You have Tiny House Friends all Over the World. You Just Have to Go Out and Meet Them!

By Kai Rostcheck with Erica Breuer

My recent visit to Charlotte, NC turned into an impromptu, full-blown Tiny House adventure. On my way to visit Asheville, by sheer coincidence I drove up to—you guessed it—a Tiny House (For Sale!) on the side of the highway in Flat Rock. Less than 24 hours later I had explored not one, but three Tiny Houses, made friends with Steve Walters at Country Crafted Log Cabins, connected in person with my online friend Teal Brown (of Wishbone Tiny Homes), sat in on a video interview for French television, and received a warm welcome from the Asheville Tiny Home Association (thanks, Laura LaVoie!)

Earlier this year I met my friend (and collaborator) Erica through the Greater Boston Tiny House Enthusiast Meetup group she created. Since connecting we’ve discussed lots of things, but we’ve always wondered: How do most Tiny House people meet each other?

Granted, some of us may be selectively social, but I remember my friend Andrew Odom telling me how he felt that one of the highlights of last year’s Tiny House Conference was the downtime, hanging out by the fire telling stories with old friends while creating new connections. After a successful first year, and while planning next year’s conference (in Portland, OR) conference founder Ryan Mitchell reflected, “I remember hosting my first event, which later grew into the conference.  I felt so inspired from meeting these amazing people that I had to take that energy and turn it into the Tiny House Conference.”

According to Deek Diedrickson, rockstar in-residence of the Tiny House Movement, the same type of connections are made at the multitude of workshops available to beginners: “Aside from the hands-on, ‘Learn by actually doing’ aspect of my Relaxshacks.com workshops, these gatherings serve as great grounds for networking and an exchange of ideas from one tiny house enthusiast to another. What better place to find support, future trade-off labor and informational sources for your build than at a summer-camp like atmosphere where we build, hear from speakers, see demos, and, well, just hang out and pick each other’s brains for three to four days?”

For a change of pace, Erica and I created Tiny House Dating to help people who share similar (minimalist) values find romance and friendship. And once we starting looking, we discovered that there are many other ways for Tiny House Enthusiasts to connect with each other online as well as offline. It’s funny to think of a time before daily mainstream media coverage and the Tiny House Nation TV show—a time when enthusiasts had to dig deep into the web to find community.

Today Facebook is clearly the largest gathering point, representing hundreds of pages and groups (we stopped counting at 235). We’ve broken down more specific listings below, categorized by the most active groups nation- and world-wide. Kudos to Macy Miller for creating the fastest growing group in this space, based in large part on her awesome moderation!

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Top 3 Most Active Facebook Groups

Regional Groups/Pages

There’s also something to be said for Internet platforms that make those face-to-face “campfire moments” possible. In researching the ways Tiny House people connect, we found a treasure trove of local Meetup Groups—39 total groups across 21 states and Canada, with nearly 4,000 members.

Top 3 Most Active Meetup Groups

As Deek mentioned, it turns out that some people like connecting the old-fashioned way, by pitching in with a hammer and helping a local Tiny House builder with her/his construction. One of our friends, Sara Hastings (who is currently building her “Rhizhome” Tiny House in Massachusetts) explained that, “Being present at every stage of design and construction means that my home will hold precious stories about the people and experiences that inspired and aided the process.”

Does the building process foster a high level of connection? When we consulted Ross Beck of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, Deek and Sarah’s sentiments rang true. Ross reported that about 90% of all workshop attendees sign up to share their emails to build a Tiny House e-circle…wait a second…that bring us back to that web vs. real world connection!

Clearly, there’s a way for Tiny House enthusiasts of every kind to connect, share ideas, and pursue their dreams of simpler life together. But we want to hear it from you: How do you prefer to meet other Tiny House People?

Did we miss your favorite resource, group, or platform? Go ahead and tell us about them in the comments section below.
Cheers!

Kai and Erica

Kai Rostcheck (kai@tinyhouselending.com) and Erica Breuer (erica@tinyhousedating.com) are collaborating on all sorts of cool Tiny House stuff. Visit their websites at www.tinyhouselending.com, www.tinyhousedating.com and www.ilovetinyhouses.com.

Hotel Living As A Tiny House Option

You wake up, put on your house shoes, throw on last night’s clothes that still lay in a pile on the floor, amble down to the lobby (of course stopping to speak to the college co-ed manning the front desk), grab a paper from the lobby coffee table, and stop at the occasional table behind one of the oversized couches, just long enough to get a cup of coffee and say good morning to a couple other familiar faces. And so begins life as a full-time resident in a hotel. Okay, so the hotel sounds a bit more posh than perhaps what you or I may be able to swing. But it does sound pretty amazing, no?

Adina Hotel

photo of the Adina Apartment Hotel Norwest in Baulkham Hills, Australia

I can easily think of a number of perks that living in a hotel might provide including free and reliable WiFi, on-site fitness room, access to a pool, fresh towels upon request, in-house laundry service, and even an on-site restaurant/bar! The idea of living in a hotel is not so far fetched either. In fact, a number of celebrities have called hotels home though the years.

New York’s Hotel Chelsea – a Queen Anne-style landmark that first opened as an apartment cooperative in 1883 –  served as home for the likes of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Arthur Miller. Overlooking L.A.’s Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau Marmont has been home, sweet, home for people like Greta Garbo, Robert DeNiro, and Johnny Depp while the St. Regis in Washington, DC counts among its past residents, Howard Hughes, the eccentric billionaire. And those are just a few.

