laptop. One day I parked my laptop on the seat of the chair and realized I had made a standing desk. So I got rid of my external monitor and keyboard. This also solved the problem of getting by the chair all the time since it was now off the floor full time. And the area under the desk I could now store the shoes I wore everyday. I also spent a lot more time lying in my hammock as I wrote on my laptop.

As my life in the tiny house evolved I solved these small design problems, but sometimes the tiny house pushed me to other arrangements. It was too dark inside to really feel inviting for sewing plus it was cumbersome to move the sewing table out form under the stairs. So I didn't do any sewing. Then my ex who had been searching for months got a job which meant that her house was now available during the day so I moved my sewing machine back to her house. I was already walking our dogs half the week and now five days a week. By doing my sewing there too I could now keep the dogs company hanging out with them while sewing. I was doing the tiny house thing of improvising and finding through my network other places to do what I wanted to do. In this vein tiny house living is a kind of share economy. If you have something useful to offer you can trade for what you need.

No comments:

Post a Comment