As someone jumping into a nontraditional living style, it’s essential to learn more about what I’m getting into outside of online articles. Luckily one of my friends found out about TinyFest that was in Colfax, Iowa the weekend of September 22nd to the 24th and passed the information onto me! After a little research, I found out there were tiny homes to tour and workshops/speakers to learn from. Within minutes, my parents and I bought our tickets and then drove the two and a half hours to the Jasper County Fairgrounds.
I can’t tell you how helpful it was going to this event pre build. It was amazing talking to other tiny home owners/advocates and getting design inspiration from finished homes. The workshops and speakers brought up really good ideas/concerns that I hadn’t thought of. So here’s what I learned after spending seven hours with tiny home enthusiasts.
Everyone wants you to succeed.
I had some really great conversations with people who brought their tiny homes for touring. Once you tell them you’re starting construction in less than two months, they are so excited to share resources and advice. I learned more about composting toilets from people who actually use them, cheap but quality finishes, and preparation techniques to get ready to move into a tiny house. It was really empowering and assuring that I was making the right decision for myself.
Legal Advice workshop is a must.
There were numerous workshops about the legal situation of going tiny, including a documentary viewing about changing the IRC (International Residential Code). Bob from Titan Tiny Homes gave really great information about approaching planning and zoning boards and how to start a tiny home community. I feel like I can answer questions about insurance, zoning concerns, and building code issues like a pro after going to two, one hour talks.
With the good comes the bad.
The most important thing I learned about was what NOT to do. A college brought three tiny homes they had built for class. I cannot describe to you the horrid building details they had used. You’ll see in these pictures the most extreme caulk joints I’ve ever seen in my life and offensive roofing details. To say it made me anxious was an understatement. But after sending these details to the NIACC Building Trades instructor Gregg, he assured me that we will do better and put together a quality control technique to make sure our students will outshine these other builders.
Overall it was a really great experience for my parents and I to actually stand in a tiny home and get a feel for the space. I highly recommend that if you’re thinking of “living little”, go to an event of this sort. It is a once in a lifetime learning opportunity that was well worth the $15 ticket and long drive.
Find out more about Tiny Fest, visit their web site here!!
Here are the personal pages of some of my favorite tiny homes I toured: