Tiny Strange Castle

This bizarre hobby/obsession/brain exercise of mine continues on, and the superlatives advance. This latest Tiny House is so big that I am waiting to glue on the highest roof peak because it won’t fit in my shower storage bin as fully constructed.

And what’s with the crosses, anyway?

What Is It?

It’s got tile and wallpaper that make me think, Italy.

Let’s not overlook the cherub fountain in the center of the courtyard.

But what about those spires (that I could not help but knock off the rooftops several each per working session). And turrets? And perhaps you noticed the traditional Chinese roof tops at the gate. (I’ll show you the ”Chinese bedroom” and the ”European bedroom” below.) Have we covered nearly all weird architectural possibilities? Well, the rooftop pool and the grand piano on the third floor in the children’s room. I’ll get to those, too.

And Who Wrote the Instructions?

The instructions for this kit take the cake for being illogical, incomplete, and sometimes impossible to follow even when clear.

You know I have to deconstruct Tiny House instruction booklets each time because they’re written assuming you have a work space where you can leave your parts and tools until your next session. As I often mention, my work space is my side of the trailer kitchen table, and after each session I put it all away in that bin in the shower. Plus, I need to glue everything together as soon as I assemble each part because all pieces have to be ready to hit the road.

These instructions:

  • have you making all the furniture first and setting it all aside for later installation. Nope.
  • show you how to attach walls and ceilings, not from the floor up but non-sensically, from left to right. Why?
  • require you to wait to to near the end of assembly to attach the frame of the house to the base. Another nope. I gotta get this baby ready to roll from day one, so it’s got to be stable.

After my first few sessions of realizing this would not work for me, I brought out the colored pens and sticky notes and reordered the steps so I’d be working from the bottom floor up, filling each room with furniture as I got to it.

Turns out I’m only partially talented as a Tiny House instructions decoder; I can’t count how many times I discovered, after I’d put a ceiling in, that it required lights wired through some tiny hole in the back that I couldn’t reach. Or that I’d missed several sets of lights entirely. Can you imagine, with all these lights?

I briefly taught business writing, and my favorite assignment was to ask the students to write a simple set of instructions for a task someone could do in class. The next day they’d pair up, with their partner carrying out their instructions (only what was written, not what they might know otherwise) in front of their eyes. It’s amazing how many ways you can screw up a peanut butter sandwich. This assignment was self-graded.

Okay, I’ve established that this is a mish-mash castle place and that the instructions were written by someone who’s never made a tiny house. (Or written in English. Or written instructions.). Let’s get on with the groovy-looking details.

You might notice that I took these shots at various stages of assemblage because the final product has too many walls and fences blocking the camera’s view. I think this one was designed for you to peer through windows to enjoy finding the basics instead of my previous ones where all kinds of details are laid bare with no roof to block the view.

First Floor

There’s no kitchen (maybe all meals are catered? Or cooked in the separate servants’ quarters?), but there’s a dining room, a leather sofa, an exercise bike, and a small office. All you need, right?

Served tonight is red wine and steak, with roses on the table.

Check out those upholstered chairs in green leather and the teeny forks and spoons.

I didn’t get the sofa height or arms right because I missed those details in the instructions. There’s a Tiffany lamp though so you can use lovely lighting to pour your coffee and eat your teeny thin cupcakes.

Apparently all you need in your personal gym is a stationary bike. Ain’t it cute though? Maybe that is all you need.

I am prouder than a normal person should be in having made that reading lamp. You can’t see from this shot, but the chain hanging from the bulb is perfect.

Two Beds and a Bath

Also a tad strange: the second floor has two master bedrooms and a spartan bathroom.

(I’ll get to that white grand piano in a bit, promise.)

The ”Chinese-style” bedroom has that cool screen to separate the bed from the tea table; I made this room before I rearranged the order of assemblage or I would have taken a photo of its lovely pattern.

There are stained glass windows on all of the frame, and they’re surprisingly pretty and realistic considering the glass is a plastic sticker I cut into shape.

The ”European-style” bedroom gets a TV set from the 1970s, but check out the chandelier. I couldn’t get a decent shot once installed; heck this isn’t even a decent shot—there’s an inner and an outer layer of crystals in two shapes.

The bathroom is no-frills, although I feel lucky that I didn’t have to make faucets or shower heads this time. Again with the lovely stained glass.

Children’s Room

I don’t know how to explain the weirdness here.

  • Why is there a grand piano on the third floor of a house with no steps?
  • Why is it in the children’s room instead of anything childlike?
  • Why supply pretty fabric for each bed with intricate cutting/folding/gluing instructions, but then make the piano bench three pieces of blocks?

Again, if you have any theories here, please let me know.

Fence and Grounds

I am especially proud of these parts, although it’s also the messiest of this Tiny House.

For the stonework, I cut the blocks from flat sets of them moulded together, then I cut many in half, then followed a color-coded pattern to glue them together. Once I’d gotten them all cut, fitting them together was surprisingly satisfying.

My good friend Tom, who’s an actual mason, tells me that stacked joints is a bad thing, and now I see that because they were the weakest parts of the structure and tended to bend inward. I learned something here!

I thought the tiny coy in the fountain could easily be overlooked, so I added sequins for a watery effect. I haven’t glued them in place though: sequins or no?

Looks Big, Right?

Here are the (not-so-exciting) two sides of the castle.

It’s looks like a honking big house, right?

But this is how I photograph it to show off the lights: in the Airstream bathroom, the only area I have with an actual door I can close to make the room dark. First, I have to move everything from the counter and place the house over the sink.

It’s a small sink, too.

I hope to hand this Tiny House to my friend Jess when we meet in Jasper, and maybe she’ll find a home for it. I’ll wait to glue on the dust cover at her discretion in case she likes it as is. I do, because this way you can get your eye up close to the windows and look in like you’re a curious giant. What kind of castle is this, anyway?

3 thoughts to “Tiny Strange Castle”

  1. When you first talked about the various styles of rooms it made me think of a castle we went to in Romania – can’t remember if it was Castle Bran or another – that had every room furnished differently. Turkish, Japanese, Italian, whatever. Maybe that’s what they were going for. Oh, and perhaps you should write the company and offer to rewrite their instructions for them! You certainly have gained the experience!

    1. Ooh, that’s interesting about the Romanian castle – I’ll call it that when I hand it over! And no thanks about the idea of writing instructions – that’s the hardest type of writing ever, I thing.