It takes a village to make a village. The Georgetown Tiny House Village, which will accommodate homeless families, is the fruit of a collaboration among the city of Seattle, the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), the Nickelsville homeless community, and the Tulalip Tribes. The city supplied the land and regulatory permission for the village, which will be the fourth such project in Seattle; LIHI is providing support; Nickelsville will serve as property manager; and members of the Tribes’ construction pre-apprenticeship program built the first three houses. Eventually there will be 40 tiny houses at the site, as well as a kitchen tent and communal restrooms. The houses themselves apparently won’t contain cooking or bathroom facilities, but as local churchman Steve Tucker pointed out to KIRO 7 News, they do “have electricity and a lock on the door,” and are thus significant a step up from the tents utilized in many homeless encampments.
Kansas City nonprofit Veterans Community Project has created a 50-unit tiny house village where homeless veterans will be able to live rent free. Food and other necessities will also be provided, and counseling and classes at an outreach center on the next block will help residents get their lives back on track. The village is funded by donations from organizations and individuals (you can make one here), and the VCP seems to be spending the money very wisely. Their cost for each house is only about $10,000, and while they’re neither large nor fancy they do include perfectly serviceable kitchen and bathroom facilities as well as climate control.
Apis Cor, a company with offices in San Francisco, Moscow and Irkutsk, has developed a mobile construction 3D printer and used it to create the world’s first house printed onsite. The 400-square-foot building was completed within 24 hours and cost just over $10,000. Nikita Chen-yun-tai, Apis Cor’s founder and the inventor of the printing device, hopes that his printer will help bring high-quality affordable housing to people worldwide. It’s also an ecofriendly technique that uses just 8 kW of power, produces zero construction waste, and greatly reduces transportation-related carbon emissions versus factory-built prefabs.
The house was made outside of Moscow in December, and while the printer will work just fine in subzero temperatures, concrete won’t – hence the tent you see overhead.
Now that it’s finished, though, the structure is projected to last for 175 years in any weather.
The unusual shape is actually a demonstration of possibilities rather than limitations – Apis Cor’s machine can print a standard rectangular house just as easily.
Samsung Electronics provided the appliances, including one of their curved screen TVs – which just happened to have the same radius of curvature as the house!
They might not look like it, but these gently rolling hills are actually within the city limits of Pendleton, Oregon. They’ve been divided into 51 three-to-six-thousand-square-foot lots as Pendleton Estate Phase 2, and the lots are now for sale starting at $14,900. Utilities are all set up, permits have been issued, and you can build (or park) tiny houses here, with no minimum square footage. (Mobile homes, on the other hand, are not allowed.)
The highway will take you across the state to Portland in about three-and-a-half hours.
Pendleton itself is a town of 17,000 on the Umatilla River and close to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It’s home to the Oregon East Symphony and has its own Center For The Arts.
h/t Tiny House Talk
Nicki Davis’s Ravenlore was one of the first tiny houses we ever profiled – we featured an in-depth interview with Nicki about the unforgettably purple-and-pink THOW she commissioned from Tiny Green Cabins way back in October of 2014 – and it’s always nice to catch up with an old friend. The Ravenlore has now relocated to Ohio after being purchased by Toledo resident Frankie Bordenkircher through an online listing. It’s apparently the first tiny house in the city, and there are some building code issues to be resolved before Frankie moves in. Fortunately, Toledo officials seem very receptive to the idea: City Councilman Tom Waniewski told local NBC affiliate WNWO that “it appears that the current laws… will be able to help her… If not, then we will have to look at amending some things.” How’s that for accommodating?
In addition to being a nice happily-ever-after for the Ravenlore (at least for the time being), this story is a great demonstration of the value of a well-built THOW. The Ravenlore is still looking great after two years with Nicki and an 850-mile journey from Savannah to Toledo. Durability, mobility, and the opportunity to resell to buyers anywhere in the country – maybe it’s time to start thinking of tiny living as an investment as well as a lifestyle.
September 8, 2016, marked the opening of the first house in the Cass Community Social Services tiny house village in Detroit. The project, which will grow to two dozen 250–400-square-foot houses over two blocks of currently vacant lots, will provide homes for low-income people, first on one-year leases, then on a rent-to-own contract after they’ve stayed three years. About half of the residents are expected to be homeless or formerly so, with the remainder made up mostly of senior citizens and college students. There will be some form of community governance in that homeowners will vote on future applications for residency.
While this may remind you of the West Coast tiny house homeless villages we covered a few months ago, it’s not really the same animal. The Cass Community Tiny Homes are on individual titled lots, comply with zoning regulations and building codes, and are being built by a general contractor with a mixture of paid and volunteer labor. The budget is correspondingly larger, with each house costing between $40,000 and $48,000. Fortunately, Cass, a well-established organization with Depression-era roots, has been pretty successful in coming up with funding – they’ve already raised $800,000 of the $1.5 million they need (half of it from the Ford Motor Company Fund).
If you’d like to make your own donation, you can email project leader Reverend Faith Fowler or give her a call at (313) 883-2277×201; to volunteer your time, email Sue Pethoud; and if you have building supplies to contribute, email Stacy Conwell-Leigh. If you’re interested in renting one of the houses, applications are available at Cass’s Scott Building, 11850 Woodrow Wilson St., through the end of October.
Portland, Oregon, is no stranger to the tiny house movement. Outgoing Mayor Charlie Hales and newly elected Ted Wheeler are both tiny house supporters, and the city even has a permitting system in place for people who want to add a smaller secondary “accessory dwelling unit” (ADU) to their property.
So why were Claire Teasdale and Bennett Frazier kicked out of the THOW they’d been living in for the past nine months?
In a word, wheels – the wheels on their house and the slowly turning wheels of the city’s bureaucracy. Under current regulations, a dwelling with wheels is an RV, no questions asked, end of story, and the only legal place for it is inside an RV park. There’s been discussion of exempting tiny houses from the definition, but the rules haven’t been changed yet, and until they are, city authorities say they haven’t got any choice but to enforce them as they exist.
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t any other THOWs in Portland; as Claire points out, “We are not the only ones living in a tiny house.” Maybe the rest of them are better hidden, although Claire and Bennett’s house, parked between a garage and a hedge and fronting on an alleyway rather than a street, wasn’t exactly stabbing anyone in the eye.
Well, except one person… The reason Claire and Bennett have been singled out is that a neighbor complained. Rather unneighborly, you might say (who knows, maybe the person didn’t care for the “cute little community” that Claire says formed around the house), but it does kind of explain the actions of the city. An official who receives a citizen complaint about a clear violation of the law has to do something about it – even if he might be perfectly willing to overlook a different THOW he saw on his way to work.
So while this is an unfortunate turn of events for Claire and Bennett, who are now couch surfing along with their 80-pound dog, it probably doesn’t mean that Portland has suddenly become tiny house unfriendly. Just keep a couple of things in mind if you’re living tiny there: the time for THOWs hasn’t arrived just yet – and stay on your neighbors’ good side.
Zoning challenges are part and parcel of owning a tiny house, but a family of four is facing an unusually immediate one in Ripon, Wisconsin. Scarcely a month after the Smiths moved in to the 400-square-foot THOW they call the Mustard Seed (father Adam is a music pastor), the Town of Ripon has issued what amounts to an eviction notice requiring them to leave by August 1st. The Mustard Seed is currently parked on a friend’s property, and the town’s attorney says the land isn’t zoned for a second residence. And so the lawyer sent a notice to the owner threatening a daily fine if the Mustard Seed isn’t gone by the end of the month. Even though the tiny house can’t be seen from the road, and even though the property comprises 20 acres, which in many places would be considered enough room for a couple dozen standard-sized houses… If you think that’s a tiny bit unreasonable, you can help the Smiths out by signing their online petition. They’d really like to stay where they are – aside from the fact that they don’t have anywhere else to go, they’ve come to love tiny living in the short time they’ve been there, and as you can see from the photos below, the Mustard Seed does quite well as a family home.
