Three Day Hands-on Workshop by Build Tiny

by Kent Griswold on September 22nd, 2013. 5 Comments

by Robin Hayes

Come to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and join us as we build two tiny houses.
During the three days participants may choose between at least three workstations.

Station 1 will be taught by Dee Williams of PAD Tiny houses. Dee’s station will be starting with a new trailer, building the subflooring and attaching it to the trailer. Wall framing will follow.

Station 2 will be taught by Tony Gilchriest, builder at Boneyard Studios. Tony’s station will be framing the subfloor for a tiny house that will sit on a foundation. Wall framing and window placement will follow.

Station 3 will be taught by Larry Herbst, master woodworker with over 30 years experience. You may choose to help Larry build the cabinetry for Lee Pera’s tiny house.


Build Tiny transporting Steve’s tiny house to the workshop.

Participants may move freely between each of the workstations, choosing what they want to learn. They may also schedule private sessions with Lee Pera, co-founder of Boneyard Studios to discuss planning or zoning questions, or Steve Newbold to work with SketchUp.

Build Tiny is also offering on optional day on Thursday for true beginners. This class will be about tool usage and safety, as well as instruction on basic construction techniques and terminology.

During our lunch breaks and evening hours we will have speakers who will talk on various tiny house topics. Steve Newbold has his tiny house on site and it will be open for tours. There will be a bonfire each evening for relaxing and story telling.

For more info and to sign up please visit

Dee Williams Lives Large in a Tiny Footprint

by Kent Griswold on March 27th, 2013. 17 Comments

By Alyse Nelson

How much house does it really take to be happy? Some people are taking a hard look at the question, and discovering that the answer is: not much.

These “tiny housers” are bucking the idea that “bigger is better.” Their homes, ranging from 800 square feet to less than 100 square feet—a far cry from the 1000 square feet per person that has become the North American norm—take many shapes and sizes. And the people who live in them are as diverse as the homes themselves. Some hope to save money on housing; others hope to “live green” by choosing a smaller space; some are trading living space for a neighborhood they love; and others want to live closer to family or friends.

Dee's house with class

Dee Williams talking to a group outside her tiny house

Photo by Flickr user irooshka

Dee Williams’s story starts with her questioning her lifestyle choices. After helping build a school in Guatemala and watching a close friend fight cancer, Williams reevaluated her priorities. “He was getting sicker and sicker, and I didn’t have the time or the money to really throw myself into helping him. I was spending a lot of time and money on my house. So the house was the easiest thing to try to get rid of,” Williams told Yes! Magazine.

“I started really wondering if the cost of owning a house, of maintaining a house, of remodeling my house, was really kind of socially what I wanted to be about. So I decided to bite the bullet and go for it!” Williams said in this video. So she sold her 1,500 square foot Portland home and built an 84-square foot tiny home for $10,000.

Her 8-foot by 15-foot home is parked in a friend’s backyard in Olympia, Washington. She helps out with household chores in exchange for the space and drinking water. She lives with just a few outfits and shoes, but also is mortgage-free. This has allowed Williams to work less and spend more time and money investing in giving back to her community.

Williams’s story has spread far; because she’s been featured in national news more than 20 million people have viewed (in person or via video) her tiny home. She received the 2008 Governor’s Award for Sustainable Practices in Washington State. Now she co-owns PAD—Portland Alternative Dwellings—a tiny house company that holds workshops to help future tiny housers get their start.

Dee showing her house

Dee Williams shows off her tiny house.

Photo by Flickr user irooshka

But the help tiny housers need most isn’t advice about building or living in a small space; it’s navigating the maze of regulations they’ll confront as they downsize.. Some cities set minimum size requirements for dwellings. Others say a recreational vehicle can’t count as an ADU, which is typically how a tiny house is categorized. This means “you can camp in your little house, but not live in it,” writes Williams. Williams helps other tiny housers navigate the regulatory barriers that come with tiny house living.

Through her activism—and her lifestyle—Williams is helping create a wave of interest in tiny homes that local governments cannot ignore for long. Williams proves that even if your house has a tiny footprint, you can still live large.

Bio: Alyse Nelson is an urban planner for a small town in Kitsap County, Washington. She is a Writing Fellow for Sightline Institute. This post is adapted from a full article published here:

Tiny House Powermover

by Kent Griswold on February 28th, 2013. 14 Comments

Holly recently contacted me and had a question about moving a tiny mobile house once you had it near it’s final location. She had seen an article somewhere and was looking for it. I knew right off she was talking about the Powermover that Dee Williams and Logan Smith have used to move homes in the Portland area.

Dee and Powermover

Photograph by Tammy Strobel

I wrote to Logan and he filled me in on what they use. Logan says: I believe the tool name is an “electric dolly” but the commercial name of the tool we purchased was “Powermover” from a fellow named Brady outside of Los Angeles, CA. The website for the Powermover is Continue Reading »

PAD Tiny House Design Workshop

by Kent Griswold on January 30th, 2013. 1 Comment

I received a note from my friend Dee Williams about an upcoming workshop and wanted to share it with you as the time is fast approaching. I wish I could make this one personally as it would be a lot of fun and is near where my daughter lives. Here is what Dee has to say.

Hey there!

I wanted to drop a note to ask a favor. I know you’re swamped and in the middle of your normal awesome life, but I wanted to let you know about some up coming workshops being hosted through Portland Alternative Dwellings ( It seems there’s a rush of activity right now with great workshops on the horizon, hosted by Jay Shafer’s new company Four Lights Houses, Yestermorrow Design Build School, Tumbleweed, Deek Deitrickson’s Relaxashacks, and others.

PAD is excited to be a part of such a dynamic community of tiny house enthusiasts. VIVA LA TEENY TINY!!

PAD is hosting a two day Tiny House Design Workshop on February 23 and 24th in Portland Oregon. This same workshop will be repeated in April. We’re focusing on the nuts and bolts of tiny house construction, codes, moisture control and energy efficiency and systems (meaning poop, showering, turning on the lights and cooking up a meal… not necessarily in that order). Our classroom discussions will be anchored by a half-day tour and discussion at POD 49, a pocket community that includes a tiny house and two big houses. Folks can sign up for one day (Saturday or Sunday), or both.

In June, we’ll be hosting a hands-on Tiny House Building Workshop complete with tools, sunscreen and a big o’ can of LET’s DO THIS!

Would you please consider helping to get the word out about the workshops… blog it, blab about it, bang a drum or otherwise broadcast our work, and send folks to our website ( for more information? Also, if you’re interested in attending, we’d love to have you there… just let us know ASAP so we can reserve a spot for you and immediately begin to ice down the beers (or other appropriate celebratory libation).

Again, we appreciate being a part of the tiny house world that was in part created by YOU!

Dee Williams
Portland Alternative Dwellings

PAD workshop header