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The 2016 Tiny House Conference – Asheville NC

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.

Join us at the 2016 Tiny House Conference

April 2-3, Asheville NC

Early Bird Tickets Until Nov. 1st – Save $50

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Spotlight on Design: Wishbone Tiny Homes

From_storage_landscape_up[1]This month my spotlight on design features Asheville, North Carolina’s father and son design team, Gerry and Teal Brown, at Wishbone Tiny Homes. They were recently spotted at the Tiny House Conference this past spring. With their new location in the up and coming west side of Asheville, they are creating homes that offer “a return to some natural truth…a universal and natural connection to small” as Teal described when I spoke to him last month.

How did you discover the tiny house movement and what drew your interest?Walk_thru_front_door_see_all[1]

Although we site Sarah Susanka, Jay Shafer, and Dee Williams as some of the trailblazers of the tiny house movement, we have been inspired by dwellings throughout world history that would be considered “tiny” by current standards. Indigenous cultures have always lived in spaces that accommodate necessary daily activities but do not demand excessive resources to build and maintain. You can see these principles in action in the modern, urban context as well. Looking even further into the subject, wild animals tend to build with locally sourced, sustainable resources, and usually take only what they need for their nests. The way we see it, tiny houses represent a return to some natural truth that we have somehow collectively forgotten as we have enabled our technologies to distance us from co-existing with the land around us. The urge to build tiny comes from a deep, innate place in our human existence, and we seek to explore that.

What is your ideal vision in building and sustaining tiny house construction and what life Ext_nw[1]experiences brought your developing such housing?

My dad has been building houses and doing fine woodworking for 40 years +. I learned a tremendous amount growing up under his lead. I also took and loved furniture and cabinetmaking classes in high school. Additionally, I have several building science-related certifications that provide a firm understanding of energy efficiency, sustainability, and renewable energy as they relate to residential construction. Tiny house design provides the ultimate platform to reflect these concepts in the highest form. My dad and I have always enjoyed working together. We share the same mind but also manage to compliment each other’s skills. The mere fact that we can do something as a team that we find meaningful to society keeps us motivated to push forward. We like to help people achieve their dreams too. This means that we might consult on one tiny house and build another. In whatever capacity we can be involved in making a tiny home come true, we are eager to do that.

What influences stylistically are you basing your designs off of?

_DSC7337_HDR[1]Rustic Modern, Craftsman, Japanese architecture, Greene and Greene, an architecture firm of the early 20th century which greatly influenced the American Arts and Crafts movement as well as aspects of Contemporary in regards to functionality, space saving techniques and energy efficiency.

What demographic are you attempting to reach?

Honestly, there isn’t a demographic we aren’t trying to reach. We believe that the inherent versatility of tiny structures (especially those on wheels), makes them relevant to all walks of life. A tiny home can represent a dignified solution to affordable housing for one group and a unique camping experience for another. In this burgeoning share economy, tiny homes can provide a legitimate investment opportunity as a rental as well.

Are you going to have workshops this summer geared towards building tiny houses?

We will hold workshops in the near future. In a previous career I worked for a company that specialized in job-skillPurlins_front_with_filter[1] training. During my time there I learned the cradle to grave process of curriculum development and delivery. Solar was my particular program and I was charged with creating a classroom and hands-on learning experience for our students. We created a 1KW roof-mounted array that simulated both grid-tied and off-grid applications. We are working on developing a similar program for Wishbone Tiny Homes that combines a classroom portion with an innovative hands-on training module to teach students the whole process of building tiny. More on that soon!

Keep up with the latest from Wishbone on their website and through their blog.

Thanks Teal for taking the time to talk to The Tiny Life. We look forward to seeing Wishbone flourish and expand that tiny life love.

Your Turn!

  • What design elements inspired your tiny house build?
  • Do you agree that tiny living is a natural inclination?


