Tiny House SIPs Wall Raising Workshop

Lina & John with SIPsThink you might want to build your tiny house with SIPs? Ready for some practical, hands-on building experience? Want to have fun and feel empowered to build your own wee abode? 

I’m teaming up with Angela Ramseyer of MightyMicroBuilt to lead a 2-day SIPs Wall Raising Workshop the weekend of April 25-26, 2015 in Vancouver, WA (near Portland, OR).

In this two day workshop we will show you how to properly construct the shell of a tiny house using a Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) kit from Artisan Tiny House. You’ll learn how to use a variety of hand tools and power tools as we install floor panels, wall panels, and roof panels for a tiny house on wheels.

Space is limited, so claim your spot in the 2-day SIPs Wall Raising Workshop.

Posted in building, tiny house | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Upper Cabinet Trim

Upper Cabinet Trim

Like so many other owner-builders, I moved into my tiny house before it was completely finished. By the time it was livable, I was ready for a break! When my Move In Day & Housewarming took place in November, I hadn’t yet finished trimming out, but I was eager to find A Place for Everything. Sure, it was out of order to hang decorations before I’d finished trimming out that last window, but it turns out the trim wasn’t as critical for my everyday life as having my mason jar racks in place!

This weekend I finally:

  • installed the last beadboard panel under the upper cabinets,
  • ran the cords for my plug-in kitchen lights so I can turn on any of the four sets of lights with the flip of a switch,
  • trimmed out the window over my tansu,
  • hung my new curtains on curtain rings,
  • installed curtain hold-backs, and
  • added outside corner and scribe molding to the upper cabinets.

I also plugged in a string of lights above the upper cabinets which lights up the ceiling. The light string is on a timer so they turn on in the morning (as my first alarm clock) and again in the evening. When they turn off in the morning I know it’s time to head for work and when they turn off in the evening it’s time to wind down for bed. It’s much more pleasant cue than an alarm clock!

Trim projects still to come include the skylight box and the entryway. My landies and I are setting aside a day in a couple weekends to help each other with lingering projects, so it will be fun to see what more I can accomplish with a couple other sets of hands!

Posted in building, design, tiny house, vardo | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Less Is More Presentation Day

2015-03-19 23.07.49Presentation Day at Yestermorrow is always a bit like Xmas morning for me. Dave and I posted our list on Wednesday evening, asking our students to incorporate context/site, floor plans, elevations, and sections and/or models into their Friday presentations. And we were up late with them on Thursday night. So it’s a little like sending a letter to Santa and then trying to stay up to catch him. (Several of our Less Is More students were still up at the eleventh hour when I called it a night!) But inevitably, some of the design magic happens after we’re fast asleep, visions of elegant details dancing in our heads. We never know exactly what we’ll find on the presentation board when the designs are pinned up of the following day, so it’s a wonderful surprise!

This morning our presentations began at nine and everyone presented his or her work and then receive feedback from their classmates and our reviewers. Paul Hanke and Kathy Meyer are both architects and seasoned Yestermorrow instructors, so they brought a fresh set of eyes and great insights.

It was a delight to see the designs our students developed over the course of the week, including:

  • Bert’s mobile house and studio
  • Carol’s historic barn to cottage conversion
  • Dani’s southern farmstead with indoor-outdoor rooms
  • Emily’s complex of yurt dwellings
  • Eric’s tiny house on a trailer with a unique roofline
  • Genevieve’s little house on the go
  • Jason’s timber-framed cabin
  • Luke & Katie’s renovation to create a cozy community
  • Matt’s caboose-inspired home, art studio, and apothecary
  • Max’s sailboat-inspired off-grid tiny home
  • Rick’s vardo as showman’s wagon

What an honor it is to teach at Yestermorrow and enjoy the company and creativity of such inspiring students!

I’m looking forward to my next week-long small home design course, which I’ll be co-teaching with John Labovitz in Portland, OR in November. Contact me if you’d like to be added to the notification list for more information!

Posted in design, tiny house, vardo | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Less Is More Tours & Programming

2015-03-17 14.24.08We’re about to begin our third day of Yestermorrow‘s Less is More class, which is focused on small home design. The first two days had a similar itinerary: small home tours in the morning, afternoon design lessons, and evening presentation and studio time. (Today the high is supposed to be 17 degrees, so it’s probably just as well our tours have wrapped up!)

