Progress Pictures

Who said I can’t lift plywood by myself? Well, I can. I just can’t lift it, hold it in place, and wield a nail gun while on a ladder all at the same time. So putting up the plywood has been a slow process because I’ve had to recruit help.

This is the first two sheets up, on the end and far wall, with more ready to go, and you can see the bathroom window is a missing a few pieces.

IMG_0904We got a couple more sheets up after fixing the window. Then I bumped my head on two different window sills twice in a row, so I was definitely ready to close up all the “doors” into the house and stop climbing through the walls.

More done! The sheets over the wheel wells, despite my careful measuring, still ended up being a pain, but they’re up!

We got the other side done while we were at it.

It’s so nice to stand inside! Every new step is exciting 🙂

The top couple of feet of plywood won’t go up until the rafters are on. On the sides I’ll need to notch out the plywood to fit up between the rafters.

Thank you to Dylan, Dan, Colby, Mitchell, and T.O.!

Note: I researched plywood orientation multiple times, and repeatedly found different reputable builders doing it either way, and most of the advice I found said that either works. I oriented the plywood however it was easiest, so on the side walls I put it up vertically to eliminate a set of blocking, and on the end walls it was easier for me to do the sheets horizontally. As for stamp in or out, if the stamp doesn’t specifically say, I found the same advice, either works and some people do it one way for this reason while others do the opposite way for another reason. I ended up putting my sheets, if they were bowed, so that the edges were touching the studs because I found it easier to push on the middle of a sheet than to fight to get the edges attached.

I had hoped to get the last few skinny sheets done on the front end of the house, but we ran out of time that day, and I have some news! I started a second job! So I’ve been working a lot and whenever I have a day off, it pours. I haven’t been able to work on the house unfortunately. I never realized how much it rains in Nova Scotia!

In between having help, I have been working on the rafters, often racing the clock before a shift, or racing the rain! There’s been at least twice where I’ve been working and have felt the rain start and had to run to get everything back into the garage.

It took six tries, but I finally made a promising rafter template:

I cut all my 2x10x6s in half to prepare to make them into rafters:

I cut all the ends to the correct angle (the four on the bottom of the pile are going to be a little different because they’ll be the face boards on the outside of the house):

And this is why I’m not allowed to cut in the garage:

It makes a mess!

It makes a mess!

In other news, I had someone stop by and knock on my door to ask about the tiny house! And not someone who was just curious, but someone else who is building a tiny house! Of course, they’re further along than I am, but that’s probably because they’re a professional builder who was commissioned to build the house. They offered me their tarp after their roof is on, and I’m gonna go stop by their build sometime soon!


Taking the Weight Off My Shoulders

When I was 16 and I discovered tiny houses, I knew I wasn’t going to follow the default path and go to university or college straight out of high school. I didn’t want that anyways. I’m happy to be different when I’m doing what is right for me. But as the weather has gotten colder and I’ve gotten even more stressed about the tiny house build, I realized I’m not completely doing this in a way that fits me and my life. I did my research beforehand; I compared and contrasted dozens of builds and picked out the pieces I needed to build my own house. But I never stopped to truly take my own situation into account. I don’t live in California or Nevada. I don’t have a partner who dreamed up the house with me, did the research, and jumped in with both feet from the beginning. I don’t have any engineering, construction, electrical, or plumbing experience. I don’t have a dozen eager friends with experience in any of those fields. I don’t have the patience to hunt for bargain materials. I don’t have the anger to hassle hardware store staff for discounts. I don’t have family with years of building experience hanging around to help. All of these things are advantages other builders have had and I keep comparing myself to them. But I’m 19. I’ve never done anything this big (or expensive) in my life. I can barely budget for groceries, let alone building materials, and before last year I’d never touched a hammer.

