Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Flitting About


I finished planking the Sea House Pavilion front entry remodel — though there are still stain touchups to do. This build is very different in that components will remain modular, to facilitate access and photography, rather than be a single, connected structure.


Inside walls are stained eggshell white. The main living area ceiling (the underside of the sleeping loft) is in, made from bead-board paneling. (Here barely seen, as IRL).


You can glimpse the original Pavilion roof ceiling, now lifted to accommodate the sleeping loft.


A view of the sleeping loft addition, and a roughed-in kitchen wing and shower stall (fireplace removed.)


After deliberation, I chose varnished cork for the sleeping loft floor, which occupies three bays. Many more decisions remain, especially since I’m thinking ‘nest’ rather than traditional bedroom. Think ‘sleeping in a pile’ (my favorite!) from Where The Wild Things Are. Because post-sea-level-rise living will probably benefit from that.


I made my first-ever ELF Miniatures order, for this kitchen trolley kit, as well as an under-counter sink and 2-burner stovetop surface for the kitchen wing. I am smitten.


The kitchen wing occupies two bays, and will have a countertop with sink, prep area and the two-burner electric stove (powered by rooftop solar panels.) There’ll be non-opening cupboards below, and an under-counter refrigerator. Two walls are paneled in horizontal bead-board, to which there will be shelves attached; the third wall is papered in the same vintage San Francisco map as the ceiling. The window is made from this weird thick glass disc, a bag of which I found in the crap/craft store.


Moving on to greenhouse hydroponics. I did a bunch of research to arrive at an aggregate vision of what a system might look like on an off-the-grid tiny home scale. The grow vats are restaurant jam tubs. I made some wonderful Georgie Steeds lettuce and cabbage kits, and from there worked out optimum growing layouts. I fiddled with the vat top layouts, and used the Cricut machine to cut the final patterns.


I noticed many hydroponic systems had these sort of “grow rings” around the cutouts. They appeal to my graphic sensibility, so I laboriously added them to the system. They can barely be seen beneath the lush growth, but we and the devas know they are there.


To the greenhouse I added rails and slats to support the grow vats. I’m experimenting with wire and shrink tubing to evoke a water and nutrient circulation system. One of the challenges is keeping each of the wings modular, yet connected as a whole. In that the greenhouse and kitchen wings need to connect to the solar panels and water collection systems located on the pavilion roof and aft deck. As do the roof gutters need to funnel rainwater into the cisterns located under the pavilion. And so on.


I leave you with a view of Georgie Steeds’ Nasturtium kit. It’s just barely finished, plonked in a Braxton Payne pot and glop-waxed to the bench. I love nasturtiums; they’re ubiquitous in NorCal gardens. I’d very much like to twine these throughout the greenhouse wing, while also keeping it detachable. We’ll see.



24 thoughts on “Sea House Pavilion Remodel: Flitting About

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thanks, Sheila! I’m curious too. I have some great kitchen pieces, but I’ve never been too interested in building out a whole kitchen… we shall see!

  1. Keli says:

    So much going on here. Flitting about is my favorite way to progress.

    What does a thesaurus eat for breakfast?

    The kitchen cart is very smart. I love ELF kits.

    Your grow pods intrigue me. I am excited to see your hydroponic system interpretation.

    The portholes repeating the circles of the greenhouse windows pleases me, as does the map repetition. Positve flow.

    A synonym roll.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Hah, Keli. Well played :)
      ELF kits *sigh* I’m trying to remember: did you use ELF aluminum handles as the ladder in your Tropical Beach House? Space is so tight in this build, and it would be a great solution for loft access. Also vaguely ship-like, right? Maybe with a pulley system to haul stuff up, like a treehouse? Too many mixed metaphors?
      A greenhouse with a hydroponic grow system would be such a fun build — like a modern version of ye old fruit and vegetable stand. One would have to eat a lot of restaurant jam, though.
      And yeah, I like to carry through themes and materials in a build. Sometimes across builds. Sometimes I feel like I’ve just been building the same thing over and over, ever since I started with miniatures. Sort of like that quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay, “It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it’s one damn thing over and over.”
      In a good way :)
      Still chuckling. Synonym roll *snerk*

      • Keli says:

        My ladder in the beach house was scratch built from basswood for the steps and risers and one aluminum rod for the hand rail, which I got at the hardware store. Note that if you want to bend cleanly get a solid rod, not a hollow one. If hollow is your only choice fill it with a wooden dowel.

        I built a working elevator in the grain mill using a small pulley, which was also purchased from the hardware store. It was fun. A track to guide its progress was the most important piece.

        I would think it would be easier to strike up a friendship with the dishwasher at the local breakfast cafe than eat all that jam…or at least slip him a twenty.

      • Keli says:

        Oh! Hobby shops. Model train enthusiasts have the coolest stuff. Also look for a small tubing bender.

