Tiny House Blog Brilliant Chair Workshop

by Kent Griswold on March 29th, 2014. 11 Comments

April 5-6, 2014, Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 4pm

Not too late, a few more seats available.

Join us for the first of our Tiny House Classes, a joint venture between Tiny House Blog, Northwest Woodworking Studio, and the Reclaimed Wood Blog. Presented at The Northwest Woodworking Studio, 1002 SE 8th Ave, Portland Oregon.

In this two day workshop you will learn from Master Woodworker Gary Rogowski about furniture design and building techniques as we build The Brilliant Chair.

Northwest School

The skills you learn in this workshop are ones you can take home to use on furniture, woodworking, and Tiny House projects.

They include:

  • Hand tool use for accurate measuring and marking
  • Sawing with chop saws, saber saws, and band saws
  • Hand plane techniques for cleaning up lumber, texturing, and prepping surfaces
  • Assembly techniques
  • Using portable drills and screws
  • Wood finishing

This is a great project that you’ll love building and using.

Also included in the two day class tuition are these added values:

Salvage Works of North Portland will also give a short demonstration on how to pick the correct materials using reclaimed lumber.

EB Tools is supplying two of their new KwickGripper nail pulling tools for a drawing. They will also offer 20% off coupons for those who do not win the tool to purchase one from their website. TheKwickGripper is a $30 value.

CeCe of CeCe Caldwell Paints has agreed to come in and talk about her great paints with the class. She is also providing every student with a free quart of paint of the color of their choice.

Plans for The Brilliant Chair come as part of the class from The Northwest Woodworking Studio.

Finally as a bonus you will receive a six month subscription to the Tiny House Magazine in PDF format.

To learn more and sign up click here.

Only twelve spaces available so sign up right away. Go to www.NorthwestWoodworking.com to enroll.

chair workshop

March 29th, 2014and filed in Announcement
Tags: chair, class, oregon, Portland, woodworking, Workshop

Tiny House Dating? Really?

by Kent Griswold on March 28th, 2014. 47 Comments

With Kai Rostcheck

This week we had a conversation with Kai Rostcheck, who recently introduced the website TinyHouseDating to our community. This concept presents an intriguing angle on the Movement in general. We’d like to hear your comments (below).

Tiny House Blog: Tiny House Dating? Really?

Kai: (Laughs) Sure, why not?

Tiny House Blog: Ok, fair enough. Maybe we should turn the question around. Why create a Tiny House Dating website?

Kai: While researching the tiny house movement, I noticed several themes. One of them was that “other people” just don’t understand our values. Tiny House Enthusiasts on several different blogs and forums commented that they are confident and fulfilled by decisions they have made on their own, but when it comes to companionship something’s missing. They were having a hard time meeting people who shared their perspective on what’s important, so first dates rarely went much further.

tiny house dating

Tiny House Blog: And a dating website will fix this how?

Kai: Here’s the thing, Tiny House Dating isn’t about Tiny Houses. Those are objects. Our site (and the movement in general) is about a shift in values. All we are doing is creating a deal-breaker filter, someone who can’t get his head around Tiny House living isn’t going to join the site. This means that everyone who does opt-in, does so with a similar intentions. Their specific choices around friendship, dating or life partnership will vary, but the unifying theme is connection and understanding.

Tiny House Blog: So it’s like a non-smoker knowing she wouldn’t want to date a smoker? She wants to know his preference up front so she doesn’t waste her time, right?

Kai: Exactly. But instead of smoking, our filter is lifestyle choice. Tiny House Dating is for people who place higher value on freedom, flexibility and even sustainability than on “stuff.”

Tiny House Blog: Do you have to live in a Tiny House to join?

Kai: No. We hope that members of other communities (like Minimalism, Simple Living and Homesteading) will join, too. In fact, our profile questions are specifically designed to help people talk about who they are and how they want to live, rather than focusing on where they are living right now.

Tiny House Blog: Has the community really grown large enough to support our own dating site?

