Earthquake Tiny House

This Tiny House is the loveliest kit I’ve tried, and it’s the most screwed-up job I’ve done. I call it the “Earthquake House” because it looks like an earthquake hit it. (Madison Doug suggested I try for other disaster houses, like flood or fire. I’m considering it.)

What’s so lovely to me is the simplicity of the interior design.  There are no endless doodads cluttering the interior space like in other Tiny House kits, no items just to give you something to work on.  

Each room here is clean and functional.  Just like the Airstream was before we moved in!  

How the Earthquake Hit

I’m blaming most of my mistakes to having worked on this sucker on and off for four months, with it stored in the shower and off my mind for most of the time.  I did dumb things like stash parts in trays, and then assumed those parts were lost when I couldn’t find them. I had no sense of continuity with the work. 

Here is the earthquake mistake.  Each of the panels that make up the ground floor overlap each other and the pool in specific ways, and they’re each supported above the base on pillars of different heights.  When I glued them all together, I couldn’t get the various pillars to line up in a plumb fashion, so I winged it.  So many times these kits have been developed sloppily or are missing parts, so you have to make do, but this time it was me who was sloppy.

I didn’t realize I had the floors overlapping each other so wrong until I started with the second story and saw that nothing was plumb and nothing was level.  The entire house was going to fail if I didn’t start over, but that meant breaking the back wall off the floors so I could reach under to attach more pillars underneath.  

I was able to get the walls and floors back together, but most of the beautifully sparse furniture and few decorations were damaged.

Because I live on the road, I have to glue each item down so nothing flies around while we’re driving, and this means there’s no going back once a room is set.  I did the deed this time, though, and I think it was worth it, because the house is at least reasonably sound now.  Just don’t look closely.  

Kitchen and Living Area

I was a bit bummed that so much detail in the kitchen turned out to be printed on paper that I just glued to the appliances.  

I did get to create what’s on the counter and table.  

They all looked pretty good until the earthquake struck.

The living area is just a sofa and a table, a place to sit quietly.  I love that there’s no TV, no giant bookcases, no art on the wall except for that inset lamp.   

Please leave your shoes at the door, but help yourself to our slippers.  

Bathroom, Bedroom

The hallway leading upstairs is a focal point for the interior design, and it really suffered from the earthquake.  The lower stairs all had to be reassembled and glued three times, and the lovely hanging lamp just never would hang straight.  

Still, the views into the house from here are intriguing, I think,  

The bathroom mirror has a thin strip of paper between the frame and the wall, and back light light shines through to give a soft glow when you get up in the middle of the night. 

The bedroom is simple yet soft.  (Don’t ask me where you store your clothes.)

Sitting with Yourself Upstairs 

This house is all about simple pleasures.  

There’s a tea room with the oldest board game in the world—in English it’s called Go.

And the reading room is exposed to the elements: a lush garden area with seating for one.  Perfect.  

Paper Lights and Wallpaper

Every single light in this house was a new design for me, most made with tracing paper. 

The kitchen lights each are four strips of paper folded just so like a flower.  

The bedside lamp hangs like a delicate lantern.

And these cuties pop up along the exteriors walkways.  

The living room ceiling lamp is just two wooden hoops with a strip of paper between.  

And here’s the hanging chandelier above the stairwell, pre-earthquake.  I wish I’d attached a straight pipe to the wires so it would hang as if it had weight to it.  

The only wall art is this scroll by the steps.  I enjoyed rolling the ends and affixing those beads so it looks like it’s on two dowels.  

And because I messed up the walls and floors, the wallpaper doesn’t sit right, but you can see this delicate design on the one wall between the bathroom and the bedroom.  It’s details like this that should have told me this kit had been designed well and to heed the instructions.  


Finally, after 26 of these (really! I have them all here) I am learning some lessons.

  • Start with new glue.  No matter how much is left in my bottle, it’s going to have lost its viscosity, and macro photos will show gobs of it where it should be invisible.
  • Create types of parts all at once.  Get the flooring attached to all the floors, the wallpaper on the walls, the lamps assembled, all before putting them together as the house frame.  Same goes with all the furniture in a room. No more creating one room at a time so I can enjoy each one and so pieces will not get broken in storage.  I just need a better storage system. 
  • If it’s good kit, follow the instructions.  I was supposed to thread the wires at the back through that hole so they’re all hidden, but they came off my lead string and got lost behind the kitchen.  At least during the earthquake I was able to retrieve them. 

  • Wait until the very end to create landscaping and roofing.  Otherwise they suffer from me pulling the house out of the bin in the shower, over and over.  

If you don’t look closely, it’s still a lovely house.  But isn’t that the point, to look closely?

I have my eye on a new kind of tiny house for me, a vintage travel trailer that I had been skipping over because I didn’t like the interior design.  But, now, I have enough odds and ends stored from previous houses that I can design the interior of this one myself.  I just have to wait for the kit to be available at a reasonable price; I missed the Prime Day offer!  

In the meantime, I’m trying to find a home for this simple but flawed earthquake house. It’s raining in the campground so I don’t dare leave it by the dumpster, but the bathhouse is covered, so this weekend I may leave it there. Hope with me it finds a home!