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Tour homes on wheels, backyard cottages and tiny homes for the houseless!

Want to tour some tiny houses on wheels, a shipping container home, small backyard cottage homes, or real tiny home villages for the houseless? Then head to Portland, Oregon on November 3-5 for the Build Small Live Large Summit! This multi-day event has something for everyone! Here’s a run-down on what’s happening, including photos of all the great spaces and places you can visit as part of the event.


Friday, November 3: The Summit and Free Tiny House Tours!

Build Small Live Large Summit 2017

The main event of Build Small Live Large is the Friday Summit, where national leaders in design, development and real estate, and advocates for small, sustainable and affordable housing, will gather for a full-day conference about innovative small home projects across the country. The Summit focuses mainly on accessory dwelling units (ADUs), which are more commonly known as backyard cottages, granny flats or mother-in-law apartments.

One Summit session focuses on how ADUs can help fight the displacement of citizens from their communities, featuring speakers working on this issue in Portland, Austin, Los Angeles and the Bay Area.  Another session explores innovative ways to use ADUs and tiny homes villages as transitional housing for the houseless.

If you’re a professional or advocate in these industries and fields, please join us!

Or if you just want to tour through some great tiny houses in person, for free, come by Portland’s South Park Blocks all day long! We’ll have five tiny homes on wheels and a shipping container home open for touring all day, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm! Each home will have a builder or representative on hand to answer questions. Here are some of the great builders and homes you’ll find there:

TruForm Tiny Houses

Truform Tiny House

Tour this spacious 28′ house from TruForm Tiny Houses! Photo via TruForm Tiny Houses.

Modern Dwellings PDX

Tour this shipping container home with roof deck! Photo via Modern Dwellings.

Real Wood Tiny Homes

Tour this water-saving tiny house from Real Wood Tiny Homes! Photo via Real Wood Tiny Homes.

Tiny Mountain Houses


Tour this light-filled house from Tiny Mountain Houses! Photo via Tiny Mountain Houses

The St. Helens High School Tiny House Project

Teacher Joe Mauck, left, is ready to show off his students’ two year tiny house project! Photo via Nicole Thill, Pamplin Media

Learn more about the builders and how to attend this tour on the Tiny House Tours page!

Saturday, November 4 – Small Home and Houseless Village Tours!

Carissa Page ADU in Portland, OR

Carissa Page’s Garage Conversion ADU in Portland, OR. Photo via: AccessoryDwellings.org

The Summit is also hosting two exciting tours. These tours are open to anyone and don’t require registering for the Summit, but do require advance registration and a small fee.

  • The ADU and Small Home Tour will give participants a chance to tour small accessory homes and some other creative small housing types, including the Caravan Tiny House Hotel. This is the last ADU tour in Portland before the fees to build them are slated to increase next summer by almost $14,000 per project. Learn more and register for the ADU and Small Home Tour here!
  • Interested in how tiny houses can be used as transitional housing for the houseless? This unique educational talk and guided tour of tiny home villages for the houseless will share how these communities operate, and how communities can band together to build them. One community featured will be the Kenton Women’s Village, a new community for houseless women using “sleeping pod” structures designed and built by Portland’s architectural community, students and volunteer organizations.

The Kenton Women’s Village, a transitional housing community for houseless women. Photo via: Catholic Charities

Sunday, November 5 – Workshops!

On Sunday, interested homeowners can take a free, one-hour introductory session on how to develop an ADU, or take a full-day, deep-dive workshop on how to develop an ADU from start to finish from ADU expert, consultant and educator Kol Peterson.

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Billy Ulmer
Billy Ulmer is the author of the Life in a Tiny House Ebook, a collection of photos and in-depth interviews with people who designed and built their own tiny homes. He writes about how home shapes our lives at UnlikelyLives.com.




{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Bill Burgess October 19, 2017, 4:55 pm

    As this is just across the river I will probably attend with several of my books for discussion but I did not order any for this function as I am in the transition back to Arizona so nothing for sale this time.
    ADU’s are my pet project and I feel the use of Park Model RV’s are best suited to seniors for this. I see a base price for Park Model RV’s is still in the $21K range for the standard 400 sq.ft. model and as we know the whole industry only sells 2800 to 3200 units per year in the USA. True the design at that price is about as “Beer Can” as possible but maybe someday we can shame them into improving their product to be more user-friendly. The manufacturers obviously do not live in what they sell so getting a quality product at a price under $75 a sq.ft. is going to involve many cost-saving fixes. I feel the only way to hit that number is to use SIPES to cut labor/time costs to the bone. The use of Bamboo in almost every way possible will lower volume costs as well.
    For the best possible use, I feel an operation like CAVCO Industries is going to be the leader as they are already in possession of 70% of the manufacturing facilities in the USA either directly or by proxy. Offering a “Shell” product would be a first step in broadening their market. Something pre-wired and plumbed with pre-packaged finish materials in bulk. SIPES is great for this as they can go together extremely fast in a factory setting. I am looking at the Therma Steel units as well because they are much lighter than standard SIP units.
    How many empty factories are in the midwest that has a workforce begging to get back to work These just need a cause and a push from the public. These units and tiny homes can be built and rail shipped on existing track to ship to Puerto Rico or the V.I. disasters as well as to ANY country we send housing aid to…Putting Americans to work in a field that can change and Vary forever…

    • James D. October 19, 2017, 9:46 pm

      Park Model RV’s specifically fall under travel trailer RV in how they are constructed and what building codes they follow, which is why they don’t exceed 400 sq ft as then they would fall under the HUD building code, like manufactured houses.

      So they are only intended for recreational usages…

      It’s the manufactured houses, which CAVCO does manufacture, that are intended for full time residential usage and depending on the region your in there’s a number of manufacturers across the country to choose from…

      A few HUD-code home manufacturers have experimented with SIPs, I don’t believe any yet offer it commercially but it’s a option moving forward.

      However, the main issue, though, is zoning and despite the improvements to the manufactured houses industry there’s still the stigma of mobile/trailer homes being low quality and only for the poor.

      A handful of states do allow placement of a HUD code compliant house on private property but most still restrict them to RV/Mobile parks with clear separation from other residential houses.

      There’s also modular houses, which are recognized as residential houses under state and county zoning and could be a viable alternative if local building codes allow for Tiny House sizes and like Manufactured and PreFab Houses they can be transported from where they are constructed to the final site, and can be designed to be able to moved again at a later date.

      While many Tiny Houses don’t fall under HUD Code compliance because that requires it be constructed in factory and then delivered/installed to a specified property. But most tiny homes aren’t built in a factory and many are DIY… So a new category has to be established for them…

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