Category Archives: Events

12/02 Norfolk woman heading to Standing Rock to build tiny houses for Dakota Access Pipeline protestors

Nia Amoruso

Norfolk resident Nia Amoruso tells Dakota Access Pipeline protestors in Norfolk on Thursday evening about her plan to travel to Standing Rock, North Dakota, to build tiny houses for Native Americans.

On Saturday morning, Nia Amoruso will get in her car – packed with non-perishable foods, fresh produce from a community garden that she tends and sleeping bags – and start driving west. If she’s lucky, she’ll complete her trip, its end more than 1,700 miles away from her Norfolk home, within 48 hours.

Her destination? Standing Rock, North Dakota…

Amoruso said she had been following the story of a Native American nurse who was assisting people at Standing Rock when Amoruso noticed that she didn’t have adequate shelter to withstand the grizzly weather conditions.

“The nurse – she was really sick at the time. She wound up with pneumonia,” Amoruso said.

Inspired to act, Amoruso set up a GoFundMe fundraiser – a website that allows anyone to donate funds to any of the site’s user-created campaigns – to purchase first aid supplies and a medic tent for the nurse to use and sleep inside.

Slowly, donations started to trickle in from people who had seen the campaign shared on social media sites. Soon, Amoruso had raised more than $2,000 – enough to purchase a shelter.

Amoruso soon discovered that money wasn’t the only problem she faced. She didn’t know how to get the shelter to North Dakota.

“I spoke with her and told her I wanted to get her a shelter,” Amoruso said, “but I had no idea how to get it to her. She only had a P.O. box, and you can’t send something so big to a P.O. box.”

By a stroke of luck, Amoruso was introduced to a woman named Mera Rose Doe who lives in Northern Virginia. A set designer, Doe wanted to use her talents to help provide shelter to those in need at Standing Rock but needed funds to make it happen.

“It was just by pure grace that I was able to connect with her,” Amoruso said.

Doe had also created an online fundraiser but hadn’t been able to raise enough money to build the structures. Combined, Amoruso and Doe now had everything they needed to build tiny houses.

According to Doe’s fundraiser, the winter dwellings will sleep up to 12 people. The houses will have finished floors, solar panels on the roofs and working stoves. As of Thursday evening, more than 25 people had volunteered to travel with Amoruso and Doe to help build the houses. Amoruso said they hope to construct three of the structures next week.

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11/25 High Performance Tiny House Tours in Montgomery Alabama Today

Inside Grace and Corbett Lunsford's high performance tiny house.

Inside Grace and Corbett Lunsford’s high performance tiny house.

Tiny Homes seem to be sweeping the nation from social media posts to even having television shows based around them.

One Montgomery native and her husband decided to get rid of their apartment and build a tiny home, taking it all across the country to hopefully improve other houses along the way.

The Lunsfords are your typical family: husband Corbett, wife Grace, nine-month-old daughter Nanette, two cats. What isn’t exactly typical is their tiny house they built which measures at a mere 210 square feet.

“I don’t feel like I’ve given anything up and I grew up on Felder Avenue in a 26 room home and now I’m in 210 square feet,” claims Grace McPhillips Lunsford.

The home consists of a kitchen, bedroom with a queen bed, closet, and nook for Nanette, a loft for a dining room and living room, work space, and of course a bathroom complete with a shower, compost toilet, litter box, and changing table.

Like most, you probably are wondering not only about the tight quarters, but the smell. While I was there, not once did I get a whiff of anything other than pleasantries. “There’s a trapped door for the solids and then there’s divertors for all the liquids. My toilet smells less than your toilet at home when using it. It is its own poopouri,” laughs Grace.

The Lunsfords say it’s all based on the dynamics of their home and their motto: sealed tight, ventilated right…

The Lunsfords are opening it up for tours on Black Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. It’s parked at the Fitzgerald Museum.

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11/23 From Across the Country, Gifts of Tiny Houses Arrive for Standing Rock

An artist paints the side of one of the tiny houses at Standing Rock.

An artist paints the side of one of the tiny houses at Standing Rock.

Eleven days ago, when Matt Musselwhite pulled into an encampment at Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in a 5-ton flatbed truck, he had no idea how he would unload the three tiny houses he had just hauled 1,500 miles from southwestern Oregon. Almost immediately volunteers emerged from the throngs of mostly Native Americans. Within hours, teams of 10 people were starting to assemble the first of the 144-square-foot wood structures while circulating free food and coffee.

“This feels like a new America I want to be a part of,” said Musselwhite, 41, a carpenter and woodworker based in a rural community tucked into the mountains that cross the Oregon-California border.

