What is How to Build Tiny?
After nearly a decade, with more than 3 dozen tiny house builds under his belt, How to Build Tiny founder, Keith Schneider, decided to take his knowledge, skills, and passion to the masses. Through his tiny house business, Bohemian Cottages in Eugene Oregon, he built dozens of tiny houses for satisfied and enthusiastic customers.
Year after year, Bohemian Cottages was booked solid a year or more in advance, working at capacity to build a few tiny homes per year. Business was booming, but Keith realized over time that something was missing from the tiny house movement. In his encounters with tiny house enthusiasts, he found a slew of DIY builders clamoring for high-quality information and skills. Yet, there was little to be found. Sure, there are blogs, and some DIY info-sharing and cute 23 minute TV shows. But there isn’t a place to go to learn the ins and outs – the nuts and bolts – the complete package of how to build a tiny house from the ground up.
As a result, more than a few tiny house build projects go longer than planned, over budget, and under the quality the DIY builders had envisioned. As is his habit, Keith looked for a way to solve that problem. Why not provide the highest quality education, resources, community and training to tiny house DIYers?
Who Are We?
We are a small group of expert professional tiny house & micro housing builders who have spent the last 8 years in the trenches of the tiny house movement. We have designed and built 3 dozen tiny houses – both mobile and stationary built - from the ground up.
We've learned from trial and error, and by creating and improving upon successful designs. We've listened to client input. We have obsessively created elegant solutions to the difficult problems inherent in, and unique to, tiny house building.
We deeply understand that tiny houses require a three-dimensional approach to space usage – as opposed to a traditional house relies on generous square footage. We have dealt with every technical, structural, logistical, financial and bureaucratic barrier imaginable. With How to Build Tiny, we're developing easily accessible, convenient courses and programs to share the hard-earned lessons we've acquired from nearly a decade of tiny house building, preceded by many years of conventional home building.
What are We Developing?
How to Build Tiny will offer an intensive curriculum that can help savvy, resourceful people with the desire to build tiny, successfully do it themselves – and do it right the first time.
How to Build Tiny will offer:
- Ten Online Courses including:
1. Logistics & Planning – Where to build. Choosing a permanent site or trailer. Selecting, customizing & designing floor plans. Dealing with location barriers. Creating a realistic timeline and budget. Becoming a humble student of tiny house building.
2. Working within the Rules (and Using Them to Your Advantage) – Building code as it applies to tiny houses, and how to deal with the red tape associated with building tiny. Submitting plans that will get approved. Successfully communicating with inspectors and zoning officials. How and when to build without permits legally.
3. Constructing the Structure – What materials to buy, and where and how to buy the highest quality materials at the lowest price. Site prep on a variety of static foundation systems. Properly selecting a mobile trailer. Framing with wood and/or metal. In-depth building skills. Framing and structural nitty-gritty. What tools to buy and what to rent or borrow. Choosing and installing windows, doors, siding, and roofing. insulating to the appropriate R-value. Proper installation of moisture barriers and enclosed cavity ventilation. Roofing, siding and interior sheathing options and installation. Construction best practices. Creating a structure that will last a lifetime. Engineering a mobile tiny house with a low center of gravity and proper weight distribution.
4. Tiny House Electrical – How to completely, safely and properly wire your own tiny home. From 220 volt heavy service down to low voltage wiring and everything in-between. Sizing the electrical service properly. A simple and useful explanation of amps, watts, resistance and current. Lighting the interior and exterior efficiently. Commonly overlooked but important electrical components and considerations. Smart home automation systems. integrated audio and video systems.
5. Tiny House HVAC – How to install a variety of heating and cooling systems for your tiny home. Sizing your HVAC system properly, Choosing the best system for your unique climate and needs. High-efficiency systems. Understanding the language of the HVAC world.
6. Tiny House Plumbing – How to properly plumb your house, from the interior to connecting to outside service. Top to bottom plumbing and venting. Installing laundry systems and on-board water storage. How to elegantly break the rules of plumbing when necessary. Connecting to a larger house, septic systems, and street service. How to make wastewater flow uphill.
7. Tiny House Space Saving Cabinetry, Staircases & Design – How to make the most of your entire space. Cabinetry construction, secret hiding places, building strong but lightweight cabinets and storage. Sneaky tricks and solid construction of cabinets and staircases. Building lightweight but strong and durable cabinets and built-ins. High-end cabinetry on a tiny budget.
8. Taking Your Tiny House Off the Grid – Want to be sustainable and self-sufficient? Here’s how to make that happen. Sizing and installing photovoltaic, inverter, passive solar and battery systems. Water collection and wastewater off the grid. Composting and incinerating toilets installation and benefits. All of these themes will apply to grid-tied and off-grid systems.
9. Design Your Tiny House – How to use industry standard and free 3D drawing tools. Selecting windows and doors that will perform well in a tiny house. Engineering a solid but light and weight balanced structure. How to think in volume instead of area. How to take the best ideas from others and make them even better in your unique tiny house. Affordably implementing green building practices. Upcycling, recycling, and low VOC materials.
10. Financing and the Bigger Picture - How to pay for your tiny house – and make it pay off; Tiny house revenue opportunities. Avoiding costly mistakes. Long-term income generation and low-cost maintenance. Building high quality on a shoestring budget. When used or reclaimed materials can be the best or worst decision. Working with developers, land use & zoning officials to legally build one or many tiny homes for yourself or as income properties.
Live 2-day Intensive Events: Would you like to immerse yourself in tiny house fanaticism for 48 hours? Yes? Then come to one of our two-day events at a major US city. Meet Keith and learn tons while you laugh at him (he is the butt of most of his jokes). Meet like-minded big-brained tiny builders. Leave with your head stuffed with powerful knowledge...then go home and get your build on.
3-D Blueprints of the Absolute Best Tiny House Designs We've Built and Seen: Blueprints are created in Google Sketch-up, an open-source format that is an industry standard free download which gives one the ability of infinitely customizable tiny homes. Every single layer of the tiny homes will be included; Foundation or trailer, subfloor, wall framing, roof framing, metal ties, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, exterior siding, interior sheathing, windows & doors, insulation. Each layer can be seen individually or made invisible to expose every other layer.
Monthly Webinars, covering a variety of introductory tiny house topics.
How to Build Tiny 90-Day Success Program: Includes access to all ten online courses for 90-days, as well as a two-day in-person event. Day one will cover the basics of tiny house building – and day two will cover detailed skill building workshops. A wonderful benefit of the live events is meeting and creating your local team of like-minded tiny house builders with whom you can rely on for support and help for your project. This program includes an exhaustive manual, 3-D blueprints, step-by-step guidance covering every aspect of planning, design, location prep, materials & tools, avoiding common mistakes and building the tiny house successfully.
Where Did this Project Come From?
We have taught hour-long seminars to thousands of attendees. We've heard their questions, seen their challenges, and felt the pain of their struggles. We heard their requests for better, trustworthy and reliable tiny house building information and support. We've seen the loudest voices on the internet dispensing the least accurate information. We've seen people pay thousands of dollars to attend seminars taught by someone who has only built one tiny house, who can't answer all their questions, and leave them feeling lost and wanting more.
Many DIY tiny builders have a difficult time determining what information is reliable and useful, and what is not. Many DIY builders make avoidable but costly mistakes on small details and large design decisions. Many tiny house builders give up before their project is complete - and we believe this is an avoidable tragedy. Many people can successfully build, but have a difficult time dealing with government bureaucracies, inspectors, and subcontractors. We see a great need for a single source of trusted information on how to build a tiny space properly that will last generations. At How to Built Tiny we wish to empower the DIY community with every scrap of knowledge we have learned. It's our time to give back.
What’s Our Plan and Schedule?
This summer, we plan to fulfill the majority of the rewards we’ve promised you, our lovely Kickstarter contributors.
In September, we plan to launch the webinar series, the How to Build Tiny Online Courses and hold our first in-person event.
What’s Our Budget?
We are trying to raise $40,000 with this campaign.
The funds will go toward:
- Course Production $20,000
- Marketing $5,000
- Online Course Hosting $2,500
- Webinar Hosting $2,500
- Publishing $5,000
- 3-D Floor Plans Development $5,000
Why Do We Care? Why Should You?
We believe that tiny houses have already proven to be a powerful tool in solving the housing crisis here in the United States. We see the value of tiny houses as an affordable way to build a home in an increasingly unaffordable housing market. Not everyone needs a big house, and many people prefer to keep their home small so they can spend their resources on other things they value - beyond housing. Tiny homes can also house people who have difficulty finding homes in competitive rental markets. College is more affordable to students who have inexpensive housing options. Homeowners who build tiny houses in their back yard have an excellent source of reliable income for decades. Groupings of tiny homes can populate small city lots where, previously, only one home was built. Infill is an effective sustainable urban development strategy. In all, tiny houses are a way for more people to experience the pride of ownership and investment in place that owners get - and to enjoy the freedom that comes from owning one's own home.