Back in 2011, I started planning the first Tiny House Conference because I wanted to bring tiny housers together in a single place to connect, learn, and hang out with other folks who “get it.” Back then, we were a very, very small movement – it was easy to feel alone – so it was great to spend time with other tiny house people. Fast forward to today: we are already ramping up for the third annual Tiny House Conference and we are excited to make it happen again. We will be gathering in Asheville, NC on April 2-3, 2016 for the next conference, and we wanted to invite all of you to it. Right now we are offering $50 off if you register before November 1st!
We’ve already confirmed most of our speakers, our schedule is locked in, and we’ve already confirmed three amazing tiny houses for attendees to tour! For those of you who haven’t been to the Tiny House Conference yet, there is nothing like connecting with and learning from so many of the amazing people that make up our movement.
Over the course of a weekend, we will have many leaders within the movement come to present, answer questions, and meet you all. Saturday and Sunday are jam-packed with sessions on key tiny house topics designed to help you get the details on what it’s like to live tiny and build a tiny house.
This year we are adding three really exciting features to our event that people have been asking for:
While the Conference requires registration to attend, this portion is free and open to the public. You can grab a drink and meet other tiny house folks the night before the Conference. This will be a casual get-together on April 1st from 7pm-8pm in the main lobby/bar at the Crowne Plaza in Asheville (1 Resort Dr, Asheville, NC 28806). Come hang out with us and meet other tiny house folks!
One thing we are always trying to do is help people get the information they need. People have been asking for a hands-on portion to the Conference, and this year we doing just that. In an add-on session, Tool School is where you’ll get hands on with all the major power tools. You’ll be taught by professionals about which tools you’ll need to build your tiny house, what each tool is used for, and most importantly, how to use it safely. Participants then will get a chance to actually use each tool, guided by a professional to make sure you feel completely confident.
While a big part of the Tiny House Conference is learning, a huge part of it is also the connections. Meeting people at the Tiny House Conference has consistently been named as the number one thing people like about our event. So this year we wanted to take a good thing and strengthen it. Tiny House Masterminds are small groups of individuals that we match people into based on where you live and what stage you are in your tiny house journey. The idea here is we’ll introduce you to others who are close to you and at the same place in your tiny house build. You can as a group decide to meet during the conference to connect, and possibly form local groups back home where you can share your passion and support each other. To be part of the Tiny House Masterminds you will need to register for the Tiny House Conference and soon after we’ll email you to opt into a Mastermind. It’s free for attendees.
I’ve been back and forth on whether to post this for a while now, but recently Jenna and Guillaume of Tiny House Giant Journey did a post about how to break into your tiny house and it couldn’t have been a better push to share this rather hilarious and equally embarrassing tiny house story.
Here is Guillaume breaking into his tiny house while his partner, Jenna, encourages him while filming. My story does not come with a video for reasons soon to be revealed.
It all started like most mornings. My alarm went off and I made my way down the ladder and blearily began my morning routine. I grabbed my towel, put on my flip flops and headed to the shower. The thing is, during the summer months I always opt for my outdoor shower, which I think might be my favorite part of my morning routine. Being situated on a huge private lot of 26 acres, I don’t really worry about being seen, I just kick off my drawers in the house, walk outside and hop on the shower pad which I have yet build any walls around.
This is my morning every day, but then something strange happened…
I dried off and went to go inside, and the door handle didn’t seem to work. I have a key-less entry, so I thought to myself, “No problem, just enter the code and open sesame!” HOW WRONG I WAS. The door started doing all sorts of crazy beeps and refused to open. I tried again and again, nothing.
I was locked out of my house, butt-ass naked with only a small camping towel, no keys, no phone.
A million thoughts flew through my mind: “How am I going to get inside?” “OMG I’m going to have to go to a neighbor and ask to use their phone with a towel so small I’m going to have to strategically prioritize what not to show,” and “This can’t be real! Seriously? This couldn’t be more ripped out of every sitcom that has ever existed.” At that point I just had to laugh and proclaim, “What the f$#k am I going to do now!”
After a good bit of laughing at my own predicament and a fair bit of cursing, I hunkered down for a game plan.
