Midwest Small House Event on 23 January 2016

23 January 2016
2-4 PM
Marion Public Library

Join us for the Small House Symposium on January 23, 2016 from 2PM to 4PM. Recently extended from the originally scheduled 2-3 PM time.

The event will take place at the Marion Public Library, Meeting Room A, 1095 Sixth Avenue, Marion, IA 52302 [Map]


Please note that the program schedule may expand to include other presenters or events as we get feedback from those who plan to attend. Please check this page for additional event news and updates.

If you’d like to have an information table, or offer a presentation, please contact us before January 15. Thanks!

You can RSVP on the Event Facebook Page.

You can learn more on the library event description page.

Event Report (24 Jan 2016)

There were 81 people in attendance yesterday at the Tiny House event in Marion, Iowa. Many thanks to all who attended, and to the Marion Public Library for hosting the event, and posting this great photo on their Facebook page.



Media Request: Courier-Post of South Jersey Seeks Small Housers

OrganizationCourier-Post of South Jersey

Type of media: Newspaper & Digital

Contact: Shannon Eblen


Deadline: 11 October 2015


Hi, I’m the features reporter for the Courier-Post, a South Jersey newspaper. I’m working on a story based around the growing popularity of tiny houses, “How to live small.” I want to talk to people who have moved into tiny houses about why they chose the lifestyle, and how they pared down their belongings and built their houses, as well as the architects or builders, preferably in the South Jersey area, who specialize in this style.


Higher Education Researcher Seeks Small Housers

Researcher Name: Beth N. Rossheim, Ph.D.


Phone Number: 757 229-1070

OrganizationThe College of William and Mary

DepartmentDepartment of Art and Architecture

Deadline: I would like to conduct these interviews between now and January 2016; sooner is better!


I am conducting architectural research at The College of William and Mary on the “tiny house” movement in North America, looking both for significant historical precedents and the philosophical motivation of users. This material will be the basis of an article and a university presentation. As well, I intend to design and build a model of a typical tiny house with the university architecture professor.

My request is for an opportunity to interview owners and/or occupants of tiny houses to expand my understanding of their desire and commitment to live small. The interview will be by telephone or e-mail, but will not be recorded or video taped. All names will be used or not used according to the wishes of the individual(s) involved. I would be very grateful for the opportunity to talk with you. This is planned as an open-ended interview with no intrusive questions.


Ideally, I would like to connect with individuals (single or couples or families) who have built and are occupying a tiny house. I do not need to limit this to individuals in my area although that would be ideal. I estimate the time of the interview at 15 minutes; more could be added if the individual(s) are eager to discuss their motivation for this lifestyle.

Thanks so much for your willingness to share this experience and your personal commitment to this dramatic housing movement.

Beth Rossheim


Casting Call: Planning to own a tiny home? We Want You!

Are you planning to buy a Tiny House? Have you always dreamed of living in a luxury home? Now you can have both! Don’t downgrade when you downsize!

HGTV in association with Bodega Pictures are now seeking families, couples and individuals who are looking to build or own a tiny home. Candidates will be introduced to a highly skilled, top-of-the-line tiny home manufacturing team to design and build a 100% customized house that boasts high-end amenities creature comforts and above average design and detail. This is your chance to live in a premium quality home tailored to your desires and your unique personality!

Having the home of your dreams doesn’t have to break the bank!

EMAIL: tinyluxury@bodegapictures.com

Important: To submit please email your name, location, your budget range, FULL contact information (phone and email) recent photos of yourselves and a brief bio describing why you are interested in owning a tiny home.

* Interested candidates must be located in the U.S. and plan to either build or buy a tiny house within the Fall of 2015 or by Early 2016.



Media Request: Boston University Thesis Project

Organization: Thesis Project at Boston University

Type of media: Film/Video

Contact: Emily Schulz

Email: eschulz@bu.edu

Phone: (540) 993-3538

Deadline: 22 September 2015



My name is Emily Schulz, I am a student at Boston University, getting my Master’s in Film. I currently live in Los Angeles until December. My thesis project is a script for a documentary I am working on. The documentary is about the tiny house movement, specifically the tiny house community.

I am looking for a few friends to help answer some questions for me, in hopes to use your statements in my project. I would be asking questions about your involvement in the community, your backgrounds in how you got involved, and relationships you have made through the tiny house lifestyle. I am preferably looking for people who have either already built their house, or are currently living in it. That being said, the more people I could speak to the better.

