Here’s my recap of the Tiny House Conference, which took place last weekend. I started thinking about this post nearly as soon as I landed in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, something happened when I landed? I was having too much fun to write anything, other than a few Tweets. There were inspiring stories from amazing people. There was much talk about poop. The complexities of utilities and connecting or not connecting a tiny house to the grid were discussed in good detail. We talked about legal constraints and how to work within the system. I can certainly say that I learned a lot.
Attendees were able to tour several well-made tiny homes on wheels, and speak with the owners and builders. Some of the houses looked like miniature cottages, and one was the Just Right Bus. There was even a shipping container home build in progress.
At the conference were a contingent from a nearby college, and the students were planning to build some tiny homes for a project. During the second day, one of those students asked a thought-provoking question. It went something like this: ‘What comes after the Tumbleweed designs’? She went on to probe several of the tiny house dwellers and builders in our group, determined to know if anyone had thought how millennials would reshape this movement. As a modernist, the cottage-style wasn’t speaking to me. I may only be young at heart, however as a designer, I am intrigued by the idea of altering the meaning of a ‘house’. As the old saying says, ‘wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home’. Do the traditional construction methods evolved out of the 19th century still make sense today? Do the furnishings have to feel like tiny, shrunken versions of their big home cousins? This movement is certainly evolving. It is and will continue to be expressed in many ways.
Those questions, before I even had the chance to ask myself, have shaped the journey I am taking with my own project.
Overall, the conference was very successful. Not only did I learn a great deal about the process of planning and building a tiny home, I made some connections with people of many different backgrounds from all around North America. I met a couple that lives near Seattle in their tiny home just a few miles from my house. This movement is cutting across many socio-economic, generational and political boundaries. Even thought we may all be living in different countries, states, cities, counties and townships, for that weekend, we experienced a sense of community. That, is very encouraging.
You can find out more from one of the organizers, Ryan Mitchell on his blog: TheTinyLife I hear that some videos, and presentation materials should also become available on the Tiny House Conference blog soon, so stay tuned for that.