Kai: One thing that really blows me away was a statistic I discovered while creating I Love Tiny Houses. Tiny House videos have been watched nearly 27 million times! I know that far fewer Tiny Houses have actually been sold, but this number leads me to believe that there are many, many people wanting to change the way they’ve been living. And again, we don’t expect everyone who joins to end up living in a Tiny House. They might simply be choosing how to purposefully “right-size” their lives. It’s not a bad place to start.

Tiny House Blog: But there are all of those other (massive) dating sites out there already, with so many people to choose from…

Kai: It’s about alignment. Tiny House people know what we are looking for. Our very interest in Tiny Houses defines us as being outside of the status quo. Could we go on a hundred dates through Match.com or OkCupid and find the right person? Sure…anything is possible. But wouldn’t we rather opt for one high-quality connection and a better chance that it will work out? I think so.

Tiny House Blog: We know that your site is brand new, but there is already some activity. Can you tell us what you are noticing, and how people are describing themselves?

Kai: Members of our community definitely crave connection. Their personal profiles and stories reinforce what I mentioned earlier; many Tiny House people want to find friends and partners who share their values. I’ve noticed other important contexts, too. For example, we can see clearly that Tiny House partnership is not just about the house itself. Our friend Andrew Odom says it best, I think, when he advises potential Tiny Housemates to, “Hold your relationship up above all other things.” Then, there is the reality that building/buying a Tiny House together can be very stressful and/or incredibly bonding. Finally, I frequently hear things along the lines of, “The world still thinks we’re nuts. But being ‘nuts’ together makes us stronger.”

Tiny House Blog: Do you worry that people will perceive this website as an opportunity for you to capitalize on the Movement?

Kai: I really do. But I think of it this way: I have seen tons of Facebook posts where a reader chides a builder for the total cost of his or her home. And I read Macy Miller’s recent rebuttal (to her detractors) with a heavy heart. It’s easy for people to misinterpret things or filter through their own experience. The bottom line is that we want to bring people together. If we are able to do so, it’s going to be worth any misconceptions.

Tiny House Blog: What’s the cost of membership?

Kai: Right now membership is free. We are building this community from the ground up. The first people to join have been absolutely fantastic about sharing their enthusiasm and feedback. We are learning from them, and we know that we need to reach critical mass in order to create an exciting platform that gives lots of people many choices. Down the road we’ll consider a nominal fee to cover operating expenses.

Tiny House Blog: How can people sign up?

Kai: Just go to www.tinyhousedating.com and register with coupon code “free2join” for complimentary gold membership.

80 Watt Zamp Solar Portable Charging System

by Kent Griswold on March 27th, 2014. 14 Comments


I have had the chance to test and try out Zamp Solar’s 80 Watt portable charging system. Though not large enough to power a tiny house it is enough for a medium size trailer or motor-home.

I have a 1994 RoatTrek van conversion and we like to take it off grid at times and although it has a built in generator it is noisy and can have mechanical issues at times.

I have not been able to take take the solar system out for a real life trial, but wanted to share my experience with it by testing it at home.

solar panel case

My battery level was at 80% according to the meter on the solar panel. Connecting the system was simple. Using alligator clips I connected it to my battery and let the other end of the cord hang out through the opening. My battery is kind of difficult to get to so that took the most time.

The Zamp Solar panel comes in a very nice case. Simply unzip the case and remove the panel which is folded in half for storage. Unfold the panel and pull out the legs. Set the solar panel facing south or align with the sun to get the most light.

80 watt solar panel

You need to set the solar charge controller to a wet cell battery which is what I have in the RoadTrek. Connect the solar panel cord to the cord coming from the batter and you are ready to start charging.

This 80 watt Portable Solar Charging kit provides 4.58 amps of charging power. It’s recommended to use this on 27-31 group 12v batteries, great for medium sized travel trailers.

connect battery

Each kit comes with a 10 amp waterproof/weatherproof digital deluxe solar charge controller already mounted on an EZ-View bracket, 16 feet of wire with the new solar plug system with battery terminal clamps and a ballistic nylon carrying case.


