I was on Hawaiian Time when the Tiny House Collaborative launched, so I haven't yet taken the time to tell you how very excited I am about being part of this group of fabulous people. The short answer is pretty freakin' excited!
The Tiny House Collaborative is a team of 7 individuals, each passionate about providing the resources to design, build and dwell efficiently. We are combining our energy, time, and expertise so that we can more effectively share our love of tiny homes and our collective knowledge of living well in small spaces. It's a synergistic relationship because we can do more together than any one of us could do alone.
You have four opportunities to take advantage of this synergy right away:
- Sign up for our Tiny House 101 Workshop in Washington DC March 26-27
- Sign up for a Phone/Skype Consultation to address your specific questions
- Sign up for an On-Site Consultation so we can give you the skinny on your property's suitability for a tiny home
- Sign up for a Tiny House Tour so you can explore one of our tiny homes
So how did this group of people all join up? We think it was a little bit luck/fate/coincidence and a little bit being brave enough to act on our mutual friend crushes. When we all arrived in Colorado for the 2015 Tiny House Jamboree, we decided to kick off the weekend with a hike. We got to talking about what each of us were doing in the Tiny House Movement and how it was hard to do it alone. By the end of the hike, the seven of us had decided we had to find a way to combine efforts. And just like that, the Tiny House Collaborative became a twinkle in our eyes.
In December we gathered up to Visit Orlando Lakefront RV & Tiny House Park to explore the city where James and Kai live. We turned the trip into a retreat to figure out the details and prepare to share the Tiny House Collaborative with everyone else. That means YOU! We have created a website where you can learn more about the Collaborative and sign up for the services we currently offer. Please know there are many more good things to come!
After living at Simply Home Community for a year and a half, this past weekend I had a unique opportunity to visit another tiny house community. My friend James Taylor, whom I met at the Tiny House Jamboree 2015, invited me and a few of the other folks we connected with there to come visit and check out what they’re up to. (Did someone say “Orlando in December?” Sign me up!)
And it’s so freakin’ cool! You can learn about it by exploring the Orlando Lakefront RV & Tiny House Park website. The story goes like this. A couple years ago a fellow named Adam purchased the existing RV park and a bit later a woman named Emily helped get the first tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) there. Once it became a tiny-house-friendly RV park other tiny house dwellers have decided to make Orlando Lakefront home. And James Taylor has been driving the welcome wagon since he moved there this spring. With their 12th THOW moving in in just a couple weeks, the park is about ¼ tiny houses and ¾ RVs!
Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. James’ next door neighbor, who lives in an RV, visited with us and took photos. People who live in the park or are considering moving there gathered up for a little party. We also had the chance to tour four of the little houses. The tiniest one in the park is Christina’s awesome minimalist U-haul truck to house conversion. The biggest is Mary Kay’s 24’ long house with two full sleeping lofts, a bathroom, lounge, a kitchen, and a dining spot at the stairs. (This house really got me thinking about the two loft option. I just loved the way the stairs lead up to a sleeping loft with the bed platform over the bathroom. I’ve never seen anyone do it quite like this before and it made we want to smack my forehead in that “Hellooo! Of course!” sort of way. Simply brilliant!)
Meanwhile, Lee, BA, and Alek stayed in the Little Lake Nest. None of us brought a tape measure (so unlike us!) but I’m guessing this one was 18’ long. It’s a neat design with a catwalk connecting two sleeping lofts. I thought it was really clever how they took two sets of stair stringers, turned them the tall way, and sistered them together to make a steep set of stairs! This little house also has a small couch, a flip up table, two chairs hung on the wall behind the door, a micro and toaster oven that sit on top of the fridge, a closet under the stairs, and a dish rack is over the sink. The huge (by tiny house standards) bathroom has a trough tub, a handwashing sink, and a flush toilet. I’ve gotta say, after living in tiny houses for four years, that was probably the strangest thing about staying in tiny houses in an RV park: there were flush toilets! How bizzare, how bizarre!
