One of the things our fledgling tiny cohousing community is working out now as we settle into our rhythms is how we go about chores and work party projects. Which, of course, means identifying projects so that they can be tackled during those times we've designated.
Here at our tiny cohousing community, Going Places, we all share the main floor of the common house, which has a kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, and a flexible space called the Req Room (you Harry Potter fans out there know what we're talking about!) In addition to all this shared space, we also have two tiny houses on the property, The Lucky Penny and Tiny for Two (T42), which act as detached bedrooms.
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!
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!"
We're really excited to move into our new tiny house, T42, as soon as it's ready and create shared space here in the big house. In the meantime, over the past four weeks Isha and I have been composing a list of all the reasons we know we're still in the tiny house phase of our lives. We've made a handy reference list so that you can determine whether you're ready to transition from a big house to a tiny house (or know what to prepare yourself for if you ever need to make the transition from a tiny house to a "normal" American home!)
Gratitude is a habit of mine anyhow. I note my gratitudes in a journal and when we sit down to eat we all say something we're grateful for. Science shows that people who are grateful are more happy. I can attest that that's true for me. And I love this day that is dedicated to being appreciative of the people, experiences, and things that make our lives better.
A while ago I had the opportunity to do a video interview with Matt Banderas '04, who graduated from Whitman College the year before I did. It was really fun to show him around my tiny house, The Lucky Penny and Simply Home Community. As we sat with mugs of tea, I told him all about how my beloved alma mater helped me to find, er actually, to make my Niche. This week Matt shared with me the video he created using the footage he took that day. Now I get to share it with you.