In 1811 an 18-year-old author had a waking vision. The year was one of considerable rain and the girl once remarked that the sun had been extinguished. She – Mary Shelley – picked up her pen, closed her drapes, and returned to darkness and clay in her epigraph, which she took from John Milton’s Paradise Lost: “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay/To mould me man? Did I solicit thee/From darkness to promote me?” And with those words came the tale of the “wretched beast” we now know as Frankenstein. A creature born from the parts of the deceased, Frankenstein lacks identity and detailed description. In that right, so has the process of framing a tiny house around the Tiny r(E)volution grounds. In the construction of a more traditional house the framing includes and is almost exclusive to the creation of the home’s skeleton. In fact, I recently came across an excellent article about framing in its entirety. Our method is more “Frankenframing” though. We pull from each step of the traditional framing process and create one large process that takes our trailer to our almost dried in tiny house on wheels, within a few days. Such is the case with the Santa Claus Haus last week.

Starting on Saturday (maybe closer to two weeks then?) we took our trailer (which already had the subfloor on it since we had built that some weeks back) and prepared it for the house portion. Perhaps the toughest part of the process though was the price of lumber and our receipts at the Lowe’s. Coming in at nearly $250 (about 42% of my total budget) the framing lumber, untreated yellow pine, looked about like:

  • 44 – 2″x4″x8′
  • 12 – 2″x6″x12′
  • 5 – 4’x8′ sheets of OSB (for roof sheathing)
  • 2 – 2″x6″x10′
  • 1 box – 16d nails
  • 1 box – 8d nails

We pressed on though. We built our four walls on the ground using standard framing technique. I mentioned on Facebook about a month ago that our initial sliding entry doors were no longer an option (due to some leaking seals) and that we had to find another entry door. We did and thereby framed the front wall for a more standard 36″ door. We then built the skeleton for our 10′ side walls (each with a window) and our 8′ back wall. From there we added a top plate and another 2′ of skeleton for our vaulted back portion. It is important to understand that because the Santa Claus Haus will be used primarily to show folks what a tiny house and how a tiny house can be more spacious than its numbers would suggest, the vaulted portion is just for looks. There is no real reason for it. The back wall does have a nice reclaimed window though that allows in some natural light.

Once our skeleton walls were constructed we added the LP SmartSide and yes, we did this on the ground. The walls were then ready to go up. Together with my dad, we stood all four walls and braced them off accordingly. Almost immediately we added the ridge board, bird-mouthed our ceiling joists, and took our braces off. The “box” was built and had been fastened to the trailer.

Over the course of the next 8 days we added roof sheathing, king studs, headers, the windows, etc.

On Day 9 we began putting on our ONDUVILLA roofing shingles and followed up on Day 11 by adding the door to completely “dry in” our micro tiny house. It was a Frankenframing job, to be sure. We just took a method here, an idea there, a structure there, and built a tiny house on wheels!

You can view all photos on our Google+ page.