h/t WGBA-TV (NBC 26)
2016 will be the sophomore year for several tiny houses festivals, and there are a couple of new additions in the lineup too. These gatherings of tiny house enthusiasts and experts, builders and buyers, owners and others are a fun way to meet up with other people in the tiny house community, share your thoughts and theories, and make some new friends. And they always feature a number of tiny houses to tour, from companies’ display models to unique owner-built creations. Here are five of the biggest festivals scheduled this year, plus a 2017 bonus in case you’re really planning ahead.
BIG Tiny House Festival
- Date: July 16
- Place: Concord, Massachusetts
The 2nd BIG Tiny House Festival will showcase houses from Miranda’s Hearth, InRiver Retreats, Ben MacAdam, Tiny House Crafters of Vermont, and Bodhi Crumb. Panel discussions will feature area tiny house experts sharing what they know about building and living in tiny houses.
Festival des mini-maisons
- Dates: July 28–31
- Place: Lantier, Québec
Canada’s first tiny house festival promises both trailer-based and foundation-based tiny houses, workshops, panels, film screenings and fun for the whole family on 225 acres of woodland. It’s primarily a Francophone event, but they do have an English-language website as well.
Decatur Tiny House Festival
- Dates: July 30–31
- Place: Decatur, Georgia
On the same weekend but a lot farther south, Tiny House Atlanta is kicking off the inaugural Decatur Tiny House Festival. They’ll have 10 to 15 tiny houses to look at and experts to talk to about topics like downsizing, minimalism, sustainability, urban planning, and zoning. Get your tickets here.
Tiny House Jamboree
- Dates: August 5–7
- Place: Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Tiny House Jamboree is a huge festival that will have around 30 builders in attendance, both big names such as Tumbleweed and Airstream and some of our favorites smaller companies like Tiny Idahomes, Tiny House Chattanooga, Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses, and Escape Traveler. Keynote speakers include Guillaume Dutilh of Tiny House Giant Journey and Tiny House Blog founder Kent Griswold.
Florida Tiny House Festival
- Dates: November 18–20
- Place: St. Augustine, Florida
The Florida Tiny House Festival is an outgrowth of the Georgia Tiny House Festival, which attracted nearly 5,000 people to its first edition this March. The houses you’ll see are still TBD, but a number of builders and equipment manufacturers have already signed up, and you’ll get to hear keynote speakers Derek “Deek” Diedricksen (RelaxShacks) and Andrew Odom (Tiny r(E)volution) as well as many other tiny house gurus. Tickets are here.
Georgia Tiny House Festival
- Dates: March 3–5, 2017
- Place: Eatonton, Georgia
And finally, after this year’s success, of course they’re going to do the Georgia festival again. While it’s a little too early for the details, the organizers have already reserved the spacious and beautiful Ooh La La Lavender Farm for the event, and they expect to have both returning guests and some new big-name speakers next year.
We’ll always bring you the latest scores and highlights from the tiny house world, but most of the time we focus on the finished builds. With so many people building their own, we thought you’d like to get a glimpse into the various stages behind their projects. And if you want to follow the tiny house action live then Instagram’s a great place to do it. Here are ten promising projects to add to your feed.
Operation Tiny House
Rich is about halfway done with his blue and silver sheet metal THOW – watch him do the finish work at Operation Tiny House.
Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
Colton and Heidi have set a target date of September for getting their 1999 International Bus conversion (and their two corgis) on the road.
Titan Tiny Homes
Dan and Erica are building their 160-square-foot tiny under the cherry blossoms of Portland, Oregon.
Das Kleine Haus
Das Kleine Haus is a steel-frame THOW going up in Denver.
This family of four is hoping their bus conversion will take them from the road to the high seas – after this it’s on to a catamaran.
A young family is drawing up plans, clearing land and assembling reclaimed materials for an Illinois River cabin between heaven and nowhere.