The 3 Most Important Things I Learned Building A Tiny House

Slow and calculated turns should be made when you are carrying an 8’ 2×4. | The Arkansas heat is much easier to bear when you are working on something you are passionate about. | Dried blood can reasonably be camouflaged into the knots on wood paneling. 

Here are some of the life-changing things I learned while building a tiny house. 

1. Construction involves a lot of giving-up. 

If it’s too hard, you’re doing it wrong. Or you don’t have the right tools. 

Physical labor isn’t my favorite. It’s not the getting dirty or the heavy lifting — what I lack in strength I make up for with determination. It’s the risks and monotony. 

2” holes needed to be drilled in most of the studs — for electricity. It literally took all of my strength to drill through the stud. All the battery in the cordless drill was drained by the second hole.*

Then I realized I would also need to drill holes through the studs on the roof. That’s about a 10 foot ceiling not over the loft. 

This was my first of many hard reality checks. 

I gave up what I now knew was my pride. My dad and my younger brother, Danny, gave me a hand (they did everything while I watched from where they deemed a safe distance). 

I had a whole new appreciation for what they were accomplishing. 

To this day, this has been my motivation to take good care of the house. I know how much work went into building this house. 

What they did was beyond what I would consider a realistic project to undertake. My dad genuinely enjoyed the project. We only worked on the house when we were together. I got to spend more time with him than I had in years. 

*I drilled like three(3) holes. That part of the wall was removed soon after to make room for the window.  

2. How to let ideas/projects breathe. 

Roofs need to be vented. It allows houses to “breathe.” The vents release moisture and heat. Without vents, mold would become an issue. The wooden structure of your home would begin to rot. 

Projects need to breathe, too. Release those unrealistic, ill-advised ideas. It doesn’t mean you are giving up. Things change. You learn. 

The first thing my dad said when he was looking inside my house was something along the lines of “this would be a great place for a window.” 

I literally did not want to process that thought. Installing a window? How on earth does someone do that?

Apparently, all you do is cut a hole in the wall, structure the opening with studs, and install the window. 

My dad added two windows to my house.

In like a day. 

I can’t imagine my house without them. 

3. Listen to your dad.

“You’re not building a tiny house, your dad is.” – My very correct therapist. 

My dad wanted me to keep ownership of the project. 

In what felt like a SNL skit, I tried to frame the one and only wall in the house on my own. The only nail I had ever hammered was to hang something on the wall. It took me 20+ swings to get the nail in correctly. 

It took my dad like two(2) or three(3) swings. 

I held the frame in place – if that’s not a thing don’t tell me, I was really glad to be at least feel helpful – and he finished what would have probably taken me all day. 

The frame had smooth edges and fit perfectly under the loft. 

I can see why God is compared to a father. When things are going poorly and you don’t know why, most of us are lucky enough to have a father figure to ask for help. 

It’s like dads feel an innate need to guide you to the right choices. Even if the relationship is strained. 

The real-life comparison is super easy to make here. I’ll let you compare this to life on your own. 

Rebuilding my relationship with God has been shockingly guilt-free – like when I asked my dad for help and he was relieved because he didn’t have to watch me ruin a perfectly good 2×4. 

building a tiny house

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