Inaugural ADU Tour in Portland

Tiny house fans in the Portland area will get a rare opportunity to tour the interiors of 11 accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the Portland area next month. Kol Peterson and Deb Delman of Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel in Portland will be holding the first ADU tour in Portland, Oregon on June 1, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings and her vardo will also be special guests during the ADU networking event from 4-6 p.m. and participants will be able to view the new Caravan tiny rental — the Salsa Box.

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“Part of the goal of the tour is to connect people who want to build ADUs with other homeowners, builders, and designers, who can help explain the actual building process that they went through, so the process seems less daunting.,” Kol said.

ADUs are secondary living units on single-family lots. Portland has seen a six-fold rise in the number of ADUs built since 2010.  This dramatic increase is the result of a 2010 City of Portland waiver of System Development Charges, which reduced the cost of building permits for an ADU by up to $11,000. The tour will be held in partnership with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Portland, and Metro, the regional government for the Portland metropolitan area.

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The self-guided tour will consist of 11 ADUs on the east side of Portland including 7 to 8 tiny homes on wheels. Along the route, attendees will have access to homeowners, builders and designers of ADUs and comprehensive, education case studies about the building and permit process of each building. Throughout the day, there will also be workshops presented by experts on permitting, financing, designing and building.

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At Caravan, attendees will also have a chance to tour four custom-built tiny houses on wheels and can earn a special $25 discount to stay at Caravan as well as enter a raffle for a free stay at the tiny house hotel. Early bird tickets for the event are $25 and tickets the week of the event are $30. For more information and to register, visit the ADU tour website.

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Photos courtesy of Accessory Dwellings, Caravan-The Tiny House Hotel and Portland Alternative Dwellings

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

Alternative Homes Today

On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, I ran into Ross Lukeman of the blog, Alternative Homes Today and we chatted not only about tiny homes, but about his architecture career and interest in alternative ways of design and construction. His initial interest in tiny homes derived from attending a Tumbleweed workshop with Dee Williams in his home in Houston, Texas and he decided to start a blog covering various tiny homes, natural building techniques, interviews and building companies.

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Above photo: Ross visiting Brittany Yunker’s tiny house in Olympia, Washington

“As I began covering them more and more, I became interested in building one for myself,” Ross said. “As someone who’s almost done with school loans, I’m not wanting to turn around and mortgage my life to another bank.”

The blog also reaches beyond alternative or tiny homes and natural building to cover bike commuting, finance, landscaping, clutter and material possessions, minimalism, DIY projects and even some comics.

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Geodesic domes in Huntsville, Texas

While Ross covers a wide range of ideas, he is most passionate about homes that match the value of their occupants.

“As obvious as that sounds, I feel like a lot of us are struggling with this, our homes being out of sync with what we really want in life,” he said. “Which is why it’s great seeing people embrace the “enough” principle with tiny homes and pursuing what really ignites their passions in life.”

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The Myrtle at the Cob Cottage Company near Coquille, Oregon

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The interior of the Myrtle at the Cob Cottage Company

Ross has been traveling around the country visiting various tiny homes for the blog and at this point his favorite designs are the Tumbleweed Cypress 24 Overlook and the Michael Reynolds Earthships in New Mexico as well as rammed earth homes.

“(The Tumbleweed) model has a huge great room in the front, which I would could use as my home office and workshop,” Ross said. “I like the 24 foot tiny homes because they have enough extra space for you to change functions and add people in the future.”

“With the Earthship, I really like the idea of homes handling all of the systems like energy production, waste processing, food production, etc.,” he added. “I know some people get caught up with not wanting to use old tires in their walls, but I think this all-systems thinking is where homes need to go in the future. It’s more sustainable and it gives the occupants way more control.”

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The Tree House, made of reclaimed materials in a Bois d’arc tree by Dan Phillips in Huntsville, Texas

Ross thinks the future of tiny homes will continue to grow and gain awareness primarily in the field of tiny homes on trailers and traditional building—but just smaller. He mentioned the micro apartments in New York City and the interest of ADU’s (accessory dwelling units) in Portland.

“I think the trick will be getting tiny homes into urban settings like this,” Ross said. “We’ve become way too dependent on cars and parking tiny homes away from everything because municipalities don’t know what to do with them will have to be a hurdle we overcome. I believe once the more progressive cities integrate them into urban settings, other cities will begin to follow their example.”

“We should also be seeing more tiny home communities,” he concluded. “I know Jay Shafer’s community in Sonoma County, California is underway. Apparently the county planners are as excited about it as he is!”

 

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Ross helping to build a strawbale house near Bastrop, Texas, a project by Clay, Sand, Straw Natural Builders

 

Ross Lukeman is the founder of Alternative Homes Today where he interviews alternative homebuilders, tours cool alternative homes, and builds green DIY projects. You can grab his free Tiny Home Construction Cheat Sheet here.

Photos by Ross Lukeman/Alternative Homes Today

Surf Shacks

As the ultimate place to hang out during an Endless Summer, surf shacks reflect the easy, breezy lifestyle of people who live near the beach. They are usually hand-constructed shelters used by surfers, but some have become part of the vernacular environment or even historical landmarks.

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Also known as beach shacks, beach huts or surf huts, surf shacks are found on beaches all over the world. Most surf shacks are basic structures used to store surfboards and gear, change clothes or just get out of the sun and drink a cold beer. Many surf shacks have also been used to build and finish surf boards. The Hobie Surfboards company rented a dilapidated shack in the 1950s to design what would become the modern polyurethane foam surfboard.

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A surf shack and cafe in Venice Beach, California

Many surf shacks have been converted into surf and rental shops, bars and restaurants and even small homes. On Windansea beach in La Jolla, a surf shack built in 1946 was actually designated as a historical landmark by the San Diego Historical Resources Board in 1998. Over the course of several years, it’s been beat up by the ocean waves—and rebuilt each time by locals.

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The Windansea Beach Hut in La Jolla, California

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A tropical surf shack/beach hut shot by Becca Dickinson

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This lifeguard shack in Malibu reflects more of a surfer vibe than a Red Cross vibe

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A weathered beach hut in Cape Cod

 

Photos by Lunaguava, West Elm, nldesignsbythesea, Becca Dickinson, Unknown Cystic, and Christopher Seufert Photography

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]