Tiny House on the Big Island: 8 edition

Tiny House on the Big Island: 8 edition

Day 35: I went to the property thinking I would put in all the windows on the front but when I got there I thought the better of it. I decided to wait till we had put up the ridge beam because we might hit one on accident. Instead I worked on putting up the rest of the shearing and some of the window casing.

What I’m doing for the wall of windows is using 1/4 inch thick pexi glass that we cut with a circular saw. I’m using rectangle molding to sandwich the glass in between. I cut the molding, put a little liquid nails and then finish nail it into place.

Day 36: There was a lot of back and forth decision making today. We finished the window trim on the outside. And put some trim up on the exterior. We headed into town to grab a bunch more supplies including the roofing even though I don’t need it for a couple days because they didn’t have much in stock.


Day 37: We did a couple lumber runs both buying and returning lumber. We had 12 foot rafter beams but I made my pitch too steep and so they didn’t quite reach out over the deck so we traded them in for 14 footers that we had to trim a bit.

We also picked up our tongue and groove ceiling boards. Between the back and forth driving from the treehouse to the lumber stores in Hilo which takes about 30 mins each way, we managed to put up all the interior rafters. We have four more to put up but since they won’t be resting on the wall, they’re going to take a little more engineering.

Day38: We put up the tongue and groove ceiling. It looks really nice and it’s so easy to put together. It took most the day and we didn’t end up having the right size of screw to put up the roofing, so we had to end the day a little early and go get some different ones in town. Which ended up being a bigger deal than you would think.


Day 39: The day started out pretty great, when I went to grab some roofing sheets to carry up the ladder, they weren’t there, instead a note written in the mud ‘don’t worry be happy’ from my neighbor Gabrielle. He had carried 30 4×6 Onduro roofing up the ladder to the treehouse! We were able to start right away which is always nice. We put up about 3/4 of it before we ran out if screws – again!

So we started to do a bunch of finish work that needed to be done. I also started to put together the trap door above the ladder. I need some hardware to complete it.


Day 40: I thought we might finish the roofing today but alas we ran out of nails I think for the third time. I talk about the brand of roofing we’re using in the video it’s called Onduro. It’s so exciting seeing the big things come together.
My mom is flying back to Idaho February 14th so I’m really hoping to get some major things done before she leaves me.

Day 41: Took my first day off since we were able to start. It is Sunday so my mom wasn’t going to go anyway and of all things my hands have been so sore. I’m covered with bruises and scrapes which is pretty normal for a project like this. I’ve never had my hands be sore before.

I decided to rest them and took a trip to town to do some research on the computer. I ordered my memory foam mattress as well as a super cool 12″ square shower head.


Day 42: Rough start today, had to switch some stuff around for the roofing. By lunch we hit our stride and were able to build a shower pan. The shower is going to be so cool. The drain will be under mounted so you won’t be able to see it. Plus it will have jalousie floor to ceiling windows and a waterfall shower.


Day 43 & 44: We’ve spent the last two days doing more plumbing and trying to get the roof completed. We keep running into issues – I forgot my tool belt and my mom had to go back to the house. We kept needing more parts – typical plumbing. We did get the toilet set today. As well as the shower and toilet drain done for the most part. I spray painted the black ABS pipe tan to blend in with the wood since you can see underside of the house. The most exciting thing we accomplished was getting the sliding glass door in. They were used bought from Habitat for Humanity and happily they were in working condition.


Day 45: It’s my moms last day :( We worked all day to try to and squeeze in all that we could but it was really rainy so we were forced to work inside. We put up 3 pieces of Sheetrock (which is triple the price here) on the divider wall. We also started to build the platform bed because I’ll be sleeping there shortly.

I drop off my mom at the airport 5:00 am tomorrow. She has been a tremendous help the last month. We got a lot of major things done. It should be interesting working alone for the remainder of my time in Hawaii. I’m going to conclude the day by day entries and instead I’ll do a specific more detailed posts as I go.

39 Responses to Tiny House on the Big Island: 8 edition

  1. Keven says:

    Looking really fantastic Kristie ! You are going to end up with a VERY cool place…in HAWAII !! :)

  2. Dave Raftery says:

    I can’t believe the great progress you are making. The tongue and groove ceiling looks really nice and the Plexiglas windows look great too. I have found that plumbing always requires multiple runs to the store !
    One suggestion? Please don’t wear gloves when using your circular saw. I know 2 people who had bad accidents because the gloves they were wearing got caught in power tools and pulled their hands in. Just mentioning this because I care. :-)
    Keep up the great work!

  3. T-roy says:

    What are you doing for septic for grey water and your toilet, as I assume your not using a compost toilet.

  4. jean herbert says:

    Very nice work, im about to start a tiny house on wheels, got my trailer, got all my 2x4s. Got all my insulation, about to get my plyeood. I will be posting picd as I go. Fun stuff

  5. Sarah says:

    I am so interested in tiny houses, I really want to build one. I would love to see your tiny house or help you so I can get some insight on how to do this myself! I’m in Puna btw. I’m a short little lady with no building experience, so I might be hopeless haha.