These houses are part of a project that began in the Yale Creek watershed southwest of Medford, Oregon. Early in October, as the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and supporters intensified their opposition to construction of the Dakota Access pipeline across Indian treaty lands and the Missouri River, Musselwhite and his neighbors wondered what they could do to help from so far across the country.

Winter was on its way. The Standing Rock community’s tents and summer tipis would not work in 20-below weather. A call went out from the Red Warrior Women’s Media Collective for donations of winter housing, something the rural Oregon forest community knew it could provide.

The Oregon project named itself Shelter for the Storm and began with five large trees on private lands. All were dead or dying—perfect for milling into lumber for houses. Using the trees landowners donated and a barn vacated for the construction, several volunteers built three modular homes in three short weeks.

Rodger Parrott, owner of a metal-roofing company in nearby Merlin, donated the roofs and enough screws to reassemble the structures once they arrived at the Standing Rock camps. “I’m just grateful to see people that are willing to step up. Someone has to stand up for the planet,” Parrott said.

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11/18 Tiny house festival goes big in St. Johns County

tiny house with t-shirts string on a clothes line out front

Tiny house owned and built by Shorty Robbins on display at the festival

The tiny-house enthusiasts gathered this weekend at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds say their itty-bitty homes leave them feeling liberated, not squished.

Just listen to Renee McLaughlin, who rents out her old 3,300-square-foot house and has downsized to an 87 square-foot micro-house she parks on her family’s property in rural southeast Iowa: “I just paid off a credit card. I have no rent, no utilities, no water. Well, not much water. I have a tiny garbage can it takes me three weeks to fill.”

Now she travels to tiny house festivals around the country — the number is growing — to sell T-shirts made of recycled material, with the logos “Tiny on!” and “Tread lightly and tiny on!” That gives her enough money, she said, to live, liberated.

The first Florida Tiny House Festival has about 90 tiny houses, including small houses on wheels, converted school-buses, a converted shipping container, a converted horse trailer, vintage campers, teardrop trailers and a yurt.

Some tiny-house people don’t consider alternate structures to be tiny houses, but the United Tiny House Association, which is putting on the festival, is pretty open-minded.

“If it’s tiny, we support your decision to be tiny,” John Kernohan, chairman of the group, said Friday, the first day of the event.

One thing about the festival is big: He said he registered it with the Guinness World Records for the largest gathering of tiny (under 500 square feet) structures on record.

“This thing’s turned into a monster,” he proclaimed.

The event goes on at the fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20.

Tiny houses are huge, at least in interest. It’s hard to turn on a TV without seeing a tiny house show somewhere.

Indeed, HGTV will be there Saturday to film the unveiling of a house whose construction has been followed by film crews for its “Tiny House, Big Living” show. And Derek (Deek) Diedricksen, who hosted that network’s “Tiny House Builders,” will be keynote speaker at the event that day.

Adam Lehman of Davenport, south of Orlando, built this TV house, which he’s selling for $95,900. It’s a 270-square foot place, on wheels, with plenty of custom, upscale features. It even has a washer-dryer, custom stained glass, sliding pocket doors, 18 windows and a tumbled marble tile shower.

He said some tiny-house people who favor more spartan settings aren’t happy about the way some tiny houses are getting bigger and fancier. “Some people will walk through this and hate it. They’ll say, ‘This is just so over the top, we don’t need this much room.’”

But he figures it’s all part of the spectrum.

On the other end of the spectrum is Brian Kennedy of Charlotte, N.C., who set up a table to offer free advice on designing tiny houses. He’s 6-foot-8, but he figures all he needs is the 137-square feet house he’s building out of reclaimed, repurposed materials.

That reduces waste — an interest of his —and saves money. He already has most of the materials he’ll need. “And I have spent $354.99 thus far,” he said.

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11/02 Tiny house tours and a tiny movie at Fresno State

Fresno State students in front of their tiny house

The Fresno State Tiny House team will hold an event Friday, Nov. 5, 2016 for tours and to discuss tiny living.

Tiny houses have been on the mind lately – actually in this column. People can’t seem to get enough of the small houses on wheels.

Here’s some more itty-bitty information if you’re interested in the next opportunity in Fresno to see a tiny house.

The Fresno State Tiny House Project and Tiny House Expedition, a community outreach and documentary storytelling project, will hold a tiny house tour, a film screening which includes snippets from Fresno, and a panel discussion at Fresno State from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday, November 5, 2016.

Fresno State construction and engineering students worked the last two years on a project to build a tiny house for a competition held in Sacramento last month. The expedition is led by filmmakers and couple Alexis Stephens and Christian Parsons who traveled the country in their DIY tiny house to document the tiny house experience nationwide.

