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Smaller Footprint Lifestyles… Not So Big... To Tiny Home...

Welcome... to a Journey of Curiosity… from a “Not So Big Home” to an Ojai “Tiny Home”… 

(NOTE: Lots of photos below.)

Had a blast this past weekend dashing from tiny green places to greened permaculture & aquaponics spaces, all hosted by the Ojai Valley Green Coalition for the Ojai Valley Green Home Tour & Home Show.  Since I’m a member, and also volunteered on the event, it was the culmination day for a lot of us aficionados of “deeper green” living.

Recently, I’ve been paying more attention to the concepts of downsizing one’s life into tiny spaces (in my case it would need to be multiple ones) and have been following the “Tiny House” movement from the sidelines for several years.

Fascination really took hold when I learned more about Sarah Susanka’s “Not So Big House.” 

It seems she really started the “thinking smaller” homes movement.

A slightly dated but insightful DVD is, the not so big house, home by design sitting on my video shelf, and trotted out from time to time for inspiration.

A search on YouTube will uncover all sorts of Not So Big videos.  

On the Ojai Valley Green Home Tour there was a wonderful example of a small Craftsman Bungalow, owned by Dianne McCourtney, that embodied the "Not So Big" designs with a green twist:

Inspiration in a not so very big package.

Next, for a time, I dove into the idea of designing a semi-mobile trailer referred to as a “Park Model Home.” (Also called PPT’s Recreational Park Trailers). 

It’s more of a customized RV – sort of – and designed to be under 400 square feet and up on trailer wheels so city planning groups could not treat it as permanent residence/structure, and property taxes would not be accrued; only RV-like sales tax would apply.  (Sounded good to me.) 

It also has the ability to “shift” locations when you do. 

Spent hours and hours Internet searching for, and downloading, a plethora of floor plans all with the idea of redesigning something mobile and smaller, “my way.”

But "what if" you could have multiple "smaller" homes?  Almost pod-like, each with a different living function? 

Create your own personal eco-village?

It is important, at this point, to pay inspiration homage to an amazing yet fanciful SoCal artist and architectural designer, James T. Hubble

When I first visited Hubble’s artistic compound up in Julian, California (before the site was severely impacted by a runway forest fire), what captured my imagination, beyond the unusual molded buildings, was the idea of breaking up a home into separate buildings and “living” spaces.

In Hubble’s demonstration of grounded art, the living room/kitchen area was separated from the Master Bedroom area by walkways through gardens and about 10 to 15 feet.  The children’s quarters, known as the Boy’s Room (that survived the fire), was quite separate and across the swimming pool.  An art office was yards away from the artist foundry and stained glass workroom which was two stories high and even farther down the meandering paths. 

Seeing the exploded out spaces was a “revolution” in lifestyle re-thinking for me. 

Ever since, I just LOVE the idea of creating multiple, living, playing, working, and living spaces all surrounded and interconnected by living gardens. 

(Seems like a self-designed Eden.)

At one point, went on a greater San Diego area Hubble House tour and took these photos of places and spaces designed by Hubble:


Google Search “James Hubbell House” and you might be intrigued with the idea of living inside “hobbit” art too. 

Been playing with those multiple living spaces ideas and finally have the 3D software to show concept, at a later date. 

(Mona Lisa smile.)

Then, a few years ago, a friend sent me a link to Tumbleweed Houses which is an even more diminutive version of the Park Model trailer. 

Voila!  Discoverd the “Tiny House” (and blog) movement was underway. 

Each year, I have intended to take the Tumbleweed workshop to learn “how” to construct a home of my own.   It’s just gotta be easier than a strawbale or cob house stuck-in-place construction, right?  

That, and the fact that they are mobile just makes the travelling concept for me -- a long-time high-tech gypsy -- salivate

(As a kid we did a lot of car camping across the Western United States, High Sierra backpacking, and both Youth Hostel and Volkswagen Bug camping throughout Europe, so keeping moving on, was inbred.)

All this brings me back to last weekend and the Ojai Valley Green Home Tour... Tiny House... 

For the first time, I was able to actually step into a 120-ish square foot “Tiny Home” custom designed by a friend, Vina Lustado, of Sol Haus Design

My breathing stopped. 

There is nothing quite like touching and feeling a long-held dream. 

Vina’s “Tiny Home” is just stunning

There is no other word for it. 

Although my quick snap iPhone photos don’t do it justice, at least I'm finding out other photographers on the tour did.


Within Your Space: Ojai 5th Annual Green Home Tour 

Tiny House Giant Journey:  Ojai – Green Home Tour

Additional Photos By "Tiny House Giant Journey"

Was also lucky enough to be the afternoon volunteer docent for the more rustic “Sugar Box” on the Green tour.

It’s a, now permanent, 397 square foot rectangle mini-home placed on a virtually vacant, dusty half-acre Ojai city lot.

(Read both the above articles and you’ll see more photos.) 

The green dreams, by the owner T.J. Thyne, to morph the property in a flowering cluster of eight secret gardens populated by smaller “activity” and living structures just speaks to my heart… and a journey of re-definition about what an ideal life, living smaller, might look like... is rekindled.

Thank you, Ojai Valley Green Coalition for the jumpstart.

Time to breathe again. 

And get on with designing 3D visions anew. 

(Along with setting up a new Houzz Ideabook for "Tiny House on Wheels.")

~ Diane


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Reader Comments (2)

Testing the comments because a friend tried to leave one and it's not letting her.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDiane J Squire

Thanks, Diane, for this well-illustrated review of some of my favorites from this year's Green Home Tour, and for blowing on the embers of my own tiny-house obsession of the past half dozen years. I like your vision of an "interconnected Eden" of separate living spaces interspersed amid a garden. It looks like that's what T.J. Thyne is going to have when he's all done; he's made a great start.

October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSonia
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