Step 1: Kick the sh!t out of the front door
At this point I had moved beyond all the options of finessing the door open, so I quickly moved on to plan B: kicking the living sh!t out of the front door. A dozen mule kicks to the door and I realized it wasn’t going to un-jam the lock and it wasn’t going to pop open without tearing out the door jamb. To tear out the door jamb, I was pretty sure I’d have to break something in my foot because I had purposefully reinforced that section of the door frame to prevent anyone from doing exactly this.
Step 2: Try to pry a window open
Next I moved onto the windows, trying to get my fingers to have enough purchase to pull them open. The problem was the windows were built so well, the gaps were very small, only large enough for a flat head screw driver to be inserted. I was able to access my tools, so I grabbed a flat head screwdriver and tried to force open the window, but no luck. The window locks were just too strong and I wasn’t able to get enough leverage. I also tried a crowbar, but the gaps were too small to fit.
Step 3: Shimming your door lock
Initially I had avoided this because I knew I was going to mess up my door frame, but I was pretty desperate. I tried inserting a thin flat piece of metal into the door jamb to push the door catch open, but the door frame I had built was so perfectly fit, the metal kept bending. I eventually got it worked into place, but since the door was so tight to the frame, there was too much friction to wiggle it into place.
Step 4: Smashing a damn window
So after all that, I had been trying to break into my tiny house, naked, for over an hour at this point. It was then I came to realize that I was either going to have to go meet the neighbors in a very naked state or smash a window. I wasn’t willing to destroy my very expensive windows until I realized something. My front window had been delivered damaged and I had a replacement already sitting at my tiny house, and I just hadn’t got around to putting it in. That meant I could smash the window, get in, then just swap the sashes. Bingo! I had a way in!
I figured if I was going to break a window I should do it right, so I went over to my tool box and picked up my claw hammer. I walked up to the window and took a swing…. I was expecting a crash, but all I heard was a hollow thunk noise. My hammer bounced off the window. I figured I just didn’t hit it hard enough, so I swung again. Nothing. I slammed it into the window. Nothing! I began to wail on that window over and over again, slamming it with all my might. Nothing!!!! My hammer just bounced back off the glass over and over again. Then I got really mad and just went straight up hulk on that window. After a while I was exhausted, out of breath, and I had to take a break. That’s when I realized something: I have tempered glass! It was made to withstand impacts like this!
Step 5: Giving up
It was at that point that I gave up on the house. I had resigned myself to taking the walk of shame, to say hello to the neighborhood in only a towel, and beg for a phone call to my family members to bring some clothes and a lock smith. I started to walk down the driveway towards the neighbors wondering which house I should impose upon when I saw my car. It was then I remembered something: I have a manual key that might still work, but it was locked in my car!
Step 6: Breaking into your car
I had no idea how I was going to get into my car. If I couldn’t get into my tiny house, surely I couldn’t get into my professionally made car! But I figured it was worth a shot. I started by trying to shim the windows open. No luck. I slid a long flat piece of metal into the window crack to get at the door unlock button. No luck. I finally popped the door open by sliding a scrap piece of molding into the window gap, through the door handle and the pressing down against the floor, bowing out molding so it lifted the handle! I was in!
I’m not sure what to think about how I was able to MacGyver my Smart Car open with such ease. While it did take about 30 minutes, I would assume a car made by Mercedes would be harder to break into. At that point I didn’t care, I had the key!!!
Step 7: Unlock the door
I rushed over to the door with the key, slid it in the slot, and turned. I then turned the handle and… Nothing! It was still jammed! I repeated Step 1 a few times, kicking the door and wiggling the key. Then, finally! It popped open! I was in!
Step 8: Do a happy dance – clothing optional
It was true, I hadn’t felt so thankful for such a simple thing in a very long time. There might have been some happy dancing occurring; it only seemed like the right thing to do. I was in my tiny house! Once the celebration had subsided, I realized that I had worked up quite a sweat in my many attempts to break into my tiny house, so I went back outside, left the door ajar, and took yet another glorious shower. This one seemed to be just a little better than the last.
I couldn’t help but share this story. It is instructional, embarrassing and hilarious all rolled in one. People always ask about tiny house security and now I feel like I can adequately say that my tiny house is certified against any naked burglars that might come my way. My car, not so much. I have since hidden a key in a lock box outside my house and no longer keep a spare just in the car, because you never know when you’re going to be locked out of your house, butt-ass naked.