My thoughts about the Tiny Home Jamboree 2017

My husband, two teen boys and I visited the Tiny Home and Simple Living Jamboree on October 27th.

I love a good trade show, and as it was billed a 'simple living expo' I was hopeful to find some inspiration and encouragement in a simpler lifestyle. I love looking at photos of tiny and small homes, skoolies, yurts, etc. And voluntary simplicity has been a passion of mine as long as I have been an adult.

I live in a 1200 square foot home built in the early '50s. My abode is about as frugal and simple as it gets. We paid $68,000 for it over 11 years ago, and have quite a bit of equity. I have a large backyard and my mom moved her camper back there where we installed hookups for her.

I'm not looking to move into a tiny home. My dream is to one day have a Spartan Royal Mansion (a vintage aluminum camper trailer) on lake property, but I do love my home and it is almost just the right size for my family of 6 - including two teen boys bigger than I am. (I could go a little smaller - maybe 1000 square ft.)

I am interested in building a tiny home in my yard for my kids as they get older. Westen will be 16 in January, and is beginning to want more of his own space. (My 4 kids share 2 bedrooms.)

So, there's my background and motivation for attending the expo; now I will tell you about my experience.

It ended up being a cold and overcast day. I wasn't quite prepared for the rapid temp decline, and I scrambled to find appropriate clothing to wear.

When we arrived at the convention center, you file into the exhibitor hall indoors. It was laid out kind of strange, with a couple of handmade vendors to the right, off by themselves, and then many booths for building materials companies. The average tiny home noob is probably not at the point where they know what to do with this information. Rain barrels, insulation, composting toilets, etc. All important things, but I wished there were author booths, books, more booths that fell under the category of simple living. One interesting exhibitor was Pleni-Sphere, which is an all weather yurt alternative. However, at $12,995, for the same price you can get a trailer or a shed type building. But for some people, it is an interesting option.

Then, we filed out to the Village, where many styles of buildings and buses were on display in the parking lot. One thing that struck me was how tall some of these structures were. They would be immediately disqualified for my purposes. What I need is something that looks like a shed from over the top of my fence. I'd love to have a yurt, because they feel so spacious and have the best natural light - but those are expressly prohibited by the city code and there's no way I can pretend it's a shed.

Each building had small lines waiting to go through, and entering them with several people at a time felt cramped. Sometimes people would just stop in the middle and start talking or plop down on the seating and hang out for a while. I tended to wait and only enter the empty ones, which meant I didn't walk through them all. It was surprising to me that the really cool looking ones just felt over built to me. They didn't always have the greatest interior flow. In fact, I was drawn to the basic, plain structures - the modular panel building, the recycled FEMA trailers, the cabin style shed. They seemed to hold so many possibilities.

The other side of the Village is where the buses were. I didn't walk through them all because it felt very invasive to enter someone's actual home. I did go through the Grey Wolf bus owned by the Denver family, and PeeWee the short bus owned by Masyn Moyer, which was my favorite of the expo.

It was so helpful to actually see these in person and get a feel for the dimensions. It showed me that I was right in my initial instincts for what we needed - something simple and much wider than the standard tiny home/RV width.


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