I took this build on by myself, armed with a dream and the internet. I also carried around the assumption that everything had to be done before winter because… winter. I have been insanely stressed, all because of the self-inflicted pressure to get the house through an entire phase in four months. I neglected finishing my steps list or my timeline because I didn’t want to think about how much there was to do before the temperature dropped. I’ve been avoiding blogging and sharing my progress because I’m ashamed I’m not further along. I know how much is left to do and that knowledge has been sabotaging me every morning I try to sleep my stress away, every afternoon I tie up my work boots dejectedly, and every night when I avoid my books, my favourite pastime, because I don’t feel I deserve them. My “tiny” to-do list has been twisting at my heart every sunny day I work, every rainy day off I have, and the first time I heard the word “flurries” in the forecast.

I’m generally not a stressed person. I tend to come up with solutions to ease any stress, so I tried to do that with the build. What could I do to lessen my stress about how little time I have left? The last thing on the list in my head titled “Before Winter” is siding. Maybe I could get it installed for me? I looked into it. It would only take two days, but it would cost $1035. That’s not in the budget.

De-Stress Attempt #2:

Take things off the list.

It was simple. I finally wrote down all the steps to finish Phase 3: The Shell, and I realized that it’s not physically possible. I think on some level I knew that, but I had tried to get everything lined up and ready to go. I have all the wood I need, my windows are ordered, my door is ordered, I have my roofing, and I ordered my siding. I’ve been collecting little things like tuck tape whenever I can. But even with a friend’s offer of a garage I can sand and stain in, there’s no way I can stain all 1200 linear feet of siding – both sides – before it gets too cold to do anything, let alone finish everything else on the list. Plus I’m low on money at this point. After I accepted that I made my to-do list too long, I was able to shrink it to a compromise. I won’t get the entire shell done before winter, but I can get it closed in and ready to hibernate. I plan to have house wrap and ice and water shield on, the front door in, tarp it up tight, and put my little lovely to bed where I can keep an eye on her.

I am not a team of builders with 30 years experience, able to build a house in a matter of weeks, so I shouldn’t blame myself for not keeping pace with the construction projects I notice nearby. Now I just have to forgive myself for wasting my summer beating myself up over an impossible to-do list.

I’ll post pictures soon.

“I was supposed to order those?”

Today after work I went in to order my front door, which I’ve been waiting to order. I’ve gotten a couple door quotes in the past, but wanted to wait until my framing was up and I had an exact size. Plus I needed to figure out how to seal and trim it with the side wall of the bump-out and the underside of the storage loft being so close to the opening. After some research and getting distracted by pretty flooring, I went in to the same place I ordered my windows from. There was another store that quoted me $10 cheaper, but then never got back to me about it. I can do my own follow-up and call them, sure, but it’s frustrating when people who theoretically want business don’t call me back.

Anyways, I went in, talked to someone I haven’t talked to before, had a nice chat about tiny houses, and left with a more expensive quote, unfortunately. But the guy has to call the company about a few things and said he’d try to get the price lower.

Then I went and talked to the guy I ordered my windows from. I ordered them in the middle of August. They were supposed to take three weeks but I haven’t gotten a call yet saying they’re in. He had told me I didn’t have to pay for them until I was ready to pick them up, and that they’d be there waiting whenever I was ready to install them. But apparently, our wires got crossed and he didn’t realize he was supposed to order them. He said he never heard back from me, but I went in twice. Once to get a rough estimate, and then in August to finalize and order them.

But on the bright side, I realized two mistakes in my framing and was able to adjust the windows before he actually ordered them. My entrance window was supposed to be taller, but when I was framing it, I made it six inches shorter. I’m okay with that, so I changed the size on the order. As I double-checked the rough-openings, I realized I had made my bathroom rough opening an inch too small, and I was already getting the smallest possible width. So I had him make that one a half inch wider. That way I can cut out the jack stud, turn the king stud next to it into a jack stud, and add in a new king stud. So now that’s fixable. Good thing there’s no plywood there yet.

