5 Day Tiny House Hands-On Workshop

jay shafer workshop

Ready to Change YOUR World? You do not want to miss this!

This is a one-of-a-kind, never before, FIVE DAY, HANDS-ON tiny house workshop! Join us and spend the week with a power-house of tiny house personalities: the renowned tiny house guru Jay Shafer, tiny-houser B.A. Norrgard, and construction professional Daniel Bell at The Sanctuary Minnesota, a scenic, wooded 80 acre facility.

Get your day started with an on-site yoga class & a continental breakfast.

During the day we will break into groups and rotate between swinging hammers and classroom time. We will frame one of Jay’s tiny house designs, and have classroom presentations covering a comprehensive list of tiny house and tiny living topics. B.A. is doing another tiny house road trip and bringing her Gifford house with her for you to tour!

In the evenings we’ll sit around a fire pit outside and have tiny house chat – bring your acoustical instruments and your tiny house community dreams!

    • July 1-5, 2015
    • The Sanctuary Minnesota – Ogilvie, MN

Cost:
$1200
Early bird discount: $1,000 if paid by May 1st, 2015

Click here for all the details!

Massachusetts Tiny House Building Workshop

Tumbleweed Cypress

Ian Anderson just contacted me and wanted to share with you an upcoming tiny house workshop.

Due to the overwhelming success of our last workshop, we are planning another one this June. We will be building a Tumbleweed 20 foot Cypress over two weeks.

The first week will focus on framing, sheathing, roof, windows and house wrap. It will be weathertight by the end of the week.

The second week will be all about the finish details- insulation, electricity, plumbing, propane, finish carpentry, etc. We will at least touch on every subject needed to finish the house.

Participants are welcome to sign up for either week or can attend both for the full experience. Camping is available and farm style lunches will be provided.

Here is the information:

  • Week one- June 1-5
  • Week two- June 8-12

Each week is $850 or you can take both together for $1575

Location: Leicester, Massachusetts just outside of Worcester

Full details can be found here:
http://www.worcesterthinktank.com/content/tiny-house-building-workshop-june-2015-ages-16

last workshop

Downsizing is a Process, Not an Event

Mariah Coz

In the past year I’ve done a lot of experimentation with living with very few physical things. My journey into a small space looked a lot like this: (Someday I’ll have a cool illustration of this!)

  1. 1200 square feet of space stuffed to the brim with clutter.
  2. 112 square feet – my vintage trailer home has perfect storage and plenty of space for two, but I got rid of 90% of my stuff to fit into it.
  3. 35 square feet – my partner and I lived in our Honda Element (converted into a micro-camper) for 6 months in the past year while we traveled. All of our stuff fit under the sleeping platform, in bags, or over our heads strapped up to the ceiling.
  4. One medium sized bag – Since October I’ve been living out of just one bag, a duffel bag, while we live in a client’s home that we are renovating and restoring this winter.

So that’s 1200 square feet -> 112 square feet -> 35 square feet -> appx. 6 cubic feet of space for my stuff.

Needless to say, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with downsizing. My stuff no longer owns me, instead I have control over what physical items affect my day to day life.

I think my progression perfectly exemplifies the idea that downsizing is a process, “not an event”, as one of my students in the Tiny Transition and Downsizing e-Course has said. It has to happen in steps – not all at once. If you try to do too much at once, you’ll get frustrated, fed up, and overwhelmed. You’ll feel defeated. That’s why I designed the Tiny Transition course to give you step-by-step instructions on where and how to start, as well as how to fundamentally change your mindset and shift your relationship with stuff. The next session starts on January 4th, and you can learn more and register here.

Another thing I’ve learned after downsizing four major times in the past few years is that it never gets less scary, until you take the leap. I was freaking terrified of moving into the COMET Camper, my 112 square foot vintage trailer home. I played it cool of course, but I secretly wondered if I could do it. How would it feel? Would my partner and I get really frustrated with each other? Will I miss my stuff?

But when I actually made the transition, all of my worries and anxieties fell away. It only felt GOOD. I felt FREE and CONTENT for the first time, in this very basic and primal way. I’ve been following that feeling for years now, making decisions based on what makes me feel free, uncluttered, and relaxed. Having less stuff, spending time being creative, and meeting new people are all things that bring me happiness now that “stuff” doesn’t factor into how I operate.