In just two days we’ve had the chance to explore seven homes, ranging from 200 to 2000 square feet. And while the larger homes are certainly not tiny (and I wouldn’t consider them small either), they did offer good ideas for clever storage, creative work-arounds, and matching layout to program. They also provided good fodder for last night’s discussion about design concepts that make small spaces seem larger. We now have good examples to point to as we discuss the strategies we’re using in our own small home designs. This group of students has been asking great questions and they do a wonderful job working together to understand the various considerations and trade-offs when designing a small space. I’m looking forward to seeing their designs evolve!

They’ve already begun exploring layouts both in our life-size mock up and on trace paper. Today we’ll continue the process with elevations and sections.

Posted in accessory dwelling, design, minimalism, tiny house, vardo, yurt | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello Again, Less Is More!

2015-03-15 20.12.56I’m back in snowy Vermont for more Yestermorrow goodness. I spent my weekend in the Design-Building a Successful Design-Build Business class, taught by Adam Cohen. He was a wealth of information and wisdom and I learned just as much from my classmates who were quick with questions and ideas.

Last night we started up another round of Less Is More: Designing the Small or Tiny House. I’m honored to be teaching with Dave Cain who is a creative designer, a bicycle adventurer, and an all-around great guy!

Last night we kicked-off class with introductions, complete with inspirational imagery and then we launched into our first design project. The photos in the gallery are the result of that exercise. We have an action-packed week lined up, including tiny house tours, programming, intro to drafting, presentations, and lots of (but never enough) studio time. Final presentations will be all day on Friday and I’m already eager to see what this creative bunch will come up with!

Follow along this week on our adventures! Meanwhile, you can read about last year’s class here: Welcome to Less Is More, Less Time, More Drafting, and Less Is More Presentations.

Posted in accessory dwelling, design, minimalism, tiny house, vardo, yurt | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Start Designing a Tiny House

How to Design a Tiny House StillSince I’ve been working on tiny house designs for three clients this week, space-efficient design is even more on my mind than usual. So I figured I should share some of my tricks for designing a small space via this little video from the 2014 Tiny House Conference. You can watch the video by clicking on the link below. Enjoy!

Lina Menard on How to Start Designing a Tiny House

Oh, and start carrying a tape measure so you can get a sense of scale in the places you visit and love!

Posted in design | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tiny Home for the Holidays

Advent CalendarIt’s so nice to be home for the holidays! Yes, I did go see two of my sisters in Washington for Xmas and that was really lovely, but I mean that it’s splendid to finally be in my little house this holiday season!

I moved my tiny house to Simply Home Community in mid-October and spent the next month working on it. Then I moved most of my things into the Lucky Penny in mid-November just before our Housewarming Party. But it wasn’t until Raffi and I started sleeping in the Lucky Penny at the beginning of December that it became real. Now that we’ve been in my tiny house for a month, it’s starting to feel like home. I even hung up the advent calendar my aunt made for us when I was really little. I’ve got My Chiller on the Porch and I’ve dedicated time over the past couple weekends to Putting Everything in It’s Place and it’s so nice to be settling in!

Is it done? Well, no, not quite. I haven’t yet set up the shower. (But luckily I don’t have to yet because I shower in the big house and at the yoga studio after hot yoga classes.) And I haven’t yet gotten my electrical all set up properly. (But after living in a Home, Sweet Yurt, I’m pretty good at minimizing my electrical demand. I’ve found that I can live off a beefy extension cord with a three way splitter end for my Envi heater, lights, and a free outlet for whatever else I want to plug in.) And, of course, I haven’t yet finished the trim. But it’s totally workable and I’m loving it.

My house was a dream and a set of sketches for a couple of years as I lived in other tiny dwellings and tweaked my design. Then I finally picked up my Iron Eagle trailer in mid-May and hosted my wall raising party over Memorial Day weekend. For six months my time was divided between working at the Breathe Building and constructing my little house. So it’s really wonderful to be catching up with friends and family this holiday season.