If you are interested, or you know someone who would be interested in helping me out, please contact me! You can reach me though email or through phone number. I would love to hear from any and all of you!

Best Wishes Wherever You Are.


Note: We’ve had some people posting comments here on this page in response to the above. Instead, please contact the person directly as indicated above. Thanks!

Media Request: Public Radio Seeks Small Housers


Type of media: Public Radio

Contact: Sasa Woodruff

Email: SasaWoodruff@kcrw.org

Deadline: 30 September 2015


I’m a freelance journalist working for a public radio station. I’m currently in Bratislava, Slovakia and would do interview via Skype. I’m working on a story about an off-the-grid ecopod and would like to talk to an expert in the movement who could discuss how this one compares to other ones on the market. The interview should take 15-30 minutes. Please email me so we can arrange an interview. Thank you!



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.

Photos from The Big Tiny House Event at Luther College in Decorah Iowa

Below are photos from The Big Tiny House Event at Luther College in Decorah Iowa that took place on 25 April 2015. Additional photos are also included from the beautiful facility at Luther where the event was hosted. Click here for the re-recorded presentation by Greg Johnson.

T.D. Jakes: “Your big house is not going to make you happy… Peace and joy is in your heart and not in your stuff.”

A few days ago, the video below was posted to YouTube featuring Bishop T.D. Jakes as a guest on the Steve Harvey Show.

In the segment about finding happiness, Jakes states, “Your big house is not going to make you happy… Peace and joy is in your heart and not in your stuff.”

The conversation seemed to be related to simpler and smaller living, so we posted it to our Facebook page.

In just a few hours, it had already turned out to be one of the most popular posts to our page in recent months.

At the time of this writing, just a few hours after posting the video, over 3,000 people have viewed the post and there are over 30 likes.


Despite the apparent interest in the video (it has about 5 million total views in three days), three people were apparently offended by it, primarily due to criticisms about T.D. Jakes.

Comments included, “Doesn’t this guy live in a mansion worth nearly $7 million?” and “The hypocrisy is staggering, and this is pretty inappropriate for the list.” One person commented, “This from someone who’s parishioners have paid for his biggest house(s).”

Someone responded to these criticisms saying, “but he is saying a big house doesn’t make you happy and he should know!”


A simple Google search on T.D. Jakes and the word scandal produces over 180,000 results. That’s probably typical for any powerful high profile person today. Depending on your viewpoint, Jakes is either a villain or hero. If you’re among his 4 million Facebook fans, you probably think he’s a hero.

Focus on Promoting Smaller Living

There are people helping promote the message of simpler smaller living who may have views and motives contrary to ours. Some may be builders, bloggers, authors, and others in the movement for purely opportunistic reasons. Others may be public figures promoting a message of simpler smaller living. (We know little about T.D. Jakes’ personal life or where he stands on various issues.)

One approach would be to censor, silence, criticize, marginalize, and discredit anyone we don’t agree with, or those we feel aren’t ‘true followers’ of the movement.

However, the approach we take is this: If a builder, blogger, author, or public figure is promoting a message about smaller and simpler living, we’re going to consider them as valuable to our cause.

There are people who seem to be taking advantage of the movement by launching websites filled with advertising. Their primary goal appears to be making money on advertising, and they don’t seem to care about the movement. Others care deeply about the movement and are selflessly giving of their time and resources.

While at some level we care about people’s motives, ultimately if their activities are promoting our message, we’re not here to judge people, but to spread a message.

T.D. Jakes Impact

Years ago, when the Oprah Winfrey Show contacted us about a small house episode, we didn’t refuse to work with their team because Oprah lives in a big house. We didn’t start judging Oprah’s lifestyle choices. When prominent public figures with millions of followers show an interest in the smaller and simpler message, we support them.

T.D. Jakes has a significant following and impact through social media. So, regardless of whether someone is a supporter or critic of him, his message about simpler smaller living, is a message that is important.

Here’s a brief summary about T.D. Jakes social media reach:

So, if T.D. Jakes wants to talk about simpler and smaller living, that’s fine with us.

The Message and The Messenger

Maybe you’re someone who feels that you’re more perfect than the next person. Here’s something to consider…

There are plenty of broken and imperfect people in the world. Despite their failings or even apparent hypocrisy, these people accomplish much good in the world.

Sometimes an inspired and valuable message will come through an imperfect messenger.


In varying degrees we’re all imperfect and each have our shortcomings. We’re all doing the best we can to have a positive impact on the world. Let’s do our best to work together cooperatively and respectfully.