Framing and Raising the Walls

Our plans came to life when went to visit our good buddies Derek and Holly a couple of hours away from us. They had designed and built their own Tiny House and are living in it now with their cutie baby, Roman. Derek has been in the building industry for a while with his family’s business, Uhler&Company, and offered to make us some sketch up framing plans in his spare time, what a guy! We hashed out the details over a few beers and he got us the plans in no time, which meant we were ready to continue the project and get to the exciting step of framing the Tiny House.

I made a quick building list and went to Lowes with Cullen to pick up the lumber for our walls. All in all, we needed about: 56 8 ft boards, 4 10 ft, 3 12 ft, 1 14ft, 6 16 ft (all 2×4) and a 2x8x8 for the headers. We only had to go back to Lowes once for more lumber, and screws. Always more screws! When we had all the wood we decided to get to work right away. We started with the right wall, the easiest in our opinion because it has no windows, just the door. The framing is pretty simple, 16″ OC with 2x4s. The only thing that made it a little more complicated is that our entire house is angled from front to back about 5 degrees. This means we had to cut the top of every stud at a 5 degree angle for the roof to go on. Not that difficult, just had to angle the miter saw and get to cutting. If they are all the exact same I’m sure anyone would be surprised, but they are certainly close. We used 3 1/2″ screws to attach the studs to the top and bottom plates, and 2 1/2″ screws to attach any 2x’s together. We decided to use screws for a couple of reasons: 1) we think they will handle all of the vibration better on the road and 2) we didn’t know how many mistakes we’d make as noobies and its a lot easier to remove a screw than a nail.

From there we went to the hardest wall, the left wall, two windows and 16 ft long. We got it done without too many issues and ended up very satisfied with our work. It’s pretty easy when you have solid plans to rely on and consult for measurements… and when you have awesome friends who will answer the never ending amount of questions you come up with along the way – seriously, thank you Derek!

Our operation for each wall went a little  something like this ~ write out all of the cuts we needed to make for the wall, cut them all, make a general alignment of the wall, space everything out correctly by marking measurements on the top and bottom plates and random studs that needed to be attached to each other for windows or what have you, screw it all together, double check it when its done and set it aside. We decided to build all of the walls before putting them up. The walls took about a day each, pretty good I thought.. for framing virgins.

When we finished the final wall we felt that we were at a stand still, daunted at the task of raising our walls. We were sitting on the trailer, bickering about making a plan to invite friends, how many people we’d need, and learning how to raise and plumb them. Then with beautiful serendipity life tends to offer, our amazing friend, John Verbeck, rolled around the corner onto the farm with about an hour and a half of light left in the day. We tell Verb about our predicament and he jumps around all fired up and says “Well, let’s raise ’em!” We followed the Verb’s lead and before we knew it we had all four walls on the trailer and got them plumbed just as the sun was setting. Just like that we went from nagging about our timeline to having a framed trailer, it was memorable moment to say the least.

Looking back, the couple of days framing were tinted with a warm hue of spring sunshine and growth. There was a certain rhythm at the farm; the little bees pollinating, the sound of the tiller turning over the soil in the garden, the sounds of pigs and chickens loose on the farm all day. The movement of the critters and people kept us going in a uniform motion of love to improve our own lives and that of others. Having Cullen and Wynne by our side, diligently working to turn their piece of land into an abundant farm, is inspirational and exciting to be a part of. Having friends like John, who daringly leap into both sky and situation, with no fear or hesitation, lifts limitations we create for ourselves.  Although we are beginning to feel the burden of this project, it is also providing us with depth, a peak into the cyclical nature of both our external world and internal world.  Some tasks we breeze through some tasks take long days of work and frustration naturally arises. Fortunately we are surrounded by reminders of the beauty in all situations and that often the things which are the hardest are our greatest lessons in finding beauty.  The people, plants, and animals are growing at Highland Farm. We are realizing how essential  it is to take a breath and look around to see what we can learn from each other.

Some more…

HUGE thanks and MUCH love to the Uhlers for all of your help and continued support and John Verbeck for your fiery spirit and perfect timing to help us get things done!

Cheers to all the teachers in our lives, even the ones who don’t know it.

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