A Look Back and Forward for PAD, Our Community, and the Tiny House Movement

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Hey PAD pals, Joan Grimm here. New Year’s is my favorite holiday, so I like to stretch it out for the whole month of January. Reflecting on the path we’ve traveled helps us learn from it. Otherwise a whole year of new experiences and change might all go by unnoticed. And 2013 was a big year in the tiny house community, so there’s a lot to pause and notice!

This year we at PAD watched the tiny house movement grow in size and organization, and find new ways to connect and serve tiny house enthusiasts around the country. It was also a big year for us at PAD personally, as Dee worked away on her forthcoming memoir, The Big Tiny, and our workshops and events introduced us to so many inspiring people who are turning their tiny house dreams into roofs over their heads.

The Big Tiny – Dee’s Story

Our biggest surprise in 2013 was when Dee was offered a book deal to tell the full story of her journey toward building and living in her little house. Dee has been doing all this behind the scenes, but in 2014 we’re beyond excited to help her launch her book on April 22nd, Earth Day, in New York City!

Dee’s book tour will take her to cities on the east and west coast that she doesn’t normally make it out to, and she’s thrilled to have the opportunity to connect with tiny house enthusiasts around the country.   And if all goes well, she’ll be touring the west coast in a brand new, 8 Foot Don Vardo tiny house! Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Dee, see a Don Vardo design in person, and connect with the tiny house fans near you.

Building Community – One Tiny House at a Time

Our tiny house workshops introduced us to well over 100 amazing folks who traveled from 17 different states around the country, some from as far away as New Mexico, Texas and Massachusetts. Some of those people have really hit the ground running, kept in touch, and are sharing their journeys online. Some of the “PAD grads” you can follow as they build their houses include:

Kate Goodnight – Kate traveled from Berkeley to Portland to attend a PAD workshop, and by the time she was heading back home she decided to move forward with her dream to build her own tiny house. She reflects regularly on her process in one my favorite tiny house blogs out there: Naj Haus.

Alek Lefski’s tiny house loft. Photo via Alek Lefski.

Alek Lefski – Alek began his tiny house project in earnest at the start of 2013 after attending our Tiny House Basics workshop. His blog is another favorite of ours, his house is gorgeous, we’re excited to keep reading.

Kelly Nardo – We met Kelly at a tiny house work party, and she’s since funneled her tiny house interest into a new documentary called Small Is Beautiful. This feature length documentary film explores the tiny house movement by focusing less on the houses themselves, and more on what the tiny house lifestyle enables people to do.

Growing the Movement

I predict that tiny will be BIG in 2014 because 2013 included so much awesome work all cross the country, all aimed at making tiny houses beautiful, safe, affordable, accessible, sustainable, and legal!  The work that folks like Elaine Walker put into creating the Tiny House Community and the Tiny House Alliance are great steps toward those goals, as they organize tiny house experts around the country to help the movement grow and gain legal clarity and acceptance.  We met a lot of the other alliance members at the first Tiny House Fair and are proud to be members, support their work, and chime in once in a while.

Tiny house bigwigs at the Tiny House Fair 2013. Photo taken by Joan Grimm

We were psyched to met Lee Pera and the gang at Boneyard Studios in Washington, DC, who are creating some great designs and pioneering a community model of tiny house living. And it was also great to connect with Ryan Mitchell at The Tiny Life.  Ryan is creating a national dialogue about tiny house insurance and hosting the upcoming national gathering at the Tiny House Conference in North Carolina this April (you can catch Dee there, too!) All these efforts will all no doubt play a big role in making 2014 a big year for tiny!

Looking Ahead

Will this be the year you turn your tiny house learning, wishing and hoping into designing, building and moving in? We’re here for you if you’re feeling ready to move forward! Our only Tiny House Basics Workshop of the winter/spring is on February 1 and 2, our Tiny Chair Workshops are on January 25 and February 8, and our next free Tiny House Mixer is on January 30. We’ve also got some new books in the works we think you’re gonna love.

We’re looking forward this year to continuing to help build and support the tiny house community, and to meeting a whole bunch of new amazing people along the way – maybe even you!

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