IMG_20140522_191927

When we decided to move into the Honda Element for 6 months, I was again really nervous about the transition. I was anxious because unlike the COMET Camper, which has a composting toilet, the Element had no toilet. I thought (again) that my partner Matt and I would go crazy. I overpacked because I was so nervous – somehow I figured that bringing more sweaters would insulate me from anything bad or unexpected happening on our travels.

But it turns out, we LOVE living in that tiny little toaster of a car. It’s perfect for us. We love the ease of mobility, the good gas mileage, and the “just get up and ADVENTURE” that happens every day that we’re on the road.

The point is, even though I know more about downsizing than most, even I was sacred, nervous, and unsure at first. I didn’t have a community of supporters when I started this journey. I had to convince my partner that it wasn’t crazy or totally out of our reach. I had no guidance, or re-assurance. But in the end it was the BEST decision I have ever, ever made.

People who have let go of their stuff (and more than just the physical stuff: the emotional stuff, the real reasons behind the “stuff”, and the desire to have more and more) understand what I’m talking about. Before you take the leap it seems unattainable to be tiny (or even just small, clear, and de-cluttered). But it’s not a far-off dream. If you like to feel free, un-cluttered, stress-free, and lighter – it just takes some hard work and a little nudge and accountability.

I created the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course to give you the tools you need to let go of your stuff, let go of your emotional baggage and digital clutter, and create a new life with new habits and more happiness.

When you sign up for the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course, you get:

  • 8 weeks of downsizing lessons and challenges (it’s like Downsizing bootcamp!)
  • LIFETIME access to the private class forum
  • Accountability, support, motivation and camaraderie from me and your classmates
  • The tools you need to simplify your home, mind, and LIFE starting right now.

We go through everything from the WHY you have so much stuff and why it’s hard to downsize, HOW to happily get rid of your physical clutter and emotional baggage, how to downsize your expenses and digital life and more. All within a supportive group of other people on the same journey towards simplicity.

During the 8 weeks of the E-Course you will:

  • Clear your space and mind of clutter, making room for what’s important to you
  • Change your entire mindset and outlook on “stuff”, finally finding peace and focus
  • Meet a group of soon-to-be lifelong friends who share your outlook and values and are on your same path towards simple living

Get the motivation and support you need to make major life-changes for the better
Make real, tangible steps to getting into a tinier, happier life
The next session of Tiny Transition and Downsizing begins on January 4th. Register now to save your spot in the class. I hope to see you there, and I look forward to supporting you on this journey!

Register Here!

eatingintheelement

Tiny House Basics Workshops

PAD design workshop

Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) is offering two Tiny House Basics workshops this winter – one in January and a second in March. Both workshops will be focused on the challenges of going small: how to build, what’s legal and what’s practical. It’s a great opportunity to learn, become inspired, and meet like-minded tiny house enthusiasts. Plus, you’ll get to tour two tiny houses!

The workshops are taught by Dee Williams, along with the experts from Shelterwise, Niche Design Build, Tiny Tack House and Naj Haus. PAD’s workshops are packed with the information and resources you need build the life you dream.

PAD is currently running a winter sale on the January and March Tiny House Basics workshops, giving you and a buddy a chance to save $150 by signing up together! And if the two of you sign up for the January workshop before noon on December 31st (yikes only a few days away!), you’ll have a chance to win a two-night stay at the Caravan Tiny House Hotel — a $280 value, and a great opportunity to try-on a tiny house while learning how to build your own.

Buy a pair of tickets and enter to win!

Dee Williams teaching

Straw Bale a Tiny House Option?

straw bale

by Andrew Morrison

Some time ago I introduced you to the idea of building a tiny house with a not so tiny material: straw bales (http://tinyhouseblog.com/straw-bale/tiny-straw-bale-cabins/). The idea seemed strange at first glance to some of you; however, I have heard that many of you have since embraced it. Straw bales are obviously not an option for someone wanting to build on a trailer as the weight of a plastered straw bale wall assembly is far too heavy. For a home built on a fixed foundation, however, straw bale construction is a fantastic option. Let’s take a look below at the advantages of this construction technology:

  1. Straw bales are extremely energy efficient. For home owners building larger homes, the average savings tend to be around 75% over the heating and cooling costs of a conventional home. Several of our friends who live in straw bale houses report that they barely use their heating system in the winter because the home is so efficient. What’s more, they don’t even have air conditioning units installed in their homes, which stay perfectly comfortable all summer long in temperatures that reach daily highs of 100 degrees F or more. In terms of tiny straw bale houses, a friend of ours built two straw bale cabins (300SF each) and noted that their heating system only comes on once per day. That is significant when you consider that a typical heater will fire several times an hour to keep a conventionally built tiny home warm.
  2. Straw bale homes are extremely sound proof. This quality is a particular benefit for a tiny house in a busy area. Small houses don’t provide extra square footage to reduce the infiltration of external noises. For example, in a large home, it is common to place bedrooms and other quiet spaces towards the back of the house, away from road noise. What’s more, closets, bathrooms and other “dead space” can be used to further buffer the quiet zones in a house from the impacts of external noise. Tiny houses simply don’t have the “dead space” to help create those buffers. Every inch of living space is needed for actually living, so no matter where you place your bedroom, there won’t be much to quiet the outside world. Thick straw bale walls, on the other hand, can provide a dramatic reduction in external noise in the interior space. In fact, it’s not uncommon to have difficulty hearing someone on the other side of an unplastered straw bale wall during construction. Once plastered, the elimination of sound is even more impressive. In some cases, straw bale landscape walls are used to buffer entire properties from highway noise, so the impacts of having a tiny home built with four straw bale walls is quite impressive.
  3. It’s true that thick straw bale walls take up space; however, they also offer storage options and creative architectural design elements in your home. Because the walls are so thick, the window wells are very deep and provide a great place to display items in your home. You can also carve into the walls in specific areas to inset cabinetry or even an eating or sleeping nook. The ability to carve and shape the walls means that there is a lot of room for creativity in your design in ways that conventional construction simply cannot offer. Recessing cabinetry and other storage elements into the walls means that floor space is not actually impacted in those areas, which is a great advantage in a tiny home.
  4. Although there are other advantages to building with straw bales such as the beauty of the plastered bale walls themselves, their fire resistance (3 times as fire resistant as conventional construction per ASTM testing), their superior strength in high winds, and others, I want to focus on one more of the advantages in particular: the natural material itself. Because tiny houses are so small, any and all toxic building materials that off-gas, do so into that concentrated, tiny space. This means that your foam insulation, glues, formaldehyde, paint, and many other standard building materials will fill a tiny space with the same level of off-gassing that is typically seen in larger homes; however, those larger homes have more interior volume over which to disperse those VOCs and other toxic materials. After all, a framed and painted, 10’ tall wall will off-gas the same amount of toxic material in a tiny home as it would in a large home; however, 100 to 200 SF of interior space versus 2000 SF will surely concentrate the effects of that off-gassing. In comparison, the elements of a straw bale wall assembly: the framing members (if properly sourced), the bales, the plaster, and the plaster color, are all completely non toxic and natural. There simply is no toxic off-gassing from this wall assembly, which is a huge advantage for us tiny housers.

straw bale 2

No matter what advantage draws you towards building your tiny house with straw bales, the results will be efficient, healthy, strong, quiet, and beautiful. For those interested in building with bales, I invite you to visit www.StrawBale.com to learn more about how the process works and how it can fit into your plans to build your perfect tiny dream home. We offer a totally free 16 day straw bale ecourse as well to get you started on learning about straw bale right away. I have been teaching people how to build with bales for many years and I can tell you that those who have followed through and built their own homes all LOVE them.

straw bale bedroom

In hopes that you will join me at a hands-on workshop this coming year, Gabriella and I have created a coupon code, exclusive to our tiny house friends here on TinyHouseBlog, that will save you $100 on your registration. To take advantage of the discount, simply type the following into the discount field during the checkout process: TINY STRAW. The discount expires December 21. Our workshops are a blast from start to finish and you will not only learn a ton about building with bales, but also have a week of fun, connection, and inspiration.

Sorry, the Oregon location is already full. The Arizona workshop only has 2 spots left and Idaho just 5. The rest of the locations (Australia, Vermont, Nebraska, and Texas) still have a bit more room in them. Here is the link to the workshops themselves: http://strawbale.com/store/category/workshops/ I hope you can join us. Happy baling and stay tiny my friends.

straw bale workshop