La Casa Pequena Shell Constructed in 2 Days

la casa pequena On Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20 I teamed up with Derin and Andra Williams of Shelterwise, and Dee Williams and Joan Grimm of Portland Alternative Dwellings to put on a 2-day building workshop to construct La Casa Pequena. The workshop was part of La Casa Verde green building festival in McMinnville, OR. (Stay tuned for lots more photos!)

With Derin’s dad DK and seven fantastic workshop participants from as far away as British Columbia, California, and Utah we built the shell of a tiny house on wheels in just 2 days! (Of course, Derin put many more hours into designing this wee abode and prepping the workshop so that everything was ready to go. Derin had the sheet metal pan installed in advance and two of the walls pre-built. Thanks for your meticulous planning, Derin!)

La Casa Pequena has a simple form with a shed roof, symmetrical sidewalls, and the short wall towards the tongue end of the trailer for aerodynamics. However, the wall system is quite sophisticated since Derin is an expert in energy efficiency. He’s a stickler for building excellent wall systems so we included building science lessons along with construction tips. (You don't have to take my word for it! You can read Angela Ramseyer's and Dee Williams' recap of the workshop, too!)

The tiny house was constructed on a 12-foot long trailer custom built by Iron Eagle Trailers. (Read more about Rob and Iron Eagle Trailer in Trailer Lust.) We started out Day 1 by securing the floor box into the trailer frame with ½ inch bolts through the sidewalls of the trailer and insulating the space between the joists.

Next we finished constructing the frame, using one of the sidewalls as a template for the other. The workshop participants had varying levels of familiarity and comfort with speed squares, impact drivers, and saws, so we shared tricks for building in a safe and smart way.  By the end of the first day we had raised the four walls and secured them to the trailer and to each other with HTT tension ties and fastener plates.

We raised the roof at the beginning of Day 2 with the help of a few folks from Casa Verde booths. Together we hoisted the roof system up onto the walls and secured it with hurricane ties. Once the roof was in place we wheeled La Casa Pequena into the middle of the Casa Verde celebration. We wrapped the house in drain wrap and stapled it in place with plastic washers. (This house has its sheer panels on the inside so we installed the house wrap directly onto the studs without sheathing it first.) Then Tate from Dupont demonstrated how to install a window, using flexible flashing. (Dupont donated the housewrap and flashing for this build. Thanks Dupont!)

Installing windows is my favorite part of the construction of a tiny house shell because it add so much personality to the structure. All of the sudden the house comes alive. In this case it was also exciting to install the windows because we were able to wrap up the workshop once the last window was installed.

Throughout the summer La Casa Pequena will serve as a demo house for micro workshops on plumbing, electrical, and interior finishes. Stay tuned for more information. Meanwhile, we’re switching gears to prep for our upcoming PAD Tiny House Design Workshop next weekend!