joshua tree workshop 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

HOW TO floor your DIY Tiny House with FREE Paper Bags!

     Its far simpler, and far more durable than you'd think!
While filming an tour with Gypsy Wagon Builder Terry Stringham at the 2017 Tiny House Festival near St. Augustine Florida, the subject of Paper Bag Flooring (and how to do it) came up.

Terry, who had used that very approach for the flooring of his ultra-light tiny house, then went on to explain all the steps and materials involved- which, again, are surprisingly SIMPLE!

The video explains all:

The materials you'll need: 
-An abundance of paper bags (easy to find)- newspapers and maps work too (we talk about it in the clip)

-Minwax water-based poly-sealant (gloss or satin- your choice)- Here is the link to grab some....

-A brush

-A spray bottle 

And this can all be made with old paper bags which might otherwise be trash to most!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


On some recent travels through Piedmont, MO, where I purchased some land to start a mini build (and where we'll EVENTUALLY have an off-grid tiny house workshop), I came across this abandoned movie theater, which had JUST closed. When I bought the land only a year prior, the movie theater was still up and running, so it was sad to arrive and discover that it had, well, "given up".

But- think about it, this abandoned lot would make a GREAT "Tiny House Village" for a variety of reasons.... 

-The space is available and in a more affordable area of the country (that is all relative, of course)

-Its already graded and traversable- you don't have to do much, or any, road or parking lot work, which can be exorbitantly expensive.

-You have the added attraction of STILL being able to screen films community style, or still run the theater as a business perhaps on select days.

-Easy access- the land is right off a fairly major paved road which leads right to the many amenities downtown.

-There is already a large central septic system that presumably could/can handle large crowds

-It resides in a town that could use the help, tax dollars, shop patrons, and PR boost.

Piedmont is known as a bit of an economically "tough" town, as many towns in the rural midwest are, but I found it to be very picturesque, the people were very friendly, and it had a few really decent restaurants and shops. I would go back to visit, and will. The lumber yard there was actually fantastic- another huge "plus", and a business that such a community would certainly give LOTS of new business to.

So, just an idea, and just a post in hopes that someone MIGHT see an idea like this and run with it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

VT Seeking Builders/Dwellers for Temporary Tiny House Village

Each year in April, Burlington, VT has its "Vermont Home and Garden Show" at the "Champlain Valley Expo Center", and this year (April 21st and 22nd, 2018) it'll be no different.

This time around however, the show is looking for MORE tiny houses to put on display as a sort of "Tiny House Village" for onlookers and those curious about the movement.

If you'd like to be part of it (there is no fee, and you'll be fed AND allowed to stay in your home inside the indoor expo center as well (while promoting your home/business perhaps)- check out this video below....

Those interested can email Maureen at:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Not JUST Tiny Houses at Florida Fest....

Check out this crazy human-powered hamster-wheel sno-cone machine that was at the 2017 Tiny House Festival in Florida!
What a great idea in that it takes such a simple (and tasty) vendor item and makes it not only a spectacle, but interactive!

Its the one midway concession treat you might LOSE weight enjoying!

For those who didn't hit the Florida Tiny House Festival, it was incredible (as always), and John Kernohan and Fin Davies have plenty more events planned! Check 'em through 

For more on the machine- hit

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Aging Friendly MODERN Tiny House? (DOWNSTAIRS Bedroom and EASY Stairs)

This one is certainly a step in the right direction for the aging population in the tiny house scene that asks time and time again, "Can we please get a non-lofted tiny house??".

     Well, this brand new model from The Small Dwelling Company (Texas based) is not only appealing in its presentation and open layout, but it features what Lynsi Underwood has dubbed "Nana-approved" stairs.

     According to Lynsi, "With each model we build, we seek the approval of my "Nana". If she can climb the stairs easily, then we know we're set".

    Beyond that, for those STILL scared by stairs, this tiny house on wheels also has the foresight to include a downstairs bedroom- something still not all that common in small home designs.

    It ALSO has a roof deck, but that was an add-on feature, obviously not aimed at the aging market. Regardless, its cool as heck! Be sure to check the video tour above.

Don't like (or need) the downstairs bedroom? Well, the Unistrut dividing wall can be easily removed (as planned) so as to fully open up an otherwise partially segmented sleep space.

     "Our client was considering putting a few pinball machines in that space instead", says Sam Underwood, "It was built to be a versatile space- that was the whole plan".

    The Underwoods aren't new to the tiny house game either. In fact we featured another one of their homes last year when we first met them in Colorado Springs at the Tiny House Jamboree.

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Remote-controlled "ELEVATOR BED" in a Tiny House!

Check this out!

     Yes, there are couple of these (of varying approaches) on the scene, but this certainly was one of the first ones I've seen online, and then eventually, in person...

Its an electronic-winch-driven bed that lowers from the ceiling and comes to rest on (locks into) two cleats on the side wall. Nothing more, nothing less, and as simple as this is, its a bit genius.

We'll have the FULL TOUR of this tiny house vardo very soon over on the "RelaxshacksDOTcom" youtube channel (CLICK HERE and please subscribe), but in the meantime, here is a highlight segment of the bed itself- in action.

OUR NEXT HANDS-ON Tiny House and Green Building WORKSHOPS

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Yes, an 11 Year Old DESIGNED and BUILT this EPIC TREE HOUSE

     Meet Grant Becker- a go-getter in every sense of the term.

