Tumbleweed Houses: Tiny House Workshop Review


Who hasn’t heard of the Tumbleweed Houses or the tiny houses, right?

Jay Shafer has led the charge in the tiny house revolution and now he offers a Tumbleweed Workshop where eager participants can learn how to build their own tiny house!

When I heard Jay was leading a workshop in Austin, TX, I had to go.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but personally I found it immensely rewarding. Yes, we learned how to build a tiny house, but the workshop was so much more than that.

Tumbleweed Houses Workshop – Day One

We started the day by going around the room introducing ourselves and sharing why we were there. There were approximately one hundred students, along with Jay Shafer and his business partner Steve Weissmann. Most everyone was from Texas but there were people who traveled from North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, and Indiana.

Tumbleweed Workshop WorkbookWe received a workbook which I plan to hang onto because it has handy reference info such as Codes and Regulations, Common Building measurements (like how far your toilet has to be from a wall), Typical Appliance Size, as well as step by step tiny house building instructions including photos.

Jay shared the 14 Essential Tools necessary to build your tiny house.. as well as a couple more that you could use but weren’t absolutely necessary to purchase. Crazy to believe a whole house could be built with only fourteen tools, but true.

The first day was all about the nuts and bolts of building with Jay walking us through it step by step. He encouraged interaction so we were free to stop him at any time and ask questions.

Jay and Steve were accessible throughout the entire two days.

Tumbleweed Houses Workshop – Day Two

This was the day I was most looking forward to because house design is my passion.  I was not disappointed.

Jay Shafer covered Sacred Geometry along with the Seven Principles of Minimal Design.  The seven principles are Simplicity, Honesty, Proportion, Scale, Alignment, Hierarchy and Procession.  I’m not going to go into detail although I took tons of notes, but suffice it to say it was fascinating.  You’ll just have to go to one of the Tumbleweed workshops to get the entire scoop on that!  :)

Also, Jay had just completed a talk at SXSW (South by Southwest in Austin) and he had tons of photos he shared with us that he had presented there.

After lunch, we had the opportunity to design our own tiny house.  They had graph paper ready for us (along with rulers, pencils, etc.) that had the different size trailers we might consider.  In other words, we could design an eighteen foot long tiny house, or twenty, or whatever we wanted.

During this time, Jay sat at the front of the class and students could sit with him one on one to discuss their house design.  Meanwhile Steve led other students in taping off a real sized house on the floor, plus answering questions.

Tumbleweed Workshop Jay Shafer

Tumbleweed Workshop Jay Shafer with students

Sorry for the fuzzy picture!

Overall, an informative, enjoyable two days. I’m glad I went. I not only learned about building a tiny house, but networked with a lot of fun, interesting people. Plus, for me, the second day talk about design was worth the cost of the whole seminar.

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