Kwakwaka’wakw houses were laid out with a cedar bark rope from front door to back wall. This rope was then halved, and laid at right angles from the centre of the doorway to the side walls to establish the width of the house. The distance from the two front corners to the centre of the back wall was then measured and made equal, to triangulate and thus square the house.
These later structures were classic post and beam, made of roundwood posts with two central beams supporting the gable roof, and two smaller timbers supporting the eaves. The houses were essentially square, with each exterior wall being forty to sixty feet in length. Sometimes, mid-span posts were required to support the four main beams. The roof was constructed with a light framework of roundwood rafters and purlins lashed to the beams, covered with roof planks running from the ridge to the eaves and overlapping like tiles. Rather than construct a smoke hole in the roof of the house, planks were simply pushed aside from within by a pole to vent excess smoke.