Framing is Complete – The Bones of the Tiny House

Exterior Shell, The Walls

At the time of the last post I wrote, we had the front and back walls built and raised, and needed to complete the smaller left and right walls. Well we finished everything on Friday evening, September 25th – a month and five days after our first day at the build. The framing took 8 days in total, and we certainly became more proficient at it as time went on. Here’s a video we made showing all four walls going up!

The first nail (we used 3 1/2″ galvanized nails) I drove took somewhere around 25 smacks… pretty bad accuracy haha. My best now is 5!! On the topic of nails, we weren’t sure how many to get and started out with a mere 10 lbs. These lasted about a day and a half, and we went back to the store and bought an entire box – 50lbs. It is cheaper by almost $30 to buy the whole box compared to the same amount using the per pound rate. Lesson learned! By the end, I estimate we used about 35 pounds for all our framing needs. We also bought 3 lbs of 2 1/2″ galvanized nails for toe-nailing, which was definitely sufficient. Toe-nailing is when you attach a vertical stud to a horizontal plate using a nail on an angle.



Using Pythagorean theorum to solve for the hypotenuse – our top plate 🙂

Gradually, we relied on the computer model less and less as well, because it was just
easier to decide exactly where the windows were going ourselves based on the centre line of a wall. Once you’ve logically thought all this through, it’s easy to then mark out the studs accordingly. The narrow end walls were interesting to design since they connect two parallel walls of differing heights. The front, high wall, is 10’11” and the lower back wall is 9’8″. This meant that the top plate had to be positioned on a 10° angle, and each stud running from bottom to top had to be a different height. It also meant that each stud connecting with the top plate needed to be angled (mitred), to fit snugly into place. The best way to lay this out is on the floor, using chalk lines, outlining the angles and various heights of studs. I even did a little bit of math in order to get the exact length of the top plate – imagine that! Although these walls were smaller, they took a day each to complete because of the added complexity with the angles. We were so glad to be completely done!

To give you some perspective on the process of actually framing a wall, we made a video of the fourth wall coming together. It’s the rake wall on the right hand side of the house, where our guest loft and bathroom will be located.

A few words on window placement: the windows that are located in the loft areas were easy to position, because we needed them as high as they could go in order to have as much wall/floor space as possible up there. The windows on the main floor area were a little trickier. Given that we are having two lofts at either end of the tiny house, we had to find a happy balance between headroom under the loft, headroom in the loft, and the height of counters, and couches. The size of our windows had been decided on, based on our Google Sketch-Up model we had designed. So those were fixed variables that could not be changed at this point; but of course, you can’t have a window intersecting the platform that forms your loft floor. IMG_20150922_145226To make it easier to visualize, we actually got a piece of 2′ x 4′ and suspended it from the tops of our front and back walls using rope, at various heights, until we were happy that we had enough space downstairs and upstairs for everything we needed. At first, we assumed that we were going to install standard height counters (36″ from the ground), but during our window positioning process, we realized that since we are building this ourselves, we can actually venture away from the standards and choose something that fits us better, personally. I did some reading and found out that the standard counter height of 36″ has been around since the early 1900s, at a time when people were on average, much shorter. Ergonomically, the best height for a counter is that which results in your forearms being positioned at a 45° angle when your palms are placed flat on the counter top. Keep in mind – to achieve this, it isn’t how tall you are overall that is important, just the height of your elbow since it is the lower arm that does (or should be doing) all the prep work when at a counter. When a counter is not at the correct height for your body, you will compensate for this unconsciously by changing your position in order to get your arm into the right position for working on the surface. If the angle is greater than 45° (counter is too high), approaching 90°, you will have a tendency to step or lean back a little; and if the angle is smaller than this (counter is too low), you will have a tendency to lean forward. Both of these scenarios end up in pain – upper back and shoulder pain with counters that are too high, and lower back pain with counters that are too low. Here’s a good source that I found very useful on this topic.

We decided that we are going to go with 38″ counter tops, as we are both a little taller, and I do spend a lot of time experimenting and creating in the kitchen. Might as well make it more enjoyable since we have the option! Our kitchen window sill will then be positioned 2″ above the counter height, which means our loft platform allows us a total vertical space of 6’5 1/2″ in the kitchen and bathroom. All our ‘downstairs’ windows are 3′ high, so we positioned them all at the same height from the floor based on this carefully calculated kitchen window position. It works out great for the height of our sectional couch and living room window as well, and the window in the bathroom. Remember to factor in the thickness of your finish flooring when making this decision for yourself!

