Introducing The Build Small Live Large Summit!

Build Small Live Large ADU
An “ADU” or backyard cottage. Photo via Portland Photos.

Are you curious about tiny homes on wheels, but equally curious about other kinds of little houses? Maybe you’ve considered building a backyard cottage, or dreamed of living in a pocket community of neighbors and friends. If you’re interested in the tiny house movement but are still looking for your specific place within it, then check out the 2015 Build Small Live Large Summit. This one-day housing event will bring together the people who want to own small homes with the designers and builders who create beautiful little spaces and small-scale communities.

PAD has been helping to organize the Summit into a packed day of educational sessions you won’t find anywhere else. The top designers, builders and policy-makers in small housing will share what’s working, what’s new, and what’s next with their fellow housing professionals, and with aspiring small home owners who want to understand all their options before committing to one little house path.

The “Big Tent” of Small Housing

Pocket Community by Orange Splot, Portland Oregon
A pocket community created by Orange Splot. Photos and more at

The Summit program represents the “big tent” of small housing, with tiny houses on wheels as just one of many variations. Speakers will explain how to build accessory dwellings (aka “backyard cottages” or “ADUs”), show successful small house communities of different shapes and sizes, and share how they’ve worked creatively with relevant land use policies. Dee and Alan Durning, Director of the Sightline Institute, are the keynote speakers kicking off the day with how building small can improve our own lives and the communities we live in. We are stoked to be a part of this event that brings together the top minds who are finding creative ways to build housing that’s lighter on our wallets, lighter on the planet, and that serves people’s real needs for community and sense of place.

PAD is involved with the Summit because we want to help people discover what they really need out of a home, and to connect those who are looking at the smaller end of the scale with options and opportunities. We know that tiny houses on wheels are just one tool in the tool box, and the Build Small Live Large Summit is where small home experts and novices can come together to put all the tools on the table and share them. How do you build an accessory dwelling on your property? How are people creating pocket communities in normal neighborhoods just like yours? How do people design small spaces that still feel luxurious and homey?

Dee at the World Domination Summit, with her cape made visible.
Dee speaking at the World Domination Summit.

Our mission has never been to make everyone live in a tiny house on wheels, but rather to help people imagine and create a home that serves the life they want to live. That’s why Dee’s story resonates with so many people who will probably never live in an 84 square foot tiny house on wheels. Last year Dee traveled the country reading from “The Big Tiny” to standing-room-only crowds, and spoke at amazing events like the World Domination Summit, and what people really responded to were her messages of optimism and empowerment. The heart of Dee’s story is that we can literally build new lives for ourselves with our own two hands, that we can blaze our own trails in the world, and that we can each tell our own personal story of who we are and who we have become.

That message is pretty core to the tiny house movement, but it also transcends it, and Dee is excited to share her story with wider audiences and empower them to think about how big changes can and do start right at home, right where you are.

Stay Connected

If you’re drawn to the small house movement but feel that building your own tiny house on wheels isn’t the exact right move for you, check out the sessions at the Build Small Live Large Summit. There’s no better place to see all the inventive, creative ways that people are building homes with heart, and no better way to meet the designers and builders who are leading the way. You can also follow Build Small Live Large on Facebook or on Twitter to get great, relevant news and blog posts about all kinds of small homes and similarly creative developments. There’s room for everyone in the big tent of small housing – come on in and stay awhile!

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