Ready to Make Your Tiny House Dream a Reality?

Join tiny house builder, consultant and construction expert Daniel Bell in a comprehensive hands-on workshop series that will guide you step-by-step through the process of building your very own tiny house. Over ten months, we’ll go from a blank page to a completed tiny home, covering everything from design secrets to tools and techniques of experienced contractors. The knowledge and skills gained in this workshop can save you thousands of dollars in contractor fees and let you confidently build your own tiny home.

This all-inclusive hands-on series is broken into 10 sequential workshops suitable for everyone from a complete novice to experienced builders. The workshop schedule is designed to allow each participant time to plan, organize and complete the monthly steps in a timely fashion on their own tiny home.

Our goal is that at the conclusion of the 10 workshops, you will have completed your own tiny home – and along the way, had fun, made friends, built community and developed a local support group of other tiny house enthusiasts!

This is a life changing opportunity and spaces are limited, so reserve your spot today!

WORKSHOP 1: The Elements of Design

The successful completion of a tiny home is largely dependent on the quality and accuracy of the initial planning and design. In this two-day intensive, Daniel will explain key tiny house design considerations and dispel some of the misleading and erroneous building information currently prevalent in the tiny house community.

We’ll use life-size models that can be arranged to conceptualize space utilization and demonstrate the space requirements dictated by codes and components. Then we’ll learn to use a free 3D modeling program called SketchUp that you can use to create your own tiny house design. On completion of this intensive, you should be able to accurately design your own dream tiny home, create plans you can build from, and develop a materials list and cost breakdown.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Design Do’s and Don’ts
    • Size Requirements:
    • Codes and Zoning:
    • Building Material Basics
    • Reading Plans
    • Appliance and Materials Pros and Cons
    • SketchUp Basics
    • Creating Material Lists
    • Estimating Building Costs

WORKSHOP 2: Foundations and Floor Framing

For a house to be durable, functional and hold its resale value, it has to sit on a solid foundation. Foundations also have to be designed and built to accommodate plumbing, insulation and solid attachment points for the rest of the structure.

This workshop covers all three common types of foundations used to build a tiny house, and how to ‘square’ each of them. We’ll start with traditional forms such as raised foundations and slab on grade foundations, then take an in-depth look at trailer foundations for tiny homes including customization of trailer designs to increase floor and loft space.

We will also explain the hidden design and construction flaws that cause long-term damage in many tiny homes through thermal bridging and moisture penetration (the source of black mold!), and the materials and techniques necessary to prevent that. Finally, we’ll practice ways to protect the underside of a tiny house from road conditions.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Raised foundations
    • Slab on grade foundations
    • Trailer Selection
    • Floor Framing
    • Floor Insulation
    • Electrolysis Prevention
    • Road Sealing
    • Sheeting

WORKSHOP 3: Wall and Roof Framing

Framing is, in many ways, the most critical process in building a house. It is the basis of your home’s structural integrity, and also impacts plumbing, electrical, doors and windows, built-in appliances, siding and interior finishes and cabinetry. In short, if the walls are improperly constructed, every subsequent building step will be significantly more difficult, costing time and money. An improperly framed tiny house on a trailer may even begin to ‘disassemble’ itself from road vibrations and stresses, generating leaks, excessive wear and component failure.

In this workshop, Daniel will cover critical framing design considerations and offer tricks of the trade from master builders. We’ll practice ways of making our walls more efficient with advanced techniques and explore different methods for roof framing. We’ll also cover the importance of shear paneling, and available hardware options for assembly and attachment to the trailer. By the end of the weekend, you’ll know how to frame accurately and quickly to create a weathertight shell, to keep your expensive building materials out of harm’s way from the elements.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Wall Framing
    • Hardware Selection
    • Roof Framing
    • Sheeting
    • Dry In

WORKSHOP 4: Doors and Windows

Doors and windows can be the most expensive components of a tiny home, but if improperly designed, chosen or installed, they can be a major source of problems and frustration, including water damage, thermal bridging, lower R values and difficult access. In fact, if they don’t provide proper emergency egress, they can even be a life safety hazard.

In this workshop we’ll look at the most common doors and windows available on the market, as well as sources and ‘watch outs’ for buying new and used doors and windows. We’ll also cover creating our own doors and windows for customization and budget builders, tool safety, and basic finish carpentry to trim out doors and windows.

By the end of this workshop, you will understand how to choose appropriate doors and windows and different materials and methods to install them correctly to avoid future problems. (Did you know that using the wrong type of foam insulation may actually cause your window frames to bow inward and break the glass?)

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Weather prepping
    • Door installation
    • Window installation
    • Common mistakes
    • Long term considerations
    • Tricks of the trade

WORKSHOP 5: Plumbing and Electrical Rough In

Plumbing and electrical are the most expensive building trades to hire in a tiny house construction project. But doing your own rough in can save as much as 75 – 80 percent of total costs on these systems. (It’s recommended that you hire a licensed plumber to confirm your design and pressure test your system once you’ve built it, and you’ll need a licensed electrician to check and certify the final electrical connections.)

In this technical workshop, we’ll cover plumbing and electrical system design, and the common materials available for building these systems. We’ll explain which materials and components are best for tiny house application and why, and practice assembling and installing these materials. (The installation of sinks and fixtures will take place in a future workshop.)

