It’s not the size of the house that matters, it’s what … well, you can insert whatever clever innuendo you want. The National Tiny House Jamboree is this weekend, in Colorado Springs, CO, and it promises to not be tiny, not even in the smallest way.With interest in tiny houses constantly on the rise, this event has moved to the much larger (ironic, no?) venue of the US Air Force Academy Campus.
It’s an annual gathering where tiny home builders (the homes, not the builders), movement leaders and about 40,000 enthusiasts come to learn and celebrate the art of living small.
“This year is really exciting,” says Tiny House Jamboree Event Coordinator, Cole Whalen, “We’re twice as big as last year with about 50 tiny homes on display and a greater variety than ever before. We’ll have everything from an airstream to tailgate homes, Petite Chateaus which are sort of Alice In Wonderland-style homes, eco-cabins, a mini chapel, and even an ‘Ohm Hom,’ which is a legal backyard dwelling.”The general consensus among the community is that a “tiny house” is 500 square feet or less.
Living in small dwellings has always been a fringe thing, but the movement has progressed as the average size of a new single family home in the US has grown from 1,800 square feet in the 70s to nearly 2,700 square feet today.
Much of the movement is based on fiscal reasons, energy conservation, environmental responsibility and a general simplifying of living situation to allow the owner freedom from heavy rent or mortgages — a great lifestyle for a single person, skinny families or partners without flatulence.
What these houses lack in size, they often make up for in style and originality. Whether they’re in the mountains, by the coast, on a farm, floating, in a tree, or pulled around behind a car, they tend to be visually pleasing and cleverly designed.The Tiny House Jamboree brings out leaders of the movement, folks who have become icons in this community, as keynote speakers.
They’re folk like authorities on living small Macy Miller and Kent Griswold, tiny home traveler Guillame Dutilh, and authors Dee Williams and Terry K.
Williams is a pioneer of the movement from Portland, Oregon, having now lived in her 84-squre foot home on wheels for a decade. She is the author of “The Big Tiny” and runs Portland Alternative Dwellings, a tiny house education, resource and consulting company. Williams is attending the Jamboree to learn as much as she is to teach.
“For me, I’m just fascinated to see these dwellings and to learn why people are downsizing — what’s motivating them?” said Williams, as she was literally pulling into Colorado Springs with her own tiny house. “There’s all this stuff on TV about these houses. There’s a huge market push for builders selling parts and pieces for tiny homes. I want to ask what it’s bringing into peoples’ lives. And I think there are a lot of people of the same spirit. I think it brings a lot of whacky, fun, interesting and curious people together to hang out.”The Jamboree will also features tiny house models from professional contractors, demonstrations, workshops, music and information seminars. Plus there’s the general “jamboree” part of kids activities, films, food trucks, beer and wine.
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