Planning and Designs for the Tiny House Village Bay Area

What a journey!

The Tiny House Bay Area group has gone land scouting in May and June respectively. One of the parcels of land was a great one to model off of because of how secluded it was in its own little grove with lots of lush greenery with close enough proximity to San Francisco.

The working groups (on land scouting expeditions) have spoken to the city of Santa Rosa, a community focused real estate agent, and several other experts during two full Friday afternoons.

One of the Tiny House Bay Area members is David Ludwig, who is an award-winning architect by trade, living in an Airstream (read: aerodynamic tiny home) for the past decade plus. He loves to dance and move and along with that movement comes his house. When ever he travels locally and needs a place to stay, he brings his casa right along with him. While David loves his Airstream, he’s ready to live in a community dedicated to tiny homes in a more lush environment. He’s the mastermind behind these designs!

One of the first parcels we ever looked at in Sebastopol is the landform used to create both the visual and financial models that we can present to cities and local jurisdictions as well as investors when the time comes.

This is a rough drawing at the moment – we’re still seeking feedback from the Tiny House Bay Area community and look forward to grabbing cold drinks in the sunshine on Tuesday, September 22nd at 7pm in Hayes Valley, San Francisco.

tiny-house-village-view-2 tiny-house-village-view

Why Keri Gailloux Wants to Live in a Tiny Home

I have always loved looking at cozy cottages and bungalows. Even the words cottage and bungalow conjures images of charm, safety, and home. I’m a military brat. For those of you that know, you always have one foot out the door, ready to head off to the next place your parent is stationed. My whole life has been like that.

keri

This is me, Keri Gailloux

One foot out the door.

I have spent years pouring over Dwell and other such tomes of design, yearning for a place of my own but never really seeing myself in any of the artful designs. The drawing and photographs always seemed like they were for other people.
I’m a renter. I have been forever a renter with no hope of having a home of my own until one day I came across the idea of tiny houses. Hmmmm. That hit me hard. This was a real possibility to have my home AND one foot out the door because it was on WHEELS. Yipee!

So I have turned my attention the last few years to reading everything I could about these very special homes that could look like cottages or bungalows or high tech transformers or bohemian vardos. What a trip. So many fantastic ideas coming from all over the world. As soon as I realized that this wasn’t merely a trend, but a movement rather –  I wanted to be a part of it.

I discovered that I could SEE myself in one of these wonderful houses but where could I put it?

Where to put the tiny house is the biggest question everyone has. The exciting news is that across the country the tiny house movement is pushing forward like hardy spring flowers relentlessly growing up through the cold hard cracks. Counties, cities, and states are beginning to take a serious look at these peculiar little houses.

I’m an enthusiast and I’ve found others like me simply by going to meetup groups. So cool. Now I’m a part of a group location scouting for land for a tiny house village or eco village – or let’s face it, a place where we can legally put a group of tiny houses with a common area and shared community.

I know this is the future for me and thousands of others who have realized they can have their dreams no matter what their age or experience.

Here are a few of my favorite resources to get you started:

Tiny House Association: great resource to get national info on legal stuff

Blue Grass Meadows Micro Village: an example community in Canada

Tiny House Blog

TinyHouseTalk

If you want to get in touch, I can be reached on twitter @myfingerscrossd

The Tiny House Vision Event

tiny house vision and social

We had a great Tiny House Vision & Social with standing room only with Tiny House Bay Area! 100+ people came and we had architects, engineers, researchers, and many passionate tiny house enthusiasts in the room. Excited to find the intersection between sharing and the built environment in a community that values experiences over stuff.

The next step is to go land scouting and talk to city planners North of San Francisco for the day in early May.

For more information, get in touch with Chelsea Rustrum.

Tiny House Living in Wine Country

Tiny House Living

Stayed in a Tumbleweed tiny house in wine country this weekend – what a blissful place!

Tiny spaces really make you rethink everything. What is it that you need and use daily and/or weekly? How much of your life can be lived outside? Cleaning, showering, cooking, etc? What do you really need? How important is housing beyond warmth and running water? What’s constitutes an environment that’s nurturing? How would relationships change if there was no where to run to or hide, but rather tight-knit spaces? What jobs/inspirations would people take up? Is this livable long term or just short-term? What about mobile lifestyle – what if you could move your house where you want to be, living more fluidly? How much time could be spent outside of the small space, being more in tune with nature and ones community, especially in the context of a tiny house village?

