BIG Art; Tiny House Post No. 4: Finishing the Walls

It’s taken five days of labor, but the walls of BIG Art; Tiny House are officially raised and man does it feel good!

The past month has been a roller coaster of excitement, exhaustion, and lots of saw dust.  Last week, as I sat at my desk at The Umbrella and looked out the window at the two walls we had raised so far, I was overwhelmed by the amount of effort it had taken to make what felt like very little progress. After two weekends, all we had were two walls, not even affixed to the trailer.

But then it was time to work again and there was no time for exhaustion or doubt or slight incredulity that I decided to do this project while working full-time and starting a business.  Saturday morning we started off at 9:00 am after a quick run to Concord Lumber to pick up supplies.  My mother cut the big, blocky paralam pieces for the front wall of the house while I laid out the framing of the third wall on the trailer bed.


At eleven,Tatyana, a volunteer photographer from The Umbrella came to document our project.  After taking pictures for a while, she decided to jump in and try her hand at building.  By the end of the day she was wielding the nail gun and the chop saw like a pro!

Hearth Member Nat Bearg came out for the afternoon as well and once all four of us were there, we took down the first two walls so that we could finish framing the third one on the trailer bed.  Although at first I was nervous about having to frame all of our walls on the trailer bed because it is the only level surface, it was surprisingly easy to shift everything around.  I’m definitely glad that we didn’t attached the first two walls to the trailer last week otherwise it would have been much less so.

Once all three walls were lifted back into place, we screwed them into the trailer and started the arduous process of squaring them.  We had done this for each wall separately, but because we kept moving them they all lost their square at some point.  It took some finagling, several diagonals, and a lot of braces, but we finally got our three walls square and then it was 8:30 pm and time to wrap up.

Saturday night we got hit by another summer storm and decided to stay inside for the morning. It was gray and cold and a perfect day to take a little extra rest and then think through the timeline for the rest of the project.  Our goal is still to have the outside completed by The Umbrella’s First Thursday event in October and thankfully we are on track with room to spare!

After much debating, my mother, Nat, and I did end up going out on Sunday afternoon.  With the paralam wall already cut, there wasn’t a huge amount of work left to do to finish all the walls and I knew my sanity would be much stronger this week if we just banged them out.  With tarps hiked up over the walls, we finished putting the paralam wall, the doorway, and the last little window wall together between noon and 6:00 pm.  Honestly, it was a nice change to be slightly damp instead of covered in sweat.  Not that I’m hoping for any more bad weather!

As I sat in the window sill of my house at the end of the day on Sunday, I realized just how far we’ve come in three short weeks.  I now feel completely comfortable framing a wall, from the math for the stud placements to using the nail gun and the chop saw.  I still have no idea how to build the rest of my house, but we’ll get there!  One stage at a time.

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