Journal of a Tiny House

wills_tarletonOne of the most enjoyable things about having a blog is the people you meet along the way. During the publication of the Tiny House Blog I have met many interesting people who are building or remodeling their homes.

In fact most of the authors of the Small Living Journal I met writing a post about their projects. Recently, I have been getting to know some builders of Jay Shafer’s Tumbleweed Tiny Houses. One of them, Will Pedersen from Abbotsford, BC in Canada kept a written journal (which is available for download at the Tiny House Journal) of his building expenses. He also took photographs of each step along the way.

Will had very little carpentry experience, yet he was able to build his home with a little guidance from a carpenter friend, who was available for questions and assistance when he needed help.

Will’s journal and photos got me thinking that this might be a way to show the average person that they too could build a beautiful home with little or no experience and with some guidance from a professional.

I decided to start a new web site featuring these people and have just made the site live in the last few days. Below is a video I put together from the photos Will took of his build of his Tumbleweed Tarleton.

I hope this video and the Tiny House Journal will inspire you to take the step and make your dreams of owning and building a tiny house come to pass. You can do-it-yourself!

Video Journal of Will’s Tumbleweed Tarleton

Kent Griswold publishes the Tiny House Blog and the Tiny House Journal.

Zoey’s Tiny House

roofing“Do-it-yourself” is not a phrase I naturally associate with myself.

When it comes to home renovation and improvement projects, my traditional mode of operation has been to put in some extra hours at my comfortable desk job and then use the extra income to hire someone who–I at least hope–will have a clue and some experience with what needs to be done.

This approach has proven less than fully successful over the past year, however.  For example, I ended up with the roof of my house being missing for several months during the rainy season in Portland, and I’ve had projects go significantly over budget.

I’ve finally reached the level of exasperation with outside help that I’m beginning to take my first tentative steps into the realm of “do-it-yourself”.  I may not know what the heck I’m doing.  But at least if it’s me doing the work, I know someone will: 1) Show up when they say they will and 2) Be keeping a close eye on expenses.

As I’m still a relative do-it-yourself newbie, I wanted to use this issue’s article to introduce you to one of my tiny home heroes–Zoey.  Zoey is in the process of building her own Tumbleweed Lusby. She writes about her experiences on her blog,

Zoey's tiny houseThe Small Home Movement is beginning to see an increasing number of examples of couples and young men building their own tiny homes on wheels.  However, with the exception of Dee Williams and Elizabeth Turnbull, I’m not familiar with other public examples of women who’ve chosen to take on such an ambitious project by themselves.

(Just to be clear, I believe women are just as capable of building their own home as men are.  I just wish there were more readily-available examples out there of those who have done it.)

Needless to say, it was inspiring to me to discover a woman who had next to no building experience; help in the form of a supportive partner; or financial resources to work with; decide to make her dream of owning her own mortgage-free tiny home into a reality.

I have been following Zoey’s blog since it began last July.  What I particularly appreciate about Zoey is that she doesn’t sugarcoat her experience.  When something goes wrong, she writes about it plainly.  And then later, when she’s successfully turned things around, she reports how she was able to resolve the issue.

ridin_da_roofBy being able to follow Zoey’s trials and tribulations, I’ve come to learn that a misstep doesn’t necessarily mean the calamitous end to a journey.  A false step is simply a false step.  It can be corrected.  And one tentative step and a time, if you simply take the time to figure it out and don’t give up, you will get to your destination.  Moreover, the closer you come to reaching your dream, the more people who will want to join you in the journey.

Zoey was kind enough to do an interview with me for this issue of SLJ.  In it she covers a wealth of information that is useful for aspiring do-it-yourselfers.  She talks about how she was able to learn and master the building skills she needed, keep expenses low, and recruit help when it was needed.

The full podcast runs 25 minutes.  You can either user the player on the SLJ site, or it can be downloaded and played on iTunes where you take advantage of some additional features, including the ability to jump between chapters.  I hope you enjoy it.

A heartfelt thank you goes out to Zoey for taking the time to record this interview for our readers.


Note: You can follow Zoey on both her blog and Twitter.