Tumbleweed and Southern Adventist University - Partners in Education
Tumbleweed and Southern Adventist University are introducing the concept of tiny home construction to the next generation of American contractors. In the spring of 2013 students in SAU’s Construction Management program will be building Tumbleweed’s newest model.
As you can see from our early drawings of the new house on the left, The new Tumbleweed is going to include a full sized murphy bed with built in couch on the first floor.
Tumbleweed’s focus on education is longstanding. Through workshops, books, open houses, partnerships with high schools and community events we are trying to change the perception of what is possible. We are thrilled to be working with a community of future builders that have the ability to change the way America lives, literally, in the palms of their hands.
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with two of the Tumbleweed staff involved in developing the partnership with Southern Adventist. The first thing I wanted to know was why they felt it was necessary for the next generation contractors to understand the concept of tiny homes.
Pepper Clark, a Tumbleweed workshop presenter, was nothing less than enthusiastic in her response. “It's essential for the next generation of American contractors to understand the idea of tiny homes because they provide both the most logical response to our growing economic and logistical housing challenges. Future builders need to be aware of how many problems can be solved with a tiny house; providing means for multi generational families to live happily together, allowing people to work at careers they love instead of high paying jobs they hate, enabling folks to move their homes as needed to respond to changes in their lives, and giving young people a way to live independently with little overhead as they start out.”
Our head of business development and sales, also sees contractors as an integral component to solving America’s housing and financial crisis. “American contractors have the opportunity to help Americans with the financial headache of getting into home ownership. When contractors assist people in getting a better financial foundation under their feet, it will be assisting future generations. We want to refill the building pipeline in a healthy and sustainable way!”
When asked about Tumbleweed’s focus on education Pepper discussed the importance of homeowner awareness and creating a financially sustainable lifestyle. “If we can assist people in making the decision to live in a tiny way, to reduce financial stress and increase financial stability in the average home, we will have been successful. Many people are having a hard time making ends meet. It is a path to less stress and financial stability.”
Southern Adventist University is pioneering a new and more responsible approach to educating the next generation of American builders. Tumbleweed is looking forward to the day when the concepts involved in tiny space design and construction are standard components of all university level construction programs.
As of December, Pepper Clark of Bungalow to Go has accepted a full time job at Tumbleweed, and she’s now spending her days at the Sonoma office working hand in hand with the team to make fabulous things happen. Here’s what she has to say about this new development:
A month ago I would never have imagined I would step away from my own business to take a "regular job" again, but the three most important things to me about working independently are that I get to be exactly who I am (no pantyhose and high heels for me!), I get to make business decisions based not only on the bottom line but also on their emotional and environmental impact, and I get a lot of fulfillment out of the level of creativity and autonomy it gives me. The miraculous thing about working here is that I still get to cover all three of those bases while working cooperatively with a talented group of people who have similar perspectives and priorities.
After the two workshops I presented last year I kept in touch with the Tumbleweed folks. I know from everything we've shared that the highest calling for the whole team is to make the tiny house dream attainable for everyone who wants to grab it. To do that, a certain amount of sustainable growth is called for. When they felt ready to grow and hire some more people, I was flattered to find that I was at the top of their list of people to bring in full time. For now I'm providing building and design consultations and customer support while preparing for presenting workshops again in spring.
We're working together on revamping the workshop format to create the best possible experience based on years of feedback from our audiences. We're very excited about adding more opportunity for tiny house fans to connect socially with each other, and putting in some hands on elements for workshops coming up in 2013.
As for Bungalow to Go, we've decided the way to go forward is to combine forces with Tumbleweed. For now, my partner and the crew will continue to work the same way they always have, with my input gradually being replaced with their efforts. When Tumbleweed customers have a need for a customized or fully custom build in our region, Bungalow to Go will get that project.
Overall, I view the changes in Tumbleweed as nothing but positive. We’re growing so that we'll be able to do what we've been doing, but more so- helping people fulfill their tiny house dreams through education,inspiration, and simply amazing support and research. Over the past years with very little "manpower" we've been limited on what we could do to bring the wealth of our knowledge out to everyone, but that's going to change soon.
Welcome Pepper, and we look forward to working together to expand the horizon of possibilities for all the many people who want to think big and live tiny!
Recently, I got the chance to talk with Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life
website about his exciting plans for a modified Fencl. Ryan has been blogging
about sustainability for a long time, sharing
information on simple living, tiny houses, and environmentally responsible
lifestyles. And we think he's awesome.
Ready for some holiday building
Now, he's working on a tiny house of his own in Charlotte, North Carolina. He's starting to get well into the
building process, and has been begun blogging about his experiences.
He admits that finding
time is no easy task- in addition to working on his house managing the very informative blog, Ryan
works two other day jobs! He sets a pretty good example for all those professionals that
fear they'd never have the time to build a house, huh?
Ryan has worked out an ideal situation for himself through yet another job
of sorts- he house sits for friends, and they're letting him build the house on
their property- as long as he looks after the land and mows the lawn every so often, he can be there
for free. This is a great arrangement- if you have anyone in your life with a
large piece of property that likes to travel, I'd highly recommend working out
A solid start
Ryan will be checking in with us throughout the process, and will share informative photos and videos of his build on our blog. He's excited to have a winter break from his
day jobs coming up soon for a solid couple weeks of building!
In the meantime, check out Ryan's Tiny House Checklist for a great
introduction to everything that goes into tiny house building.