The weeks between Winter Solstice and New Years Day are often reflective time for me anyhow, but that's been especially true for me this year. For one thing, I have my new spouse to dream and scheme with. Isha and I have been making our lists and checking them twice as we identify our goals, what we're going to commit to, and what we're going to let go.The other big life change this year is that I am delighted to be starting a new job as the Operations Coordinator for Green Hammer tomorrow!
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!
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!
This past weekend I connected with my colleagues (and friends) BA Norrgard and Lee Pera to teach a Tiny House 101 Workshop in Washington, D.C. Our twenty students joined us from various locales ranging from down the street to Florida to Brazil! I look forward to teaching a Tiny House 101 Workshop again in June in Denver, CO with BA Norrgard. If you'd like to join us, please register now so we know you're coming!
People often tell me that they'd love to taken one of our tiny house workshops but they can't afford it. I respond by telling them that if they're serious about building a tiny house they really can't afford NOT to come to a workshop. The few hundred dollars they invest in the workshop will save them significant time, money, and heartache since they'll gather information and learn from other's mistakes. Fortunately, my friend and colleague Alek recently wrote this post about the benefits of taking one of our Tiny House Collaborative workshops. So in case you're not on the Tiny House Collaborative mailing list, I am cross-posting it here. Enjoy and feel free to respond in the comments. Thanks!"
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!
Saturday we greeted our workshop participants at our awesome venue, Soma Vida. Participants flew from Connecticut and drove from as far as Tulsa, Oklahoma to join us for this workshop. We shared inspirations, considerations, and information and as we helped them identify the big decisions when going small and explore some design ideas for their wee homes.