Build Tiny Workshop

by Jennifer Edwards

Here is the update on the Build Tiny Workshop last weekend. Despite the fact that it rained the WHOLE time, it was a great experience. Robin did a great job executing her vision of a very hands on, cohesive workshop, with a perfect sized group for the project. I can’t wait for the next one!

Everyone pitched in with the building and had a chance to learn new things. As if it wasn’t already a great experience, there was the feel-good aspect of knowing this home would be towed down to Charlottesville upon completion as part of a start up project serving homeless and low income families. Meals were provided by Build Tiny right there in their home on Two Filly Farm, which allowed for constant opportunities for networking, comparing and troubleshooting plans, and overall tiny house conversation around the table at meals.

Meals were also insanely delicious (think chili, the best cornbread you’ve ever had, and warm coffee and cider after day of working in the rain…yeah). This also kept momentum going on the build, which was especially important considering the weather. If everyone didn’t know how much weather can impact building, they do now. Even though everyone was a real trooper and pushed on through it, rain management puts a damper on timelines.

cutting wood

Luckily, there was space inside the barn and everyone just got cozy and made it work. However, being inside the barn made it so that we could not raise the walls if we wanted to be able to actually get the tiny house out. So for the finally day, a tarp system was constructed and the walls went up!! Rain or shine!

cutting wood in the rain

Larry Herbst, a master cabinet and furniture builder, came out to show some fine carpentry in working with Lee Pera on on her tiny custom cabinets for her tiny home at Boneyard Studios. Lee, co-founder of Boneyard Studios, offered ongoing feedback and conversation related to a wide variety of tiny house related issues, everything from managing builders, to managing zoning codes, and managing your sanity and relationships while building. Steve Newbold brought his lovely DIY tiny home out and we all got to watch the process of putting in an AMAZING bathroom door on wheels out of a beautiful piece of art that has been bounced around amongst his friends and finally found it’s perfect home.

learning the trade

Robin Hayes and Tony Gilchriest are not only fantastic builders with a ridiculous amount of experience and knowledge, but very effective instructors. They made a well-oiled machine of a building team out of their pupils in no time! I’m attaching a bunch pictures for you as well. Due to the rain, it wasn’t exactly the easiest to photograph, but you can get the idea. Hope you are well and enjoying the heck out of life!


working on the floor

cutting wood


subfloor completed

preparing studs


teaching 2

walls ready to go up

first wall up

walls under tarp

walls up

hard workers

8 thoughts on “Build Tiny Workshop”

    • Hi Paula, I just wanted to let you know that the next Build Tiny workshop has just been announced. It will be held in April at the same location in Berryville, Virginia. You can find more info on the Build Tiny FB page or go to the website.

  1. I participated in that workshop and I learned a lot by doing things hands-on. I took the design workshop in DC that Boneyard Studios organized and I learned a lot there too. I recommend taking both for a realistic experience of what goes into building a tiny house. I’m ready to build my tiny house in the spring once I get my sketchup design finalized.

  2. I attended the tiny house design workshop “Big Ideas, Small Spaces” followed by the hands-on tiny house building workshop just like Derryl in the comment thread above. It was great to cover all aspects in a classroom setting, visit Boneyard Studios to see a couple of finished versions of tiny houses in DC, and then actually build one for Janet as part Robin’s instructional workshop highlighted in the article. It has given me the confidence to finally start my own project this fall! The tool introduction class offered the Thursday before Robin’s 3-day build workshop was my favorite. I had never used a nail gun and was very afraid of the reciprocating saw. I can now pick those tools up with confidence… and at a recent build I was able to trouble shoot the compressor for the nail guns. Thank you Robin!

  3. Seems like this workshop is strong in the hands-on aspect, but lacking in the presentation aspect. There are a lot of subject areas I’d like to see presented in a workshop format (i.e., building codes, budgeting, locating materials, etc.), and others where hands-on would really be best. (And logistically, how do you take notes and swing a hammer at the same time?)


Leave a Comment