Dee Williams' recently published book, The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir, is a fantastic read and a must-have for any tiny house library. I say so right on the back cover with my glowing endorsement that, essentially, says, "This book's fantastic!". Last year, when I received my review copy of the book from Blue Rider Press, my heart leaped as I read the chapter called "The Tiny House Man"... It's about me!
I've never felt more flattered. I love Dee.
The following picture was taken of the two of us when she read from The Big Tiny in San Rafael last Summer. We're good friends, and I didn't want to distract her from her presentation, so I went incognito. My plan was to ask her a bunch of annoying questions without being identified. I guess the costume didn't work very well, because the moment I walked through the door, she waved excitedly and smiled as if she hadn't even noticed my brilliant disguise. A lot of other people just stared at me as if I were some kind of long-haired weirdo. Can you imagine?
I asked my annoying questions anyway, and, as always, Dee didn't show the slightest hint of irritation with me. She's very patient. It seems that all my friends almost have to be.
An excerpt from The Big Tiny can be read for free at the PAD website. You can order Dee's awesome book here.
Jay Austin of Boneyard Studios is featured in this fantastic short film about the legality of tiny houses. The film focuses on zoning code in the DC area, but tiny house dwellers everywhere are faced with the same challenges.
From the film description: "...Austin and his tiny house-dwelling neighbors at Boneyard Studios don't actually live in their own homes much of the time. To skirt some of the zoning regulations, they've added wheels to their homes, which reclassifies them as trailers – and subjects them to regulation by the Department of Motor Vehicles. But current law still requires them to either move their homes from time to time, or keep permanent residences elsewhere."
Read the full article from Reason here and tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
(Film produced, shot, written, narrated, and edited by Todd Krainin. Music by Associated Production Music and Lee Rosevere.)
This week B.A. Norrgard is busy building houses. As some of you may already know from her recent update, she's participating in the Habitat for Humanity Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Dallas as they help build homes, communities and hope. More than 5,000 volunteers will build or repair more than 100 homes in one week!
B.A.'s joy from this project is infectious and inspiring. You can follow her progress and marvel at her wonderful and generous spirit on her twitter and facebook accounts. Below are just a few of the precious moments from her adventure.
It’s hard to put into words how my life has changed in the last 6 weeks. Perhaps “whiplash” would be the appropriate term – can you imagine a bigger culture and landscape swing than the one from Dallas, Texas to Sonoma County, California?? Or the difference between the days in a downtown high rise law firm to days filled with tiny houses? My head is spinning!
I left Dallas with my tiny house in tow on August 10th. Accompanying me to help me drive and provide moral support, were my friends Nina Zamudio and Jerry Chandler. Many of you wrote to tell us that you were following our trip via #tinyhousetrip on Twitter (thank you Nina) and we so loved reading all your messages (and actually meeting some of you!) as we made our way across the country! We all agreed that it was an epic week that changed us forever – the house tours, and the goodwill of the American public and the enthusiasm for tiny houses were all just overwhelming in a really spectacular way. Thank you
We arrived at our destination in Sonoma County on August 15th. After some initial settling in, I have been on the job with Four Lights about six weeks. The time has been a blur – so much to learn, so much to do, and so many amazing projects on the horizon! I am so humbled and so blessed to be a part of the tiny house movement and to be working alongside Jay and his amazing staff. If, when I enrolled in my career transition workshop in February of 2012, anyone had told me that I would be in California living my dream in the summer of 2014, I would have believed it, but I wouldn’t have really grasped how that was going to materialize. I’m still in a fair amount of disbelief that I am actually here...
So many of you first validated me on my dream of transitioning my life, and then supported me through my build, and then followed my trip across the country – I cannot express my gratitude. And with that I offer this:
if I can overhaul my life, so can you. If I can chase my dream and make it a reality, anyone can! Yes, making a big life change is scary. But do you know what’s worse? Regret. Get out there and live your dream! It’s never too late!
On Saturday of this week, Jay is giving a one-day workshop that opens with our two tiny houses being open for tour. (I do love a good open house!) About mid-day I will drive to San Francisco and catch a flight back to Dallas. I am proud and honored to have the opportunity to travel and be a part of the Jimmy & Rosalyn Carter Work Project 2014! “For the 31st year, the Carters join Habitat for Humanity to help build homes, communities and hope, as more than 4,000 volunteers will build or repair more than 100 homes.”
Habitat for Humanity has been an organization dear to my heart for many years. I volunteered through the Dallas Bar Association for 11 years. I learned so many skills, and I made lifelong friends. I am just thrilled that Four Lights is supportive of me taking more than a week off and traveling out of state after being on the job for such a short time. How fortunate am I?
So, I will be taking a break from my desk at Four Lights next week. It’s hard to leave when so many exciting things are happening here – not the least of which is our tiny house community!! Yeah! That is going to be launched very soon – check for updates on our Facebook page and our website – its time has come, and it’s over the top exciting!
B.A. Norrgard takes us on a walk through her beautiful Gifford. B.A. recently moved her home from Dallas, Texas to Sebastopol, California to join the Four Lights Team as Tiny House Luminary (or COO in the "real" world). Her house is now parked in Jay Shafer's yard where she gave this recent tour.
B.A.'s house is Four Lights Tiny House Company's Furnished Gifford designed by Jay Shafer. She built the house herself, with framing help from M.A.G.I.C Camp (Mentoring A Girl In Construction)—a free, one-week, day camp designed to introduce high school girls to exciting careers in construction—and the helping hands of friends in the Dallas area.
I particularly love that stained glass window and matching lantern detail. Do you have a favorite part of B.A.'s Gifford? Share in the comments below.
B.A. Norrgard is hitching her Gifford to a star and joining us here at Four Lights Tiny House Company!
We’re absolutely thrilled to announce that the trailblazing tiny house maven, B. A. Norrgard of A Bed Over My Head, will be joining the Four Lights Tiny House Co. team in California as COO.
B.A. attended a Four Lights workshop in February of 2013 where she helped the Light family build their tiny house. After the workshop, she purchased the Gifford house plans and spent the next 5 months building her own tiny home. As she shared her progress on her blog, she worked towards completing her new hyper-efficient, mobile residence, while creating a new life for herself centered around the tiny house movement that she drew inspiration from. Leaving behind a long and successful career as a litigation paralegal, she turned her career focus to tiny houses and helping others achieve simplified, more fulfilling lives.
I’m transitioning from a traditional, mainstream life to a new tiny life. I crave something new; a new path that combines my passions with a new career and my favorite blue jeans. I’m rebuilding my life—not from a fail, but with a new focus: What will make me happy in the second half of my life? What made me happy as a child, and why did I stop doing those things? – B.A. Norrgard
Sounds like she’ll fit right in, doesn’t it? In the words of Jay Shafer, B.A. is an “amazingly resourceful, ethical, aesthetical and empathic tiny house Superhero.”
As Four Lights rolls out manufacturing for our houses – including the new U-House – and prepares to break ground on our tiny house village in the not-so-distant future, we warmly welcome the tremendous knowledge and skill that B.A. brings to our little company.
B.A. will be moving her tiny house from Dallas, Texas to Sebastopol, California this week. She’ll be making several stops along the way, so If you want a chance to meet her and tour her tiny house, leave a comment below. Use #tinyhousetrip on twitter or facebook to follow her progress and join the conversation!
B.A.'s Road Trip Route
If you live in or near the following cities and would like to meet up with B.A., tour her tiny house, or just offer your driveway for her to park her caravan overnight, let us know in the comments below!
Here are 4 small spaces that caught my attention this week. Each one is a little different yet, all of them have one thing in common: a lot of charm and character in a tiny package.
If you want to get your kids used to the idea of living in a tiny house (which, based on the emails we get from our customers, a lot of you do), you might as well start them off with a tree house this cool. Read about it here.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg? I'm voting for the egg, but only if it's the Exbury Egg.
Here's an interesting tiny house on wheels designed by Andrew Campbell
We've seen pre-fab, but how about e-fab? Check out this interesting project here.
Not too far from Four Lights HQ is this fun little house, situated on a farm in Yolo County, designed by Butler Armsden Architects. Based on two of common features of modern farmhouses: a tower and a shed, this splendid little gem is a tiny house lover's dream. These are no ordinary tower and shed! The tower has a bedroom at the base of it that looks so comfy and has an observation area at the top. The shed is modern and fun, with a sleeping loft. Even a city boy like me could definitely fall in love with this great space. via Small House Bliss
Jay was recently interviewed for NBC's Art of the Startup. Check it out below for a fun update:
Jay Shafer and Co. recently put the finishing touches on a custom Weller on wheels and the completed home is nothing short of magnificent. From the honeyed cedar craftsman style details to the signature red metal roof, Jay's house designs are warmly inviting and beautiful to behold.
A Kitchen nook with a pop-up table
The floor plan of this custom Weller has the kitchenette in the front bump-out, taking full advantage of the windows for kitchen work and dining. The compact kitchen has a wall-mounted folding table, providing space for meals and then easily folding against the wall to open up the kitchen. There's ample storage in the cupboards, closets, and storage loft above.
The Shafer Shelf
Speaking of storage space, the fabulous "Shafer Shelf" seen below adds storage space and structural integrity, eliminating the need for collar beams and opening up the cathedral ceilings. This design feature is unique to Jay Shafer's Four Lights House plans. It adds tremendously to the design, while shaving off excess weight from the house load.
Full bath, in the space of a half
The washroom is equipped with a metal basin tub that doubles as a sink. Who says you can't take baths in a tiny house?
The Great Room is wide enough for a downstairs bed and has tons of storage space.
Bookshelf step ladder
The loft is accessed by a bookshelf step ladder that's easy to climb, adding both safety and attractive storage for all those books you thought you didn't have space for in your tiny house.
Even the attractive visible purlins and craftsman style porch details are meticulously crafted and sanded smooth for a stunning effect.
Read more about the Weller here.