  6. cherigrant444 says:

    Kristie, did you get a permit to put in a septic and how long did that permitting process take?

    • kristiewp says:

      No my entire build is unpermitted. I haven’t put it in yet and I will be doing it to code just because I want it to work correctly but not because it will be checked by anyone.

  7. Also, did you build the house unpermitted? My husband and I are trying to figure out which way to go with our tiny home we plan on building in Naalehu

    • kristiewp says:

      Yes I did. The upside is obvious. The downside is your not able to get power (I’m doing solar) and you also can’t insure a tiny home technically. My investment is small so I’m willing to take that risk.

  8. Barry says:

    You should have a cape.

  9. michael says:

    Very nice progress!! I found all things building wise in Hawaii to be a challenge. You are of course correct about the non- permitted structures although I have a few friends that we were able to permit things at a later date. Plumbing is that way at times even for a professional. It is difficult sometimes to see all possible structural conditions. I was asking my 7 year old about building a cabin on a piece of property we own in the mounting with this project in mind and he was excited. Perhaps in time. Nice work:-)

  10. Jack says:

    Enjoyed your site and progress. I’m building a rather small (512 s.f.) house in Seaview. Where exactly is yours?

    • kristiewp says:

      I’m between mountain view and volcano on the hilo side of the big island.

      • Eileen says:

        Aloha my name is Eileen, and my little place is in Royal Hawn. subdivision…we should hook up and share ideas if you want…

        • kristiewp says:

          Hey Eileen that would be wonderful. I’m on tour for work for the next few months but when I get back to Hawaii I’d love to.

  11. Steve Bussell says:

    Hi Kristie, you are doing an awesome job of getting it done. Where
    did you learn the carpentry/building you are doing? Thanks for your motivation.

    • kristiewp says:

      Hey Steve, my mom remodeled our houses as we were growing up. We would live there for a few years and then sell and start over. All of my siblings know how to use tools and their way around a department store but some of us do it a lot more than others 😉

  12. RJB_1969 says:

    Wow…you are awesome! I found your blog on instagram.
    Your no permit at this time philosophy puzzles me though. Im a framing contractor in NM. I have framed in Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, California and New Mexico. Every state follows the UBC code, but every city or county can and do impose there own code enforcement. Did you research the consequences of building without permit? It will get expensive when caught and they will catch it. My advice is to dry in building to protect investment and stop construction immediately. Hire a local draftsman who knows local procedures and draw up a permit set to what you built. Once you have permit in HAND, post it and call for inspection. You will still have some explaining to do!
    If permits are pulled properly, then they take slices of your pie and leave you the rest. If caught, they take the whole pie and leave you crumbs!
    Good luck!

    • kristiewp says:

      Hola :)

      Building unpermitted on the big island is extremely common. Plus the lot that I bought is zoned that you can have a structure under a certain size without permits.

      The downside to building without permits is that you can’t get insurance, you cannot resale to someone who needs traditional bank lending and I cannot hook up to city power. All of which I am okay with. I know a lot of people can get hung up on that which is understandable. You kind of have to look at it as a shed or what it is – a treefort instead of a house that we’re used to.

      • RJB_1969 says:

        You’ve done your research! In NM, we can do the same as long as it is not on a permanent foundation. So you found your lot on craigslist? What is your lot square footage, and water source? How far from beach?

        • kristiewp says:

          My lot is close to 1/2 acre. The water is catchment it rains a lot on this side of the island and that’s what everyone uses. I’m about 20 mins from the beach and about 5 mins from Volcano National Park.

          • RJB_1969 says:

            Hmmm…..about 20,000 square feet of land for $8,000.00. SOLD!!!!
            You are proof that you do not need a large budget to build and live in Paradise!
            Good luck with project.

      • Eileen says:

        This is why we live on the Big Island :-)

  13. todd chapman says:

    Nice work kristie..u and ur mom are a great team.im glad to have met u both! See ya at the homedepot..aloha!:)

    • kristiewp says:

      :) Todd- you found the site! Thanks I’ll be in again shortly ha

      • todd chapman says:

        Aurite.I’ll be here.seems like I live here! I do beautiful concrete counter tops .. for u el cheepo:)

        • kristiewp says:

          I don’t need a countertop but I do need a small rock sink..I wonder if you could make it out of concrete. It won’t let me post a picture here but if you google rock sink you’ll see what I’m talking about.

  14. Just a quick note to say – the roof is called Ondura (I do PR for them) http://www.ondura.com. How did you find out about the product and how do you like it so far?

    • kristiewp says:

      I love it. The little house I rented when my mom was there had it. What I liked the most about it was the ability to cut it and being able to handle it while I was up on the roof.

  15. Elizabeth Moody says:

    Kristi, where did you purchase you Solar Panel Set? Are you happy with it?

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