The Scrap House

It’s news when I say it is! | September 25, 2010

Well, unfortunately, all of the progress exhibited in this post happened about a month ago. Apparently college takes time and after writing a paper interpreting the eleventh chapter of Genesis, one’s enthusiasm for composing a blog post is diminished. Nonetheless, the photos have been floating on my phone and so I might as well post them at this belated date.

When we left off, I’d finished the kitchen counters and cabinets and had begun work on the wall covering. And so there we shall commence. I had found some paneling, presumably out of a mobile home, in the dump that was surprisingly intact several months ago. We used the nicer Wainscoting in the living room, and so I decided to use the thinner paneling in the bathroom.

The darkness of the paneling and the smallness of the space provided a shockingly good example of what a vertical coffin would likely feel like. After some priming I applied a couple coats of yellow I had and it looks a lot better.

I know that top corner is rough, but there’s actually a specific reason for it. Getting the paneling in the house was such a tight squeeze that that corner would have prevented it from fitting in at all. Getting a 7’X4′ piece of anything into the front door, into the kitchen, and then making the turn into the small bathroom door…. well, let’s say that corner was clipped out of necessity. I’ll either put some molding on it, which it would probably need for the top edge anyway, or make a high shelf for towels. It’ll get covered up and looking all fancy eventually.

Bare plywood flooring doesn’t have the best reputation for being comfortable on one’s feet, so something had to be done about that. I don’t have any photos of the process, because tiling is time sensitive, so I thought it more important to do it right than to document it. I think y’all know the drill though

We had the tile left over from our living room renovation we did several years back. Never know when something is going to prove useful again.

Post grout:

Hard to see there but it looks quite nice against the spiral wood kitchen floor…

Astute readers will notice I didn’t leave a hole for the toilet. This was done purposefully for a couple reasons. The first reason is I didn’t actually have a toilet, and until I find a specific one I don’t have the proper measurements to know where the hole needed to be. The second reason is we’re not sure where this house is destined to end up or how it’s destined to be used. It might work out better for it to use a chemical toilet; we just don’t know. Either way, it’s easier to cut out tile than to add it so I simply made the floor solid and will deal with it later.

The other bit of progress I got was some continued work on the living room walls. Because of the slightly transparent nature of the kite board material, I put tar paper up first and then covered that with the kite. Unfortunately, I ran out of tar paper. I have more now, and I have plenty of the kite material to finish, but time was not something I had that day so the finish of that step will come at a later date.

The light area is kind of a metallic silver… it’s pretty slick looking.

I had to frame out the fixtures to have something to pull the fabric taught to. Just some scrap lumber nailed in place.

Then just staple all around, screw on a plate, and it looks quite nice I think. You can see a couple staples through the fabric from the tar paper, but I don’t think it’s detrimental.

The final picture is not so much documenting specific progress, but rather a photo I took from the loft which nicely demonstrates the feel of the space.

I’ve since moved into another type of tiny house- the college dorm room. They seemingly don’t take too kindly to construction projects. Not that that has stopped me. I did build a nice arch for our TV between our beds. The second bed I built a platform onto that make a sort of reverse-loft.

I actually, gasp, bought the lumber for this. Which made me realize something- I spent roughly $12 on that project, which means that arch cost more than the entire scrap house. Wow. Perspective, it’s an amazing thing. Totally worth it though; would you believe no one else has a floating TV arch in their dorm room?!

I’m not sure when the next wave of progress is going to happen; hopefully over Thanksgiving break. I’ll post whenever it happens! Thanks everyone.

And for the ending quote, I’ll use one I found yesterday and quite liked:

“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” -Dorothy Parker

Posted in Uncategorized


  1. Dude. Big ups to this.

    Someone linked this on facebook and waisted the day going through all the archives. Great project, and the updates made for some entertaining reading.

    Really nice project. Will be following this one. 😉

    Comment by Mark — January 14, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    • Same here. I think I found it on
      Anything new going on with the house since september? I’ve been telling my son 22, that he could do something like this, and now I get to send him your blog.

      Good job.

      ps. site won’t let me comment. Says “Duplicate comment detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that!”
      Wonder if this will get through

      Comment by kimwim — January 14, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  2. Same here. I think I found it on
    Anything new going on with the house since september? I’ve been telling my son 22, that he could do something like this, and now I get to send him your blog.

    Good job.

    Comment by kimwim — January 14, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

  3. Dude! This is so cool! I am sending this whole thing over to my hubby, who is also a do it yourselfer. Very nice.


    Comment by Annie Hintsala — January 14, 2011 @ 5:02 pm

  4. Great job so far. I’d like to see some new photos or write up on the finished product.

    It has inspired me to put a small house/cabin on my own property. I don’t know if I could do it all from scrap, but I do see people throw out or waste a lot of home building materials.

    Comment by MM — March 5, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  5. Amazing project! Just saw it after it was on Huffington Post for surviving Sandy. Great you are sharing it with the world 🙂

    Have you solved the toilet problem? Did you think about a composting toilet?

    Comment by Jess Drake — November 1, 2012 @ 8:43 pm

    • Jess,

      Thanks for the kind words. No, for a couple of reasons. First, I go to school 400 miles away from the house, so I haven’t had time. Secondly, I’m eventually(hopefully within a year or so) going to move the house to the Asheville NC area, so I don’t want to invest too much time in making changes to the home that will have to be altered when it’s moved. Once it’s in its final resting place, I should be able to finish the inside rather quickly. -Ted

      Comment by austinminiman — November 2, 2012 @ 8:04 am

      • Oh that’s great! Will be looking for updates!

        Comment by lindercroft — April 16, 2016 @ 2:28 am

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About author

This blog is dedicated to an experiment a group of three other fellow students and I are doing at our school in Buxton, NC. My Drafting III class and I set out to see if we could build a house for free. It's small, but functional. All the materials come out of dumpsters. And most of all, it's working.







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