     We're all apparently slackers by comparison too, as Grant took on the colossal project of building and designing his tree house at the mere age of eleven! Completed when he was thirteen, this tree house is quite an impressive feat, regardless of his age. And yeah sure, I'm betting he had help, but almost EVERYONE goes that same path, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, especially in cases where certain tasks require extra hands for the sake of safety. I see too many people who are steadfastly and stubbornly "solo DIY" when it comes to projects- they want the bragging rights to say that they "went it alone". Don't be that person- there is nothing wrong with seeking help.

But back on track....

"The lights here, I made those at glass-blowing camp", says Grant in the video. Enough said. Thats proof enough that at least a decent majority of the work and design WAS done by this young man.

I mean what kid is even interested in "glass blowing camp" at that age?

Keep tabs on this kid- he'll be going places.

Congrats Grant and stay the course. I hope to visit your tree house one day!

Looking for a great book on building small- both tiny house and tree house ideas?
Check this one- BRAND NEW from David and Jeanie Stiles....

Check it out HERE-

Above- learning (day one) the basics of framing a tiny structure with The Diedricksen Brothers

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The most FEARFUL part of building a Tiny House?


     While we've been doing fully hands-on workshops since 2009 (one of the first (and very few) to do so), its an ever-changing field- "the tiny house scene" that is. I mean this in a stylistic, and technical way- especially as the builds get bigger, and, well, less sacrificial in their wants and needs- less sparse. Things aren't as simple as they used to (aim to) be in many ways. Much of this is beneficial in a sense of progress, and customize tools and appliances are developed to cater to the movement, while other aspects are debatable.

Regardless, for years our core has been teaching 101-style for the brand-new "never built-ers", and then progressing upwards in the second and third days of class once we have everyone up to speed, but as times, interests, and needs change, it would be nice to get some "audience feedback" from those aspiring to build a tiny house. We cover A TON of stuff, and we're ever-changing- always- but we want to make sure we're not missing addressing some "feared aspects".

What seems the most daunting part of your future tiny house build? What scares you and is keeping you from starting?

Where do you draw the line in terms of what you feel you might want to tackle yourself, and what you're going to hire out? Electrical? Roofing? 

What do you want to walk away with from any workshop (cause God knows there rare 458 bandwagon ones out there now! Yeeeesh. Some solid- most, er, total and complete crap). 

Above: footage by Zane Spang at our Tiny House Summer Camp 5

Granted, there is only so much you can cover in a two or three day space WHILE allowing time for explaining, questions, networking, "tangental" approaches, a communal meal, and the ACTUAL BUILD itself (in the case of our hands-on classes), but here is what we usually will try to cover, and WILL cover in two upcoming workshops we have....

Boston, MA area (Stoughton, MA INSIDE an art gallery)- Feb 17th and 18th, 2018

Joshua Tree, CA- March 23rd-25th, 2018

What we Cover- the initial essentials (we actually DO these things- not TALK about 'em)

-Framing (building and over-building to travel)
-Trailer building QnA/talk
-Tool selection and use (hand and power)
-Standard and non-traditional approaches to building (time saving tricks of the trade- building alone)
-Shingling (cause many find it to be a pain)
-Choosing systems (heat/AC) for a tiny house or backyard cabin
-Designing for space efficiency
-Budget building approaches- how to keep costs down while infusing originality in your home
-What to AVOID in tiny house design- the FREQUENT mistakes we see!
-Window and door framing
-Circular saw use (long rips, plunge cuts, angles)
-Constructing a roof- bird-mouth notches, rafter work....
-Where you might be able to build it, and HOW.... (on wheels, foundation, skids- the pros/cons)-
-Insulation methods
-Using a Chop/Mitre Saw
-Hardware selection and implementation

And Beyond...

SO, back on topic, within reason, what would YOU like to learn at any workshop you might attend?

If you'd like to sign-up for our BOSTON area workshop, CLICK HERE

-Derek "Deek" Diedricksen

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Halved Subway Train Car becomes a TINY HOUSE on wheels

If you're ever in the Taunton, MA area, right by the town green, you just may spot something rather unusual- what looks like a tri-axle tiny house (or future restaurant) on wheels!

While I've asked around, the owner, and the eventual purpose of this structure seems rather elusive, as even the locals themselves seem to have quite a few questions of their own.

Whatever the case, it sure its interesting!

Check out the video below, and meanwhile, we're well on our way towards our NEXT HANDS-ON TINY HOUSE and GREEN BUILDING WORKSHOPS!

Our next one- Joshua Tree, CA- March 23-25th


We just added a Boston AREA workshop! Click HERE for more info.... 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tiny Houses and Tree Houses Go "Wayne's World"?

If you haven't seen yet, we're slowly been working on a small pilot series of a show that we've dubbed (for now) "Live From A Tree House".

Yeah, yeah, we know, its not a very profound title, but it DOES explain the gist of it, no?

"Think: The show "Live At Daryl's Place", but in a weird tree house full of whiskey, Iron Maiden posters, and odd yard sale art". That more or less sums it up.

While the show won't aim to be ONLY musical, with its interviews and acoustic performances, we did kick off the first mini-episode with a send-off to the late Chuck Mosley who passed away in early November at the age of 57.

Chuck, the one-time frontman of Faith No More (he recorded two albums with them), later went on to front Bad Brains, and then various other projects, from "Cement" to "Vandals Against Illiteracy".

We were very lucky to have had the chance to film and interview and acoustic session with Chuck and his bandmates a mere 5 weeks before he passed, and I hope you enjoy what we were able to capture.

R.I.P. Charles Henry Mosley III