I worked on my rafter template and thought I had it pretty accurate, but I think I’ve been going about making the rafters the wrong way. I’ve been trying to follow the exact math from a rafter calculator that helped me make my rake walls, but the saw could be off, and the walls might have turned out a little differently. I should be making my rafters to fit the house, not the math.

I kind of wish I had easy 45 degree angles to work with, but that’s not the roof line I want. Any work I put into making my weird rafters will be worth it as I enjoy my spacious loft and 10′ ceiling. I also don’t have to worry about dormers or valleys in my roof.

Now I have 3 weeks until my windows come in (or less; he said he’d put a rush on them because it was his mistake). And there’s 3 and half weeks until the end of October, so I plan to have lots done by then! I dislike the cold, so I want to snuggle inside a warm house with a closed-in tiny house sitting outside, before I freeze my fingers off. I’m jealous of builders in California and Las Vegas that can build year-round; the seasons are stressing me out!

I do all my work at the last minute, so why did I expect the build to be different? 😛


Happy October! No, not really for me. I had a nightmare this morning that instead of plywood on the trailer, there were floor boards. The boards were all rotten and twisted, and I could pull them right off. And, between the cracks, I could see crystal clear water filling the trailer instead of insulation. Then a giant firecracker landed in my yard and bent the frame of the trailer beyond repair. It’s been raining a lot, and Dylan mentioned fireworks earlier…

I’ll back up a little. Since I posted last week, I finished the blocking:

I’m not afraid of heights, but being ten feet in the air with a nail gun is not fun. It looks a lot better without missing pieces though!

Here’s a pic. of the little wall we put in:

We finished drilling the hole in the trailer and attached the porch post:

That’ll get some black paint later.

That post won’t be going anywhere. Something I’d like to note: when I was researching how to attach my post and if it was structural or not, I learned that it depends how big your porch is. Tiny House Giant Journey didn’t put their post in until they found just the right one, but their porch is small. Mine is more than 24″ wide, so the upper walls need to be supported.

We got some plywood cut and ready to go up, but it’s easier to do with 3 or more people and our help for the day fell through. Dylan and I switched to working on rafters:

My lovely helper :)

My lovely helper 🙂

Looks perfect on the first try!

Looks perfect on the first try!

But that was deceiving. We tried the rafter on the other end and it wasn’t even close. Rather than making another incorrect rafter, I measured and lined up the rafter and some wood on a sheet of plywood and traced the rafter onto both halves. The angle is off a little, so I have to fix that.

My two part ridge board has been put together as well and is waiting to be put up. Another note: My design supports the roof through the loft support beams and some collar ties, so my ridge board is non-structural and is only there for ease of attaching my rafters. A 2×6 is not an adequate ridge beam. My engineer said I’d need a 12″ engineered beam (that would seriously cut into headroom), so I opted for the collar ties instead.

It’s not the progress I was hoping for during the sunny days that we had but it’s better than nothing. I was out there every clear day. I also did a little flooring research and have found a beautiful hand-scraped floor that’s on sale right now…

But it’s been pouring rain this week. There’s been a rainfall warning in effect, and they’ve been calling for up to 70mm in two days. I can’t wait until I can enjoy the rain without panicking about my house. I’m not too concerned about the frame getting wet, but worrying about the floor stresses me out. The floor is covered with two layers of tarp, but where the trailer is level now water has no where to go.

The first day of rain wasn’t too bad, only the edges of the floor got wet and the tarp did its job. But the second day the tarp was full of puddles and the floor underneath was soaked. I got out the shop vac for a little clean-up, but they’re still calling for more rain. Thank goodness I didn’t use OSB or fiberglass!

Note to aspiring tiny house builders: find an indoor place to build, or be prepared to stress about rain for months.

I’ve been asked if I think I’ll finish in time, and my answer to that is, I have no idea. But I’m doing my best.


"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris