Ready to Move

We had planned to move the tiny house to a new winter home last week but the snow made that impractical. With most of it melted, Maya and I readied the tiny house for towing and completed a number of small interior projects (installed door and window trim, and the shower head and toilet valve and some caulking and varnishing).  The house is tight as a drum and quite toasty with the heat turned on.  Neither Maya or I will have time to work on it again until the summer at the earliest and our HOA rules preclude us from keeping it on our property.

Rain vs Snow

Twenty four hours of rain and balmy temperatures made quick work of the foot of snow covering our backyard and the rest of Massachusetts.  Oddly, we still have a two foot high snow drift on the shaded portion of our back porch.

HDR Revisited

I recently started working with a new image processing program which has a rather nice HDR (high dynamic range) merge function.  The idea is that you take multiple exposures of a scene while mounted on a tripod, underexposing one, overexposing another, and properly exposing the last. The software then combines the shadows from the overexposed image with the highlights from the underexposed image with the mid-tones of the properly exposed image to create a single high dynamic range picture.  I decided to reprocess some images I shot back in 2009 and was very please with the results. 

No Shadow Practice

Occasionally I spend a little time perfecting my product photography technique. This evening I practiced lighting an object on a white background with minimal shadows. Not as easy as you might think.


The Kensington

Constructed in 1902 for a cost of $40,000 the Kensington, located a few blocks from my office, is now a condominium with 49 units. A three bedroom, 1,500 sqft. condo is listed at $1.3M and has a $550 monthly home owners association fee.  In 2015 the same unit sold for half the price.  To say that the Boston real estate market is hyper inflated would be a huge understatement.  The situation is only going to get worse if Amazon selects Boston for its HQ2.  At $250K, a helicopter is starting to sound like a good alternative to solve my commuting woes.

Snow Parking

The snow banks in Cambridge are several feet high.  When most of the land is used for houses, roads or sidewalks there remains very little space to pile up snow cleared from the latter two. Below is the mountain of snow that was cleared from our parking area at work.

Long Version

In response to popular demand, I am embedding the longer version of the tiny house time lapse video in today’s post.  This is the same exact material from the shorter version but slowed down so that you can see some of the more detailed construction steps.

Tiny Time Lapse

I was finally able to upload a time lapse video of Maya’s tiny house construction.  It only covers eleven days of construction but you will be amazed at how much we accomplished in that time.  In addition to construction you will see visits from neighbors and friends and a “loft raising” party which included several of Maya’s friends. I prepared two versions of the time lapse, a short version (3 minutes) which is the most fun to watch and a longer version (9 minutes) which allows you to appreciate all the details of the project.

Palanquin Home

With record low temperatures, Nala all too happy to curl up in her “dog house,” an antique Japanese palanquin with one of the doors removed. Palanquins were used as transportation during the Tokugawa period of Japanese history, which ended in 1868. High-ranking Japanese nobility sat in the fancy compartments, and as many as six bearers would carry them through the streets.

Centripetal Force

Snow crews did an excellent job clearing the streets after more than a foot of snow fell in Boston yesterday.  My drive into work was a breeze. The same cannot be said for my return.  A driver trying to negotiate the roundabout at Harvard Square wound up in a snowbank. Had I left work 20 seconds earlier, he might have crashed into me. Fortunately the driver was not injured.

Explosive Cyclogenesis

I had never heard the phrase explosive cyclogenesis before this week.  Now I understand the phenomenon in very tangible terms (think winter time hurricane). We received a little over a foot of snow and intense winds.  Using a snowblower in high winds is an exercise in futility and the best you can hope for is getting 90% of the snow up. Fortunately, I have a cab on my snowblower which made the task much less disagreeable.


Olin Baja Club

We received this holiday card in the mail today and were thrilled to add it to our collection. One of the walls in our kitchen has an undercoat of magnetic paint and this is where we display our cards (held up by small magnets) from now until new ones arrive next year. Maya (Where’s Waldo) is a member of the Olin Baja Racing Team which designs, builds, test and races their own off-road vehicle in competition with other colleges. Members of the team can be viewed at the Olin Baja website.

-12 F

The Northeast is currently experiencing an extended cold spell. When I left for work at about 6:30AM the temperature in Concord was minus 12 degrees Fahrenheit. I have never been so thankful for heated seats. The cold weather is expected to continue and has been a real impediment to further work on the tiny house. Even though we can heat the house up, we cannot do the same for the yard or garage area where some of the work needs to be done.

Good Start

What better way to start the new year than with a proper breakfast.  Nicolai invited several of his friends over for brunch which included buttermilk pancakes from scratch, eggs, and bacon. I was a happy beneficiary of their culinary efforts.  Maya was interested in making candles which she did with Karuna and Caleb’s sister, Sara. They mixed ice into their melted candle wax which gradually melted leaving behind voids to create interesting three dimensional patterns. I spent several hours compiling a time lapse movie of the tiny house construction from thousands of stills. The 45 minute movie is fun to scrub through but too large for me to upload to my Vimeo account.  Once I figure out a work around I will be sure to post a link to it here.