April 16, 2015
I had a fun day yesterday. Yesterday, I got to take my tiny house to school for show and tell. Showing off the tiny house to a bunch of grammar school kids was much more fun than I expected. They were so excited about the house and it’s always fun to share something you created yourself with people who are really excited about it.
My friend, Ian, came over in the morning at 9:15 AM to help me move the house over to the school with his Dodge Sprinter van. This went very well. The only minor hiccup we had was when we clipped a few branches of an overhanging tree as we pulled the house out of the RV parking lot and onto the street. I forget how tall my house is now. Luckily, no real damage was done to either the tree or the house and from then on we were attentive of the overhanging trees and did not hit any more of them, although this occasionally required driving in the middle of the street or even on the wrong side of the road.
We pulled into the school parking lot at 9:45 AM, about 15 minutes before I head of schedule. The classroom windows faced the parking lot and all the students came running to the windows as soon as we arrived and started pointing to the house, clearly excited. At 10:00 AM was recess for the entire school at which point all the kids got to come over and see the tiny house and walk around inside of it. This was perhaps the most fun part of the day for me because the kids were asking me all kinds of questions about the house and telling me how cool it was.
The actual class started at 10:30 AM after recess. First, the kids got to come inside the house and put sticky notes on anything they observed, like the fact that it had lots of windows, that it had light switches that worked, that it smelled like sawdust or that there was a hole in the floor for my shower. After that, we all went outside the house and I got to talk to the kids for a while about who I was, why I was building the house and when I plan to do with it. We also talked about reasons for building a house of any size which included protection from the elements, protection from animals and other people and the place where you could have your privacy. We talked about advantages and disadvantages of big houses over small houses and lots of stuff over a little bit of stuff. Finally we talked about the minimum number of things you needed to having a tiny house, what was absolutely necessary and what you could live without. My favorite suggestion from that conversation was that you could skip a shower if you had a toilet with a bidet. For the final half-hour of the class, the kids got to take sidewalk chalk and trace the outline of a tiny house in the parking lot so they could start laying out a floor plan.
In May, the kids are going to submit their final floorplans to the mayor of Hollister, CA who is currently in the process of building a tiny house community for the homeless people in his town. Those houses are going to be 8′ x 20′ and are not going to have a loft, so everything needs to fit in the first floor. I’m hoping that maybe I can take a day off to go with them down to Hollister, meet the mayor and talk to him about this tiny house community. I think using tiny houses to address the homelessness situation is a fabulous idea.
After the class, I spent a bit of time cleaning up and reading all the sticky notes the kids left in the house. My absolute favorite, and the one I kept, was the one I found above the entryway that said, “Enter the house of small.”