On a more practical note though hotel living is a style of tiny house living on its own. Most rooms available for long-term lease are only about 325 square feet according to BoardingArea.com and feature a small kitchen, a bathroom (usually with tub/shower kit), a master bedroom (2 queens or 1 king), a sitting area, and some sort of workspace be it a simple desk or a fully dedicated corner. It features the essentials; typically nothing more and nothing less. But is it feasible? Can one truly live in a hotel? Absolutely!

NOTE: The hotels talked about in this post are usually called “apartment-style” hotels. Rates are based on a minimum of a month’s stay (30 days).

POTENTIAL PERKS OF HOTEL LIVING

  • No long term commitment. Perhaps you have been bitten by the traveling bug and have a location-independent job? Maybe you don’t want to build a tiny house trailer or live in an RV or even sublet a room in a house. This might be the best arrangement. It offers privacy, small amounts of luxury, and a lot of freedom.
  • Choice. When I moved to Brooklyn some years ago I was limited to my budget in a major way. I could choose between a 7th floor apartment with only two windows and bathroom at the end of the hall or a garden apartment that literally faced The Garden; a sushi restaurant that was open 24-hours.  Luckily something else came along out of the blue. But when when you live in a hotel you can decide what you want to be close to, what kind of atmosphere you want, and how large/small you want your accommodations. Remember, this is not a long term commitment so it can be changed quite regularly with no penalty.
  • On-Site Services. While most full-time hotel dwellers don’t abuse this service there is still housekeeping and room service available. You can have fresh towels as you need/want them. You can have someone else make your bed. You can have someone replace your dirty dishes. The list goes on. It is important to note though that because you are living there you will gain some sort of reputation (be it good or bad) and tipping is STILL polite. Skipping this and doing things on your own could save you money and make you great friends in the building.
  • Free newspapers, coffee/tea and/or breakfast. This is typically included in your rate so feel free to take advantage of them. No more excuses for running late to your next appointment either!
  • Having your own kitchen. Just like a sticks ‘n bricks or your own tiny house trailer, with a hotel room/suite you have a kitchen or at least a kitchenette which – more often than not – comes with plates, bowls, silverware, glasses, mugs, strainer, chef’s knife, etc. You still have to grocery shop but at least you can cook your own meals whenever you like.
  • Front Desk Support. Looking for a donut shop in the neighborhood? Need a cab to take you to an event neighborhoods away? Waiting on a package from UPS that will arrive just moments after you leave? No worries. The desk clerk is there….24/7!
  • Handyman Support. Your coffee pot is not brewing? Your TV stopped turning on? No problem. Every hotel employs a small staff of handymen and service personnel. Call them. Tip them.
  • Security. This is huge! Between lobby cameras, hallway cameras, key card elevators, etc. security is usually top notch at a hotel.

UPS DeliveryUsing the desk services at a hotel will keep you from ever missing one of these again. 

POTENTIAL PRATFALLS OF HOTEL LIVING

  • Nowhere to call “home”. While it is true that home is where you park it or home is where you hang your heart or a number of other cliches living in a hotel means you won’t have a physical address. While hotels will allow you to have mail delivered there in care of their direct address they – nor the government – will allow you to claim the location as your permanent address.
  • Loneliness. Like living in a campground or other community-type setting there are in-seasons, off-seasons, perk weekends, and quiet times. On normal days and nights it is likely that you won’t see many guests at a hotel so you’re interaction will be limited. Living in a hotel may also keep you at some distance from friends and family unless you are huddled down in your home town.
  • Lack of personality. Don’t like the artwork on your bedroom walls? Does that picture over your bed make you think of clowns parading through lollipop factories singing a chorus of degenerate laughter? Too bed. Without causing damage to the room there is nothing you can do about the overall appearance. The colors, pillows, comforters, and dishware are there to stay. This is however a good exercise in adding personality to your surroundings. You can use colorful scarves, small houseplants, live flowers, digital photo frames, etc to add a personal yet portable comfort to your accommodations.
  • Space. A hotel room/suite is usually a standard, corporate design with furniture designed or purchased to fit in an exact spot. There are few options, if any. If you feel cramped with the desk in a certain spot chances are you can’t move it anywhere because there is nowhere to move it. The space is laid out for you. You are the guest in this situation. The furniture is there for good.

Living in a hotel room or suite is not conventional at all. It is not part of the American Dream so many of us grew up to understand and look forward to. But it is an adventure like no other and could possibly make your next tiny house. Don’t ever be afraid to hang your heart anywhere there is a good cup of free coffee!

 

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

 

Ethan’s Tiny House in Vermont

Ethan

Ethan Waldman recently created a video tour with Derek Deidrichson’s Relax Shacks Youtube Channel.

Ethan Walman, author of the new book “Tiny House Decisions” gives us a look at his self-built and designed tiny house in Vermont. One with quite a few fun, and inventive, features: from a secret cat door, and a rolling track door for the bathroom, to a copper clad shower, and more. This tiny house has a surprisingly large kitchen, with a double sink as well.

Ethan’s book, called “Tiny House Decisions,” shows you how making choices for your tiny house does not have to be hard.

Whether you’re just starting to build your house or still dreaming about how you might make a tiny house happen, you:

  • Want a tiny house that fits you and your lifestyle, not someone else’s
  • Want to save time and money by doing it right the first time
  • Are overwhelmed by how many options you have to choose from, but you want to be informed about those choices

Learn more about Ethan’s book here and follow him on Facebook here.

https://www.facebook.com/buildingthetinyhouse
http://www.thetinyhouse.net/