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!
Top 3 Most Active Facebook Groups
- Tiny House People (9,353 members) – Macy Miller
- Dreaming of Living in a Tiny House (6,277 members) – John No
- Tiny Houses – Ideas, Designs, Plans and Help (5,148 members) – LaMar Alexander
- Tiny Houses UK, Affordable Eco-Housing, Self Build (3,342 likes) – United Kingdom
- Tiny Houses Australia (11,169 likes) and Tiny Houses – Maleny (200 members) – Australia
- Projet Eco-village tiny houses au Quebec (246 members) – Canada
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
- Tiny House Enthusiasts in DC – 481 members
- Asheville Tiny Home Association – 393 Members
- East Bay Tiny House Enthusiasts – 328 members
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.
Kai and Erica
Kai Rostcheck (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Erica Breuer (email@example.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.