DIY Tiny Houses: Living Small Is the Best Revenge

I had no idea the small house movement existed until I stumbled across a YouTube video featuring Dee Williams' tiny house. It was New Year's Eve of 2008 and hearing Dee Williams' story inspired my partner and I to downsize.

You've probably heard about Dee's tiny house adventures. She's been interviewed by NPR, Time, Yes! Magazine and other media outlets about her experiments with voluntary simplicity. She built her tiny mobile home for $10,000 in about 3 months, using mostly recycled building materials.

Another proponent for going small is Katy Anderson. I met Katy for the first time at the 2009 Little House Construction Workshop and she is amazing. Katy has been in the trades for over 20 years and defines her work as "Finish Carpentry." She recently graduated from a two-year program at the College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, Calif. and loves building little homes.

If you're interested in building your own little home, mark your calendars for June 5th and join Dee and Katy for a one-day construction workshop in Portland, Ore.

This year's workshop, a perfect opportunity to learn about tiny homes from two experienced builders, will focus on basic little house construction including:

  • House-to-Trailer Connection
  • Stick-Framing and Construction Techniques
  • Tool Use, Safety and Good Clean Fun

Last year, I attended Dee and Katy's Little House Construction Workshop and it was fantastic. Here are some highlights of what to expect:

Active Participation. Dee and Katy focused on active participation and learning. We learned about general construction techniques, how to stay safe with power tools, discussed building codes and built the foundation of a tiny mobile office.

Empowering Yourself. It was great to see two amazing women leading the workshop. I've always been scared to use power tools, but I walked away from the workshop feeling confident that I could build my own tiny home. Even if we don't build one ourselves, the workshop equipped us with basic knowledge that will help us if we hire a contractor. And I can start scavenging for materials to use in our tiny home.

Construction Basics and Design. We didn't talk a lot about design and that's OK, because the focus on construction basics was intriguing. However, Dee mentioned the importance of small-space design and evaluating your needs before you build a little house. Tiny homes are kind of like finding clothing that fits. It's important to "try on" different styles and see if they fit your body type and personal habits. Dee and Katy's main message: Start talking about these things now rather than waiting until the building starts.

If you're looking for more information on tiny house design, Jay Shafer also holds fantastic workshops.

For more information on tiny homes, check out:
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