Like I said earlier my battery was at 80% capacity when I started charging. It took approximately two hours to fully charge my battery. The charge controller stops charging once the battery is fully charged so it will not damage your battery.

external plug

I am looking forward to our summer trip when we spend eight days off the grid and I can use this silent solar charger to keep our electrical needs available without disturbing the peace of the redwoods.

If you are looking for a quality system that is reasonably priced check out Zamp Solar’s portable options. They also offer larger systems for tiny houses or cabins. (Use Coupon Code tinyhomesolar and receive 10% off at check out)

 digital deluxe solar charge controller

EZ-View bracket

80 watt solar panel

solar panel and roadtrek

fully charged battery


March 27th, 2014and filed in Announcement

Maximus Extreme in Reality TV

by Kent Griswold on March 11th, 2014. 12 Comments

by Stew MacInnes

I am excited to announce that my company, Maximus Extreme Living Solutions has entered into an agreement with Loud Television to be one of the builders for a new television show that they are producing for the FYI channel. The FYI channel (formerly known as the Bio channel) is a subsidiary of the A & E network. This is going to be a fantastic show, with an emphasis on the wealth of diversity within the Tiny Home Community. The show will be called “Tiny House Nation,” and will air for initially ten episodes this summer season. The show will highlight individuals as they make the decision to go tiny, in all its forms; from tiny trailers, tiny houseboats, tiny homes and micro-apartments.


The premise of the show is to really examine, through the unique stories of individuals, America’s fascination with and migration towards the Tiny Home Movement. Not only will the participants of the show be highlighted, but also the accompanying designers, architects and builders (like me). The show is also going to make available to participants the services of a former Disney Imagineer by the name of John Marsala. John has a long and illustrious career and has served not only the corporate world, but a large group of A-list individuals. I am personally excited to collaborate with John and his team at Modern Anthology on some of these projects. The opportunity to learn from someone who is so talented is extremely exciting and will be a huge benefit to the participants of the show.

The Tiny House Nation will be on the cutting edge of bringing the Tiny Home Movement to a whole new segment of the general population, both domestically and abroad, that have never been exposed to this alternative style of living. It will be a huge boost for creating awareness within and for the Tiny Home Community. As several million viewers watch the show each week, it will hopefully shed some light on the positive aspects of downsizing, as well as bring awareness to some of the struggles that the Tiny Home Community faces as a whole. Apart from the more pressing “real world concerns” previously mentioned, the Tiny House Nation will give the average viewer an unprecedented look into the amazing world of the Tiny Home Community; from the incredible designs, ingenious solutions for storage, models of energy efficiency and green living and the whimsical side, that makes the whole idea of tiny living so appealing.

My expectation for my company is to be a strong representative for the Tiny Home Community by building the absolute best product that we can for whoever may be the participant that we are paired with for that particular week. I realize that this is not only a tremendous opportunity for my company in terms of exposure; but we also have the responsibility to appropriately and positively represent the Tiny Home Community at large.

Lastly, for those individuals who missed the original casting call placed by Loud Television, there is still an opportunity for interested parties to participate. In a nutshell the producers are looking for individuals or families that are looking to move into, design, build themselves or have one built for them or purchase a tiny dwelling. Potential participants need to have a working budget and those funds readily available for their particular project. They need to be looking to start their project within the next 30-60 days. Participants need to provide a narrative describing their intent along with photos of themselves and any others that will be living with them. For the summer season, time is of the essence; interested individuals may contact me (Stew MacInnes of Maximus Extreme Living Solutions) through one of the available options listed below. Stay tuned for more specifics regarding the first television show, the “TINY HOUSE NATION” to highlight the Tiny Home lifestyle, this summer on the FYI channel!

Stew MacInnes
Email address: angusinc@yahoo.com
Web address: www.maximusextreme.com
Facebook address: https://www.facebook.com/MaximusExtremeTinyHomes
Twitter Account: @MaximusExtreme1
Cell: (801)301-9388?
Office: (801)409-1300