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!
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 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.
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!
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. If you have time in your schedule, I highly recommend Dan’s workshops. I hope to see you there!
*Complete tiny homes are not often present at a workshop. Only at our Atlanta location and only if a project is underway there.
By Mariah form www.cometcamper.com