Build update: Siding, trim, porch


With just thirty days remaining before I depart for my cross-country scooter journey, Matchbox building has kicked back into high gear. When I last updated in late February, the tiny home had just gotten plaster walls, kitchen cabinets, floors, and a touch of siding, so during the past month, attention turned toward finishing up that siding and making further improvements on the interior, such as window trim, door trim, and baseboard.

Siding (Days 34, 35, 36, 37, and 38; 40 hours)

After burning another stack of Grasmick Lumber's fine western red cedar boards (many thanks to Tiffany, Bryan, Cari, Laura, Aldo, Lauren, and a few others for their help on that), we began slapping the charred wood onto the side of the house, starting in the back left and working around to the front. There's still a fair amount of work to be done—a little more charring, lots of oiling, the installation of a gutter above the door, corner trim, and another few days of work finishing up the siding on the north and rear elevations of the house—but the shou sugi ban wood is looking beautiful, and is certainly (even in its unfinished state) a vast improvement over the hideous Tyvek HomeWrap of this winter.

I should also mention—for the sake of those embarking on their own siding and/or sugi projects—that wood has a tendency to contract over time, and if using non-lapped siding, like the Matchbox, it's likely that the bright white Tyvek and accompanying rain screen will shine through the cracks, regardless of how tightly together the boards are initially pressed. A fairly simple—albeit crude—solution to this is simply spraypainting the housewrap before the siding goes up: just a few thin black strips where the boards will meet along the length of the house. As a disclaimer, there's little information on how spraypaint and homewrap get along, but a few anecdotal reports suggest the former won't compromise the latter's water-resistant properties. And by spraypainting thin strips (as opposed to painting the whole thing), breathability shouldn't be too badly affected as well. In any event, the black backdrop does make a difference, compared with the first few boards at the back of the house that aren't backed by some black paint.

Left to right: Lee's Pera House, Elaine's Lusby, my Matchbox (with siding!)

Window trim, door trim, baseboard (Days 39 & 40; 20 hours)

While I kept busy on siding, Tony worked diligently to finish out the windows, door, skylight, and floor with a clean white trim and baseboard. Blurry pictures of progress below:


You may have noticed the Matchbox's awning has gone missing. After careful thought, I've decided to scrap the quasi-functional rain cover (which, based on height, probably couldn't have protected porch-sitters from too much rain anyway) in favor of a much cleaner-looking porch with just a small gutter above. So down the awning went, and to round out porch renovations and make the space a bit more amenable to a pair of rocking chairs, we took it out another twelve inches for a full four-foot deck.

Speaking of decks, just this morning I received some lovely tongue-and-groove yellow pine—salvaged from an old barn, generously donated by Matthew Compton of Foundry Architects, and kindly picked up and delivered from Baltimore by my good friend Abby—to use for my decking. Expect another post on the porch and gutter (including rain chains!) in the coming weeks.


“Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think that is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive. The bigger the job, the greater the challenge, the more wonderful they think it is. It would be good to give up that way of thinking and live an easy, comfortable life with plenty of free time. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.” — Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution


  1. Can you make siding out of any type of material? I thought it was mostly vinyl. This is the first time that I can recall that I've seen siding made of wood. Thanks for helping me understand more about the different uses for siding!

  2. I really like the way the siding looks on that darker house. They really do look like floorboards on the side of a house. It gives a really nice color though, with the wood grain still visible. I've been wanting to redo the exterior of my house with siding for a long time. I think you might have convinced me to finally do it.


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