New House Plans For Charity

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While there are many reasons to be interested in tiny houses, a large portion of the people that I talk to are motivated for financial reasons. And while some of those are just interested in saving some money for travel or to work less, there are also those that are in need. Not a week goes by that I don’t get an email from someone who is looking for an option to avoid becoming homeless.

A while back I started thinking about a basic house design that would cost less to build but would still be of high quality. A house that would look nice, but perhaps not have some of the more expensive elements of some of our other designs. What we came up with is a 20 foot house that can be fully completed for only $10,000-12,000 with all new materials (even less with reclaimed materials). The house is called ‘Simple Living’ and you can get more details and see additional pictures here.

For a limited time, we are offering the plan package (PDF download) for whatever amount of money you decide and what you think they are worth. And we are going to donate 100% of the proceeds to charity, specifically I Care Atlanta which is a nonprofit devoted to ending homelessness. We plan to rotate through different charities and will continue to do this as long as it generates money for the charities. I’ll also be following up with some additional posts including stats like how much money we raised, what the average donation was, as well as some others. I’m personally hoping we raise enough money for me to have a giant check printed out, but I think that would look really dumb if I walked in with a 6 foot check made out for $1.42 :)

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This is part of a shift in our business plan to start giving back to our community more. Going forward Tiny Home Builders will be donating a minimum of 2% of our annual profits, as well as 1% of our time to local charities.

The model that we built for this house is also available for sale at tinyhousemarketplace.com

Tiny Home Builders Hands-On Building Workshop

This is a repost from www.cometcamper.com by Mariah Coz. She recently spoke at our latest tiny house workshop and wrote about her experience on her blog.

I’ve spoken at and taught about 20 in the past 2 years, and they always get me excited all over again. Meeting people who are just beginning their small home journeys, discussing science and nature, and making good friends are my favorite parts!

Last weekend Matt and I helped Dan Louche at his hands-on tiny home building workshop in Atlanta, GA. We were there to primarily talk about sustainable building, off-grid systems, and how and WHY you should downsize your life sooner rather than later. We ended up answering a lot of questions about composting toilets. Everyone is ALWAYS most interested in our bathroom habits, and we’ve become extremely comfortable speaking candidly about our bodily functions with total strangers.

We had the pleasure of meeting up with some people in real life from the current Tiny Transition + Downsizing class, and it was SO FUN to hang out and get to know each other off-the-Internet. Putting faces to names and meeting people I had been connecting with online for months was really great.

Hanging out with some friends from the Downsizing e-course, in real life!

Hanging out with some friends from the Downsizing e-course, in real life!

I’ve taught at so many workshops about tiny houses, I’ve seen it all. And I really think Dan’s are top notch. He goes into just the right amount of detail so that you will leave knowing what you have to do, and with some experience using the power tools you’ll need to build your own small home.

Every tiny house workshop is different. Some that I’ve done are just 100% presentations, with no hands on element. Others are totally hands on, but more chaotic and not focused on details such as plumbing, electrical, trailer selection, and other nitty-gritty issues. Dan’s workshop was the perfect blend – about 70% hands on, real life building experience, and 30% presentations to cover the more complex parts of building a tiny house that we couldn’t address in just 2 days.

Dan explains how to use the chop saw before the students have a hand at it!

Dan explains how to use the chop saw before the students have a hand at it!

Dan packs a TON into the 2-day session. The #1 request he gets is to offer longer workshops, there’s just so much to learn! But Dan knows how to teach the most important parts so that when you leave you  know where and how to start building for yourself. Dan was also very generous with his time and expertise, answering any and all questions after hours and staying late after the end of the workshop to help people individually become more comfortable with certain power tools. By the end of the class, you’ve wired up the tiny house for electricity, gotten experience with plumbing, and used an array of power tools to put together the tiny structure from framing to roofing. It was the most well-rounded tiny house workshop I’d ever taught at.

Though not everyone at the workshop has immediate plans for tiny house living or building, many people said that just being there inspired them and got the wheels turning for them.

Plans for the tiny structure that we built at the workshop.

Plans for the tiny structure that we built at the workshop.

While students got their hands-on experience building this shed-roof style tiny home, there were not one but TWO tiny homes on-site to inspect and hang out in. One was totally finished and served as an example during the workshop, while the other was a partly finished “shell”, so that participants could see “behind the scenes” and get a glimpse of the construction process. It was great to have 2 tiny homes on-site. One was 14 feet long and the other was 22 feet long (I think!), so that attendees could get a real sense of how big those different lengths really felt. It helped a lot of people decide what length to go with. Many people were at the workshop, totally committed to building a tiny house, without ever having been in one before! So this was a great opportunity to experience it first hand.

The Tiny Home Builders "Tinier Living" model, so cute and spacious for just 14 feet!

The Tiny Home Builders “Tinier Living” model, so cute and spacious for just 14 feet!

In the photo above, I’m having a fantastic conversation with the whole group about what downsizing means and how to start doing it NOW, even if it feels like the tiny house is a few years away. This was a really fun presentation, because the group got very involved and we heard a lot of personal stories. Some of these folks will be joining us in the next session of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course, so we’ll get to hang out and spend more time talking and working together. We talked about so much more than just “stuff”, like those less-tangible demons of toxic relationships, bad work environments, unfulfilling jobs, and family issues. It got pretty deep!

Matt and I are hoping to return to GA in the Spring for Dan’s next workshop, which is scheduled for April 11th-12th. If you have time in your schedule, I highly recommend Dan’s workshops. I hope to see you there!

By Mariah form www.cometcamper.com

Tiny Studio

I’m back from Florida where we hosted an open house featuring our latest house design called Tiny Studio. I took lots of pictures so check them out. The plans for this house will be available on our plans page soon!

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View from the bathroom looking toward the raised kitchen.

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Couch slides out to convert into a full bed.

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Stairs lift up to reveal storage.

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The entire staircase also unlocks and slides out to reveal a huge storage compartment.

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View of the kitchen

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Looking down from the kitchen into the living area

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A better view of the eating bar

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The living area, front door, and closet.

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Closet with exposed shelving on the side

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Large closet

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Bathroom with storage above toilet. The compartment has a mirror on both sides so that you can still see what you are doing when it’s open.

This house is for sale and is listed at $37,000.

Also, do you want to hang out with me, Jay Shafer, Deek Diedrickson, Lloyd Kahn, and a ton of other like minded people? Then you definitely need to check out the Tiny House Fair coming in October in Texas. It’s going to be a blast and I hope to see you there!

Tiny House Incubator

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Are you in the Atlanta area and interested in building a tiny house but need a place to build it (and perhaps a little supervision)? You’re in luck! We’re starting an incubator in Cumming Georgia (45 minutes north of Atlanta) where you will have access to land, bathroom, tools, other builders, as well as occasional visits by me to answer your questions. There will also be limited camping for those who travel to the site to work over the weekends.

This is starting out as a pilot program so participation will be limited. For more information including pricing please email [email protected]

Loft-Less Tiny House Design

I spent the last week down in Florida working on our latest house design. This house, like our Tiny Retirement design, doesn’t have a loft for those that aren’t interested in climbing a ladder to get in and out of bed. Instead, the bed is on rollers that allow it to be converted into a seating area (like a couch) or pushed even further away when you just need the space.

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When the bed is pushed all the way in it really opens up the living area. I even thought this design would lend itself to being an office as there is room for a rather large desk and the area under the kitchen could be used for file storage.

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This house was started a little while ago (it was at our last open house), but as with so many things it took a back seat to more important jobs. Well we are finally wrapping it up and while it wasn’t completely done by the time I had to leave, it probably only has a few more days work remaining. Once the finishing touches are complete I’ll travel back down to take some final pictures.

Workshop – May 2014

We just wrapped up our latest workshop in Georgia. It was a sold out event and as usual we had a great group of people which makes for a great time. I’ve said it before, but hanging out with so many like minded people is awesome!

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We hosted this workshop on a local scenic farm, which had a pretty great view if anyone got tired of looking at me :)

We’re planning on having all future Georgia workshops at this location.

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There’s also room for camping for those who are into that. Many of the campers ended up staying up late hanging out around the fire and roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. I on the other hand went home and passed out! Talking all day takes it out of you :)

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This time we had two tiny houses and a tiny house trailer to view (and sleep in for 2)!

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Here’s Laura and Matt from 120squarefeet.com giving their presentation. We’ve had them out for a few of our workshops and we always get good feedback. I like their story.

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One of the attendees, Chris, made the mistake of mentioning it was his birthday. So of course we got a cake and all sang Happy Birthday at lunch :) Chris was also super helpful throughout the workshop.

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Here’s Amy using a nail gun for the first time. She’s already got one of our trailers and is starting construction this summer. I expect we’ll be keeping in touch.

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Brian, who bought a trailer from us and attended the workshop was kind enough to bring it with him. It proved to be a great visual aid.

We’ve scheduled our next workshop for September 6-7. Get more details at http://www.tinyhomebuilders.com/tiny-house-workshops/Atlanta-September-6-7-2014

I hope to see you there!

Couple Builds a Tiny House

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I was randomly looking through some of the latest tiny house news and I came across this article about a young couple that is building their own tiny house. I got so excited because Lily and Matt (whom the article is about) attended my last workshop and purchased a trailer from me. I hadn’t heard from Lily since then and so I didn’t know how she was coming along but looking at the pictures in the article she is making some amazing progress. Before the workshop I don’t think Lily had ever used a power tool, and now she’s built herself a house. She’s amazing!

Attend our upcoming workshop and see what you can do! :)

Photo by Beth Beasley/ Times-News

Mariah’s ‘Smart-Size Your Life’ E-Course

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Before I got into tiny houses I had always wanted to remodel an old Airstream trailer (if I ever come across a used one at a good price I may revive that dream, so I specifically don’t look for one :). So I was immediately interested when I was contact by Mariah from The Comet Camper last year for an interview. She and her boyfriend Matt have been remodeling an old Avalon vintage trailer and using sustainable materials in the process. I think during the interview I might have asked her as many questions as she asked me :) Anyway, it’s a really cool project and they are both awesome people.

Well Mariah recently redesigned her website and is now offering an e-course focused on simplifying your life. I thought this was a really cool idea since so many people get interested in tiny houses primarily with the goal of downsizing and finding more time. I tell people all the time that you can start that process well before taking the big step of living tiny, and still reap many of the benefits. Also, while many people may want to simplify, without guidance and a little nudge a lot of those people won’t.

So take a minute to check out Mariah’s site, I know you won’t be disappointed :)