Building a Modern Tiny House in Connecticut

"The Trailer" no more - now "The House"

“Did you pump the water off the trailer?”
“Did you put the tarp over the trailer?”
“Did you bring the tools in from the trailer?”

The questions above are the sort that Michael and I used to ask each other a few short weeks ago.

Thinking about what to write for this post, it occurred to me that the phrase “the trailer” doesn’t get used much anymore.  For a little while after the subfloor got completed, I started using the vague phrase “job site” sometimes, but now that real wall framing is almost complete, we refer to the project simply and appropriately as “the house,” because it is really looking like one!

As of the last posting, two sections of wall framing had been assembled and raised into place - the 8-foot long wall at the (bathroom) end of the house - right behind the trailer hitch - and about 8 feet of the adjoining side wall which will contain the main entry door - the same side as the “driver’s side” of a towing vehicle (if we were so fortunate as to have a towing vehicle, which we don’t).

As of this evening, 8/6/16, the entire “driver’s side” sidewall framing is in place, from front to rear of the trailer.  We can see where the “front” door will be and near to it the horizontal, rectangular rough opening that will accommodate a sliding window high in the wall of the main living area.

The most dramatic addition today, however, was the completion of the living area end wall framing with its wall-to-wall opening for the large picture window that will look out onto The Grove.  The window opening is framed on each side and overhead with “Parallam” engineered 4x6 and 4x4 beams - surprisingly not terribly heavy but extremely strong to resist stresses in various directions - stresses that would be resisted in a normal windowless wall mainly by sheathing. The design of this wall was subject to much careful consideration as well as the input of a professional engineer, as wall-to-wall window spans without the aid of heavy steel framing can present an engineering challenge.

This wall was clearly the heaviest one of all to raise upright and then lift and drop into place over the vertical threaded anchoring rods welded to the trailer. Michael and I managed to line up some help from Michael’s brother Ryan, so that we had a three-person team for the big lift.  Tip: before you lift a big wall section into place, don’t forget to pick out and have at the ready some bracing members (Michael used scruffy-looking 2x4s) - also your nailer and/or impact driver and appropriate fasteners, so that your lifting team is not left anxiously holding the wall section upright and hoping a gust of wind doesn’t hit while you are gathering those items. For us, fortunately, the weather was perfect and air was still.

The other wall framing sections completed and raised since the last posting - each at most 8 feet long - were easily raised upright and then lifted over the anchoring rods by just the two of us.

Our approach to building the wall sections was refined a little after the first two sections were completed: Michael decided to request that when I cut studs in advance for the remaining side walls, I make those cuts precise to 1/32 of an inch rather than 1/16”.  (His drafting program, Sketchup, very conveniently can provide lengths of each framing member - to whatever precision desired, reflecting even the differing lengths of the shorter and longer sides of a stud whose end is beveled at a 3.2 degree angle to accommodate the pitch of the roof).

He asked for the increased precision because studs in earlier wall sections did not fit as tightly as desired against the top and bottom plates.  (Really tight framing joints make for noticeably increased rigidity).   The 1/32” requirement led to some challenging development of techniques for cutting with our ancient but reliable 10” Craftsman radial arm saw (which has no laser cutting guide assistance).

At this, point, only 16 feet or so of wall framing remains to be completed, and the momentum of our achievements this weekend is exciting and makes us look forward to wall sheathing and a roof starting to appear soon.  The needed materials are all delivered and eagerly waiting!   :)

Comments: 1 Comment



  • Comment by Melody on 9 August 2016 10:51 am

    Ahhh it's a HOUSE! It's beautiful.

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