The weekend before last we hosted a build weekend to construct Casa Pequena. This past weekend 29 fabulous folks joined us at the Kenton Fire House for a Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) Tiny House Workshop. Participants traveled from as far away as Wyoming, Arizona, and Massachusetts. Several of them were just beginning their foray into the world of tiny, so they are going to noodle over the information to decide if a tiny house is right for them. Others have already started on the shell of their tiny house and came to the second day of our workshop to refine their gas, fresh water, grey water, humanure, and electrical systems.
Our workshop covered those topics as well as structural considerations, moisture management, regulations, code, and community building. Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings kicked off the workshop by sharing her story of going tiny nearly nine years ago and watching the Tiny House Movement begin.
Dee, Joan, and I tag-teamed most of the presentations but we were lucky to have several other presenters join us. Derin Williams of Shelter Wise used a life-size model to demonstrate how to install a wall system that minimizes thermal breaks to increase energy efficiency. Carol demonstrated the assembly and use of the Air Head Dry Toilet. Chris and Malissa Tack of Tiny Tack House presented information about their tiny house design-build process with spell-binding graphics and answered questions about the systems they chose. (Check out Chris Tack’s website to see more of his incredible photography!) It was a lot of information to cover in just two days, but workshop participants who came from across the country said they appreciated the chance to learn as much as they could and ask all their burning questions.
Some of the participants had been dreaming of living in a tiny house for years. For them this workshop was the first tangible step to making their tiny house fantasy a reality. On the other hand, one participant from the East Coast had heard of tiny houses but hadn’t looked into them. He began exploring in earnest on Tuesday and on Friday hopped on a plane to come to our workshop! It was fun to have people from a wide spectrum of familiarity with tiny houses because it provided the chance for all of us to learn from each other. I’m grateful to everyone who taught me about new products, systems, and strategies that will make me a better tiny house design-builder, too.
The folks who attend tiny house workshops are wonderful people. They’re collaborative and intentional. They’re open-minded and open-hearted. They tackle big questions about needs and wants. They carefully consider what makes a place feel like home. I’ve come to expect that of tiny house lovers.
What was really special about this workshop was that the momentum of the Tiny House Movement was palpable. In June of last year I assisted with the Portland Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop led by Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings. That was just 10 months ago. At the time a handful of the 50 people in the room planned to build a tiny house over the summer. This year 16 of the 29 participants said they’re considering building this summer!
The Tiny House Movement is getting bigger and I’m thrilled to be part of it! We’ve agreed that this summer will be full of tiny house building work parties. I can’t wait to see the results as people craft their dreams in three dimensions:
- Margaret’s rainbow speckled walls from stained glass windows,
- Carter’s hammock-slung dance studio tour bus,
- Nicole’s tiny house collective in NE Portland,
- Malcom’s yurt built of structurally insulated panels,
- Joan’s treasure box of salvaged materials,
- and many, many more!
Please keep us posted everyone! Thank you for the chance to be part of your tiny house adventure.