Calling ADU Owners, Dwellers, Designers, and Builders from across America to share ADU stories for an exciting new project with AARP. The many benefits of ADUs - especially for multigenerational families - have caught the attention of AARP. They've commissioned a publication about ADUs, which will feature half a dozen case studies of ADUs with various configurations and uses. If you're an ADU owner, dweller, designer, builder, or city planner and you believe you can help with this project, we'd love to hear from you! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28th, letting us know which of the four items above you'd like to assist with and send along a photo!
Winter is a great time for your design process if you'd like to get your project launched this coming spring or summer.
This Winter Term I'm teaching two fun weekend design classes through Portland Community College:
- February 10-11: Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Design Course
- February 17-18: Tiny House Design Course
In these intensive two day workshops we cover many of the considerations for designing a small space, visit with special guests who have created ADUs or tiny homes (respectively), and go through a set of design exercises to help you develop a design of your own.
This past weekend I taught another round of the ADU Design Workshop through Portland Community College. Nine students from Portland and the surrounding Metro area participated in the workshop this weekend, bringing projects ranging from garage and basement conversions to backyard cottages, additions, and renovation of a pole barn. Some of them had relevant professional backgrounds (appraising, real estate, amateur drafting) and some of them were brand new to design, development, and building.
Have you been dreaming about an ADU or tiny house for years now? If these long rainy days have you noodling and doodling, come join us for a design class to start making it more real! Fall is a great time to begin your design process if you'd like to get your project launched this coming spring or summer. This Fall Term I'm teaching two fun weekend design classes through Portland Community College!
This paper was originally written by Lina Menard of Niche Consulting LLC in June of 2012 as a term paper for a course she took as part of her Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Masters program at Portland State University. The course, USP 510: Planning & The Housing Market, taught by Dr. Lisa Bates, focused on the intersection between planning, regulation, and affordable housing. This version of the paper was updated in January 2015.
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of tiny house events on both coasts! Four weeks ago today I was headed to the East Coast for Tiny House 101 in DC. Three weeks ago today I was on my way to Vermont to teach Tiny House Design-Build at Yestermorrow. During the 2-week course we constructed the shell of a tiny house on wheels for a fellow named Nick who, at 26 years old, is super clever about establishing housing stability and flexibility. I wish I had been so wise at that age! During the evenings we had studio time to explore tiny house design considerations and students worked on creating their own tiny house designs. If you'd like a sense of the day-by-day flow of this course, you can check out previous posts about Tiny House Design-Build.
We wrapped up there a week ago tomorrow and I flew across the country again to be back home in time to speak at the Tiny House Conference, which was in Portland this year. I've been at all four of the Tiny House Conferences now and it's neat how it alternates between the East Coast and the West Coast. I spoke about Tiny House Community on Saturday and then facilitated the Open Space session on Sunday. During the rest of the time I joined Track C, a new addition to the Conference this year for those of us who are already living or building tiny. It was fun to have conversations about the future of the movement and to swap stories of our biggest mistakes! The Conference is always a great opportunity to connect with fascinating folks from all over the place and I look forward to hearing updates about people's tiny house journeys!
On Monday BA Norrgard and I led a Tiny House Community & Zoning Workshop through the Tiny House Collaborative. We explored various tiny house community models, discussed zoning challenges and opportunities, and laid out some steps (and tips) for creating tiny house community. We were fortunate to have an awesome venue at the Cully Grove Common House so we were able to talk about creating community in the community living room of a very cool community! We also had some special guests join us, including Alexis Deharts Stephens of Tiny House Expedition who (along with her partner Christian) has probably visited every tiny house community in the country! We also had a panel discussion with four community members from two different tiny cohousing communities in Portland. Thanks again, Tony, Karin, Lori and Kyra! It was fun to show people our tiny house community and to have Pam Westra show off three of the tinies at Tiny Digs, Portland's other tiny house hotel. (I've written about Caravan - The Tiny House Hotel in the past and I love that tiny houses are so popular in Portland that we now have TWO tiny house hotels!)
On Tuesday I attended the Build Small Coalition meeting, which is a reconvened group previously dubbed the Space-Efficient Housing Working Group. This is Portland's collection of professionals working to support tiny houses, ADUs, micro apartments, and other space-efficient creative housing solutions. It was great to see familiar faces and hear their updates as well as meeting new folks who are taking on neat projects. I look forward to seeing what we accomplish this coming year! I have a hunch it's going to be another big year for small homes!
If you've been fantasizing about a small space of your own (whether that's a backyard cottage, a converted vehicle, or a tiny house on wheels), this course is a brilliant way to dig deep and have a great time exploring the possibilities. I hope you can join us! Please share with other small space enthusiasts who might be interested, too. The more, the merrier!
A week ago today my fiance Isha and I got the keys to our new home and we're eager to tell you all about it! We had this vision in mind but we didn't expect that we'd manifest it so quickly! A couple months ago Isha spotted a property that seemed to meet our criteria. It was a beautifully renovated 1920s home with the possibility of creating a functional ADU, a fenced yard with garden beds, and we already knew some of the neighbors. So we checked it out, decided it would be an awesome fit, and placed an offer. Everything came together so quickly we were afraid to jinx it. Indeed at a few points we didn't think it was going to work out, so we were keeping it on the down-low. But it did work out in the end.
Yesterday, on a gorgeous spring morning, my landie Jake and I rode our bikes down to the Native American Center at PSU to attend the Small Scale Developer Bootcamp hosted by Eli Spevak of Orange Splot, LLC and John and Jim from Incremental Development Alliance. These three incredible people teamed up after meeting at an event last year. Eli told Jim and John that Portland has lots of people eager to make our neighborhoods better places through creative, community-oriented small scale projects. They scheduled a one-day bootcamp for the summer of 2016. But as more and more people contacted Eli with questions over the winter, he realized the demand for this information was even greater than anticipated, so he convinced John and Jim to bump the training up. They agreed and had the opportunity to present to a sold-out crowd of more than 100 people yesterday! The event actually kicked off on Tuesday evening with a set of presentations by small scale developers at The Zipper, a fun new food court with local independent restaurants created by Kevin Kavanaugh of Guerrilla Development. It was fascinating hearing about all the small-scale residential, live-work, incubator, and mixed-use spaces that have been created. A special focus of the bootcamp was missing middle housing, a term coined by Daniel Parolek to describe the mid-density housing that most American cities quit building many years ago and now sorely lack. Daniel was there for the bootcamp to describe missing middle housing - you know, like fourplexes, garden apartments, rowhomes - and its role in our urban fabric.
Yesterday the ten sessions included topics like:
- Financing Your First Deal
- Site Selection & Buying Property
- Deal Structures & Money Sources
- Understanding Pro Formas
- Due Diligence & Acquisition
- Understanding Condominiums
- Property & Asset Management
It was heartening to see so many people in Portland eager to learn about how they can play a part in making better neighborhoods by filling the gaps in our urban fabric with missing middle housing and small mixed-use projects. It was also fun to recognize so many faces in the room and meet new people. I'm glad I was able to participate and I look forward to seeing what happens in Portland over the next couple years as a result of the Small Developer Bootcamp!