Click here for the schedule of events:

10/26 Tiny house project aims to build women’s networks and skills

RPGA Studio logoTo empower women in a field that is usually male dominated, the Rego Park Green Alliance (RGPA) Studio will lead a tiny house build project called The Observer.

Led by Yvonne Shortt, founder and executive director of RPGA Studio, the program aims to form networks through empowerment, skill building and information sharing.

She created a Meetup group for womenwho are interested in learning how to build a mobile space and meet new people. So far, about 150 people have signed up…

At the core of the project, Shortt wants women to “feel strong in their conviction,” adding that “if you can empower one woman and she empowers one woman, we can build a community of women who are more empowered to use physical and emotional tools and networks.”

Wanting to create a creative space and equip women with building skills, Shortt came up with the idea of building a tiny house from scratch.

The organization recently completed the design for the exterior, and will work on the interior space throughout the next couple of months. In the second phase of construction, the space will transform into a studio space.

The creative studio space will serve as a mobile observation lab. The lab will allow performance artists to observe the outside world, recording and documenting what they see in the five boroughs.

For the build, RPGA Studio has reserved space at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth. Trained carpenters will help on build days. Initial workshops begin on May 29th of next year and center around equipment use and building for living and workspaces.

The following weeks, participants will learn about subfloor framing, sheathing, exterior siding, interior siding, roofing, electrical, plumbing and more aspects of construction.

During community build days, community members will be able to work on the tiny house during three-hour blocks. In addition to women, the organization plans to include specific days designated for middle school and high school students, as well as days for parents and their daughters.

The RPGA Studio expects the project to be completed by July 3. Once the studio space is completed and it is transformed into The Observer lab, the RPGA Studio will travel with it to different boroughs in order to engage in conversation.

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10/10 Hitch up the tiny house: Students head to SMUD contest

students stand in front of a tiny house

From left, students Jesus Guerro, tiny house safety manager; Kristi Phu, project manager; Michelle Feasby, interior architect; and Jose Iniguez, structural engineer, join with Rustin Vogt, professor of mechanical engineering, in front of the completed tiny house. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Sacramento State’s student-built entry in the SMUD Tiny House Competition is painted a trendy “whale gray” – but the house itself is a minnow.

It’s a cozy, light-filled 184 square feet of sustainable living on wheels.

Step through the French doors, and you’re in the efficient mini kitchen with a desk/dining space in a bay window. A few steps away is the living “room,” and a heartbeat beyond that is the bathroom. Shimmy up the ladder to the sleeping loft, and stretch out on a queen-size mattress.

The design is rustic/contemporary. A bounty of windows provide fresh air and natural light. The wood accents are fashioned from reclaimed pallets. The kitchen sink is recycled. Storage options are minimal but well-thought-out. The innovative vacuum-tube solar system will provide plenty of hot running water.

The net-zero energy tiny house was designed by interior architecture student Michelle Feasby with input from the rest of the Sac State Tiny Team, and was built over the past three months by 24 students and alumni from the Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Construction Management departments.

“I’ve learned a lot from being a part of the construction team,” says Feasby. “I’ve been able to delegate – seeing the vision of what needs to happen next, and answering questions of the other volunteers. It’s been a fun exercise, because project management is something I can see myself doing.”

SMUD challenged 10 California collegiate teams to design and build affordable, livable, and innovative net-zero energy homes on trailers. The houses are no more than 400 square feet and cost less than $25,000 in materials.

Student teams will conduct public tours of their tiny houses during SMUD’s free Tiny House Energy Showcase, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway.

In addition to Sac State, the competitors are: Chico State, Fresno State, Cosumnes River College, Laney College, College of the Sequoias, UC Berkeley, Santa Clara University, San Jose City College, and UC Santa Cruz/Cabrillo College.

Teams are vying for $30,000 in prizes. Winners will be announced at the showcase.

SMUD modeled its inaugural Tiny House Competition on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. Teams will be judged on criteria such as architectural design, energy efficiency, home life, and communications.

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09/15 De Pere Pastor Builds Tiny House for $4,000

Pastor Rebecca Rutter sits on the bed in the loft of her 98-square-foot tiny house, which is on display at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI until Sept. 23. Below the loft is a dining area that can be turned into another bed.

Pastor Rebecca Rutter sits on the bed in the loft of her 98-square-foot tiny house, which is on display at St. Norbert College in De Pere until Sept. 23. Below the loft is a dining area that can be turned into another bed. Photo by Todd McMahon

Rebecca Rutter, pastor at New Hope United Methodist Church in nearby Ledgeview, is responsible for the eye-catching creation that stands in the heart of campus beside the well-used pathway between Third Street and Main Hall.