But, I was the lucky one. I got to stay two nights in James’s awesome little house, The Company Store on Wheels. His house was built by Tennessee Tiny Homes with lots of his special design requests. It has a fabulous front porch so that it feels like a miner cabin. (James is a Coloradan so his house had to follow his heart!) It has a fabulous multi-functional couch that converts to a chaise or a guest bed (and has storage and the cat box underneath), a ladder at the same slope as the navy ladders (which James is used to so he can fly up and down it – even when half-asleep), an L-shaped kitchen with a sink, mini fridge with freezer, microwave, toaster oven, and a washer/dryer combo. His sleeping loft is asymmetrical with a dormer on one side, just as he requested it. It’s a lovely little home and it was extra special this time of year because James had decorated for the holidays and it was super festive.
It’s so exciting to see another community that welcomes tiny houses! I keep hearing about others in formation, too. I hope that by this time next year the number has increased exponentially.
Are you involved with the tiny house community? Where’s yours and what’s happening?
What an incredible weekend! In April, when Lee Pera of Boneyard Studios first invited me to speak with her about tiny house communities at the Tiny House Jamboree, there were 3,500 people signed up to attend. By the time she and I connected in the Denver airport and drove to Colorado Springs, there were 11,000 people pre-registered. So we figured a third of those folks would show up and that would be the largest number of tiny house enthusiasts ever in one place at one time. Little did we know. (No pun intended!) Turns out those of us who find tiny houses irresistible are in good company! By the time the three-day event wrapped up more than 40,000 people had passed through the gates of the Western Museum of Mining & Industry (which hosted the Jamboree)!
And what a great crowd! There was incredible energy since everyone I talked to was curious, excited, and exploratory. The tiny house curious folks were just beginning to dabble in the tiny house scene. The tiny house enthusiasts came with sketch books, cameras, and tape measures so they could get serious about their design ideas. One woman even showed up, checkbook in hand, ready to take a leap of faith into the little life! I met people from nearly every state and a few other countries. (Oh hey, #famousfrieda!)
On Saturday morning during our presentation, Lee and I shared 5 Models for Tiny House Communities and 5 Steps to Create a Tiny House Community. I also got to watch and listen as other presenters shared their expertise. Molly Orendorff shared clever tips for decluttering, Damon from Trailer Made explained tiny house foundation fundamentals, Kai Rostcheck of Tiny House Dating played matchmaker for a tiny house dating game, Zack Giffin of Tiny House Nation described the increasing interest in the little life, and so much more! I even got to watch as Andrew Odom performed a vow renewal ceremony for a couple’s ten year anniversary. (And the best part? Their three year old held my hand! Eep!)
Part of the time I tabled with Patrick from Artisan Tiny House, who created my SIPs kit and kits for two sets of clients whose houses we put up this spring. Part of the time I tabled with some other great folks who designed and built their own homes and are now helping others do the same: Lee Pera of Boneyard Studios, Alek Lisefski of The Tiny Project, Vina Lustado of Sol Haus Design, and BA Norrgard of A Bed Over My Head. When I wasn’t tabling, speaking, listening to speakers, or exploring the tiny houses, I had great conversations with great people: Gabriel Craft of Small and Tiny Home Ideas, Gabriella Stupakoff Morrison and Andrew Morrison of hOMe and Tiny House Build, Byron and Dot Fears from Simblissity, James Taylor from The Company Store on Wheels and Orlando Lakefront at College Park (an RV park turned tiny house community) and hundreds of others!
Yesterday I spent the day with Robin, a design client of mine here in Denver. In addition to identifying next steps for her house, she also took me to see Wee Casa and invited me to speak at the Denver Tiny House Enthusiasts Meet Up. That was oodles of fun, too!
It’s thrilling to see so many people exploring intentional living through tiny houses. I don’t think the timing could be better for Ramping Up Niche Consulting LLC. I’m honored to have been part of the first Tiny House Jamboree. We’re hoping that as soon as Darin Zaruba of EcoCabins (and his team - hey, Angela Alcorn, Coles Whalen, and Marcus Alvarado!) have a chance to get some sleep they’ll decide to host the second annual Tiny House Jamboree. I’ve already marked my calendar for the first weekend of August in 2016. See you there!