Once we had all four walls framed, we had to permanently attach them to one another at the corners before we could remove the bracing. This part actually wasn’t incorporated into the plans we bought, but we emailed the designers and they were able to explain what to do via email! Such a relief.



You basically have to shove the walls into place so that any given corner will be level and square. This was made easier by ratchet-strapping the left wall to one of the axles. Ratchet straps are awesome! Tim and I have been maintaining some really good teamwork throughout the framing process, but of course, we have our ups and downs. We are getting better at being able to read when we’re too tired or too hungry, or experiencing the dreaded h-anger (when you’re so hungry that you start to express anger in a seemingly unwarranted manner)…. ok I’ll admit that I am the bigger victim of feeling hangry (lol). I feel like I’m in a snickers commercial sometimes. I’m just not myself when I’ve worked for 9 hours and I’m hungry! We’ve both become more forgiving with respect to differences of opinion if it means that one of us will be a lot happier if we do something a certain way. Sometimes it is likely unnecessary or redundant, but our comfort level and the gift of being on the same page is totally worth it!!


Tiny House Builders and Adventure Seekers

About Us

Jess and Tim are two, forward-thinking millennials who push the boundaries of what they grew up thinking their life was going to be like. “Because that’s the way it’s always been done” or “Because that’s what everyone else does” are never, ever, answers they accept to questions they have. They believe in the good-hearted nature of people around the world and love to travel as much as possible to witness it in every way possible. Instead of buying into the typical 9 – 5, Monday to Friday, pay your bills and save for retirement mindset, Jess and Tim decided that building a tiny house could allow them to travel while they’re young, and subsequently afford to work when, and where, they most wanted. They are budding entrepreneurs, and want to create their own niche whereby they can contribute to their local economy in a meaningful and fulfilling way.
Jess and TimThis energetic couple is from Newfoundland – an island in the North Atlantic region of Canada, known for the resourcefulness and kindness of its people. It’s a place that has historically relied on the fishery, kitchen gardens, root cellars, and the strong will of families and communities to survive in such a harsh environment. In the early 2000s, Newfoundland’s economic focus switched to oil, bringing in a flurry of development and wealth. Unfortunately, the old way of life on the island and its connection to re-purposing, waste reduction, and experiential-based joys, slowly started to slip away and was being replaced. Over the past couple of years, Jess and Tim have noticed the stirrings of a resurgence in the air, and they feel that their tiny house fits in with a second wave of traditional Newfoundland culture in so many ways. Some of their biggest supporters are of the 60+ variety, as these people have a first hand understanding that happiness and success are not connected to the size of your house.

Jess earned her B.Sc. in geology from Dalhousie University, and after various summer jobs involving habitat research and preservation, she ended up working as a geo-environmental scientist for an engineering company. Sustainability and environmental conservation are high priorities for her, both professionally and personally. After an industry slow down and the resulting closure of her department, she decided it was time to pursue a dream of hers to teach English as a second language abroad. She’s very detail-oriented, feels a strong need to clearly understand the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of things she’s doing, and is most comfortable when she knows things are being done correctly the first time ’round. Jess can be rather serious, and probably needs to chillax sometimes; but her passion and determination are useful tools when it comes to achieving goals. She loves spending time outdoors, particularly camping and hiking, and has always had a connection to sports and athletics.


Tim earned his Journeyman / Red Seal in welding after completing a 4 year apprenticeship program in Newfoundland. He has worked in many areas of his industry including structural repair, fabrication, and interdisciplinary collaboration with other skilled trades. He is a born leader, with enough patience and logic for two people. Tim highly values minimalism and is very self-disciplined when it comes to his personal consumption of products and services. He is a handy guy who will take on just about anything, given enough time and the tools to figure it out. This is partially a product of his up-bringing in a small, isolated community called South East Bight, where residents must rely on themselves, their friends, and their family in order to get things done. Tim is very much a realist, which can make it tough sometimes when there are emotions to be dealt with; but this perspective provides groundedness and structure for those closest to him. Tim is a self-taught guitarist, and loves all things metal.