Yes, you can construct this starter A-frame on your own

Marco Tovar's A-Frame
Marco Tovar

When Fresno, California high-school film teacher Marco Tovar purchased a less-than-one-acre plot of land steps from Savage Lake in Troy, Montana, two years ago, there was little left in his budget for a house. So, for just $1,700 he built an 80-square-foot A-frame with plans he purchased on the Internet. “I’ve always loved A-frames,” says Tovar. “Someday I want a full-size A-frame here, but my stage-one plan is to build a few tiny structures so that guests can have their own space.”


Marco Tovar

By his own admission, Tovar possessed zero carpentry know-how, but he used the skepticism of friends as motivation. As summer approached, he immersed himself in YouTube tutorials on how to build a shed and frame walls and doors. When school break rolled around, he built the base of his cabin solo in a few days using just a hammer, nails, level, and skill saw.

His new neighbors lent advice and loaned tools, and his girlfriend, Jenny Edwards, chipped in. For the next two weeks they put in 12-hour days to complete the frame and a polycarbonate pop-up roof, and to refurbish a salvaged door. On the agenda this summer? A higher ratio of relaxing for sure, says Tovar.