  2. elizabeth s says:

    This is an Amazing project on so many levels, Nancy.
    First, the massive re-design and renovation of your previous work of art.
    2) the way in which you are enclosing each side of it whilst still making it all accessible by making the pods detachable.
    3) the Brilliant concept of a modern energy-sufficient home on the water
    4) including all of the elements required to further illustrate the various internal systems which make it possible to live off the grid
    5) a grow-op INSIDE the living quarters!
    6) small home living at its Finest without sacrificing ANY of open-ness, space and light found in larger houses
    WOW on each point — it is going to be “FAN-TAB-U-LOUS”!:D

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Well and wow, Elizabeth. It is so vey gratifying to be “seen” by you.
      1. As to the remodel: child of necessity. I live in a small house, so why not? Between the rampaging kitten and lack of additional space, I had put new builds on hold, and that made me sad. And I enjoy the *process* of building far more than the finished structures, so win-win!
      2. I have a daft plan of using this re-build as a set for a story, so…
      3. Although I live on the Pacific Ocean coast where the effects of sea level rise is a major reality… EVERYONE should be concerned with sustainable energy sufficiency
      4. We can all do this
      5. Why not? It is a great pleasure to harvest your dinner. And plants smell good :)
      6. Honestly, I’m on the fence about the whole small home living thing. Where would my studio go and all my supplies and tools?!
      THANK YOU for your thoughtful critique and encouragement. I’m looking forward to getting this whole structure down to the bluffs and beach for photography. Your enthusiasm is very much appreciated.

  3. Georgie Steeds says:

    I just love the way that you are doing something (with fantastic design details and masses of research) that I have never seen in Miniatures before…..Bravo!

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Georgie, thank you! Your wonderful kits have totally helped. It’s not that I started out to do something “new“ … it’s more to do something of interest to me, and meaningful, and fun/challenging. I so appreciate your encouragement!

  4. azteclady says:

    I am awed by every single new bit you add to this build, and I love where you are going with it–green, self-sustainable, yet such an elegant concept!

  5. mormson says:

    It is coming together gloriously. I keep seeing it as a posh floating yurt. Suggestion for roof over the kitchen put it on legs in some way leaving the thing sort of open beneath. I think your little home will be warm much of the time even with sea breezes and being locked in a small space cooking would not be fun. Shutters for the loft space so they can all be closed or in various stages of open up there too… for the view as well as the breeze… hot in the roof. Definitely no proper bedroom up there, floor sleeping and some sort of lounger type chair for quiet times with a book.
    I am the biggest fan of ELF and my current project has something in almost every room, two small kitchens, work space, all sorts ( Her handles work great for all kinds of things and she does lovely stainless steel sheet, etc. I am sure she would sell you various materials. Another great source for this sort of project might be model boat building… there are lovely ropes and latches and shippy stuff.
    See, I just want to march in and make it mine… I so love the idea and the realisation.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Thank you, Marilyn! I love all your suggestions and ideas, and I do gratefully keep up with your explorations on Dalton House :) So very interesting and helpful.
      I’ve been looking at a *lot* of model ship and train sites for source materials, but usually come away empty-handed because of scale. I’m always on the lookout, though, for parts and ideas.
      The coastal Northern California climate is not at all tropical, but both cross-ventilation and the ability to snug things tight are essential. I’m back in thinking mode on the kitchen, with airy and bright foremost. It helps very much that the caretaker is a cooking minimalist, favoring seafood foraging and simple preparations :)

  6. marion379 says:

    nancy, this looks stunning! it is fabulous how this develops and always has surprises again — such as the vintage map for wallpaper. and who knows… maybe you go for inflatable beach beds ;-)
    and you won’t be disappointed with ELF’s products… I use her stove kit all the time.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      Wow, Marilyn, I’m so pleased to be able to surprise you :) And I really am thinking ‘nest’ for the sleeping loft. How literal, and it comes about is yet to come, but the idea delights me.
      I agree with you (and everyone else) so far about the ELF line of products, especially that they’re available as kits and components. So happy!

  7. Bennie says:

    I think it’s amazing how you can carefully take apart the original house and remodel this without so much as an even slight scratch or ‘break’ in the look of it. And the fact that this currently non-emission house will become even greener with solar panels is a great statement to saving the environment. Since I like the tiny house shows on HGTV I look forward to the loft and tiny kitchen addition.

    • Nancy Enge says:

      It’s all sleight-of-hand, Bennie :) The roof, fireplace, main structure and base were all separate pieces in the original build, so it’s not been too challenging to add the additional components… YET. The fireplace is giving me headaches, though, and I expect I’ll be using Photoshop to retouch joinery gaps in final photography. But this really is intended as a set backdrop, rather than a model house, so I think it will be *fine*
      I like the idea of a tiny house, but could never, ever live in one… I’d need like four tiny houses just for my studio alone :)

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