The tiny house she designed, built, decorated and occasionally occupies for some peace and quiet has been on display since late August. It’s part of a fall exhibit at the art center called “Shelter and Clothing: Using Sustainable Design to Rethink How We Live Today.”

Students such as Olsen who work in the art center have been giving tours of the house on most days of the week.

Rutter will take a break from her ministry work Saturday to greet visitors and give them the snappy tour of the home during SNC Day, the college’s annual open house for the community. Activities throughout campus start as early as 7 a.m. and go into the early evening.

The house is on display until the St. Norbert exhibit ends Sept. 23. Notebook designs by Rutter and a picture book that chronicles the construction of the house are featured in Baer Gallery inside the art center.

“It was a labor of love,” Rutter said.

She built the 98-square-foot house in less than a year after starting the project on her 40th birthday in August 2013. At the time, Rutter was living in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, Ill., where she served as a church pastor while finishing seminary school.

“I’ve always loved designing buildings,” said Rutter, who took an interest in architecture as a child. “As a pastor who, I assumed, would be living in parsonages the rest of my life and never have a chance to build my own house, I thought, ‘I can build my own house and take it with me wherever I might be appointed.’”

Purchases of a 5,000-pound trailer for $600 and a table saw for $60 on Craigslist set the wheels in motion for building the mobile house.

With the help of family, neighbors and members of her church in Plainfield, an industrious Rutter framed the floor of the house on the trailer.

From there, she stuck to a budget-conscious plan to construct the one-story abode that has just about everything a simple homeowner would need. She stocked up on materials from the clearance aisles at hardware stores, found other discounted items online and recycled materials such as the steel exterior from her parents’ hobby farm near Madison.

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06/21 Open house – Nooga Blue Sky Off Grid Tiny House in Bradenton, FL

Nooga Blue Sky by Tiny House Chattanooga

Sally Moore’s tiny house, the Nooga Blue Sky by Tiny House Chattanooga


After a very bumpy ride with unstable housing and serious health problems I’ve landed in a place of comfort, safety and relative serenity. I’ve had so much help along the way from friends and strangers alike. I’d like to invite you all to celebrate this joyous occasion with me.

This is a POT LUCK so bring a dish. Vegetarian and vegan options are appreciated.

This is a public event and will be held mostly outside. I will bring small groups inside to tour the house every so often so as not to distress the cat. There are public facilities, a restaurant with AC and a bar on site as well as kayak rentals if you’d like to play in the river.

This is a family friendly event. You are welcome to share this among your friends.

And if you’re considering a tiny house of your own, this is the much publicized “Nooga Blue Sky” by Tiny House Chattanooga. Come see it for yourself and ask any questions about their workmanship, customer service or anything you like.

Date: July 10, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Place: Linger Lodge Restaurant & RV Campground, 7205 85th St Court East, Bradenton, FL
Once at Linger Lodge, the house is at Lot 15, on the corner of Snake Pit and Gator Circle.

05/09 Lloyd Kahn and Hutters Rally in Scotland tomorrow

hut in ScotlandThis year’s Hutters’ Rally is coming to Fife – where many exciting new hutting plans are emerging, including our pilot hut site on Forestry Commission land.

The Rally takes place on Tuesday 10th May 2016, from 10am-5.30pm. There will be site visits in the morning for those who would like to see some potential hut sites, then the afternoon will be chaired by broadcaster Lesley Riddoch, with over 20 other expert contributors and a variety of workshops, presentations and activities. Visit for the latest information and the draft programme.

The last 5 years have seen Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts Campaign make huge leaps forward for new hutting in Scotland. It’s time to celebrate the changes in the planning system, and to develop plans for turning policy change into new huts.

The Hutters’ Rally is just a short hop from Fife Contemporary Art & Crafts’ exhibition, Shelter, at Kirkcaldy Art Gallery. On the day of the rally & talk the FCA&C Shelters exhibition will be open at Kirkcaldy Galleries, War Memorial Gardens from 9.30 – 19.00. Don’t miss it! In the evening there will be a lecture by legendary green building guru Lloyd Kahn, Editor in Chief of Shelter Publications.

PLEASE NOTE – You must book tickets separately for Lloyd’s talk through Fife Contemporary Arts and Crafts website at (Rally tickets do not give access to Lloyd’s event). Lloyd’s event will be held at 7.15pm in the Beveridge Suite, Adam Smith Theatre (Bennochy Road, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1ET)

WHEN: Tuesday, 10 May 2016 from 10:00 to 17:30 (BST)

WHERE: St Bryce’s Church – St Brycedale Avenue, Kirkcaldy, KY1 1ET, United Kingdom

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