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • selecting from 5 common types of pipe
    • long-term considerations
    • black water vs gray water considerations
    • water storage
    • Code considerations
    • Best practices
    • Winter solutions
    • Electrical placement
    • Component selection

WORKSHOP 6: Insulation and Interior Finish

Insulation is one of the most important but least understood components of a tiny house. If done incorrectly, it can be one of the major problem areas and potentially a serious health hazard. Interior finish is the visual representation of all of your hard work, and defines the feel of your home. If the interior finish is not aesthetically pleasing as well as functional, your home may not feel like ‘home’.

This workshop covers types of insulation and installation techniques for each, and demystifies vapor barriers. It also addresses the causes of black mold, which is proliferating in the tiny house community, and actually forcing the rebuilding of many tiny homes. Because many of these materials can be toxic, we’ll also cover Personal Protective Equipment and essential tools.

There are many ways to finish a home and the sum of these choices will determine its feel inside. We’ll discuss practical options for interior paneling, including aesthetics, R value, fire resistance and durability in mobile situations. And we’ll cover functional, affordable choices for interior finishes, as well as tips and tricks for installing attractive, tightly-fitted moldings and trim.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Attaching house to trailer
    • Insulation pros and cons
    • Understanding Vapor barriers
    • Installation trick of the trade
    • Preventing expanding foam
    • Interior paneling
    • Wall coverings
    • Interior trim

WORKSHOP 7: Built in Cabinets and Shelving

Working with small spaces requires efficiency both in paring down possessions, and in finding places your remaining possessions fit and can be easily accessed. Standard cabinets such as those sold by big box chains generally cannot be fitted in tiny homes, and the truth is, you don’t want them anyway. Most are made of veneer-covered MDF or particle board, both of which are too heavy for mobile structures, and prone to off gassing formaldehyde.

In this workshop, we’ll look at many space-saving and multiple use ideas and then learn to build and install essential cabinet and shelving components with basic tools. By the end of the weekend, you’ll understand how to finish the interior of your home exactly the way you want it without having to pay expensive finish carpenters. You’ll also save weight, save money and keep toxics out of your living space.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Space saving furniture ideas
    • Material selection
    • Finish selection
    • Hardware selection
    • Tool selection
    • Tool safety

WORKSHOP 8: Showers and Flooring

Of all the components you’ll install in a tiny home, the shower is both the most complicated and most likely to affect long-term maintenance. Because a standard house shower won’t fit in a tiny home, and most RV showers are flimsy and made only for occasional use, the best avenue is to build your own. This offers delightful customization opportunities, but also requires you to know about moisture barriers, correct floor slope and proper venting.

In this workshop we’ll cover all the above, plus different options for finishing a bathroom, including tile work, and different methods for waterproofing a shower pan and controlling moisture to prevent mold and mildew. We’ll compare cost, durability and aesthetics of the three most common tiny home flooring options (laminate wood flooring, linoleum tiles and vinyl flooring) and demonstrate how to install them using common tools. (No, you don’t need to buy those expensive widgets the guys at the hardware store keep trying to sell you.)

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Material selection
    • Applications for mobile structures
    • Tools of the trade
    • Weight considerations
    • Moisture control

WORKSHOP 9: Plumbing and Electrical Finish

This is where it all comes together. By now you’ve invested serious time, money and energy into your tiny home, and this is where you make sure that investment is protected. That’s because this is where all your connections are. If a plumbing connection fails, that’s water damage. If an electrical connection fails, you may lose power, burn out an appliance or cause a fire.

There are also a number of critical questions that have to be answered here. We’ll talk through issues of current (AC or DC), voltage, appliances, connections to water sources, discharge of grey and black water, and whether or not to install on-board tanks. If going solar is your ultimate goal, you need to decide that before buying fixtures because that affects the choice of all fixtures and their supporting structures.

Over the weekend, we’ll look at different fixtures available and their compatibility with off grid systems. We’ll cover lighting, ceiling fans, sinks, toilets and composters, faucets and drains, as well as the unusual dimensions necessary to fit them in a tiny house and where to find those odd-sized fixtures. Finally, we’ll explain the different tools needed to install these fixtures and how to make sure your installations meet common codes for life safety.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Fixture selection
    • Tricks of the trade
    • Code compliance
    • Safety improvements

WORKSHOP 10: Solar and Off-Grid applications

If your goal is to truly unplug your tiny home and go off grid, you’ll need a number of systems that plugged in homes do without. These include electrical generation, freshwater storage and filtration, grey and black water disposal, and alternative heating.

In this final workshop, we’ll explore the pros, cons and design considerations of all those systems, and the most efficient ways to incorporate them into tiny houses. We’ll also demystify solar power, looking at initial costs, maintenance, return on investment, which types of panels are best for your application, and how to select charge controllers, batteries and inverters.

By the end of the weekend, you’ll know whether plugged or unplugged is right for you, and how to design, install and maintain the systems you choose.

  • Connector.

    What You'll Learn

    • Solar panel selection
    • Component requirements
    • Battery selection
    • Off grid versus supplemental systems
    • Water filtration and storage