I’ve had friends over for brunch (I can make a mean French toast on my induction cooktop and we just pull out a drawer and put the cutting board on top and pull up a couple of stools!) I’ve had landies over for tea and a chat on my window seat. I’ve had clients over for design consultations (oh, by the way, I’ve resumed consulting, too! If you know someone interested in help with their space-efficient housing dreams, tell them to check out my 2-Hour Consultation!) And a couple nights ago I hosted a dinner party for 10 in the Big House at Simply Home. Our community has a supper club going now, too, so we’re taking turns cooking for each other. On Tuesday nights I cook for my landies and four other nights I come home to a nice warm meal. It’s divine!

I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring for me, Niche, and the Lucky Penny!

Posted in building, design, tiny house | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Giving Thanks for the Little Life

Here are just a few of the many, many things I’m thankful for today:

  • Curling up on my window seat with a friend, my cat, and a cup of tea (thanks for a lovely pre-Thanksgiving cup-o-tea, Lish!)
  • Waking up to the sound of rain on the skylight of my tiny house
  • The many Tiny House Helpers who helped me create my beautiful little home, The Lucky Penny
  • Getting my kitchen organized in preparation for cooking and baking this winter
  • The landmates (“landies”) at Simply Home Community who cook delicious meals, play games, watch movies, go out dancing, take care of my kitty when I’m out of town, and generally make life a whole heck of a lot of fun
  • The incredible vistas when driving up Highway 101
  • The view from my sister’s living room
  • Getting updates (with photos) of the houses I’ve helped make real (congrats Katie and Tatiana!)
  • Baking chocolate pecan pie with my “baby” sister
  • My loved ones near and far who are taking time today to name their gratitudes
  • The feeling I get when I step onto the front porch and peek through the window and think “ahhh! home, sweet home!”
Posted in tiny house | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Move In Day & Housewarming

Window Seat

Window Seat

Six months ago I started building myself a tiny house called The Lucky Penny. And last night our Tiny Cohousing community, Simply Home Community, hosted a housewarming party. It was good timing, too. Portland has had the first wintry weather of the year this week, so it was awfully nice to have people warming the place up with compliments and congratulations. (Having the space heater running on an extension cord probably helped, too!)

It was great fun to share my little house with friends whom I’ve neglected because… well, I’ve been building my little house. I’m looking forward to wrapping up the last few absolutely necessary things so that I can start Settling Into My Tiny House AND resume my social life!

(Speaking of socializing, it was also neat last night to share tours of my house with friends of my landies and to discover mutual connections we already have. It’s a tiny world after all! And of course, it doesn’t hurt to have strangers say “Your house is gorgeous!” or “It’s like a cathedral in here!”)

When I My Tiny House Build Began, my work plan indicated that by mid-summer I would complete the first two phases: Get it Dried In and Make it Functional. I figured I’d give myself some extra time for the unforeseen and I’d begin Phase 3: Make it Home by the end of summer. But, of course, it’s a construction project, so it’s taking twice as long as I originally estimated.

Copper Canisters, Copper Sink & Faucet

Copper Canisters, Copper Sink & Faucet

It’s now mid-November and my house is just now functional (if you consider that my house doesn’t have to be fully independent because I have access to the kitchen and bathroom in the Big House). My friend Benn Kovko (who built Kangablue at Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel) has been working with me on the plumbing and we’re about 1/3 of the way done. We’ll be working on it again today. Still on the list after plumbing: electrical, trim, and The Punch List.

But for the sake of the housewarming party I’ve already shifted into Phase 3: Make it Home. Yesterday I moved most of my possessions into The Lucky Penny and started the process of putting Everything in its Place. I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to hang decorations yesterday morning!

I’m looking forward to Settling into My Tiny House! Stay tuned for catch up blog posts this winter sharing more information and photos about the build process.

Posted in building, design, planning, tiny house, vardo | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Living Large in Tiny Houses by Love Ablan

Living Large in Tiny Houses Graphic

Love Ablan believes in tiny houses so wholeheartedly that she relocated to Portland, Oregon – Capital of the Tiny House Universe – so that she could get involved in the tiny house movement. Over the past couple years she’s put her writing and photography talent to good use, spreading the word about living in small spaces. She recently published and article in the November 2014 issue of Unite4:Good Magazine, entitled Living Large in Tiny Houses. I’m honored she included me in this story. Here’s a snippet. You can click on the link below the excerpt to read the whole article.

Living Large in Tiny Houses TextClick to read the rest of Living Large in Tiny Houses by Love Ablan

Posted in Things Challenge, tiny house | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment