Hippie Shack

May 15 - November 8, 2017

Hale and Ripley, ages 13 and 9, designed and built a shack on a hill in their backyard in Duxbury, VT. The structure sits on a 5' 1/2" x 8' platform and has a loft with a balcony overlooking the mountains.


Session 1: Framing Walls

May 15, 2017

During our first session the brothers cut 2x4's at different lengths and laid them out on the floor of their garage to visualize the dimensions of the structure. After some trial and error, they agreed on the dimensions of their shack, 5' 1/2" wide, 8' deep and 60" tall with a gabled roof and sleeping loft.


Session 2: Framing Platform

May 29, 2017

From the beginning, the brothers had a clear vision of where they wanted to build the structure. The location was high up on a hill with no road access. Fortunately, they had  a 4-wheeler for hauling up all of the tools and materials. On our second session, we loaded up and put together the 5' 1/2" x 8' platform by lunchtime. 


Session 3: Floorboards

June 12, 2017

We used rough cut 2x4's as floorboards. Before attaching them we raised the platform off of the ground with stones. Once the platform was level and sturdy we screwed on the floorboards. 


Session 4: Installing Walls

August 30, 2017

Today we strapped our wall frames onto the 4-wheeler and hauled them up from the garage to the platform for install. Ripley was hyped by the end of the day and started rapping.


Session 5: Trusses

September 17, 2017

Today we built the trusses for the roof of the hippie shack. The 2x6's used for this step were pre-cut in the shop before the session. The brothers used steel tie plates at each connection point to assemble the structures.

We strapped the trusses onto the 4-wheeler along with our tools and headed up to the worksite.

Hale and Ripley ensure that all of our materials are strapped down and secure before driving up to the worksite.

We spent the rest of the afternoon unloading and installing the trusses onto the shack. We took turns hold the structures in place and fastening them on with hurricane ties. 

By the end of the day we finished laying out and installing the trusses. 


Session 6: Plywood, Loft Joists & Roof Strapping

October 4, 2017

Productive day with many different jobs. We started the session by clearing out the shack and organizing our worksite. First thing on our list was to attach plywood onto the wall frame.  Hale and Ripley used clamps, drills and patience to cut the sections out with a jigsaw and attach them to the structure.

Hale clears out materials to prepare the worksite.

The second task involved some ladder work to install the joists that would support the sleeping loft. Ripley stepped up to the challenge and was laser focused as he lined up each joist at 16" on center and fastened it to the wall frame.

Once the joists were installed we were able to get on top of the structure to access the roof to attach strapping. Roof straps help stabilize the roof structure and provide a backing surface for receiving roof screws. Hale and Ripley worked together to measure, hold and screw each strap 14" apart on the trusses.

Hale and Ripley worked in tandem to drill pilot holes and screw on the roof strapping.

By the end of the day we had one side of the roof strapping attached.


Session 7: Plywood & Balcony

October 18, 2017

We started the day by walking up to the shack and taking measurements of the pieces needed to finish covering the frame. With cut list in hand, we walked down to the garage to make our cuts on plywood. We gathered our tools, secured the cut pieces onto the 4-wheeler, and drove up to the worksite. 

The brothers screw 1/2" plywood sheets onto the frame of their shack.

After lunch we climbed back into the hippie shack and threw up some rough cut 2x4's as a makeshift floor for the sleeping loft. Once up there, Hale and Ripley came up with the idea to leave the boards long to make a balcony. The rest of the session was spent aligning and screwing on the floorboards to the structure. The balcony was finished just in time for sunset.


Session 8: Roofing

October 25, 2017

With all of the roof strapping in place, we were ready to attach the sheets of recycled metal roofing. We worked together to hoist up the 8' long sheets and screw them onto the roof frame. Hale was in charge of drilling, while Ripley was on the ladder passing over screws.

Taking a brake after attaching three sheets of corrugated roofing.

By the end of the day we had the all of the corrugated sheets secured onto the roof structure. Ripley got up on the ladder to screw in the last few fasteners.


Session 9: Windows, Railing & Door

November 8, 2017

Our windows were framed with 2x3's cut to fit within our wall frame and we used plexiglass instead of conventional glass. Our first task was to peel off the protective film from the plexiglass and drill pilot holes to prevent cracking from screwing.

Hale sorting out the plexiglass with its corresponding 2x3 frame.

Once the the windows were installed onto the structure we jumped into the next task of building a railing for the balcony. To do this we used 4x4 posts notched at the bottom to fit onto the balcony floor. We used 2x4's for the railing and 2x2's for the balusters. 

Hale took a break from the balusters to install the door.

Hale screws on the hinges for the door.

After fitting the door, Hale went back up to the balcony to finish the railing.

Ripley enjoys the view from the balcony.