I will tackle my answers and vision to some of these questions and more in the next post, where I’ll talk about my experience living in a tiny house.

 

Tiny House Village Vision & Social – April 1st, 2015

Hey all, I finally finished writing It’s a Shareable Life and sent it off to the press, so I now have the time and energy to fulfill the dream / vision of creating a small, sustainable community with tiny houses in the outskirts of San Francisco. There are many, many tiny house enthusiasts in San Francisco and beyond – I know this because I get several emails daily from people who want to help!

Well, now is the time – let’s get together and strategize funding, property, and align on vision. I’m pretty clear on the vision I have for how this village can operate, but open to feedback and suggestion as well. On April 1st, we’re going to have a tiny house village social for tiny home enthusiasts, owners, people interested in communities, etc.

Also, check out the press the village received in Curbed SF this February: Tiny House Villages Seek Tiny Plots of Land in San Francisco.

I hope to see you soon!

Looking for Tiny House Land

tiny houses

So yesterday I went land scouting and learned quite a bit about lots, sizes, locations, financing, etc.

Here are the main takeaways.

For this to work the way that I dream about it, the land would have to be:
- secluded
- wooded
- flat or at least somewhat flat
- have large open spaces
- road access
- access to water (well), electricity, internet (DSL lines), and at least be tested for septic
- within close proximity to San Francisco and other outdoor activities

While I realize that this is a tall bill, I came to find that many pieces of land are too residential or offer a lot of acreage, but the acreage is largely unusable. So the learning is that no two pieces of land are created equal.

And finally – I learned that there is not much land like this left in California that will sell at any kind of reasonable rate. I found a few pieces that are gorgeous, but even those pieces sold for $450K at the height of the market (not telling you what they are now :)

Oh and finally, plus – plus -plus, I gleaned some knowledge about owner financing. It seems that there are mixed reviews on whether or not banks are still lending on land, but a lot of sellers seem to be willing to carry the loan on the land themselves for 5 years, amortized over 30 years with a balloon payment at the end. My understanding is that this is to help people get a structure built so that there is more traditional home value for the banks to associate with the property and carry out the duration of the loan.

My next adventure is to learn about tiny house financing. It seems like there is not currently a lot of it… There’s  a new website, tinyhouseloans.com but it’s nothing more than an email list capture with no word of when/how something more than that will crop up. I will keep looking – please let me know if you see anything more substantial or know people who have financed their homes.

A Tiny House Village Near San Francisco

Proposed Plans

We want to create a small village of entrepreneurs who want to live sustainably, on the land – and with high speed internet, guitar sessions, nightly campfires, dancing and celebrating life, love and food – all within a few hours proximity to San Francisco.

See the neighborland group

To do this, we need some land (like a large back yard or a piece of unused land inside of San Francisco). We will also need access to water and possibly electricity (can do w/o this if necessary).

The idea is to test the concept of putting 5-10 tiny houses on a plot of land with an outdoor communal kitchen and a seating area for the group to commune, eat, hang out, etc. The houses themselves will be on wheels and cause no damage to the land itself. They will not be permanent dwellings and for this reason cannot be considered living spaces and are therefore not governed by the same laws and standards such as square footage requirements. Each tiny house will have it’s own kitchen and bathroom. And there will need to be room for street parking or parking on the land itself.

If you have the land – we can and will make this happen and you’ll see all of the fruitful benefits of coliving, community, minimalism and sharing of resources. The beauty of this idea is that it would be an opt-in community. If it’s not a fit for someone or the group as a whole, they just cart their tiny house somewhere else.

This is an intersection of coliving, micro apartments, intentional living and affordable housing for the creative class. It’s also pushing the envelope of urban living, flexible (live from anywhere) lifestyles and with more of an emphasis on what our needs actually are.

I am experienced with coliving, the sharing economy, building communities and ready for the next big adventure in creating a new form of housing looking for that serendipitous connection – that other half – a person who owns an unused parking lot, a plot of land, a huge backyard or unutilized land that they’d like to do something creative, interesting and innovative with. If this sounds like you, let’s start talking and find a way to create this community, this vision together – or you can just rent me the land and we’ll take care of the rest.

Please do get in touch and let me know your thoughts on all of the above.