Tiny House Weekend

So last week I had a crazy tiny house adventure.   It involved a potato, a few tiny houses, building codes and a lot of meeting tiny house folks.

I started off staying with Laura and Matt, two tiny housers in Asheville, Laura blogs at 120squarefeet.com (she also has a new book out – click here).   I have gotten to know them pretty well and always enjoy hanging out with them.  Not only do we talk about tiny houses, but we get to nerd-out too.

From there I met up with my brother and went to my favorite breakfast spot, Sunny Pointe.  After an amazing locally sourced organic breakfast we headed out.   From there we hit the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall colors.  I love driving the parkway, its winding roads and amazing views, it’s pretty hard to beat.  I dropped down from the parkway down into Brevard, saw looking glass falls and grabbed some lunch.

The next day I was off to Dan’s workshop where we talked about tiny houses.  I gave a talk on building codes and zoning.  After lunch Matt and Laura talked about their tiny house and living in it.  There were a lot of great questions for both presentations and the workshop allowed for us to chat with a lot of the folks.


Asheville Tiny House

A few years ago I met Rhodes Waite when we attended a tiny house group talk hosted at a Permaculture gathering. She was in the beginning stages of designing her own tiny house. We fell out of touch but just recently ran in to each other at Yestermorrow Design and Build School in Vermont. She happened to be at the school for a week-long tiny house design workshop and I was there on a work-study for Permaculture design! It was great to catch up and hear about what she was learning in the class and see her completed tiny house. Below are pictures of her home in Asheville, North Carolina and her thoughts on tiny living and the workshop she took at Yestermorrow.


How do you power your tiny house?

 It is wired just like a “normal” house, 12/20 wiring and a small breaker box.  I have a female recessed outlet in the exterior wall that an extension cord plugs right into.  So I run it to the house who’s yard I’m in.  I set it up so that an inverter and solar panel could be added in the future, but for now it’s on the grid, so to speak. Electric bill runs $5-$10 a month.

What is the biggest challenge for you living in a tiny house?


This is probably the hardest question you asked, as nothing comes to mind right away. Hmmm…it’s probably that I haven’t been settled in one location long enough to really feel stable as I’d like to. That’s more of a life circumstance and choice thing than a tiny house thing, but ideally I’d like to live in a tiny house in one location (I’ve moved it twice in 6 months). Other than that there aren’t really any challenges. I find myself wanting more space sometimes just to be able to stack a few boxes or get into projects, but it’s not a big deal.

What are some of the advantages?

 I love it, I love it, I love it!!!!  I have no mortgage or rent (just a tiny tiny house payment), and I own my house! Wherever I go my space stays the same, and it’s an amazing space.  It feels so good to live so small, because it doesn’t feel small at all.  The title of the class I just took at Yestermorrow sums it up well…”Less is More”!  There’s really not a way to describe the feeling of lightness and freedom that comes with simplifying one’s life. I love knowing where everything is all the time. I love being able to clean my


entire house in 5 minutes. I love feeling so connected to the resources I use and don’t use to live my life and power my house.  I love the simplicity of where my “wastes” go…to the backyard. I love the life and character my home holds, it feels great.  I love everything being within arms reach.I love the coziness. I love loving where I live.

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Pocket Shelters

Just found this awesome Tiny House located in my home state, North Carolina.  Aaron Maret (aaronmaret.com) built this Tiny House out of almost all reclaimed materials.  The result, a house that is both low impact, but aesthetically amazing!

Aaron describes his use of reclaimed materials

I feel pretty wowed by how beautiful and special salvaged wood, specifically, can be. but I also feel challenged by how much extra time in sourcing, processing, processing, processing, and using salvaged wood has added to the construction time line.

It gives me insight into why so many building materials end up in the construction dumpsters… it’s not necessarily because folks don’t care about resource use and conservation. often there simply isn’t the budget to pay for the labor required to manage and process leftovers, scraps, recyclables and the like.

Below are some photos, his site is at aaronmaret.com

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