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Introducing the Build Small Live Large Summit!

Are you looking for the right fit for you in the world of small homes, but haven’t found it yet? This fall’s Build Small Live Large Summit is the “big tent” of small housing, where you can learn from experts on a wide range of options – not just tiny houses on wheels, but backyard apartments and micro-communities too. This event is for you if you want to learn about a variety of real houses and developments that are helping people live large in small homes – saving money, helping the environment, and living in communities they love.

The Build Small Live Large Summit is Friday, November 6th in Portland, Oregon. It’s for homeowners, home-seekers, and design and construction professionals who have work to share or want to understand the growing trend toward downsizing your square footage and upsizing your life. Tiny house pioneer Dee Williams from PAD Tiny Houses is one of the keynote speakers who will kick off the day with insights from her experience with tiny house living. She’ll be firing up the audience alongside sustainability expert Alan Durning, who advocates for backyard cottages (also called accessory dwellings, or ADU’s) as a way to create affordable housing in the city, like his home of Seattle.

Build Small Live Large Summit

Build Small Live Large Summit

Here’s a sampling of sessions that would interest the tiny house community:

  • “What Type of Small is For You?” Explains the spectrum of small housing options and their relative costs, complication levels, legality, and experiences. It will introduce some ideas most people haven’t considered, and help people understand what might be the best fit for them. This great discussion includes Dee Williams, Tiny House Hotel owners Kol Peterson and Deb Delman, who also live in a backyard cottage they built (and that Kol now teaches others how to build), and Eli Spevak from Orange Splot, who has created small and inventive cohousing developments and micro-communities like Ruth’s Garden Cottages.
  • “Introduction to ADU Development for Homeowners” Walks current homeowners through the process of creating a fully legal accessory dwelling on their property – in the backyard, or by converting space in the attic, basement or garage.
  • “The Affordable Tiny House Communities Incubator” Explains two successful tiny house communities for formerly homeless individuals.
  • “Courtyard Clusters: Living Small Nestled in Community” Explores more of Eli Spevak’s creative pocket communities and cottage clusters, including larger-scale work like the 16-unit Cully Grove community, where Eli also lives.
  • “The Space Efficient Housing Policy Roundtable” Shares how people are successfully navigating code and zoning rules to create small housing legally.

Here are some photos of the kind of work you can learn about at the Summit:

Dee Williams at Build Small Live Large Summit 2015

Dee Williams’ (from PAD Tiny Houses) tiny house on wheels, where she’s lived since 2004.

Tiny House Hotel at Build Small Live Large Summit 2015

The founders of the Tiny House Hotel will participate in multiple sessions. Image via: Caravan

Orange Splot at the Build Small Live Large Summit 2015

Ruth’s Garden Cottage, a legal micro-community by Orange Splot. Photo via Orange Splot.

Legal backyard cottages at the Build Small Live Large Summit 2015

Rainbow Valley Construction’s Krause Cottage, an 585 square foot legal ADU. Photo via Rainbow Valley.

Quixote Village at the Build Small Live Large Summit 2015

Quixote Village, a transitional housing tiny house community. Image via Quixote Village.

Learn What’s Working, What’s New and What’s Next in Small Housing!

One of the interesting things to me about the tiny house movement is that people are often first inspired by a particular story or image, but as they dig deeper and learn more about the options, they find that the right home for them is something they hadn’t even heard of yet. The Build Small Live Large Summit is so exciting to me because it’s pulling together the experts from all over the Northwest who are out there creating all the things most people haven’t heard of yet! This is the place to learn about creative building solutions that are really working, directly from the people who made them work.

If you know you want to build a tiny house on wheels and want technical information about how to do it, this isn’t the right place (though Dee Williams will lead a PAD Tiny House Workshop that weekend that can teach you all that). But if you’re one of the folks who wants to start some type of tiny house community or explore how your own backyard could become a community of friends, there is no better event for you!

Visit the Build Small Live Large Summit website to learn more about this unique event!

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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.

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