Small House Society – Great Lakes Region – 2015 Summit


UPDATE @9PM on 24 May 2015

We didn’t get sufficient response to hold this event. We’ll plan something else in the midwest region soon. Thanks!


The Small House Society is hosting another pop-up conference! This time we’re meeting in Munising, Michigan. Learn more below, and attend if you’re able.

Why a Pop-Up Conference?

We’ve chosen to have spontaneous pop-up conferences because organizing and hosting larger events is very costly. Promotion costs are high, and securing a location for many people is expensive. Because of their spontaneity and short notice, pop-up conferences generally have fewer people attending. Small conferences can be more personable, and can be offered at a lower cost. We also want to encourage people meeting in their own regions rather than traveling a long distance to an event. This helps promote local connections, collaborations, and projects.

Event Location

Our meeting venue overlooks Murray Bay and the Grand Island Lake Superior (shown below). This is the view from the patio just outside the hotel.

Murray Bay — Munising, Michigan

Event Details

  • Date: Monday, 25 May 2015
  • Time: 9AM-3PM
  • Location: Holiday Inn Express, Munising, Michigan [map]
  • Registration Payment: Suggested event registration is $30. This nominal fee is simply to help defray some of the cost associated with hosting the event. It also helps to ensure that those who indicate a desire to attend are serious about it and likely to attend. Payment can be made as described on our donations page.
  • Lodging: Each attendee is responsible for their own lodging accommodations. At present, the Holiday Inn has no vacancies.
  • Format and Content: Because this is a pop-up conference, the format and content will be determined by feedback we receive from those who register. See the registration form and survey below. The location may change depending on how many people register to attend.

Format Options

Depending on the preference and interest of those attending, the event will take the form of:

  • Clinic – Personalized consultations with individuals on the topics of interest to them.
  • Conference – Presentations on various topics.
  • Expo – Product demonstrations and tables.
  • Meet-up – Networking with peers.
  • Seminar – Classroom format with educational approach.
  • Summit – Policy and strategy sessions and discussion.
  • Symposium – Panel discussions on topics.
  • Workshop – Small group discussions and engaging projects.

Content Options

The small house movement has grown and beyond the obvious how-to-build topics, there are many other aspects that go into  living small and promoting the movement. Here are some possible topics that you can select from in the registration survey below:

  • Design & Construction. Presentations or discussion centered around the design and construction of a tiny house, including materials, insulation, heating, water, electric, lighting, and other topics.
  • Small Living Experience. Presentations or discussion centered around the experience of living small. Greg Johnson is available to share from his 6+ years living in a 10×7 off-the-grid tiny home in Iowa City.
  • Location & Zoning. There’s more to living small than just building a small house. The legalities of small living bring up many questions. Where can small homes be placed? What are the requirements for size, location, materials, occupancy, safety and other concerns? How are services like water, electric, and waste management addressed?
  • Monetizing. Many people who live in small houses have found ways to generate revenue from the experience through things like book sales, product sales, videos, or an online blog. Once a person has built a tiny home they become a local resource, and may be able to help others with the design and building of a tiny home. There are a variety of ways to let small living work for you.

Schedule and Program

The following schedule, format, and content is subject to change based on feedback from those who register. The revised schedule will be posted here by the end of the day on Sunday 24 May 2015.

  • 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM <> Registration and Check-in
  • 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM <> Presentation by Greg Johnson, Summit Agenda and Goals, “Energizing the Small House Movement”
  • 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM <> Break-out sessions / Small Groups
  • 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM <> Presentation by Greg Johnson followed by Q&A: “What I learned from living off-the-grid in 140 square feet for 6 years”
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM <> Expo and professional networking. Vendors, authors, designers, builders, and others meeting and networking.
  • 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM <> Lunch (not provided, but attendees are encouraged to continue the morning’s discussions over lunch)
  • 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM <> Small house design and construction.
  • 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM <> Small house location and zoning.

Note: Because this conference is designed to change and adapt to attendee needs and interests, the schedule and locations may change. If you’re planning to attend, you must register so we can keep you informed regarding times and locations.

After Conference

For those in the area, we’re planning a possible follow-up on Wednesday evening, 27 May 2015. Contact us for details using the registration form below and indicate your interest in the Wednesday evening event.


Please complete the registration form below if you plan to attend. The content and format of the event will be democratically determined by those who register. The final program will be posted above on this page by Sunday evening.