Back to the drawing board-in a great way!
Earlier this week I had a work-related meeting with a couple of awesome guys, the Gramatica brothers. If I were more into sports other than Olympics or Gator football, I would have been starstruck. These guys were amazing athletes in their day, and now they are turning their star power into great opportunities for Wounded Warriors in the Tampa Bay area.
Martin Gramatica had ended his football career with the Saints, stayed in NOLA, and was operating a house manufacturing business when Katrina hit. Gramatica turned his energies to building houses for the hurricane refugees out of … wait for it…. SIPS!!
A few years later, he brought the SIPS business back to Tampa and he and his brothers started Gramatica SIPS International. They manufactured systems for houses and the construction industry, and built a reputation. After the Haiti earthquake, they sent SIP kits for houses to the island. Now thay have teamed up locally with a few non-profits, started the Gramatica Family Foundation, and have started fundraising to build houses for Wounded Warriors. Last year they rented one of our parks to host a fundraising kickball tournament that raised enough to build 2 houses.
Connecting the dots? I love it when my work life collides with my passion.
This kickball tournament was awesome. The cause is so worthy. Hillsborough County Parks and Rec is looking for “Signature Events”. I didn’t know who these guys were or what they did for a living other than they were former pro athletes from Tampa. I just wanted my department in as a sponsor for this event. It soooo fits in with our mission. So I met with them this week to discuss. After the meeting, Bill Gramatica handed me his card and it says SIPS International. The tiny house crazy person in me kicks into gear. I say “SIPS?” Bill says, “oh, that’s what we build these houses with, Structural Insulated Panels.” I say, “do you use wood or aluminum?” and they both just about fall over because I know what SIPS are. So we have a meeting after the meeting to talk about what they do in real life, tiny houses in general and my tiny house in particular. I have all the photos and plans on my tablet, so I am always prepared. They invited me to come tour their factory/warehouse and talk tiny houses.
I went over there today. It’s an impressive space. They make 2 kinds of SIPS, out of either wood fiber or concrete fiber. A little heavier than what I have been looking at, but way more practical and buildable.
Tiny house for fun out of SIP scraps
Haiti earthquake house. This is built with concrete fiberboard SIPS and is just painted finish. It has been sitting outside in the Tampa rain and humidity for 5 years and has no leaks or mold.
They are really interested in tiny houses. So interested that if I put together a workshop, they will BUILD MY TINY HOUSE AS THE WORKSHOP PROJECT. Yes and supply burgers and beer too. It’s all about marketing for them, they want a piece of the tiny house movement. They are willing to teach us how to assemble the SIPS, frame out doors and windows, frame the roof or use SIPS, so at the end of the workshop I have the shell done for the house! Back to the drawing board to adjust my wall and window spaces for 4′ panels instead of the 3′ I had done. A tweak here and there, but oh my! My house!
So as you may imagine, my organizational skills have been working overtime today. I am coordinating dates. It is coming together. We’ll be doing this probably in June. JUNE! So, stay tuned as I set the date and start getting the word out!
Oh, and the kickball tournament date is set for Sept. 27th. The Gramatica’s are kindred spirits with that work and passion colliding thing!