Pedalpalooza ADU & Tiny House Tour Recap

Yesterday was an epic day of small houses. Kimber and I coordinated the Pedalpalooza Accessory Dwelling and Tiny House Tours all in one day so that people who are interested in both tours could visit a variety of small spaces. It was great fun! (But you don't have to take my word for it. You can read Audrey's recap at Trying on Tiny or read more at Daedalus Project.)

We started out the ADU tour by exploring a basement apartment that was constructed by energy efficiency expert Derin Williams of Shelter Wise. As a special bonus we got to see Casa Pequena, the tiny house which was constructed in 2 days in April. Next up was a 320 square foot backyard cottage built by Walt Quade of Small Home Oregon, which serves as a sister-in-law suite. Walt also showed one of his tiny garden cottages and one of his teardrop trailers. Then we headed to Granny’s Garden Cottage, which was My Summer Garden Cottage last year. It was great to see my old digs again and to see how Bruce & Carolyn’s gorgeous garden is growing this year. We made a quick stop at Cully Grove to see the progress on this cohousing community for 16 families.

Then we were off to Kathleen’s where we got to see an owner-built ADU still under construction and learn how this basement apartment provides flexibility for her and her parents. I especially appreciated how they maximized usable space and daylight. Next we stopped at Sabin Green to see how Eli Spevak of Orange Splot created a community of four houses by renovating an existing house, converting its garage into an ADU, and building another house next door with an ADU behind it. We wrapped up the ADU Tour with a visit to Ruth’s Garden Cottages, another Orange Splot infill community, which utilizes detached bedrooms to provide simple and cozy housing for 3 couples.

We were lucky to have knowledgble tour leaders including: Martin and Shannon who are the new owners of Ruth’s Garden Cottages, Kol Peterson who teaches a class on building an ADU in Portland (stay tuned for the next one in October) and Jordan Palmeri who coordinates the Space-Efficient Housing Working Group that put on Build Small, Live Large last October.

Between rides Kimber and I biked back across NE Portland and ate a picnic lunch on the lawn at Rigler school. Our first stop for the Tiny House Tour was the home of Audrey & Thomas who blog at Trying on Tiny. Next we headed to Walt Quade’s place where his garden cottage was on display (but people also got to see the ADU and tear drop trailer, of course!) Then we were off to Ruth’s Garden Cottages to show how tiny houses can interact with their neighbors. We wrapped up the Tiny House Tour at Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel. There were only 4 stops on the Tiny House Tour this year, but riders got to see 7 mobile tiny houses as well as innovative ways to cluster tiny houses.

It was especially fun for me to see Caravan, not only because I’m stoked about the first tiny house hotel in the country, but because I helped with the construction of two of the houses there. My Summer Dream Job last year was doing interior and exterior finish work for a tiny house on wheels for Orange Splot. The tiny house was my practicum project for my Certificate in Sustainable Design and Building from Yestermorrow. But since I didn’t do the final touches it was fun to see how nicely they’d finished out the house with kitchen cabinets and the kitchen sink, a panel over the electrical box, a ladder up to the loft, and a gable end detail. Deb did a lovely job of appointing the tiny guest house with clever furniture so it can now serve four guests.

Last fall I also helped with framing, insulating, and sheathing for a Shelter Wise tiny house which uses the Miter Box plans (center in the photo to left). However, I hadn’t seen it completed and it is stunning! Between Andra’s design details and Derin’s meticulous craftsmanship this house blends sophistication with zen simplicity.

We had about 100 people join us for each of the two tours, traveling from as far away as Vancouver, British Columbia and Los Angeles, CA to be part of the rides. I enjoyed hearing people’s design ideas and their insights as they explored smart small spaces. I look forward to keeping in touch with many of the great folks I met yesterday and seeing them at upcoming workshops, potlucks, builds, and happy hours.